I kept waiting for the punchline. I must have missed it, I thought. Perhaps this was too subtle and I was looking for a partially chagrined laugh at the humanity of sacred cows but instead there was some very slight satirical thing I didn’t understand. If it was there I really did miss it.

It was an interesting question about what produces a ‘sacred cow’? The problem seems to be mistaking a sacred cow for something that actually exists. Sacred cows are unquestioned beliefs that are devoid of an external or rational justification. They are simply human creations used to exert power over other people if you can get them to go along with the game.

We might define this as a two step process in creation. First there is a ‘weird cow’ that represents a trick being played on people for whatever reason. Again these are human social power games. If enough people can be tricked into believing in the weird cow it can graduate to ‘sacred cow’ status.

I remember my mother who was a participant in this process as a child. She and some friends managed to talk a classmate into eating some dog shit because they kept telling him that everyone ate dog shit and it was really good. He actually tried it and years later my mother still felt bad about what they had done.

The remnants of Iron Age religions are built heavily on sacred cows of various types. Everything was just a story. Hence the confusion with religion. Atheism is the absence of irrational belief in things so is not a good place to look for sacred cows although there will always be some.

The power play joke is a very basic component of Homo sapiens through our languages. We trick and laugh but also trick and steal as well as trick and control, if we can. Actually that is spread well back in mammalian evolution. Our primate cousins do this constantly.

We are prone to tricks of control with things like sacred cows. Religionists are publicly displayed acceptors of sacred cows so they get to eat a lot of shit. The moral problem is the people who try to feed people shit but feel no shame or ethical qualms at doing that. This would be an interesting discussion.

In fact I think that is the hidden problem here. We are seeing the critical mass being reached in public lies and bullshit by old style manipulators and there are now two generations and more who are refusing to waste anymore time on this stuff. This makes the people who played the sacred cow game uncomfortable and grouchy as they see the old ways disappearing into the air. It must be the atheist’s fault.

Written by

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store