Author of “The God Virus” speaks in Santa Barbara
Dr. Darrel Ray Presents His New Book and Psychological Research
By David G. McAfee
Today, 03/20/2010, a long awaited lecture took place in the patio room of the “Vista Del Monte” in Santa Barbara, CA. Dr. Darrel Ray, prominent author of “The God Virus” and founder of the Recovering from Religion, gave a much anticipated yet down-to-earth speech to a group of around one hundred people about the controversial issues of the ‘infection’ of religion, sexual guilt, indoctrination, and blind faith, that is so prominent in the United States and the world. The talk, sponsored by the Humanist Society of Santa Barbara, consisted of presentations by the local leaders of the H.S.S.B. followed by a speech by Dr. Ray and a short- yet spirited- ‘Question and Answer’ session.
Dr. Darrel W. Ray, an ex-preacher, began the lecture with an amazing satire on traditional preaching style after which he, as a practicing hypnotherapist, was able to discern the hypnotic methods that many preachers and priests may employ during a sermon. With the guest list ranging from Humanist Society members, to members of the Freethinkers of Ventura County, to curious observers, the rooms was filled with skeptical and analytical minds.
Ray, inspired at least partially by Richard Dawkins’ ‘Viruses of the Mind’, told the story of his mission to understand the behavior behind religious believers- as well as the religious leaders who perpetuate the ‘God Virus’. Ray addressed in detail the viral metaphor conceptualized in his new book, his fundamentalist upbringing, and even the history of some religions from a phenomenological approach. The similarities in the beliefs and behavior between different religious groups (including Christians, Muslims, Mormons, and Scientologists) drove Dr. Ray to research the fundamental psychology behind the actions of a believer. He directly addresses the underlying theme in his new top-selling book by saying “Why can every religious person point out the inconsistencies in everybody else’s religion- but oblivious to the flaws in their own?”
Analyzing the impact of religion on modern humanity, Ray expounds on his ‘virus’ metaphor by explaining that the God Virus works in a similar fashion to the ‘rabies virus’ and even the Rhino Virus that causes the common cold- A church contains the necessary information on how to propagate from one generation to the next just like the illness forces the infected person to sneeze in order to further spread the infection. “The God Virus, like other sickness” Ray explains, “infiltrates the body when you are young and your ‘rational immune system’ is underdeveloped or weak.”
Ray conveyed his message with clarity, intelligence, and relevance to the eager group- bringing up important studies such as the negative correlations between religiosity and ‘IQ’, providing helpful advice about how to communicate with religious people in a proactive manner, and even discussing how to recover from a religious past with a positive outcome. Dr. Darrel W. Ray will continue on his speaking tour with his next event scheduled tomorrow March 21, 2010 at 12:00 P.M. at The Center LB, 2017 E. 4th. St. 2nd Floor, Song Beach, Long Beach, CA.