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Grafting or Growing


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/07/01

Some religions, or faiths, graft themselves onto culture into which they find themselves, such as the prominent examples of Christianity or Islam. All, at one time or another, grow out of them. I will explain more of this in a bit, which I assume you know as well, simply intuitively if not indoctrinated into pure positive thinking about dominant mythologies in the culture. Both of those religions — Christianity and Islam — have histories, centuries of devoted to them, of bloodshed and conquest connected to their names, despite the formal advertisements about ‘love’ and ‘peace’ (RationalWiki, 2017). Where love and peace become excuses for ancient hatreds and us-them tendencies, let’s look at the country of my origin, Canada, on the far, but not farthest, reaches of the West of it, I live in Langley, which is in British Columbia (City of Langley, 2017).

In Canada, most of, much of the country remains religious, Catholic or Protestant by a wide margin, with a smattering of Indigenous religious faiths and non-Indigenous world faiths introduced into the belief system or concept ecosystem of the country — which would include Catholicism and Protestantism. These faiths, especially the dominant few, were spread by murder, attempted and many times successful termination of peoples and cultures, and forced assimilation in residential schools, in friendly ol’ Canada, right here — and not too long ago. Only a few generations ago, not even, really: think of Wab Kinew, and the impact on his life, and his father, who was the direct victim of the Catholic residential school system in this country (Kinew, 2017; Miller, 2016). Then from them, feel for the thousands of others.

With the residential schools alone, and with the attempted elimination of not only the people but the various cultures and faiths of various nations in the modern sectioning of North America called Canada, the palpable and understandable distrust, even hatred and resentment of some of the Indigenous populations towards the dominant Christian faith and culture, in the Canadian case, is present, in some, even many, instances. From those that are the direct descendants of those most affected by these actions, the Christian religion is the colonial religion — an alien entity imposed, inculcated by force on the young: ask many countries on most continents in the world with human inhabitants.

It is a hard-to-ignore or hard-to-be obscurantist about this fact, because it happens to be true. Yes, some Indigenous populations were slavers; yes, there was warfare among various nations prior to colonial times (Revolvy, 2017). However, the fact remains that the entire country of Canada was founded, in part, on — strange-to-say — good-intentioned murder of peoples and culture, to ‘save souls’ and bring, even by force, the ‘right culture’ to the people , or “savages” according to the first prime minister of Canada Sir John A MacDonald, of the region (Joseph, 2016). To me, these seem like open crimes couched in delusional, in some ways, thinking. The road to hell…ironically.

Also, there was the simple slavery conducted in New France with most of, or many of, the slaves being of Indigenous heritage, and so origin (Lawrence, 2016).

Islam massacred peoples and cultures, and planted their own socio-religious structures and culture by force on them, too — flying, winged horse and all. All faiths probably grew out of some ancient culture, but some modern ones are known to have grown out of modern societies, such as that founded by the charlatan and fraudster, and purported prophet Joseph Smith, right in America.

Blacks, or African Americans, were not allowed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for a long time, at least until the 1980s, which is recent, very much so. Islam has liberalized in some respects, especially some branches of American Islam or that represented by the Aga Khan. Same with some post-Reformation and post-Enlightenment Christianity. These took time to tame, from the outside.

But often the grafting plus time appeared to soften the traditionalist, fundamentalist aspects of the religions, on average. When I reflect further on the nature of the growing out of, and eventual grafting onto, culture, especially with the religions having greater zeal and variety of methodologies in proselytizing and conversions, humanism has some reflections, or isomorphisms with religion, as it is a belief system, but not in other ways.

In some ways, one targeted objective is the increase in the numbers of humanists in the world. In other ways, most humanists, probably, gristle at the thought of open attempts at conversion, and so do not go door-to-door, which is a significant difference. But many hope to live up to an ideal and then the example of living a good life sets the standard, by which people may want to consider humanism. Some religious individuals share this view.

Humanism doesn’t exactly have a violent history, which is distinct from most big “R” religions, whose histories are bloody from the start, but also proclaiming the highest ideals — as does humanism. Humanism simply doesn’t have the outcropping of zeal plus violence, which is a big demarcation. Does humanism grow out of a culture or graft itself onto one? In an ironic way, as with many people leaving religion and then building a unique non-belief, humanism seems to grow out of the ashes of religion.

As society becomes more modern, more technological, more civil, more diverse and inclusive, more democratic, and more scientifically literate, the more society seems to become irreligious. Sometimes, citizens cling to spiritualisms in those ashes of religion, but most often people leave that stuff behind, by and large. Humanism is part of that modernizing wave; and part of its force. I’m not saying this is the way it is with these statements, but am feeling and thinking it through. And then presenting them in print, risky.

Happy Canada Day, by the way.


City of Langley. (2017). City of Langley. Retrieved from

Joseph, B. (2016, June 28). 10 Quotes John A. MacDonald Made About First Nations. Retrieved from

Kinew, W. (2017). Wab Kinew. Retrieved from

Lawrence, B. (2016, November 22). Slavery of Indigenous People in Canada. Retrieved from

Miller, J.R. (2016, October 10). Residential Schools. Retrieved from

RationalWiki. (2017, May 6). Massacres in the name of a peaceful faith. Retrieved from

Revolvy. (2017). Enslavement of indigenous peoples in North America. Retrieved from


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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