"Believer", Dr. Reza Aslan’s Program on CNN

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I believe Dr. Aslan’s reports on CNN entitled “Believer” on CNN are all edifying and distinctive. His report last Sunday was about a new religion in Mexico whose followers Worship Santa Muerte, Holy Death. This religion is growing in popularity not only in Mexico but also in the southern part of the United States despite emphatic opposition by Catholic Church.

Just like other religions, this religion, grew out of dissatisfaction, feeling of insecurity and mistreatment of some people by the dominant religion. Disenfranchised, they felt left out and had nowhere to turn to, they thus created their own religion.

What I learned from this report reinforced my own conviction that religions are like big business companies operating under the oligopoly market structure. Each of them tries to protect its market share by catering to its own niche and utilizing every appealing tactics. Because of rivalry and mutual interdependence, religions do not tolerate each other just like business companies. They react to one another often with hostility because they know if their rivals can gain more market share it is at their expense. Worried about losing adherents, the Catholic Church in Mexico Condemned Santa Muerte albeit unsuccessfully according to the report. Obviously, the dominant religion cannot tolerate the new ones, especially if there is rivalry between them. That explains why Shia is most hostile toward Bahaism, despite the fact that this religion is the off-spring of Islam. Islam is however, more tolerant toward Judaism and Christianity simply because there is no rivalry between Islam and these two religions.

Another lessons learned, religions are the figment of human imagination created especially by the unsecured and downtrodden people who have no place to turn to in case of emotional agony and suffering.

What do you think?



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6 comments

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Parsa Parsa (@Parsa) Pinned comment
The more you live the more you realise believing or not believing are the easiest thing in the world but being ethical in your daily life the hardest.
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said Saïd Amin (@said) replied to Parsa (@Parsa) Pinned comment
Brilliant! I'm really ♡ing your comment and its humble wisdom ^o,o^ based on life experiences. During my 20s I largely lived a life of black/white. It conveniently allowed me to divide the world into right vs wrong, good vs evil & 'yes' vs 'no'. Of course, I was almost always on the 'right' side of it all and a holier-than-thou snob. In looking back at this stage of my life I recognize that it was largely a coping mechanism/path of least resistance that ironically enough, caused me to live within the contours of extremism (exactly what I wanted to avoid then and now). Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying that your comment resonates, and that I am thankful that you chose to share so freely.

@varjavand Thanks for the blog--lots of interesting points to discuss. I look forward to circling back on this thread w/ some thoughts later this weekend.
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varjavand varjavand (@varjavand) replied to Saïd Amin (@said) Pinned comment
Thanks for your kind remarks
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varjavand varjavand (@varjavand) Pinned comment
The world is a gigantic market for man’s oldest invention, religion. This market is highly oligopolistic. That is, controlled by a few dominant religions. Currently, they currently account for 68% of total, in other words more than 2/3rd of world population are either Christian, Muslims, or Hindus. It is interesting to note that secularism is fastest growing and is gaining popularity at the expense of religions. Currently 15.5% of total world population is classified as Secular, Nonreligious, Agnostic or Atheist. My main argument is that the world major religions resort to every tactics to preserve their market share just as the major business firms use every possible strategies to protect their turf.
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said Saïd Amin (@said) replied to varjavand (@varjavand) Pinned comment
With the 1% growing more powerful and wealthy, religions and political parties are better positioned than they used to be (at least in the short-term) to financially absorb shrinking popularity/support.

Focusing back on religion, I find that the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Francis is evolving; or perhaps, more apropos if defining change as a strategy, the Church is pushing itself towards reform. From publicly acknowledging entrenched financial corruption and sexual abuse, to pushing for the acceptance of divorced Catholics, gays, lesbians, to support for a Palestinian state and calling out a hierarchy that is increasingly out of step with the modern world, the Church, under Pope Francis, appears more willing than ever to upset power and privilege for the sake of reform; reform that can achieve wider appeal & popularity. The Catholic Church's relevancy may ultimately depend on the aforementioned -- 'adapt or die' as the saying goes.

It should also be mentioned that there's likely more pressure for religions with higher educational levels to evolve, than those like Islam, which on average/relatively speaking, have lower educational levels.
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varjavand varjavand (@varjavand) replied to Saïd Amin (@said) Pinned comment
A very interesting observation, religions have no choice but to embrace the scientific facts such as evolution and nullify the absurd beliefs such as Noah’s story, otherwise, they lose adherents. Christianity has gone through major reforms, Islam has a long way to go.
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