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If you're Zoroastrian you're losing your religion.

Seth Godin writes:

The New York Times has a piece today about Zoroastrians. The religion is fading, almost certainly to extinction. After more than 3,000 years, one of the most important monotheistic religions is going to go away.

We can learn an important lesson about ideaviruses from religions, because they are in many ways the original (and longest-lasting) examples of the genre.

If you want to build a religion that spreads, here are some things to build into it:

Bias for evangelism
Sharp distinction between insiders and outsiders
Presumption that insiders are 'right' or 'blessed' or 'advantaged'
Proscription against intermarriage without conversion
Forbid one gender to work outside the home
Central hierarchy that maintains the faith and settles disputes
Offer significant (very) long-term benefits to believers

Read Seth's entire piece here.

Seth left out an important ingredient of the world's top religions: Procreation.

Islam, Hinduism, Morminism and Catholicism all have, built into their religious beliefs, taught benefits to procreation and/or prohibitions against birth control. So the "ideavirus" that is their religion spreads by birth - lots of births. In business this would be like creating customers that must create more customers in order to continue to be customers. It's AmWay.

Sorry Seth, but this is too big a factor in the spread of major world religions for a bright guy like you to have overlooked. And it has so many applications to the business world too. Surprised you missed it.

Any others you'd like to add? Any you think don't belong on his list?


Anonymous Todd said...

The forbid one gender one seems a bit weak. I don't really understand that point in the context of what he's talking about.

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Shaun you're not a Zoroastrian are you? I know it sounds stupid but I got a little confused by your title. Losing MY Religion. So it really wouldn't be your religion. Yeah I just got a little confused. I've got a verse quiz I gotta go and do now...

Blogger Brody Harper said...

It's good to see there are some "Pre- R.E.M." readers here shaun.

i agree with todd. the gender thing is weak, but also it seems to be working for the muslims. also there have been hints of that throughout christianity as well... we may not agree with it entirely but it's there.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

It's not really agreeing with it that's the issue. I think what Todd's getting at, and I agree, is that the gender thing doesn't seemed linked to the advancement of the religion. I mean I see how procreating spreads a religion but how does gender thing to that?

Just curious why it was included too.

Blogger Brody Harper said...

right. whether or not anyone agrees with the actual "policy", it's not a strong "rule" for a successful religion.

my point was that it didn't seem like a strong point but both muslim and christianity at one point embrace that thought. I think that's why it may have been included, but I agree with shaun about the pro-cration thing. christians make baby christians... within the union of a holy marriage of corse

Blogger Brody Harper said...

generally spelled with a "u".

Anonymous euphrony said...

Forbid one gender to work outside the home and Procreation

Have you considered that these are the same point? When you require one gender to stay at home, you severely limit the ways in which they can define themselves; and this is something all humans want to do, to have a strong definition of whom they are. About the only course left for the gender isolated in the home is to foster a family. In this way, they can feel they are productive, useful, and defined. When all other means of work, education, and interaction are limited or removed then the role or stay-at-home parent becomes the last course of making oneself a meaningful, contributing part of society.

Blogger dockanz said...

Sadly, there are those who are "post-REM" not pre.

Blogger Brody Harper said...

Dang-It. I hate messing up on jokes... I missed the day at joke school when they taught the difference between "pre" and "post".

Anonymous keith said...

"the last course of making oneself a meaningful, contributing part of society"?

Some happily see it as the first course even among other choices.

Anonymous euphrony said...

I hope no one takes the thought train of my last comment here to be my own, personal thoughts. I was trying to point out the possible logic behind the questioned point, drawing a connection between "house arrest" of one gender and the command to procreate.

My wife is a "stay-at-home mom" and I tell her regularly that I could never do the job she does, day in and day out, without passing the brink of insanity. And, on top of her motherly duties, she also is active in the local theater community and teaches theater at a local community college.

Keith, I would personally agree that parenting and child rearing is one choice among a plethora of paths that God sets out for each of us to trod. To arbitrarily limit one gender to the house is tantamount to arbitrarily and wrongly limiting the way God may use certain people.

Anonymous keith said...

Yes, "a plethora of paths." I just think it's cool that my wife often says, "Thank you for letting me stay at home!" She really does a wonderful job and takes great joy in it.


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