What is religion really?

It is the desire to find a picture that, just by looking at it, makes us feel infinitely better.

It is the search for informational opium. A picture. A story. An idea or concept or principle.

It is a shortcut omnibus solution that works merely by being perceived.

Idiots talk about “sacred geometry,” which is fancy New Age marketing speak that means “spooky diagrams that are scary powerful in horror movies and which are found in a few actual grimoires from the 17-cent.” That’s another fruit of this dream, this hope for salvation; for salvation that works under Other Power; for salvation from Other Power that is won by simply staring at some special object or imaginary state of affairs or by running some model or metaphor through your head.

What is that emotional-epistemic thing that a Christian is “doing” when she … gets the benefit, feels the impact, is hit by the reality of Something Great. What is the hard-hitting thing that knocked them over? We know this: it was partly a seeing, a perceiving, a just sitting and noticing something. That’s the mode.

The story of conversion, which is unfortunately always already proselytizing, full of seller’s bias, is always a species of this:

I never turned that rock over before.

It is not,

I memorized this picture story again and again and now I recite it with the same conviction as a physical object observation report.

But since any meaningful fact is a picture, we can reduce all the highfalutin locutions and stick with picture, or even diagram.

When we say that a religion is “true,” we mean that a certain image is emotionally satisfying.