Re: Religion and Extropianism...

Wesley Schwein (
Mon, 3 Nov 1997 23:08:06 -0500 (EST)

Religion is about experience. Most of the sophisticated or "world"
religions have ethical systems, cosmologies, and various other gewgaws
bolted on, but the reason you can't argue a religionist into an atheist
is not a lack of mental ability on their part but because words and clear
logic simply can't compare to the visceral, tangible, personal experiences
they've had.

We may shake our heads and say, "Gosh, wasn't that Torquemada character a
jerk?" but we have no grounds for assuming his spiritual experiences were
any less personally profound than the Saharan sorceror's, the Promise
Keeper's, or the Brahmin's.

The real question in all of this is, what is the origin of the religious
experience? and is it necessarily a bad thing from an extropian
perspective? As someone on this list said a while ago, religions do a lot
of commendable things; we just don't need the antirational baggage.
That's one of the things that excites me, too, about the rave phenomenon.
Lights, rhythm, and all that unleashed tension make for a hell of a
ego-melting, tribal experience that has _nothing_ to do with dogma,
philosophy, or propositional thought. It makes me wonder what a
consensual borganism might be like.

Wesley Schwein Art is not a mirror; art is a hammer.