An ominous lack of kookiness

Philip Jenkins notices

…one of the great unreported stories in American religion—namely, the near-evaporation of the country’s once-thriving mystical, esoteric, and occult traditions.  I particularly think of the New Age movement, which received its title around 1980, but which was deeply rooted in American religious history.

Think back to the world of the 1970’s and 80’s, and the mass public interest in esoteric themes: reincarnation and crystals, telepathy and UFOs, shamans and gurus, pseudo-American Indian practices.  Once upon a time, news stories treated such themes as UFOs and the Bermuda Triangle as deadly serious and plausible.  Recall the national upsurge of fascination with the Harmonic Convergence of 1987.  Yes, plenty of people are still interested in such broadly New Age ideas—remember the baloney surrounding the Mayan calendar—but they have lost their presence in mainstream culture.

That is odd.  What can it mean?

If this decline reflected a shift toward orthodoxy, that would be one thing, but it does not.  Instead, I believe what we are seeing is a general reduction of interest in spiritual or religious matters across large sections of society, an evaporation of the broad but ill-focused concern that manifested itself in the supernatural boom of the 70’s.  Whatever its harmful and downright silly aspects, that widespread spiritual activism and inquiry also contributed to the potent religious upsurge within Christianity and Judaism.

In other words, the first symptom we might expect of genuine American secularization would be a precipitous decline in activism and enthusiasm on the spiritual fringe, which is exactly what has taken place over the past two decades.     

63 Responses

  1. I don’t agree. Oprah and Hillary Clinton are the mainstream. Hillary talks to Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. Oprah tells her audience they can do magic.

  2. And, similarly, most warmism science.

  3. The reason people in the West are leaving churches is simply . . . that people are becoming less religious. They’re leaving Christianity, Buddhism, New Age, paganism (in places like Brazil), Christianish American sects of various kinds . . . religions of an unbelievably wide variety of beliefs and practices. People want to blame secularism on this or that particular belief, practice, or historical event, but secularism is such an overwhelmingly widespread phenomenon in modernized countries that any particular belief, practice or historical contingency is simply inadequate to explain it all.

    It used to be if a particular religious belief or practice didn’t suit someone or if a particular religion became associated with some form of bad behaviour, people would invent their own or join a group more congenial to their own proclivities or which was not associated with something they wanted to avoid. Now, there is no longer any individualized search for a spiritual belief and practice that suits you yourself (as deplorable as that was in many ways). You just leave off religion altogether, period.

  4. Liberalism itself is not a strong, engaging “religion.” For most people, it is just a sort of default materialism. People used to fervently care about social justice (hard left parties used to have real followings) and doubtless a very small minority still do, but most people just don’t care that much about anything anymore. Most people don’t give a rat’s ass about liberal “saints” like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela. (You can go for weeks in our society without running into a reference to anyone like that. Do you think you could go for a day without a reference to a saint in a Medieval Catholic society?) People are not terribly enthusiastic about the various “creeds” of political correctness, even if they sort of broadly agree with their principles. Liberalism of one sort or another has sort of slouched into dominance. It maintains its place by a sort of extremely broad, if unenthusiastic, assent.

  5. Liberalism itself is not a strong, engaging “religion.”

    Unless we make a sufficiently large human sacrifice to the gods of global warming, we are all going to fry. That is official science, and it must be true because scientific. (In the bad old days there used to be such a thing as unofficial science, but we are wiser than that now, and any academic who doubts that we are wiser will lose tenure)

  6. Nobody cares about global warming.

  7. In fact, the whole global warming phenomenon would be a prime example of the utter lameness of liberal apocalyptic, its total inability to capture anyone’s imagination. Whether or not global warming is real, nobody is going to give up their SUVs and cheap electricity.

  8. > People are not terribly enthusiastic about the various “creeds” of political correctness, even if they sort of broadly agree with their principles.

    Isn’t that just because they’re so universally accepted? It’s hard to keep passionate about a belief that everyone shares. If a genuinely antiliberal force were to arise anywhere in the West, I expect these average people would go into full-PC hysteria.

  9. […] Source: Throne and Altar […]

  10. If a genuinely antiliberal force were to arise anywhere in the West, I expect these average people would go into full-PC hysteria.

