Monday, May 25, 2009

Patronage rant continued:

The church is also an hierarchy of patronage. Jesus, in this case, is a mechanism to allow or restrict access to membership. Since it all takes place in ones head, belief is a key feature. If you really believe in eternal security, you'll get the security part as long as you believe, if you stop believing, naturally, you forfeit any accrued benefits (& you burn forever in screaming agony too while every one else is having a good time. The guarantee on the eternal part is simply not provable). However it requires constant acknowledgment of patronage (prayer, confession, church attendance, tithing, etc). "Forgiveness" insures there are no hard feelings while at the same time makes it easy to re-establish any diversion of loyalty to the patron. Presumably for the benefit of the plebeian, but also for the church (though that's never spoken aloud).

Before Constantine, a lot of this stuff was pretty common among a bunch of competing religions, but Constantine decided to consolidate them all into just one, so he took the one w/ the most potential for intimidation (turning the other cheek, non violence, etc.) and stuffed it full of popular stuff from the competitors, like christmas, easter, virgin birth, Souls, redemption, resurrection, angels and devils, wise men following a star, & so on. The guy was really a genius (well actually, he had some other people do it for him). Another (un-origional) contribution to religious orthodoxy was to make Jesus the Lord of Lords. See, in a feudal society, a lord is an untouchable guy like Bush or Cheney w/ money & power, he owns you, & he can declare war with out asking. Under the Lord of Lords system though, the common man can directly petition the Lord of Lords through prayer and get redress in heaven without upsetting the balance of wealth. Constantine himself wasn't bound by any religious crap though, he had his wife and son executed for treason.

Another example of compelled patronage was used by Emperor Caligula, who threw parties where his political enemies were crucified around the banquet, for the guests to admire. I imagine it really inspired loyalty, or at least discouraged competition, & makes me wonder about Bush's "for us or against us" policy. This could explain why it seems so hard for the US to get out of the torture business: according to the rules of Patronage, we'd loose cred. I couldn't say if that's true or false, I mean if someone thinks you're an insect anyway, they'll change the rules without asking.

‘We did not know that child abuse was a crime,’ says retired Catholic archbishop
Atheist News (
Another faith scam

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