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Could this be the real reason for religion?

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posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 09:43 AM
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Why is it that, whichever religion someone follows, it always seems to have one or more supreme beings?

When you look closely at the disparate religions, it is amazing how, even those with no apparent common roots, seem to possess remarkably similar traits.

One scientific study thinks they might have an idea as to the reason for this:

www.macon.com...

As an atheist looking in from the outside I amazed at the hold the various faiths have over their believers, without any of them having the slightest shred of evidence that their own particular religion is the right one and all the rest are wrong.

Having grown up with a Roman Catholic mother (and myself being baptised into the Roman Catholic faith), I was amazed that she, and all her fellow followers, seemed to be ruled by an irrational fear of divine retribution if they stepped out of line. This stemmed invariably from indoctrination at a very early age, when much too young to question anything. By the time they are old enough to ask why nobody has ever seen this 'Holy Ghost', they are of course already totally immersed.

Whilst I respect a person's right to worship whatever they like, I am amazed that so many intelligent people can be so readily taken in by what appears to me to be nothing more than a huge illusion being inflicted on entire populations.

P.S. If anyone can give me incontrovertible proof that their religion is the right one I will happily follow it.



[edit on 14-8-2006 by Englishman_in_Spain]

[edit on 14-8-2006 by Englishman_in_Spain]




posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 10:07 AM
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I consider Religon a method of control put together buy our ancestors to try and stop the violence of the past. Remeber that 2000 years ago, The Law was who was good with a sword or spear. I understand the elders of a community getting together to form a religon or rules of a community to protect there own children. I am sure their wives complained.

Think about it! Everytime someone or a particular group invaded territory for food and women. The women would taken away from family. Every group of peoples in all the countries of the world where like this. Yes even the chosen JEWS!

Real Faith of GOD comes from the heart, not the Holy book of whoever. Bibles are a guide of past mistakes and how to make yourself a better person.


Method of Control=Religon



posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 10:22 AM
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Snore.

More religion is mind control.....yada yada

No-one forces anyone to believe in god, there might be extremists who force people to convert, yes, they are a minority. Yes religion controls the masses. Is this a bad thing, we are animals with basic instincts, maybe we need controlling. Maybe we need to be kept in line and afraid of stepping out of it.

You honestly think its was a huge and massive plot, requiring logisitcs and a fautless execution, all conceived thousands of years ago. I don't think so.

People within religion are well aware that there are false representatives of religion. The Bible warns that individuals and groups will discredit the religion and use it for personal gain. The argument that religion is the route of all evil is pretty weak. Without religion, man would simply fight over land, money, race etc. The saying: "As long as there is man, there will be no peace" is very much true.

99% of the Christians I know, are law abiding, considerate, un-selfish, happy, confident and participate within the community. Is that bad? At any point they can leave the religion and no-one will try and stop them. Its about individual choice and a lifestyle, security in a threatening world, a sense of belonging to a community.

[edit on 14-8-2006 by Peyres]



posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 10:40 AM
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Our actions of our community dictate what we belive are good and evil. Such as laws of human nature.

Example: The right to choose when it comes to abortion. Religon says it is evil, and shuns followers away from that and condems followers for doing it. But the community says we don't need our women hiding in closets with coat hangers doing the abortion. So the community said this should not be illegal. Many people are still fighting that issue today.

Just for your info, I am against abortion, unless the child is stillborn, or the life of either is at stake. I have delivered Stillborn babies and Premature babies from drug mothers when I worked the City EMS system. This is a most tramatic event for all involved. I have helped deliver over 12 Children Healthy! and 8 Premies! Half made it.

I do believe in GOD, but I question religons rules and beliefs. I have seen many of his miracles in my work and I do not question his existance but I Pray for wisdom and Help when needed. I do Thank him for the many gifts he has given me. He spared my life last year after I became sick from Hurricane Katrina. I was one week from death according to my doctors. Now I am doing well and doing my best for my children to believe in GOD and to be kind and help others.



posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by Peyres
Snore.

More religion is mind control.....yada yada

No-one forces anyone to believe in god, there might be extremists who force people to convert, yes, they are a minority. Yes religion controls the masses. Is this a bad thing, we are animals with basic instincts, maybe we need controlling. Maybe we need to be kept in line and afraid of stepping out of it.

You honestly think its was a huge and massive plot, requiring logisitcs and a fautless execution, all conceived thousands of years ago. I don't think so.

People within religion are well aware that there are false representatives of religion. The Bible warns that individuals and groups will discredit the religion and use it for personal gain. The argument that religion is the route of all evil is pretty weak. Without religion, man would simply fight over land, money, race etc. The saying: "As long as there is man, there will be no peace" is very much true.

