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Why do people believe in gods? 
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Post Why do people believe in gods?
Before we start the book it might be interesting to see what people think about this question. Why do people believe in gods?

The theist will have all sorts of responses to this question, but I'm more interested in the atheistic or academic perspective. Please forgive me if you're a believer, but I have seen all of the theistic arguments to the point of exhaustion. I'm looking for a scientific or psychological reason for faith.

Anyone care to start this ball rolling? And don't be afraid of sticking your neck out and sharing your feelings prior to covering this subject matter in the book. The point of BookTalk is to read, think, learn and grow. It's ok to make guesses and make mistakes. As long as we're open to correction, revision, or refutation...we're doing well. So why do so many people believe in God or gods? Is it biological? Is there a God gene? Or is it simply a learned coping mechanism for dealing with existential dread?

Chris

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Mon Mar 01, 2004 1:33 am
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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
I don't buy the idea of a god gene or that belief in god is inherent in humans, but I do think that belief in god goes much deeper than a mere emotional coping mechanism for existential dread. Humans have the unique ability to think abstractly. Our intelligence allows us to contemplate our existence and we naturally have a desire to learn and understand. Generally humans seek logical explanations for things.

I've been reading a lot about ancient religions of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome. Belief in gods developed and evolved, not as an absolute scientific explanation for our existence, but as a metaphorical way of explaining what we don't know. The gods of the ancient world make little sense logically, yet they helped the people of the time make sense of the unknown because they so greatly lacked understanding of the natural world. Science was a void and their view was so limited. Things would happen and they knew that there had to be an explanation, so much was attributed to the gods.

I don't think that ancient people were stupid or irrational for believing in gods. They had very limited information and faith in gods helped give them a sense of understanding in a world they knew very little about. Monotheism evolved from polytheism and it became more absolute and irrational, but basically served the same purpose.

In addition to this, belief in god also serves to provide emotional comfort when dealing with the concept of our finitude. And because it has been such a factor in our evolution, religions have naturally evolved to help explain these various god concepts. Religions evolve as societies change and because of their strong influence they play a big part in the evolution of societies. There is a significant correlation.

The problem is that we have now moved into a scientific age. The incredible advancement of science and technology is a pretty recent phenomenon and as we advance scientifically we find less and less need for belief in god. Science fills our need to understand with much more logical explanations than the god concept and religion. Unfortunately, our species seems to have developed an emotional attachment to god and religion that makes it difficult for them to let these go.

Those are just a few random thoughts on the fly. I have to get back to work. :)

Cheryl




Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:13 am
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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
Cheryl

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Our intelligence allows us to contemplate our existence...
An externality of being the most intelligent species on this rock is our propensity to ask extremely difficult questions. When we cannot find answers we create them - to quench that insatiable thirst for understanding. Well said Cheryl.

Quote:
Generally humans seek logical explanations for things.
Maybe so, but when logical answers do not present themselves...we create our own answers.

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I don't think that ancient people were stupid or irrational for believing in gods. They had very limited information and faith in gods helped give them a sense of understanding in a world they knew very little about.
I think you'll find Michael Shermer in agreement with you on this point. Had each of us been born 5000 years ago we might find ourselves adhering to the exact same belief systems. And we wouldn't be fools for doing so either. Think forward now, perhaps 5000 years into the future. What will we believe in the very distant future? Will we look back at 2004 as a time of irrationality and mysticism?

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Monotheism evolved from polytheism and it became more absolute and irrational...
Damn I love reading your posts. Every one of your statements is well thought out. I assume you're saying that as we became more and more specific with our beliefs, we opened ourselves up more and more to scrutiny, and refutation. Claiming that the gods control everything is difficult to prove one way or the other, but the assertion that Jesus rose from the dead is more tangible and easy to challenge.

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In addition to this, belief in god also serves to provide emotional comfort when dealing with the concept of our finitude.
This is what is meant by existential dread. We are abundantly aware of our own immenent death - our mortality. So we deal with it by denying it outright. Our bodies may die, but our bodies are only a vehicle for the real us - our souls. Death is only a beginning, or a stepping-stone to bigger and better things. Ahh...that feels good. Warm fuzzies. How human.

