Religion a figment of human imagination

  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    May 03, 2008 4:30 AM GMT
    # 00:01 28 April 2008
    # NewScientist.com news service
    # Andy Coghlan

    "Humans alone practice religion because they're the only creatures to have evolved imagination.

    That's the argument of anthropologist Maurice Bloch of the London School of Economics. Bloch challenges the popular notion that religion evolved and spread because it promoted social bonding, as has been argued by some anthropologists.

    Instead, he argues that first, we had to evolve the necessary brain architecture to imagine things and beings that don't physically exist, and the possibility that people somehow live on after they've died.

    Once we'd done that, we had access to a form of social interaction unavailable to any other creatures on the planet. Uniquely, humans could use what Bloch calls the "transcendental social" to unify with groups, such as nations and clans, or even with imaginary groups such as the dead. The transcendental social also allows humans to follow the idealised codes of conduct associated with religion.

    "What the transcendental social requires is the ability to live very largely in the imagination," Bloch writes.

    "One can be a member of a transcendental group, or a nation, even though one never comes in contact with the other members of it," says Bloch. Moreover, the composition of such groups, "whether they are clans or nations, may equally include the living and the dead."

    Modern-day religions still embrace this idea of communities bound with the living and the dead, such as the Christian notion of followers being "one body with Christ", or the Islamic 'Ummah' uniting Muslims."

    Article continues...

    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/human-evolution/dn13782-religion-a-figment-of-human-imagination.html

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    May 03, 2008 9:08 AM GMT
    WHAT?! You mean my pet cat doesn't pray to the ceiling cat before going to bed?!
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    May 03, 2008 9:27 AM GMT
    Yet Once again. While people fear death, there will always be a need for Religion, and since a lot of bad people are religious. I am glad they have the fear of God to help them be good.

    I myself do not fear death! Nor need a religion, or a god to have a moral code, or to be good.
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    May 03, 2008 9:33 AM GMT
    But....If there was a God. He gave us free agency, and the right of choice. So for him to intervene, would be interfering with our free agency. Yet religions, seem to feel they have the right too dictate, and control our free will.

    Man was not born with sin, as we will be punished for our own sins, and not Adams transgressions.....
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    May 03, 2008 11:34 AM GMT
    Amazing, not a "ONE" in sight icon_confused.gif

    How do you do that Pattison icon_question.gif Did you just forget yourself, or what icon_question.gif

    Anyway, you have made my point on God and Religion very well. "Free will" God gave us all free will. We all know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad.

    As for religion being a figment of human imagination, well lots of things could be. Being gay could be a figment of your imagination icon_idea.gif

    Mike
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    May 03, 2008 11:55 AM GMT
    Religion is such a stupid crock of shit. If people want to pray to a god, fine with me. I won't interfere. But you better keep your stupid religion away from me!
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    May 03, 2008 1:02 PM GMT
    JohnnyD saidReligion is such a stupid crock of shit. If people want to pray to a god, fine with me. I won't interfere. But you better keep your stupid religion away from me!


    Now, now, Johnny.

    Whats got you all pissy.

    Your letting your imagination run away with you icon_rolleyes.gif

    There is nothing to be afraid off. Relax icon_wink.gif
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    May 03, 2008 1:13 PM GMT
    you are all figments of my imagination1 icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 03, 2008 2:10 PM GMT
    hmm. I don't think being gay and the existence of God are the same thing.... It is possible that God is a figment of our imagination. Humans have a lot of ways of coping with our oftentimes unexplainable reality.

    There is a psychological phenomenon called the "just world theory". Basically what it means is that if we find difficulty rationalizing something unjust, we try to find fault in the victim to try to rationalize and compensate.

    Modern examples include blaming a rape victim by saying "she was asking for it", or blaming the Katrina victims for living in flood prone areas. A more ancient form of this include "Karma", or for Christians, "original sin".

