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The Evolution of Religion

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posted on Feb, 9 2006 @ 09:21 AM
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At first glance this may appear to not belong here as it deals with a book entitled:

3001:The final Odyssey
written by Arthur C. Clarke
ISBN: 0-345-345-312.

Here's an exerpt from this book I feel has great meaning and significance to this forum section, although if the mod's deem this BTS material, I won't argue that either. This will be rather long, as you need to read it in full to understand the meaning.




"You may have heard me called an athiest, but that's not true. Athiesm is unprovable, so uninteresting. However unlikely it is, we can never be certain that God once existed-- and hasnow shot off to infinity, where no one can ever find him ... Like Gautama Buddha, I take no position on this subject. My field of interest is the psychopathology known as Religion."

"Psychopathology? That's a harsh judgment."

"Amply justified by history. Imagine that your an intelligent extraterrestrial, concerned only with verifiable truths. You discover a species that has divided istelf into thousands--no, by now millions--of tribal groups holding an incredible variety of beliefs about the origin of the universe and the way to behave in it. Although many of them have ideas in common, even when there's a ninety-nine percent overlap, the remaining one percent's enough to set them killing and torturing each other, over trivial points of doctrine, utterly meaningless to outsiders.
"How to account for such irrational behavior? Lucretius hit it on the nail when he said that religion was the by-product of fear--a reaction to a mysterious and often hostile universe. For much of human prehistory, it may have been a necessary evil--but why was it so much more evil than necessary--and why did it survive when it was no longer necessary?
"I said evil--and I mean it, because fear leads to cruelty. The slightest knowledge of the Inquisition makes one ashamed to belong to the human species...One of the most revolting books ever published was the Hammer of Witches, written by a couple of sadisitic perverts and describing the tortures the Church authorized--encouraged!--to extract 'confessions' from thousands of harmless old women, before it burned them alive... The Pope himself wrote an approving foreword!
"But most of the religions, with a few honorable exceptions, were just as bad as christianity... Even in your century, little boys were kept chained and whipped until they'd memorized whole volumes of pious gibberish, and robbed of their childhood and manhood to become monks...
"Perhaps the most baffling aspect of the whole affair is how obvious madman, century after century, would proclaim that they--and they alone!--had recieved messages from a God. If all the messages had agreed, that would have settled the matter. But of course they were wildly discordant--which never prevented self-styled messiahs from gathering hundereds--sometimes millions--of adherents, who would fight to the death against equally deluded believers of a microscopically differing faith.


So as to not make it way to exceedingly large, I'll cut out the part how one of these so called messiah's performed conjuring "miracles". How a rabbi showed those followers how that conjuring trick was performed and how those followers brushed off the rabbi saying their leader's magic was true and the rabbi was just jealous. Pretty much how you see alot of religions acting in today's world. This next part has alot of meaning, especially in light of the discovery of pedopriest's.



"He sounds like the standard model. How long did he flourish?"

"Three or four years. And then he had to leave town in a hurry: he was caught running teenage orgies. Of course, he claimed he was using mystical soul saving techniques. And you won't believe this--"

"Try me."

"Even then, lots of his dupes still had faith in him. Their god could do no wrong, so he must have been framed."

"Framed?"

"Sorry--convicted by faked evidence--sometimes used by the police to catch criminals, when all else fails."

"Hmm. Well your swami was perfectly typical: I'm rather dissapointed. But it does help to prove my case--that most of humanity has always been insane, atleast most of the time."

"Rather an unrepresentative sample--one small Flagstaff suburb."

"True, but I could multiply it by thousands--not only in your century, but all down the ages. There's never been anything, however absurd, that myraids of people weren't prepared to believe, often so passionately that they'd fight to the death rather than abondon their illusions. To me, that's a good operational definition of insanity."

"Would you argue that anyone with stron religous beliefs was insane?"

"In a strictly technical sense, yes--if they really were sincere, and not hypocrits. As I suspect ninety-nine percent were."


I'll end it there. Sorry if it's too long of a quote from a book, but hopefully you'll understand and grasp the concept's in full from the excerpt I provided. You truelly had to read all that to understand the entire text. As I can't find this book available online, I felt it neccesary to post this excerpt directly from the book on my desk. It's a rather interesting series, the space odyssey. If you haven't read any of the book, I highly recommend them!

