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Religion as a spiritual bank

To: alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.misc,alt.religion
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Religion as a spiritual bank
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 20:26:47 GMT

Kendar Deltos wrote:
> ... my explanation of how religion is like spiritual banking.
> If you are a member of a religion, you put [in] all your extra 
> spiritual energy through praying.  When you need it, you use a 
> different prayer to take some energy back from this storing place.  
> The thing is, you are not the only one putting energy in, and all the 
> energy that gets put in is mixed together (so it may not come out 
> exactly the same.)  The benefit is that you can take out more
> than you already put in, if you need to.  That's the goal behind 
> religion, and the popular dogmatic viewpoint: keep enough energy in 
> the idea (god[s]/goddess[es]) to keep the spiritual bank open.
> If you leave religion, you take with you your surplus (what you   
> put in minus what you took out.) If you have no surplus, you will 
> probably feel like you owe something to the religion, and decide to 
> stay with it until you've paid off your spiritual debt.  That can 
> [also] be overcome without paying off (karma is not universal).  
> You can also never join worship of any sort (which in our society is
> unlikely). 
> Either way you end up being non-religious.
> Like the religious, the non-religious (NR) store their extra 
> spiritual energy in a sort of spiritual bank. The difference: 
> NR have full control of their personal spirit bank, they cannot 
> take out more than they put in, and it is easier for them to 
> create spiritual energy with just one or two friends.
> But if a NR person needs more energy than they have stored away, 
> they  have to look to NR companions. Such explains the strong 
> comraderie between atheists (the most common/well-known NR) where 
> they help each other reach higher levels, as opposed to the more 
> military support structure between the religious, where they
> can bring each other higher, but there is almost always a leader 
> in such activity (most commonly (afaik), elders are the leaders).
> I've been sitting on this theory for about a week waiting for a good 
> time/place to bring it up (it came to me in the shower, if anyone is 
> wondering.)  This seemed like the right one.
> --Entari

It's a great metaphor, Kendar. Unless i am mistaken, the form of bank
you describe is a credit union or an old-fashioned savings-and-loan
(before deregulation) -- a bank where the total assets consist of the
deposits of the members, against which some members can borrow in times
of need. 

The Frank Capra movie "It's a Wonderful Life," starring James Stewart 
and Donna Reed, describes exactly this type of bank, in which no outside
investments are made and all the interest on deposits is derived from
interest paid by lenders, with only a small handling fee taken by the
employees and administrators of the bank. The movie is also -- no
coincidence, i believe -- a highly religious one, in which it is
demonstrated, first through positive and then through negative example,
that the welfare of the small town is linked directly both to the
services provided by the local savings bank and to the townspeoples'
faith in deity. 

The speech that Jimmy Stewart gives when there is a "run" on the bank
during the financial crisis of 1932 (in which he explains that there is
no actual money in the bank -- "it's all in your neighbors' houses") is
a classic statement of how such savings banks operate and it could also
function as a sermon on religion according to your metaphorical model.
Likewise, the famous "Auld Lang Syne" scene at the end of the movie
describes both a financial transaction, as the townspeople contribute
their excess nickles and dimes to save the bank, and a religious 
transaction, as their spiritual love (agape) restores Stewart's faith in

cat yronwode 

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