The relationship between religions and viruses (natural and computers)

It was about 10 years ago I heard about computer viruses and their similarities to human viruses or natural viruses . That comparison was very interesting for me and even this comparison ignited an idea in my mind: if we call natural viruses live or semi live beings then we can call computer viruses alive or semi alive too.
Here Ramadan has begun a few days ago and my parents like many other Muslims fast in this month and they practice rituals more than other months. Once I was looking at my mother praying and practicing rituals I saw her as a sick or metal sick who has been infected by a virus which its name is Islam. Then I thought more about it and found out yes all religion have many similarities with viruses both natural and computer viruses.
Now here I want to count these similarities in their mechanism and essence .

1 The first and the most important similarity between all viruses that distinguishes them from inanimate things is reproduction .Natural viruses reproduce via injecting themselves(their DNA or RNA [their genetic code]) in alive cells then with the help of those cells reproduce , Computer viruses reproduce themselves via injecting their code in other computer programs and when infected programs run and execute they reproduce viruses by running virus code! Religions reproduce themselves by infecting people's minds. When a religion infects a person mind that person becomes a potential vehicle for that religion mostly by infecting kids from parents .

2 Similarity in essence : All kinds of viruses in fact are some codes in a proper language. Natural viruses are pieces of genetic code which amino acids make their language. the language of alive things . Computer viruses are pieces of computer code (an ordered set of a CPU instruction set)their language is computer language 0 and 1 or binary language . Religions are collections of beliefs and laws and rules which are expressed in in human language. I think there is no need to say that all these viruses use the language owner to reproduce and become active .

3 All viruses use their host resources in other word all kinds of them are parasite .Natural viruses use alive cells resources .Computer viruses use CPU time and memory which is allocated to programs (this is why your computer become slow) religions use mind resources and energy to be active and reproductive

4 All kind of viruses use their host connections to spread themselves because they host the language of the host communication .natural viruses use their host communications like sexual relationship, touching ,breathing in the same air ,blood transfer and .. . Computers viruses use computer networks like internet ,cool disks,old floppy disks and … . religions use humans mind communicating tools like speech ,raising children , books , internet , …

5 in all sorts having the code of virus doesn't meaning being sick or infected . For example a natural virus can be passive in the body of an alive thing without any activity or some antibody prevent it from activity .a computer virus can be in computer disk without any activity because the user never execute the infected program or it has been quarantined by an anti virus program . For religion I myself is very good example I have the codes of Islam in my mind [I had been infected from my parents in childhood]
but this code is not active now because I disabled it many years ago ! Even by using and analyzing its code I can to detect many other mind viruses.

6 All kind of viruses have versioning and branching because all of them evolve! .Unfortunately my biology information is not good enough to talk about the evolution of natural viruses but I know it exists. But in computer field I know that many programmers use the older viruses code to make new ones. Or many viruses have many versions . Mind viruses or religions have this aspect too. Christianity is updated and evolved version of Judaism and itself has many versions and branches .but Islam has a new code however in the process of making it large pieces of code from Christianity and Judaism have been used. Islam itself has some versions and branches too.

7 There is a common way to fight with all these kind of viruses : Awareness if the alive body immune system can detect and be aware of a virus in most case can defeat it by making antibodies or … in computers to get rid of a virus the first step is detecting it by an antivirus software. What about mind viruses? The infected person's mind must detect the religion codes as a virus that enslave that mind and it s a little difficult job because most mind viruses have some mechanisms to prevent being detected as a virus.

However these were most important similarities perhaps you can find many other too especially when you study some instances of each sorts independently for example in each kind of them you can find some instance which are more dangerous or less or … . however this article was about the similarities between all kinds of viruses I d like to mention the most important functional difference that I have seen between mind viruses and other kinds :the victim of this a mind virus can be infected just by one virus at a same time but other kinds victims are not so.


Now I'd like to make some conclusions here
Religious people are some sort of sick people. Some of them must really be cured.
Some people says religions are natural thing for human. I must say yes they are right religions are natural viruses but not their targets is not our cells its our mind.
Because of the fact that awareness is an effective way to get rid of this viruses perhaps you can use this text to make the infected mind aware! ;) but I never suggest to call Islam a virus in front of a Muslim I don't take its responsibility at all ;)

* after posting the above text i searched about the idea in google and i found out i am too late! Richard Dawkins has written an essay before me!: Viruses of mind so i added this line.

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Tags: Religion, computer, mind, natural, virus

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Comment by IAmTheBlog on March 9, 2010 at 10:16am
Very interesting post. I like how you talk both about natural viruses and computer viruses. It's cool that you came to the same conclusion as Dawkins and Darrel Ray about the idea of god virus. I didn't think of this on my own, but commented on the presentation I saw by Dr. Ray recently. I think the virus analogy is a very useful way to think of it.

I would think that it could be very dangerous to mention such a concept in some Muslim countries (your profile mentions you're in Iran). The fact that you thought about this, came to a similar conclusion, and posted about it is pretty courageous.
Comment by tom arcaro on August 27, 2009 at 12:18pm
Hmmmm....url is not in my last comment: http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/
Comment by tom arcaro on August 27, 2009 at 12:18pm
As Daniel Dennett pointed out a while ago, the algorithm of evolution is substrate neutral. Dawkins recognized that, I think, when he coined the word "meme" in the last chapter of The Selfish Gene in 1976. Memes can and do infect, it has been argued. I suspect you have -or soon will0 run into Susan Blackmore's work. One of her more powerful concepts is the "memplex" i.e., a complex of memes. She paints religions thus. Click here:

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