Edit: Title change at authors request.

[edit on 10-2-2006 by intrepid]




posted on Feb, 9 2006 @ 10:02 AM
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Excellent find in your book.
I believe it is very relavent to.....in fact its not relavent its the stone cold truth. The fact of the matter is that religion was created to sub divide the masses to make the popultaion easier to control and ,manipulate.

As i dont know how, what,when, where? im pretty sure most of the people on earth dont know either, therefore based on that assumption it would be easy to give people a fable which makes them feel connected in some way to a higher power- the almighty-as they would want answers and if it seemed feasable enough then why not, no one else has offered a better solution to our existence.

If this idea of creating a story about creation and the morals we should live by were replicated in continents with diiferent cultural tendencies then the religion would be modified to suit and thus a new religion would be born and you would have followers queuing up to follow the rest of the sheep.

Repeat this process in different countries at a time when communication was no where near(not even close)to the standard we have set today and you give people time to soak up the new religion without someone offering a different opinion. Thus you can have quite a number of different religions and all of a sudden people have forgot that they are there own "God" and that they make there own reality.

Cometh the rules, dictators, wars, famine, plagues and tie it all in with religion and the web of deciept has encapsulated most of the world.

"Whenever people agree with me, i feel i must be wrong" ;Oscar Wilde

How true is this. He knew that we all conform to each others viewpoints in one way or another and dont think for ourrselves(although some of us are getting better nowadays) so why do we still follow religious practices we need people to start cutting throught the BS and start working towards togetherness, happiness and oneness.

We are all a manifestation of something that we are yet to witness, feel or believe for that matter and it has anyone ever stopped to think that there is no heaven and hell but they are just polariites to stop us thinking of unity and oneness. No negative or positive either, everything in perfect balance and nothing else.

I could go on but im getting tired now.

Peace



posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 07:03 AM
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Not just control and manipulation through unquestioning blind faith as to the validity of it's god, but also as a primitive throw back of early science. Primitive man would pose the question, what is lightening, the shaman's/priesthoods would answer back telling the tale of whatever god was believed in at that time. People would accept this explanation due to no other explanation. The lack of technology to discover why it rains, or what is lightening or the mechanics of the solar system lead people no other choice but to accept these 'godly' accounts. Shaman's in primitive societies are highly reveared, they perform all the needed rituals and mysticism needed to communicate with these god's to ensure rain come's, or good crops grow. Sacrifices came into existance as a way of explaining away why the shaman failed sometimes in getting it to rain or having good crops. He would claim, after a deep psychodelic trip, that the god in question would need a sacrifice, just as "jesus" made a sacrifice, for the good of all to ensure thing's happen.

But we now have the tools, so it is a rather profound mystery as to why people still require these primitive belief's. Most of everything has been answered now that primitive man once wrote off as to godly powers. We now know why we get sick, and we know it isn't demons. We know how and why it rains and lightenings. We now understand the earth and solar system mechanics, and know our world doesn't riside on the back of a turtle with the mountains holding up the sky and some diety pulling the sun and moon across the sky.

Another point brought up is how violently religion will defend itself. They temporarily dismiss it's teachings of thou shalt not kill and love thy neighbor and proclaim to be warriors of god. They commit genocide and murdur on behave of their god. Truly barbaric. Now a days, thanks to civilized society they can no longer easily do this. They no longer have the power and control they once did, and hopefully one day people will grow out of this out moded primitive barbaric way of thinking.



posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 07:18 AM
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I also wanted to add...

The main reason monotheism has become the main form of religion, is due to the violent birth of monotheism. Not only are account's of this violance obvious within recorded history, but the bible also teach's of this violent birth. Wherever monotheism has touched down, if a peacfull conversion of another culture's belief's could not be had, then threat of "plauges" (which the egyptions failed to record anything about), but also the massacer's and murdurs commited in the bible. The holy war's. Jihad's of today. The witch hunts. It doesn't matter what the reason, if monotheism can not have it's way, it's always ended in violence. But as I pointed out, the power and control monotheism once had, no longer exist's in a civilized world, so the ease they once had in commiting these crimes against humanity are no longer easily done. They are no longer above the law, and those who proclaim to be warriors of god are easily dealt with when they commit these crimes. Even the priest's in monotheism are starting to waver, easily evident from the discovery of the pope trying to cover up the pedopriest's crime's against little boy's. Perhaps if monks, priest's, or what have you were allowed to enjoy sex with nuns, or marry, then these pedopriest's wouldn't exist. Religion is so out moded that I would truely be disgusted to consider myself a part of this race if alien species came to visit during the life of religion. We can only hope that before first contact it made, that we educate these societal throwbacks to become more civilized in the way they look at the world around them. They may have any easy time destroying and converting primitive societies of today, but any advanced species who doesn't have this sort of religion would surely look down upon our species if their first encounter is from a missionary.

