Epidemiology of Religion

How religious belief mimics viral interference

Viruses don’t tend to co-infect. Viral interference is a process where the earlier virus triggers interferon, effectively blocking other viruses from gaining traction or even attempting cellular infection—so they wait.

With Covid-19 we have had virtually no flu season primarily due to interferon “interfering” with the flu virus ability to infect the already sick host. Somehow they communicate, for even viruses that enter through other receptors are effectively blocked by the primary infection.

Enter religion

Where are all the new religion start ups? Can we form a more coherent ideology while Christianity’s interferon is present? Humans are linear thinkers—one line of thought at a time. It isn’t hard to wonder how easily manipulated entire societies can be, once a doctrine or dogma stakes its claim.

It took the Greek gods about 900 years to finally die off after Christianity posted and enforced its beliefs. While this psychological interferon holds more logical approaches to cosmology and ontology at bay, all one can do is wait it out. It takes about three weeks of solitude to recognize the game that is being played for what it is. Since there is very little solitude and no natural quiet left in the world, we may be stuck with this til the bitter end.

Whatever the case, I find it interesting that humans and viral behaviors are so similar. We each carry about 6trillion viruses in our bodies. Makes me wonder who’s in really in charge here.

Finally started the flooring.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

86 thoughts on “Epidemiology of Religion”

  1. “While this psychological interferon holds more logical approaches to cosmology and ontology at bay, all one can do is wait it out.”

    Not sure that Christianity has much to do with cosmology. Ontology is at least getting somewhat warmer as sort of a back drop to morality. But Christianity mostly has to do with morality and how we should live. I am not sure which alternative moral approaches are more “logical.”

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      1. And so my hope is the person of Christ- I center my life on HIM, and nothing else. (Of course amidst distractions!)
        To me, all those Christian commandments and creeds must filter through him. ‘Walk in the light, as he is.’
        Jesus said, “Come unto me.. become as little children.” Child-like faith sees only him. (Think Peter, when he saw the wind and waves.)

        Sidenote: Your “Faith Trap” is an excellent piece of writing. Heavy stuff yet understandable. I think you’ve eloquently merged fact and emotion. You’ve described religious faith to a tee, and your own subsequent disillusionment.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Then, according to Jesus, you cannot be his disciple — because giving up everything (see Luke 14: 33) is the cost of being a disciple.

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            2. But how does that resolve the conflict between your stated desire (to center your life on him, and nothing else) and actual practice (the pursuit of other interests)?

              Liked by 2 people

            3. Right, it’s a war! it’s easy being saved- Christ redeemed us all from sin etc, and we simply need agree. The hard part is giving up my right to myself: ‘You are not your own, you are bought with a price.’ He put his Spirit in me!

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            4. How can it be a war if you have the Spirit living within you? Didn’t Paul state that “You, however, are controlled not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” (Romans 8:9) and that those who walk in the Spirit will shun the desires of the flesh? (Galatians 5:16)?

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            5. Oh my. The nonsensical responses from believers … they DO have them honed and perfected.

              A “figure of speech” … ???!? Give me a break! To describe it as such gives support to nearly every word your “Leader” uttered.
              Wrestling against a spirit – the substance of which is invisible, so how … ???

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            6. Yet in the same chapter of Galatians Paul says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

              So something doesn’t add up. If you have the Spirit within you there should be no struggle.

              Liked by 3 people

            7. Jesus learned obedience by life experience (Heb 5:8). For example, the Spirit led him into the wilderness to struggle with the devil (Mat 4). In Christ, God lowered himself into our struggles.

              Liked by 1 person

            8. Jesus may have been tested, but did he really struggle? Because according to Matthew’s account, he firmly resisted every temptation and rebuked the devil saying “Away from me, Satan!”

              And returning to the question of discipleship, Luke 5 informs us that immediately after Jesus told Simon, James and John that they would become “fishers of men” they pulled their boats ashore and left everything behind to follow Jesus without hesitation.

