Why do people believe in God?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by aaqucnaona, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Rav Valued Senior Member

    So one has to take a large amount of acid before they are qualified to discuss God? Right. I dropped my own fair share (perhaps more) of trips back in the day and had some pretty profound experiences (to say the least), but I don't see how that uniquely qualifies me to do anything other than discuss my own subjective experiences.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

    I've done copious LSD. Bin known to have a dance around the mushrooms once or thrice or more. Even seen the Universe as a whole entity from inside every living thing, all at once; I called it "seeing through God's eyes" at the time. But this definitely doesn't steel any erroneously based belief system into my existence.

    @ Watcher: If losing one's ego is akin to having one's body image melt to the point where there is no separation between one and other, and the same sort of shit going on up top, then I fail to see the specific relevance. Believing in god is a logic/illogical issue?
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

  8. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Um, no - can you tell me more about it?
  9. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member


    Is this where you wanted me to reply? I arrived expecting a bar fight and stumbled into an electric kool-aid acid test with Jerry Falwell sitting in for Timothy Leary? Groovy.

    My own thoughts are pretty basic. People need God because, first of all, it substitutes for having to learn and understand nature which is slightly more laborious than reading all of the Bible in one sitting.

    After the world caught up with heretics like Bruno and Galileo and a few other blasphemers like Darwin (curses be upon them) they still needed God because we are creatures of habit, we do spatial processing, acid heads especially, in the parietal lobe, and long ago a spot got reserved for the "&etc" answer to anything unknown and unsolvable and it was filled by this three letter word that still works today as the universal answer to anything unexplainable. Why is the drain clogged, I just fixed it yesterday? God only knows. Where are my car keys? Ask God, and listen, He'll answer. Why is my hair falling out? God is telling you to look for your keys where you keep your comb. Are they in your pocket? See? Therefore, God exists.

    And then there's all the less than mundane reasons for modern inquiry into God, like how did the Big Bang get started, which gets really confusing when you go back to the time before time was created, which makes God non-causal. Or, if you like, you can reverse the arrow of time for God and revamp Gen 1:1 to read "In the beginning God WILL create the heavens and the earth." You will invariably be in some deep meditation, just about to settle on this when it dawns on you that your own hair has been clogging that drain, and then you get a brief shudder which is profoundly intense because you remember scoffing at someone's acid-induced ego death, and here you are, with no more than an acid stomach, almost trippin', as it were.

    How would we do all of these things without God? We are all really deeply joined at the hip, we are all in this together, there is just one race, the human race, and all of that positivity can be compressed into a three-letter parcel of the parietal lobe where he has a permanent reservation, looking over the corpus callosum while kicking ass and taking names, sending tsunamis to the wicked, playing head games with us, just to keep us on our toes, with weird anomalies like eclipses and supernovas, or the mutations in ultraviolet on the HOX gene of a fruit fly that causes an appendage to grow out of its eye, all while managing all those resources like the frequency band of the cosmic microwave background, the heartbeat of the guppies you forgot to feed, all that stuff and so very much more, and all while updating the real-time clock of this holograph we live in, Planck-time by Planck-time, without ever disrupting the hyperfine transition of the cesium atom sitting in a vault at the Bureau of Standards, all of that and so much more, how in the world could we ever explain all of this without the explanation to end all explanations, God of course, the full time occupant of that special little read-only memory area within the parietal lobe. I suppose you could try to pluck him out, but that would require a lobotomy, a procedure that sometimes has the reverse effect, so instead of a hushed Hail Mary you end up with a screaming CAN I GET AN AMEN and this is not why we turn to God, not for all that noise, we just want peace and we want it now.

    Three letters that won't exactly go away, just thank God we no longer bow to Quetzalcoatl or Zarathustra or the spittle would really be flying and that is not a pretty thing.

