Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to build a religion

A very interesting post by Seth Godin. A couple of comments:

In my opinion, though, his application to the Zoroastrians seems to miss the mark:
According to the Times, the Zoroastrians are fading away because they believe being good is just about enough and didn't build enough of the elements of an ideavirus into their culture. As they traveled the world, their attitude and hard work rewarded them with success and the ability to mix with other cultures. As a result, they were successful as a people but a failure as a long-term growing religion.

Given the fact that this religion has been around for 3000 years, it seems to have more going for it than the above comments suggest. Also, it seems to me that one of the main reason that it is fading is because few believe the meta-narrative that it presents about the world. This indicates to me that an important item left out of the list of things to build in to a religion would be this: a grand picture of the world and one's place in it that has enduring viability.

Second point: his analysis seems much more applicable to the religion of Scientology than Zoroastrianism. That said, I don't know how it gets away its meta-narrative (When compared to one another, I actually find the Zoroastrian view of the world more plausbile. You can quickly compare them here and here.)

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