99% of the Christians I know, are law abiding, considerate, un-selfish, happy, confident and participate within the community. Is that bad? At any point they can leave the religion and no-one will try and stop them. Its about individual choice and a lifestyle, security in a threatening world, a sense of belonging to a community.

[edit on 14-8-2006 by Peyres]


Who said anything about religion being mind control? Who said anything about religion being the root of all evil? This seems like a Pavlovian response to a statement that was never made.

If we are to have structured debate, please have the courtesy to read what other posters say first before launching into an automatic self-defensive response of a position that was never criticised in the first place.

[edit on 14-8-2006 by Englishman_in_Spain]



posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 11:31 AM
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A couple of thoughts.

One, not all religions, not even major religions, have a supernatural entity(s) at their core. Buddhism is an example of this. Although the Buddha and other bodhisatva may be considered exemplary in their enlightenment, there is nothing supernatural about them.

Two, the article seems to make a wild and unsubstantiated leap in logic, from claiming that a depiction of eyes at a honor system coffee room made people guilty about not paying, to the conclusion that religion is rooted in the need for a supernatural overlord to moderate human conduct. There could be many other explanations for why the experiment worked the way it did.

For instance, the philosopher Michel Foucault might argue that in a society rooted in surveillance, the way modern societies tend to be, that anything like an eye will serve as a means for manipulating people's conduct. He used the idea of the panopticon, (a surveillance mechanism in penal institutions where prisoners never know when they are being watched) to show how similar modes of surveillance in modern society are used to manipulate people's behavior. It doesn't have anything to do with supernatural entities in religions.

[edit on 8/14/2006 by Toromos]



posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 12:56 PM
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I have to agree with bufordny

Religion is used to control the masses.

I have no need for a religion. I am more into truth and faith is the risen Messiah.

Religion is used to keep you in bondage so that you will not accept the free gift of salvation.

Religions have to do with salvation thru works. Man is not saved by works. Man is saved by faith in the Messiah.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 06:41 AM
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Originally posted by bufordny
I consider Religon a method of control put together buy our ancestors to try and stop the violence of the past. Remeber that 2000 years ago, The Law was who was good with a sword or spear. I understand the elders of a community getting together to form a religon or rules of a community to protect there own children. I am sure their wives complained.

Think about it! Everytime someone or a particular group invaded territory for food and women. The women would taken away from family. Every group of peoples in all the countries of the world where like this. Yes even the chosen JEWS!

Real Faith of GOD comes from the heart, not the Holy book of whoever. Bibles are a guide of past mistakes and how to make yourself a better person.


Method of Control=Religon


this was my the post i was responding to. Sorry if i did not origianlly quote it.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 08:02 AM
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Originally posted by Englishman_in_Spain
Why is it that, whichever religion someone follows, it always seems to have one or more supreme beings?

www.macon.com...


in the last 100 words of the article you linked us to we find this question...

..."How did the first Supernatural Enforcer religion appear?
Is there something about the way people are put together
that made the concept more acceptable?
...

i suspect that tossing virgins into the volcano god,
or human sacrifices to the crop or rain gods
were the 1st religions which held that unseen, supernatural gods in need of appeasement... for the wrongs committed by the tribe/clan/social group.

& for about 10,000 years, the Fear base has been modified so that it is acceptable,
so that some people even want and desire to be included in victimhood,
which we can witness in this present time as persecutions and/or martyrdom



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 08:44 AM
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posted by bufordny

Our actions of our community dictate what we believe are good and evil. Such as laws of human nature. [Edited by Don W]


I disagree on the use of “human nature” in this context. From my perspective, “human nature” encompasses only the most basic urges or drives, such as are associated with survival and reproduction. That "nature" is shared not only by humans, but most animal life forms and in some instances, it seems to be present in plants as well.

When we get to such cultural elements as “good and evil” then we are into a variation on a theme that is more than the elementary human nature. I prefer to distinguish between the two because it is sort of a cop-out to say this or that is “human nature” and therefore, not to be argued or disputed.



Example: The right to choose when it comes to abortion. Religion says it is evil, and shuns followers away from that and condemns followers for doing it.


I disagree, again. You’re mixing apples and oranges. “Right” is a political term. “Evil” is a religious term. Further, not all religions forbid abortions. Main stream Protestantism takes it one case at a time, but ultimately, most of them acknowledge the political rights exceed their wisdom to know what God wants. OTOH, many Catholics are “go along to get along.” Their love for their religion exceeds their felt need to assert political independence. Unless they are directly effected.

