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Roger Scruton

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The core of common culture is religion. Tribes survive and flourish because they have gods, who fuse many wills into a single will, and demand and reward the sacrifices on which social life depends.
--
"Culture and Cult" (p. 5)

 
Roger Scruton

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It's so much easier to create our own gods; gods that are fully knowable. Those are the gods of atheism, occultism, religion and sometimes even Christianity. Then, of course, there are those prejudices that we demand of our gods. Women who take offense at a "male" God create for themselves a female or neuter god. There, we have all the racial gods, the black gods, white gods, and cultural gods, the Spanish gods, African gods, Indian gods and so on. All of them called god. And yet none of them are truly Him. Some may be tiny glimpses of Him. Maybe His big toe or little finger, but nothing more. Others are not even that. They’re only delusions from our prejudices.

 
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Every culture, or subculture, is defined by a set of common values, that is, generally agreed upon preferences. Without a core of common values a culture cannot exist, and we classify society into cultures and subcultures precisely because it is possible to identify groups who have common values.

 
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I should like to believe my people's religion, which was just what I could wish, but alas, it is impossible. I have really no religion, for my God, being a spirit shown merely by reason to exist, his properties utterly unknown, is no help to my life. I have nor the parson's comfortable doctrine that every good action has its reward, and every sin is forgiven. My whole religion is this: do every duty, and expect no reward for it, either here or hereafter.

 
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In a technocracy, tools play a central role in the thought-world of the culture. Everything must give way, in some degree, to their development. The social and symbolic worlds become increasingly subject to the requirements of that development. Tools are not integrated into the culture; they attack the culture. They bid to become the culture. As a consequence, tradition, social mores, myth, politics, ritual, and religion have to fight for their lives...

 
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Even personal tastes are learned, in the matrix of a culture or a subculture in which we grow up, by very much the same kind of process by which we learn our common values. Purely personal tastes, indeed, can only survive in a culture which tolerates them, that is, which has a common value that private tastes of certain kinds should be allowed.

 
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