Religions of Fear and Hate
Memes and Malevolent Mind Viruses
"...as dangerous in a man as rabies in a dog" - Winston Churchill
Memes - the skeptic's dissection of religion
A meme carries exactly the same fear-driven psychological motivation as a chain letter - "If you propagate me then something nice will happen, if not then something horrible will happen". In order to justify themselves against attack by reason, memes place absolute reliance on faith, which is seen as being superior to reason. They also contain self-referential or circular claims to the truth such as "This meme says it is the divine truth. Since it is the divine truth whatever its says must be true. Therefore it must be divine truth because it says so and all competing memes must be the work of the Devil".
These two types of self-referential statement "propagate me" and "I am the only truth" provide the driving force for memes to invade the minds of their hosts. In addition, many memes contain the instructions "Help people who believe in this meme, attack people who do not". These commands being the ultimate cause of all religious hatred, wars, pogroms and persecutions throughout the centuries.
The general defining features of all memes can thus be seen to be self-referential 'closed-loop' type of circular statements, and a strong tendency towards hatred and intolerance.
The science of the study of memes, their internal structures and modes of propagation is known as memetics (by analogy to genetics - how biological entities propagate themselves).
More detailed analysis will usually show the following features:
To establish itself in the mind of its host it will use some or all of the following
X is the one true meme. We know X is the one true meme
because The Source of Universal Truth has approved X. We know The Source of Universal
Truth has approved X, because X contains statements which say so. We know what X
says is true because X is the one true meme.
Most religions teach that they are the one true path to salvation and all unbelievers
are cast into hell. This is a doctrine known as exclusivism. Buddhism is not
exclusivist. Any person guided in their activities by compassion is regarded as following
a beneficial spiritual path.
As a further antidote to exclusivism, Buddhists are required to
rejoice in the virtues of all beings - Buddhist and otherwise.
|[6,7 and 8] Buddhism does not believe in using hatred,
war or terrorism to further its cause and does not persecute former Buddhists who have
changed their religion.
 Neither does it encourage ecologically disastrous population policies (or lack of policies).
[10 and 11] Buddhists have no need to suppress, censor or misrepresent the teachings of other religions, as Buddhist philosophy is totally rational and quite capable of withstanding criticism from other belief systems. In fact, Buddhism appears to be the only spiritual system which can provide counterarguments to modern materialism. Neither is Buddhism even slightly corroded by what Dennett (1995) claims to be the universal spiritual acid of Darwinism.
A testable psychological technology.
A Buddhist teacher will teach her students meditational
and other techniques which will generate definite mental states (known as realisations).
The methods of mental development are designed to free the mind from the accumulated
delusions of millennia, and lead to a state of peace and tranquillity. Buddha Shakyamuni
intended his teachings to be personal advice for his students, which is why
Buddhists tend to refer to themselves as practitioners rather than believers - emphasising
the practical intention of putting Buddha's teachings to work, instead of passively
accepting them as revealed truth. Buddha always encouraged his students to gain
understanding of his teachings by putting them to the test of personal experience, and not
just relying on his authority. In fact the Buddhist idea of authority has much more in
common with the idea of scientific authority than it does with ecclesiastical authority.
Buddhist authority carries with it the idea of the possession of knowledge which can
conveyed to others and confirmed by of reproducible experiences. In Buddhism there is none
of the attitude 'Here are umpteen unsupported statements which you must believe
A novel view of meditation might be that it is like running a virus check on your mind. Lurking memes, such as rubbish left over from childhood indoctrination, can be brought to the surface and examined. Residues of self-referential belief systems - those driven by fear, guilt, hate, wanting to conform, wanting other people to conform, or alternately pride in being better than non-believers - can be recognised for what they are and cleared out.
'Memes' at The Religion of Peace Subject Index
The Terrifying Brilliance of the Islamic Memeplex- Scary!
No Golden Rule
Censorship and Indoctrimemes "How do you keep nearly a billion people quiet while everything they value about their countries and their civilization is torn apart, sold off and gradually destroyed?"
Dawkins, R. (1989) in 'The Selfish Gene' p 197 - 198 (Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-286092-5)
Dennett, D.C. (1995) in 'Darwin's Dangerous Idea' p 515 - 517 (Penguin, ISBN 0-14-016734-X)