Why do people believe in God?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Write4U, Nov 15, 2023.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Don't be such a hypocrite, Write4U!

    If this is meaningless name dropping (referring you to sources of additional information), then how would you describe your constant quoting of people like Tegmark, Hammeroff, Anil Seth - even Einstein?

    You can't have it both ways. Either you think it's okay to refer to sources, or you don't. If you don't, then you had better stop dropping names, too.
    You still haven't explained how you know that Anil Seth is correct about any of this.
     
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Because he makes absolute sense to me and he is no lightweight.

    In a spare moment, listen to the "verbatim" scientific lecture on this very subject.
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Part of me refuses the question, but that's probably not fair; some measure of wondering what you expect is real.

    To wit, are you sure you're treating the word "gnostic" correctly?

    Honestly, I think your inquiry reads more like a setup dependent on projection. It's clumsy, that's the thing:

    I mean, come on, what world do you live in? What part of history makes the idea of a majority being wrong somehow extraordinary?

    It is not scientifically or objectively appropriate to ignore history in order to inquire anew, and in that sense I still don't quite get how "religion" can be so important that evangelical atheists can carry on for years without learning a thing along the way.

    You've been here for over ten years; some people have been here twenty. Just imagine the possibility that for all their years of concern about theists and religion some of our atheists somehow have managed to not learn a damn thing along the way. It seems like it ought to be impossible.

    To wit, just for instance, why would you presume a higher number of atheists? What about history suggests that presumption is anything other than arbitrary?

    Or, maybe I can find an old note on Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, from 2010↗, and the discussion was no different back then, unless the current iteration is regressive. In the time since, Armstrong, in Fields of Blood, addressed the easy casual talk about religion and wars and atrocities. Inasmuch as current understandings of religious thought, belief, and behavior make such casual, speculative criticism of religion more difficult, sure, I can imagine why the evangelical bloc of atheism might pretend or actually be unaware.

    I recently had occasion↗ to recall an old formulation about "the point where their unsupported beliefs start having detrimental impacts on other people", and in our moment the point reminds that it is not merely for cruelty and satisfaction that one criticizes religion. That is, your atheism isn't just another random bigotry; it's not just some excuse you think you have licensing cruelty toward others. I mean, right?

    So, no, it's not so much that anyone needs to rush out and read this or that as much as simply observing that whatever people's interest in the subject is, what this thread expresses is a measure of cruelty seeking satisfaction. If, for instance, a discussion of traffic at Sciforums includes the point of wondering↗ what about any given topic of interest actually interests someone, and an answer↗ suggests, "something contentious", we find in this thread an example of contention driven by speculative inquiry without foundation.

    And if, in the moment, some of your critics suddenly aren't fretting about that, it is because they share↑ this manner of satisfaction, and accept this iteration for the sake of that satisfaction, even if, or perhaps especially when, their part↗ is the sort of thing they apparently cannot justify. The idea of controversy or contention driving discussion is about as obvious as chubby rain falling on my head, but in that same sense we might also have a thing that should not be, or, at least, need not be. That is to say, controversy and contention, sure, but at the point we're making stuff up in order to get there?

    And why would those who are better than that play along? Well, what of yourself, as you, too, consider yourself to be better than some problem about religion, and part of the answer is, quite simply, that you are a human being. There is strength in numbers, comfort in familiarity, and empowerment in solidarity. And religious people are human in the same way; historically, your context of humanity is derived from one shaped and carried by religious people. An important commonality is this idea of humanity and being human.

    Which brings us back to your question: Humanity is emerging either from religion or, more likely, from one mode of religious function into another; it is a perpetual discussion that frequently, even proverbially always, feels as if it is verging on something big.

    If we take a moment to wonder how much of sixteen percent is first-generation reactionary atheism, we might also consider the point that atheism and absence of religion are demographics on the grow. Why are "only" sixteen percent atheist? One in six isn't really so low a number, all things considered.

    How subtle do we want to get in the moment: Armstrong on the "idiosyncratic and eccentric"↗ conception of religion prevalent in the West since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; this overlaps with Russell and Noll on historical narrative↗, with Russell observing, "people act upon what they believe to be true", and Noll suggesting, "Theological method came to rely less," in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, "on instinctive deference to inherited confessions and more on self-evident propositions"; and as it happens, Armstrong explained↗, "it is far more important for a particular idea of God to work than for it to be logically or scientifically sound". And no, that's actually not very subtle.

