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Gods, Monsters, Ghosts. Why do we believe?

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posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 02:44 PM
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It's an interesting question. But also, a simple one.

What makes you believe in the intangible?

It's simple to ask, but not so simple to answer. In fact, most of us here on ATS believe in at least one thing that is not proven to exist. Between Yetis, UFO's, Gods, and Ghosts....where do we draw our influence?

For those of you who do not want to read the analyisis, and want to post your own personal reasons, or your own theories. Stop reading right now and post away. This is a touchy subject..

For those of you who want the lowdown....



Monsters are everywhere these days, and belief in them is as strong as ever. What's harder to believe is why so many people buy into hazy evidence, shady schemes and downright false reports that perpetuate myths that often have just one ultimate truth: They put money in the pockets of their purveyors.


Hmm...money you say?




Many people quite simply just want to believe," said Brian Cronk, a professor of psychology at Missouri Western State University. "The human brain is always trying to determine why things happen, and when the reason is not clear, we tend to make up some pretty bizarre explanations."


So if we are all "programmed" to "believe" in something, I guess that explains our desire for religions, and higher powers?




People who practice religion are typically encouraged not to believe in the paranormal, but rather to put their faith in one deity, whereas those who aren't particularly active in religion are more free to believe in Bigfoot or consult a psychic.


The whole article, got me thinking.

So basically, as a human, are you 'required" to believe in something?

Why do you think we need to believe in something? Is it the fact that we are sentient beings, and we ponder more about our own existence?

I would love to hear your replies, fellow ATS'ers.




posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by InertiaZero

Why do you think we need to believe in something?


Dawkins rather eloquently explained it as a sort of "misfire" of the senses.



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 02:55 PM
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reply to post by InertiaZero
 



Don't know about anyone else, but I didn't believe in ghosts until I was an adult. Which means I evaded any alleged requirement that 'I believe' for a good part of my life. In fact, I never gave ghosts (in this instance) much thought, apart from believe that Casper the Ghost was a just one more cartoon character, like the Road Runner, for example

Sure, I was exposed to ghost stories, as are most kids. But within those stories, ghosts were usually portrayed as something that hovered around under a sheet, making 'whoooo' noises. Guess I wasn't all that suggestible. When other kids were cowering in their seats at the movies, I just kept eating popcorn. To me, it was make-believe, entertainment

Then, as an adult, I saw two ghosts within the space of ten years. They produced in me what I can only describe as 'altered consciousness'. They didn't make me scream and were somehow able to render me without thought or reaction. The thoughts, in the form of memories of the events, only surfaced after the events were over

Moreover, the ghosts in both instances looked entirely lifelike. No sheets. No 'whoooo' noises. The ghosts were in full colour. Only difference between them and your or I was the fact they had no visible legs below the knee area. At the time, I wasn't able to confirm if this is normal for ghosts, although in time, I learned from others that the ghosts they'd seen had no visible legs below the knee area either, for some reason no-one's explained to date, as far as I'm aware

Anyway, I have no option as far as the reality of ghosts is concerned nowadays, considering I've actually witnessed a couple. So it's not a matter of choosing to believe or needing to believe. I have to believe .. because I've seen them

As far as 'scientists' theories' are concerned -- theories are merely opinions. I'll take first-hand witness accounts any day over the opinions of people who have yet to experience that which they're voicing opinions about



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 02:58 PM
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Well I wouldn't say the UFO subject is a paranormal one but probably one of the main reasons I think it should be treated seriously is because there exists so much credible evidence.


UFO Evidence - The NICAP Report


The Rockefeller Briefing Document


[url=http://www.galactic-server.com/radio/greer/disclosure1.html#_Toc512151300]The D.P. Briefing _/url]



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 03:31 PM
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i don't have a problem with people that believe in different things than me.

my problem is when they act on unproven beliefs.

example-I see a beautiful girl out walking everyday but only after sundown.
it's ok to think she may be a vampire.
it isn't ok to drive a wooden stake through her heart.


never could imagine why be scared of ghosts,if they are real and kill me I'll just become a ghost and kick their posterior for a few hundred years.



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 03:40 PM
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because we need terms to at least describe the unexplained.

remember Thor, god of the lightning, or Ra, sun god in Egypt?

