Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oh, the Catholics, Hate the Protestants...

Today's beautiful lesson in evolution is the question, "Why do Churches inevitably want more members?" It's a lovely illustration: The Roman Catholic Church is stealing people from the Anglican Church over the issues of gay and women's rights. They're even (*gasp*) letting married Anglican priests become Catholic priests!

Today's lesson starts with a thought experiment: Suppose you were head of a church and decided that proselytizing (getting new members) was unimportant, that you'd found the very essence of God's wisdom, and too bad for everyone else. You and your followers worship correctly, follow all of God's laws, and get the golden ticket to Heaven. Pretty cool!

But a hundred years down the road, your church will be completely gone! Some other church, one that happens to believe in "spreading the word," will still be going strong whereas your followers will all be dead and buried.

So, churches inevitably believe in expanding their memberships. It's a lot like sex for humans: We like it because every one of our ancestors did too, and the people who didn't like sex had no children. Proselytism, plain and simple, is a church's version of sex, and all successful churches inevitably have a strong proselytism meme.

So back to the Anglicans and Catholics...

The Anglicans are having a big fight because some of them want to actually give equal rights to women and gays. The Roman Catholic Church is whispering, "Hey, come over here, we're not like those wimps, we still put women and gays in their place!" And not surprisingly, these Anglicans who are still trying to cling to the evil past, the days when oppression and discrimination were tolerated, are jumping from the Anglican ship an into the open arms of the Roman Catholic Church.

This is a perfect example of the proselytism meme hard at work. The Roman Catholic Church can't help itself, any more than humans can't help liking sex. Because if they didn't continue to try, all down through history, to gain new converts and steal follows from other churches, they'd be extinct, and I'd be writing about some other church that fostered a strong proselytism meme.

It is said that 99% of all plant and animal species that ever existed are extinct, that the 1% remaining are the best of the best, the fittest that survived. The same is true of churches, what you see today are the survivors, the memeplexes (the collection of ideas) that had more appeal, better defenses, stronger proselytizing, and kept up with other changes in our culture and environment.

So when you see churches fighting over members, you don't have to ask, "Which is right? Which one is interpreting the Bible correctly?" Those questions aren't relevant from a memetic point of view. All that matters is, "Which one will survive to the next generation?" And the answer to that question has more to do with what people want to believe than what's true.

Giving a person equal rights, whether its a man or woman, gay or straight, is only relevant to a church to the extent that the church gains or loses membership. Worrying about what's right and wrong, what God or Jesus might actually say about it, is fairly irrelevant.

Just for fun, let's go out with Professor Tom Lerher's song, National Brotherhood Week...
Oh the Catholics hate the Protestants
and the Protestants hate the Catholics
and the Hindus hate the Muslims
and everybody hates the Jews!


  1. This extends even further. Christianity sprouted in a time when many similar religions were forming. These mystery cults were, likewise, in a competitive position.

    So, not only are we talking about the most pervasive sects, we're also talking about the most pervasive religion which, through its sects, has only become more propagation-centric through time.

    What Christianity has is something that the most virulent biological species also have: adaptability. You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who can't justify their flavor of Christianity with Bible verses and their own brand of interpretation. Just about anything you want to promote, bash, or preach, you can find an interpretation for it.

    If anything, the vast array of Christian sects is a direct result of the sheer interpretive nature of the religion itself.

  2. Not all. Catholics are Catholics. Protestants are Protestants. Any religion has different beliefs and traditions-- whichever, it is our choice!

    Thank you for sharing this thoughts.

  3. Protestants dont hate catholics, but catholics are taught early to hate protestants. Maybe not to hate, but catholic children are taught that protestants are heretics. Protestant kids are not taught that catholics are wrongdoers. Catholic teaching is from their father Satan. He teaches falsehoods. Like there is no salvation outside the CC. What a joke. You want your children ruined for life? take them to a catholic church.Let the man of catholic god teaR THEM apart.

  4. Catholic people are awesome. Protestants are people who object about everything about life and teach people outragous "teachings". For example, the Mormons. Whoever heard that Christ actually appeared in USA? And men are allowed to have many wives? And the Baptists..... Calvinsts.... Johovah's Witnesses.... Oh goodness.


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