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A question for the non-religious


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#1    J. K.

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:24 PM

This question is addressed to those who do not believe in the existence of a spiritual/supernatural realm.

Why did man adopt a religious mindset if there were no gods?  If there is nothing inherently spiritual about man, how did he postulate its existence?

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#2    Gromdor

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:30 PM

An attempt to explain phenemona without having scientific knowledge at the time?  A lightning god as an explanation for lightning for instance.


#3    Flibbertigibbet

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:34 PM

It has clearly been an evolutionary advantage to have spiritual beliefs of some sort.


#4    Kriegermonch

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:36 PM

Personally, I believe that it all started with the priest/ess, not the god. Someone, way back at the beginning figured out that if they could convince people that they would be horribly destroyed if they didn't give them tithe/sacrifice to appease the angry spirits, they would be in charge of everyone. That idea caught on, and so on and so forth down through the ages. Just one big con from the beginning of time.


#5    HerNibs

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:39 PM

I'd give a couple of different reasons -

1.  Strange unexplained stuff happens - must be a powerful supernatural creature doing it.  "god/s" are built on from that idea.

2.  A way to create a control over a fearful group of people.  Gives this group a deity to fear/worship during their lifetimes that will reward them when they die if they are faithful to this "god/s" rules as told by its delegate.

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#6    I Am Not Resisting

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:47 PM

Like Gromdor said I believe it was a way to explain "unexplained" happenings.  To us today they are common sense, but back at the beginning of people, it seemed like a mystery or magic.

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#7    Beckys_Mom

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:48 PM

View PostJ. K., on 16 February 2012 - 07:24 PM, said:

Why did man adopt a religious mindset if there were no gods?  If there is nothing inherently spiritual about man, how did he postulate its existence?

I think it is a natural human instinct ..  Ancient man would have wondered -..... How did we get here?...........Why are we here?.... Did something put  us here?  Where did everything come from and how?.  .   Those are all natural questions mankind has been wondering about from the word go  in my opinion

So, you have to  imagine what it was like for them not knowing or having any real answers... There was no advanced science  in those times..  

When there were natural disasters  that took place, they needed answers, anyone would ...  So as they could not figure out what we know in today's world, they reached to  something that was not natural, more on to something powerful or magical... Religion I think was born from that........Remember they did not have the advanced science and knowledge we have today, they were not faced with those options

So  it got to a stage where if in the event of a natural disaster strikes, they felt that it had to be Gods getting angry.  So many of them felt that if they offer the gods some sacrifices, then they can be spared...
  As this grew, ore Gods came around and more people believed in it ... Some thought the Sun  and the moon where gods... It went on from there ..
. The Vikings were no different...They may have been know to be fearless men...but even so many of them used to think that  if they saw what we know as  an eclipse,  they felt it was some dark monster battling their sun God....... And so they roared at the dark monster covering their sun God..  ( which really was the moon).. And the second the moon  /  dark monster passed  by the sun, bringing light again, the Vikings  would cheer in victory !! ......   I watched a documentary on that one night, it was interesting..

So  it developed over time... So many parts of the world, so many cultures came up with their answers to all they wanted to know.. So many Gods, so many religions... Some of these religions died out, some got bigger

But now that we have more knowledge with the aid of science... I think not many care to think  OK this all must be from a god or gods.. we have other answers and theory's  to take into consideration...  But in ancient times, mankind did not have those options..  

Edited by Beckys_Mom, 16 February 2012 - 07:50 PM.

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#8    Sakari

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:56 PM

I have no way to back this up other than pure opinion.....

Let's take that dumb movie " Blue Lagoon " as a example.....Let's leave out the cheesy stuff, and stick with the basics.....

2 children, a boy and a girl, at very young ages.( hard to believe they would survive ) somehow survive a ship wreck, and live out their lives on a island all alone, with no contact with other people.

I think it is only human nature ( and most if not all people still question this almost daily ) to wonder where we came from....

If they had babies, they would know nothing of how they were made.....If they saw planes high up in the blue sky leaving contrails ( not chemtrails )   they would have no answers.

Our imagination is a strong thing, and our brains are also.The brain is trying to establish all of this, and the opinions are also mixing in......

We all feel some kind of need of actually meaning something, and most, if not all people would like to think something made us, as we make babies.

This would be a God, or a Creator.

I think it is only natural........And of course, if not on a island, people talk about these things, and someones story seems better than someone elses.....( fear of God as mentioned above )

Not sure any of this makes sense, it doesn't when I read it......