If you doubt me look at any Catholic church after a Sunday mass. You will see most of the families have only 2 or 3 children. I believe in my heart of heart those parents also have sex. Regularly. So it is obvious (to me) they are using birth control methods that work. The same person who is wiling to accept the Church’s teaching on abortions is not willing to accept the Church’s teaching on sex. It is a pick and choose religion, or as some Catholics scoffingly say, “He or she is a cafeteria Catholic.”

With great irony, the same things I say about Catholic Church teachings applies equally to the so-called evangelical and Pentecostal Protestant born-agains movement.



Just for your info, I am against abortion, unless the child is stillborn . . “


Ugh, I believe a stillborn infant will come out on its own, sort of spontaneously. But if not, then it is not called “abortion.” there was nothing to terminate or abort.



I do believe in GOD, but I question religions rules and beliefs. I have seen many of his miracles in my work and I do not question his existence but I Pray for wisdom and Help when needed. I do Thank him for the many gifts he has given me. He spared my life last year after I became sick from Hurricane Katrina. I was one week from death according to my doctors. Now I am doing well and doing my best for my children to believe in GOD and to be kind and help others.


A nice report, Bu in NY.



[edit on 8/15/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 01:11 PM
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the view that religion was an early cousin to LAW the ten commandments, thou shalt not... and so on, I think that this theory is very plausible



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 01:15 PM
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I think religion was created for two reasons.

In its earliest life, it was the dawn of science. Men began to try to explain the unknown. When they couldn't explain how the sun worked, they would say it was the work of the Sun God, etc.

And second, it is the ULTIMATE tool to control the masses in tons of ways and is especially used to control lower class citizens into believing that if they work hard and slave over the biddings of others in this life, they will be rewarded in the afterlife. A prime example would be the caste system. Citizens believe that if they spend their entire life working hard and doing what their superiors tell them to, they will reincarnate in a higher caste in their next life.

Basic Human Geography religion, but yes, I believe those are the reasons that religion was created.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by Englishman_in_SpainOne scientific study thinks they might have an idea as to the reason for this: www.macon.com...
Considering that they don't even think about those who were Athiest who, by scientific study went off in search of a God...I don't much worry about their view.

But this could be one of 2 things: either natural selection, or something God instilled in his creation...
I've stated on this site too many times that it is natural for people to believe in a God.

Go see what Koko the Gorilla does with the concept of God.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by Omniscient

And second, it is the ULTIMATE tool to control the masses in tons of ways and is especially used to control lower class citizens into believing that if they work hard and slave over the biddings of others in this life, they will be rewarded in the afterlife. A prime example would be the caste system. Citizens believe that if they spend their entire life working hard and doing what their superiors tell them to, they will reincarnate in a higher caste in their next life.


This is absolutely the same conclusion as I have reached myself Omniscient. What I can't understand is why so many intelligent people allow themselves to be manipulated in this way.

My own mother is even now, in her 60s, so fearful of the repercussions for wrongdoing that she has carried the huge Catholic guilt complex all of her life. She will not even question it. She would never ask why the local Catholic priest lived in splendour in a huge church house, enjoyed the very best private medical treatment available in the UK for a relatively minor complaint, yet hypocritically preached against such luxurious self indulgence from the pulpit.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 04:31 PM
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I think that Sigmund Freud's psychological theory of religion has a lot going for it when applied to organised/institutionalised religion.

Freud believed that religion developed in response to human feelings of helpless in the face of a world they cannot control (E.g. earthquakes, disease and death). Prayer and sacrafice gave people some level of psychological control (sacrifice in exchange for a good harvest etc ). Just as children need their earthly father to protect them from the common dangers of life, Freud believed this need is often carried forward into adulthood and subsequently projected into the heavens creating a 'Heavenly Father' who also protects and cares for people. Alongside this religious rituals were developed to protect the human ego from sexual impulses, thoughts and fantasies which had been repressed. Because the Church viewed such things as sinful. These rituals were a defence against these impulses ever finding expression in reality. To compensate for this ritualistic 'castration', religion promises an after-life which will repay the believer for the earthly pleasures they have given up. Freud also believed that the notion of an after-life had the additional function of reducing the fear of death. In the end Freud argued, as did Marx, the religious instinct in people was curable (even childish), and so at some point in the future could be abandoned. This would happen once people left behind their psychological illusions and live as restored people in a world of scientifically authenticated knowledge.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 08:56 PM
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Originally posted by bufordny
I consider Religon a method of control put together buy our ancestors to try and stop the violence of the past. Remeber that 2000 years ago, The Law was who was good with a sword or spear. I understand the elders of a community getting together to form a religon or rules of a community to protect there own children. I am sure their wives complained.

