Re: virus: Jesus as a Memetic Engineer

Eric Boyd (
Fri, 25 Jul 1997 23:42:08 -0500

Eva-Lise Carlstrom wrote:

> Another example: Hell, while a powerful argument in modern Christianity,
> is not present in the Bible. The most that can be said from Biblical
> texts is that "unsaved" souls are _destroyed_; there is no mention
> anywhere of their being tormented forever, the modern conception of Hell.

What about Jesus's favorite line about "weeping and gnashing of teeth"?
(here is an example now: "But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown
outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of
teeth" Matt 8:12) And how about those quotations like "it will be more
bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that
town" Matt 10:15; "And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the
skies? No, you will go down to the depths." (and the note at the bottom
for "depths" says "Greek: Hades", which is "the underworld" in Greek
mythology, i.e. Hell) Matt 11:23

I personally think there is *lots* of evidence that "Jesus" (the man)
beleived there was a "Hell", as in everlasting punishment, even if he
didn't use *that*word*.

> It is certainly worthwhile to look at religions as memetic structures and
> attempt to learn from their successes, but we should try to kept straight
> who did what when, if we're trying to attribute memetic intent to
> individual sources.

Yes. One thing I think I'd do differently in that post is where I
ascribe the "intent" to... I think the proper place to put it is
*on*the*memes*themselves*. Of course, this makes Christians the victims
of a powerful mind virus, but at least then I'm not involving "Jesus"
(the man) in memetics. His memes where "good" enough to survive long
enough to mutate into *really* "good" memes.

And I intend to learn from them. Anybody got any "good" ideas for a
different self-propagation scheme? I'm not to happy with my
<freedom><responsibility> one... don't think it will be all that


Then again, how effective do I need it to be? Queens has 11,000
undergrads. If I can swing 1% of them, thats *still* 110. Far too many,
at least for the first service.


BTW: I've answered my own moral question about "should I tell them about
memetic design": Full speed ahead. I tell them, and use the "danger"
buttons, just like Brodie's book. People won't really understand what I
mean until they learn enough about memetics, so I don't think any real
damage will be done to the propagation. And besides, honesty is the
best policy...