[edit on 10-2-2006 by Produkt]



posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 07:32 AM
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I also forgot to point out that it's easy to see monothiesm's evolution througout history and society.

Primitive tribal societies believe and perform primitive rituals and sacrifices to the "gods".

Ancient egypt, greece, rome, no longer practice shamanism, but have evolved into the preist hood and temple worshipping, but still practiced the belief in many different gods. And they also still practice the sacrifice to these gods.
[EDIT] Also failed to mention, there was was main god head and his many children.

Then 2000, years ago enter's monotheism and it's violent birth. Leading to the dark ages of humanity. Monotheism still has the concept of sacrificing to appease the gods, but rather then the senseless sacrificing of many individuals, they instead proclaim that the "son of god" made the sacrifice for all of humanity.
[EDIT] This god head later evolved into the monotheistic god of today and the children of that main god head evolved to become the monotheistic god's angels.

And even today we continue to see the evolution of religion coinciding with the evolution of society and knowledge. Now enter's scientology, which would have more meaning if an alien race were actually discovered. It would take time for scientology to prove/disprove this race is the one they teach about, but that would be one leg up that monotheism lacks, of evidence. By the time it ws disproven that those aliens aren't the one's taught about, scientology would already have such a large following that monotheism would look like the shamanism of today, nearly extinct.
[EDIT Even scientologist's have a form of missionaries of sort's. They hold informational event's trying to get more people to follow their doctrine. This is akin to the missionaries of the monotheistic religion's that exist today. The main difference between both practices is, scientology evolved in a civilized world and never had the power to violently convert societies into accepting it's faith as the monotheistic religion once had and did.
[EDIT] Another aspect of scientology is, it takes the power out of the god head and places it in the individual. This is similar in teaching of various new age cults of today dealing with the ability to heal one's self without the need of faith in a divine diety. Also, the concept of an afterlife still persist's of sort's within scientology.

All through out these various forms of religion you can find example's of various cult's proclaiming to have the answer's and truth's. Most don't become mainstream and die off within a few year's or so.



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posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 09:21 AM
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For much of human prehistory, it may have been a necessary evil--but why was it so much more evil than necessary--and why did it survive when it was no longer necessary?


Would like to touch up on this quote. Indeed, in prehistory it was a necessary evil, but over the course of human history as we discovered and learned that earlier teaching's of primitive man's religous belief's were false based upon a lack of understanding, technology, and ability to discover more about the universe, religion should have died out. Should have been seeing as an uneeded evil, as discovery has taught us that earlier, and more recent religous belief's have been proven false through ignorance and blind faith.

[EDIT] One point I think is worth considering, why does there still exist shamanism today? One possible, and probable reason could be, these current primitive societies show no signs of developing templ based worshipping, nor do they show signs of rewriting the history behind their naturalistic god's, creating a main god head and sucessive god's becomming the children of this god head. As we see in the more civilized, yet still primitive societies of ancient greece, rome, and egypt, to name a few.

[EDIT] Concerning why was it more evil then necessary, in the argument of monotheism, it was the only possible foothold it could grasp when dealing with an older more ingrained religion of whichever culture/society it was trying to convert to monthiesm. Also, with the fear of 'demons' and paganism, the very thing it was attempting to replace, anyone deemed to be working for evil purposes or with the devil were killed in the most retarded ways of trying to prove they were innocent. God would save you from being drowned or burnt to death if you were innocent. Alot of innocent people died out of this unecessary ignorance.

[EDIT] Also, as you can notice in history, the ancient greeks and the like who practiced temple worship showed signs of religous tolerance. There may have been some altercations few and wide apart, but nothing was ever seen on such a massive and world wide scale as we see with monotheism and it's birth.