It's like the government calling a flying saucer a weather balloon. it all makes things so much more simple.


edit; and to the why, too much old, recent and future stories will always make people believe.

[edit on 11-1-2010 by Grey Magic]



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 03:54 PM
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reply to post by karl 12
 


I do agree with you. There is alot of evidence. Also alot of science to back it up.
So I wouldnt classify it as paranormal, per-se.

But what about other things? Things that seemingly do not require evidence..
Example: People believed in ghosts long, long ago. Before video, or cameras, or EVP.



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 06:33 AM
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Originally posted by karl 12
Well I wouldn't say the UFO subject is a paranormal one but probably one of the main reasons I think it should be treated seriously is because there exists so much credible evidence.


UFO Evidence - The NICAP Report


The Rockefeller Briefing Document


[url=http://www.galactic-server.com/radio/greer/disclosure1.html#_Toc512151300]The D.P. Briefing _/url]



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 06:47 AM
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reply to post by InertiaZero
 




So basically, as a human, are you 'required" to believe in something? Why do you think we need to believe in something? Is it the fact that we are sentient beings, and we ponder more about our own existence?


As far as actually needing to believe in something... I don't know. I don't think we have enough in-depth understanding of ourselves to solve that one. But it does (apparently) serve us to believe in certain unprovables like religion, life after physical death, etc.

Humans have the ability to make these leaps of faith into the abstract and we do indeed make those leaps en mass. There may be some kind of deep seated and distant racial memories that hang just on the edge of perception that tell us that certain things are true... even though we have no other proof of them.

But despite the ambiguity, they are an undeniable part of the human equation and the question of 'why' it exists is as old as thought itself.

Good topic!



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 07:10 AM
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This is what can be said about your question.
Kind of confusing to think we would evolve with a belief in God
demons/monsters.
Man kind at one point was so delusional he put impossible efforts into
the monuments and temples to his God or Gods.
All this came about because some Shamman licked the azz of a frog
one time and freaked out all over the tundra. When he came down he had a popular idea.
I mean popular to cause it's still around today.

Just seems obvious to me, that at one point the ancients took on these incredible tasks for reasons that are most likely even more incredible.
The beliefs we have just didn't pop into our head one day and go global.


[edit on 12-1-2010 by randyvs]

[edit on 12-1-2010 by randyvs]



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 10:04 AM
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reply to post by InertiaZero
 


I think we need to believe in something past our own existence. we are all already encoded with the natural things of our world and what we already know of it. I think it's the sub-consciousness trying to escape when you are asked to believe in something, it's the sub-consciousness that wants to believe in more. Take for instance God, none of us know if he/she/it is real, but some people's sub concious takes over at that and believes it, making the concious believe it too. That is my theory.




posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 08:49 PM
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Why do I belive? Well, unless you can explain the transparent figure of a man walking across my kitchen this summer while I was canning/putting up tomatoes...a figure which walked through the front door straight through the wall where the back door used to be...and disappeared... I believe in ghosts.
Or explain how 5 people exiting our truck after eating out and returning home, heard an old woman's voice cry out "Help me. Help me." All the men looked around inside and out, but no one around...we live wayout in the country, so no neighbors.
We later found out that a midwife lived in our farmhouse about 100 years ago.
So hey, why wouldn't I believe?



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 08:52 PM
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Ghosts - pretty certain exist and people have experiences with these over the ages.

Monsters - Maybe the Loch Ness monster exists but not sure about the others.

Aliens - 100% certain exist.

Gods - Don't know what to say about this one.



posted on Jan, 13 2010 @ 01:57 AM
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Originally posted by InertiaZero
What makes you believe in the intangible?

I don't, but I'll offer a possible answer to your question.

Back in the day, when emergent consciousness was beginning to separate us from the animals, humans acquired a sophisticated understanding of cause and effect. We also began to see ourselves as willing agents with some control over ourselves and even the physical environment.

Still, it was clear to our ancestors from the outset that most of the physical environment isn't under our control. And there are times when we can't even control our own bodies.

So if we weren't in control of them, who was?

Answer: 'spirits'. In fact, that is the basic meaning of 'spirit'; an intangible entity that causes action in matter, that animates it.

