The Real Danger of Tribal Mythology

I just read about a woman who committed suicide. It seems she was very anxious over leaving the LDS Church AND very concerned about family (how she might be treated because of leaving). I am so sorry she felt so anxious. So anxious her life meant so little.

But this is real. Especially real today. Why?

We seem to be becoming more “tribal” and not just that, we’re more polarized in our tribes. “Us” versus “Them”, to the nth degree!

Religion is tribal. Very tribal. But it deals in belief. All religions do possess truth, tribal truth. But fact? Not so much, else why are there so many?

My lifelong tribe has been “Mormonism” (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS Church). Mormon tribalism is particularly strong in the “Us” versus “Them” ideology because they claim to be the one true church of God. Strongly.

This woman had real concerns, enough so that the resulting anxiety majorly contributed to her suicide. That is so very sad to me. It’s a tremendous loss.

All because of an ideology. Not because of fact.

That is why I eschew belief in the presence of fact. Fact is unaffected by belief. It is self-sufficient. One might not believe the fact, but the fact remains unaffected and is still factual.

But there are so many belief systems globally! Thousands! They persist. Why?

I don’t know, for sure. I might guess that tribal myths are what help keep us members in good standing in our particular tribe, and we humans value being members in good standing. So we pass along the tribal myths to our children. The myths persist. That’s my guess.

We could debate the values of tribes. We could debate the downsides of tribes. And we have, collectively speaking. But tribes persist.

What if we could eventually get to the point of membership in a single, human, tribe? What if belief systems were replaced by critical thought? Now think about this woman who committed suicide, would it have happened? We can’t know for sure but it is certain it would not have happened for the reasons it did!

Religion is nothing more than tribal myths, passed down from parents to children, with various transitions from one tribe to another from time to time.

Today, though, we are seeing more transitions OUT of mythology altogether, and that gives me hope (go check out Pew Research for details, or the Freedom From Religion Foundation)!

6 thoughts on “The Real Danger of Tribal Mythology

  1. “What if we could eventually get to the point of membership in a single, human, tribe? ” How do you think this could happen? I’m not sure science alone will lead us there. There are hundreds of branches of science, and each has areas of “tribal culture,” if you will, that don’t support or agree with those of other fields.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Good luck with that. Things go too much in cycles. When a particular science, philosophy, or religious concept–all of which can have ethical application–is developed, it’s not long before challenges come to the forefront. Some of those are based in fact, others not so much.That’s happening exponentially and at an alarming rate on the web in all areas of knowledge.

        Liked by 1 person

          • “What if we could eventually get to the point of membership in a single, human, tribe? What if belief systems were replaced by critical thought?”

            My thought is that we have become more militantly tribal, meaning I think we ought to realize we belong to one overall tribe, humankind.

            It’s a pipe dream, I know.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Dreams are good, if we leave the pipe out of it. As long as we’re pursuing those ethical things we have in common, we’ll get closer to achieving our dreams. It’s when we depart into totally separate and dysfunctional directions that the pipe comes into play–even to the point of becoming a bomb instead of a dream!

    Liked by 1 person

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