My favorite ferocious feminist has declared this to be “Sod off, God! Week” at I Blame The Patriarchy. There’s no respite from the patriarchy blaming, but she is taking a sledge to a few sacred cows as a sideline. Like this:
Take ritual, for instance. My suspicion is that ritual is no deep human need. As a concept it gives off quite the lip-wrinkling whiff of eau du primitif. And what about that trio of stinky undertones — conformity, obeisance, and orthodoxy — that comes with it? Add the collateral conditions of exclusivity and tradition, and you got yourself all the field marks of one of those bogus assumptions that status-quoticians are always trumpeting as “natural” or “instinctive” but which are really just tools of the patriarchy or opiates of the people or what have you. You know. “Big tits are sexy.” “Women’s minds are naturally less inclined toward mathematics.” “Van Morrison is a genius.” Etc.
I’ve heard that so often: that people need ritual, that there’s something beautiful and comforting about the predictable and stately. Why? I get along fine without it, and find it a nuisance when I’m subjected to it, so it’s clearly not a universal human need, like food or love. If you’re brought up with it, if it’s dunned into your head that you must attend Sunday services or you will go to hell, I can understand how the relief from an artificial anxiety might feel good…but why not cut the problem off at the roots and raise kids who aren’t instilled with those foolish fears?
Ritual is a head game. It’s the droning repetition of nonsense that the church has used for millennia to kill the muses of creativity and individuality—and once they’ve punched that god-shaped hole in your head, they’ve got you hooked on the weekly or daily pap sessions needed to fill the gap with the sacred version of gelfoam.*
*That reference may be a little obscure. In my neurosurgical days, we used to chop bits of brains out of experimental animals, and you don’t just leave a hole—you pack it with light space-filling foam. They only need it because we’ve cut out something more essential.