The Moral Animal

A short piece in the New York Times today points out the adaptive strength of religion in terms of human evolutionary biology and psychology. The author makes the astute observation that religious traditions tend to bolster group-oriented behavior, essentially boosting altruism in the balance of acting impulsively for oneself and with consideration for one's group. Highlighting this adaptive characteristic of religious traditions, he writes, helps us understand why religion persists in the era of modern science.

However, the author unfortunately concludes by prescribing religiosity as "the best antidote to the individualism of the consumer age." Even if it is, the persistent and often terrible side-effects of that medicine still afflict enough people, particularly in America, that the need to develop alternative treatments should be clear.


Apocalypse Eve, 2012

If the world's going to end tomorrow there's presumably nothing we can do about it, which makes right now pretty much the same as any other day. The funny thing is to get worked up about such an absurd possibility on account of a calendrical oddity.

Perhaps we should examine our preoccupation with the imagined significance of of our arbitrary and artificial calendars' curiosities, but if tomorrow's doomsday we'd have made a wasted effort doing it now. We'd best hedge our bets and wait to see if we get an extension tomorrow.

Should this prove to be my last post, dear reader, maybe I'll see you in Mayan hell.


The Cult of the Green Dragon

Today, for a change, I'm going to tell you how I feel.

I've been sitting on this video for a long time:

Watching it again to think on what to write about it, I find myself at a loss.

Of course my first inclination is to lay out its claims for summary refutation, but if the video doesn't sufficiently speak for itself in that regard I doubt I stand to accomplish much by the exercise of highlighting its fallacious argumentation. Critical analysis could pick out a number of particulars about the use of religious ideas to bolster the rhetoric, but again I feel the effort would yield little that isn't self-evident.

That's why for once I'm writing not what I think, but what I feel:


To imagine the use of religious ideas to obstruct free thinking is disturbing (and nothing novel to a religion scholar), but to see a real and contemporary example of it is nothing short of horrifying.


Coffee as Entheogen

Coffee is certainly an object of nigh-religious devotion from many, but is there anything actually religious about it?


Chozo Spirituality

The Metroid franchise sits solidly in the science fiction adventure genre, and while its narratives are certainly heroic it doesn't present the sort of mythical themes that tend to attract the attention of a religion scholar to a video game. Its world is one of fact and science, history and technology. However, at least in some of its 21st-century titles the series has developed the background of one of its omnipresent elements — the Chozo — to include a dimension we might recognize as spiritual.


Varieties of Hylian Religious Experience

Here's an odd thing about religion in Hyrule: most people don't seem to do very much we'd call religious. In fact, for a world with genuinely real deities, religion has at best a minor presence.


Something About Zelda

I'm still hoping for some responses to the previous post's call for suggested directions you'd like me to take in examining the Zelda franchise, but before anything else I want to make note of something perhaps obvious yet of no small significance to any consideration of religion in Zelda. It is simply this: in Hyrule, the Goddesses and other deities are genuinely real, and accordingly, Hylian religion is indisputably true.



It's been such a long time since I wrote anything that I wouldn't be surprised if somebody thought that last post was serious.

I'd like to get back to making my brain move from time to time and thinking about religion and stuff. In an effort to get myself in gear, I decided to finally write on a subject I've been planning to address here for a long time: The Legend of Zelda.

Just putting together a collection of sort of field observations on religion in Zelda would probably keep me busy for several posts, and in all likelihood I'll start with that. However, it occurs to me that might be tiresome, and that in any case some of you dear readers (if there are any of you left) may have questions about the broad topic of religion and Zelda which it'd behoove me to entertain. Accordingly, while I'm scratching my head about where to begin with an overview, kindly submit any questions or suggestions to inform this line of inquiry.

You can leave such in the comments to this post, reach me via e-mail if you enjoy the privilege of knowing me well enough to have my address (or if you're clever enough to find it), or connect on the Google+. I look forward to your input.


Calling it Quits

Dear readers,

You've probably noticed it's been awfully quiet around here since the tail end of last year. In the interim, I've moved to Manhattan, found a tiny room in Harlem, and been looking once again for work. I've realized a few things in the last few months, and there's a reason I haven't posted here during that time.

Long story short, I've finally come to terms with the fact money is more important than pretty much anything else. Trying to live in this crazy city has shown me the few good things in life must be bought, and aside from dumb luck there's no other way to be happy.

For a long time I clung to the quaint notion true happiness had something to do with self-actualization through worthy pursuits, but I've come to the conclusion that old nag is just a ploy to throw off undesirables from figuring out where happiness really lies: in high society, surrounded by luxury. Sure, not everybody can have that, and those who do only get it by breaking the backs of the poor chumps they climb up on, but that's the world we live in.

All this prattling about religion and trying to understand the crazy stuff people to do comfort themselves isn't really worth the pixels it's displayed on. I've got better things to do now that it's clear making a big score is what really counts. So long, suckers.