              Liked by 2 people

            9. According to Isaiah 53, I believe Jesus had a lifetime of struggle. In John 16:33 he told his disciples (learners), “In the world you’ll have tribulation.. but I’ve overcome the world.”

              Liked by 1 person

            10. Ok. Then how does it address my previous comments concerning the fruits of the spirit and the costs of discipleship?

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            11. Tribulation helps produce the fruit of the Spirit. The world doesn’t like that ‘Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.’
              The cost of discipleship is doing God’s will instead of mine. That doesn’t happen overnight.
              Not so with Jesus. ‘He learned obedience- doing his Father’s will- via experience.’

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            12. Yes, according to Jesus, the cost of discipleship is doing God’s will. But that’s not in question.

              The question is why it’s difficult for someone who desires to do God’s will and has the Spirit within them to fulfil these goals?

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            13. True. But I’m still trying to figure out how this Spirit within you is of any benefit given that a fair number of Christians (and non-Christians, for that matter) have given up their possessions and/or taken a vow of poverty without struggle? And likewise with the “fruits of the Spirit” — many non-Christians exhibit those fruits without professing to having the benefit of the Spirit within them.

              Liked by 1 person

            14. That’s also true, and I haven’t a sure answer. Perhaps the struggle is the yin-yang of God and Satan. The bible is clear that the devil is subject to God.

              “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.
              But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.”

              ‘Taking away the armor’ may be the spiritual struggle of Eph 6:10-

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  2. Well of course, religion cannot commandments or a book from the sky, rather how your body receives natures and yours my dear is receiving militantly. Just like all the viruses are not on one side rather two, fighting each other to balance, to sail.

    Lovely to be here.
    Nara x

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        1. I know it. It’s seems to be the new norm for you and us. Looks like this one is going to miss us so far by about 1/4 mile. This is the third one within shouting distance this year. Pretty nerve racking.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Jim,

    Does this mean I should NOT go to Amazon and buy one each of those ‘Coexist’ and ‘Tolerance’ bumper stickers? Isn’t that what everyone claims to want but nobody wants to do? It is kind of like my friend who tells me that I should be more open minded (translates: “see things my way”).

    I envy your talent, Jim.

    And, oh yes, I’m reading Bill Bryson’s book, “The Body: A Guide for Occupants.” It is interesting how many things, like viruses and bacteria, in the human body have a numerical census value that is a best (or wild-ass) guess. And even when we have few enough to count and label, some dickhead scientist discovers another one.

    Who ya gunna trust? (hope y’all are not near any fires) — 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We are right by the ford/corkscrew canyon fire. This is the 4th close call we’ve had. Some of our neighbors not so lucky. The pilots are amazing though.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Its a doozy. Gusting winds now too. They just posted an evacuation order for the cell next to me. Last night it veered east, but looking sketchy right now

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Because wood right now is too ridiculous for my out of pocket build. Hey on the bright side I’ll get 50 years out of this and it’s waterproof. Go easy on me or I’ll leave a board crooked just for you.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I know right? This one is called stablewood. It quite pretty when it’s cleaned up. This is the best I could buy in a LVP.
          There are some great walls in this place though for decorating. Some of them are 14’ to the ridge with commercial ducting in the rafters and drop down lighting. Should work.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Also, pets can’t scratch it. Our cats tore up the hardwood floors, but since we got laminate the only problem is not letting liquid spills sit for days and days. I’ll take laminate over any other surface I have ever lived with. (I have never lived with marble, so that one I cannot say, lol.)

        Liked by 2 people

  4. IDK, but seems to me that there have been a fair number of new religious startups since the Church of Rome lost its monopoly to Luther: Anglicans, Baptists, Hutterites, Mennonites, The Amish, Pentecostalists, Methodists, Quakers, LDS, Seventh-day Adventists, JWs, Four Square, Prosperity churches, etc. And those are just the Christian splits and schisms. Add in the Unitarians, Christian Science, Rastafarians, Raëlism, Scientologists, The Brethren, The Twelve Tribes, The (now defunct) Peoples Temple, The Branch Davidians (not to be confused with the newly-founded Branch Covidians), and many hundreds of other clique cults across the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What do almost all these have in common? I suppose you could practice Raëlism and still be Christian too? These are not new, but a rehash.