    Comparatively, there is a reasonable question of what atheism offers, as such, and the answer is either a lot or not much, i.e., either everything in the world, or none of that stuff has anything to do with atheism; it depends on who you ask.

    But if we consider those who were never indoctrinated as children, and didn't fall in with religion, later, and then those who fell away from religious faith to declare themselves atheists, part of what makes that growth and sustainability precarious is the prospect that none of that other stuff has anything to do with atheism. Left in the void, like that, atheism offers little existential comfort or fundamental socialization. It's not just the sociality or regularity of church culture; even fallen away Catholics and non-practicing Jews still speak the vernacular of the ingroup.

    Compared to something as flexible and dynamic as religion can be, and observing the circumstances from which the question of belief and atheism arises, sixteen percent isn't a bad market share for a product of no especial value. And considering the none-of-the-aboves raising the bloc to over a third, remember, while "atheism" is looked at as a kind of opposite to "religion", it does not inherently offer an actual competing product as such; there is a certain degree to which the social experiences, existential validation, and habituation into praxis people find in religion has nothing to do with atheism.

    In that context, one in six is actually a pretty good outcome. You might ask why "only" sixteen percent, but, in the context of transition from one mode of religious function into another, it is possible that a number as high as half a highwater mark represents not simply market dissatisfaction with diversity of religious expression, but faltering satisfaction with religion in a much more fundamental way. One in six is significant.

    Why do people believe in God? Largely because they learned to, and it's a lot of trouble to then not believe, and the only promise such a conversion can offer is uncertainty.

    And if such proximal and intimate values as sociality, validation, and praxis are too subjective, or something, another way to look at it is the common critique characterizing religion as a regulatory scheme, a means of controlling people and society. Atheistic, i.e., godlesss, versions don't really sound any better. If we look at it simplistically, human folly is not going to be any sort of comforting justification compared to what God says. More subtly, if we attend Eliade, they're the same thing, anyway.

    Toward which, again, one in six just doesn't really sound so bad.
     
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Where have you already answered that? This thread is only 3 pages long when you posted this latest post, so where have you previously answered it? If it's in another thread, have you provided a link to it from one of your posts in this thread???
    This, at least, is starting to answer the question. Of course, it is an atheistic response, one that negates what those who actually believe might have to say, but at least you're starting to answer the question.
    Personal credulity and an appeal to authority don't make something true. At least not in my eyes. So, how do you know that what he says is true?

    However, more interesting (to me, at least), is that this exact response from you would quite possibly also be given by many people who believe in God as to why they believe their pastor, their priest, those who have educated them in such matters. But I guess that irony might be lost on you?

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  8. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    Can it be taken here that "spiritual" means a belief of a higher power and not necessarily a belief in a god or gods?
    Just checking.
     
  9. Pinball1970 Registered Senior Member

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    Yes I'm good with that.
    Rumour? /why would I be prejudiced? Where you have attempted to take things on board I have acknowledged them.

    I said scientific approach, I did not say Biblical literature is science (obviously)
     
  10. Pinball1970 Registered Senior Member

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    870
    A couple of posters have alluded to this (even Write4U) and I think most of us would be in agreement.

    People believe in gods because they are taught about god by their parents, teachers, priests, rabbis, imams and wider community as children.

    Dave already pointed out, from an evolutionary point if view it is favourable to believe what your mother and father tell you.

    The children that decided to ignore advice about not swimming in lake because there is a crocodile in it, did not last long.


    Some people discover religion later in life also, several reasons for this I have come across.


    Looking for meaning, the person is not unhappy necessarily but thinks there must be something bigger, a purpose a plan- “is this all there is?”


    Then there are people who are damaged, abused as kids, lost everything in life, drug and /or alcohol problems, mental health issues, prison, there is a huge hole in their life/”soul” and they want to be healed.


    Very sad, I have seen scenarios of this and the church are well aware in terms of potential recruitment.


    Terminally ill, find god before it is too late – I have encountered one possible case of this.


    The more difficult question is why children take those beliefs into adulthood because not all do but the majority do.