So why is it deemed necessary today? Perhaps, as noted in the excerpt, it really is out of fear. Fear of death and the unknown. Fear that death would lead to non-existance, so it's much more comforting to believe in an eternal and blissful afterlife. But is this fear really called for? Personally, I don't think it is. We understand the mechanics behind death now. We know what it mean's, but the memory of our loved one's still remain after they are gone. Perhaps the fear then is really, our own mortality, for some, I can understand how this would drive the fear and need into believing in an afterlife.

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posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 10:29 AM
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Another aspect of religion, mystical artifact's that hold certain powers.

Shaman's look at the earth, plants, divination of gut's/bone's and a variety of natural objects as holding significant mystical properties.

The temple worshipping societies have various tale's concerning the mythical heroes of their time's and the mystical artifact's discovered, used, or mystical/magical power's of ordinary humans or humans born of a god/human combination.

This has all been carried over into the monotheistic religion's of today. The mystical artifact's and it's powers told of in the bible and also the god/human combinations and the mystical/magical powers such a hybrid contains.

In all accounts, no evidence of these mystical artifact's are anywhere to be found. Concerning the shamans, they use herbs for medicinal purposes, but they impart a mystical meaning rather then a practical meaning. Most, if not all of our medicines come from plants and animals, one of the many reason's scientist's look to shamans for new cure's/medicines. Concerning temple worshippers and monotheism, you can easily see how one formed evolved into the other or how stories got changed and retold. No such evidence exist's for either societies and doctrines.

[edit on 10-2-2006 by Produkt]



posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 01:19 PM
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The evolution of monotheism in the present

Even today we can see example's of religion evolving within the same doctrines of monotheism. As they changed in the recent past, in light of the discoveries made, such as the mechanics behind the solar system, they could no longer teach that god made us the center of the universe and that the sun revolved around us. Now in present's time's the monotheistic religion's have tried to adopt a semi-scientific approach in an attempt to prove the god head exist's.

They've come up with the Intelligent Design theory.



en.wikipedia.org...

An intelligent designer, also referred to as an "intelligent agent," is the entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life and who supposedly has left scientific evidence of this intelligent design.


Recently I posted, from the same website this quote below.



Phillip E. Johnson, considered the father of the ID movement has stated that the goal of intelligent design is to cast creationism as a scientific concept:

"Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools."
"This isn't really, and never has been a debate about science. It's about religion and philosophy."

The Discovery Institute's leaked Wedge document [4] sets out the movement's governing goals, including:

To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.


One of the responses I encountered was :



References to an angel prophet who some consider to be a god doesn't further your argument.


This was after I stated, as the article says, that the originator of the ID theory even says it's not science and that the main goal was to get creationism into our schools.

As you can see, monotheism has evolved to adopt science to explain it's god head. But there are major problem's in regard's to proving there is an intelligent designer. Perhaps they could "prove" an intelligent designer by shown one method of creating life, but there would lack evidence that the creator itself exist's or ever existed. As you'll also note the example given in the exerpt from the book concerning the devout believer's of the "swami", even after proof positive of ill intentions and falsification, some would not be swayed from the teaching's of this perverted "swami". I believe this problem explains exactly what I posted for the reply I got concerning IDT. Even after it is shown that the originator of IDT saying it is not science and that it's whole goal is just to get creationism taught in school's, people devout to the belief will not be swayed from it's teaching's. Even with documented evidence, such as the Wedge Document, detailing how to get creationism into school's, people still dismiss the evidence out of pure ignorance to retain their belief's.



en.wikipedia.org...

The strategy is a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to "affirm the reality of God"[1]. This religious goal, advanced chiefly by means of the wedge strategy, seeks to establish that life was created as the result of intelligent design.

...

The strategy was originally brought to the public's attention by a leaked fund raising tool, informally known as the Wedge Document, used by the Discovery Institute to raise money for its subsidiary charged with promoting its science and education agenda, the Center for Science and Culture, at the time called the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC). As stated in the Wedge Document [2], the strategy is designed to defeat "Darwinism" and to promote an idea of science "consonant with Christian and theistic convictions." The ultimate goal of the wedge strategy is to "renew" American culture by shaping public policy to reflect conservative Christian values. Center for Science and Culture Senior Fellow and Vice President and Discovery Institute co-founder, Stephen C. Meyer, alleges the Wedge Document was "stolen" from the Discovery Institute's offices [3] [pg 41] (PDF file).


