I sometimes claim to be an Evil Religious Scholar because, well, I can’t claim to be a Mad Scientist. Having spent ten years working on double exams in religious studies is impressing, but doesn’t mean I can pull the scientist card in english (in swedish I can – the language doesn’t separate scholar and scientist in the same way). Besides Mad Scientists are a dime a dozen nowadays.
But that raisies an important question; what does an Evil Religious Scholar do? Mad Scientists piece together evil contraptions while doing evil bellylaughs and plot to take over the world, we all know that. Evil Religious Scholars on the other hand… Evil belly laughs? Check on that. Take over the world? Yes, of course, you can’t have a megalomaniac without a good world domination plan. But how?
If you say ”start a religion” I’m going to send you to that special hell called ”do your homework” because that proves your grasp on how religion works is dim at best, probably prejudiced and that you’re prone to listen to uninformed slander. And please learn from someone who actually do research on religion. Cambridge have a nice introductory book you can start with.
Yes, there are religious scholars who becomes sect leaders, as there are a large group of sect leaders who are not scholars but loonies, science fiction authors, oil millionaires aso. L Ron Hubbard aside most of them have needed the framework of a working religion to pull the trick off. The thing is that they feed of people’s emptyness. When swedish scholars studied terrorist groups they found that the leaders in general were well read-up on the chosen religion, but the followers had a sort of ‘void of values’. An important part of upbringing is to be given a set of do’s and don’ts along with a set of explanations to why a human should follow this set. The individual is not fixed to follow this set, its importance is rather that it functions as the ruler to which s/he compare other values for either incorporation or rejection. (If an individual was hellbound to the first set no children of sect members would ever be able to leave the sect, yet that happens regularly.)
Sometimes individuals are brought up without this set of values. They have, for various reasons, managed to miss all those institutions that can provide them with one (parents, school, temple/church/synagoge/mosque/etc, well written fiction, sport – there are lots of them). But the absence creates a craving in the soul and the individual will try to fill it – in general with lots of drugs or with extreme interpretations of a religion. Drug dealers and sect leaders knows this, and makes their living of catching these persons in their net.
So, starting a sect is passable for an Evil Religious Scholar, but somewhat bland. It has been done so many times before it’s close to impossible to vary the theme. Not even if I surrounded myself with scantily clad bellydancers, and demanded my enemies dead bodies stuffed with peeled grapes would I trump what have been done before. What makes a Mad Scientist, appart from the megalomaniacal plans, is a certain kind imagination. It’s not just taking over the world, it’s taking over the world Using Giant Pancake Eating Meccas And Stealing the Heroine’s Beautiful Lover While Laughing Madly. Without that imagination an evil scientist is just a crook.
Instead of starting a sect I could spread the notion that children should be protected from religion at all cost. That would be more creative. Eventhough religion is not the only institution that transfers values between generations it’s an important one. You can argue that the values can stand alone, and that’s true, but that doesn’t diminish the power religion has in tranfering them. And those who transfers values via religion, be it parents, schools, authors or communal leaders, won’t separate between religion and values – they are integrated in each other in this case. Forbidding them to transfer religion will in reality gag them from transfering their values.
Like I said above these first set of values are not set in stone – they rather function as a set of meassures when the individual builds her/his own set. But they have to be learned during childhood. Otherwise the individual will have that void that drug dealers and sect leaders are so fond of. Forbidding religion to be taught to children would create large groups with that void, and what’s more important, since religion is not alone in transfering values we have close to no chance of predicting how many or where they will be. What I will bet on is that drug dealers and sect leaders will find them long before more sensible people do. That’s brilliantly evil!
But I believe the idea is already taken.
Sooo… what’s left? Diets and economics. There are few people who hang on to their beliefs like adherants to a certain economical theory. There’s actually an interesting difference between them and adherants of ”true” religions (and in this case I mean people in a sound religious environment). Religious people have a certain distance, knowing that the thing they believe in is fluid and needs to be evolved, whereas economists hang on to their theories for dear life. If you plant a theory that will redirect funds from the grass roots of the society to the top layer, amassing ridiculous amounts of wealth on few people you’ll soon have a society where…
Dang! That one’s taken too!
Diet’s left, and I think we have a humdinger here. There’s always space for another one, and there are no limits to how strange they can be! Through my life I’ve seen the Scarsdale diet, the cabbage soup diet, the Weight watchers, the no-carb diet, the paleo diet and the banana diet. This is not an extensive list. The strange thing with diets is that they have adherents even more fanatical than economists, yet they mostly go under the radar, perhaps because most are women and thus the movement is considered ”unimportant”. Yes, they are scruitinized and debated, but they don’t have their own sections on the news sites, or puffed up men in costumes telling us What’s Important To Do For The Society.
Hmmm… What we eat is important, and decides the behaviour of people. There’s unlimited room for creativity, and the fluid space occupied by diets means I can squeeze in. I just have to find a male who looks well-read and trustworthy in a labcoat to front the diet and then…
*ahem* *cough* *cough*
MUAHAHAHAHAHAAAA! …I’LL RULE THE WORLD WITH MY CINNAMON ROLL AND CHOCOLATE DIET!