    So If we can not explain something in the world, it can be "God's will". There is no rational explanation but since we have other people who believe the same thing and have "faith", we feel confident about it. Often times we delude in Mass to make ourselves feel better with things like religion. If we delude ourselves alone its "psycho" or if you don't have enough people in your circle of delusion its a "cult". Since its socially acceptable to have faith, no one questions you if you are part of a major world religion. But really if you can't explain it, don't assume you are not smart enough to figure it out or explain it and just have "faith". If you "feel it" but can't explain it, its not "God's love", its self delusion.

    Just like your $350 shoes that cost $20 to make, we all buy into things that are irrational simply because it makes us feel good and come with slick marketing or in the case of religion, answers questions that if left unanswered could be scary. Thats life, and like Pattison said, some people need it and thats fine, just be cool about it.

    More Hummus less Hamas! Stop the settlements in Israel, if Kosovo can be a seperate state, so can Palestine regardless of ancient history!
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    May 03, 2008 3:16 PM GMT


    Keep your Jesus off my penis.

    This may not be appropriate. But, I just wanted to contribute.
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    May 03, 2008 9:23 PM GMT
    Swimbikerun--the poem by Epicurus is great, and it sure says a lot with few words. Personally I think, that as vast as the universe is, reaching out endlessly in any direction, that I can leave room for the possibility of anything, including possibly a god. But for some reason I feel no need to belong to some group believing this, that, or the other thing about God, you and me, why we are here, whats after death. If people need a god so bad why did they create such awfull actions by him, the worst of which is hell, most christians believe in an everlasting hell fire, where the sinner suffers forever. To think that people created this belief about god, as if this god created two kinds of fire, one burns things up, it consumes completely what its burning, then he created a fire that just causes pain, it doesn't consume, this god according to most christians made a kind of fire just to make the sinner suffer for not believing in him. NOW THAT IS SOME GOD ISN'T IT !!!! That is about the most illogical belief ever created by man, and many say it must be so, because god needed to make hell so people would follow him to avoid hell. Which just adds insult to injury. Personally I'll use my imagination for things that make here and now better, for me and those around me. If there is anything about religion I wonder about, its why do so many the world around have to have something like a god to believe in? why do they so readily follow such beliefs as I mentioned above? Perhaps its because so many people are void of logic and senseable imagination of their own?
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    May 03, 2008 9:56 PM GMT
    realifedad said Swimbikerun--the poem by Epicurus is great, and it sure says a lot with few words. Personally I think, that as vast as the universe is, reaching out endlessly in any direction, that I can leave room for the possibility of anything, including possibly a god. But for some reason I feel no need to belong to some group believing this, that, or the other thing about God, you and me, why we are here, whats after death. If people need a god so bad why did they create such awfull actions by him, the worst of which is hell, most christians believe in an everlasting hell fire, where the sinner suffers forever. To think that people created this belief about god, as if this god created two kinds of fire, one burns things up, it consumes completely what its burning, then he created a fire that just causes pain, it doesn't consume, this god according to most christians made a kind of fire just to make the sinner suffer for not believing in him. NOW THAT IS SOME GOD ISN'T IT !!!! That is about the most illogical belief ever created by man, and many say it must be so, because god needed to make hell so people would follow him to avoid hell. Which just adds insult to injury. Personally I'll use my imagination for things that make here and now better, for me and those around me. If there is anything about religion I wonder about, its why do so many the world around have to have something like a god to believe in? why do they so readily follow such beliefs as I mentioned above? Perhaps its because so many people are void of logic and senseable imagination of their own?



    Oh well, I guess we must all be mentally ill icon_rolleyes.gif

    By the way, how do you know that most Christians believe what you said above?

    I for one do not.

    "If there is anything about religion I wonder about, its why do so many the world around have to have something like a god to believe in?"

    No disrespect, but that question makes no sense to me. I mean you either believe or you don't. It's not a question of having to have something to believe in.

    Mike
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    May 03, 2008 10:47 PM GMT
    MikePhil---- you asked me "how do you know that most christians believe what you said above?" -----------------The belief by christians in eternal hell fire is nearly as standard as going to church on sunday, what they call the lords day. That eternal hell fire stuff is rediculous, are you saying that most christians don't believe in it?
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    May 03, 2008 10:51 PM GMT
    realifedad said MikePhil---- you asked me "how do you know that most christians believe what you said above?" -----------------The belief by christians in eternal hell fire is nearly as standard as going to church on sunday, what they call the lords day. That eternal hell fire stuff is rediculous, are you saying that most christians don't believe in it?


