Religion is Cultural OCD

Shaka: All right, what was that quote you just told me?

Friend: Religion is cultural OCD

Shaka: Cultural OCD?

Friend: Cultural OCD.

Shaka: Now I know what ‘cultural’ is as far as meaning what region of the world you are born in…

Friend: Mhmm…

Shaka: …and I can understand the OCD part because we all have like this tendency to say we are struggling with anxiety; I don’t know if you agree with this, but you tell me your opinion, because I’ve kind of gotten to this point where I think that everyone in the millennial generation, or not even the millennial generation, but the information technology generation we are in, we all have this social anxiety.  You saw recently how those, what are they called? Fidgeter spinners?

Friend: Fidget Spinners? They caught on like crazy…

Shaka: Yeah, exactly…

Friend: They just exploded

Shaka: I know, and I guess I am building off that, but what do you mean OCD?

Friend: By Cultural OCD, okay my thoughts on that are: OCD is something that you are born with and you don’t really have much of a say in it and a lot of it depends on genetics. It is a random chance thing. Now you look at it as a human race thing, and it is a random chance thing that you are going to be born into a religious family. That is most of the world. Most of the world is religious if you think about it. The largest religion in the world is Islam, the second one behind that is Christianity (According to Wikipedia, my friend here is incorrect: Christianity currently has the largest religious population with Islam coming in second: Then you have all the smaller sects that break off from that. So, you have this big, big, big chance of being born into, for a lack of a better term, into an indoctrination. You are born into a family that believes something. All right, the way I look at the OCD part, you have the beginning that determines if you are born into this “disorder”. Just like OCD, you have a certain set of standards that you have to do. Like OCD, there is the ‘normal human’ and then there is the human with OCD that has to do things in a particular way.  In regards to religion, you are born into this family and they have these rules that are put on them by an indirect source, God. They follow the rules because they feel that it is the right way, it is the right thing to do. Many cultures, like Islam, almost everyone is religious, and there are almost no atheist (at least publicly). They are born into this set of rules, moral guidelines that were given to them from birth. They don’t have a say in it, just like you don’t have a say in OCD, both dictate your life. So, religion in my eyes is a cultural OCD; not everybody has it just like not everybody has OCD. Most people who are religious from the start generally don’t leave their respective religion. People, who are born Catholic, generally continue practicing Catholicism.

Shaka: What would you say about relating this thought to the ‘Power Law’? I’ll give you an example of the power law: If I own a business, 80% of my sales come from 20% of my customers. Another way of describing it…

Friend: …Is that the 80/20 thing that the Marines talk about? Where you give it 20%… never mind that is a different thing.

Shaka: It is also referred to as Pareto’s Law. 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your habits. 80% of how my life will be dictated is from 20% of my personal beliefs.

Friend: Okay, so in a company, I may have 80% of people who might follow a rule some of the time, and I’ll have 20% of people who follow that same rule all of the time.

Shaka: So like at a Church, out the 100% of people who attend, 80% just go because they were raised that way, and then the other 20% are the ones who are hardcore. They go to seminary; they stay after ‘big church’ and go to the small group studies afterwards. I was reading statistics on the health market, and 80% of all the health costs in the industry come from 20% of the patients.

Friend: Those suffering from debilitating sickness or are constantly in and out of the hospital? Non-curable diseases? Interesting. Is that why a Band-Aid costs me $500 dollars at the Hospital?



Please feel free to join the conversation by adding your comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.

And as always, thank you for reading.

7 thoughts on “Religion is Cultural OCD

  1. The way religion is being described as “cultural OCD” makes me think any cultural norm could be described as “cultural OCD”. A few examples: parents Who tell their children they ought to go to college, having family meals at grandmas house every Sunday, growing up in a household that skews Democratic or Republican and the stigma that comes if a child chooses the opposite political affiliation when they grow up. I don’t but my kids have ice cream for dinner every evening. That could be called cultural OCD. you could pretty much say that it is the job of the parents to brainwash their children. whether a person calls it manipulation, education, or cultural OCD really depends on The beholder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you, in one hand it is the job as the parent to ‘brainwash’ their children, however, I tend to believe that on the other hand it’s the responsibility of the parent to empower their child to choose for themselves.


  3. I think that culture OCD is a great way to describe the way a religious idea is surpressed into a a child from birth, inducing a person without the choice of being apart of that certain religion/ethic race/genes. But when a child reaches a certain age, at the end of the day, we all have our own choice to make. Just like oedipus theory, we choose not to be attracted to our mothers anymore from a young age.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking your time to read and offer your thoughts. I agree that there comes a time when a person must decide whether he/she will pursue excellence or not. A jedi or a sith if you wish.


  4. I think it’s important to note that socialization is what seems to be talked about here. Any shared values, beliefs, or ideals will shape and influence actors within a society. As a southern American I have good chance of being a protestant Christian. As a German maybe I would be Lutheran. As an Indian I may be a Hindu. As a Norwegian I may be an atheist.
    If you subscribe to a religion or reject all notions of God it will impart be due to situational aspects of ones own life, environment, culture, and socialization.
    With that being said I think it is narrow to equate cultural OCD with religion. Belief systems or the lack thereof seem to be the norm not the disorder. Here I am qualifying disbelief as a belief system, because ultimately it is. Finding common ground among shared ideals has been happening since the beginning of time. Cultural OCD would seem to apply more to ideals of any particular society that have begun as good things but have extended beyond the realm of moderation and usefulness and have poisoned the members of the society. Here I am thinking rampant materialism or rugged individualism that is so wide spread in western cultures. The product of which had caused alienation, isolation, and a seeming meaninglessness. That would seem to better fit the notion of a disorder that indulges in compulsive behaviors.
    With all that being said, I appreciate the talk and what you guys had to say. The term cultural OCD is a good one. It has a lot relevance in the American culture today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everything in moderation? I too agree that it is narrow to apply the term Cultural OCD to only Religion. I tend to hold the notion that a lot of people no longer enjoy being labeled in fear of being considered an extremist, at least that how I see globalization impacting our world’s population – the downfall of nationalism in a way. Is nationalism synonymous with patriotism?


  5. Depends on the position of the heart in that religion. God is the one that can know if it’s true religion.
    This made me think of what it says in God’s word ““Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
    ‭‭James‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Liked by 1 person

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