Deceptive Tribalism — Religion, Nationalism, and Astrology

Deceptive ideologies like religion, nationalism, and astrology provide the comfort of acceptance, but also feed false biases. These are constructions to make us feel a part of something bigger, which is a need we should forego. We shouldn’t rely on community acceptance to construct our self-esteem.

A lack of belief is deemed unacceptable, so, we search for something to believe in. We can’t seem to be okay with the fact that we know little to nothing. We don’t have to believe in something, particularly non-science. Beliefs are misconstrued to be truths but they’re opinions. We don’t need to be a part of something bigger, and a sense of belonging doesn’t have to be contingent on obedience to a belief system.

God isn’t real, our star signs don’t mean anything, and a nation isn’t inherently better than any other. We can’t take loneliness, uncertainty, and the unknown so we choose to belong to something. Tribalistic ideology creates arbitrary dominance hierarchies between groups that help those within the group. Group biases distract from the approaches towards objective truth.

Religion has deep historical and sociocultural roots and is meant to give structure to an individual’s beliefs. It provides morals and guidance on living life. But we don’t need religion for that. We use religion as assurance because our self-belief is insufficient. Observing lack of control, we falsely attribute control to God. This is a self-deceptive coping mechanism.

A nation provides a geographically arbitrary grouping to emulate belonging. We are supposed to belong to the group we’re located in or look like. The tribe formation is shown to be attributed to shared culture and value systems. However, these are reasons given to divide us. Nations exist because of tribalist instincts and that they’re the systems we’re born into.

These groupings provide a reason for someone to be a certain way because of the perceived traits of a group they belong to. We view objects, or people, as similar to the ones in the category we put them in. This purports close-minded prejudice.

Astrology parodically shows the nonsense in tribe constructions. It is ridiculous to believe we’re a certain way because of the month-periods we’re born in. It shows the generality with which we view individuals. Attributing individual nature to a constructed group’s characteristics infects reason.

Variety writer