Personally, my take on religion is that it has been an extraordinarily
successful means of organizing groups. I don't religion has ever been any
one person's Machiavellian scheme, rather I think religion (and other
cultural institutions) have been selected for in the evolution of
culture. I also tend to see collectives of humans as
organisms-in-themselves, in roughly the same way that a hive of bees can be
seen as an organism in itself; and that human genetics has co-evolved with
the cultural memetics.

As such, I tend to run religious dogma through this filter: does it promote
values in individuals, that, taken collectively, make the collective more
likely to persist. When I run the above prayer through that filter I find
that it is a pretty good fit for that idea.

Terren




On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:13 PM, Kim Jones <kimjo...@ozemail.com.au> wrote:

> This is a pretty well-worn, oft-used, school prayer. Given it is recited
> or sung by the entire student body and staff at a good many schools and
> other institutions you would have to assume that it's all fundamentally
> good stuff.
>
>
>
> Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deserves;
> to give and not to count the cost;
> to fight and not to heed the wounds;
> to till, and not to seek for rest;
> to labour, and not to ask for any reward,
> save that of knowing we do thy will.
>
>
> Amen.
>
>
> But it's all incredibly bad advice, really - don't you think? Why do
> people assume God wants Earthlings to be such a bunch of try-hards?
> I hate this prayer. It advertises values that no one can live up to and no
> one need live up to. Surely we can invent a better, less servile, less
> obsequious, less cringing, less Gollum-like take on what we think God wants
> for us.
>
> All this servility, this grovelling at the feet of somebody. Is God really
> into all that? I don't believe it.
>
>
>
> Kim Jones
>
>
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