You can view the Wedge Document here :

www.aclupa.org...

One of the angle's of attack they like to use is gaps in our current knowledge of evolutionism. The theories behind evolution and the evidence supporting it don't detail the step by step by step process as it's a continually developing theory as we discover, and uncover more evidence and physical proof of it's reality. What IDT'ers have chosen to do was attack the gap's in our knowledge of evolution and the birth of the universe, all the while none can lay claim on any physical or experimental proof of a creators existance.

[EDIT] What IDT need's to be focusing on, rather then attacking the gaps of knowledge in existing scientific discoveries, IDT should be proving that life CANNOT occur naturally and that life NEEDS a creator. If they can do that, then the next and final step for them would be proving that an intelliget designer did in fact create the universe and direct the flow of life on this planet.

Another quote from the wikipedia article.



Richard Dawkins has argued that "If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it's no solution to raise the theologian's plea that God (or the intelligent designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation,"[5] since such an answer would be unscientific. With religious creationism, the question "what created God?" can be answered with theological arguments, but in intelligent design, the chain of designers can be followed back indefinitely in an infinite regression, leaving the question of the creation of the first designer dangling. As a result, intelligent design does not explain how the complexity happened in the first place; it just moves it.[6]

If intelligent design proponents invoke an uncaused causer or deity to resolve this problem,[7] they contradict a fundamental assumption of intelligent design that a designer is needed for every specifically complex object[8][9] and reduce intelligent design to religious creationism. Another possible counter-argument might be an infinite regression of designers. However, admitting infinite numbers of objects also allows any arbitrarily improbable event to occur [10], such as an object with "specific" complexity assembling itself by chance. Again, this contradicts a fundamental assumption of intelligent design that a designer is needed for every specifically complex object, producing a logical contradiction.


This quote just basicly show's that no matter what angle IDTer's choose to "prove" a creator, the ability to prove is met with great difficulties.


So now it should be clear how even in today's present time's the continual evolution and birth of other religion's changing with the beliefs of society at those time's is painfully obvious, and how the evidence behind the mystical claim's of any religion is absolutly zero. You can also easily notice that the continual discoveries made by mankind has destroyed certain belief's and explanation's of even today's monotheistic religion's, as well as past religion's through out history.

While the moral teaching's of religion are perfectly exeptable, they are no different then todays law's, and in the case of monotheistic commandment's, no different then the laws before monotheism.


[EDIT] I just came accross this.



www.apologeticspress.org...

Think about it. Evolutionists offer a hypothesis of why we walk on two legs, why we crawled out of the ocean to become land-dwelling creatures, why we lost so much hair, why we have such large brain—and now they are focusing on the last icon that stands in the way of a completely materialistic/atheistic society: how to explain away God.

...

And what many do not understand is that evolutionists today are not taking aim at the cross and Jesus Christ. They are smart enough to know that such tactics would cause an uprising among faithful Christians all across this nation.


Interestingly, this is a similar tactic monothiesm employed to dispell the religions of the temple worshippers. They used magical tricks easily done by todays magicians, they used fear, amongst other tactics. Yet they ignore the fact that science has proven the beliefs of older religion's as false and ignorant, including the more recent historical teaching's of monotheism itself. What this article is showing is yet another example of, no matter how strong the evidence given against the existance of a god head, the religously devout and ignorant will come up with any excuse or in some cases resort to murdure and violance so that they can remain in they're own little worlds where this god head exist's. As you can also see, there is another example of violent protest from the monothiestic crowd. There exist's for some unknown reason, a need to violently go against anything that could possibly show that they are wrong, just as they did to earlier religion's in their violent birth of dominance.

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posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 02:58 PM
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This positivist reactionary view of religion is so tiring. Please- have a little creativity, and quit the arrogance. Theists aren't dupes, they just have completely different conception of the world than those who deny the existence of God right at front without even having an open mind. Why is that so hard to understand?



posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 03:07 PM
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Have you read everything in full? If yes, my next question would be, are you religous?

This isn't denying nor accepting that a god does exist. Rather, it's showing how you can see evidence in both historical record and religous teachings, that religion has indeed evolved over time to fit the current view's of the society it exist's in. Those same example's even exist with today's current monothiestic religion's as well, this is a fact no religion can deny, as much as they'd like to protest.

