Why do people believe in Gods?

saltydog said:
Jesus, I'm surprised no one (but me) brings up our biological heritage: Darwinism. It's all around us you know. Reigion, I believe, is one more survival strategy humans have employed for coping in a hostile world.

We are fragile creatures still limited by our supposedly "higher intellect". In some some ways, we're still in the middle ages, still living in a demon-haunted world.

How anthropocentric it is that some choose to believe in a grand heavenly destination after death, a supreme being "caring" about us, and that we should be so prescient to know about it. It's just not there. God I mean. We've gotten dethroned in the past, by Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, Hubble. And we will continue to be so by future generations as our place in the Universe continues to grow more unimportantly.
Actually, in a thread in the philosophy section to do with beliefs about nothing I did state, on Feb 23,06

quantumcarl said:
Believing everything and anything may be a normal survival trait where this ability prepares the mind for as many situations and curcumstances as are potentially probable. Those who are unable to imagine a potential situation, ie: look ahead, are destined to live a life of shock and disorientation which, by many standards, doesn't even resemble survival .
So this is a case of "great minds thinking alike" or "fools seldom differing", its all in how you percieve it.:uhh:

Again, perception is a potential that allows you to see the world as "hostile" or as "sublime". For some reason, many chose the hostile route... the route of struggle.

Historically, the perception of the world as a hostile environment has produced God's of vengence and hostility. Whereas the perception of the world as not being hostile has produced Gods of abundance and tolerance.

Because of historical facts like the above, people should realize by now that "life is what you make it" (Brian Ferry) "celebrate it".

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quantumcarl said:
Because of historical facts like the above, people should realize by now that "life is what you make it" (Brian Ferry) "celebrate it".
I'll accept that as true, and because of it I'll do whatever I want and screw those who get in my way. Dammit, life's petty so I'll take what I want when I want it! You're just an insignificant little piece of matter on the cosmic scale, what differnce does it make if I kill you? Maybe I'll just join the mafia: if I die what difference will it really make and if I succeed then I'll live comfortably.

The problem is obvious, so obvious in fact that I wish I didn't even have to point it out. Before jumping to conclusions here lets look at facts. I can't prove god exists, even though I believe he does. There is nothing I can ever do to prove his existence. But lets be fair: you can't prove he doesn't. You can explain away his meaning, you can make all sorts of claims about social conditioning and you can give a reason why we believe in god. But what you can't do, what you can never do, is prove he doesn't exist.
There are bigots in the side of religion, but surely there are just as many bigots in aetheism. Among the learned there is a general disregard for religion, and there is a snobbish attitude. Well, this is why you believe in god, but I'm smarter then that. I can understand all of the sociological and physcological reasons, so of course I'm right when I say he doesn't exist. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone here, just trying to expose an underlying mentalilty. I think it is sad that we, the learned, should sink to the same depths of arrogance as those people we claim are wrong in their arrogance. Nowadays if religion is mentioned it tends to be passed off and generaly ignored becuase it is thought to be obsolete and outdated.

saltydog said:
How anthropocentric it is that some choose to believe in a grand heavenly destination after death, a supreme being "caring" about us, and that we should be so prescient to know about it. It's just not there. God I mean. We've gotten dethroned in the past, by Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, Hubble. And we will continue to be so by future generations as our place in the Universe continues to grow more unimportantly.
This attitude shows a complete lack of understaning of the true problem regarding religion. The problem is not what you believe, i.e. god exists or he doesn't, but the problem is what makes you beleive, and what your belief's make you do. Face it, aetheism is just as much a matter of faith as religion, both are belief's. Neither one can be proven right or wrong, and this is the first step when discussing the problem. Once we come to this common ground then other problems can be solved. However, it is very hard to reach this common ground because it is hard to let go of a belief once you have it. In your blatant dismisal of religion you have become that exact same as that which you decry.
Please, don't think you can explain away all of life's problems. You can't. Religion will continue, aetheism will continue and the good thing to do is try to reconcile the two. Follow in the footstep of Thomas Aquinas or Soren Kierkegaard, not in those of Gregory VIII or Friedrich Nietzsche.

