Random Thoughts

Religious Beliefs and Related Psychopathologies

The human brain over eons, evolved a module for recognizing faces to keep track of cheaters, who needed to be punished or ostracized. The recognition of the unfairness and injustice of human life, lead to the Egyptian myth of weighing the heart of the deceased against a feather to declare it free of sin, the concept of civilization as propounded by Manu, when humans evolved beyond the law of the jungle that was Matsyanyaya, to the more recent view of Hobbes about a life that is nasty, brutish and short in the absence of a rule of law, which though not necessarily equitable, is still widely accepted, enforced and followed by common consent despite the exercise of hegemony by the privileged.

The unfulfilled desire for denied justice and the egotistic inability to accept the finality of mortality, led to the invention of gods, divine justice, afterlife and the day of judgment, beliefs which span various cultures and are therefore universally human, without a unicentric origin. The prevalent ignorance led to worship of many natural powers and creatures feared by primitive humans without understanding. The evolution of monotheism was not truly any intellectual leap, but a rational folly of ignorance with pretentious intentions until Darwin proposed a scientific explanation of our origin and fate. The belief in religious dogma still prevalent the world over and enshrined by the stupidity and ignorance of an advanced nation like America, shows the basic stupidity and obstinate ignorance of humanity.

Historically, parricide was an acceptable, un-criticized practice for the power elite, as history reveals from its prevalence prior to Bimbisara and the accepted Greek myths of Zeus killing the Titans. It persisted much longer in Western and Islamic history as British, Islamic and Ottoman history prove. Fratricide, a much more common and likely outcome even reveals a veiled divine sanction, as the Jewish Old Testament and its jealous, tyrannical and unjust god proves. This is not an anti-Semitic tirade but an honest judgment about a misconceived god by the ancients, due to their lack of intelligence and a fixation on the penis, which was equally prevalent in other ancient civilizations with an Egyptian god of priapism, and the phallic worship of the Linga by the Hindus. It persisted even longer into the Middle Ages amongst the Mayas. Penile fixation and obsession is the root of many religions. The male fixation with sex and its glorification, with total control of female sexuality due to the fear of being cuckolded, is still the basis of Western and Asian civilization and its abandonment has led to the devastation of Africa, a continent which for unexplained reasons put no or lesser value on male control of female sexuality and reproduction. The ancient Jews knew the uncertainty of paternity and the vicissitudes of time, which dictated female choice and coercion and thus had laws that dictated acceptance into the community, entirely dependent on the credentials of the mother.

The abandonment of cherished principles, honesty and integrity for pecuniary gains is well recorded in the craven compromises of Abraham and the stories of the Old Testament where a son pretends to be what he is not, or a father-in-law tricks his son-in-law. The same shame is recorded in the doings of Yuddhishtira, Krishna, Kunti and the passive unconcern of the elders during Draupadi's Vastraharana. This is why Ramayana strikes a resonant chord in the heart of all Hindus and Christ's message spread wide and far. That is not to defend Hinduism with its callous indifference and tyrannical behavior towards the Dalits or the worse dastardly practice of Christianity, justifying and condoning slavery, genocide and apartheid. The only point to be made is that while religion often imposes ethical restraints on bad and unacceptable behavior to create social cohesion and a civilized society, it has more often been a root cause of inhuman atrocities as past history documents and the curse of radical Islamism proves.

The concept of original sin attributed to the tempting by the serpent of Eve to taste the forbidden fruit of knowledge is a Jewish concept, now abandoned by all believers except the orthodox and clearly based on a male chauvinistic attitude to transfer blame on the weaker and more desirable sex out of jealousy, insecurity and fear. The Catholics have glorified this misconceived fantasy and persist in their folly of discriminating against women while ignoring and suppressing the terrible crimes of deviant priests with perverted sexual inclinations. The concept of a Messiah is not unique to any religion and has evolved independently in many religions and cultures like adaptive innovations of evolution. The basis is the desire for justice and redemption by a higher authority due to the inability and impotence of the weak majority.