Think about it! Everytime someone or a particular group invaded territory for food and women. The women would taken away from family. Every group of peoples in all the countries of the world where like this. Yes even the chosen JEWS!

Real Faith of GOD comes from the heart, not the Holy book of whoever. Bibles are a guide of past mistakes and how to make yourself a better person.


Method of Control=Religon
I agree.



posted on Aug, 17 2006 @ 02:56 AM
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Interesting thread!



“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”

– Karl Marx in Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right


Most people only know of the last sentence in this quote, which implies that religion is some sort of class control mechanism. While true, I believe Marx would agree with such an assertion, Marx’s view was more nuanced, as seen in the little-known context of this quote. I find this nuanced view of Marx insightful.

Religion is not only given to drug the people, it is the drug taken by the people to escape from the oppression of any of the historic modes of production. Through religion, the oppressed connect with the universal, receive solace in the prospect of their “reward in heaven,” and find sense to it all. Religious sentiments seem to be a human response to oppression and alienation. Marx argues that once oppression and alienation are eliminated from the mode of production, religion loses its purpose and would be abandoned.

Here are just two general observations to support such a claim:
- It can be argued that many world religions, especially those that are highly organized, are “slave religions,” their morals developed and tailored to oppressed peoples. Read Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals for an interesting discussion.
- There is an inverse relationship between income and religious belief. Higher incomes generally result in lower religious belief and participation. Assuming that at a lower income one is more oppressed or alienated, it follows that oppression/alienation spawns religious sentiment. (Keep in mind this is a generalization).

The above allows one to answer the following question, which I find interesting: Why is the United States both extremely capitalistic/materialistic and extremely religious at the same time? Religion fills the voids for individuals created by the alienation of capitalism. Note that the times of economic change in the history of the US are correlated to upsurges in religious fervor and fundamentalism.

EDIT: Format error.


[edit on 17-8-2006 by ArbitraryGuy]

[edit on 17-8-2006 by ArbitraryGuy]



posted on Aug, 17 2006 @ 06:20 AM
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Hey ArbitraryGuy, what a brilliant response, thank you.

I had never considered myself to have anything in common with Karl Marx before, but clearly I see that we share certain views in this regard.



posted on Aug, 17 2006 @ 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by ArbitraryGuy
The above allows one to answer the following question, which I find interesting: Why is the United States both extremely capitalistic/materialistic and extremely religious at the same time? Religion fills the voids for individuals created by the alienation of capitalism. Note that the times of economic change in the history of the US are correlated to upsurges in religious fervor and fundamentalism.
[edit on 17-8-2006 by ArbitraryGuy]


Perhaps one way of analyzing this is by asking how rich the U.S. really is. Marx might say, given our analysis of wealth indexed to religiosity, it might stand to reason that the perceived wealth in the U.S. is held by a very few people, while the masses themselves turn to religion due to their lack of input into the mode of production.

Another thinker, amazingly enough, that might be brought to this discussion, is Leo Strauss. He's often considered the father of neo-conservative thought, but he was not particularly kind to religious thought from what I've read of him. His basic argument, if I've understood him correctly, is that religion is useful as a means for the intelligentsia of a society to maintain control, as it keeps the common man's more vulgar aspirations and drives in check. I've often wondered if that's why many U.S. politicians, irregardless of party affiliation, applaud publicly religiosity, but at the same time in their actual policy decisions, keep religion more or less out of the picture. Religion's useful for keeping the people in control, but don't let them think they actually can participate in their own well being.

[edit on 8/17/2006 by Toromos]



posted on Aug, 17 2006 @ 11:27 AM
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Originally posted by Englishman_in_Spain
Whilst I respect a person's right to worship whatever they like, I am amazed that so many intelligent people can be so readily taken in by what appears to me to be nothing more than a huge illusion being inflicted on entire populations.

P.S. If anyone can give me incontrovertible proof that their religion is the right one I will happily follow it.


My friend, you already do, and it didn't take incontrovertible proof. What proof is there that there is no God, that atheism is true? You have faith that there is no supreme power, that all of this just happened without reason. ArbitraryGuy's statement could be turned around to include atheism as well (as could Marx's). I'll explain how:

If you accept the possibility that the universe was created instead of just happening, you have to accept that there was a creator. If there was a creator, there's the possibility that something far greater than you could ever be actually cares about what you do. Suddenly there's accountability; your actions matter, possibly even after you die in the body you have now. For many (myself included for many years), this concept is terrifying, and so we accept a system of beliefs so as to dismiss such a possibility.

Don't fall into the illusion that atheism isn't as much a religion as Christianity or Hinduism. Assumptions are made based on faith. So, again, what is the proof that there is no creator, no God?



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