Religion Category Explained:

Spirituality is inefficient.

Organized religion tries to package spirituality into efficient one-hour experiences.

While science slowly provides answers to life’s persistent questions, religion is an anchor binding us to a past of former mystery, superstition and self-proclaimed authority.

I have chosen articles for this section from writers who agree with me, such as:

I'm certain that magicians of the past would have readily appropriated many of the methods and discoveries of science along with the accompanying technologies. The tendency of reason and science to take up too much room in modern life is just another symptom of disenchantment. The root problem is not science. It is religion.”

Noble, David F.  The Religion of Technology
New York: Knopf 1997. ISBN 0679425640
Pages 4 and 207

Some contemporary observers have argued, echoing generations of religious apologists, that the resurgence of religious expression testifies to the spiritual sterility of technological rationality, that religious belief is now being renewed as a necessary complement to instrumental reason because it provides the spiritual sustenance that technology lacks. There is perhaps some truth to this proposition, but it still presupposes the mistaken assumption of a basic opposition between these two phenomena and ignores what they have in common. For modern technology and modern faith are neither complements nor opposites, nor do they represent succeeding stages of human development. They are merged, and always have been, the technological enterprise being, at the same time, an essentially religious endeavor.

Cummings, E.E.  Complete Poems, 1904 - 1962
United States of America: 1991. ISBN 0871401525
Page 566

XXVI

when god decided to invent
everything he took one
breath bigger than a circus tent
and everything began

when man determined to destroy
himself he picked the was
of shall and finding only why
smashed it into because

Al Gedicks, The New Resource Wars
Boston: South End Press, 1993
ISBN 0896084639
Page xi

In industrial society, “man’s dominion over nature” has preempted the perception of Natural Law as central. Linear concepts of “progress” dominate this worldview. From this perception of “process” as an essential component of societal development (defined as economic growth and technological advancement) comes the perception of the natural world as a wilderness in need of “cultivation” or “taming,” and of some peoples as being “primitive” while others are “civilized.” This, of course, is the philosophical underpinning of colonialism and “conquest.”

Williams-Crawshay, Rupert.  The Comforts of Unreason
Connecticut: 1970
Pages 127-8

We have already seen how great are the mental comforts of believing in a Universal Good (suitable defined) and of constructing a moral code designed to attain that goal. But these are as nothing to the physical comforts of inducing a sufficient number of other people to adopt the same code for themselves. For then they will all believe that it is right to do the things you want them to do, and they will often do these things even when they are against their own interests. This is, of course, quite understandable, since they have been persuaded (or taught) not to think things out for themselves, but to accept your code as their guide, a process which, when applied to the young, is generally called “building up character”.

Boulding, Kenneth E.  Economics as a Science
New York: McGraw Hill, 1970. ISBN 081917100X
Pages 117-8

We are strongly imbued today with the view that science should be wertfrei [value-free], and we believe that science has achieved its triumph precisely because it has escaped the swaddling clothes of moral judgment; it has only been able to take off into the vast universe of the “is” by escaping the treacherous launching pad of the “ought.” Even economics, we learn in the history of thought, only became a science by escaping from the casuistry and moralizing of medieval thought. Who, indeed, would want to exchange the delicate rationality of the theory of an equilibrium price for the unoperational vaporings of a “just price” controversy? In the battle between mechanism and moralism generally mechanism has won hands down.

Reynolds, Vernon., and Ralph Tanner. The Social Ecology of Religion
New York: 1983. ISBN 0195069730
Page 30

Conclusion: organized, institutionalized religion tends to fall in step with the secular world, to enjoy the fruits of power. But what about the common man? He gets no share in the power of the state or its religion except what he can achieve by his own efforts. How does the common man see religion in the modern world? What is his relationship to the priesthood, the clergy, the temple, the mosque? By and large, his contact with these people and buildings and the ideas they promote is strongest at particular life events, at birth and incorporation and marriage and death, and in the control of crises. Religions take an interest in the life process of their adherents. They try to control the way their adherents live their lives. It is a kind of deal: religions say, “Live your life according to the faith, and you will get benefits, some in this life, some in the next.” It is this extraordinary “deal” that we write about in this book—

Mark J. Plotkin, Tales Of A Shaman’s Apprentice
New York: 1993 ISBN 0670831379
Pages 275, 276

My hammock was still swathed in mosquito netting, so I couldn’t see who was speaking. “Ai, jako, kude wae!” I replied. “Yes. brother, I am well.”

Suddenly the voice shifted into English. “Good morning, my friend, how are you?” Koita! I rolled out of bed to embrace him. If I hadn’t heard his voice, I might not have recognized my old friend right away. No red breech cloth, no beaded belt, no wristbands of sho-ro-sho-ro seeds. In their place Koita wore a green and blue Hawaiian shirt, blue denim jeans, and black high-top sneakers.

Stephen L. Talbott, The Future Does Not Compute: Transcending The Machines In Our Midst
Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly and Associates; 1995
ISBN 1565920856
Page 85

Blindness at this point is exactly what allows the problems to detach themselves from us and run on according to their own logic. They run on because we do not confront them within ourselves. Where, on the other hand, we recognize ourselves in the world and then take responsibility for ourselves— well, I cannot say what additional doing will result (for the doing will be in freedom), but it will be a real doing, issuing from deep within, and therefore the only doing that counts.

Moore, Thomas, The Re-enchantment Of Everyday Life
New York, 1996: ISBN 0060172096
Page xiv

Many of our scientists, politicians, and business people are ardently at work building the cathedrals of their own religion of secularism, and in response, religion in its desperation is falling apart or becoming defensive and reactionary.

