Consort memes of the Christianity Meme complex
The Christianity Meme is a successful complex of smaller memes that effectively work together to help the complex maintain its integrity. (See "The Essence of Christianity" on this web site.) Here, we try to tease apart the Christianity meme complex and expose some of its many consort memes. These memes constitute some of the main elements of Christian beliefs. We include a brief statement how the consort meme and the Christianity meme are mutually supportive. Arguments against these beliefs are also made. (The presentation order of these memes is not significant.) Because there are thousands of consort memes, we try to focus on the consorts that have greatly contributed to Christianity's success.  Please feel free to offer suggestions for this web page.

Consort Meme #1. Morality is derived from a belief in God.

By implication, those without a God (Buddhists, Atheists, Secular Humanists, etc.) are inherently immoral.

  • The Texas Constitution, written in 1875, includes the following provision: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being." (The First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution supersedes this provision.)
  • The movement in the U. S. to promote religion in schools (prayer, the Ten Commandments, etc.) as a response to the recent high school shootings as a means of improving the moral character of students. See the news article " For the Right, Littleton's Tragedy became a 'Window of Opportunity'".
  • Commonly, two life paths are presented by Christian leaders: a life of wanting material possessions, hedonism, and selfishness; or the path a life in faith in Jesus. At the August 20, 2000 mass held at the World Youth Day Festival, the Pope reacted to the large youth audience by saying, "Our society desperately needs this sign, and young people need it even more so, tempted as they are by the illusion of an easy and comfortable life, by drugs and pleasure seeking, only to find themselves in a spiral of despair, meaninglessness and violence."
Synergism with the Christianity Meme:
This highly successful meme has great support in the United States because it does not alienate the influential Jewish community. If Buddhists, for example, were more powerful in the U.S., this meme would not be as successful. Those infected with the Christianity Meme use this belief in order to gain a wider stronghold on institutions, such as schools. Once this meme is accepted, it is relatively easy for the Christianity Meme to also be accepted.
Arguments against the belief:
First, the argument belittles humanity. It effectively says that man is incapable of moral action without threat of punishment (or enticement of reward) from an all-powerful being. It reduces us to the level of children who are told by our mothers: "you're going to get a whipping when your daddy hears what you did." Action directed by fear of reprisal is not morality, it's manipulation. Perhaps most Christians are at a childhood level of maturity and therefore need this type of external structure. It is inappropriate as a blanket belief for all humanity.

Next, why should a being of another species be the author of moral laws for humans? As shown elsewhere on this site, the Christian God does not follow his own laws. This casts serious doubts as to the value of moral laws derived from a belief in a Christian God.

Consort Meme #2. The Bible represents the truth as revealed to us by God.

This is a combination of two closely related ideas, that the Bible is divinely inspired (or even written by God) and that it represents the ultimate truth.

  • Fundamentalist Christians believe that the Bible is the literal word of God.
  • Nearly all Christian denominations are based primarily on Biblical teaching.
Synergism with the Christianity Meme:
The Christianity Meme is aided by this consort in that the Christianity Meme becomes simply the spreading of God's word.  To do anything else would go against the universe (presumably).  The consort benefits as it is a central tenet of Christian thought.
Arguments against the belief:
While Christians everywhere agree on the importance of the Bible to their faith, it is nearly impossible for two Christians to agree on exactly what parts of the Bible are true.  While the fundamentalists say it's all true, they become the objects of ridicule when the myriad contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible are pointed out.  (Creationism and the "young earth theory", borne out of a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, are scientifically unsound, as one example.  Sadly, reason, logic, and science are completely lost on these people, who doggedly cling to false beliefs and continue promoting them.  The Christianity Meme benefits greatly from its control over these people.)  Other denominations reject a literal interpretation of the Bible saying that most of it is metaphorical and subject to interpretation.  Non fundamentalist clergy squirm when asked exactly what parts of the Bible are true. They know that clergy at whatever church next door will give a different answer.  (These disagreements are the source of denominational splits, which are rarely pretty.)  By avoiding this question, clergy are trying to avoid religious wars and the associated bloodshed.  What good is the "truth", if nobody can quite put their finger on it?  What is really promoted is a vague illusion of truth.  As if to say, "It's in there somewhere, but we're not quite sure where."

When pressed, most Christians will agree that the Ten Commandments were the word of God.  It is one place in the Bible where God clearly tries to communicate his intended laws to his people.  This must be important stuff.  He even supposedly wrote it down on stone tablets so that it wouldn't get muddled up or destroyed.  Isn't it funny that man managed to pulverize those tablets and muddle up their message anyway.  (Maybe if he was smart, he would have made them out of diamonds and hung them up out of reach.)  Isn't the word of God important enough to keep intact?

