Which Was First, Religion To Help With Self Control Or Self Control Codified As Religion

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Which Was First, Religion To Help With Self Control Or Self Control Codified As ReligionPsychological Bulletin](“http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/which_was_first_religion_help_self_control_or_self_control_codified_religion”)

That is interesting in the extreme. Actually I’ve often thought, intuitively, that there must be a connection.

That being said, it does not necessarily follow that the purpose of any particular religion is to produce members who are self-controlled and disciplined. Indeed, with respect to Christianity the idea of self-control is anathema. What I allude to is the erroneous notion that in order for a person to be a (let’s use) Christian they must exhibit these qualities of self-control and discipline.

In general, as well, though I think we all can agree that elements of self-control and discipline are mandatory for any degree of success, I wonder, what self-control, what discipline? And to what degree?

What does it mean “valued”? If a church-going, tea-totalling, prayer-meeting-attending person finds himself not doing something that is highly valued does he need to be simply more self-controlled and disciplined? Just because his writings are universally understood to be “valued” was Hemmingway’s discipline of starting off every day with a stiff drink somehow better than mine of starting off each day with prayer.

Religion did not develop to infuse self control, it developed to ritualize those things important to our ancestors, the phases of the moon, knowing where the antelope were headed, knowing when the wild rice was ready for harvest, etc. Religion and self control were merged, one didn’t grow out of the other.

Surely the arguments for ‘religion as control’ are (at least) as persuasive as ‘religion as self-control’.

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