II – THE TEMPLE
While the different religions wrangle with one another as to which of them is in possession of the truth, in our view the truth of religion may be altogether disregarded… If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man's evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilised individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.
Freud: New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (1932).
Of course man made God in his own image; but what was the alternative? Just as a real understanding of geology was impossible until we were able to study other worlds beside Earth, so a valid theology must await contact with extra-terrestrial intelligences. There can be no such subject as comparative religion, as long as we study only the religions of man.
El Hadj Mohammed ben Selim, Professor of Comparative Religion: Inaugural Address, Brigham Young University, 1998.
We must await, not without anxiety, the answers to the following questions; (a) What, if any, are the religious concepts of entities with zero, one, two, or more than two 'parents' (b) is religious belief found only among organisms that have close contact with their direct progenitors during their formative years?
If we find that religion occurs exclusively among intelligent analogs of apes, dolphins, elephants, dogs, etc., but not among extra-terrestrial computers, termites, fish, turtles or social amoebae, we may have to draw some painful conclusions .. Perhaps both love and religion can arise only among mammals, and for much the same reasons. This is also suggested by a study of their pathologies; anyone who doubts the connection between religious fanaticism and perversion should take a long, hard look at the Malleus Maleficarium or Huxley's The Devils of Loudon.
Dr. Charles Willis' notorious remark (Hawaii, 5970) that “Religion is a by-product of malnutrition” is not, in itself, much more helpful than Gregory Bateson's somewhat indelicate one-syllable refutation. What Dr. Willis apparently meant was (i) the hallucinations caused by voluntary or involuntary starvation are readily interpreted as religious visions (2) hunger in this life encourages belief in a compensatory afterlife, as a – perhaps essential – psychological survival mechanism…
It is indeed one of the ironies of fate that research into the so-called consciousness-expanding drugs proved that they did exactly the opposite, by leading to the detection of the naturally occurring “apothetic” chemicals in the brain. The discovery that the most devout adherent of any faith could be converted to any other by a judicious dose of 2-4-7 ortho-para-theosamine was, perhaps, the most devastating blow ever received by religion.
Until, of course, the advent of Starglider.
R. Gabor: The Pharmacological Basis of Religion (Miskatonic University Press, 2069).