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reply to post by Grimpachi
Could it be because of the apparent collapse of morality in the world and descent into authoritarian evil domination?
Not particularly religious myself but, I suppose that could explain it.
Parts of the U.S. with the highest religious rates also have the highest depression rates...
The researchers concluded "these results do not support the notion that religious and spiritual life views enhance psychological well-being. There was no evidence of religion acting as a buffer to prevent depression after a serious life event."
Research conducted decades ago on Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, and the Amish "found stunningly lower mortality rates in these religious groups," Idler says. "Overall, they really are much healthier than the rest of us ... In some of them, the mortality rate is 25 percent, 30 percent, or even 50 percent lower, which is really astonishing."
These groups were chosen, in part, because they keep extensive genealogical records. They also advocate healthful lifestyles that set them apart from other religious groups as well as the broader public. However, later research with broader groups has found that religious observers generally enjoy happiness and mortality benefits.
Other large studies have had similar results. Some smaller studies have also shown that spirituality may be beneficial: People who attend religious services, or who feel they are spiritual, experience lower levels of depression and anxiety; display signs of better health, such as lower blood pressure and fewer strokes; and say they generally feel healthier.
reply to post by Grimpachi
Its that there is something missing in the average atheist that does not let them feel the divine and that same thing that is missing makes them a little more machine like and a little less human like.
People that feel more of life tend to let the insane world get them depressed.
Machines cannot suffer depression, nor can they sense divinity.
Increased brain size
In this set of theories, the religious mind is one consequence of a brain that is large enough to formulate religious and philosophical ideas. During human evolution, the hominid brain tripled in size, peaking 500,000 years ago. Much of the brain's expansion took place in the neocortex. This part of the brain is involved in processing higher order cognitive functions that are connected with human religiosity. The neocortex is associated with self-consciousness, language and emotion. According to Dunbar's theory, the relative neocortex size of any species correlates with the level of social complexity of the particular species. The neocortex size correlates with a number of social variables that include social group size and complexity of mating behaviors. In chimpanzees the neocortex occupies 50% of the brain, whereas in modern humans it occupies 80% of the brain.
Robin Dunbar argues that the critical event in the evolution of the neocortex took place at the speciation of archaic homo sapiens about 500,000 years ago. His study indicates that only after the speciation event is the neocortex large enough to process complex social phenomena such as language and religion. The study is based on a regression analysis of neocortex size plotted against a number of social behaviors of living and extinct hominids.
Stephen Jay Gould suggests that religion may have grown out of evolutionary changes which favored larger brains as a means of cementing group coherence among savannah hunters, after that larger brain enabled reflection on the inevitability of personal mortality.
For atheists, it is not a particularly welcome thought that religion evolved because it conferred essential benefits on early human societies and their successors. If religion is a lifebelt, it is hard to portray it as useless.
For believers, it may seem threatening to think that the mind has been shaped to believe in gods, since the actual existence of the divine may then seem less likely.