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Agnostics and Atheists - A Psychological Examination....

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posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 09:19 AM
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For the sake of this thread and this specific examination, we're going to state that you're right and that humanity invented the concept of God, of spirit, of souls, and of an afterlife. All of this has been an invention that someone came up with thousands of years ago, and that human beings have latched onto in order to make themselves feel less terrified of the fact that sooner or later, each of them will die.

In this thread, the validity of theism is not a relevant issue. In this thread, the validity of spiritualism is not a relevant issue. In this thread the validity of the existence or definition of the human soul is not a relevant issue. In this thread, the human being is an extremely intelligent and creative mammal that exists on Planet Earth, and regardless of how it got here, whether salted from asteroids as protoplasmic dust or shipped in from the 9th dimension on plasma starships, the human being ceases to exist as aware and/or conscious as soon as the brain ceases functioning. There is no God, there is no All, there is no Universal Consciousness, there is nothing that exists beyond what we can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste with our 5 corporeal senses, or that we can detect with the machines that we posses.

Now, for the question.

Given all that I've just laid out as the facts concerning the parameters of the reality that this thread has acknowledged as being the true real, what could have been the psychological impetus, event, or instigation that caused that very first human being to invent a dynamic and intelligent being that he/she could not see, could not feel, and could not sense in any way whatsoever?

The progressive issue of placing that invisible being at the helm of reality is a completely different question, and that is also not part of this discussion. I am just trying to find what could possibly have created the completely novel and very counterintuitive notion of an invisible being that is capable of intent and agenda, and is capable of interacting at will (and then becoming unavailable at will) with the person who invented it.

I do need to add a few very defensible caveats to keep the ideas fresh and innovative.


  1. Creativity is always based on precedence - nothing has ever been truly original, not even the wheel, since a rolling log would be an obvious inspiration

  2. Schizophrenia is never innovative in any sense of truly original delusional thinking - this assertion is backed up by decades of research and treatment of patients

  3. No other corporeal animal imagines invisible beings - even the most intelligent primates may mourn their dead, but they don't worship unseen beings or acknowledge such beings in any known manner or behavioral practice

  4. The nature of learning, for primitive people and for people in general, is empirical observation first, and then consideration and extrapolation of what was observed, followed by association of what was considered and/or extrapolated with what exists within a basis of established knowledge.

  5. Noises in the dark were not new to anyone who lived long enough to have any thoughts that could've been seen as original - and certainly persuasive to any degree - and those sounds were well known by all to be associated with very real predators that, while hidden by the dark, were in no way unseen as a fundamental aspect of their existential nature


The origins of belief in unseen intelligent beings predates the origin of the determination that human beings possess such a physical nature as well. I am looking for the psychological impetus that would have allowed the first human being to both invent and believe in the invention of that first unseen being.

I honestly have no idea, but I'm curious as to what some here might suggest.
edit on 1/26/2011 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 09:35 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster
For the sake of this thread and this specific examination, we're going to state that you're right and that humanity invented the concept of God, of spirit, of souls, and of an afterlife.


I really don't like it when people tell me what I think. Just FYI, atheism means one doesn't have a belief in a deity. THAT'S IT. Nothing about spirits, souls or an afterlife. Why can't people get that?



...what could have been the psychological impetus, event, or instigation that caused that very first human being to invent a dynamic and intelligent being that he/she could not see, could not feel, and could not sense in any way whatsoever?


It could have been any event in nature.Most likely, it was the sun and other celestial bodies that people wondered about. These bodies could be seen 'moving' through the sky, bringing rain, warmth, rainbows, wind. Floods, drought, heat and cold were probably all attributed to "the gods" of the sky.

As people learned about what these bodies really were, it was necessary to shift their beliefs to 'something' out there that can't be seen, but is the force behind these natural elements. So, the invisible man in the sky was born and man made God in his image.

Attribution is the psychological impetus. Why is this happening? Because the Sun god wishes it so...



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 10:00 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I really don't like it when people tell me what I think. Just FYI, atheism means one doesn't have a belief in a deity. THAT'S IT. Nothing about spirits, souls or an afterlife. Why can't people get that?

It's called setting up a hypothetical. If it doesn't apply to you, then it doesn't. No need to take it personally.