In no way am I posting this out of arrogance. Another statement that show's the validity of what's been shown with the current monotheistic attitude. Anything that goes against, even slightly is met with opposition, rather then an open mind. Rather then posting your views on why this is false, you rather dismiss it, brush it aside, and resort to insulting my character, labeling me as arrogant.

What I would like to see, rather then the kind of post above this, I'd like someone to post with an OPEN MIND in regard's to this evidence. Again, I remind you, this niether denies nor accept's the existance of a god/creator, but rather show's evidence for the evolution of religion.



posted on Feb, 10 2006 @ 07:16 PM
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Have you read the new scientist article by the evolutionary psychologist, robin dunbar (he's from one of my old uni's)?

Here's a snippet...


Belief special: How evolution found God
28 January 2006
Robin Dunbar
Magazine issue 2536
In the beginning religion didn't exist, so why did we feel the need to create it, asks evolutionary biologist Robin Dunbar
RELIGIOUS belief is a conundrum. In our everyday lives, most of us make at least some effort to check the truth of claims for ourselves. Yet when it comes to religion, studies show that we are most persuaded by stories that contradict the known laws of physics. Tales of supernatural beings walking on water, raising the dead, passing through walls, foretelling the future, and the like, are universally popular. At the same time, however, we expect our gods to have normal human feelings and emotions. We like our miracles, and those who perform them, to have just the right mix of otherworldliness and everyday characteristics.

Why are we humans so willing to commit to religious beliefs we can never hope to verify? You might well think that question falls outside the realm of scientific investigation. Evolutionary biologists in particular have taken their cue from their own guru, Charles Darwin, and ...

www.newscientist.com...

well worth the read but you'll need to subscribe or find a copy. He proposes four hypotheses that would confer evolutionary fitness;

1. religion as a cosmic controller - gives structure to the universe and an illusion of control

2. 'opium of the masses' - simply makes you feel better

3. provides moral code - ensures social order

4. communality - sense of togetherness/group membership i.e. a social glue

Dunbar see much benefit in number 4. Group rituals cause release of endorphins (and everyone likes this natural opoid) - it is the opium of the masses, improves immune function thus making people healthier, and creates a postive view of other group members.


[edit on 10-2-2006 by melatonin]

[edit on 10-2-2006 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 06:37 AM
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No one of religous belief has anything to add to any of this?



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 07:48 AM
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Myth's and how stories get exaggerated.

Religous people nowaday's believe in noah's flood right? Well ... How come they don't believe in say, the chinese dragon's? Well, this is easily explained. Stories, over time have gotten so completely exxaggerated. The human species has a certain knack for story telling. We thrive on entertainment, just look at how popular television, movie and the music industrie's are. We thrive on mysticism and fantasy.

The dragon myth's started out pretty mundane. There was at one time in history a very succsefull emporer who became immortalized as the world's first dragon ...




en.wikipedia.org...

Some scholars report the first emperor of China Huang Di (Yellow Emperor) used a snake for his coat of arms. Every time he conquered another tribe, he incorporated his defeated enemy's emblem into his own. Huang Di was immortalized into a dragon that looks like his emblem.




www.china.org.cn...

The largest and most vivid discovery is a jade, pig-headed dragon about 26 centimeters long and bent like the letter "C." It had a pig head, snake body, tight-lipped snout, bulging eyes and a hole dug in its back, said Liu Guoxiang, an archaeologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Many pig bones were found buried with the deceased at Hongshan sites, indicating pig had already been a very important animal at that time and might have symbolized prosperity, said Sarah M. Nelson, an archaeologist from the University of Denver in the United States.


So knowing that stories can and do get exaggerated, don't you think it's more then likely that, over time alot of religous mysticism has gotten exaggerated as well? Starting back at the very begining. Perhap's a particular shaman like person became the very first person to be immortalized as a god, and then the evolution of religion took off from that point, leading to what we see today. We can see the evidence for this evolution for the simple fact that there are many 'species' of religion. Some religous 'species' are totally alien to some of the more popular religous species, but then again, not all religions had contact with one another to exchange and borrow teaching's as they evolved.

Here's something on the flood myth's of these different religous 'species'.



en.wikipedia.org...

