Religious hormesis – inoculating against Faith

Trigger warning for any Catholics who may have wandered in (perhaps you’d prefer this song by Tom Lehrer.)

Reading Andrew McGahan‘s satirical dystopian novel “Underground”[review pending] I came across this bit and laughed out loud. The narrator has just been on the receiving end of a diatribe from a young zealot.

The inward sigh was now a groan. How did it happen that, just because an intelligent mind was disappointed by the society around it and searching for solutions, it would fall for the first hardline idiocy that it came across?
My mind went back to a conversation I’d had years ago with an old friend. He was a long-lapsed Catholic, but he had decided to send his son to a Catholic school. When I asked him why, he said one word: “Inoculation.” His theory was this – all religions and cults were dangerous, and he did not want his son involved in any of them. The problem was, if he raised his son with no religion at all, then the boy might well fall prey to the first religion or cult that he came across later, just out of curiosity and naivety. If he was raised Catholic, on the other hand, he would at least know a religion from the inside. And in my friend’s opinion, Catholicism was the laziest and most stagnant of the western religions, and hence the simplest for his son to rebel against while growing up. And having seen through the nonsense of one religion, he would never then fall prey to another. He would have had his inoculation shot, and would now be immune. And as crazy as the plan had sounded, it probably worked. I certainly never heard of that boy blowing anyone up.
Page 193


About dwighttowers

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4 Responses to Religious hormesis – inoculating against Faith

  1. Jay D says:

    I’m so glad to see you survived the Rapture…you are still here, right? Didn’t succumb to a quake or something? I think i asked once before if you read Doonesbury, well, Trudeau’s been all over this one last week, with Zonker’s neighbour trying to give him his possessions…Zonk asks what about those of us still here, driving your Mercedes, what do we look for here? Neighbour lists a litany of catostrophic climate threats, so Zonk asked if he meant like a normal summer? Yes but “on steroids”.

    So, I know I’m not alone in fantasizing—bring on The Long Rapture, may The Ascension be happening as we contemplate the happy news, and may those of us who remain find ourselves in a situation which might now actually yield to sanity. Otherwise, well, regardless, see you here or in Hell…

  2. dwighttowers says:

    What a species, so in love with stories that it needs these endings (though to be fair, the numbers of people going for this one seemed to be v. small, with lots more folks laughing up their sleeves.)

    Doonesbury is fab!!

  3. Jay D says:

    Right, on the level of the cultural collective consciousness, it’s gotten to be a sort of ‘cry wolf’ phenomenon, such that when the end of the world actually comes a couple of Decembers from now ;-), few will pay serious attention. Seems it all just gives denialists more cause for denial, reason to stay in that comfort zone you mention in your latest post i think it was. Since it’s all just part of the overwhelming spectacle, why do anything? (Didn’t mean that to be as cynical a comment as it comes across, sorry…but you know, with a context like political and religious satire…)

  4. dwighttowers says:

    Start blogging, Jay D – not because you aren’t very welcome to comment here, but because you have useful things to say that need a longer format than a couple of paragraphs. I’ll subscribe, I promise…

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