    This is where religion plays a big role.
     
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, and televangelists! And these people who speak for God can command you do some very interesting things in the name of God.
    We all know why people believe. I am addressing whether it is a justified belief.
    I agree.
    Children find comfort in a Unicorn doll or a little imaginary playmate.

    Belief does not make it so, it makes people think it is so and that is a false belief.
    Pascal's wager is a cop-out. It teaches gambling on low odds. God will provide!

    This is where religion plays a big role.[/QUOTE] Yes, and it also plays a big role in war and bringing discomfort to people.

    If god commands you to kill because it would please God. Reminds me of the story of Abraham, where God commands Abraham to kill his son. Then God changes his mind and sends an angel to stop Abraham from killing his son, replaces him with a ram which Abraham kills.

    Regardless of belief, something got killed. And for what? To give Abraham a false sense of comfort for being released from God's divine command?
    Explain that to me, please.

    And if religion offers this much comfort why do we have psychiatrists that accomplish the same thing without the pomp and circumstance.

    Practicing religion is not a neutral activity like "meditation". Religion is exclusive and commands obedience, be it for good or for bad. Either way it is based on a false belief.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2023
  12. Pinball1970 Registered Senior Member

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    Please stay on point.
    We are not discussing whether god exists, whether religion incites violence or the old testament.
     
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    But we have already established that we know why people believe in God. What more do you expect?

    I cite these things because that is what people who believe in God do. I thing that is very relevant.
     
  14. Pinball1970 Registered Senior Member

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    Did we?

    I gave my view as a summary but the guys may disagree.
     
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't. I think you are spot on.
    I did take the liberty to expand on it a little.
     
    Pinball1970 likes this.
  16. Pinball1970 Registered Senior Member

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    Ok so what does Dave, Sarkus, Bivillion and James think?
    The chimp article was interesting and not something I was aware of till today.
     
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    How about fearing the believers.

    Let me quote the Inquisition Creed.
    IOW, we don't care if you are guilty. You have been selected to die as a sacrifice to the "greater good", which is the cause of God. This has been going on for thousands of years.

    Public crucifixion, burning, drowning, torture, rape, all in the name of God and His divine benevolence.

    I see no benefits in religion. You can believe anything you want. Just don't come knocking on my door and tell me that I need religion. That is an invasion of my privacy.

    I have said this before but it bears repeating (just like prayers).
    If there have been 3000 gods and you believe in just 1 god, then you are atheist to 2999 gods.
    I am atheist to 3000 gods, just 1 more god than you.

    The above is a generalization. Nothing personal.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2023
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    We haven't established anything other than what people's opinions are, at least for those that have expressed an opinion.
    You also shouldn't claim to know why people believe in God. If you have taken nothing else from my criticisms of your off-topic rants, at least take that you need to understand the difference between believing and knowing.
    And you'd be wrong with regard their relevance to the question in hand. The issue is not what belief makes you do, or what a congregation of like-minded believers ends up causing, but on why people, individuals, believe in God.
    Stick to that, please.
     
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    All irrelevant to the question at hand. Unsurprisingly so.
     
  20. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    If there were a omnipotent God, what are the chances that he hates atheist back, and that is why we suffer? Is that possible to people? (No offense intended).
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. Pinball definitely did.
     
  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    The issue with this thread, in this website, is that we are all mostly non-believers of one flavour or other, so the answers we give will, unless we are careful, will all stem from what we perceive the reason to be for believers to believe. In other words we are all in danger of negating out of hand the reasons they may actually put forward. We all understand why we ourselves don't believe. And we justify to ourselves the rational, the weakness, that believers must have for believing, whether it is indoctrination, or inability/unwilling to question etc.
    Noone has really answered the question of why people believe in God, rather than provide justification from an atheist standpoint of why people believe. That's not the same as people who believe actually detailing/explaining, if they can, and if they wish to, why they believe. But given the views that some have chosen to express here, it would not be surprising if they opted not to put themself in the firing line. And that's a shame.
     
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    19,996
    Do you know you are playing the fear card? Pascal's wager carried on to the extreme.
    Let's play safe and kill all the unbelievers, just in case. If there is a God He will love us and make room in heaven.
    And the apostates have been dealt with.
     

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