    So, aaqucnaona, I hope I answered the mail here, it's only my abbreviated answer since I lost half of it by not saving it before I clicked the button, but hey, that's what they called an Act of God, it had to be for a reason, something cosmic, maybe one of us just got prevented from warping back in time to bronze age lowbrows sitting around a campfire spinning tales that most people wouldn't repeat in mixed company, making it up as they go, never imaging that any one us would get impaled on this psychic crucifix, trying to make sense of it all.

    In a nutshell, that's what we need God for, to make sense of it all.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    This is what you think goes on in the minds of theists??

    Wow. The art of straw.
  11. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    You, who have piled the scarecrows up in front of every thread I visit, accuse me? Straw is made from the cherry picked and reformulated ideas of others, one of your many fortes. Your surgery on my post is duly noted. You are such a cynic and ... well let's not descend into characterizations.

    Did I say "theist"? No, I doubt it. I don't really like the term, I only allowed it to insinuate itself into my speech at Sci to go with the local vernacular. I would actually like to put a pox on that word and disavow all of my prior uses of it. I'm trying to think of how language like that ever gets traction in dialogue between tribes or sects or factions... I'm imagining the middle-aged woman who, after years of visiting this site, finally decides to leave the convent and become a "theist". Dear Mother Superior, it is with deepest humility and devotion to Theos, Supreme Commander of the Universe, that I annul this marriage to the Church, so that I may pursue the truest of the true, divinist of the divine and arguablest of the arguable, which is, of course, to live free from the shackles of human intervention into my personal psychic journey of cosmic discovery, free forever from the illusions of the rational logic, and divorced from the gratification-addiction of empiricism, after wasting a lifetime chasing fallacy and ignorance. I declare myself now and forever free to theize. Yours truly, (etc.)

    Notions of God must exist in the parietal lobe, the way the idea "orthogonality" does. There's a spatial component to the abstraction. This explains how it becomes territorial. There is an ever-intruding recasting of the abstraction that has to be warred upon, or else surrender is inevitable. That would be tantamount to a concussion grenade in the inner ear as far as the sense of balance and ease with one's immediate surroundings is concerned. A wild animal will fight to the death to be rid of the sense that its immediate surroundings are unrecognizable.

    But I'll be damned if any godforsaken theist is going to tell me that He doesn't watch the grass grow. CAN I GET AN AMEN. Or is that theism too? After all, it's on par with homage to the gods and goddesses of the Vedas, is it not? Or the Great Wolf who chased the Cosmic Rabbit and scattered the stars in the sky? Theism, too, right?

    From now on, I'm bundling it all together into one central common theme: superstition. Then we can accomodate the grass-watching versions with the mind-bending ones.

    Now, with that formula, I can amend my answer to the OP as follows: people need God because we are inherently superstitious. The better question to ask is why people are superstitious.
  12. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

    It is evolutionarily beneficial to have human minds that are capable of extracting meaning from little input. If we digest knowledge and then string it together in a slightly new way, as in inventing something, this is beneficial. Along with this comes imagination and ability to read/extract/concoct deeper meaning/symbology/metaphor from any given input. Superstition can actually bear survival-fruit. Being cautious to possible danger when in a state of little knowledge can make the difference between survival and death on occasion?

    Now we may like to think that superstition doesn't have a place anymore, and that it has been well replaced by the scietific method, but I am sure that on a personal level superstition still reaps benefits. Look at the athlete who wears odd socks, or puts his t-shirt on back to front first then turns it around, everytime. This is simply a way of getting the body in the (previous) zone; a kind of prepsychological state preparation technique. The athlete runs through the customs to prepare for the fight.

    Ok, now we are aware of the process involved, and we can relabel it as mental preparation techniques, but it doesn't take away its relevance or potency to the individual of limited knowledge/enlightenment? We could say a savvy, reasonably knowledgable/intelligent human has no need or function for superstition, but is this definite?

    Maybe superstition as a term needs to change in meaning to something more akin to "pretranscendental-intelligence-limitations"? Does the term offer itself any self-evolutionary chances? Does the idea of, conclusions without known facts (truth)/logic applied, have a future? Maybe its cousin is "theoretical physical philosophy" like the kind of theorising involved in theories of infinity, multiverse etc. Superstition has some connection to the real world, in the same way that multiverse theory has connection to the real world?