As for the thread itself, it's very relevant in my experience, as I know many people (and I am a former one) who have this exact worldview. The OP's hypothetical is pretty spot-on for many people's worldviews. I for one am interested in seeing how this thread develops. If it's not your worldview, just move along.


edit on 26-1-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 10:15 AM
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Great subject. I have a small disconnect on your second and third assertions.
#3 - I think we have far too little knowledge or how the minds of other animals to call a fact in this area. Our understanding is insufficient to validate this assertion unless it is narrowly confined to "as far as we know today".
#2 - No problem with your characterization of Schizo. not being productive. However consider the number of known psychoactive substances available in the environment which may induce "apparently" schizo. behavior for a time.

Even the most primitive man, exposed to the elements could not help but notice there is order to the perceptible universe - it could appear that there is an intelligence at work, thus the creation of an entire mythology. The need for answers to observed phenomena is strong in an inquisitive mind. Add to this the awakening of other senses we have shunned today as part of our civilization process. Man explores all that is around him, it would be inconceiveable that man's interaction with various substances did not affect the development of what we might term today, man's spiritual side. That's my assessment.

ganjoa



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 10:27 AM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 


So, you don't have an answer to the OP, you just came in here to chastise me for my response?


The title is Agnostics and Atheists - A Psychological Examination.... The term Atheist DOES apply to me. The hypothetical set up in the OP does NOT apply to me or atheists.

It's like me starting a thread called, "Christians - Your Input, Please

Let's say you're right. Gays should be killed and Muslims are of the Devil..."


The assumptions in the OP were incorrect and I wanted to set it straight. Is that OK with you?



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 10:37 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


I agree with you, the thread title and opening statement seem to be massive generalisations to me- not every athiest/agnostic has the same view, as you say, yet there seems to be no recognition of this. Although, at least there was no reference to athiests/agnostics being immoral, as they are their own gods, in their eyes, as I've seen in religious topics a few times recently.

Anyway, I think the whole thing basically just links to the human condition of wanting to having an answer or explanation for everything. In our eyes, everything must happen for a reason and we, as a species, seem to have a fear of the unknown. Therefore, if we can't pin-point the exact cause for something, we guess. Science does it a lot nowadays- the difference is, in those times, we were less "enlightened" scientifically, or perhaps less interested in science as a whole, so we blamed these invisible beings, instead of creating hypothetical scientific explanations. Logical reasoning is subjective, and clearly our definition of what logical reasoning is, as a society, has changed somewhat.
edit on 26-1-2011 by ScepticalBeliever because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 10:45 AM
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Not completely agreeing with your statements ...

But ... assuming that evolution is 100% reality ...

Back in the crazy alll or nothing days paranoid humans were much more likely to survive than logical ones. The human that usually thought that that noise in the bush or that fire in the sky was just noise and sun ... well those guys got eaten by a giant freaking tiger one day, because one day the bush was really a freaking tiger.

Therefore the vast majority of humans are inclined to believe in things that aren't there or don't exist. Omg! I heard something! Lets hide up this tree for a week or two. Was clearly a monster.

That's one theory. There's lots of theories, and big piles of books written about it such as Mind Virus, God Virus, Caveman Logic etc ...



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 11:09 AM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


To answer the question you posed, one must begin thinking in the ways of our ancestors.
I have pondered this question, I have studied the context that surrounds religion, and what have I found? Domination, more specifically, control. When you take into account the Egyptian Pharaohs, were they not considered gods to their people? The concept of an omnipotent being was, even if you look in the old testament, a way to make the Lord of the land seem like an untouchable omnipresent entity that was flawless and merciless. That way no one opposed the rule of law that was set forth by this monarch. How else would a ruler control an ever increasing tribe of individuals, each with their own views on how things should be run? Priests weren't priests originally, they were alchemists, chemists that tried to discover, or rather... rediscover lost knowledge.

Now that we know where religion comes from, along with where the concept of god originates from,
what shall we believe now? What is there left for the average man to latch on to? Is all hope lost? I say to you, Man is the creator, and therefore man is able to build his own future, if only he wished it so. Unfortunately apathy and laziness has consumed the human being, and now we're slowly being driven towards oblivion by people who don't care about the country, just profit, at least dictators care about the welfare of the state, if they didn't they wouldn't be anything left to rule. This is why I am opposed to democracy and in favor of absolute rule. Don't try to tell me that dictators like Kim Yong Il are horrible rulers, I wonder how anyone else would fare with a countless amount of trade embargoes against their country. But I digress...
I figured I could throw in some rational thinking into the mix, one must think ahead and find meaning and understanding, religion is only one part of a giant issue.
edit on 26-1-2011 by Radekus because: corrections



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster


Now, for the question.

