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Why do you think other people believe in God? 
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Post Why do you think other people believe in God?
Although we're touching on this in another thread, I was interested to see what members intuitive sense is for why other people around them believe in God. Note that I'm not asking about why humanity seems to have a propensity for belief in one or more deities. Just those around you.

This information is going to be put to some use a bit later on... 8)

Feel free to comment below about your choice.



Results (total votes = 11):
Belief in God is comforting, relieving, consoling, and gives meaning and purpose to life. 5 / 45.5%  
The need to believe in an afterlife/the fear of death and the unknown. 0 / 0.0% 
Lack of exposure to science/lack of education/ignorance. 1 / 9.1%  
Raised to believe in God. 5 / 45.5%  
Arguments based on good design/natural beauty/perfection/complexity of the world or universe. 0 / 0.0% 




Tue Mar 02, 2004 2:18 pm
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Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
I answered "raised to believe." This is what starts the ball rolling, but the benefits of faith keep it moving along.

Chris

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



Tue Mar 02, 2004 4:21 pm
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Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
I picked the top one. About it being a comfort. Most of the people I know believe in God because they have expierenced Him and so find comfort and meaning in that.

The idea that we are just a cosmic mistake without any meaning is horrifying to a lot of people.




Wed Mar 03, 2004 1:07 pm


Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
all of the above! :)




Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:47 pm


Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
Shannon,

I agree - I think that's the reason for a lot of people, that they don't know how to find comfort and meaning if they don't think that the creation of life was/is purposeful.

I think it's interesting that different people find meaning in different ways, and it's such a deep-seated emotional thing, that it is very difficult to adequately describe to other people. A lot of people think that intellectual arguments can convince people of anything if they're logically sound, but if they can't tap into the emotional component, they probably wont get anywhere.

Personally, I get a lot of meaning out of trying to understand the complexity of life - and that it *can* be this complex and interconnected. For some reason having that satisfies me, I don't feel any need to take the extra step in needing it to have been created for a reason. And it's very difficult to articulate why that is, and that I don't feel depressed that I don't believe there is a sentient source behind all this complexity.

I hope I wasn't going completely off topic with this..just something I was thinking about when I read your post! :)

CSFlinn,

What is the purpose of a poll if your view doesn't fall into a neat little pigeon hole??
:p

Actually now having gone over the choices, I think I'm in complete agreement with you. I have heard people use all these explanations when I've asked them their views.

So I don't know how to vote in this poll either :rolleyes




Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:25 pm
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Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
One of thecshoices was lack of science education.
I am quite amused by that, as the town we llive near is a "scientific community" with literally hundreds of chemical engineers, chemists, and research scientists.
There are a very large number of these highly educated people who are fundamentist christians and anti-evolutionists.




Thu Mar 04, 2004 3:39 am
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Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
deannafrances

I would suggest that you look at those scientists a bit more closely. The majority are bound to be atheists, yet do not divulge this without being questioned in a non-threatening fashion.

About 93% of the general population are theists. When you look at the population of "great" scientists, you find the inverse of about 93% atheists. Why is this?

Chris

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



Thu Mar 04, 2004 2:40 pm
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Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
Because they are stupid?




Fri Mar 05, 2004 1:04 pm


Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
Careful! I know plenty of people who are highly intelligent, yet still believe in God.

Perhaps this very fact is why I find "the God puzzle" so difficult to understand...




Fri Mar 05, 2004 5:02 pm


Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
Other people believe in "God" because of a variation of each of the 5 poll items and then some. Probably the most decisive factor regarding a person's beliefs is how they were raised. This is statistically obvious when you look at the various belief systems of the world and their demographics. As a general rule, if you are raised in a Muslim family you believe in the Muslim God, if you are born into a Jewish family, you believe in the Jewish God, etc. This phenomena is observable for nearly every religion throughout the world. I also believe that it is also observable to some degree for non-religious beliefs such as political/philosophical beliefs and even among non-theistic beliefs such as atheism.

As a person ages, I believe that the other poll items may either confirm and strengthen their beliefs, or if a lack of confirmation comes, then that person may entertain new beliefs about god.

Statistically, it appears that most often, a person raised in a certain belief comes to an affirmation (rather than denial) of their beliefs based on such things as a desire for comfort and meaning in life (item #1). This is understandable, based on the fact that most belief systems make pretty favorable claims and promises for the believers within those systems. In light of what one must give up upon renouncing one's beliefs, I can see the possibility that some psychological mechanism would work very hard to prevent that from occurring after years of such beliefs.

I thinks that items #3 (exposure to science) and #5 (arguments from design) are closely related. I think that a person who has had a minimal exposure to science and has been raised under a belief system that teaches design will gravitate toward accepting arguments from design as evidences for their beliefs. This again is probably quite natural. Why would a person who is raised with a certain world-view choose to disregard it without some external influence prompting them to do so? Without the exposure to science, one of the major influences of challenging world-views based on faith has been silenced.

Regarding item #2, fear and hope are always great motivators. Depending on the psychology of any given individual, these will play varying roles in why a person believes in God. There are some people who have their prime motivation for belief grounded in their fear of going to "hell", so obviously fear can be a strong influence.

For those who have grown up with minimal influence regarding belief or disbelief in God, then I would say that item #1 would play the primary role in whether a person chooses to accept a theistic belief system or not.

My 2 cents worth...

By the way I voted for #4 - "Raised to Believe in God."

Eric




Fri Mar 05, 2004 5:42 pm


Post Re: Why do you think other people believe in God?
There isa difference between 'Learned' and 'Intelligent'.
People who believe an untestable proposition
are stupid however 'Clever' they may be.




Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:35 pm
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