What good is religion?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by gabmux, May 27, 2021.

  1. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    yep every preacher from the beginning of time has done the same.
     
  2. gabmux

    gabmux Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Lol. Oh well...gonna die with "religion" too.
    So what good is it
     
  3. gabmux

    gabmux Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Yes...could be a stretch. But part of the definition works IMO.

    Definition of vice
    (Entry 1 of 4)

    1a : moral depravity or corruption : wickedness

    b : a moral fault or failing

    c : a habitual and usually trivial defect or shortcoming : foible suffered from the vice of curiosity

    Have read other's opinions concerning "religion".
    One author described it as a "compassionate concession".
    Humans have "missed the mark" in regards to what the spiritual teachings
    were pointing to...so all they have is their "religions" to give them
    temporary relief from "dukkha". May as well add "religion"
    to the long list of distractions people use to cope...like alcohol/drugs,
    smoking, overeating, gambling, shopping, etc,.

    "The Pali word dukkha, usually translated as “suffering,” has a more subtle range of meanings. It’s sometimes described metaphorically as a wheel that is off its axle. A more literal translation of the first noble truth might be “life does not satisfy.”"

    "At the root of all kinds of dukkha is craving, or attachment. We go through life grasping at or clinging to what we think will gratify us and avoiding what we dislike. The second noble truth tells us that this very grasping, or clinging, or avoidance is the source of dukkha. We are like drowning people who reach for something floating by to save us, then discover that what we’ve latched onto provides only momentary relief, or temporary satisfaction. What we desire is never enough and never lasts."
     
  4. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    RELIGIONS ADMONISH NOT TO DO ANY OF THAT!

    add atheist religions?

    That is a false premise, the exact opposite of what all mainstream religions teach

    atheists do not believe in anything spiritual, so its clear you are addressing atheist religions.

    ATHEISTS bombard the net with distractions and vices.

    vices do not qualify for religion, sorry.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
  5. gabmux

    gabmux Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Just saying that "religions" offer the same temporary distraction
    from reality that other vices do.
     
  6. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    So then your 'belief' that "religions" offer the distraction from reality that other vices do, is merely temporary?
     
  7. gabmux

    gabmux Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Yes I think beliefs can and do change quite often.
    "Religions" are also temporary.
    Will you need a religion after your present form becomes a rotting corpse?
    I don't believe so.
    Nothing you "think" you need at this moment is all that important.
     
  8. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    bravo! now that is some seriously over the top ridiculous! thanks for the laugh!

    Likewise 'Life' is also temporary, something we dont need when we are a rotting corpse, so thats equally as useless right :roll:
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
  9. gabmux

    gabmux Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Interesting observation IMO.
    Perhaps it is only your present form that changes.
    But whatever happens when you become a corpse....
    nothing that you "think" is important here will matter in the least....
    including religion.
    Tell me...what do you think you "need" at this very moment?
     
  10. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    Is that not part of the Christian doctrine?
    The fact is we don't know what happens when we become a corpse, so how can you say that with any degree of certainty?

    right this moment? I have a strong craving for chili and saltines
     
  11. gabmux

    gabmux Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Yes...I believe you are spot on.
    There are many answers to be found in the Christian doctrine,
    but there is no need to make a "religion" out of them.
    Religions tend to create separate groups...each claiming they have the only correct answers.
    Exactly. Although there are many accounts of the body dying, yet full consciousness remains.
    And that same consciousness is able to give full account of what took place after the death of the body.
    Agree. That does sound good IMO.
    Perhaps most all of what we "think" are "needs"...
    are simply wants, desires, cravings.
    It has been said..."We don't want what we've got...and we want what we haven't got."
    There can be no true "freedom" in that condition.
    As long as we are "wanting" something, or "think" we're being deprived of something,
    we will be in bondage.
     
  12. DEFinning

    DEFinning Well-Known Member Donor

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    Yeah, it's kind of a sham; if you ask the thread's author a question he doesn't want to answer, he just changes the subject, by throwing different questions back at you. And if you persist-- believe it or not-- he tells you that you're OFF-TOPIC! Lol.

