Daniel Quinn is the author of “Ismael,” “My Ismael,” and “The Story of B”. These books present some interesting ideas. In “The Story of B,” Quin says that today, you can go just about anyplace in the world, stop people on street corners, and say, “Let me tell you how to be saved,” and they’ll know what you mean. They’ll know that you want to convert them to your religion. He says that all of the major world religions are salvationist religions. The concept is that the all humans are essentially flawed, wrong, sinful, and need to be “saved” in some way. The exact goal varies – eternal life in heaven; freedom from the wheel of life; whatever – but the concept of being essentially flawed and in need of salvation is always there. The only people whose beliefs don’t include this concept are the few remaining hunter-gatherers scattered about in a few places in the world.
Quinn says that the development and growth of salvationist religions is a sign of distress, caused by population growth and the pressures it causes.
Quinn says that prior to the development of salvationist religions, people were animists. Animists don’t see people as flawed and in need of salvation; they see the world as a sacred place and all life as sacred; we’re not flawed, our neighbors aren’t flawed; we’re all sacred, and nobody needs to be saved.
Here are links to a Daniel Quinn website and some relevant items from its Q&A section–
The Ismael Website
The Questions & Answers Page
Question: But Buddhism isn’t salvationist, is it? Answer: Yes it is.
Q&A with information on the nature of salvationist religions.
I have no religion. Looking at it from the outside, I have to think that if I wanted a relgion, I would not want one that was based on the idea that everyone is essentially flawed (born bad; born in a state of sin; born to suffer) and in need of salvation.
I find it ironic that some Christians say that it’s bad for children to teach them about science in general and evolution in particular, because that “teaches them that they’re just animals,” or decended from animals / related to animals / no better then animals. Religion and “creationism,” will, OTOH, teach them that they’re “part of god”. Well, hey, as a matter of fact we are animals. But aside from that, how is it supposed to be such a good idea to expose children to a religon that teaches them that they are automatically bad people; that they were born bad, sinful, flawed, wrong?