Religion Evolves

from by Baba Brinkman

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about

A survey of evolutionary theories of religion's origins.

Further reading: 1. bit.ly/1EdHXxU

2. bit.ly/1KeBTpD

lyrics

I spent my whole life perplexed by religiousness
Front door step debating with Jehova’s witnesses
I was a teenaged empirical thinker, a spiritual seeker
Obsessed with rap, I considered it lyrical research
This was the medium that I could think and speak in
Flippin’ ridiculous figures of speech over beats like every weekend
My CD collection became my personal gospel
I was an apostle, like Thomas, wondering was it impossible
To rock shows and still be thoughtful, so paradoxical
Speakin’ in tongues all over the drums like Pentecostals
I figured if I could master the craft I could start a new religion
Devoid of superstition, a descendent of secular humanism
With the ecstatic rituals of ancient mystical shamanistical
Visions, except based on philosophical naturalism
Which means no counterfactual claims, no supernatural
Nothin’ but reason and evidence, troops salute the rational
In my religion the truth is sacred, and science adjudicates it
And meditation is cool if you wanna find your buddha nature
But human nature exists too, and it’s not rude to face it
Enlightenment comes when we understand how evolution shapes it

It’s a demon haunted world, you can take it from Carl
Sagan, whether Christian or pagan, religion evolves
Whether it benefits one of us or whether it benefits all
Adaptive problems are gonna get solved, religion evolves
The bigger the scale of a society, the bigger the gods
People get along when someone’s watchin’ them, religion evolves
We’ll send a rocket on a manned mission to mars
If the holy wars don’t kill us first, let’s hope religion evolves

I’ll turn my religion upon itself like an ouroboros
Religion evolves, it adapts, ask a biologist
A cognitive psychologist, a sociologist
An anthropologist, a behavioural ecologist, religion is all of this
Two or three new religions get founded a day
They’re just like rap artists, most of them won’t be around in a decade
They all compete for space and followers and human devotion
Religion evolves ‘cause many are called but few are chosen
Approximately ten thousand religions are currently active
So forgive me if I don’t ask which exact version you practice
Chances are, flip of a coin, it’s probably Abrahamic
Half the planet is either Christian or Jewish or Islamic
We can track the demographics, study the epidemiology
But human beings have been religious since before the holocene
Twelve thousand years ago, agricultural revolution
Prior to that, most of our significant evolution
Small scale societies surviving in the pleistocene
Had a strong incentive to unite like a hive of bees
Religion is a device for binding people tribally
And if you’re in my tribe, well then I’ll die for you and you’ll die for me

It’s a demon haunted world, you can take it from Carl
Sagan, whether Christian or pagan, religion evolves
Whether it benefits one of us or whether it benefits all
Adaptive problems are gonna get solved, religion evolves
The bigger the scale of a society, the bigger the gods
People get along when someone’s watchin’ them, religion evolves
We’ll send a rocket on a manned mission to mars
If the holy wars don’t kill us first, let’s hope religion evolves

Religion is an evolved mental technology, definitely
But did it evolve culturally, or did it evolve genetically?
Or is it a byproduct of several other mental capacities
That evolved independently and separately function adaptively
Like agency detection systems triggered hyperactively
Or theory of mind, which means reading people tactically
Like, I know what you’re thinkin’ – who the hell is Baba Brinkman?
Is he some kind of cross between a prof and juvenile delinquent?
Yeah that’s right, that’s what I am, now let’s get back to the question at hand
I have a conscious mind and I’ll try to predict your thoughts as best I can
And I predict you’ve never considered what religion is adapted for
Or if you have, then I predict you’ve never heard it rapped before
So how do I know it’s adaptive? It could be random drift
It could be a byproduct of something else that has adaptiveness
Like your belly button, which amazing, but it’s not really for
Naval gazing; Nah, it’s a side effect of your umbilical chord
So religion might be a viral meme that’s parasitic
Or it might be an adaptation that maximizes descendants
It might benefit individuals, or it might benefit whole groups
Or it might be the invention of cynical priests trying to control you
Or it might be a belly button byproduct, or adaptive in the past
And maladaptive in the present, these are good questions to ask
And science can find the answers, and the answers are non-obvious
Except the answer to where religion doesn’t come from…

Divine providence

credits

from The Rap Guide to Religion, released October 23, 2015
Written by D. Brinkman and D. Moross
Produced by Soulful Spider
Co-produced, Mixed, and Mastered by Mr. Simmonds
Additional keys by Simon Kendall

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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Canadian hip-hop with an intellectual bent, nothing but sexy beats and sumptuous brain food.

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