Religion is not culture

Sometimes there is a story on newspaper websites I like to read that involve a major organized religion – and those stories always have hundreds of passionate comments from all spectrum’s of faith and atheism.

Usually, essentially, the non-believers blame religion for oppressiveness and intolerance and the sympathizers for the organized religion respond with how much their faith has contributed to culture and civilization.

However, this argument is based on an erroneous assumption and is not accurate – religion is like a great artist in that it steals ideas, talent and artwork and claims them as its own.

Religion is like a cultural pyramid scheme – it’s an illusion of some kind of enlightenment that actually depends on claiming responsibility and ownership over perfectly natural emotions and insights people have anyways but give over to these cultural ponzi to exploit.

This is especially true for artists – for thousands of years artists have been exploited to essentially have their work turned into propaganda for the purposes of thralling the masses. Art is a centerpiece of any supernatural ritual, to pimp up the headquarters, to visually dominate those who do not understand that art-making is simply another natural thing people just do – like singing, dancing, writing, talking, farting and fucking.

What I am trying to say is that culture is like mud – it shapes and oozes around any rigid structure placed on it until it looks like that structure is made of mud also. But religion does not bring any insight or art form to people – it simply claims people’s art forms as its own. And if it does not understand the art or it is not usable to these people, then it condemns it as something other than art.

There is a lot of propaganda out there everyday that reflects this parasitic process – my country’s publicly funded radio station has a radio show called tapestry that regularly touts artists making art work for the church as natural and wholesome. Our politicians mention god in their speeches and oaths. Local Churches get tax breaks to visually dominate communities and erect signs. There are entire school boards that feel it is their mandate to judge their student’s culture and values as well as monitor the private lives of their teachers. They discourage independent and creative thought, and encourage art that is thinly veiled propaganda for their own agendas.

Love, inspiration, insight, morals, ethics, revelations, awe – these are perfectly natural states of perception and you are completely responsible for them – not some alien formless entity floating in outer space and watching you masturbate in the shower and sending micro-management directives about every aspect our lives and creativity.

Being an artist is as natural and uncomplicated as apple pie. The great philosopher Carl Sagan said it best (who was also progressive about the true nature of organized religion):

It also takes an entire universe to make art – isn’t that wondrous enough?


  1. Sergio Viula · June 19, 2011

    Check out this gay cartoon in English (the blog is Brazilian, but the cartoon is in English):

  2. Uncle Stuart · July 4, 2011

    Stories are art. Religion has stories. That means religion makes some contribution to art.
    “But religion does not bring any insight or art form to people – it simply claims people’s art forms as its own.” This seems a little extreme. It’s as if you’re saying there is two, completely separate fields – religion and art. And religion is a nasty leech that comes and steals the poor artists lifeblood. A little simplistic. You can do better. I agree with you that it would be silly to say that a religion is a stand-alone culture/art making machine, but those kind of arguments are silly – as you’ve noted. So why dialogue with a silly, simplistic argument? Is it because you believe the other extreme? Religion is a stand-alone, not-part-of-culture, somehow false, institution?

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