    Well I've already got my BBQ pack, for when I go to hell.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    May 03, 2008 11:06 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]swimbikerun


    I am completely in agreement with you!

    It isn't just the fear of death that drives people to want to invent a higher power, god, adult imaginary friend or whatever but also the need to understand the world and universe around you. Think of a primitive tribe of people that constantly saw lightning and heard thunder and then had rain.
    Some guy comes along and tells them all of that is because of an powerful being that they can't see but who runs everything so they should behave in a manner that pleases this being... of course the new guy that happened along KNOWS what that "god" wants so he can dictate to these people the wishes of the god....this is often how religions get started and are perpetuated through fear from those chosen ones on earth to represent these various gods.
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    May 04, 2008 12:01 AM GMT
    Of course religion is a figment of our imagination icon_wink.gif

    After all there is strong evidence the brain itself evolved the ability to "create" spiritual experiences. These so called moments of faith are nothing more than natural responses to stimulus.


    http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/magick/createsgod.html

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.11/persinger.html

    Every thought and action you take is the result of chemical reactions inside the body. We know for certain things such as free will don't exist. Mankind is less of an independent being and more of an advanced product, of course one with immense complexity.

    The only reason some people are involved in organized faiths is the result of brainwashing. When the body experiences an unknown moment such as a sudden chill or a moment of pressure in the skull we try to reason out what's going on. Those raised in a culture saturated be false religions are likely to say "It's God! He touched me!" or some other nonsense. Without the indoctrination, religion doesn't exist. People don't just "believe" in spirits and ghosts and afterlives for no reason, they have to be raised to believe in such.

    Part of why I know God(s) dont/cannot/will never exist. At least not what any of use would call a god. If religion has to be taught then why should any god exist.

    If god is so loving then why do you have to believe in him to get into heaven?

    Pretty much I have two ideas on this:

    1) If god exists and is jealous, angry, and childish and demands belief then fine. All of us should WANT to go to hell. No person in their right mind should desire to be with such a hateful god.

    2) If god is really all loving and exist? Well lol, lets just all be atheists anyways and save ourselves all the problems theists create icon_twisted.gif

    Of course god doesn't exist... but I felt like sharing those examples for all those you still cling to these fantasies. See? If your god is really so loving then become an atheist and stop adding to the force that degrades the human race.






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    May 04, 2008 12:19 AM GMT
    Whether religion is a figment of the imagination or not is probably not that relevant. Human beings are myth creating and believing animals. I can think of a few myths that Americans hold dear that the rest of the world just shakes their heads at.

    The important thing about religion, like other "myths" or belief systems, is that it influences human behaviour, which in turn can have permanent and very real consequences for society (both good and bad).
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    May 04, 2008 12:31 AM GMT
    I'd feel better about Epicurus if he knew how to spell "atheist."
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    May 04, 2008 12:33 AM GMT
    trance23 talks about: The ability to create spriual experiance.

    Now One has experienced this. I have come to the conclusion, it is nothing more than a function of the brain. But this has helped One be free of religion, as my religion, the Mormons tell me this is the working of our leader, and not a lowly member like I.

    But I know what I know to be true, albeit One struggles to understand it, and why I should have come to know such things to come? Plus One is a fag. So such a working can not be the actions of god, as god hates fags.

    But with this not being a new function of man. I can understand, what people made of such things in the dark ages, and before. Now I have talked to people about things to come to pass, before they did. If I am deluded, then they share my delusion.

    Such workings are not of Gos, but the function of the brain. Now other peoples brains are able to do things mine is not.
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    May 04, 2008 4:39 AM GMT
    obscenewish saidI'd feel better about Epicurus if he knew how to spell "atheist."

    Oh snap! I didn't even catch that! lol
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    May 04, 2008 10:37 AM GMT
    swimbikerun said[quote][cite]obscenewish said[/cite]I'd feel better about Epicurus if he knew how to spell "atheist."