    In fact, he's right now in a different thread, still telling me that I was off-topic, here and...(wait for it)...he won't stop talking about THIS thread!
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
  13. 21Bronco

    21Bronco Banned

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    A lesson you clearly learned well, since you just employed it.
     
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  14. DEFinning

    DEFinning Well-Known Member Donor

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    Well, I was replying to your Post's focusing on the wide array of topics, here (adding that they must be gabmux-approved)...Are you saying that it's impossible to point out hypocrisy, without, oneself, being a hypocrite? Unlike his using that charge to avoid answering, something directly about his thread, I am just a visitor in the other thread, & his posts have nothing to do with that one, so I certainly owe him no answer. Yet, after pointing out the hypocrisy to him, without his taking the hint, I did, nevertheless, give him some direct responses.

    But whatever; from your immediate reply, I'm guessing that I'm throwing away good time, after bad. So I'll see you elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
  15. 21Bronco

    21Bronco Banned

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    So you were focusing on a post of mine with a wide array of topics so you could avoid having to defend any real assertions.

    Got it. Typical.
     
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  16. DEFinning

    DEFinning Well-Known Member Donor

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    Your reply is too poorly worded to be making any discernible point.
    Typical.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
  17. 21Bronco

    21Bronco Banned

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    So no response. Got it. Typical, and predictable.
     
  18. DEFinning

    DEFinning Well-Known Member Donor

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    And your post to which I was replying, was a, "response?"

    Defend what, "assertions?" Ideas being off-topic, was the focus of my post, if you missed that.

    Your post is incredibly vague-- that is what I'm expressing in my post; i.e., the meaning if my post is, "If you want to be understood, you will need do a better job than that.
    FYI, if you're expecting me to "defend," my assertions against some argument that you are presenting, I need to understand what that argument is. Your saying that the thing that I chose to comment on (multiple topics), from your post about there being multiple topics--

    21Bronco said:
    "That’s a false generalization.


    You put like four or five complicated issues in one thread. Sorry, I’m not addressing these all in one post in a thread where it would be off topic anyway".--


    is somehow a way to, "avoid having to defend any real assertions," is, on its face, a meaningless statement.

    Clearly, you are only trying to pick fights (in the What Good is Religion? thread, ironically enough). The saddest part, though, is how poor you are at it. I have no time for people who cannot express a cohesive line of thought.

    Goodbye.
     
  19. gabmux

    gabmux Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Which also applies to yourself...as @21Bronco has suggested

    You @DEFinning....are the one who summoned me to another thread to discuss this one.
    It was not my doing...it was yours.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
  20. gabmux

    gabmux Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    So now your aim is to hop from thread to thread to make false accusations about this one....
    maybe that will get you what you are looking for.
     
  21. DEFinning

    DEFinning Well-Known Member Donor

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    Not done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
  22. DEFinning

    DEFinning Well-Known Member Donor

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    And still, your anger and paranoia are palpable. The facts of the matter are much less sinister than you perceive them to be but, knowing how assured you are, of your own infallibility, I will keep this waste of my time brief.

    I was in your thread, looking for quotes to show your contradictory statements which, you saw, I posted in the other thread (where you have been assailing me), & making, "revised," analogies, to explain your views. The religious you do not cast, there, as drug-addled addicts, as you did, here, but you now represent as diabetics, who you are simply trying to offer the healthy suggestion, of avoiding sugar. The fact that you CHANGED your imagery, showed you possessed-- in the term of criminal justice-- KNOWLEDGE OF GUILT. Else, why not stick with the case you'd been making?

    Anyway, in my perusing, I noticed 21Bronco's statement, about there being 4 or 5 subjects all tied together, which were poorly fleshed-out. Incidentally, both myself and Dairyair, at least, made similar comments about your obscurity in arguing your points; again, I'm sure no number of others citing the same thing to you, will get you to seriously consider the criticism. But I found it amusing, to see the "4 or 5 subjects," comment, vis a vis our ongoing disagreements over being, "off-topic." Mine was, then, purely a conversational post, which his post had led me to believe, wrongly, that he would appreciate. That immediately turned into my trying to explain this to Bronco who, as you saw, immediately turned on me. But I quickly finished with this unpleasantness; so, if it keeps you up, thinking that I am out spreading false charges about you, everywhere I go, you are losing sleep, needlessly.