    I remember when feminists could not express the thought of “marital rape” because no one could understand them. The concept just made no sense. Today, try to bring back what was normal in 1980, people would think they were under attack by the Taliban, let alone try to bring back what was normal in 1810

  11. It’s hard to keep passionate about a belief that everyone shares.

    Is that really true? People in Subsaharan Africa believe in witchcraft and the widespread nature of that belief does nothing to diminish the intensity with which it is held. The same thing about their traditional moral beliefs.

    Most people in Medieval Europe rather passionately believed in the sacred nature of the mass, so much so that they would show up for it even though they (and often the priest) had absolutely no idea what was going on. They just knew that something sacred was going down and they had to be there.

    Liberalism seems uniquely ‘meh’ in the passion it inspires, and it is only the vast number of its adherents that keeps it in power.

    If a genuinely antiliberal force were to arise anywhere in the West, I expect these average people would go into full-PC hysteria.

    I highly doubt it. They can’t even get a half decent persecution of Evangelical Christians going. What Bruce Charlton says.

  12. I highly doubt it. They can’t even get a half decent persecution of Evangelical Christians going

    There are not any Evangelical Christians. Bruce Charlton creatively reinterprets Paul on sex and marriage as religious symbolism, though I well remember that before 1972 absolutely everyone took it for granted as simple realism about human nature, in 1980 or so the majority still believed that Paul was simply right, whether they believed in God or not, they believed that Paul was right about people and marriage.

    Bring out some 1980 Christians, and the mob would burn them at the stake, with Bruce Charlton lighting the fires.

  13. The Gospels and the Communist Manifesto are on the wane; the world’s future lies in the power of Coca-Cola and pornography.

    Don Colacho

    It was a pity the Soviet Union didn’t overrun Western Europe. Catholicism would probably still be vibrant in many of those countries.

    I am also always half amused half irritated by “reactionaries” like James and “anti-gnostic” who shill for free-market capitalism and claim to be fighting for tradition.

  14. Why is Charlton even quoted here anymore? Did anyone see his recent defense of his new found cult’s permissive stance on abortion? “Legalism” he says. Can we revoke this old fool’s traditionalist club card now?

  15. Bruce Charlton is wrong about many things, therefore he’s wrong about everything. Whoo boy.

    That particular observation I cite by him is correct.

  16. Catholicism would probably still be vibrant in many of those countries.

    Poland is well on its way to being like the rest of Europe, my friend. Catholicism was propped up there by (traditionally anti-Russian) nationalism, a fickle ally. About as reliable as (traditionally anti-English) nationalism turned out to be among the Irish.

  17. Bruce Charlton is wrong about many things, therefore he’s wrong about everything. Whoo boy.
    That particular observation I cite by him is correct.

    No. Just the important things.

    Poland is well on its way to being like the rest of Europe, my friend. Catholicism was propped up there by (traditionally anti-Russian) nationalism, a fickle ally. About as reliable as (traditionally anti-English) nationalism turned out to be among the Irish.

    Yes but that is because Poland is now “free” i.e. an American outpost. The Vatican recognizes this, it can out in one of the Wikileaks.

  18. People find political correctness stifling. Take a look at popular culture. Large swathes of it are blatantly un-PC, and the establishment seems utterly powerless to clamp down on it. Most people in the real world are happy to hear your distain for PC opinions in private conversation.

  19. Yes but that is because Poland is now “free” i.e. an American outpost.

    Catholic Bohemia (part of the then Czechoslovakia) proved quite amenable to the atheistic propaganda of the communists. If the Poles hadn’t have had such strong traditional hatred of the Russians, they’d have been happy enough to turn atheist under the commies.

  20. The LDS church, whatever its many faults, hasn’t liberalized on abortion recently, or ever.

  21. People find political correctness stifling. Take a look at popular culture. Large swathes of it are blatantly un-PC

    Really? I see nothing but an endless stream of strident propaganda, the holy authorities endlessly and arrogantly berating their inferiors for insufficient holiness, for example, South Park, Game of Thrones, the Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Doctor Who.

    Give me an episode of a well known show, well known enough that I am likely to have seen it, which is not patronizing, arrogant, and hate filled propaganda for political correctness?

    As I said before, if Christians from 1970s were still around, Bruce Charlton would be first to burn them at the stake.

  22. The LDS church, whatever its many faults, hasn’t liberalized on abortion recently, or ever.

    I am afraid you’re incorrect-

    Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion.

    https://www.lds.org/topics/abortion?lang=eng

    As I said before, if Christians from 1970s were still around, Bruce Charlton would be first to burn them at the stake.