Given all that I've just laid out as the facts concerning the parameters of the reality that this thread has acknowledged as being the true real, what could have been the psychological impetus, event, or instigation that caused that very first human being to invent a dynamic and intelligent being that he/she could not see, could not feel, and could not sense in any way whatsoever?


Douglas Adams addressed this question in a much more eloquent (and lengthy) way than I will but I'll paraphrase as best I can.

Human beings make things: we are creators. When early man looks out at the world and sees something interesting, such as say... a peacock, his first response is likely to be "who made that?!". Followed by "why did they make it?!". He may then kill it and eat it and, finding it delicious, figure that a loving being made it just for him.



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 11:20 AM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I really don't like it when people tell me what I think. Just FYI, atheism means one doesn't have a belief in a deity. THAT'S IT. Nothing about spirits, souls or an afterlife. Why can't people get that?

It's called setting up a hypothetical. If it doesn't apply to you, then it doesn't. No need to take it personally.


When you put Atheist in the title - - there is a clear and concise definition that goes with it.

Atheist is not hypothetical. And Yeah - it is personal.

God is the answer to Why? (for some) when you have no other answer. Fortunately - today we have facts/science.

We still ask Why? But we don't need some mystical creature for answers to the unknown.
edit on 26-1-2011 by Annee because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 11:22 AM
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It was pretty much our first and worst attempt to explain the world around us, and i agree with benevolent that atheism is simply the disbelief in a deity, although you will find most atheists do not believe in supernatural things like souls, ghosts, afterlife etc Just from a rational and evidence based mindset that usually(though not always) accompanies the atheists view point. Anyway, i think religion was the natural result of an intelligent animal like ourselves pondering about the world around us, fearful and confused about the natural forces that govern our world...any explanation was better than no explanation because it comforted them, again it was a terrible attempt but a necessary one imo.
edit on 26-1-2011 by Solomons because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


What about the shaman who, way back whenever...discovered that inner realm populated by gods and mystical beings? Or even the Jungian idea...on a similar theme...and empirically based...that says we have an inner self that appears to us in many forms, which we then unconsciously project. Or even those exotic herbs, that humans so readily ingest...
Dreams seem to me a possibility, lets not forget all those biblical old testament stories where god always appears in dreams...Or even the 'bicameral mind...maybe that's a possibilty...after all the word was with god.

That old rumbling volcano could easily become a god.
And what about the sun and moon…very mysterious, back in the days
Life giving and all that stuff
And all the rain that disappears…would soon be begged and implored to return.
Perhaps the idea of god is a natural thing that happens as intelligence emerges.
Then of course we grow up and wax lyrical about god…and make him all complicated.
I have a feeling that, back then god was a much simpler fellow.
Perhaps we get the god we deserve…

edit on 26-1-2011 by midicon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 11:23 AM
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For the sake of this thread and this specific examination, we're going to state that you're right and that humanity invented the concept of God, of spirit, of souls, and of an afterlife.

Ah, so you meant atheists, not "or agnostics." Sorry to bother you, then. Don't let me interrupt.

Oh wait, your question has nothing to do with the religious beliefs of the person answering it.

After all, wouldn't theists have the parallel problem of how did people first become aware that insensible beings exist, like the ones in whom the theists believe?


what could have been the psychological impetus, event, or instigation that caused that very first human being to invent a dynamic and intelligent being that he/she could not see, could not feel, and could not sense in any way whatsoever?

The human being had a dream, and liked what she saw. Now, "dream" is to be read liberally. For the sake of this answer, a dream is any occasion when unconscious contents are presented to consciousness, and remembered by the waking person thereafter.

Maybe she was looking for mushrooms with greyish-pink caps, and mistakenly ingested one with a reddish-pink cap instead. Or, she was fond of proto-barley, and ate some that was infected with ergot. Or as a symbol making animal, she projected unconscious contents onto natural objects and events. Or she just fell asleep and had an ordinary dream.

So, the only part where the respondent's religious opinions would matter would be in speculating about the significance of the dream. Was it simply a fable, was it a perception of the ways things actually are, or is it still too soon to form a conclusion?