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      1. Rehash, perhaps. But when you asked, “Where are all the new religion start ups?” I didn’t realize you wanted something uniquely different from all the rest. However, Though I think Scientology. along with Jediism and the Church of the SubGenius (both of which I forgot to mention) would certainly qualify even in that respect.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Don’t overlook A Course in Miracles.

      It was spun off from the CIA’s MKUltra mind control program, so it’s as American as the A-bomb (one of its founders also worked on the Manhattan Project).

      Liked by 2 people

    3. What about the Eastern religion’s and all their offshoots. Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and whatever else. I really hate when people talk about religious, but only mention European-based variants. Let”s throw in some Rastafarianism, voodoo, and all the African-based religions too (having a senior moment, forgot them all!). If we are going to bitch about one, why not bitch about them all?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I didn’t mention Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism because they all predate Christianity and Jim was looking for newer religions. And I did mention Rastafarianism.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. In my opinion wearing of masks and social distancing are what prevented the normal flu season, and cold season as well. I am prone to catching both, three to four times every winter. Last winter, zero of either. I will be wearing my mask this winter too. Game on!
    Religions are all mutations, or variants of humanity”s need to blame someone else for all the death and destriction in our world since time immemorable. No vaccine has yet been invented

    Liked by 3 people

    1. SociL distancing certainly played a role as well. I haven’t even had a sniffle in 17 months.
      Having someone to blame is an interesting game we never seem to outgrow. I take full responsibility. Everything is my fault.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And it’s about time you admitted it. Allowing yourself to be born Mormon, how dare you!
        At least I chose to be born in a screwed up dysfunctional abuse-laden home that allowed me to become a free thinker.
        Free, as in I have never yet been paid to think The crazy part is, religious freaks actually pay to be able to not think! Besides the pandemic there is another plague going on in the world right now, a plague of stupidity. It”s stupid to pay others to do the thinking for you when you can do it for free.
        (Hmmmm, is there a pun in there somewhere?)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Freedom to read and listen then think about what the experts think about. Books about books and libraries grow through osmosis instead of practical experience. They become lawmakers this way

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  6. Of course you’re speaking almost exclusively about Abrahamic religions.

    Most religions have no problems ‘co-infecting’. A lot of Chinese people consider themselves Buddhist, Confucianist and Taoist. Many Hindus also consider themselves adherents of multiple religions. Mystics and Perennialists often see all religions as one.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. First of all my Friend, BRILLIANT analogy here! Bravo! I genuinely hope you win a Pulitzer and/or Nobel Prize for this post, assuming you can snatch all of them away from InspiredBytheDivine1 – Jeff. He’s hoarded all the damn things! 😉 😛

    It took the Greek gods about 900 years to finally die off after Christianity posted and enforced its beliefs.

    If I may Jim, I’d like to add further to your correctly chosen word: “enforced.”

    One HUGE reason the Roman Empire lasted for 1,000-years (barely at some junctures) was their EXCEPTIONAL Legionary tactics, discipline, and progressive fighting prowess. That FORCE naturally protected—as dictatorships or Fascism has taught us—a universal or Catholic way of living. Those two societal paradigms in Antiquity and the Classical Eras were extremely conducive for the masses, the lowly educated masses, to endear ORDER thru brute force. It can be promoted (propagandized?) to the illiterate masses as peace and prosperity, or in their case “Pax Romana.”

    Now, today… once again we see the long-term results of Pax Romana, Catholicism (and all of its infected offspring), and some form of rigid caste/class system of the Plebs vs. Aristocracy, Peasants vs. Nobility, Monoglot vs. Polyglot, Priests vs. Parishioners, Egalitarian vs. Elites, or Haves vs. Have-nots. Within all of those distinctions exists inclusivity, equality, strength in more numbers versus exclusivity, inequality, and weaknesses/vulnerability in smaller numbers. One has a much better survivability rate, the other not good at all.