    Indeed and this is because he’s a radical modernist (as are you by the way).

  23. Take a look at popular culture. Large swathes of it are blatantly un-PC,

    Where is the show on which father knows best, on which wives and children obey the wise authority of their husbands and fathers.

    Where is the show on which many blacks are stupid, lazy, dishonest, violent, and dangerous?

    Where is the show on which gays are hopelessly promiscuous, dirty, diseased, and, like Chaucer’s summoner, dangerous to children?

    Where is the show on which women are featherheaded and narcissistic?

    Where is the show on which sluts are called sluts, sluts and sluttiness is ridiculed, and sluts suffer bad consequences from their sexual behavior?

  24. Popular culture obviously isn’t traditionalist, you idiots.

  25. (as are you by the way)

    Back atcha.

  26. If you’re too stupid to figure out that things can be both anti-Christian/anti-traditionalist and un-PC at the same time, you really shouldn’t be commenting on anything.

    If you’re too stupid not to see many, many things in popular culture that are incompatible with political correctness, you really shouldn’t be commenting on anything.

  27. It should be fairly obvious, but I guess I’m going to have to point this out: the term ‘politically correct’ has a fairly specific meaning and is not generally equivalent to ‘sinful,’ ‘anti-Christian,’ ‘non-Catholic,’ or ‘something I don’t like.’

    Much the same goes for the term ‘modern.’

  28. If you’re too stupid not to see many, many things in popular culture that are incompatible with political correctness,

    I asked you for an example. Where is your example?

  29. There are so many blatantly obvious examples, that someone who can’t see them for himself does not deserve to have them pointed out. I’m not going to dance for complete idiots.

  30. I apologize to the host here for using such blunt language, but in this case it is wholly deserved. Anyone who demands the equivalent of proof that the sky isn’t fluorescent orange does not deserve to be treated with respect.

  31. Dissident right-wing thought is often excessively reductionist. This conversation is an example. Why must modern society be totally P.C. or totally non-P.C.?

    It seems to me that we have two powerful camps of people. The first is leftist, very politically correct, and fairly humorless (in either a dry, academic way, or else in a militant guerrilla way). This camp is based most strongly in academia and in the high-brow news media (NYT, NPR etc.).

    The second camp is individualistic (often libertarian), irreverent, very anti-P.C., and obsessed with extreme sensation and experience (over-the-top comedy, grizzly horror culture, drug use, death metal etc.). This camp is based most strongly in the entertainment industry, especially the more grass roots portions (e.g. stand up comedy, heavy metal bands, low budget movies etc.).

    Neither of the two camps is traditionalist, but they are two different groups of people who genuinely disagree with one another, sometimes quite fiercely. And of course there are many people whose world views are confused admixtures of the two value systems.

    To supply James with examples of non-P.C. things in popular culture, try: South Park, Tosh.O, shock jock radio shows e.g. Opie and Anthony etc. For example, check this out (warning: language):

    This is representative of mainstream, modern comedy and it is not remotely P.C. There is actually quite a bit of sacrilege against leftism in popular culture, there simply isn’t any real support for the idea of sacred things other than leftist approved sacred things. Daniel Tosh (the guy in the above video) isn’t encouraging genuine reverence for male worth, he is simply tearing down leftist ideas for a laugh. There are many rebels against the leftist church, there simply isn’t a significant, competing church, so to speak.

  32. The Man Who Was,

    Back atcha.

    I wasn’t calling you one! I was calling our friend Jim one. FWIW I generally agree with your comments and I note that you’re about as anti-Charlton as I am something we need more of around the orthosphere..

  33. Tosh balances his rare impieties with large amounts of piety.

    As for South Park, people keep telling me there is political incorrectness on South Park, but I am a regular viewer and have never seen any. I have seen Cartman making politically incorrect statements on South Park, but Cartman is depicted as stupid, evil, hateful and ugly, so Cartman being politically incorrect counts as South Park being politically correct.

  34. Tosh is allowed to be impious because for every impiety he commits, he pours out ten buckets of soothing piety.

    South Park is piously PC, because Cartman, who is non PC, is depicted as stupid, evil, and ugly, thus he says non PC things in order to demonize deviation from PC.

