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Religion imposed by Evolution

  1. Nov 3, 2003 #1
    Tell me if you think this is a possibility:

    It came to me in Church today. Could religion be instilled in us through evolution as a way of allowing us to have intelligence and consciousness and not kill ourselves in large amounts?

    If everybody realized that there was no point to life aside from advancing down the line of evolution, is it not conceivable that a large amount of people would find the relief of suicide more appealing in times of trouble? The idea I had was that religion gives us a purpose and hope of a better life after death, therefore keeping us alive until death comes naturally.

    Just an idea. Absurd I'm sure.
     
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  3. Nov 3, 2003 #2

    hypnagogue

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    Not quite. I've heard this idea before in a number of places, and it seems to make good sense to me (though I'm sure our spiritual side serves many other evolutionarily advantageous purposes as well-- as a binding social force for one thing). You might want to check out Why God Won't Go Away by Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili. It explores questions of religion/spirituality in a scientific context, mostly through the prisms of neuroscience and evolution.
     
  4. Nov 3, 2003 #3
    Re: Re: Religion imposed by Evolution

    Excellent, I certainly will.

    The only flaw that I can readily see in this idea is that perhaps people aren't as inclined to self-destruction as they appear.
     
  5. Nov 3, 2003 #4

    hypnagogue

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    Re: Re: Re: Religion imposed by Evolution

    It doesn't have to be outright self-destruction. If a religious belief helps one emotionally cope with the death of a loved one, for example, that person will be less depressed and in general have greater mental health. That translates into a better functioning immune system, greater motivation to carry on 'as usual' and remain productive in family and society matters, and so on.
     
  6. Nov 3, 2003 #5
    Religion also serves as a way to unite a group(usually genetically similar) in order to better kill other groups. Religion has always been a tool for grabbing land and women to mate with...genetic imperatives for sure.
     
  7. Nov 3, 2003 #6
    Grabbing land, no doubt..woman though? That is a stretch. Look at Preists, they don't mate with too many woman.

    Certainly religion didn't start as a justification of murder though? I think there are just too many peaceful religions and people for this idea to hold water. While I agree that some religions primary concern seems to destroy other religions, many of the Western Christian religions (denominations) co-exist peacefully with eachother.

    I think religion is demonstratable as a major factor in (by choice I must add) our thinking process. Obviously atheists don't confer with god before they make a major decision, but millions of people from every part of the world DO and they have great faith in his speaking to them. This must have deeper roots than land and woman.
     
  8. Nov 3, 2003 #7

    FZ+

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    Er... I wouldn't say evolution is the "point" of life. In fact, I wouldn't say that evolution says anything about life having a point at all.

    Not all religions promise a better life after death.
     
  9. Nov 3, 2003 #8
    Though I was not there at the time...

    ...I imagine religion as being the original politics.

    [edit]
    Still haven't learned to spell.:smile:
     
  10. Nov 3, 2003 #9
    Evolution the point of life???? Religion gives us a purpose for life??? Not sure where either of these came from.

    Every species on earth has an inert will to survive in order to increase it fitness (fitness in this sence is the ability to survive and pass on genes to future generations).

    Evolution is not the point of life - it is simply the change in allele frequency within a population. Evolution is not a goal or a destination - it is simply nature acting upon phenotypes, which can change genotypes due to mutations in DNA.

    However, "Religion" is very powerful - in any sense of the word - but, you never mentioned, which religion you were talking about - whether it be Christainity, muslim, alcohol, sex, drugs, .......... But I would assume, that since you had this thought in church and you speak english most likely you are speaking of your religous belief in God, based on Christainity.

    The mind is an extremely powerful tool, one can actually make themself sick and heal themselves based on their mental state - and if it is religion that improves this mental state - then it should not be looked over and this in and of itself can make this religion powerful and great - whether a person believes in it or not.

    Nautica
     
  11. Nov 3, 2003 #10
    No no no, evolution wasn't what I intended to stress as the point of life.

    Increase fitness, I'm not sure if this holds very well. By fitness I'm just going to assume physically. You can see the flaws in this, obesity comes to mind immediately and most likely dominates the argument against fitness as the point of living.

    Yes, a belief of God in general. Christianity is most irrelevant and these are not my beliefs.

