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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 594)...

    While I do not mean to over state the endorsement of Darwin's theory of evolution in your essay "Our Religions: Are They the Religions of Humanity Itself?", I have a related question. I believe that I understand you correctly to only be specifically advocating Darwin's theory as the most sort of 'comprehensive' theory in light of the evidence available, and in terms of its provision of a sort of workable model to explain an apparent question somewhat comparably significance to the primary question of your essay regarding the processes relating to the placement of the beginning of humanity at the beginning of the agricultural revolution. I would say that I quite agree with your estimations of the merits of Darwin's theory, and again I hope that I am not too presumptuous in assuming some greater acceptance in the processes of evolution that he describes. Ultimately my question is whether or not you would describe the sort of 'religious' processes you describe in your essay, or the sort of 'assault' on animism as a similarly uncontrollable or irreversible process?

    ...and the response:

    The religions of our culture (which your "religious processes" seems to refer to) are the religions of our culture because they support the mythology of our culture ("the world was made for man and man was made to conquer and rule it; there is one right way to live, and we have it; everyone in the world should be made to live the way we do). If this mythology ever disappears, then these religions will disappear as well. The assault on animism is of course being carried out primarily by Christian religionists working among aboriginal peoples, who (as a by-product of their work) bear the message that ours is the one right way to live and everyone should be made to adopt it, thus destroying native cultures wherever they find them. The destruction of these cultures is irreversible, of course; once they're gone, they're gone, just like extinct species. Animism itself is indestructible, at least as I've defined it. Anyone who views the world as a sacred place (and humans as worthy of a place in a sacred place) is an animist.


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