    Sorry drifting off base possibly. Too much word salad/stream of consciousness. Hopefully you can filter out something from all that. Though my head feels fuzzy today so I am struggling to corollarise any fixed or coherent conclusion or thrust of statement here.
  13. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I hadn't thought of superstition as an evolved way of thinking. I suppose we are so used to thinking of it as culturally backwards, that it requires a different perspective to connect it as you suggest, looking at it from the way we might imagine protohumans may have seen the world, as yet not evolved enough to connect natural phenomena with magic the way early civilizations did. Then at some point there arose a sense of magic.

    I'm not sure about how this contributes to survival, that is, whether it evolved as a trait per se, or whether it is a consequence of other evolved traits, such as the ability to form abstractions. Superstition invariably requires the drawing of inferences, albeit without proper regard to cause and effect, and certainly that is more than instinct. Yet the fear that accompanies superstition seems almost primal, so indeed it may be as old as, say, Homo Erectus.

    Something hard to deny about the idea that it seems like a trait is the fact that it does seem that we come hardwired to jump to conclusions. This also serves as better characterization of human nature than the one religious people sometimes give - that humans are hardwired to believe in God.

    I would go so far as to speculate that the trait of jumping to conclusions may have been a survival mechanism insofar as it would have endowed early humans the ability to experiment with different wrong ideas before arriving by trial and error at the ones essential for survival. An example is the development of the proper method for selecting and chipping rock to produce a functional hand axe. The mental skills to keep guessing how a naturally chipped rock could be reproduced are remarkably advanced beyond the capacity of apes. And it does seem that these skills appeared with the ability to think symbolically, as in the development of speech. And the hand axe seems to have contributed to the proliferation of humans as they worked their way out of Africa. Similar hand axes can be found from Spain to Indonesia, among the oldest of protohuman fossils.

    And while it is certainly possible that any individual in isolation can attribute magic to unexplained causes, the gathering together of superstitious ideation into coherent threads may simply be the inevitable consequence of earliest of cultures, sharing their individual ideas about magical causes. In the sense that social living had survival advantanges then it makes sense to connect superstition to survival. At some point the belief in magic, the shared insights into magical causes, may have become the first pastime to form bonds that held early social groups together.

    If we are to conclude that we are hardwired to be superstitious, whether by some evolved tendency that contributed directly to survival, or whether it comes in tandem with other traits needed to survive, then I think we converge at the root source of religion. And in the same vein we can say people are probably wired to be religious.
  14. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

    I like to think of all modes of human interaction/behaviour as evolved or socially evolved modes. And yes I am a bit protohuman in my nuttiness 

    Yes, the evolutionary path is open to interpretation. And I wouldn’t try to fix it down to any specific path, as it very possibly could have multiple memetic/genetic lines of ancestry. I would say that I see it as socially evolved as much as genetically.

    I don’t so much buy into the idea that any hardwiring to believe in god was a naturally selected trait. I more see it as a feedback back into the population once the beneficial functions of communal living artificially selected god-belief traits into the populace. So it began as socially evolved memes that then pressurised host communities to allow/support avid believers to procreate more, and therefore pass on their traits. So a socially evolved mechanism, that caused certain genes to strengthen in the population which could then (given the right social pressures) aid uptake of belief/religious epiphany after sufficient generations of selection.

    Definitely the mechanisms you describe occurred.

    You know when you are walking down the street, and you get this strong feeling someone is watching you? Then lo and behold your vision, as if running on autopilot, snaps up to a second floor window with one lone observer who has their gaze fixed firmly upon you? Now some see this as a sixth sense. I see it as the subconscious mind piecing together unfocused upon retinal data and using said data to form a survival response.

    This doesn’t necessarily apply to what I am suggesting.