    My answering your charges, here, is only supplementary to my initial motivation, of dropping a link that could provide some more concrete ways of evaluating your subject, if you cared for that.

    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190418-how-and-why-did-religion-evolve

    And part 2:

    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190529-do-humans-have-a-religion-instinct

    See ahead, for SNIPS.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
  23. DEFinning

    DEFinning Well-Known Member Donor

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    From BBC article, in last post, How & Why Did Religion Evolve.

    @gabmux
    I just thought there was some interesting material, here; that is, I am not posting it to specifically support my opinion. In fact, while I haven't even finished it, there are things in it that YOU could use, in your own arguments.

    <SNIP>

    [​IMG]
    Followers of the Nazareth Baptist Church climb the Nhlangakazi Holy Mountain. Religious beliefs and rituals help to unite groups of individuals (Credit: Getty)

    While much of the scientific study of religion is on theology-based doctrinal religions, the evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar thinks this is a narrow way of studying the phenomenon because it “completely ignores the fact that for most of human history religions have had a very different shamanic-like form that lacks gods and moral codes”. (By shamanic, Dunbar means religions of experience that commonly involve trance and travel in spirit worlds.) While the theology-based forms are only a few thousand years old and characteristic of post-agricultural societies, Dunbar argues that the shamanic forms date back 500,000 years. These, he claims, are characteristic of hunter-gatherers.

    If we want to understand how and why religion evolved, Dunbar says we need to start out by examining religions “with the cultural accretions stripped away”. We need to focus less on questions about Big Gods and creeds, and more on questions about the capacities that emerged in our ancient ancestors that allowed them to achieve a religious way of being together.


    Adaptation or by-product?
    All societies, after all, seem to have religions of some sort. “There are no exceptions to this,” de Waal told me over the phone.

    If all societies have religion, it must have a social purpose – Frans de Waal
    There are two major perspectives on why this might be. One is called functionalism or adaptationism: the idea that religion brings positive evolutionary benefits, which are most often framed in terms of its contribution to group living. As de Waal puts it: “If all societies have [religion], it must have a social purpose.”

    Others take the view that religion is a spandrel, or by-product of evolutionary processes. The word spandrel refers to an architectural shape that emerges as a by-product between arches and ceiling. Religion, on this interpretation, is akin to a vestigial organ. Perhaps it was adaptive in the environments it originally evolved in, but in this environment it’s maladaptive. Or perhaps religious beliefs are the result of psychological mechanisms that evolved to solve ecological problems unrelated to religion. Either way, evolution didn’t “aim” at religion; religion just emerged as evolution “aimed” at other things.

    While folks on both sides of this debate have their reasons, it seems unhelpful to frame the evolution of religion in such either/or terms. Something that was merely a by-product of a blind evolutionary process could well be taken up by human beings to perform a specific function or solve a specific problem.

    [​IMG]
    Muslim worshippers perform the evening (Isha) prayers at the Kaaba. Emotions such as awe, loyalty, and love are central to many religious celebrations (Credit: Getty)

    This can be true for many behaviours – including music – but religion presents a particular puzzle, since it often involves extremely costly behaviours, such as altruism and, at times, even self-sacrifice.

    For this reason, some theorists such as Dunbar argue that we should also look beyond the individual to the survival of the group.

    This is known as multilevel selection, which “recognises that fitness benefits can sometimes accrue to individuals through group-level effects, rather than always being the direct product of the individual’s own actions”, as Dunbar defines it.

    An example is cooperative hunting, which enables groups to catch bigger prey than any members could catch as individuals. Bigger prey means more for me, even if I have to share the meat (since the animal being shared is already larger than anything I could catch alone). Such group-level processes “require the individual to be sensitive to the needs of other members of the group”, says Dunbar.

    There is no history of the religion of an individual creature. Our story is about us.


    Feeling first
    If we are to understand religion, then, we first need to look back into your deep history to understand how human ancestors evolved to live in groups in the first place.