Thus monsters, ghosts and demons. Thus gods and religion.

Over time, belief in such things became instinctual, wired into our genes. The real question to ask is: why did that happen?

Possibly it was because of a 'misfire', as an earlier poster says, or some kind of wiring defect. But such things tend to get selected out of the gene pool, so I'm inclined to think it was more than that. Belief in animating spirits, demons and gods must have had some kind of survival and reproductive advantage. Perhaps it made people less foolhardy, more observant of their surroundings, or some such. Maybe believing in and propitiating the same entities through communal rites and codes of behaviour helped create tribal cohesion and thus survival of the genes for belief.

Or perhaps there's no benefit to humans from belief; perhaps the benefit is to the belief itself. Maybe the god-meme or yeti-meme or alien-meme or what have you is good at manipulating humans to keep itself thriving and reproducing in the meme pool--the same way that parasites manipulate the physiology and behaviour of their hosts for their own benefit. Now that's an idea worth thinking about.

At any rate--we know what the wrong answer to your question is. It's 'because they exist'.



posted on Jan, 13 2010 @ 11:14 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 




Over time, belief in such things became instinctual, wired into our genes. The real question to ask is: why did that happen?


OK - that might be the 'real' question - but I have a different question :-)

(I should know better - but what the hey...)

does instinct require consciousness?

I understand that there's a problem with the whole concept

I ask because of this:


Or perhaps there's no benefit to humans from belief; perhaps the benefit is to the belief itself. Maybe the god-meme or yeti-meme or alien-meme or what have you is good at manipulating humans to keep itself thriving and reproducing in the meme pool--the same way that parasites manipulate the physiology and behaviour of their hosts for their own benefit.


so - at what level would thinking (whatever we agree is or isn't thinking) start or stop?

how simple could it be and still be considered thought?


Now that's an idea worth thinking about.


it really is - I love that



posted on Jan, 13 2010 @ 11:31 PM
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I'd explain...

But I don't have much time,

You see, this Priest from the 3rd Order of Baphomet has sent several Sasquatch to stop me from catching him before delivering the Holy Grail, if he is successful in destroying it properly the portal will open and demons and ghosts will pour out for the final battle against god...

So I had better get going...

Sincerely.
Dr Van Helsing




posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 12:50 AM
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Why do we believe?

We believe in different things, because we don't understand whats going on.

We never have and we never will.

We dont just believe in Gods, Demons, Aliens, 2012, Ghosts, education and politics. We believe what we believe because of how we visualize and understand our reality.

Reality is a personal understanding you don't share with any one but your self.



posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 03:23 AM
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Originally posted by Spiramirabilis
does instinct require consciousness?

It doesn't even require a brain. Hydra feeding behaviour


I ask because of this:


Or perhaps there's no benefit to humans from belief; perhaps the benefit is to the belief itself. Maybe the god-meme or yeti-meme or alien-meme or what have you is good at manipulating humans to keep itself thriving and reproducing in the meme pool--the same way that parasites manipulate the physiology and behaviour of their hosts for their own benefit.

so - at what level would thinking (whatever we agree is or isn't thinking) start or stop? how simple could it be and still be considered thought?

How much thinking can a liver fluke do?


Gods, monsters and ghosts are mental parasites. They live inside people's brains. And when they take control of a host, they change the host's behaviour. They make the host talk about them, and try to convince other people they exist. If they succeed, then the parasite has reproduced itself inside another person's brain.

Of course, natural selection operates among these parasites, too. The ones that can't replicate themselves compellingly enough (convincingly enough, creepily enough, memorably enough) die out; the rest live on, thriving, multiplying and evolving.

Us poor humans. Slaves to our own genes. Slaves to other species' genes. Slaves to determinism and chance. And now, slaves to our own ideas.

It's enough to make you want to believe in free will.



posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 03:57 AM
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The answer is really quite simple.

We are human beings and some would say the most intelligent of all life forms on earth.

As highly intelligent people, we simply cannot believe that we are born, we grow old and then we die; we need to think there is something more, otherwise what is the meaning of life?

Yes, sure, we are led to believe that we gain knowledge as we grow older. Fine! I do not have a problem with this.

But why do we need this knowledge if, when all is said and done, we die at the end?