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...religions have naturally evolved to help explain these various god concepts.
I cannot help but think the real reason religion originated and evolved is as a control mechanism. One man or group of men controlling vast numbers of people. Charismatic leaders develop rules of behavior, and then corresponding rewards and punishments. Religion has been a vital component for the evolution of human social groups, for without it we would have no moral compass. At least this is what we have been made to believe by religious leaders and scriptures. We need religion, and the scary thing is most people really might need it.

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Those are just a few random thoughts on the fly. I have to get back to work.
For random thoughts they sure were expressed clearly and eloquently. I miss having you around here Cheryl.

Chris

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Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:07 pm
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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
Belief in God is one way of addressing the perceptions of the unconscious mind and right brain hemisphere. One of those perceptions is that everything is one's spiritual body, another is that everyone sees everything you do, another is that time is simultaneous rather than sequential. There are also taboos associated with reprogramming one's own consciousness, and with overriding meanings attached to symbols. The left verbal brain can't really comprehend all those perceptions, so it attributes them all to 'another reality'.




Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:10 pm
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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
I think that the belief in god--- gods--- God--- is equivalent to man's belief in Science today.
Believing in God, ancient man had an explanantion for the things he could not understand.
There is a huge difference between belief in god and organized religion. Belief in god is personal where religion is where some one person convinces others to partake in their methods, prayers, rituals, devotions, sacrifices...whatever.
There is no difference in some modern people believing that Science can solve all problems and
explain all things. For example what is the difference between saying stress causes headaches and saying "demon"s do?
It is so egotistical to believe that humans who live now are smarter and more savvy than the people of the past. I wouldn't want to be stuck in the north woods forest with a computer programmer who never ate a blackberry only used it for a keypad.




Tue Mar 02, 2004 1:31 am
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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
Chris stated:

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When we cannot find answers we create them - to quench that insatiable thirst for understanding.


Exactly. The thing is, the motives behind creating these answers vary. Last fall a little boy here in my area fell from a 2 story window and landed on the concrete below. He required emergency brain surgery and nearly died. To everyone's surprise he not only survived, he made a full recovery. His parents attributed his survival to a miracle from god. For his father, this was a wake up call from god telling him that he needs to stop drinking and smoking and appreciate what is really important in life. His son has a second lease on life as a lesson for him.

These answers were created as an emotional response to a devastating situation. They required no depth of thought, no logic. The accuracy of them is not important. That's not why these answers were invented. They satisfied an emotional need for the parents.

However, our reasons for creating answers to questions that puzzle us are not always out of emotion. Sometimes they are logical, even if the answers themselves are not. For example, Aristotle was an extremely logical man. He astounded people of his time with his depth of wisdom and was dedicated to reason as were many of the ancient Greek philosophers. He did not think in absolutes. If you were to bring him back to life here and now and educate him on our advances in science, bring him up to date on astronomy and natural selection, he would probably be fascinated and his theories would likely be altered.

Aristotle had a very distorted geocentric view of our place in the universe. His view was influenced by the limited understanding of the time. He used logic in trying to explain his views, but his conclusions were wrong. All he had to build on was the scientific understanding of his time. God was a vastly accepted concept and in some ways it made sense to believe.

From a strictly logical point of view, as Hume argues, it's irrational to believe in a god because we have no proof of its existence. Any explanation for god raises more questions than it explains. Even still, as Dawkins points out in The Blind Watchmaker, atheism would have been intellectually unfulfilling prior to Darwin's discovery of natural selection because we still want to understand as much as possible about our existence. The god concept, especially when you consider the first cause arguments of Aquinas and the unmoved mover arguments of Aristotle, has a logical basis. That doesn't mean that these arguments are logically unflawed (in fact they are flawed) or that the conclusions are accurate, but given the limited scientific understanding of the time they helped intelligent, rational people make sense of things they did not understand.

Aristotle's god was not an absolute certainty nor did he attempt to define him. His god, the unmoved mover, was the best explanation that he could come up with at the time. If Aristotle were alive today his views on god, science and the universe would likely be far different.

