Monday, January 24, 2011

Religious texts (List of Wikipedia)

Another interesting List of Wikipedia is the list of religious texts. It's a medium sized list, although I suspect it is not nearly complete and that some of the works there are pretty big.

I am not much on religion, but I wonder what one would come to think of if presented with all the texts in the list, exposed to them without any cultural bias. Would some sort of distilation of the concept of religion emerge from it, or would everybody just choose a religion they feel more comfortable with? Or maybe they would write their own religious texts.

When I think about it, I can't help but compare it with the emergence of certain genres in fiction, like alien invasion sci-fi or comic book super heroes. First there are some original authors that come up with an idea. The idea is well liked, bought and distributed. It becomes well known so that other people start making work of their own that is inspired by that. It's almost organic, with reproduction, mutation, cross breeding and extinction. However, the integrity of religions is mostly enforced by communities of people that insist on changing nothing. They stop evolution, but also protect against extinction. Is stagnation the hallmark of religion or is it the stability that it provides in a world in continuous flux of change?

I will tell you this: I like evolution. And I mean it in the most general sense, not only the Darwinian one. I find it ironic that in my mind religion is the opposite of evolution. Or maybe that's a cultural bias. Hmm...