posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 04:52 AM
reply to post by Aphorism
I never said anything about nothing having purpose or meaning. What I mean is we give meaning and purpose to things. Meaning and purpose is a
human activity. To suppose otherwise is an absurd leap of faith and an erroneous assumption that man is the measure of all things.
Do we give meaning and purpose to the anteater's tongue? Do we give meaning and purpose to the peacock's tail? Do we give meaning and purpose to the
scent of a jasmine, the colours of a wildflower?
These things have their own meaning and purpose, independent of what we think about them. It hardly takes a leap of faith to infer that eyes are for
seeing or that flower petals are marked landing-strips for nectar-hunting insects. To perceive that living things have traits and attributes conformed
to specific functions is hardly anthropmetric.
I do not know what function, if any, religion has evolved to serve. There is no known empirical evidence that will enable us to ascertain this. We
may, however, speculate. It has been suggested that religion is the by-product of an instinct in children to obey their parents. Another suggestion is
that in social groups larger than those based on direct kinship, religion creates bonds that make for a more cohesive and cooperative society, all of
whose members therefore gain an individual survival and reproductive advantage over non-members. I myself favour the idea that religion, and a belief
in the supernatural in general, enable us to manage the tension between the ego on the one hand and the compulsions of instinct and circumstance on
the other. No-one knows, but it is an interesting subject to think and talk about — provided, of course, that one has not taken a vow to eliminate
the word 'because' from discourse.