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The religious right has this drama queen thing going on. They have to believe that they are the minions of heavan, under siege from the ever evil unholy. I think they need this to justify the banality of their own existence, but that's just a theory.

There's another group that does that basic thing, and it's called "everyone else". The specifics you laid out are just their particular spelling of "they're out to get us!".

It's basic human nature (or, evolution) that leads ANY group of approximately cave-dweller intelligence to do better and survive longer if it thinks they're under siege. It has the added benefit of strengthening community and familial bonds whether they really ARE out to get you or not. Basic in-group/out-group thinking. Here's an interesting of quote from a book I read this year:

"John Hartung, an anthropologist who pursues his training as a historian in his spare time, has taken the much-loved Judaeo-Christian phrase 'love they neighbor as thyself' and subjected it to searching scrutiny. It was devised, according to the biblical account in the Torah (Old Testament), at a time when the Israelites were in the desert, rent by dissention in the ranks and devastated by internecine violence. Three thousand people had died in a recent episode. Moses, anxious to maintain amity within the tribe, came up with the pithy aphorism about loving neighbours, but the context of his remark is clear. It refers directly to 'children of they people'. It does not profess general benevolence. 'A parochial perspective characterizes most religions,' says Hartung, 'because most religions were developed by groups whose survival depended upon competition with other groups. Such religions, and the in-group morality they foster, tended to outlive the competition that spawned them.' "

-- from "The Origins of Virtue", by Matt Ridley, 1996

Thing is, it's cooperation outside the group that fostered the specialization that allowed human society to flourish beyond basic hunter-gatherer/tribal structures. Well, most of it, anyway.

The American Religious Right has it frighteningly ingrained into many, many people who should be far too intelligent to fall for that way of thinking, but they're certainly not alone. Look at the basic root of EVERY Jewish holiday: "They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat." And what's the reason behind jihad? Okay, maybe the older eastern religions don't get quite as defensive, but it's still in there if you look hard enough.

Not that you asked, but my takeaway is this: It's high time for humankind to recognize that we've outgrown the need for the made-up demons and boogeymen of our intellectual infancy. We've come too far, and learned too much, to be dividing ourselves and stunting our growth as a society over such ridiculous fantasies in this day and age.

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