I went to church last Sunday
Understand that most anthropologists would try to participate in the rites of the native peoples to some extent. I mean, if I were going native, I'd probably screw a few their maidens (if offered) if they put flowers in their hair and didn't have too much mud on them ... and ... I'd probably do some of their reefer too. But I would draw the line if they tried to hook some eagle claws to my chest and lift me up by my nipples. Ya' know ... that kinda' shit.
So, in church, I sit, stand, kneel when required and offer due respect but no communion and the stranger hugging is mostly out too. It was OK.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) it was entirely in Spanish. I understood every few words and pieced out that the preacher-creature was speaking at one point about Noah and his ark. There was some singing which I didn't know and couldn't understand and couldn't even find in the hymn book. It lasted about an hour and wasn't too bad. After all Rambo was tortured with electricity for much more than that in Rambo II. So, I guess I can take it too ;o)
The Real Point here is ...
When I was a kid, we went to a very big church. So I thought it was a typical church. It wasn't. It had about a 60' vaulted ceiling ... was maybe 200 foot stem to stern and was laid out like the "true cross" ... a real Gothic monster. It wasn't the richest parish but it was far, far from typical. The altar rail was all brass and at least 40 feet long. Pious women seeking forgiveness crawled on their knees polishing it with paste and rags till it glowed like the noonday sun. Their sins were forgiven and they were once again content ... even happy ... until ........ Tarnex. Then they had to wallow in their sins I guess.
There was a pulpit elevated at least ten feet over the congregation which might number ... hmmmm ... 1500 souls? It was a big place. The choir loft had an organ that Bach would have been pleased with ... and they used it with gusto. The vestibule at the main entrance was about half as big as the entire church I went to last Sunday.
Where am I going with this? ... Oh, yeah.
When I was a kid, everyone got dressed up for Sunday church. No exceptions. We wore our best clothes, all neatly pressed. The men wore suits and ties and the women showed off their best. But at the church I went to Sunday, I was the only gringo present and coincidentally ... I was the only guy wearing a TIE !! Understand that ... I'm the unbeliever and I thought it necessary to wear a tie to honor someone else's beliefs which are the antithesis of mine. Every guy there looked like he was called buy his wife just before church and said, "Ok honey, I'm comin'. Just let me screw on the oil filter. I'm almost done.".
This means that they dressed ... not for belief ... but rather in the style of the physical place they were going to, i.e. the church itself.
This place was a fairly poor parish. The church might have been converted from a bump shop or such thing. Everything was scaled far downward from what I've come to know as "church". I don't hold that against them. But why not put on your best clothes for church anyway? Even poor work-a-day Mexican-Americans have better clothes than blue jeans and polo shirts.
Why indeed. It's because no modern human takes religion seriously. It is just what it appears to be ... a crutch. It allows people a measure of certainty in a very uncertain world (at least a pretend certainty). People who are rich do the same thing ... but ... they get all dressed up for it. And ... they have really big churches and top notch preachers and organists, etc. They pay for it.
What does it gain them? If you put on the best show ... you can almost take it seriously. I mean, it looks much more important if you dress it up. Imagine going to this fairly cheezy Mexican church and then going to the Vatican for the same identical mass. Get it? The pope and Michelangelo and Raphael and Bernini and all those guys ... make it important for you. It's designed to impress. But it's the same picture they are trying to sell ... the same mass.
What I am getting at here is that ... it's not the mass ... it's the building itself that makes it important ... in the eyes of the worshippers. It's the frame that makes the picture ... not the painting. And this tactic works ... if ... you are pushing a load of crap. Go to a restaurant with the finest china and most appealing decor and the best waiters and chefs ... they can feed you fried dog shit and you will say ... "Hmmmm, delicioso. My compliments to the chef!".
Why blow up Mecca?
There you are. It's the building and not the faith that keeps any religion going strong. Lose the big fancy buildings and you're down to just the teachings ... and what are those anyway? Just the standard secular moral principles developed from thousands of years of observation and based on simple mammalian nurturing behavior.
And then they tack on some useless ornaments to make it individual and "special" ... like ... bow to mecca thrice daily ... go to communion (but don't eat anything for three hours before) ... fish on Friday (no meat) ... if your daughter gets pregnant by her boyfriend - kill her!
Pick any ornaments you like. Just make sure you have, at base, those same secular moral principles that hold civilization together and you can form your own successful religion. And ... write a real thick book too ... like a bible. If it's thick, it's got to be important and contain ALL TRUTH.
Everyone will nod their heads in agreement ... like bobble heads ... yeah ... you too can be