  35. Some years ago I had a student who tried to convert me to an esoteric form of spirituality centered on the Zohar, but that was an exception proving the rule that Jenkins observes. If today’s average student is a seekers, he is a very secretive seeker. The faddish occultism of the 1970s is part of the general bizarreness of that decade, but I think that some of it can be directly tied to fairly widespread use of mind-altering drugs. I was recently on a grand jury, and so had to sit through a half-day class on recreational drugs. They are still smoking pot, of course, but the more powerful hallucinogens didn’t even warrant a mention. Apart from pot, the popular recreational drugs today seem all to be variants on speed, and I’d guess that a mind cranked on speed does not naturally think about reincarnation or union with the All.

    Also, those who were not there to witness the 1970s may not appreciate the apocalyptic strain that ran through much of the culture. As some of the comments above attest, the moral world that existed in 1965 was crashing down, American cities were dangerous, sleazy places, and all of my college professors were waving copies of the Club of Rome report and telling us that we would run out of oil before 1990, if nuclear armageddon didn’t come first. A lot of people (including myself) were disoriented by all of this, and escapism was a very attractive option. One finds plenty of apocalyptic writing on the internet, but I see very little pessimism among my students. Widespread interest in occult reality requires widespread pessimism about everyday reality.

    I’m not convinced that Jenkins is right when he likens New Age spirituality to a canary in a coal mine, though. New Age spirituality was really part of the choking cloud of carbon monoxide and methane that has engulfed the Church.

  36. Jim makes an important point. It’s not “un-PC” when a show puts non-PC thoughts into the mouths of characters we’re supposed to despise. Most (nearly all?) un-PC on television is of this sort.

  37. “Give me an episode of a well known show, well known enough that I am likely to have seen it, which is not patronizing, arrogant, and hate filled propaganda for political correctness?”

    I’ll bite (even though I think modern media leans overwhelmingly PC). However, for something non-PC: My Little Pony Season 1, Episode 5, Griffon the Brush Off; consider the scene wherein Pinkie Pie watches a griffon (member of another race) walk around Ponyville casually stealing merchandise from the market, harassing random passersby, and generally being a total jerk, and tries to reason herself into thinking _it’s not as bad as it looks_ using increasingly weak logic. This is about as clear a parody of the PC habit towards rationalizing away evidence in the name of tolerance as you could come up with.

  38. This is about as clear a parody of the PC habit towards rationalizing away evidence

    Well, clear if you are smart enough to see it. Otherwise, deeply disguised. “My little pony” is a cheerfully white nationalist pagan show, carefully disguised by the fact that they are ponies and their target audience is pre teen little girls. But it is disguised.

    Yes, it is a parody of the PC, and indeed the entire my little pony show is unthinkably politically incorrect if your antenna are out to read between the lines. It is national socialist pagan. But your antenna have to be out to read between the lines.

    The fact that these guys get away with the ultimate earthly incarnation of supernatural evil, national socialism, tells us that the typical PC enforcer is not smart enough to read between the lines.

  39. Catholic Bohemia (part of the then Czechoslovakia) proved quite amenable to the atheistic propaganda of the communists.
    Bohemia was much more secular than Poland even before commies came to power so their job was easier here.

    Back to the OP. One thing I noticed there was a lot of esoteric mumbo-jumbo in martial arts back in seventies and eighties. Eastern MA were surrounded with concepts often misunderstood and often crappy. I believe much of the bullshido is gone by now. Not even the films about ninjas and mysterious kung-fu masters are popular as they used to be. Similar trend is here in Europe. People seem to start turning their attention to genuine European arts instead which is a positive thing.

  40. Most (nearly all?) un-PC on television is of this sort.

    This isn’t true of most un-PC entertainment, including the Daniel Tosh bit posted here, which is pretty representative.

    In fact, I don’t even think it’s true of South Park, where the creators of the show have explicitly, in their own persons, declared their hatred for left-liberalism.

    Matt Stone: “I hate conservatives, but I really f***ing hate liberals.”

    Of course, they’re nihilists, but they aren’t secretly trying to promote left-liberalism through the back door.

  41. Howard Philips has it nailed.

  42. Thursday makes any number of good points in this thread, including the important comment that we increasingly live in a world where people just don’t care about anything or believe in anything, more than being actively hostile. Even here in secular Canada, I’ve noticed, as I’ve become more gregarious with age, that people are generally “ok with” my evangelicalism. “That’s cool, man.” They simply don’t care.

