Religion is a tribe. Just like all other tribes. Nationalism, gender, politics, social class, skin colour, sexual preference, even sporting allegiance !
Tribes are how we identify ourselves. I am a Jew. I am a man. I am English. I am a Liberal. I am Middle Class. I am heterosexual. I am Black. I support Man United.
(Only some of those things are true of me… but I’m not saying which).
All identifiers are how we construct our egos. The self-made part of “who” we are. Not the integral intrinsic essence of “who” we are.
All tribes are inclusive of their members, and therefore exclusive of everyone else.
I am this, therefore I am not that. You are that, therefore you are not this.
The less a person has a deep sense of self – as opposed to ego construct – the more the need to be part of a tribe and to identify with that tribe, and by virtue, not with other tribes.
The weaker the self-knowledge, the weaker the identity, and the stronger the call to be a vociferous and zealously active member of the tribe.
Tribes create sub-cultures, which identify one as a member of that tribe. Behaviours, modus operandi and markers which are particular to that clique. How else would one be able to tell if someone supported Chelsea or Arsenal ? (A nod and a wink to my brothers !).
All cliques create a secure inclusive environment for their adherents, and create, again by virtue, exclusivity. A way of saying, I am IN, and you are OUT. Just like in the school yard!
If a person does not question their choice of tribe membership continuously, throughout their lives, then the identification with the tribe in itself becomes stronger than the original “reasons” for the desire to be a part of that tribe.
This ego-based need for identification with a group of like people is at the root of all ‘isms’.
When we spend our lives in self-analysis, reflection, questioning everything, we come to the point where we stop needing to identify with ‘groups’ because our self-identity is so strong it requires no tribal allegiance in order to bolster it.
Only ego requires perpetual big-upping.
Self-knowledge and therefore self-security is an end in itself.
Possibly slightly ironically, self-knowledge, ergo – not being drawn to be part of a (in this case religious) tribe, often goes hand-in-glove with genuine spirituality ie: awareness and understanding of ones own spirit.
Spirituality needs no tribe, spirituality requires no religion.
I have recently decided that each blog will be complemented (or not) by a musical interlude… so here goes the firstest one.
Honestly… how did we NOT know that Gary was not quite right !!!!!!
No thanks Gaz, don’t think I do want to be in your gang… thanks for asking.