Religious technology

(Interestingly, I wrote this same post last year around the same time.)

Arthur C. Clarke is famous for saying “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing he probably used the word “technology” in the popular sense to mean engineering technologies.

Consider, though, the etymological meaning of technology: Techne (skill, art, craft) + logy (subject of study) — skillful application of practical knowledge. By this definition, engineering is only one source of technologies.

I invite you to entertain this question: What if religion is a kind of technology useful for helping finite individual people form relationships with realities beyond the limits of any individual’s existence?

I have, in fact, tried thinking about religion in this way, and I am convinced that it is true.

My belief is that religion seems like magic-mongering to the degree that the meaning of religion stands beyond the limits of our conception. To the degree that we understand what it is, what it does, how it does it, and why it matters the aspects of religion that strike us as magical are interpreted as mysteries.

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