saltydog
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quantumcarl said:
"life is what you make it" (Brian Ferry) "celebrate it".
Thanks. I need to be reminded of that.

saltydog
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Dawguard said:
This attitude shows a complete lack of understaning of the true problem regarding religion. The problem is not what you believe, i.e. god exists or he doesn't, but the problem is what makes you beleive, and what your belief's make you do. Face it, aetheism is just as much a matter of faith as religion, both are belief's. Neither one can be proven right or wrong, and this is the first step when discussing the problem. Once we come to this common ground then other problems can be solved. However, it is very hard to reach this common ground because it is hard to let go of a belief once you have it. In your blatant dismisal of religion you have become that exact same as that which you decry.
Please, don't think you can explain away all of life's problems. You can't. Religion will continue, aetheism will continue and the good thing to do is try to reconcile the two. Follow in the footstep of Thomas Aquinas or Soren Kierkegaard, not in those of Gregory VIII or Friedrich Nietzsche.
I disagree. Atheism is not a matter of faith but rather an emergent quality of wisdom. Religion on the other hand is a survival strategy for a limited intellect. What your beliefs make you do? I suppose religious beliefs couldn't stop those catholic priests from raping young boys, couldn't stop the pope from selling "tickets to heaven", couldn's stop them from burning women at the stake under the guiadance of "Malus Maleficarum", and being at the root of much of the "Holy War" now going on in the Middle East. Neither one can be proven right or wrong? It's not a matter of proof but of understanding the world we live in: Atheism by far better describes our world then some Middle-Ages cock-a-mammy fairy-tale. Complete lack of understanding? Believing in a God, in my opinion, reflects a failure to grasp the historical struggle of man to understand the world. I do not dismiss religion: It is a survial strategy that works (on the average).

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saltydog said:
I disagree. Atheism is not a matter of faith but rather an emergent quality of wisdom. Religion on the other hand is a survival strategy for a limited intellect.
This is my point, you are blatantly labbeling all religious people as limited intellects. You think you are better then them, so what they have to say isn't as important as you're opinion. You write them off and in so doing become dogmatic and blind. You refuse to listen to their explanations, instead choosing to laugh at their puny minds because yours is so great.

saltydog said:
What your beliefs make you do? I suppose religious beliefs couldn't stop those catholic priests from raping young boys, couldn't stop the pope from selling "tickets to heaven", couldn's stop them from burning women at the stake under the guiadance of "Malus Maleficarum", and being at the root of much of the "Holy War" now going on in the Middle East.
This is a problem, but surely you aren't stupid enough to think this is indicitive of religion as a whole. You're the briliant thinker, right? Surely you're smart enough to recognize that there are pacfists in religion. Surely you're smart enough to realize that the actions of a few are not condeming of the whole. Surely you're smart enough to recognize that using this argument you are condeming yourself to be judged by the actions of other aetheists. Perhaps you should be lumped in with Stalin, Lenin and Mao. Hasn't their animosity towards religion slaughtered millions? How can you ignore that when you so eagerly point out the murder done by religion? The answer is you are blinded by your dogmatic hatred of religion. The atrocities commited in the twentieth century by aetheists damn them just as much as the atrocities comitted in the name of religion. The problem is human nature, not what human nature believes.

I'm not trying to cover up the faults of religion, only trying to say that the blame is with the people, not with their beliefs. The beliefs can be seperated from the person and their actions. There is nothing wrong with aetheisms or religion. Stalin and Pope Leo were both evil men, but what you are doing is vilifying their beliefs instead of them.

saltydog said:
Neither one can be proven right or wrong? It's not a matter of proof but of understanding the world we live in: Atheism by far better describes our world then some Middle-Ages cock-a-mammy fairy-tale.
Here again you show a broad generality. I wonder if you have ever studied religion apart from its history. Have you read books on Christian, Muslim and Judaeic theology? Have you examined every facit of it? I doubt it, because if you had then you would have realized that religion is not incompatable with modern science and philosophy.
Let me use an illustratuion. Relgion deals with the after-life and the metaphysical, and science deals with hard reality. Now, these two are driving in completely seperate roads, never touching, never conflicting. The problem arises when they are placed together. Religion cannot explain natural phenomenon, but neither can science explain the supernatural. What happens when we die? We cease to exist? Prove it. You can't: only religion speculates here, not science. Each to their own, and nothing will be wrong. You claim that science can solve everything, and in so doing you are the same as religious people who claim that religion can explain everything.

saltydog
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Dawguard said:
You think you are better then them
Hello Dawguard. I can tolerate all your comments except the one above. No . . . I don't.

