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October 19, 2011

In my post “Popularity“, I explained the power-exchange relationship people have with each other, and how this relationship impacts who is popular, and who is not. What’s even more interesting, though, is that the same power-exchange metrics that influence social dynamics, have heavily influenced the creation and the nature of religion, and even of God himself. To demonstrate this, let’s first reiterate the two basic social needs we have as humans, as I illustrated in “Popularity”:

1. People need somewhere to belong (someone or something to be controlled by)

2. People need to know (appreciate) that the power they exchange (give up their free will to) gives a good return.

Of course, in the “Popularity” post, I didn’t word these needs in such a fashion, but the re-wording of these axioms is necessary to understand our relationship to God, and ultimately to appreciate the human creation of God, and the nature thereof.

We created God because we needed a higher power to relinquish control of our lives to, so that we might have somewhere we belong (which is not reliably possible without the existence of God, or a god-like being. Furthermore, we have created God(s) throughout history as a glorified image of the human character, and as a projection of the human Ego. Creating God gives us somewhere to belong, and created a human-like God with Ego-elating traits being applied so as the satisfy the human Ego in its self-validation.

It’s no coincidence that God has imperfect traits that so uncannily mirror the human Ego– just like us, God is jealous, angry, saddened, possessive, and spiritually insecure, and needs people to worship and to need him. These traits, which would logically be considered imperfections, are key parts of God’s character, which man deliberated attached to God to justify all that which we consider to be “human” traits. Similarly, God’s need for right and wrong, sinners vs. saints, and the mindset of God being vengeful to the wicked and rewarding the good— this kind of self-righteous moral polarity is  the mere projection of human nature.

So why did man create God? Some people call out to God in need, and God has been incredibly useful as someone to rely on, to talk to and pray for help, especially when life is hard and things don’t go as planned. But the real reason why man created God, if we are to back in time to the first emanations of God (the city-states of Mesopotamia, for example) We’ll find that from the very beginning, man created God to gain control over other men. God, as the ultimate symbol of power, security, and belonging, was from the very beginning a powerful means for men to gain phenomenal amounts of power over their people; by citing that they were the gateway to the most amazing entity(s) in the world, the gods, men subsumed power over the people; in turn, the unity of the people controlled by these gods produced, and to this day continues to produce remarkable levels of social solidarity and predictability. This is the real beauty of the Theocratic government, and the reason why the most successful of governments are Theocracy-driven grovernments: God, from the inception of his creation and to this present day, remains the ultimate form of control.

Nearly every dictator, terrorist, and powerful leader throughout history, has in some way used God as his medium to garner his authority. There is no figure in history more important than God, and he remains the single most powerful form of social control. Originally, God was only moderately powerful, as in Mesopotamian, Asian, and African civilizations there was no “One True God”, but a myriad of gods and demigods continually vying for power, in this never-ending ethereal conflict– this image of God is more true to human nature, as just like the gods they worship do, humans have been in this never-ending struggle for power and possession of the world and its people.

However, at some point certain groups of people realized that “One True God” is several times more powerful of an image than a fragmented alliance of gods and demi-gods, and they propagated this image to gain the political advantage and military morale to conquer the other polytheistic (and thus theistically weaker) civilizations in their region. These people’s, the most historically famous of which were the Jews, started a Theocratic revolution that eventually ensured that the most powerful civilizations in the world, were nations that believed in “One True God”, it is for this reason that most religiously-motivated countries have a strong monotheistic bias.

Nearly every industrialized country in the world has theocratic elements, and these elements give great powers to the leaders of these nations, as well as ensure social solidarity and security for the people. From a utilitarian standpoint, this would make belief in God (or the very least, a belief in a higher power) a sociological necessity.

Humans, as social creatures, are strongest when united under a common cause, and what greater common cause is there than God? There is one common cause through which people might become united, that is a purer and more worthy cause that God, and that Selfless Love. But for people to be united in their love for each other is an ideal not easily accomplished, even in smaller societies, because people are by their very nature selfish. As such, one would not be wrong to say that unison in God is an acceptable substitute for unison in Love, especially since ultimately, God is Love.

But therein human nature lies the flaw in a theocratic society: For most men God is not Love, but power. Because there are none more powerful than God, men leverage the image of God for their own purpose; As God is Absolute by nature, and men use God as a means to elevate their own power, they become corrupted by their very belief in God; as the saying goes, “Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.” If people saw God as the manifestation of Love, and life as the image of God’s beauty, then they would become united in selfless love, which is the ideal path to social solidarity. But because the men who control the world’s governments are those that desired power, and because those that desire power are inherently self-serving, our governments will continually be saturated not with Selfless Love, but with a selfish need for power. This is the ultimate price for theocracy, at least in a world where selfishness and power over others go hand in hand.

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