    Oh snap! I didn't even catch that! lol[/quote]

    I thought it was lolcatz spelling. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    May 04, 2008 11:35 AM GMT
    Without even bringing any religious arguments into this, I think that the premise as described in the original post is not at all scientific. It uses the same logical conclusion that says, if dogs are animals and cats are animals, then dogs are cats.
    The 'trick' with this type of presentation is to present a lot of well known facts and then slip in a supposition or two and it will appear that those are facts too. People tend to not be sufficiently analytical with a cynical approach when listening or reading this type of presentation. Sometimes, it's simply a matter of leaving out a fact or two that allows for a supposition like this to be valid. (Case in point: The American Alzheimers Institute [AAI] announced that due to the deposits of aluminum in the brains of autopsied patients who died of it, that aluminum may be a primary cause of Alzheimers. It took them over ten years to realize and admit that the aluminum deposits were a result of Alzheimers and not the cause.)
    This kind of 'science' annoys me.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    May 04, 2008 11:46 AM GMT
    Religion and the ability to believe in the abstract was absolutely a product of evolution
    as our brain and our socialization had become more complex the need for a bonding agent or something that allowed groups who did not belong directly to your family or clan to live and work together... this "shared" belief system allowed that
    why do you think people with certain types of epilepsy
    or who have tumors in specific portions of the brain
    all have similar religious "visions"
    we're wired for religion ... it had become a survival mechanism in our early societal evolution
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    May 04, 2008 12:10 PM GMT
    realifedad said MikePhil---- you asked me "how do you know that most christians believe what you said above?" -----------------The belief by christians in eternal hell fire is nearly as standard as going to church on sunday, what they call the lords day. That eternal hell fire stuff is rediculous, are you saying that most christians don't believe in it?


    Well, I am Christian and I can not answer that honestly, so I'm pretty sure you don't know, but if I were to have a guess at it based on the fact that most people in Ireland are Christian, so most people I communicate with are Christian, then no I do not think most believe that.


    Mike
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    May 04, 2008 12:37 PM GMT
    Trance23 saidOf course religion is a figment of our imagination icon_wink.gif

    After all there is strong evidence the brain itself evolved the ability to "create" spiritual experiences. These so called moments of faith are nothing more than natural responses to stimulus.


    http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/magick/createsgod.html

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.11/persinger.html

    Every thought and action you take is the result of chemical reactions inside the body. We know for certain things such as free will don't exist. Mankind is less of an independent being and more of an advanced product, of course one with immense complexity.

    The only reason some people are involved in organized faiths is the result of brainwashing. When the body experiences an unknown moment such as a sudden chill or a moment of pressure in the skull we try to reason out what's going on. Those raised in a culture saturated be false religions are likely to say "It's God! He touched me!" or some other nonsense. Without the indoctrination, religion doesn't exist. People don't just "believe" in spirits and ghosts and afterlives for no reason, they have to be raised to believe in such.

    Part of why I know God(s) dont/cannot/will never exist. At least not what any of use would call a god. If religion has to be taught then why should any god exist.

    If god is so loving then why do you have to believe in him to get into heaven?

    Pretty much I have two ideas on this:

    1) If god exists and is jealous, angry, and childish and demands belief then fine. All of us should WANT to go to hell. No person in their right mind should desire to be with such a hateful god.

    2) If god is really all loving and exist? Well lol, lets just all be atheists anyways and save ourselves all the problems theists create icon_twisted.gif

    Of course god doesn't exist... but I felt like sharing those examples for all those you still cling to these fantasies. See? If your god is really so loving then become an atheist and stop adding to the force that degrades the human race.



    Trance, I don't know if you are being serious or just having a laugh.

    If there is a religion (force) that degrades the human race, it is atheism. It is so intolerant of those that believe, almost to a point of hatred, and is so obsessed with trying to convince us that there is no God. And all this among gay men icon_rolleyes.gif It would make you wonder icon_confused.gif

    You can base your logic on science if you want, but I have been around a while, and I have seen science to be wrong time and time again.

    Mike