The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture
The author, Dr. Darrel Ray, is a psychologist as well as a lifelong student of religion who has made an incredible contribution to our understanding of ourselves and our society. It is true that a lot of non-believers have used the virus analogy before but it is Dr. Ray who put this virus under the microscope. He put the infection under close scrutiny, exploring questions like: How come sexual repression is so prevalent in various religions? What is guilt's role in religious infection? What is behind all the anxiety and illogicality around dying and death? How does religion sneak into so many aspects of life and even in culture and politics?
This book would take the reader further - from merely acknowledging that religion is an infection to understanding the inner workings of a person (personal or emotional) who lives in a culture where religion thrives. The author cited examples that anyone could relate to, guiding readers about interacting with religious family members, friends and people in the workplace.
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Definitely seems interesting judging from what i just read.
This book addresses come questions hat I would really like to have answered. Why do all religions seem to have these things in common? I rarely ever put much stock in psychology (I prefer science - erm, *harder* sciences) but it would be interesting to see his theories on this.
I would still be interested in the point of view a psycoligist may have, I find psychology interesting though often abused by pharma and and doctors with ulterior interest to saving or doing what best for the patient.
There's a disturbing trend I've seen with psychologists where they treat their doctrine like a religion. They swallow it lock stock and barrel and follow it dogmatically, disregarding new knowledge that could advance them substantially. And of course, just like a religion, they shun whatever disagrees with them in the most callous manner and consider it beneath them. We "less cerebral" scientists who prefer to measure actual blood flow and chemical metabolism in the brain rather than lay back on a leather couch and talk about our dreams are considered unintuitive and amateur. Never mind the fact that our equipment costs as much as a space shuttle and we've all taken advance calculus/chem/physics.
The brain is not this mythical black box as they seem to think, as neuroscience can now get inside of it easily just like any other organ. They treat it like the Tabernacle, and are trying to hide their disappointment in the fact that God doesn't actually live inside there. He barely even visits.
Apparently as people get older they tend to fill up their days with things they gradually get slower at accomplishing after reaching the plateau of efficiency as this happens they have difficulty learning new things as they tend to lack both the time and patience to do so. To some they make excuses like I just don't remember things like I used to or I just don't have enough time to read about this. Some however just get really defensive and resort to calling names. To some this is very uncomfortable as they and their knowledge become obsolete. Nobody likes to feel obsolete, especially when their livelihood depends on the ability to be cutting edge. but with age come wear and tear and often less desire to learn new things this tend to reflect in a person by their resistance to new ideas or ways of doing things. These psychologist are to old and tired to keep up and should be focusing on retirement perhaps embracing the new sciences and opening up medical parks for the new practitioners of neural science. This would be a much more dignified way to exit the arena!
On another note, I once meet a psychologist who really believed in the rantings, yes I called them rantings of Freud, I asked what he felt of coke or having sex with his mother. He seemed not to know what I was talking about so I told him he should read more.
You'll get a kick out of this then Zaph. I just saw a commercial for a med that can help alleviate the symptoms of a chronic laughing disorder. I guess there is just too much happiness in the world and big pharma wants to "help" out.
I think psychology is an excellent tool for understanding why many people believe in religion, for example Edward Bernay's book Propaganda illustrates how the mind can be programmed to accept religion and negative politicians.
The book takes an interesting stance on why and how religion gets into out daily lives no matter who we are or where we live. For many people, the emotional aspect of religion is what brings them together with like minded people and then that seems to spread like a wildfire into every other aspect of their lives and of those around them.
Guilt, sexual repression, death? This book is too good to be true! I've not seen this one yet, but it will be on my must read list in just a few minutes time.
I could agree that religions and even other beliefs that are majority in a certain society affects a the majority there a lot as well. There are rituals, fiestas and practices associated to these kind of groupings in a society that are passed on and on.
I will be ordering this one in my next purchase at amazon.
Aren't we able to share our books on Amazon so we don't all have to buy each one of them up for discussion here?
Certain ebooks can be lent for 2 weeks (turn your Internet on the kindle off if you need longer to finish) this one is not lendable though.
Aside from some typos, this is a very engaging read. Nearly done with it. I do see a lot of parallels in what the author talks about. Now I can't help but use the virus analogy myself.
A wonderful and enlightening book. I had the opportunity and privilege of talking with Dr Ray along with others on a Skype link. He was sipping his warm coffee at a devilish time of the morning for him that even the Flying Spaghetti Monster was off duty and snoozing in his cool swamp of parmesan and meatballs. We were probably 10 hours ahead of him so he should have been asleep through that blizzard. Thank you Dr Darrel the Jonas Salk for the cure of a self inflicted mind disease.
I see social science and psychology and psychiatry as just a wild guessing game. It doesn't tell you what actually is, just what works (some, but not all, of the time)
As someone diagnosed bipolar and still in touch with a government professor of mine, I can attest that the theories behind it all are just....... hmm, I "think" this explains everything
Shouldn't religion be classified as 'psychological abuse' of children because it teaches mythology & outright lies as 'fact'?
I like what you said but I disagree. The field psychology has and does abuse children like religion but so has the medical field and many other institutions. I can't speak for every society but in many societies institutions like psychology and religion are influence by the political / economic dynamics of the society in which they exist in.
Psychology unlike religion, uses the scientific method, much more useful information comes from this way then the way of religion. For example Pavlov's experiments are used all the time in the field of advertisement. I agree religion is a lot of myth. Think you for your post it has help me think about this topic.
directed at suejkw
I do think that there are times and occasions when religion can be abusive.
I have an extreme amount of hostility toward certian religious fundementalists like Peter Popoff. He is a faith healer who was busted with small, "spy-style" radio receivers . . . so that his wife could send messages that would make it seem like he was privy to information that he couldn't possibly know.
So, when parents take their sick kids to Popoff to get "healed", I get angry because I see this as child abuse.
I also get angry when parents bring their kids into churches for exorcisms instead of getting them treated by a doctor . . . and this is child abuse.
I am autistic, so this bothers me particularly bad as it hits close to home.
Autistic kids may band their heads against a wall, have GI issues (so may vomit often), and--with the photographic memory of some autistic people--may give the impression that they can speak a foreign language that they've never been exposed to . . . as a kid may have heard some Latin, Italian, or Cantonese once in a while, and remembered a few words.
All of this can add up to demonic possession, so--instead of a doctor--they see a priest or a minister.
And yes, this exorcism over medicine is abusive to kids.
I do believe in that as i'm indian hindu I find psychology interesting though often abused by pharma and and doctors with ulterior interest to saving or doing what best for the patient.