    But superstitious activities like my athlete example patently work, that’s why they are employed; athletes need to be in the comfort zone. Now whether we go back and apply this to a soldier fighting in battles for the defence of Rome, or go back further and apply this to a band of homo sapiens (not sapiens sapiens) who survived because they were able to get in the zone every time they went into skirmishes against their Neanderthal cousins (hypothetical of course): one marauder always has to wear his battle necklace, bad things may happen if he doesn’t wear his battle necklace.

    How much of this is socially evolved and how much is genetically imprinted is massively unclear. I would say though, that any socially evolved behaviour, if found to be beneficial, will through pressure cause certain traits to feedback into the genepool.

    Yes, it would seem we very well could be. But not to say reason can’t win out.

    I would say the propensity or even possible weakness could exist in all of us. An analogy (only an analogy as we don’t know enough yet) would be chronological genes that switch on or switch off within the body during different phases of the human lifespan. Is it possible religion can be switched on (phenotypically expressed) once certain triggers are depressed/oppressed? I think religious belief goes hand in hand with the personal sense of the weakness of the body, the fear of the unknown. Some people need the psychological support belief in god offers. Maybe when a group of individuals feel so set upon by the world these triggers are set off and cause people to collect to support one another? A kind of group behavioural trait that has some hardcoding but also requires the variables: adversity (psychological or physical); idea/sense/feeling of god (socially evolved memes as precursors), a group of interacting people with lingual skills.

    I must admit, I do love the fact the human mind is capable of reasoning its way around the propensity to believe an unproven. We would all probably be much happier, and lead more psychologically peaceful lives if we could just make the leap to believe in the fact someone is watching over all of us. But sadly, my mind will not allow it. I dearly hope that life will never deal me such god-awful cards to the point where my spirit is eroded down so much that I will get into bed with god belief. Who knows what is in store for an aging human mind, until it happens to oneself. At 32 years old I am still quite young, but I have had times where I thought my times was up, and the mind does tend to turn to the idea of god, just in case I think.

    Is it such a potent socially evolved behaviour that it can eat into the most avid atheist’s psyche (though I will admit god is possible); or is it truly hardcoded into all of us and we will be lucky to escape its clutches within our lifetimes; or is it a combination of all and the above . . . (excuse the pun).
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  15. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

    Quick example for you Aqueous:

    Now if a superstition arises around the idea that the fire mountain gets angry, and when it gets angry he will rain fire down upon us, any people living within the vicinity are likely to be incinerated by lava flows. When the mountain does erupt, something it hasn't done for a long-long-time, the people who were more likely to perpetuate spiritual/superstitious thought are more likely to have vacated during the fire-gods anger, as they recognised the quakes as the anger of the fire-god, and knew they better skidaddle. Whereas other local groups who didn't have any understanding of the quakes and their cause died.

    So the tendency to perpetuate such ridiculous thoughts of gods and their wrath, actually facilitated survival fitness.
  16. spockster Registered Member

    same reason people believe in magic, they want to think there's something cooler and out of ordinary compared to boring everyday lives that we live (at least me, but I don't believe in god)
  17. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

    Why do people believe in a god, or gods? Because their mind is empty. They desperately need that god thing to hang on to. It explains that which they cannot explain themselves.
  18. cleese Registered Senior Member

    sir , because it is the logic paradigm.
    please refer to my article here.
    it is the duality of creation & legislation
    here :
  19. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    What because? IN reference to which question, I asked 4.
  20. Brahmanyan Registered Member

    Why do people believe in God.

    Belief has no reasoning to give. God is an "X" factor for me. When I could not find logical answer to an event in my life, I hold the "X" factor to find an explanation. When I look at the cosmos and creations I wonder about the origin and the originator whom I could not comprehend by the faculties that I posses in this body. Then I call it God or Brahman in my religious philosophy. We can explain only the attributes of the Creator or God, but cannot be known by empirical means that is to say, as an object of our consciousness because Brahman is our very consciousness and being.

Share This Page