I'm sorry to missinterpret you. My intent is not to bash aetheistic beliefs, and if you think that religion and science are equal and can coexist peacefully once we find the right balance, then we have no dispute.

Dawguard said:
This is my point, you are blatantly labbeling all religious people as limited intellects. You think you are better then them, so what they have to say isn't as important as you're opinion. You write them off and in so doing become dogmatic and blind. You refuse to listen to their explanations, instead choosing to laugh at their puny minds because yours is so great.
Alright. First of all. Statistically. The average IQ for theists is much lower then non-theists. In north america(not including mexico)

But ok you what to state you explanation. PLEASE DO.

Explanations that are acceptable: Logical proofs, evidence, etc.
Not accepted explanations: i saw jesus in the sky when i was high.

his is a problem, but surely you aren't stupid enough to think this is indicitive of religion as a whole.
Definately not. You will never hear me argue against most of the far eastern religions like Buddhism or Jainism. Unless its a specific thing such as karma or samsara.

But when the doctrine of say the muslim faith says to kill non-believers. This gives you the RIGHT to criticize the WHOLE religion. Sure maybe there are muslims who are pacifists. who wouldnt hurt a fly. BUT this just means they are BAD muslims, that they wont be getting their virgins in heaven. Thusly in conclusion. When you hear about that muslim suicide bomber killing loads of people. He ISNT an extremist. He is simply what muslims should be.

Surely you're smart enough to recognize that using this argument you are condeming yourself to be judged by the actions of other aetheists.
Not true. The only thing atheists have in common is the lack(or no) of belief in any god. There is no organisation. There is no nothing. So you cant judge any atheist for what another atheist does because there is no dogma to follow.

WAIT up. aetheists? perhaps i might be wrong. I thought you mean ATHEIST but you seem to spell in aetheists everywhere. So either your not educated enough. or your talking about something completely different and off topic. But for arguements sake i will continue my response assuming ofcoarse that you simply arent educated enough to know what an atheist is or even how to spell it.

I'm not trying to cover up the faults of religion, only trying to say that the blame is with the people, not with their beliefs.
im sorry but again, uneducated. IF you actually study the abrahamic religions. and ACTUALLY read the doctrine(bible-qu'ran-OT)

Leviticus 20-13
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Man so homosexuals should be killed? How nice! while i somewhat agree. I think we should just send them all to some island. I dont think thats very nice. But hey EVERY good christian is OBLIGED to kill any homosexual he sees.

So say a couple redneck dudes go around killing homosexuals in the name of christianity. They arent crazy. They are good christians doing what good christians SHOULD be doing. So all those christians not going around killing homosexuals. We will have great fun in hell together.

Have you read books on Christian, Muslim and Judaeic theology?
Have you? I would probably have to say No. Or you would know how absurd they are.

Religion cannot explain natural phenomenon, but neither can science explain the supernatural.
This is a pretty good joke. Religion cant explain the world. Which is seen QUITE often. Ill give a christian example.

2 Chronicles
4:2
Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
BUT if you use the equation that they teach in grade 2. That would make a value of 3 for Pi

While the real value for Pi is around 3.14159

striking difference.

Oh and second part. Science cant exlain supernatural. But lets take that back to religion. Oh wait they CANT explain worth **** neither. Obviously. If they could they would shove it in your face.

What happens when we die?
I dont know and you dont know neither. What likely happens is we cease to exist. But Im happy with I dont know and you dont know neither.

SO to end my arguement. I will place the challenge. That you so heartily want to express(top of this post, the first quote).

Code:
But ok you what to state you explanation. PLEASE DO.

Explanations that are acceptable: Logical proofs, evidence, etc.
Not accepted explanations: i saw jesus in the sky when i was high on cocaine.

