Robert C. Priddy

Writings on diverse themes from philosophy, psychology to literature and criticism

  • Robert Priddy

    In this blog I post information and critical views concerning ideologies, belief systems and related scientific materials etc. I am a retired philosophy lecturer and researcher, born 1936.

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Religion as ’emulation of the adult by the child’

Posted by robertpriddy on March 21, 2010

The sci-fi novel ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert and its several sequels illumine the role of religion in society, though it represents no single standpoint on the issues involved. It presents views both supporting and denigrating religion. One of the best quotes – from ‘Children of Dune’ is in my opinion an accurate portrayal of religion:

Religion is the emulation of the adult by the child. Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is “Thou shalt not question!” But we question. We break that commandment as a matter of course. The work to which we have set ourselves is the liberating of the imagination, the harnessing of imagination to humankind’s deepest sense of creativity.

A very succinct and extremely incisive depiction of religion and statement of the purpose we should embrace if the world is to be freed of superstition and of powerful institutions which are either largely unaccountable or very hard to correct when they refuse to make amends.

The Catholic Church is a prime example of refusal of this in the present-day situation. The Pope does not want the guilty to be pursued by justice or the victims to be paid compensation from the coffers of the Vatican or its allied institutions. The guilty male priests will not face the eternal torments of hell fire (even though Pope Benedict XVI actually believes this to be real) for they can get absolution of theirs sins from him through confession. What a disgusting and despicable farce!

Pope Benedict XVI says we should be “intransigent towards the sin but not to judge the sinner”. He would thereby evidently like to see the process of law abrogated in the case of his many male sexual abusers, but what of all other law-breakers in the world, does he think they should be shown nothing but understanding and forgiveness and let off scot free?


Further brilliant insight into religion by Frank Herbert:

“You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. This power struggle permeates the training, educating and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such a community inevitably must face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic.”  —from “Muad’Dib: The Religious Issues” by Princess Irulan

“When law and duty are one, united by religion, you never become fully conscious, fully aware of yourself. You are always a little less than an individual.” –from “Muad’Dib: The Ninety-nine Wonders of The Universe” by Princess Irulan

What mainly characterises religion?
The future death of religion
DNA beats God hollow: genetics vs. religion
Sam Harris, Religion, the open mind and traps for the unwary
Perception And Reality, Fiction and Fact in religion
 (The same basic assumption underpins all religious beliefs – that is, the acceptance of perceptions (in the broad sense) as fact, when they may just as well be fiction.  There is a very widespread ethos saying ‘People must be allowed to believe what they want’)


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