Religion of the Other Men

Science and industry had brought one of those sudden and extreme revolutions of thought which were so characteristic of the Other Men. Nearly all the churches were destroyed or turned into temporary factories or industrial museums. Atheism, lately persecuted, became fashionable. All the best minds turned agnostic. More recently, however, apparently in horror at the effects of a materialistic culture which was far more cynical and blatant than our own, the most industrialized peoples began to turn once more to religion. A spiritistic foundation was provided for natural science. The old churches were re-sanctified, and so many new religious edifices were built that they were soon as plentiful as cinema houses with us. Indeed, the new churches gradually absorbed the cinema, and provided non-stop picture shows in which sensual orgies and ecclesiastical propaganda were skilfully blended.

At the time of my visit the churches had regained all their lost power. Radio had indeed at one time competed with them, but was successfully absorbed. They still refused to broadcast the immaculate union, which gained fresh prestige from the popular belief that it was too spiritual to be transmitted on the ether. The more advanced clerics, however, had agreed that if ever the universal system of "radio-bliss" was established, this difficulty might be overcome. Communism, meanwhile, still maintained its irreligious convention; but in the two great Communist countries the officially organized "irreligion" was becoming a religion in all but name. It had its institutions, its priesthood, its ritual, its morality, its system of absolution, its metaphysical doctrines, which, though devoutly materialistic, were none the less superstitious. And the flavor of deity had been displaced by the flavor of the proletariat.


Another perplexing fact about the religious life of the Other Men at the time of my visit was this. Though all were devout, and blasphemy was regarded with horror, the general attitude to the deity was one of blasphemous commercialism. Men assumed that the flavor of deity could be bought for all eternity with money or with ritual. Further, the God whom they worshipped with the superb and heart-searching language of an earlier age was now conceived either as a just but jealous employer or as an indulgent parent, or else as sheer physical energy. The crowning vulgarity was the conviction that in no earlier age had religion been so widespread and so enlightened. It was almost universally agreed that the profound teachings of the prophetic era were only now being understood in the sense in which they had originally been intended by the prophets themselves. Contemporary writers and broadcasters claimed to be re-interpreting the scriptures to suit the enlightened religious needs of an age which called itself the Age of Scientific Religion. Now behind all the complacency which characterized the civilization of the Other Men before the outbreak of the war I had often detected a vague restlessness and anxiety. Of course for the most part people went about their affairs with the same absorbed and self-satisfied interest as on my own planet. They were far too busy making a living, marrying, rearing families, trying to get the better of one another, to spare time for conscious doubt about the aim of life. Yet they had often the air of one who has forgotten some very important thing and is racking his brains to recover it, or of an aging preacher who uses the old stirring phrases without clear apprehension of their significance. Increasingly I suspected that this race, in spite of all its triumphs, was now living on the great ideas of its past, mouthing concepts that it no longer had the sensibility to understand, paying verbal homage to ideals which it could no longer sincerely will, and behaving within a system of institutions many of which could only be worked successfully by minds of a slightly finer temper. These institutions, I suspected, must have been created by a race endowed not only with much greater intelligence, but with a much stronger and more comprehensive capacity for community than was now possible on the Other Earth. They seemed to be based on the assumption that men were on the whole kindly, reasonable and self-disciplined.


Folksonomies: religion otherness alien other

/religion and spirituality (0.692406)
/religion and spirituality/atheism and agnosticism (0.308910)
/family and parenting (0.270749)

new religious edifices (0.931734 (neutral:0.000000)), non-stop picture shows (0.926177 (neutral:0.000000)), earlier age (0.914285 (positive:0.362360)), great Communist countries (0.906483 (neutral:0.000000)), slightly finer temper (0.901690 (neutral:0.000000)), sheer physical energy (0.900838 (neutral:0.000000)), old stirring phrases (0.894924 (neutral:0.000000)), men (0.807055 (negative:-0.022059)), materialistic culture (0.803323 (negative:-0.564905)), best minds (0.790558 (positive:0.801650)), industrial museums (0.785805 (negative:-0.535902)), temporary factories (0.785324 (negative:-0.535902)), extreme revolutions (0.784575 (negative:-0.486488)), industrialized peoples (0.782507 (neutral:0.000000)), advanced clerics (0.780990 (neutral:0.000000)), blasphemous commercialism (0.780406 (neutral:0.000000)), spiritistic foundation (0.780172 (neutral:0.000000)), sensual orgies (0.777909 (neutral:0.000000)), natural science (0.776600 (neutral:0.000000)), old churches (0.775253 (neutral:0.000000)), perplexing fact (0.774655 (negative:-0.788333)), new churches (0.773993 (neutral:0.000000)), vague restlessness (0.771724 (negative:-0.879613)), mouthing concepts (0.771572 (negative:-0.316988)), ecclesiastical propaganda (0.771422 (neutral:0.000000)), irreligious convention (0.770423 (neutral:0.000000)), immaculate union (0.770004 (neutral:0.000000)), jealous employer (0.768701 (negative:-0.372753)), indulgent parent (0.768182 (negative:-0.372753)), popular belief (0.767423 (neutral:0.000000))

Other Men:Organization (0.856760 (negative:-0.718145)), Age of Scientific Religion:PrintMedia (0.351474 (neutral:0.000000))

Religion (0.977014): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
God (0.547000): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Ritual (0.502500): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Deity (0.453151): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Irreligion (0.440667): dbpedia | freebase
Communism (0.427943): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
The Age (0.427534): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
Brian Aldiss (0.388237): website | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago

 Star Maker
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Stapledon, Olaf (1937), Star Maker, Retrieved on 2017-03-10
Folksonomies: speculation science fiction