All religious beliefs seem weird to those not brought up in them. Boyer did research on the Fang people of
. . . that witches have an extra internal animal-like organ that flies away at night and ruins other people's crops or poisons their blood. It is also said that these witches sometimes assemble for huge banquets, where they devour their victims and plan future attacks. Many will tell you that a friend of a friend actually saw witches flying over the village at night, sitting on a banana leaf and throwing magical darts at various unsuspecting victims.
Boyer continues with a personal anecdote:
I was mentioning these and other exotica over dinner in a
Assuming that the
• In the time of the ancestors, a man was born to a virgin mother with no biological father being involved.
• The same fatherless man called out to a friend called Lazarus, who had been dead long enough to stink, and Lazarus promptly came back to life.
• The fatherless man himself came alive after being dead and buried three days.
• Forty days later, the fatherless man went up to the top of a hill and then disappeared bodily into the sky.
• If you murmur thoughts privately in your head, the fatherless man, and his 'father' (who is also himself) will hear your thoughts and may act upon them. He is simultaneously able to hear the thoughts of everybody else in the world.
• If you do something bad, or something good, the same fatherless man sees all, even if nobody else does. You may be rewarded or punished accordingly, including after your death.
• The fatherless man's virgin mother never died but 'ascended' bodily into heaven.
• Bread and wine, if blessed by a priest (who must have testicles), 'become' the body and blood of the fatherless man.
What would an objective anthropologist, coming fresh to this set of beliefs while on fieldwork in
Dawkins 2006, 177s.