    We are, after all, descended from a long line of ancestral hominoids with “weak social ties and no permanent group structures”, says Jonathan Turner, author of The Emergence and Evolution of Religion. That leads Turner to what he considers the million-dollar question: “How did Darwinian selection work on the neuroanatomy of hominins to make them more social so they could generate cohesive social bonds to form primary groups?” he asked me on the phone. “That’s not a natural thing for apes.”

    Our ape line evolved from our last common ancestor around 19 million years ago. Orangutans broke away about 13-16 million years ago, while the gorilla line branched away about 8-9 million years ago. The hominin line then branched into two about 5-7 million years ago, with one line leading to the chimpanzees and bonobos, and the other leading to us. We modern humans share 99% of our genes with living chimpanzees – which means we’re the two most closely related apes in the whole line.

    Human religion emerges out of our increased capacity for sociality
    The similarities between humans and chimps are well known, but one important difference has to do with group size. Chimpanzees, on average, can maintain a group size of about 45, says Dunbar. “This appears to be the largest group size that can be maintained through grooming alone,” he says. In contrast, the average human group is about 150, known as Dunbar’s Number. The reason for this, says Dunbar, is that humans have the capacity to reach three times as many social contacts as chimps for a given amount of social effort. Human religion emerges out of this increased capacity for sociality.

    How come? As our ape ancestors moved from receding forest habitats to more open environments, like the savannahs of eastern and southern Africa, Darwinian pressures acted on them to make them more social for increased protection from predators and better access to food; it also made it easier to find a mate. Without the ability to maintain new structures – like small groups of five or six so-called nuclear families, says Turner – these apes wouldn’t have been able to survive.

    So how did nature achieve this socialisation process? Turner says the key isn’t with what we typically think of as intelligence, but rather with the EMOTIONS, which was accompanied by some important changes to our brain structure. Although the neocortex figures prominently in many theories of the evolution of religion, Turner says the more important alterations concerned the subcortical parts of the brain, which gave hominins the capacity to experience a broader range of emotions. These enhanced emotions promoted bonding, a crucial achievement for the development of religion.



    The process of subcortical enhancement Turner refers to dates to about 4.5 million years ago, when the first Australopithecine emerged. Initially, says Turner, selection increased the size of their brains about 100 cubic centimetres (cc) beyond that of chimpanzees, to about 450 cc (in Australopithecus afarensis). For the sake of comparison, this is smaller than later hominins – Homo habilis had a cranial capacity of 775 cc, while Homo erectus was slightly larger at 800-850. Modern humans, in contrast, boast a brain size much bigger than any of these, with a cranial capacity of up to 1,400 cc.

    It is in the story of how these [subcortical] mechanisms evolved that, ultimately, the origins of religion are to be discovered – Jonathan Turner
    But the comparably smaller brain size doesn’t mean that nothing was happening to the hominin brain. Brain size is measured by an endocast, but Turner says these do not reflect the subcortical enhancement that was occurring between the emergence of Australopiths (around 4 million years ago) and Homo erectus (1.8 million years ago). “It is in the story of how these [subcortical] mechanisms evolved that, ultimately, the origins of religion are to be discovered.”

    Although the neocortex of humans is three times the size of apes’, the subcortex is only twice as big – which leads Turner to believe that the enhancement of hominin emotion was well underway before the neocortex began to grow to its current human size.

    Here’s how nature pulled it off. You’ve probably heard talk of the so-called four primary emotions: aggression, fear, sadness, and happiness. Notice anything about that list? Three of the emotions are negative. But the promotion of solidarity requires positive emotions – so natural selection had to find a way to mute the negative emotions and enhance the positive ones, Turner says. The emotional capacities of great apes (particularly chimpanzees) were already more elaborate than many other mammals, so selection had something to work with.

    At this point in his argument, Turner introduces the concept of first- and second-order elaborations, which are emotions that are the result of a combinations of two or more primary emotions. So, for example, the combination of happiness and anger generates vengeance, while jealousy is the result of combining anger and fear. Awe, which figures majorly in religion, is the combination of fear and happiness. Second-order elaborations are even more complex, and occurred in the evolution from Homo erectus (1.8 million years ago) to Homo sapiens (about 200,000 years ago). Guilt and shame, for example, two crucial emotions for the development of religion, are the combination of sadness, fear, and anger.