    Hah! 6-trillion viruses! There’s something to be said when use the word Earthling or Homo sapien instead of all the other much weaker, much flawed terms/labels we create, huh? 😉 😛

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I realized after I hit the “Send” button that I forgot my eventual summary conclusion to all my gibberish above. Whoops. Sorry Jim. 😳 Sometimes my head has too many gremlins playing ping-pong and badminton in it. 🙄

      What I meant to close with was… Brute force and cunning military genius and sociopolitical governing utilizing religion (or the Placebo-effect behind it) DOES NOT EQUATE to divine authority. The only reason Christianity even had a chance to survive is PURELY because it wiped out its hereditary parent and then conquered all other cults/religions because of Imperial/Emperor mandates in the declining fragmenting years of Rome’s fall.

      There. Done Jim. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I’m pretty sure Jeff’s Nobel is a forgery. He is from Chicago, ya know.
      We feel like we’re pretty special as humans. It’s really funny to me how our real behaviors are not much different than any other species, even a virus. It fact at a cursory look at interferon, there may be a level of cooperation there not found in the higher animals.

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      1. BWAAAAAA! 😄 Once again my Friend, you throw down a slam-dunk! But you are arguably (barely so) RIGHT! Because we have also learned—in the scientific community that is—that all things on Earth are indeed touching… on the atomic and subatomic levels. Hence, everything animate and inanimate STILL are interconnected and play some role in events… then causes… then more events… then

        you get the picture, hopefully. 😉 hehe

        So why IS IT such a stretch to realize the “interferon” that you’ve wonderfully brought to light here.

        Jim, I’m so glad I like you so much and you like me more! 🤭 😉

        Liked by 3 people

        1. All things on the earth are touching
          It funny that the ecologist understands this in his/her professional life, then goes home each day to live, believe, and act separate from it. Like we are us -vs- the world. It’s not scientific at all, but it is a hand-me-down mindset from living under the common sense of Hebrew religion.

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          1. Hah! True once again. How many times in human history have the words been uttered by the Conquerors or the current powers-that-be with bloody swords:

            Submit or die. Convert or die. Practice exactly THIS every day/week… or be ostracized in your community, town, and denomination? Many a practical-thinking defeated have chosen life (fake life?) over death or slow-death by forced house-arrest your remaining years alive.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. But it’s a very effective way of maintaining centralised coherent authority and resisting assimilation or absorption by neighbouring civilisations. I suspect that’s why the Roman Empire in decline made Christianity its state religion. It’s also probably how Christian empires colonialised most of the world.

              Do you think US cultural, economic and militaristic hegemony would be so successful without an exclusivist belief system holding it together?

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            2. Great points cabrogal.

              As to centralization… Yes, however, another reason why Rome became one of the largest, most powerful Empires in human history is because as their waistline became ever more FAT… they realized they HAD to incorporate non-Etruscan, non-Roman Peninsula peoples beyond proper “Rome” in order to maintain and manage a vast, growing empire. Part of that was… “give the conquered their superstitions. Just honor the Roman authority, gods & goddesses, and pay taxes and everyone enjoys Pax Romana”—until the next war of expansion. 😉 So see, once again it boils down to INCLUSIVITY to truly survive beyond 1,000 years.

              To your final question, the six (6) Core Founding Fathers realized thru all of their European experiences that a federal government would HAVE to be neutral, secular, and poly ___fill in the blank___ in order to be flexible enough to “hold it together” for MAYBE 200-years? 250 or 300? But sadly, look what is happening to the U.S. and has been happening since perhaps the early 1980’s or arguably sooner. We are seeing a DEEP partisan divide that wants to return to all the theocratical monarchies and churches of old Europe—the very things that many immigrants fled from to start over in the American continents. Unfortunately, our dumb white asses didn’t realize there were already an indigenous Native American population here that had incredibly well-functioning democracies within their tribal lands. Funny… our Core Founding Fathers borrowed many aspects of their democracy and incorporated them into ours. It worked quite well. Surprise surprise!