    My personal theory is that it has at least something to do with what we’ve selected for over the past century. Intelligence and future-time orientation are tied to each other, and it’s my theory that they also correlate to religion, so that the decline in IQ has brought a corresponding decline in religiosity.

    Notwithstanding that I personally believe we are also in a period of spiritual judgement…

  43. Religiosity correlates with lower IQ. This is a robust finding, with many studies. Religiosity is high in the Third World, where IQ is lower. Religiosity in the west has declined precipitously; IQ has not.

    The least religious people in our society are anal retentive career animals. They are not lacking in future time orientation.

    I on record that secularization is as a result of being acculturated to a safe, prosperous and predictable environment.

  44. Religiosity correlates with lower IQ. This is a robust finding, with many studies.

    This depends on how you define religiosity. If we define the official religion to be a religion, which it obviously is, rather than the simple truth, which it obviously is not, then Religiosity correlates with higher IQ.

    All the smart people figure out what belief is required, and then eitgher believe it, or piously pretend to believe it.

    If, to get ahead, needed to believe in the flying spaghetti monster, there would be a very high correlation between IQ and belief in the flying spaghetti monster.

  45. James, you’re using the word religion to mean any and everything. Religion, the way I’m using it, is belief in supernatural agents, i.e. mind or something mindlike besides just human consciousness. Like, for example, God. That correlates with lower IQ. Robustly.

  46. Religion, the way I’m using it, is belief in supernatural agents, i.e. mind or something mindlike besides just human consciousness.

    If people were required to believe in the flying spaghetti monster the way they are required to believe in racism, do you think that any fewer would believe in the flying spaghetti monster than believe in racism?

  47. James, the word you are looking for is ideology.

    Second, where did all this mysterious requiring, assuming it even exists, emerge from? Did it just fall out of the sky?

    Third, nobody really cares if you believe in supernatural agents or not*, so I don’t think there really is anything being required of anybody on that score? People are just indifferent.

    *See Samson’s comment above.

  48. I on record that secularization is as a result of being acculturated to a safe, prosperous and predictable environment.

    This is just materialistic deterministic claptrap. What you are saying is that it wasn’t sin that caused our society to decay; but, rather, it was inevitable given the safe, prosperous and predictable environment that Christian society enables. This implies that Christian society is always unstable, that as soon as it becomes safe and prosperous for a period of time then it will inevitably start to decay into liberalism. This basically shifts blame from people onto God, and I heartily disagree with it.

  49. The connection between religiosity and intelligence is a little more complicated than Thursday asserts. It is true that, to an unintelligent person, much of the world is an opaque mystery, so he may be a little too quick to jump to supernatural explanations. However, if religious commitment is measured by something like reliably rolling out of bed on Sunday morning, combing one’s hair, and going to church, we find persons committed to religion are of above average intelligence and education. This tendency seems to be increasing, at least according to the data Charles Murray published in Coming Apart. I’ve also seen data showing that the out-of-sight super smart tend to be religious, with the real hole in what we might call the bright-but-not-incandescent crowd. Some of this can be put down to the extreme conformity that one finds in that group.

    The results of the surveys Thursday points to are influenced by what we do with the “nones.” The atheists don’t want to acknowledge the “nones” as their dumb cousins because they are, on average, dumb cousins.

  50. Kevin, you assume that safety, predictability, and prosperity are Christian goals and are the result of Christian tendencies in our society. Perhaps, though, our current predicament is the resul of worshipping those idols.

  51. I assume a society full of people who value virtue over profit and who fear the Lord will be safe. Yes I assume that. I also assume that where you have respect for the rule of law and the rights of others you will also have prosperity and predictability. These don’t have to be explicit goals to be the outcome of a Christ-centered society.

  52. I think James and The Man Who Was… are both right. Smart people tend to be atheists, and the reason is that liberalism is the dominant ideology, and it implies atheism. Smart people tend to conform to the dominant ideology more consistently than dumb people.

  53. Bonald:

    James is wrong because what he says fails to answer the questions like the following:

    1. Why did secular liberalism become the dominant ideology?
    2. How did it become the dominant ideology despite the fact that nobody really cares about other people’s views on God (or the gods) per se?

  54. Smart people are better at mechanistic cause and effect thinking, and that is what the modern economy and lifestyle is based around, so it becomes their default mode of thought. People start to assume that the mechanistic parts of the cosmos are all that there is, and stop paying attention to immediate experience. It becomes very possible to essentially sleepwalk through your entire life.