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I cannot help but think the real reason religion originated and evolved is as a control mechanism. One man or group of men controlling vast numbers of people. Charismatic leaders develop rules of behavior, and then corresponding rewards and punishments. Religion has been a vital component for the evolution of human social groups, for without it we would have no moral compass. At least this is what we have been made to believe by religious leaders and scriptures.


I don't think it's this black and white, Chris. If you read about the nature of ancient religions they were not of the same nature as monotheistic religions of today. Polytheistic religions were far more tolerant and lenient than monotheistic religions and they typically didn't mind incorporating other gods and beliefs into their religions. Gods symbolized various aspects of life. Some gods were more helpful than others. Some gods were favored over others. The more gods the better. Where one might be deficient another might pick up the slack. Monotheism was seen as a very narrow-minded view. Why limit yourself to just one deity? The more you have on your side the better off you are.

Ancient Babylonian, Greek and Roman civilizations practiced religion, not so much as a means of controlling the people, but as a way of bettering their lives. Appease the gods and they will protect you, bless you and make you fertile. Anger the gods and they will neglect you or even harm you. Religion was very much a part of the culture and it evolved with the culture. Belief was personal. It was important to believe, but how you believed was up to you. Paganism did not have strong human leader representatives and rules were not unequivocally enforced.

It wasn't until the birth of monotheism, which was a very gradual transition from polytheism and happened with the Jews, that the absolute nature and control elements started factoring in. With a solidly defined deity and specific rules, you create the perfect atmosphere for control. Self appointed dictators set themselves up to lead the masses by claiming to be representatives of the supreme being. Because the believers fear the deity they are easy to manipulate.

I would agree with you that some religions have evolved into an authoritarian nature. Did they set out specifically with the intention of control? I doubt it. Some religions, by their nature, lend themselves to this type of system. People who are attracted to religious dominance will gravitate to fill the roles as leaders and people who are attracted to religious submission will gravitate to fill the roles as followers. People who are not attracted to such a system will probably reject it.

Even in our society today some religions are far more controlling than others. How much control does Buddhism exhibit over its adherents? It may have associated rituals and cultural influence, but most Buddhists are not subjected to the controlling religious nature of monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam. I have no interest in joining the UU Church and find it intellectually drab, but I see no controlling nature to it. It exists as a social structure and provides emotional comfort for its adherents, but it has no leaders and very few demands. It's too broad a generalization to state that the real reason religion exists is to control people.

As Karen Armstrong states in her book A History of God - The 4000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, "Despite its otherworldliness, religion is highly pragmatic.... It is far more important for a particular idea of God to work than for it to be logically or scientifically sound. As soon as it ceases to be effective it will be changed - sometimes for the something radically different." That's an astute observation in my opinion.

Quote:
We need religion, and the scary thing is most people really might need it.


This is one question I've been wrestling with lately. Tom and I have been debating this from differing viewpoints. Do people really need religion or have they simply become dependent on it like an addict on a drug? Is religion necessary or is it optional for our species? Could we function as an international society without religion and belief in god? Is the god concept necessary or could most people function just as well without it?

Quote:
For random thoughts they sure were expressed clearly and eloquently. I miss having you around here Cheryl.


Thank you, Chris. I love this stuff and I miss being around. I've had a lot of changes in my life but things are settling down. I hope to be more involved now.

Cheryl

Edited by: NaddiaAoC at: 3/2/04 2:17 am



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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
One way to answer this is to look at some telling stat. In Canada they around 1999 they did a survey of churchgoing people. 96% of they did it in the religion of their parents.

A resonable conclusion is to bridge the eneration gap. Religion could be a way to build continuation of norms between generations. Those who oppose the norms of their parents might do this by changing groupnorms or dropping out of groups alltogether.

What do atheists think of why believers do believe in a God or gods?

Between 1953 to 1983 I thought the religious people lacked intelligence. I was a very proud and self-centered atheist and thought even agnostics to be a bit less intelligent. some religious peopel like Martin Gardner are way above me in intelligence. I am not only naive but not intelligent either. Dim or dull is a good name for me. But I don't believe in a supernatural God. so it has nothing to do with being smart enough to get it.


