The God Virus

A Book Review.

The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture

Initially, indoctrination of the young is carried out in all religions. Young malleable minds are filled with the teachings from the various tomes held by the myriad religious faiths. After this, these young people turn into adults, and are sent forth to reveal the “truth” to other peoples, and the infection spreads. More incentives are offered. Money, educational opportunities at religious institutions and others, all with conditions attached.

Instilled within the minds of those who are “chosen” to spread the infection, and those who simply have been compromised by the infection, are the verses and arguments for their religion. Along with this within their minds is inserted reasons why other religions, other interpretations, are wrong. This is the defensive nature, the antibodies, of religion. These antibodies keep the faithful, faithful. In a nation like the United States with it’s multitude of faiths each faith protects itself, to keep other faiths from stealing away their converts.

This is not the end of the effects of indoctrination by this mental God virus. The virus must also protect itself from the host. An infected host cannot detect contradictions within his/her own beliefs. Reason and logic are meaningless to such an individual as his/her beliefs become self-evident to him/her.

“The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.”  -Albert Einstein, letter to Gutkind, Jan. 3, 1954

As I continue reading this book, the resemblance of religion to a virus, or a parasite, seemed very apt. It is easy to see how religions worldwide perpetuate their grip on societies through the indoctrination of young children whose minds have not matured sufficiently to see the fallacies to which they are exposed. The virus scenario as described involves infection, protection of itself through antibodies, perpetuation through proselytizing.  A virus? If computers can get them, why not our minds?

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