Lastly we come to the concept of the devil. Here Iran has the unique and sole distinction of originating and perpetuating the concept over three millennia. Zoroaster, who rebelled against the old gods, condemned the Daevas as devils. It is interesting to note that Proto-Indo-European, the mother of all languages from India to Europe, still denotes the original word as a reference to god or gods. Thus, Deva in Sanskrit to Dios and Dieu in the Latin based languages. For some unclear reasons Zarathushtra rejected the gods of the Aryans as devils. The ancient Aryans had a concept of good denoted by the Suras and evil denoted by the Asuras, but never personified a devil. A wild speculation may be that the powerful and mercilessly tyrannical Assyrians particularly under Sargon 1 and more so under Naram Sin, who boasted about creating a mountain of the heads of his enemies may have been the epitome of evil to the non-Semitic Aryans displaced by the chaos after the destruction of the Mitanni kingdom, whose last peace treaty documented in ancient Hittite, swears fidelity under the theological umbrella of Indra, Varuna and The Nastyutya Ashwinikumaras.

The misguided zealots against the Aryan immigration should take note. Aryan invasion was a racist propaganda of white historians and has no historical basis, but Aryan peaceful migration is on much more solid grounds and its convenient denial by revisionist Hindu fundamentalists does not help their cause. What is critically more important is that the flowering of Aryan linguistics, philosophy and mathematics occurred in India after the uncivilized nomads came to India and were at least partially influenced by a higher indigenous Dravidian civilization. Their hubris and vigor triumphed over the psychologically devastated natives depressed by the seismic shift of drainage by rivers including the mighty Saraswati, due to the detachment of India from Africa and its abutment into the belly of Asia, which is responsible for India being the only country to house lions and elephants outside Africa and having the highest mountains of the world at its borders. There are references about the advent of the Assyrians leading to spontaneous abortions by pregnant women and the Assyrians may have been the source of Indian Asura conceptions. The myth of the flood attributed to Manu, the first human from whom the word man derives, clearly reveals a connection between the story of the flood in the Bible and Sumerian myths. In fact the Indian version of Manu is closest to the Sumerian version and less distorted then the Biblical myth of Noah in the Old Testament.

It was Zarathushtra who reversed the Aryan beliefs by making the Devas demons and naming his supreme deity as Ahur Mazda. H and S are interchangeable in the ancient language of Iran and India, as any student of Sanskrit knows. The Indian Aryan references to the intoxicating Ephedra drink are matched by innumerable Zoroastrian references to the same as Homa. Zarathushtra refined the generic references of Aryan mythology to a group of evil people, half-brothers to the good Suras or Devas and personified a single evil spirit, who he named Ahriman (read Sanskrit Abhiman or hubris) or Angra Manyu (read Sanskrit-angry passion). He propounded a long battle between good and evil, with good triumphing and with redemption of evil sinners, which strikes a parallel between the fundamental Christian belief of Armageddon and the occurrence of Rapture, where the good are transported to heaven and the wicked consumed by a horrifying death. Zarathushtra was a good man without malice and postulated the redemption of evil after a period of suffering. This is the basis of purgatory in Christianity and the concept of the final day of judgment, borrowed by the illiterate Mohammed to incorporate in his new religion, not to totally alienate those with prior prevalent ancient beliefs. He had learnt from his mistake with the Satanic verses and thus made the convenient political compromise of giving the more ancient Kaba a critical role in his new fangled garbage. Even the idea of sacrifice by the Son of god to redeem and account for the sins of mankind, is a concept borrowed from Mahayana Buddhism and the postponement of gratification and salvation by selfless Bodhisatvas, to achieve salvation for the masses.

Thus not only was the invention of the Devil quintessentially Iranian, but it was repeated again in the third century after Christ by an Iranian prophet named Mani from whom springs the English adjective Manichean with its concept of the battle between good and evil. Lastly a totally new zealot Imam of a different religion imposed by the Arabs by conquest, the Ayatollah Khomeini resurrected the Old Iranian nightmare by naming America as the newest Great Satan. This proves the historical Iranian obsession with the Devil and its role in his creation. The purpose of this piece is not to condemn one religion or the other, but to show that they are all snake oil sold by good people with large egos seeking recognition, but no evil intention, with rare exceptions. 


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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