Bedeviling Beliefs

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction" - Pascal

For centuries my European ancestors lived in a world where no thought that contradicted the church's dogma was allowed, where people were condemned to hell for looking in a mirror, and it was a death sentence for believing that the earth wasn't at the center of the universe. Every culture is vulnerable to being commandeered by a belief system. From the earliest cities uncovered in central Asia to the present day divinings of the bishops, rabbis and imams, human culture is driven by a need to answer the question of death.

Once any culture comes up with a story/mythology to answer that question everything has to fit into that jar. Here comes the important part, one of the grand illusions of our shared reality is that we think 'seeing is believing' but really it's the opposite. Once you really believe something to be true, every fact, every bit of evidence encountered will corroborate it. We see the world and everything in it through the filter our belief system. Beliefs come first, experience second. So, for example, OJ was obviously guilty through the lens of 95% of white America [the other 5% are most likely homeless, and poor and so too have had questionable experiences with the police]. Whereas the numbers were exactly the opposite for blacks and other people of color who see the racist attitudes of some cops first hand every day.

The elites figured out along time ago that real power lies in becoming the authority on what qualifies as fitting into a culture's belief structure. From the pulpit of moral authority political authority is a short step away. In short, people can be manipulated into accepting almost anything politically or morally if the power of religious authority endorses it.