The God Virus: How it Infects Our Lives and Culture. Pt 6

The Guilt Cycle

In this, the final installment of Darrel Ray’s book “The God Virus: How it Infects Our Lives and Culture”, I present what he calls “the Guilt Cycle”, and how it is used to keep the faithful, faithful.

Guilt is a powerful psychological force, he states.. the drive to reduce guilt motivates behavior for years, if not an entire lifetime. Guilt, rather than lessening the activity that produced it, seems to motivate more of the same behavior, resulting in more guilt and efforts to assuage it. This creates a feedback loop of sorts, a guilt loop. Behavior causes guilt, creating tension, which causes the behavior to repeat itself. Religion inserts itself after guilt providing religious forgiveness, short-term relief, tension builds again causing the behavior causing guilt, etc.

There are two kinds of guilt: Socialized, and religious. Socialized guilt, like that felt for forgetting an anniversary, or birthday, is harmless and may even be beneficial, as when you feel guilt for cheating someone. Religious guilt, only guilt producing in a religious context, for example as that felt after masturbation, would not be felt if you were of a different religion, or of no religion.

Sexual activity, including masturbation, is of such a nature that control of it by religious guilt cannot be the real goal. The purpose of it is to create religious guilt. Religions know it cannot be stopped, the guilt however is used to bond the individual closer to the religion.

Darrel Ray asserts that the term “ Family Values” which is tossed around in political circles is a code for a very strict interpretation of family and sexual behavior. Those using the term insist that family values do not include gay marriage or birth control. For these people Family values means “The family has value for the virus”. Indeed, if the family were to become valueless to the virus, it will work to dissolve the family. The focus is on keeping the family as an intact, functional vector for the virus. (vector: an organism (as an insect) that transmits a pathogen) Family shame is a major part of the defense erected by the virus. Shunning of wayward family members is an effective way to chide those who remain to stay in line. “Shunning, ostracism, and excommunication are all versions of maintaining viral purity”.

A recent study on those who were raised on religion, including those who had little exposure, and who now are free more or less from viral control reveals that those who had little or no exposure have healthier and more enjoyable sex lives than those who were immersed in the virus when growing up. This report can be found at

You must register to download the report. I found it enlightening.

All in all I found this book a very good read. We must remember that this is one man’s opinion as to a way to view a religion. I have personally always thought that religion does seem to infect the human mind as a virus infects a computer and changes it’s behavior. The similarities of religion to a virus make a very convincing comparison. Just as some viruses compel some animals into self-destructive activities or behaviors designed to spread the virus, so does the virus of religion.

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