Religion as Technology

I was thinking today.  About?  Well, what will be the next big socially spanning world changing disruptive technology?  By my reconning, they occur about every 200 years or so, and I think a new one is due.  I started by tracing back to identify past disruptive technologies.  For the past 200 years or so(2010-1800, let’s say), most of these technologies involved science; electricity, new materials or machinery of some sort or other.  The 200 years prior to that (1800-1600) was dominated by philosophy; political revolutions (as opposed to personality based), rise of humanism and psychiatry, as examples. The preceding 200 years (1600-1400) yielded a flowering of education; arts, mapmaking, literature and the great schools….

My list goes on, and is debatable on many levels.  Really, I thought it would be my topic today, so I welcome comments (not that they’ll come).  Then, however, I stumbled upon something that was so obvious it took me a few minutes to realize it was out of the ordinary.  Somewhere around the Council of Nicaea (300s), I listed religion as the disruptive technology.  Obvious, right?  Roman emperor looking to galvanize support, cobbles together consensus of leaders of popular cult, uses this to cement political support and expand his authority.

Sure, except I’ve NEVER described this as a technology before.  I’ve never thought of it this way.  I started to look for references from others, and didn’t really find much.  A lot of technology as religion, but not religion as technology.  I think I’ve stumbled upon something big here.  No, i”m not claiming I’ve created this logical construct first, but it REALLY frames the issue differently for me.

Religion as technology falls right in line with some thinking I’ve been having about its usefulness absent faith.  This is really exciting for me!

Oh, will you look at that… 3am.  I suspected I’d find you here.