To summarize,
  • the Bible has a poor history of  truthfulness when it has made assertions that were later scientifically examined,
  • it contains many contradictions and inconsistencies, and
  • nobody can agree on the parts of the Bible that might actually be true (or even God's word).
The notion that the Bible represents truth is nothing more than a farce that helps the Christianity Meme continue to thrive.

Consort Meme #3. Praying to God will make him do things for us.

  • Group prayer is an integral part of Christian religious services as communication with God. Such prayers usually take the form of a request to God.
  • An entire culture has grown up around prayer to increase its effectiveness. Consider the rosary, asking clergy for blessings, and the act of going to church (or some other holy place) to pray.
Synergism with the Christianity Meme:
Christianity dis-empowers its believers by promoting the idea that an individual has no power unless he gives his life to God. Prayer is one of the means by which the power of God is meted out to the faithful--the deeper one's faith, the more likely the prayer is to take effect. Thus, prayer appeals to our desire for power and, in some cases, our selfishness. Who wouldn't want to be able to control the power of a God, just like that of a genie? The "praying" meme is thus reinforced by Christianity (the Christianity Meme).

Prayer is a human activity that is known to alter the state of the mind and body. While the effects of this activity are not fully understood, it may be that prayer can act as a gateway to unleashing some human powers. See "The "Healing Words" Interview With Dr. Larry Dossey M.D". The Christianity Meme benefits from these tangible effects of prayer in that the effects are mistakenly believed to be due to a Christian God.
Arguments against the belief:
The James Randi Educational Foundation has yet to verify any claims of supernatural activity related to prayer (or any other human endeavor). Surely proving such a claim would greatly benefit the Christian movement and garner prize money that could be used to further promote Christian beliefs. Prayer is simply a means of reinforcing the Christianity Meme's hold over its hosts and thus increasing its longevity. The drug-like effects of prayer are easily attributed to a religious euphoria of feeling "one with God". Any prayers realized are coincidence that help reinforce the association. Ironically, when a prayer does not work, blame is placed on the wisdom of God or the lack of faith of the prayer, both of which also serve to reinforce the meme complex.

Consort Meme #4. We each have a soul given to us by God.

The soul meme is a complex unto itself, including concepts of heaven and hell. Most religions have some notion of a soul that allegedly gives us a vehicle to immortality.

  • The various sects of Christianity claim different mechanisms by which your actions and beliefs in this life will facilitate your soul's going to heaven after death.
  • The notion that a loved one who has died is "in a better place" and still able to interact with us at some level is very comforting.
  • The practice of saying "bless you" when someone sneezes is based on the superstition that when you sneeze, your soul pops out of your body briefly and can be snatched by the Devil. The blessing supposedly prevents this awful fate.
Synergism with the Christianity Meme:
The notion of a soul that outlives the body is effectively a means of cheating death. The soul meme plays to our deeply rooted survival instincts. Once a person adopts a belief in the soul, the rejection of that belief requires accepting one's eventual death. Because most people prefer to remain in denial about their mortality, the soul meme remains entrenched.

Christianity simply doesn't work without the soul meme and the consort memes of heaven and hell. Without a soul, there can be no mechanism for the reward of a blissful afterlife of basking in the glory of God or the punishment of eternal damnation with its associated fire and brimstone. Therefore, without the soul meme, the Christianity Meme looses its most effective hook for behavioral control of its host.
Arguments against the belief:
Christians believe that the soul is created at conception. (This is the primary reason why Christians are against abortion.) The soul remains with the human body while the person is alive. At death, the soul is released, judged at the "pearly gates", and sent to heaven or hell. (There are lots of variations on this story.)

  Human cloning challenges these beliefs, however. It will soon be possible to clone an entire human from a single cell. What about the soul of this new human? One of three possibilities arise:
  • The new human has a soul of his own. Unfortunately, this possibility takes God out of the picture. Perhaps Christians will eventually decide to claim that God blesses cloning, which is the opposite of their current beliefs.
  • The new human shares the soul of the original. This possibility flies in the face of the idea of free will. Does the soul go to heaven based on the actions of the original human or the clone? What if the original human is a saint and the clone is Pagan? This doesn't seem to fit very well with Christian ideas of judgment and free will.
  • The new human doesn't have a soul. This is by far the most terrifying idea to Christians. Without a soul, the clone would essentially be some sort of monster without any potential for morals. Remember the controversy surrounding invitro fertilization? Christians claimed the same thing then. Healthy, normal children that have been conceived outside the womb disproves this predicted horror scenario.
By far, the most terrifying scenario to Christians is for cloning and stem cell research to render the notion of the soul to be complete nonsense. This would rock the very foundation of Christianity. As a result, Christians are very much opposed to this kind of research. They are happy to trade any life sustaining medical breakthroughs for all people so that that they can keep their obsolete notions of the soul and a potential for afterlife.