Supernatural Punishment

from by Baba Brinkman

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    Science and religion collide in the shirt Baba wears on stage for live performances of Rap Guide to Religion.

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about

The evolution of supernatural monitor gods.

Further Reading: 1. www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6251/918.full
2. press.princeton.edu/titles/10063.html

lyrics

If you want to get to origins of religion
You gotta start with your ancestors
We’re goin’ tribal y’all

Religions are devices for coordinating action
And keeping people from fragmenting into warring factions
The benefits of sticking together are kinda fragile
And people on their own are like wheels without an axel
We all used to be hunters and gatherers not so long ago
We played the kinda games that only pygmies in the Congo know
Sometimes “back to nature” is the place I wanna go
So journey with me back to a time when no one’s on their own
Put your iPhone aside and come with me
We're livin' in a tribe of no more than one fifty
Our sons or daughters get traded to the neighbour tribe
Cause breakers of incest taboos don't get to stay alive
That's just a “cultural thing”, everybody knows
The gods live in every tree and under every stone
The gods don't enforce our laws though; the laws are tribal
Indulge your homicidal side and pay the blood libel

Ain’t nobody messin’ with my animism click, click, click, click
The rest of us are counting on you to act right, so don’t be a…

Everything we do is communal, that's critical
Any prima donna grandstanding gets ridiculed
All the gods do is visit shamans in their trances
Make mischief and disasters and play with us when we're dancin'
But they don’t punish or reward us in the afterlife
It’s dark and boring there; the gods want a sacrifice
They wanna help us to move and sway to the rhythm
And they're please whenever we collectively make a decision
And those who break with custom get punished with ostracism and gossip
The gods don’t watch us but somebody’s watchin’ so watch it
It’s life and death out here, we need vigilance
There’s always war parties raiding on our villages
Anybody shirkin’ a burden to benefit himself
At the expense of someone else, gets expelled
It’s been this way since time immemorial
One for all, all for one, that’s the warrior code

Ain’t nobody messin’ with my tribalism click, click, click, click
The rest of us are counting on you to act right, so don’t be a…

Religions are for coordinating action
In practice they can fragment us into some warring factions
The benefits of stickin’ together are kinda fragile
And people on their own are like wheels without an axel
But lately we’ve been planting some barley and tending cattle
Now we got a stockpile and a standing army for battle
But now it seems like half the people I meet are anonymous
The honour system is breaking down, there’s something wrong with us
Ten thousand people in a city-state metropolis
dNow we got a sky god lookin’ down, watchin’ us
Supernatural monitors keep the people in line
They don’t only see your actions; they can see into your mind
And after you die, the gods will judge you and face you
And either raise you into their presence or curse and disgrace you
And punish you in this life too, with ill fortune
But nothin’ gets ‘em shakin’ like the fear of hell scorchin’

Ain’t nobody messin’ with my true believer click, click, click, click
The rest of us are counting on you to act right, so don’t be a…

Now believers can establish new trade routes
Bonds of mutual trust benefit the faithful
Anonymous strangers say the words and exchange favours
And make wagers on common causes and face dangers
But no one trusts you if you don’t perform the rituals
And make habitual sacrifices at frequent intervals
Public demonstrations, the more wasteful the better
Costly advertisements so people can take your measure
And believe you believe, so the trust can continue
And once the bonds are cemented, we’ll form an insular in-group
And members of the out-group are less human
And when they transgress we’re less prone to excuse them
Cooperation has a dark side lurkin’
Religious wars are just religions workin’
We climbed the ladder of society with big gods
But lately we’ve made up some other ways people get watched

We climbed the ladder of society with big gods
But lately there’s some other ways people can get watched

That’s the punishment; the gods above are lovin’ it
The system’s organized to get to you and who you runnin’ with
Nowadays we rely on the government
But once upon a time it was supernatural punishment

We post online and when there’s crime we uncover it
But once upon a time it was supernatural punishment

‘Cause ain’t nobody messin’ with my secular click, click, click
We respect authorities as long as they’re civic, ick, ick

credits

from The Rap Guide to Religion, released October 23, 2015
Written by D. Brinkman and T. Caruana
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Additional Keys by Simon Kendall
Mastered by Mr. Simmonds

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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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