    The mind does it's job, nothing amazing about this. Of course with out current knowledge of medicine and healing and such it seems amazing that the mind can make itself sick and also heal itself, among other things. But is this so hard to believe, is it worth being coined an "extremely powerful tool"? The meat of your post is based on a rather foolish assumption that religion improves our minds state. Refer to the previous posts and religion is more often than not the cause of our grief. Tell me, if you truely believe there was a Hell and you believed there was a God to judge you, don't you think you would be nervous as hell all the time? Although, this post assumes religion has validity so naturally we aren't looking over it:smile:

    Let us assume the only religions under question are those that end in a better life.

    I would also like to defend, and utterly fail in doing so, my position as evolution having a major part in our existence. There is only one thing at work outside of life and that is evolution of life. Simple:smile: Now all believe because of the beautiful simplicity and don't question

    It is, after all, said that the perfect politician is the one who pretends to be religious but is not. Perhaps you are right:wink:
     
  12. Nov 3, 2003 #11
    "Increase fitness, I'm not sure if this holds very well. By fitness I'm just going to assume physically. You can see the flaws in this, obesity comes to mind immediately and most likely dominates the argument against fitness as the point of living."

    If you would have read my post, you would have seen where I defined fitness as defined by Darwin, himself. It is an organism ability to survive and pass is genes to future generations. It has nothing to do with being inshape. It has to do with adaptations to ones environment, which by the way is the reason humans are fat today.

    "The mind does it's job, nothing amazing about this. Of course with out current knowledge of medicine and healing and such it seems amazing that the mind can make itself sick and also heal itself, among other things. But is this so hard to believe, is it worth being coined an "extremely powerful tool"? The meat of your post is based on a rather foolish assumption that religion improves our minds state. Refer to the previous posts and religion is more often than not the cause of our grief. Tell me, if you truely believe there was a Hell and you believed there was a God to judge you, don't you think you would be nervous as hell all the time? Although, this post assumes religion has validity so naturally we aren't looking over it:smile:"

    Not sure what exactly it is that you are saying here. But, no it is not hard for me to believe the mind can heal or make one sick - That is what I said, isn't it??? As far as religion improving ones mind - I did not say it improved everyones - but if one truely has faith in God and truely believes they can be heal - then it definately goes along way toward recovery. Wether this is the mind at work or God is up for debate, and can NOT be proven one way or another - by science or religion.


    "I would also like to defend, and utterly fail in doing so, my position as evolution having a major part in our existence. There is only one thing at work outside of life and that is evolution of life. Simple:smile: Now all believe because of the beautiful simplicity and don't question "

    I am, also, a little confused as to what you are saying here. Evolution is not a process or a goal - it is only a consequence; therefore, evolution can not be at work.

    Maybe, if you gave me your definition of evolution, then I can better understand what you are trying to say.


    "It is, after all, said that the perfect politician is the one who pretends to be religious but is not. Perhaps you are right"

    Not sure if you are referring to me or not in this statement, but I never pretended nor said that I was or was not religous, only stating what I know to be true.

    Nautica
     
  13. Nov 4, 2003 #12
    Let's take a step back and re-align ourselves with the topic

    Back to the original topic. Could religion be instilled in us through evolution as a way of allowing us to have intelligence and consciousness and not kill ourselves in large amounts?

    It has been established that my reasoning needs refined. Evolution being the point of life is not valid. We have established this.

    Is it possible though that nature instilled in us a sense of god and religion to keep us ticking at peak performance or have we developed religion on our own?

    Given the nature of the forums, I would expect not to be challenged on the point of religion having origins, the absense of origins implying god does exist.

    This was in response to BoulderHead's post...Why would it be concerned with you?, as you said, you have never pretended to be religious. Do you think I am childesh and make fun of you?

    Also, to further inform you on the response, according to Machiavelli's Prince, it is not necessary for a ruler to be religious but it is quiet necessary for him to appear so. Leonard Lessius also wrote on the topic saying that when the appearance of a ruler as religious has no substance then "These are those whom we call politicians, because they reduce all religion to a policy or to the statum politicum." It would also be helpful if you would use the standard system of quotes, makes for much easier reading.
     
  14. Nov 4, 2003 #13
    Religion is what gives us the answers to the age-old questions that we have been asking since the dawn of time. From the first second our ancestors looked to the sky and viewed the stars, the questions have been arising...Why? How? When? etc.