Dawguard said:
This is my point, you are blatantly labbeling all religious people as limited intellects. You think you are better then them, so what they have to say isn't as important as you're opinion. You write them off and in so doing become dogmatic and blind. You refuse to listen to their explanations, instead choosing to laugh at their puny minds because yours is so great.

This is a problem, but surely you aren't stupid enough to think this is indicitive of religion as a whole. You're the briliant thinker, right? Surely you're smart enough to recognize that there are pacfists in religion. Surely you're smart enough to realize that the actions of a few are not condeming of the whole. Surely you're smart enough to recognize that using this argument you are condeming yourself to be judged by the actions of other aetheists. Perhaps you should be lumped in with Stalin, Lenin and Mao. Hasn't their animosity towards religion slaughtered millions? How can you ignore that when you so eagerly point out the murder done by religion? The answer is you are blinded by your dogmatic hatred of religion. The atrocities commited in the twentieth century by aetheists damn them just as much as the atrocities comitted in the name of religion. The problem is human nature, not what human nature believes.

I'm not trying to cover up the faults of religion, only trying to say that the blame is with the people, not with their beliefs. The beliefs can be seperated from the person and their actions. There is nothing wrong with aetheisms or religion. Stalin and Pope Leo were both evil men, but what you are doing is vilifying their beliefs instead of them.

Here again you show a broad generality. I wonder if you have ever studied religion apart from its history. Have you read books on Christian, Muslim and Judaeic theology? Have you examined every facit of it? I doubt it, because if you had then you would have realized that religion is not incompatable with modern science and philosophy.
Let me use an illustratuion. Relgion deals with the after-life and the metaphysical, and science deals with hard reality. Now, these two are driving in completely seperate roads, never touching, never conflicting. The problem arises when they are placed together. Religion cannot explain natural phenomenon, but neither can science explain the supernatural. What happens when we die? We cease to exist? Prove it. You can't: only religion speculates here, not science. Each to their own, and nothing will be wrong. You claim that science can solve everything, and in so doing you are the same as religious people who claim that religion can explain everything.
The problem is human nature, not what human nature believes.”

This is precisely the problem I have with religious beliefs, the tenet that human nature is basically flawed and therefore we should all be condemned without a hearing or any further examination of our actions.

It is in fact what we believe that determines our choices and actions. Yes, we must be free to believe as we choose since it is by testing our beliefs that we learn the difference between right and wrong. Knowledge, which is condemned by many religions as the cause of our downfall, is what provides us with the information we need to determine what we could and should do to live as humans must live, through reason, on this Earth.

Believing in a life after death dispenses with reason and devalues and trivializes the one life we do have. When we cease to value our own existence, we loose the reason we have to use reason to bring value to our existence.

Believing this, “The problem is human nature, not what human nature believes”, and acting accordingly is what brings about the ‘justification’ for believing that it is ‘true’.

munky99999 said:
Alright. First of all. Statistically. The average IQ for theists is much lower then non-theists. In north america(not including mexico)
My point exactly, this arrogance that atheists are smarter and better.

munky99999 said:
But when the doctrine of say the muslim faith says to kill non-believers. This gives you the RIGHT to criticize the WHOLE religion. Sure maybe there are muslims who are pacifists. who wouldn’t hurt a fly. BUT this just means they are BAD muslims, that they wont be getting their virgins in heaven. Thusly in conclusion. When you hear about that Muslim suicide bomber killing loads of people. He ISNT an extremist. He is simply what Muslims should be.
I'm not trying to argue for one religion over another, so this argument is null. Just because this is what you claim the Muslim faith is this way doesn't make all the religions this way. As you said, eastern religions don't have this, so the problem is not with religion.

munky99999 said:
Not true. The only thing atheists have in common is the lack(or no) of belief in any god. There is no organization. There is no nothing. So you cant judge any atheist for what another atheist does because there is no dogma to follow.
Nor is there a united dogma for religion. Religions vary so greatly that there is no organization between them either. My point about atheist slaughters was that they can't be indicative of all atheists. Equally so crimes committed by a religious person can't be indicative of all religions.