Yet for all the problems that science and technology present to a world in need of soul, they are not the cause of our disenchantment. They are both full of magic, and I’m certain that magicians of the past would have readily appropriated many of the methods and discoveries of science along with the accompanying technologies. The tendency of reason and science to take up too much room in modern life is just another symptom of disenchantment. The root problem is not science. It is religion.

Dewey, John.  Democracy and Education
Macmillan, 1916
Chapter Nine: “Natural Development and Social Efficiency as Aims

The aim of efficiency (like any educational aim ) must be included within the process of experience. When it is measured by tangible external products, and not by the achieving of a distinctively valuable experience, it becomes materialistic. Results in the way of commodities which may be the outgrowth of an efficient personality are, in the strictest sense, by-products of education: by-products which are inevitable and important, but nevertheless by-products.

Thomas Naylor, William Willimon and Magdaleina Naylor.  The Search for Meaning
Nashville, TN: Abington Press, 1994
Page 72

Capitalist America may be the most efficient and productive nation in the world, but it extracts a high human cost. Conspicuous consumption is no longer a sign of our success, but rather a sign of our spiritual vacuum.

Moore, Thomas.  “The Butterfly and the Web.”
FORBES ASAP December 2, 1996
Page 119

All my life I’ve read predictions about our future, how we will enjoy faster and more productive technologies. But I don’t care if the next century brings skinnier and clearer televisions or wristwatches that can organize my life.

Productivity is way down the list of my priorities, and anyway in the next century, I”d rather see peaceful neighborhoods, people working at what they love, beautiful towns and cities, the restoration of small farms, hospitals that treat you as a person and not as a pool of chemicals, children who are well fed and who are becoming citizens of compassion and humane intelligence, and animals, plants and fishes surviving in all their variety and quirky individuality to reflect a natural world that has a soul.

Bork, Robert H,  Slouching Towards Gomorrah
New York: 1996 ISBN 0060391634
Page 9

A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenience above almost all else, and ours does. Religion tends to be strongest when life is hard, and the same may be said of morality and law. A person whose main difficulty is not crop failure but video breakdown has less need of the consolations and promises of religion.

Novak, Michael.  "How Christianity Created Capitalism."
The Wall Street Journal December 23, 1999

Capitalism, it's usually assumed, flowered around the same time as the Enlightenment -- the 18th century -- and, like the Enlightenment, entailed a diminution of organized religion. In fact, the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was the main locus for the first flowerings of Capitalism. Max Weber (1864-1920) located the origin of capitalism in modern Protestant cities, but today's historians find capitalism much earlier than that in rural areas, where monasteries, especially those of the Cistercians, began to rationalize economic life.

The 22 Minute Worship Service
http://theparson.net/minute.html (dead link)

A new American Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida recently was featured in scores of newspapers and on the TV networks.

This church has initiated a "Compact-Mini-22 Minute" worship service.

These are the elements of the service:

(a) A slave bell from Tennessee tolls and
(b) a cross-bearer proceeds unhurriedly to the altar, then an acolyte comes to light the candles.
(c) The pastor announces Christ’s presence,
(d) invites worshippers for a moment of silent prayer, and then

Carl Gregg Doney,  An Efficient Church
New York, 1907
Page 23

Ignorance of the proper and most efficient methods of work is also a portion of the heritage of religious organizations. Omniscience could indeed perfectly plan for the new requirements, but finiteness moves with tentative and halting steps. Judgments must be tested, revised, discarded; resources are to be perfected and directed. The Christian army meets a foe whose maneuverings, strategies and weapons are new; it too must devise methods and equip itself for the modern form of warfare.

Mason, Jim.  An Unnatural Order
New York: 1993. ISBN 0671769235
Page 31

Essentially, stewardship advocates are apologists for dominionism, for they argue that dominion does not mean what people have thought it has meant over the past several thousand years. Now they tell us it was never supposed to have meant that humans should behave as ruthless lords over nature. They argue that we are supposed to act as gentle, humane shepherds and gardeners tending, pruning, fertilizing, and cultivating the other life on earth. All that would be very nice, but it is too late. The dominionist dirty deeds have already been done.

In fact, dominion means just exactly what it has been taken to mean all these thousand of years: a license for boundless human exploitation of the rest of the living world. The task today is to get away from it now that we see how it destroys not only the living world but our quality of life within it....

Sagoff, Mark.  The Economy of the Earth
New York: ISBN 0521341132
Pages 25-6

Adams asks in his essay “The Dynamo and the Virgin” how the products of modern industrial civilization will be compared with those of the religious culture of the Middle Ages. If he could see the landfills and hazardous-waste facilities bordering the power stations and honeymoon hotels of Niagara Falls, he would know the answer. He would understand what happens when efficiency replaces infinity as the central conception of value. The dynamos at Niagara will not produce another Mont-Saint-Michel. “All the steam in the world,” Adams writes, “could not, like the Virgin, build Chartres.”

The shrine was empty when I visited it. The cult of Our Lady of Fatima, I imagine, has few devotees. The cult of allocative efficiency, however, has many. Where some people see only environmental devastation, its devotees perceive welfare, utility, and the maximization of wealth. They see the satisfaction of wants. They envision the good life.

Jeremy Rifkin, Biosphere Politics
Crown Publishers, New York 1991
Page 266

Our drive to become ever more efficient is bound up with our yearning to be like the gods—a prime force, autonomous, all-powerful, and in control. Lest there be any nagging doubt on this score, consider how pervasive and coveted this single value has become. The very idea of challenging the merits of efficiency, or rejecting it outright as a value, seems wildly heretical, if not completely blasphemous.