    Dumber people are less capable of that kind of thought, so they fall back more on more wholistic forms of thought and perception.

    I find this kind of explanation vastly superior to conspiracy type explanations, or non-explanation explanations where liberalism seems to fall out of the freaking sky and mysteriously take over everything.

  55. People very much care about other people’s views on God when they realize that such views imply disapproval of the sexual revolution.

  56. How often does that happen? The answer is: not very.

  57. Belief in God is totally respectable pretty much everywhere, and people only vaguely associate it with opposition to the sexual revolution. People just don’t care that much either way anymore.

  58. It is respectable to be a Christian only because the automatic assumption (at least for people who don’t seem to us kooky) is that one is a dissenting (that is, liberal) Christian. Lots of people know that I’m Catholic, at least in that I go to Church on Sunday, and this isn’t dangerous as long as it’s less widely known that I actually agree with my Church. Not that I hide this either, but few people have occasion to probe that far, and when it doesn’t come up people who see that I’m not obviously insane will assume that I must be on board with remarriage, contraception, and the rest.

    I’m not sure how much of the effect it explains, but I’ll bet that high-IQ people tend to be less attracted to incoherent compromise positions (like liberal Christianity or the Republican Party). If I had high IQ, I would certainly not be attracted to liberal Christianity. (I’m not anyway, but I expect that being smarter would just give me even less patience for it.) Add to that the things that “everyone knows”–sexual liberation is wonderful; history is the story of progress over superstition; religion causes violence–and the choice between atheism and serious Christianity seems like a no-brainer.

  59. 1. Why did secular liberalism become the dominant ideology?
    2. How did it become the dominant ideology despite the fact that nobody really cares about other people’s views on God (or the gods) per se?

    Back when the secular liberals still claimed to be Christians they fought a series of wars – the Mormon war, the war between the states, and World War II, which resulted in their belief system, still at the time nominally Christian, being taught in every school everywhere. And any school that taught anything different found men with fixed bayonets poking those bayonets at little girls.

    They were already holier than Jesus at the time of the civil war, thus Unitarian while pretending to be Christian. By the time of World War II, holier than God, thus atheist while claiming to be more protestant than the protestants. And, shortly after World War II, after their belief systems was taught in every school everywhere, with the application of bayonets where necessary, they became openly atheist.

    But, at the time that they achieved world dominion, still claimed to be christian, and indeed “super protestant”, more protestant than the protestants – similar to their present day claim about “real” Islam.

  60. Bonald:

    The point is there is no real stigma attached to supernatural belief, yet it declines nonetheless.

    James:

    That is a pretty wild conspiracy theory. First of all, doesn’t explain how liberals got into power in the first place, so as to do all that. Second, it would require a significantly more competent and effective public education system than is plausible.

  61. First of all, doesn’t explain how liberals got into power in the first place,

    They were not liberals initially, but rather, self proclaimed saints. A religion is a synthetic tribe. Since whites are tribeless, we tend to wind up government by the most fanatical religion. Look back at the civil war days: Who was the most fanatical religion? It was the saints, the people who subsequently became today’s liberals – but are still today holier than thou, just as they were then.

    Around the days of the civil war, they were the saints. Around the days of World War II, super protestants. Today, progressives. But in the days of anti slavery and prohibition, were already holier than Jesus, presaging today’s supposed atheism.

    Second, it would require a significantly more competent and effective public education system than is plausible.

    There is also the fact that if you don’t adhere to the official religion you cannot get a job at a prestigious university, nor a job in government or quasi government service. Beverly Hills Bank was destroyed in 2005 because some its employees failed to display sufficient holy faith.

    Further, a business had better fire those of insufficient faith, or will face a discrimination suit, or will be destroyed by regulatory authority, as Beverly Hills bank was, or have one’s business confiscated by those holier than thou, as happened to various sports franchises.

  62. Wheels within wheels.

  63. Religiosity correlates with lower IQ.

    I know it does, nowadays, but I hypothesize that it may have been different in the past – or more complicated, as JMsmith suggests. Anyway, I’m not married to this theory; I just think it explains some things. One of the most enduring mysteries to me is why, today, future-time orientation doesn’t correlate with attentiveness to the most important event that happens to anyone (death). It *should* correlate!

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