Maybe Pascal Boyer and Scott Atran si on the right tracks. In latest March April issue of Skeptical Inquiry? Boyer write about religion not being about rational reason. Religion is a bit counterintuitive so you have no use of your intelligence.

Read Roy Rappaport's take on George Bateson, intelligence and rational reason is only a hinder cause the religious truth is not supposed to be questioned. It's a given truth of the group. More like that the Home Team in Sports are the Best there is. Or like if you was a memeber of a Guild of Handy Craft like Shoemakers Guild. You go to a Master and he teach you and then your part of the guild and defend it. It has nothing to do with rational reason or intelligence. More like a skill in a handycraft. the words of the cripture is like "passwords", you show your loyalty to the Group by being able to use the right "password" fi our asked about your faith. If a Born Again Minister of the Fundamentalist Evangelical sort ask you then your "password" is different than in your a Catholic or a Buddhist. Intelligence comes in in the apologethic texts to defend the Given Truth. What they see as Truth is more like a "prescription" or a "Recipe".

When we atheists trash their claims then it only marginally change the faith of the believers. They most likely try to sharpen their rhetoric so all we accomplish is to make then even more alien to us.

I like Shermer's book cause he see it also from a functional point fo view.

"How we believe".

Even secular Humanists has a kind of faith not in the supernatural but in the rational abilities of us atheists.

Take the reasonable goal to unite us all under one name. 1988 they IHEU launced an outreach that we all should see us a The Humanists. a lot of the atheists fail to approve of it. Still now thsi many years later only a few remember this effort to unite us under one name.

Along came Paul Geisert and launced Bright and asked us to be The Brigths.

wish I knew if he was awere of the total failure to make us The Humanists. Him being as optimistic as the IHEU people, Levi Fragell if I remember his name. The atheists didn't approve of it this time either.

Now Michael Shermer tried to tell Paul Geisert that we need to do a research first. Does the Comunity of reason really want a unifying umbrella name and if they do should not they then have a voting on what name they prefer. Paul G. turned this down. Memetic languistic force will makes it own work and change the resistence and the Brights will succeed where The Humanists failed.

The Jury is still out or has already say no depending on who you ask.

My reason for telling this here is to show that our optimism for using "rationa reasoning" seem overly optimistic.

Here is a relavant citation.

" -- you do not reason a man out of something he was not reasoned into" Pascal Boyer Skeptical Inquiry March 2004.

Why they believe is more like Why do people have a local traditions and that these continues over the generation gap. It is a way to show that you honor the norms of your parents. A functional act of loyalty to the norms of the group they belong to. This goes for secualr "faiths" too like the social solidarity between poor workers who join in a union and have their local culture and taste for Bruce Springsteen and being skeptical to the taste of the upper classes.

The Classical music of the Establishment is not less true than Bruce but a true worker woudl not support the Pavarotti style of expression. It is not a skill of ability to reason cause it is subjective taste and not about what si true to reality. It is more like a given. If your born of a worker your not supposed to prefer Pavarotti over Springsteen. A loyalty thing.

Bernt in Sweden

sorry I 'm too wordy.

Edited by: bernt at: 3/2/04 3:54 am



Tue Mar 02, 2004 3:43 am
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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
I don't think the question is answerable. I mean, why do people listen to music, or paint, or dance, or build clocks....finding a bedrock rationale is impossible, and more projection than observation. There are spectrums of reasons, employed for various purposes across a wide array of contexts. And, there is no objective point in the discussion to step out and look in as a disinterested observer...we are already on board the train, and it is impossible to be neutral.

Thinking that somehow the scientific or psychological lenses are the best or most appropriate tools for understanding in these contexts is public affirmation of one's own faith and world view- thus, requiring the same scrutiny and analysis...again, that's assuming that scrutiny and analysis are the best tools.

