Understanding religion – the origins and persistence of such diverse beliefs
Posted by robertpriddy on February 6, 2016
The Origins and Persistence of Religious Belief and Faith in God Wonder and awe at existence, at the world early humankind lived in and not least at ‘the heavens’ are common to us all and there is evidence that neolithic humans also had the capacity and the time for this. The human condition of not knowing the whys, hows and wherefores of being pertains even today, though is doubtless not so overwhelming as it once was. This awe cannot have been insulated from fear, which is so closely related to ignorance.
Otherworldliness and futile escapism It is almost unavoidable that a person – even if not brought up to some religious faith and even well-educated in the relevant sciences – will sooner or later become interested in age-long traditions of many kinds that try to prepare those who aspire to greater understanding and realization of their own potentialities…
Can religion and ideologies lead to cognitive disorder? Religious faith depends upon a system of beliefs, not proven facts and certainly not scientifically verifiable facts. It depends on much more than belief as such. The influences of parents and the mental and emotional imprinting to which their children are subjected forms a basis – naive childhood acceptance of beliefs.
The agnosticism vs. atheism issue and and secularism Some key distinctions for the science-religion debates: If ‘atheism’ means “100% certainty or conviction that there is no god or cosmic intelligence which created or sustains the universe” then there must be few who can – on proper reflection – subscribe to its literal sense. To do so it to become a rigid know-all…
Religion as ’emulation of the adult by the child’ Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is “Thou shalt not question!” But we question.
The brain as a belief machine Much has been discovered in recent times about how beliefs are formed, what conditions the process – especially through neurological studies. I recommend the following work as an important contribution to the subject The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. By Michael Shermer.
The ‘Labyrinth fallacy’ in extensive belief systems There are systems of thought and belief which are seldom easily recognised as being a convoluted circular ‘labyrinth’ of ideas. The logical fallacy involved is circularity or self-contradiction, but this is not easily detected because of the complexity and extended nature of the particular idea-system or ‘labyrinthine’ doctrine. Wherever there is a vast collection of thoughts, ideas, beliefs and practices which are based on speculative reasoning and unlikely assumptions, one can become lost to oneself.
Ten Reasons why unbelievers dislike religion Among the restrictions common to most mainstream religions are certain human values which are not recognised, causing the rejection of religion by those who lean towards modern humanitarianism, fairness and equality, avoidance of ideological conflict and and scientifically sound decisions.
The crucial ‘test of faith’ in religions, sects and cults Tests of faith are a part of all traditional religious views and doctrines and are invariably supportive of a priesthood, guru, church or religion. They are a very subtle means of manipulating the minds of guru-followers developed over many centuries, often embroiling people in mental networks of uncertainties and striving, which most likely bear no other fruits than keeping the ‘spiritual master’ in his fortunate, revered and comfortable position.