    <End SNIP>
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
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  24. DEFinning

    DEFinning Well-Known Member Donor

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    Here's a shorter SNIP from part 2,
    Do Humans Have a Religion Instinct?

    Some might find it interesting to know there are also articles here, entitled, Will Religion Ever Disappear? As well as an article speculating on The Future of Religion.

    <SNIP>


    DEEP CIVILISATION | RELIGION
    Do humans have a ‘religion instinct’?

    When I was in grade school, there was an anti-drug commercial that regularly came on television. There were a few different versions of it but the gist was, an egg would be shown to the camera as a voice said, “This is your brain.” And then the egg would be smashed by a frying pan and the voice would say, “This is your brain on drugs.” We all got the point: drugs did something to your brain.

    At my Pentecostal Church, drugs were talked about somewhat differently. We didn’t need them, we were told, because we could get high from God. God could do the same thing to our brain – give us a rush, a sense of euphoria – but our brains wouldn’t end up scrambled. God provided all the “positive benefits” of heroin with none of the damaging side effects. (Of course, when we consider the amount of religious violence throughout history, it’s impossible to claim that there are no damaging side effects to some beliefs in God. More on that later.)

    I long ago left my childhood church and often feel embarrassed about the “God as a drug” theology. But the more I think about religion as an emerging phenomenon, the more I wonder if, for all their sloppy Pentecostal vocabulary, my youth leaders were onto something: God does something to your brain.

    “This is your brain. This is your brain on God.”


    [​IMG]
    From a very young age, our minds may be primed for religious belief (Credit: Getty Images)

    Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist who studies the brain in light of religious experience, has spent his career following this hunch. “If you contemplate God long enough,” he writes in How God Changes Your Brain, “something surprising happens in the brain. Neural functioning begins to change. Different circuits become activated, while others become deactivated. New dendrites are formed, new synaptic connections are made, and the brain becomes more sensitive to subtle realms of experience. Perceptions alter, beliefs begin to change, and if God has meaning for you, then God becomes neurologically real.”


    Religious experiences, he tells me in his Pennsylvania-area office, satisfy two basic functions of the brain: self-maintenance (“How do we survive as individuals and as a species?”) and self-transcendence (“How do we continue to evolve and change ourselves as people?”).

    Newberg and his team take brain scans of people participating in religious experiences, such as prayer or meditation. Though he says there isn’t just one part of the brain that facilitates these experiences – “If there’s a spiritual part, it’s the whole brain” – he concentrates on two of them.

    There is a deactivation of the parietal lobe during certain ritual activities
    The first, the parietal lobe, located in the upper back part of the cortex, is the area that processes sensory information, helps us create a sense of self, and helps to establish spatial relationships between that self and the rest of the world, says Newberg. Interestingly, he’s observed a deactivation of the parietal lobe during certain ritual activities.

    [​IMG]
    Religious beliefs are one of the few "human universals" that appear in all cultures (Credit: Getty Images)

    “When you begin to do some kind of practice like ritual, over time that area of brain appears to shut down,” he said. “As it starts to quiet down, since it normally helps to create sense of self, that sense of self starts blur, and the boundaries between self and other – another person, another group, God, the universe, whatever it is you feel connected to – the boundary between those begins to dissipate and you feel one with it.”

    The other part of the brain heavily involved in religious experience is the frontal lobe, which normally help us to focus our attention and concentrate on things, says Newberg. “When that area shuts down, it could theoretically be experienced as a kind of loss of willful activity – that we’re no longer making something happen but it’s happening to us.”

    Newberg thinks all the brain scans he’s collected might beg the question about why the brain is built in such a way as to facilitate spiritual kinds of experiences.

    “If you’re spiritual or religious, the answer is obvious,” he says. But even if we leave aside any talk of God, we still have to wonder why the brain developed in ways that not only facilitate but seem to promote the kinds of experiences Newberg is studying. These are experiences that seem to be an inescapable part of human existence.

    <End Snip>
     
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  25. edna kawabata

    edna kawabata Well-Known Member

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    I have stated the evolutionary advantage of religiosity through group selection and the reason for it's persistence (though in condensed form) many times and get crickets too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021

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