Is religion an infectious meme?

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  1. oldhorse profile image67
    oldhorseposted 5 years ago

    Viruses require a host organism to perform their biological processes. Ideas (memes) are similar.  If you accept that ideas reproduce and evolve in their hosts' minds, then it seems that an idea with a monotheistic component might have some evolutionary advantages.

    1. profile image0
      Rad Manposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      It seems to me that anyone with any ideas might have some evolutionary advantage. Why would the idea need a monotheistic component to become an advantage. For example, the first guy to tie a sharpened rock to a stick and use it as a weapon certainly had an evolutionary advantage. The first guy to say "I think there is but one God" did not have an evolutionary advantage.

    2. profile image0
      Emile Rposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Actually, monotheism creates an incredible advantage. It can bind different cultures together; if you convince a new culture to agree with you that there is one god and you know all about him.

      1. profile image0
        Rad Manposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Or, you convince another culture that there are many Gods and you know all about them. I doesn't matter how many Gods you believe to get an evolutionary advantage.

        1. profile image0
          Emile Rposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I'd have to disagree in that point. Initially, I think you would be correct. But we've all seen how monotheism has splintered over the years; with Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But, think of Rome. It wasn't the gods who held the Roman Empire together.  It wasn't the gods they used to help absorb other cultures, prior to the adoption of Christianity under Constantine. Rome fell eventually, but Christianity had gained a foothold and swept across Europe. Europe eventually swept across the world. When the Catholic Church maintained a stranglehold there was good and bad, but that religion helped hold Europe loosely together while they rebounded from the ravages of the plague. It was religion they used to galvanize the masses to take the battle to the Middle East before the battle came to  Europe again. Multiple gods would have splintered humanity in that part of the world sooner and given the nations of Europe ample reason not to work together.

          Had Christianity not united Europe, those few ancestors we have who did survive would have learned to recite the quaran. There is a strong probability that you and I wouldn't exist at the moment.

          Monotheists have fought each other, enslaved each other, persecuted each other and exiled each other over the centuries. But, that binding belief eventually brings those who agree on the one God  their particular faith advocates back together. Not as one nation, but as allies. Their religion is one of the things they have, historically, in common with  each other. I think, anyway.
          And it is the belief in a common heritage that allows the "us against them" argument to be used effectively across all borders.

          1. profile image0
            Rad Manposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Sure, allies like Iran and Israel? Are you suggesting all countries that adhere to monotheistic religions are allies? That certainly doesn't explain WW1 or WW2.

            How do you account for Hinduism?

            1. profile image0
              Emile Rposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              No, what I was saying was that Christians will ally more easily with nations of Christian heritage. Jews will tend to back the cause of Jews and Muslims will back the cause of nations that are primarily Muslim. None of these three groups agrees with each other on their particular one god concept; but everyone within each group agrees enough to feel a kinship on some levels with each other.

              I wasn't attempting to explain the World Wars. I was looking at the question historically. We have moved  very far away from our religious beginnings. But, I would venture to guess that most of us would back Britain over Vietnam if they came to blows. I would think that our common heritage would have some play in that decision. And Christianity played a vital role in creating our common heritage.

              Is Hinduism a one god concept? I wasn't aware of that. Unless you are saying that Hindus stick together. Which may be so. But, how far has Hinduism become removed from its roots? How many diverse cultures throughout the world are primarily Hindu?

              1. profile image0
                Rad Manposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                Now you're changes things up a bit.

                "If you accept that ideas reproduce and evolve in their hosts' minds, then it seems that an idea with a monotheistic component might have some evolutionary advantages."

                The question was does the belief in a monotheistic God have an evolutionary advantage? No the belief in any particular religion.

                1. profile image0
                  Emile Rposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                  Well, it depends on the evolution of whom now, doesn't it? The human species would have go on either way, I assume; but it was an advantage to the survival of our particular ancestors so we are winners; in that they were dominant, had the chance to reproduce and we got to exist.

                  Whether it will prove to be an evolutionary advantage to the species as a whole; I don't know. But, judging by the numbers of monotheists alive today it was to their advantage don't you think?

                  1. profile image0
                    Rad Manposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                    Two things come to mind.

                    1. Is Christianity really monotheistic? God the father, God the son and God the holy spirit.

                    2. How do you explain Hinduism? It's the oldest religion.

    3. Mathew James profile image77
      Mathew Jamesposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      The human mind expands and grows the same as our universe is growing and expanding.  Our mind and the universe are the same in form and function.

    4. profile image0
      Brenda Durhamposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      So...basically.......humans are simply hosts for a separate thing called "ideas"....?
      Do you not even see how unrealistic and non-factual that sounds?

      Where do people come up with these ideas!!??  LOL
      Oh wait--------the "ideas" invaded the human hosts' bodies.............
      LOLOL I'm sorry,  but unless you're gonna bring this around to some point about how spirits can influence a person (which I do believe in),  then your whole theory is simply not feasible to me.    Ideas are not viruses,  religion is not a biological virus.

  2. wilderness profile image97
    wildernessposted 5 years ago

    I am unable to imagine any way that a monotheistic belief would cause a higher survival or reproductive rate.  What have you got in mind; how would such a belief cause individuals to reproduce at a higher rate?


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