    The first religions worshiped the sun and the serpent, symbols for creation. Consciousness grows in us through evolution, which creates a universal growth of awareness. Religion is a by-product of being aware of our own mortality. One can say that religion distills morals and boundaries in people, to use as an 'instruction manual' for life, but really it was created out of lack of information and the need to obtain it.
     
  15. Nov 4, 2003 #14

    WELCOME TO PF!

    The need to obtain what exactly? You have nicely defined religion, but you haven't said anything on the subject of the origins. You seem to say religion is false and that there was a creator, at the same time. I agree that religion came about as a result of Je pense donc je suis.

    If religion was a by-product of the awareness of mortality (ones inevitable death) then it could be said that a cornered animal that makes the decision to fight for its life finds religion. While religion does guide ones life with morals and boundaries, this is not to say that those without religion lack morals, it cannot be said that this is the purpose of religion, this is simply a means by which one knows they are religious. The 'manual' used doesn't guide our lives the only way possible, and certainly not the most efficient way possible. For my purposes, I don't believe that religion has come about for any of these reasons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2003
  16. Nov 4, 2003 #15
    Thanks for the welcome!

    Humans generally need to know the answers to the questions of existence...creation, purpose, I think you get the point. As for the origins, the first religions have seemed to come out of the Tigris and Euphrates, or so we (science) has hypothesized, from Sumeria. These people obviously asked the same questions we did and tried to come up with the answers. Possibly it was all based on some catastrophic even and the sun just happened to be in a particular viewing range at the time, so they started to worship the Sun, thinking that they could appease whatever destructive force was behind the event. Humans have always known that something could not appear out of nothing...it has always been about finding out what the 'creator' actually is.

    Well, the cat in the corner syndrome would lead to an awareness, and possibly be a step in the evolution of consciousness, which would in turn lead the animal to avoid the situation in the future. This exceed the 'conditioning' which most animals are accustomed to. Religion is directly related to consciousness and the need to understand existence, in humans anyway. I am not a cat, so I cannot speculate on what a cat would really be conscious of. Who knows, they may have all the answers! LOL!

    I in no way implied that non-religious people lacked morals, religion is just another way to define them. I, personally, am spiritual, but not religious and feel that I have just as refined morals as some religious person. I think what it boils down to is that people need something more than what life generally gives us. Some people turn to religion, philosophy, science, music, art, etc...

    Religion is a system of rules for living, in fact, it is one of the great ways of control, this is what I meant by 'manual'. To me, it confines one to an idealistic fallacy in which to hide behind when the going gets tough, or a comfort for the fear of death. That's just my opinion...
     
  17. Nov 4, 2003 #16
    I'm not really looking for a specific religion or a time period in which it originated as I am in the conditions of which is originated. Why it came about, and if its existence is necessary as a result?

    I love cats:smile: So...correct me if i'm wrong, but by "religion is directly related to consciouness" you would conclude that god was created when he created us, if you believed in god. I know this wasn't your intent but I think it is quite funny because it really is true! God needs us to exist because nowhere else in the universe do we observe religion accept in ourselves.

    I didn't say you said they lacked morals, it is true that morals play a large role in religion. They define religion.

    You believe religion is needed by some people to survive, then you are a perfect candidate to discuss the topic, was religion put in us by nature as a means to go about life more fit (as nautica explains) or is it a more human dependent reason?

    No need to state it's your opinion because your opinion on the subject is just as valid as anybody's because there are no facts.
     
  18. Nov 4, 2003 #17
    I think I answered the first portion before. As for it being a necessity, this is difficult. Right now, in this time period, yes. I say this only because there are people who believe they need religion. Now that religion does exist, it would be like taking drugs away from an addict, if *we* were to try to get rid of it. I think it does a lot of good for some people and none for others. In general, everything is here for a reason, so for now anyway, religion is necessary.

    It depends on what you mean by God. I would say that the Gods that organized religions refer to are created by us. As for the second half, I have no idea what you are saying.

    It is not needed by people, but people think they need it. I believe I have already answered those questions.
     
  19. Nov 4, 2003 #18
    Bottom line:

    The unexplainable is explained through God. Learn to explain the unexplainable and then maybe you can truely understand God.

    Nautica
     
  20. Nov 9, 2003 #19
    I know that one of the reasons we kill each other in large numbers is because of our religion.

    Too bad really.

    Because that which we do to another we do to ourselves.
    "CWG"

    John
     
  21. Nov 9, 2003 #20
    Yep, there have been more killings in the name of God than for any other reason.
     
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