In his book Darrel Ray asserts that religion has five useful properties
2.Create antibodies against other viruses. (religions)
3.Take over certain mental and physical functions and hide itself in the individual.
4.Use specific methods of spreading the contagion.
5.Program the host to replicate the Virus.
–1. Religions seek to infect individuals when they are young. As the young have not developed cognitive powers capable of detecting falsehoods, this age, between 5 and 7, is a good time to instill the “faith”. Nevertheless, religions, using various lures like offering financial aid with conditions attached, educational opportunities, all the while proselytizing, seek to attract the older audience as well.
–2. Antibodies simply must be created to fend off competing religions. Bible study full of justifications for their own beliefs and arguments against other interpretations is dispensed. Usually, a child infected with a specific God virus remains close to that religion for life.
–3. If you ask a believer about his/her beliefs and he/she will recite doctrines learned at age 5 or 10. Just as a virus can lie quietly in a host until triggered. Stress, a traumatic event could instantly reactivate religious beliefs instilled when a child. Catholic priest celibacy is an example of compromised physical functions. Another is dietary restraints or rituals. The virus hides itself. An individual loses the ability to detect contradictions in his/her beliefs and behavior.
–4. To spread the contagion a delivery system is required. Just as vectors are critical in a parasite’s life cycle god viruses also need vectors. (vector: any agent that acts as a carrier or transporter, as a virus or plasmid that conveys a genetically engineered DNA segment into a host cell.) In the case of the God virus the vectors are priests, ministers, imams, rabbis, popes, etc.
-5. Virus replication. Certain rituals including baptism, Bar mitzvah, confirmation, daily prayer, or Bible reading and confession are used to ensure that the virus is passed on to the next generation.
Next: how the virus defends itself against other viruses, and some of the results of infection.