OpinionHuman beings are predisposed to believe in a god.
      – Lee J Haywood, 2009-03-31 at 16:58:26   (19 comments)

On 2009-03-31 at 17:01:25, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I keep reading articles about 'research' into this, seemingly assuming that it's true and just needs to be explained. I find it insulting to have it suggested that I've got a built-in belief in supreme beings - when that's evidently not the case. Sure, we're all gullible as children and initial beliefs are difficult to change. But a predisposition to believe any rubbish your parents tell you isn't the same as a predisposition for the supernatural!
On 2009-03-31 at 17:43:50, George wrote...
I would just say that human beings are predisposed to be curious.
On 2009-03-31 at 18:48:39, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I'd say we ought to be constantly seeking knowledge, to counter our ignorance, but most look for simple answers.
On 2009-03-31 at 19:26:49, George wrote...
Yeah, but normally complexity follows simplicity
On 2009-03-31 at 19:59:11, Baslisks wrote...
@George: complexity is simplicity zoomed out or zoomed in. We just have to see an new idea in a different view. Its like learning how wonderful base ten metric compared to base fucked up imperial. They both get complicated beyond all measure but as soon as you learn a simple of trick, it becomes evident why things are so.
On 2009-04-01 at 07:09:51, BorgClown wrote...
I think we are predisposed. We fear the unknown and try to find something that makes us feel safe. Children take years to form critical thinking, meanwhile they need the guidance and protection of superior, powerful beings, i.e. their parents. I think we are too smart for our own good, maybe lesser animals don't feel despair as we do.
On 2009-04-01 at 09:04:02, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I'm not disagreeing that children are gullible - I already mentioned it myself - and are willing to accept what their parents say is true. But that's not a predisposition to believe in a god any more than it is to believe in Santa Claus. And what of those who adopt a religion as adults, claiming not to have been raised religiously? Is it simply that the majority are spiritual and only very few have the knowledge to reject the supernatural altogether? What of countries where religion is almost unheard of? http://friendlyatheist.com/2009/02/28/what-happens-when-atheism-is-the-norm-instead-of-the-exception/
On 2009-04-02 at 05:51:33, BorgClown wrote...
No, think about protohumans, smarter but with child-like cognitive abilities. The awe of glimpsing what the world is about, I think seeking safety in rituals (and later deities) is almost inevitable, like a step in our evolution. The next step is letting it go.
On 2009-04-02 at 09:26:55, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Hmm, well if knowledge is the antidote to religion then you'd have to grow up in a time when people have already come up with explanations for things - as we find ourselves today. If you asked some of the basic questions about the world and no-one had any real answers, it's inevitable that they'd give you made-up answers. Maybe you'd believe them, maybe you wouldn't. And yet... it's still not a predisposition to believe in a god. The existence of a god simply provides a catch-all answer to any question, but even a small child knows to ask where the god came from. It's a sleight of hand, giving one answer to all questions if only you accept that there's one question left.
On 2009-04-03 at 07:31:02, BorgClown wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: Our opinions diverge because you think deities are born out of ignorance, and I think they are born out of fear. Fear of the unknown. I love our disagreement.
On 2009-04-03 at 08:15:40, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Aren't ignorance and fear of the unknown related? Surely you won't be afraid of the unknown unless you're ignorant?
On 2009-04-04 at 06:26:38, BorgClown wrote...
Nice try. Fear of the unknown means ignorance, but ignorance without fear does exist. I don't think ignorance by itself can make you believe in supernatural beings, all religions have a fear factor. I mean, an invisible, omnipresent and omnipotent dude judging everything you do and think, ffs, it's pure paranoia!
On 2009-04-04 at 09:35:43, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Actually one theory has it that it's about love, not paranoia. Since a god/Jesus loves you unconditionally, the myth taps into the attachment mechanism that normally applies to normal relationships. I have to admit that it's almost impossible for me to know where belief in gods comes from because I simply don't have it, and never have had. Of course, that's the point of this opinion - I'm not predisposed to believe in a god, so it's wrong to suggest that humans as a whole are... right?
On 2009-04-05 at 03:38:40, BorgClown wrote...
My perspective is different because I was indoctrinated as a child, to the point of really believing the Judeo-Christian variant of god was real. Although I was always questioning, it wasn't until my early 20's that I became a convinced atheist. I became agnostic for a few years before that. Having seen such indoctrination in others (child and adults alike), I believe religion is a strong meme that we have a natural weakness to contract.
On 2009-04-05 at 08:45:54, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Ah, well that agrees with my original statement. We're all born gullible - i.e. likely to contract a meme because of our need to believe our parents and not waste time checking every fact. And a religion's central tenet is that there is a god of some kind, and that religion can tell you the exact nature of that god in detail. Yet, as I've argued previously, religion and belief in a god are two separate things. You may well believe in a god because of a religion, but it's the gullibility to accept the religious meme that is 'built-in' and not the belief in a god which is more of a consequence of the pre-existing meme. So if you grew up in a world, or just a society, with no pre-existing religion then you'd be unlikely to spontaneously start believing in a god. As a child, if someone suggested to you that there was a god you'd ask where the god came from and dismiss the idea all by yourself. The religions that do exist relied on some individuals who made a point of creating something which would spread.
On 2009-04-06 at 00:35:38, BorgClown wrote...
Depending on its the education, such society could come up with a religious concept after a few generations. It takes effort to homogenize thinking, religious, scientific or any other kind. All you need is one exploiter and a few mentally-ill or unadapted/unstable folks to create some kind of sect.
On 2009-04-06 at 10:02:40, Lee J Haywood wrote...
It's amusing that you're suggesting that it takes a fringe group of unstable people to get a religion going, when reality shows us that almost anyone can be religious. I'd argue that religion would only be reinvented if it were permitted to do so - by acceptance by society, and by the promotion of faith as a valid belief system over reason (again, a societal norm). At the moment, most societies allow 'freedom of religion' and religions demand respect they don't deserve, whilst taking offence at questioning and denial of their beliefs. The only difference between locking someone up in a mental institution because aliens are speaking to them and giving acceptance of someone who says that god is speaking to them is that the former is a fringe group and the latter is a widespread delusion. Of course, people don't actually go around saying that god speaks to them - at least, most don't. It's enough for them that they believe without evidence, and manage not to seem completely crazy.
On 2009-04-07 at 01:55:43, BorgClown wrote...
I say weird people are the seeds of religion, and the non-weird ones will follow the idea.
On 2009-10-08 at 21:20:23, Bensci wrote...
There was a study done some years back that found an area of the brain that is highly active during religious experience. Therefore, I say that we are predisposed to religion.