I mean, when listening to the hauntingly beautiful orchestrations of Arvo Part, I am not busily employing scrutiny and analysis...I am making myself available to the performance and following the guide of the artist and musician and conductor. The receptivity of the piece is based upon something other than intellectual scrutiny and logical analysis.

Perhaps, its based on Joy.

Now, the discussion could revolve around an understanding of Joy. And we could even explore why people 'believe in Joy'.

But, understanding why people 'believe in Joy' and experiencing Joy are not the same thing.

Just as understanding why people enjoy music and enjoying music are not the same thing.




Tue Mar 02, 2004 4:38 pm
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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
One thing worth considering is the nature of the God/god/s discussed...at least as far as finding some understanding as to why folks attach themselves in mind and deed to such a Deity.

Within the Judaeo/Christian lineage of faiths, of which there are very many diverse ones, there is a Prophetic impulse that highlights a God of Justice, who protects the widow and orphan, confronts the oppressors and tyrants, and lifts up the peace maker and healer as exemplar.

For example,

Amos 2:6-7 "For they have perverted justice by accepting bribes and sold into slavery the poor who can't repay their debts; they trade them for a pair of shoes. They trample the poor in the dust and kick aside the meek. At their religious feasts they lounge in clothing stolen from their debtors, and in my own Temple they offer sacrifices of wine they purchased with stolen money."

Amos 5:12 "For many and great are your sins. I know them all so well. You are the enemies of everything good; you take bribes; you refuse justice to the poor."

Amos 8:4-7 " Listen, you merchants who rob the poor, trampling on the needy; you who long for the Sabbath to end and the religious holydays to be over so you can get out and start cheating again -- using your weighted scales and under-sized measures; you who make slaves of the poor, buying them for their debt of a piece of silver or a pair of shoes, or selling them your moldy wheat."

Or,


Isaiah 1 "Learn to do right! Seek justice , encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."

Isaiah 58:1-10 "The kind of fast I want is that you stop oppressing those who work for you and treat them fairly and give them what they earn. I want you to share your food with the hungry and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don't hide from relatives who need your help. If you do these things, God will shed his own glorious light upon you. He will heal you. Your godliness will lead you forward, goodness will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then, when you call, the Lord will answer. 'Yes, I am here,' he will quickly reply. All you need to do is to stop oppressing the weak and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors! "Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day."

Isaiah 3:14-16 "First to feel his wrath will be the elders and the princes, for they have defrauded the poor. They have filled their barns with grain extorted from the helpless peasants." . . . "How dare you grind my people in the dust like that?" the Lord Almighty will demand of them. Next he will judge the haughty women, who mince along, noses in the air, tinkling bracelets on their ankles, with wanton eyes that rove among the crowds to catch the glances of the men." "In those days the ungodly, the atheists, will not be heroes! Wealthy cheaters will not be spoken of as generous, outstanding men! Everyone will recognize an evil man when he sees him, and hypocrites will fool no one at all. Their lies about God and their cheating of the hungry will be plain for all to see. The smooth tricks of evil men will be exposed, as will all the lies they use to oppress the poor in the courts. But good men will be generous to others and will be blessed of God for all they do."

Micah 6: 8-12 " What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? The voice of the LORD cries to the city : . . . Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the accursed scant measure? Can I tolerate wicked scales and a bag of dishonest weights? Your wealthy are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, with tongues of deceit in their mouths. Your rich men are wealthy through extortion and violence; your citizens are so used to lying that their tongues can't tell the truth!"

Or, from the New Testament,

Matthew 25 " 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Mark 12: 41-44 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."

Matthew 19 "If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when the young man heard this, he went away sadly, for he was very rich. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "It is almost impossible for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. I say it again -- it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God! When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, "Then who can be saved?" And Jesus replied, "For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible."

Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that the blind shall see, that captives shall be released and the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors."


Obviously, there are many other texts that contradict these in outright fashion...but my point is not to argue for an inerrant Scripture.

My point is to find out what people mean when they say "God".

And, as the quotes above point out....they mean something about radical social, political, religious and cultural revolution.




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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
Bernt

Interesting post, Bernt. And for someone that doesn't speak English as his or her native tongue, you sure communicate well. You aren't too wordy either...so no worries.

