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Thread: THE PURPOSE RELIGIONS SERVE

  1. #1 THE PURPOSE RELIGIONS SERVE 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Free Thinkersw tend to think religion serves no purpose or function, yet, as far as we know the human race and all societies have always had religions. Because of that, evolutionary theory itself would lead us to conclude, barring any contradictory evidence, that religion serves some evolutionary function.

    Of course, disease has always been with us, and it serves no constructive purpose . . .or does it? As a matter of fact, disease is heavily involved in the evolution of human physiology. It can be argued that it is the constant war against pathogens that has evolved the tight and efficient functioning of the human body.

    War, also, can be said to be always with us but not constructively so, but that argument is, also, vulnerable. In every civilization, the barbarians that tore down a dynasty that had grown corrupt, then, invariably, built a new and better one. That seems to be part of the social evolutionary process.

    The problem is that when we look around and see that all religions are old and filled with obsolete beliefs and myths, we mistakenly conclude such obsolescence is an integral part of religion. It is as if a space alien who came to Earth and looked into a retirement facility and concluded all humans were wrinkled and decrepit! Yes, we too look around us at all the wrinkled and decrepit religions and make the same mistake. We have all studied world history as part of our education and should know that none of those religions were old when they began! Is ANYTHING old when it begins?

    And if they are new when they begin, which, after all, certainly must be the case(!), it is reasonable to conclude that religions are most constructive when they are the newest.

    That raises the question, “what is it about successful, new mainstream religions that, in the past, enabled them to serve human society?” What enabled them to survive so long? And if our secular beliefs are not a religion, just what are they? Are they "something new under the sun?"

    If any of you are interested in this subject, I suggest you take one of those questions and let's deal with it. I have some ideas; you have some ideas; let's see what we come up with.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com


    Brough,
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  3. #2 Re: THE PURPOSE RELIGIONS SERVE 
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    And if they are new when they begin, which, after all, certainly must be the case(!), it is reasonable to conclude that religions are most constructive when they are the newest
    I'm not sure that follows. I think the main reason people subscribe to religion is comfort. No one wants to believe that when they're gone, they're gone. No one wants to believe that when your grandmother died, she's not up in heaven looking down on you, eternally happy. No one wants to face what, as best we can tell, is reality. The specific religion most people pick is due to upbringing and geography, but I think the overall reason people stick with religion is just for comfort and community.
    It can help some people to live better lives, but I personally don't think there's any truth behind any of it.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    """think the main reason people subscribe to religion is comfort. No one wants to believe that when they're gone, they're gone. No one wants to believe that when your grandmother died, she's not up in heaven looking down on you, eternally happy. No one wants to face what, as best we can tell, is reality. The specific religion most people pick is due to upbringing and geography, but I think the overall reason people stick with religion is just for comfort and community.""" ---Neutrino

    Well, that is an accurate picture, but another reason religion comforts them is because it gives them the feeling of being in a close group---"community" is the word you use. We are instinctive evolved to feel secure in a small, tightly bonded group such as the hunting-gathering groups we evolved in.

    But now we have immense societies, and we feel more "community" or well being in these societies when people in them have a common world view and way of thinking.

    I am just putting what you have stated in the context of our evolution and psychology.

    For an ideology to serve such a function, it has to answer questions which most concern people, answer them convincingly (for the times they originate) so people can agree on the answers. Probably, 'what happens when we die?' is one of those questions.

    However, the answers a religion provides are, like all information, subject to becoming outdated and no longer accurate enough to serve their function. Then, a new system needs to replace them . ..

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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  5. #4 Re: THE PURPOSE RELIGIONS SERVE 
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    The problem is that when we look around and see that all religions are old and filled with obsolete beliefs and myths, we mistakenly conclude such obsolescence is an integral part of religion.
    I think it would be more accurate to say that you are making mistaken conclusions. Why are you so certain that religions are filled with obsolete beliefs? What makes the beliefs obsolete?

    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    If any of you are interested in this subject, I suggest you take one of those questions and let's deal with it. I have some ideas; you have some ideas; let
    I don't think you have understanding of what religion is. You start off with the assumption it is old and useless. That assumption biases all your other thinking.

    Religion is a tool that is used to help you or anyone else elevate themselves into a superior being. That goal is obscured by the "forces of evil" for a short and easy to type phrase.

    It is your lack of accurate information about religion that causes you to hold the inaccuarte beliefs that you do.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    I refer to the religions as being "old" because I consider anything 3,500 years to 1,400 yeas old as "old." One can say that age makes them "better," but it certainly does not make them "younger!"

    You personally take your religion to be The Truth so that you use it to judge and understand the world AND EVEN SCIENCE.

    I go a different route. I use science to understand the world AND RELIGION. This difference makes it hard for us to agree on much.

    I, for example, do not see the old religions as being the last word on morality because the world changes over the centuries and the old moral codes are no longer satisfactory. For example, whatever your religion is, I bet it does not make it clear to you in your scriptures that it is wrong to torture prisoners, to committ rape, fraud, to stalk, to sew mines and dwell on pornography. Instead, in the Christian scriptures, for example, you are permitted to have slaves, are admonished to wash each other's feet, play with snakes, speak in tongues and to drink wine!

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
    Brough,
    civilization-overview (dot) com

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