I for one did not believe in an afterlife. Two distinct happenings altered my beliefs.

One, was when I was experiencing the worst nightmare I have ever dreamt.

I was in a terrible place, my breathing was erratic and I knew that I was dying, because I could not escape. Death was coming for me and I was terrifyed.

Someone was shaking me by my left shoulder. I knew it was happening but I could not turn and respond.

The shaking got more and more violent until, finally, I managed to respond.

When I turned and saw a figure dressed as a World War One British Tommy, I have to admit I was so scared that I shouted, "What the fcuk do you want?"

This person promptly disappeared or disolved, would be a better explanation.

I later described my experience to my adoptive mother who rather than pooh-pooh the event, explained that the person I described was her brother who had died at Ypres in 1917.

The second experience was about 18 months after my mother died. She passed away under the influence of DiaMorphine administered by a motorsyringe.

She had lived the last 5 years of her life in terrible pain and was on various medication, all of which did nothing for her. The DiaMorph eased the pain but ultimately, killed her.

I was at work talking to one of my cleaners and a Kiwi Captain. I was stood next to a radiator which was on.

Suddenly, I was freezing cold with the hairs on my head, standing up on end.

I immediately, joking said, "Stop it Mother!", whereapon the Captain grabbed my hands in his and said "Your Mother has just passed over!"

Now, as I understand it, depending on how much pain and suffering you endure during your life, your soul [if it exists] must come to peace before it passes over and is reborn.

Now, did I see the ghost of my dead Uncle Jack as he called me back from the brink of Death and did I feel my Mother's soul pass through me, as she passed over and was reborn?

I like to think so. Otherwise what hope is there for us?



posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 10:02 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 



It doesn't even require a brain.


OK – that’s amazing. But then – why the brain? How did this happen to us? I know – evolution – the process never stops...but still


How much thinking can a liver fluke do?


Not a question I'm prepared to answer. Not a question I could ever have imagined being asked :-)

But since you ask...that’s also amazing (the video) and I’m sure it’s just one example on a planet filled to the brim with examples we’ve yet to discover.

So – I'm the one who has to ask - how much thinking CAN a liver fluke do?

This is something I’m actually very curious about - thinking

Thinking seems very fancy looking at it from where we are right now – asking each other these questions on something as fantastical as the internet – but if we talk about something controlling the behavior of ants – how do the liver flukes know how to do this? See – that word know – I know it’s a problem. :-)

Are the ants thinking? If we remove all the bells and whistles – there still has to be something resembling thinking many levels further down the scale. I’ll bet the answer to all these questions is – no one knows for sure – and that’s fine. I can live with that (maybe) :-)


Gods, monsters and ghosts are mental parasites. They live inside people's brains. And when they take control of a host, they change the host's behaviour. They make the host talk about them, and try to convince other people they exist. If they succeed, then the parasite has reproduced itself inside another person's brain.

Of course, natural selection operates among these parasites, too. The ones that can't replicate themselves compellingly enough (convincingly enough, creepily enough, memorably enough) die out; the rest live on, thriving, multiplying and evolving.


I just like the idea so much – not only that our behavior is being orchestrated by something we don’t recognize as being part of us – but that belief might be an actual tool – used to push, pull and prod us in different directions. Monsters, spirits – and whatever else – created for us – not by us - but still us

It would all also seem to be involved with creativity in general – and why certain things mean something to us – without our ever understanding exactly why

I would have answered the OP’s question with the standard yet boring “...just stories to explain our confusing world...” That still makes sense – it’s still true enough – but it’s like saying you have a fever – it’s not an explanation of why you have the fever.


Us poor humans. Slaves to our own genes. Slaves to other species' genes. Slaves to determinism and chance. And now, slaves to our own ideas.

It's enough to make you want to believe in free will.


:-)

I want to believe

slaves to our own genes...

I don’t really care what they’re up to in there – so long as they let my watch the sun rise with a nice cup of coffee, sit by the water, and listen to my music at night – they can do whatever they want – I’m good.

and I don’t have to have genuine free will – I can make do with the perfectly acceptable facsimile I have now

:-)

edit because I just thought of it: so, The Collective Unconscious - maybe for real?



[edit on 1/14/2010 by Spiramirabilis]



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