It is not unusual that such peoples would have deep memories of floods and have developed mythologies surrounding floods to explain and cope with an integral part of their lives. To these ancient cultures, a flood that covered their known world would likely be considered local flooding by First World standards instead of literally the entire planet. Scholars point out that most cultures living in areas where flooding was less likely to occur did not have flood myths of their own. These observations, coupled with the human tendency to make stories more dramatic than events originally warranted, are all the points most mythology scholars feel is necessary to explain how myths of world-destroying cataclysmatic floods evolved.


So, as you can see, not all these 'species' have developed a world wide flood myth. Only those who were prone to flood condition's. And flood's obviously aren't localized to just one area! So you can see how it could become appearent that there "looks" like there's a world wide flood. But then how do we explain those who don't have this same myth? Did they forget it just because they don't live near water? Or is it more likely they never experienced a flood and therefore never came up with an exaggerated flood myth?



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 07:54 AM
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I am not suprised that noone of a religious view, has come into this thread, as you have set out your stall to shoot down their views, without giving them a chance to be heard. Whilst I agree with the basics of what you say I dont agree with the closed minded way you go about it.

If you want a proper debate about this subject, you have to be prepared to listen to other peoples views and not just copping out and calling it ignorance.

Dan



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 07:57 AM
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Eh? It's hard to have a proper debate though when none will debate it. But there's no reason I can't post what I find and still be considered open minded about it. As long as they debate the evidence against those belief's.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 08:12 AM
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well said bdp

I am not sure how one is supposed to 'prove' ones faith, beliefs with backups to the fact????????


If Produkt wants a response - mine is wright a book as you are the only one adding to the thread



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 08:29 AM
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Our genetic sense of godliness and other mystical meaning's

Here we have a news article discussing the genetic's behind religous belief's and how it would have been usefull to primitive man. It's a rather interesting article.



www.guardian.co.uk...

Some of the genes likely to be involved are those which control levels of different chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Dopamine is one neurotransmitter which we know plays a powerful role in our feelings of well-being; it may also be involved in the sense of peace that humans feel during some spiritual experiences. One particular gene involved in dopamine action - incidentally, by no means the only one that has been studied in this way - is the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4). In some people, because of slight changes in spelling of the DNA sequences (a so-called polymorphism) making up this gene, the gene may be more biologically active, and this could be partly responsible for a religious bent.

[EDIT] Here are a couple more article's about the god gene and the genetic's behind why we believe in a supernatural power.

www.telegraph.co.uk.../news/2004/11/14/ngod14.xml
www.time.com...

For all those believer's out there, this isn't accepting nor denying a god, but it is showing evidence that riligous belief's have evolved over time. While I may remain open minded to the possibilities, in no way does it make me closed minded to post the evidence and discoveries made thus far. If you wish to debate the evolution of religion you are free to do so, but your failure to do so doesn't make me any more "closed minded" as it does you also.

[EDIT] More in depth article.



[EDIT] Shorter url to article :: /cw335

Ask true believers of any faith to describe the most important thing that drives their devotion, and
they'll tell you it's not a thing at all but a sense—a feeling of a higher power far beyond us. Western
religions can get a bit more doctrinaire: God has handed us laws and lore, and it's for us to learn and
practice what they teach. For a hell-raising species like ours, however—with too much intelligence for
our own good and too little discipline to know what to do with it—there have always been other, more
utilitarian reasons to get religion. Chief among them is survival. Across the eons, the structure that
religion provides our lives helps preserve both mind and body. But that, in turn, has raised a
provocative question, one that's increasingly debated in the worlds of science and religion: Which
came first, God or the need for God? In other words, did humans create religion from cues sent from
above, or did evolution instill in us a sense of the divine so that we would gather into the communities
essential to keeping the species going?


What these article's are showing is there exist a few gene's that give us a sense of 'togetherness' and well being. Feel good gene's. Out of survival, we developed gene's that allowed for the societal trait's that lead to organized culture's and belief's. It's all very interesting, they even point out how believer's are more likely to have these certain gene's more active than non believer's.

[EDIT]


From the same site above this external quote.