              But its now been under attack and being FALSELY invented into a purely Protestant Christian theocratic system.

              Liked by 3 people

            3. Yeah, it has its weaknesses. As empires grow larger their centrifugal heterodoxy tends to overcome their centripetal orthodoxy, then their exclusivist tendencies turn them upon themselves.

              The US has a particular problem there. It was founded as an anti-imperialist, non-exclusivist republic partially modeled on the Iroquois confederacy. But in trying to keep the European empires at arm’s length it adopted the Monroe doctrine, which inevitably led it into hegemony. The Spanish-American war, particularly the annexation of the Philippines, tipped it into full blown imperialism. It’s been fighting a losing battle against its internal contradictions ever since.

              Remember the Alamo! Remember the Maine! Remember Pearl Harbor! Remember 9-11!
              Forget everything else. It’s too inconvenient.

              Liked by 5 people

          2. That’s the difference between knowing and realising.

            It’s not just the Abrahamic belief systems either, it’s something many religious practices strive towards – particularly Zen – and it’s understood to be difficult.

            I suspect it’s a bit more fundamental than religion. Maybe it goes back to our earliest social ancestors trying to distinguish themselves as individuals within a tribe. Or maybe it goes all the way back to the evolution of cell membranes, which paradoxically both separate organisms from their environment and connect them to it.

            To know something is to possess it. To realise something is to be it.

            Liked by 4 people

  8. Okay, gotta be as stick in the mud here.

    “With Covid-19 we have had virtually no flu season primarily due to interferon “interfering” with the flu virus ability to infect the already sick host. Somehow they communicate,”

    Umm, no.

    Although it’s true that having one kind of virus can interfere with hosting of kinds of viruses, having the flu opens the floodgates to advance pneumonia. So we cannot generalize and then draw a conclusion like you have here regarding why the flu season produced a tiny fraction of the usual cases during the Covid pandemic (so far). Neither can we generalize that having one find of flu impedes another just because some rates of coexisting viruses are also lower (this often exactly the opposite in reality) but I think we need to better understand how families of viruses interact (like SARS-CoV-2 is from the family of corona viruses, which may impede other corona viruses like MERS but facilitate, say, pneumonia from the pneumococcus family).

    There’s a fair bit of science here and so generalities will probably lead you astray, to the point of saying something like “they communicate.” Well, they will encounter chemicals and react accordingly, but this is not to suggest one talks to another as if there’s some common or cross purposes that can mutually be agreed upon. They ‘communicate’ as much as, say, water communicates with the fire it’s thrown on: it depends on the kind of fire (combustion versus electrical, say, and the term ‘communicating’ is a really strange way to describe an unthinking, automatice chemical process… if this then that, sort of thing).

    As to your analogy with religion, perhaps a better way to look at it is as a social contagion (which explains its direct correlation with geography and generational links) and so making room for the emergence of different religious beliefs is entirely dependent on social tolerance for divergent beliefs (or social tolerance for having none at all). Social tolerance correlates with how many religions are practiced and not dominance per se. So this questions the thesis that dominant religions ‘interfere’ with other or newer religions.

    And on a final note, we carry somewhere in the neighbourhood not 6 trillion but ~380 trillion viruses per human body. It’s a lot in either case! Not all viruses are harmful, in other words, but many provide direct and even essential benefit to their hosts. Arguably, I don’t think the same can be said of religion!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. While there is a lot more to understanding how interferon works, I found the similarities interesting. It is also being researched how to duplicate this interferon process that may eventually provide immunity to a whole host of illnesses. If that pans out we’ll only have religion to fret about. What would people possibly do when there’s nothing left to miracalize , or bitch about?

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I didn’t catch that news. Another race to be the worst place on earth.
      I expected to be done with the floors too by now. I work full time too ya know. Jeez

      Liked by 4 people

      1. PrimenMinister of Afghanistan left the country, Talibans took over. The people seem to be resilient but the Taliban are men in arms. Sharia law will be enforced now, I guess.
        Haha! What is your work?

        Liked by 3 people

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