munky99999 said:
WAIT up. aetheists? perhaps i might be wrong. I thought you mean ATHEIST but you seem to spell in aetheists everywhere. So either your not educated enough. or your talking about something completely different and off topic. But for arguements sake i will continue my response assuming ofcoarse that you simply arent educated enough to know what an atheist is or even how to spell it.
No, its not off topic, I just didn't check my spelling. I'm not trying to insult your intelligence, so please don't lower the debate by sinking to that level.

munky99999 said:
IF you actually study the abrahamic religions. and ACTUALLY read the doctrine(bible-qu'ran-OT)
Leviticus 20-13
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Man so homosexuals should be killed? How nice! while I somewhat agree. I think we should just send them all to some island. I don’t think that’s very nice. But hey EVERY good Christian is OBLIGED to kill any homosexual he sees.
Not true. With Christian religion this falls under what is known as theocratic law. This was done away with once Christ died because the model of theocracy was no more. This is the reason for the old and new testament, the doctrines of grace and redemption. Without delving to far into specifics, which I can't do on this forum, I would advise you to read systematic theology by Calvin, or St. Augustine. They answer this question specifically.

munky99999 said:
So say a couple redneck dudes go around killing homosexuals in the name of Christianity. They aren’t crazy. They are good Christians doing what good Christians SHOULD be doing. So all those Christians not going around killing homosexuals. We will have great fun in hell together.
Once again, is you actually understand the doctrines of Christianity then you would see that this is not so. However, this is simply bashing one religion, and is not my point. I repeat, I am not here to justify every religion, only the mindset that causes people to believe in any religion. Please, no bashing of religion, calling them stupid, baseless caricatures, etc.

munky99999 said:
Have you? I would probably have to say No. Or you would know how absurd they are.
In this you are wrong. I have studied many religions, both their history and their doctrine. Just because you think they are wrong doesn't make them absurd. I could take you point by point to justify them, as I did above with your misinformed belief of homosexuals. However, I repeat that I am not here to be an apologetic for specific religions, nor is that the point of these forums. In the future I will not explain any doctrines, and I appeal to you not to use your belief of doctrines to bash all religions.

munky99999 said:
This is a pretty good joke. Religion cant explain the world. Which is seen QUITE often. Ill give a Christian example.
2 Chronicles
4:2
Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.

BUT if you use the equation that they teach in grade 2. That would make a value of 3 for Pi

While the real value for Pi is around 3.14159

striking difference.
So okay, the math is off. So what? What's that got to do with anything? It was probably rounded off to an even number of cubits. That or they simply wrote it wrong. Who cares? You're grasping at petty straws here.

Dmstifik8ion said:
Believing in a life after death dispenses with reason and devalues and trivializes the one life we do have. When we cease to value our own existence, we loose the reason we have to use reason to bring value to our existence.
I could say the same about atheism: that it robs us of everything special. It takes away the divine light and reduces us to mere animals, ripping all meaning from life. Our purpose and existence could be a lot clearer using religion then vague philosophies. This is not to say that one is right or wrong, only that either could be used. Never forget that the father of existentialism, which is exalted as the atheists answer to the meaning of life, was Soren Kierkegaard, a Christian. The ideas of existential meaning of life is not limited to atheists. Of course this is only an opinion and worth no more then yours. As for it detracting from reason I point you towards Isaac Newton, that great scientific shaker and thinker was the same man who carried a Bible with him. Albert Schweitzer, one of the smartest men of the century, was a firm Christian and ended up going to Africa to help the poor, oppressed people there. So much for religion causing stupidity and irrational hate. There are smart men on both sides: there are humanists on both sides: there are philosophers on both sides, scientists, etc.

Dmstifik8ion said:
It is in fact what we believe that determines our choices and actions.
Sure, but all beliefs end up in similar actions. Stalin's belief that religion had to be purged from society resulted in millions of dead, thousands more forced into slave labor. Islamic Jihadists' beliefs drive them to kill themselves and others. The action is the same, regardless of the belief.
So, what does this imply about the nature of humans? If the action is the same and the belief is only used to justify it then we have to see that we as humans are naturally inclined to that action. Thus the belief is not to be blamed.