It's also monoamines that are not so carefully scrambled by ecstasy,
'___', peyote and other mind-altering drugs—some of which have long been used in religious rituals


[EDIT] Basicly, if a non believer wanted to feel this same sense of a higher power, all one would have to do is take a pill that has the same checmical's these gene's produce. Just as some illegal drug's also make you 'feel' or 'sense' mystical happening's. So, as you can clearly see, a combination of genetics and in some cases, drug's have lead to a sense of a higher power. And as it stand's, those of faith claim that faith stem's from this sense of a higher power more then anything else. All they have is this "sense", but we now understand where this sense is comming from and how it's produced by our own gene's and why we evolved the gene's to do so.

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posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 01:44 PM
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On Chimps and Culture.


Our closest's relative's, the great ape's, once thought to be just animal's without any human trait's period, do indeed show sign's of culture, intelligence, and tool use. The great ape's diverged down a seperate evolutionary path then we human's have, yet we geneticly share a common anscestor. Not all great ape's are showing these very human trait's though. There are some group's within their same species that show no sign's of culture nor tool usuage. I wonder, if left untouched, will these culture geared great ape's become us thousand's of year's from now?



www.newscientist.com...

Culture requires extensive social contact in order for the behaviours to be passed on. But unlike their more friendly chimpanzee counterparts, orangutans tend to be more solitary.

However, some orangutan groupings are more sociable than others, and these groups showed more of the identified behaviours, strengthening the argument that they are cultural.




news.bbc.co.uk...

The research adds weight to decades of field studies on wild primates suggesting that they have rich cultural traditions unmatched in species other than our own.

Chimpanzees in West Africa, for example, use stones and pieces of wood to crack open nuts for food; but this has never been observed in chimps living in East Africa.


And the devlopment of intelligence and language is not just a human trait at all. Nor is it beyond the reach's of a primitive bipedal primate.



www.all-creatures.org...

Aug. 9, 2004 — Koko, a 33-year-old gorilla that was taught to communicate using American Sign Language, recently told her caregivers that she desired oral surgery to remove an aching tooth, which was extracted with success on Sunday.


As we can plainly see, a primitive bipedal primate is capable of creating culture, using tool's, and the ability to learn new habits in order to better survive it's world, and even the ability to communicate intelligently! This research furthur advances the evidence for how human's evolved to the way they are today. And someday, if we allow them the chance, we may be able to live peacfully side by side with our cousin's, the great apes, sharing castly different cultural belief's and way's of doing thing's.

[EDIT] Another article worth reading.



bushmeat.net...

For twenty four years Michael signed his thoughts and dreams, his likes and dislikes, his deep sensitivities to Koko, Penny, and Ron. He took up painting, made friends with a young male gorilla named Ndume, enjoyed classical music. Yet all the while Michael seemed slightly aloof. Over the years he began to flex and posture and rumble when strangers came to his home. It was as if he were warning us to keep our distance. As if he were remembering something about other strangers, long ago.

Then one morning Michael woke in a state of extreme distress. Penny sat calmly with him while Ron set up the video. They talked. A story unfolded -- Michael told Penny of the dream that he had that night. It was the story of the morning in the rainforest when he had been captured and his family had been slaughtered. Michael remembered and described the horrid sound of gunshot, the cries of pain, the terror and trembling, the bright red blood, the shock, the struggle and submission as strong cruel arms carried him off while his mother lay dead in the bush.


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posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 05:35 PM
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Originally posted by Valorian
I am not sure how one is supposed to 'prove' ones faith, beliefs with backups to the fact????????


I cannot prove anything about my faith, because the experiences that I have had happened to me, and no one else. Produkt, or anyone else can just dismiss them as 'anecdotal evidence', lies, or delusions. So, Why bother? The net has numerous sites which list scientific experiments on the power of prayer, which found it did have a positive effect. I have read at least three.
But, since I have a minute, I offer this link. It has nothing to do with faith, but instead is a scientific book proposing a cataclysm that occurred about 9500BC, which is a likely source of many flood 'myths'.

thebestreviews.com...



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 08:46 PM
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I tell you why no one that Is well aquainted with GOD has replied on here Product, because your questioning that of which you do not understand.

GOD has never evolved, his mercy and glory has always been the same. As has his word, It Is man that seeks to change the word of GOD, It Is man that seeks to turn GOD's word Into religion In order that they can place It higher than GOD him self, who It spawned from In the first place.

Deception at it's best.

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