So 96% are of the same religion as their parents? That is interesting. You said, "A resonable conclusion is to bridge the generation gap. Religion could be a way to build continuation of norms between generations." I guess it could be likened to a form of glue that holds a social group together, and aids in passing along the memes of that social organism.

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Between 1953 to 1983 I thought the religious people lacked intelligence. I was a very proud and self-centered atheist and thought even agnostics to be a bit less intelligent.
I'll admit to having been of this mindset too, and to some degree still adhering to this viewpoint.

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Dim or dull is a good name for me. But I don't believe in a supernatural God. so it has nothing to do with being smart enough to get it.
First of all, there is nothing in your posts that would indicate you as being dim or dull. Spend some time in some religion chat rooms and you'll soon see the epitome of dim and dull. Or simply walk around and talk to people about this subject matter. Your appreciation for your own intellect will skyrocket.

And suppose you really are rather uneducated and ignorant. This wouldn't change the statistical correlation between intellect and faith. In stats we look at trends in the population, not at individual members of the population. Most atheists appear to be more educated, intelligent, and articulate than most theists...in my experiences. Some studies seem to indicate a statistical relationship between science education and faith, and the relationship is inversely proportional. The more one learns about the workings of the natural world - the less likely they are to believe in gods.

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Maybe Pascal Boyer and Scott Atran is on the right tracks. In latest March April issue of Skeptical Inquiry? Boyer write about religion not being about rational reason. Religion is a bit counterintuitive so you have no use of your intelligence.
I no longer have a subscription to Skeptical Inquirer, and would love to read that essay. I'm not sure how to process that statement though... "Religion is a bit counterintuitive so you have no use of your intelligence." Perhaps that is where the problem lies. Theists assume that belief is a virtue, and despite a lack of evidence it is ok to believe things without any evidence. I say horse pucky to that. How can we have no use for our intelligence? We aren't talking about an appreciation for a piece of art are we? We're talking about whether or not a God exists.

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When we atheists trash their claims then it only marginally changes the faith of the believers. They most likely try to sharpen their rhetoric so all we accomplish is to make then even more alien to us.
You're probably right, so what is the solution? If there really isn't a god don't we have an obligation to humanity to attempt to rid the planet of this mind-shackling belief? Or shall we have the "to each his own" approach?

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Along came Paul Geisert and launced Bright and asked us to be The Brigths. Wish I knew if he was aware of the total failure to make us The Humanists. Him being as optimistic as the IHEU people, Levi Fragell if I remember his name. The atheists didn't approve of it this time either.
First of all, Paul & Mynga can be reached at this email address. the-brights@the-brights.net, in case you would like to email them your opinion. Being the creator of BookTalk I have been in the unique position of being able to endorse this new Brights movement, but I just have not felt comfortable with the term. We could discuss this subject some more, but it probably would be better tackled in a separate thread in this forum.

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Now Michael Shermer tried to tell Paul Geisert that we need to do a research first. Does the Community of reason really want a unifying umbrella name and if they do should not they then have a voting on what name they prefer.
I agree with Shermer. Bright is offensive. "I don't adhere to a naturalistic worldview. Are you saying I'm not Bright?" I can hear it now. No thanks.

Chris

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"



Tue Mar 02, 2004 6:22 pm
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Post Re: Why do people believe in gods?
A couple other Bible quotes:

2 Samuel 7: He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.

(Either he's talking about some other king whose throne is eternal, and whom God calls his son, or he's saying Jesus was punished for doing wrong).

Ezekiel 29:9 says Egypt would be invaded by Nebuchadnazzar and left without inhabitants for 40 years. There may be some debate about whether Egypt was invaded, but it was never without inhabitants for 40 years.

Numbers 31: 14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? ...Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Exodus 21:20 "If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

Deut 22:28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

(What lovely family values in God's "unchanging moral code")


2 Samuel 24 :1 God incited David to number Israel . 1 Chronicles 21:1 Satan incited David to number Israel.

And one I actually believe in:

When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. - Proverbs 16






Tue Mar 02, 2004 7:23 pm
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