(Star to ganjoa for sticking up for the other animals who share the world with us.)

-

edit on 26-1-2011 by eight bits because: distracted by an alert that appears nowhere except when the posting editor is active.



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 12:03 PM
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I think it stemmed from trying to explain the effects of fever-induced dreams and hallucinations, as well as the accidental ingestion of psychoactives.

Wouldn't take much to convince some folk of their own specialness due to being touched by "something" that insured their survival. Once self-convinced, converts would be easy to come by, and once anyone with more than two functioning brain cells sees what a sweet setup that can be, well....we 're off and running in the religion business.
edit on 26-1-2011 by apacheman because: (no reason given)

edit on 26-1-2011 by apacheman because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 12:55 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 




It's like me starting a thread called, "Christians - Your Input, Please

Let's say you're right. Gays should be killed and Muslims are of the Devil..."


BHeretic, you truly have the gift, and I can't help but chuckle, you just nail it!

I will go ahead and add my vote here, on the OP mischaracterization of the atheist. Hopefully, the OP understands this now, thanks to your very humorous clarification!

JR

PS: I also agree with posters who can see that simple observation of some "order" in the Universe around us might lead early humans to suspect "intelligence" is behind those observations.



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by JR MacBeth
I also agree with posters who can see that simple observation of some "order" in the Universe around us might lead early humans to suspect "intelligence" is behind those observations.


I hadn't thought about that, but I think you're probably right. After all, the sun comes up and goes down... Time and time and time again... The seasons change reliably. This beautiful order and structure of NATURE was probably part of why original man wanted to attribute the world to an intelligent being. But nature is FULL of intelligence! She doesn't need a helper.



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 01:17 PM
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I came in here because I thought the thread would be interesting, and it was already getting derailed, right off the bat, because people were getting offended by the choice of title. I didn't want to see the thread derailed.

Yes, the OP's title was bad. "Materialists" might have been a better word. There, I am agreeing with you all on that.

Frankly, though, you all are just nitpicking, because everything got cleared up in the OP. Unless we're supposed to just read titles and ignore OP's, your posts are ridiculous and childish.

"Yes, it is personal." So every time somebody uses a word meaning a definition different from the one you personally subscribe to, you take it personally? I feel sorry for you all; I really do. Get a life, people.

As a side note, it's funny that a bunch of stars go to the nitpickers. What does this say about the intellectual priority of ATS readers? The people who completely miss the point are the ones who are considered the best contributors.


edit on 26-1-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 01:23 PM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
I came in here because I thought the thread would be interesting, and it was already getting derailed, right off the bat, because people were getting offended by the choice of title. I didn't want to see the thread derailed.


No one was offended by the title. I wasn't offended at ANYTHING. I just wanted to address a common misconception in the POST, not the title. And I proceeded to answer the question. SO the thread did not get derailed at all. In fact, everyone has answered but you...

Please stop derailing the thread.



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 01:55 PM
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As others have asked, how do you know that other beings (animals. or even plants, microbes or minerals) do not worship "a god" or The God.
Have you overlooked or discounted instinct and/ or intuition?
How did primitive man know that he had to eat (and what to eat/ how to get something to eat), or procreate to survive, or have any clue what he needed to do to survive in any given situation, etc?
Wouldn't humanity have died out before it even began, otherwise? If man's capacity for "imagining" those things turned out correct, why would they not assume that the notion of a god (or gods) wouldn't allso be true? And how did that notion survive if there had been no consistent affirmation of it?



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



It's like me starting a thread called, "Christians - Your Input, Please

Let's say you're right. Gays should be killed and Muslims are of the Devil..."




Okay, I am stumped by this because I can't find either the quote or the inference in any of the previous posts. But now that you've gone there, let's assume that primitive man had been primarily homosexual. Considering that there was no adoption- and as far as we know, no such thing as surrogacy, how would humanity have flourished itself into modern existence? (I don't consider this incendiary since the same would be true if womankind had been primarily infertile) I don't see how Muslims come into play anywhere, since "of the Devil" (why capitalize "devil" but not God?) is a sociological engineering kind of thing rather than a survival kind of thing.

Bear in mind that "religious" "laws" (this is true even in all the forms of paganism; which means "rustic, of the country") at least were originally, matters of practicality and survival, both individually and as a species.




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