Edit to add : Becky's Mom, we were typing same time, you type faster :)

Edited by Sakari, 16 February 2012 - 07:57 PM.

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#9    Alienated Being

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:57 PM

View PostJ. K., on 16 February 2012 - 07:24 PM, said:

This question is addressed to those who do not believe in the existence of a spiritual/supernatural realm.

Why did man adopt a religious mindset if there were no gods?  If there is nothing inherently spiritual about man, how did he postulate its existence?
Simply because we didn't have the technological or scientific means to explain natural phenomena.


#10    Beckys_Mom

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:11 PM

View PostSakari, on 16 February 2012 - 07:56 PM, said:


Edit to add : Becky's Mom, we were typing same time, you type faster :)

I am a very speedy typist... This is why you will see every post I make full of Edits.. because I am fixing typos... !

I cannot help it but I guess I am very fast at typing.. I can have  2 - 3 paragraphs posted in one thread  while so many others  will still be posting one.. And I would have covered  another thread  afterwards  and I am not kidding..   If I slowed down, I would have less typos ..

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#11    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 09:54 PM

I think it is possible that religious or spiritual beliefs did not come along in humanity until our intelligence increased dramatically. If you look at our ancestors we have no direct evidence of any sort of religious or spiritual actions or beliefs until  H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis . My link. While it does appear that social grouping was a dominant trait among our more ape like fore-bearers, there seems to be no direct evidence of any ritualistic or spiritual beliefs until the aforementioned species. Now of course this is not to say that such beliefs did not exist, simply that we have no evidence of it.
H. neanderthalensis shows clear signs of burial practices and some belief in an afterlife, traits shared by many today. It would seem that such matters were unimportant or unknown to the more primitive hominids. Does this have to do with increase in cranial capacity and greater intelligence? I don't know, but I wouldn't rule it out.
I would also like to point out that such ritualistic and/or spiritual beliefs do work to foster a closer community and increase social bonds among said group. A clear evolutionary advantage. So while I personally believe the idea of a god or gods to be ludicrous in nature, I understand the usefulness of such ideas in in terms of social groups and as means of explanation for unknown phenomena, e.g., lightning, eclipses, floods, etc.

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#12    J. K.

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 10:01 PM

I fear that I did not phrase my original question correctly.

From the secular viewpoint (please correct me if I'm wrong), there are no higher intelligences with which man interacts.  Man on earth has no other source than the planet's own evolution process.  There are no spiritual entities, gods, or unseen forces which guide and shape our lives.

With no spiritual elements existing, man should not even be capable of thinking of the existence of of spiritual forces.  

The best analogy I can consider: if humans were all physically blind, we could not conceive of the concept of color, much less the concept of sight.

Consider the case of the much oft-discussed flying spaghetti monster.  It does not exist, yet we are able to discuss the concept.  However, please note that 1) we are aware of existing creatures that do fly; 2) spaghetti itself exists, and 3) monster is a noun we use to refer to certain types of beings.  The point here is that, although the FSM doesn't truly exist, we recognize the elements of its construction, and therefore are able to discuss its attributes in the face of its non-existence.  

However, if there are no spiritual aspects of life at all, then there is nothing to extrapolate on to even posit the existence of the supernatural.

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#13    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 10:21 PM

View PostJ. K., on 16 February 2012 - 10:01 PM, said:

With no spiritual elements existing, man should not even be capable of thinking of the existence of of spiritual forces.  

The best analogy I can consider: if humans were all physically blind, we could not conceive of the concept of color, much less the concept of sight.

Consider the case of the much oft-discussed flying spaghetti monster.  It does not exist, yet we are able to discuss the concept.  However, please note that 1) we are aware of existing creatures that do fly; 2) spaghetti itself exists, and 3) monster is a noun we use to refer to certain types of beings.  The point here is that, although the FSM doesn't truly exist, we recognize the elements of its construction, and therefore are able to discuss its attributes in the face of its non-existence.  

However, if there are no spiritual aspects of life at all, then there is nothing to extrapolate on to even posit the existence of the supernatural.

We're alive, aren't we? That instantly begs the question of what happens when we are no longer alive.
If you knew nothing of the orbital motions of the solar system, what would you think when you saw a solar or lunar eclipse?
If you knew nothing of electricity, plasma, and electrons, how would you explain lightning? Thunder?
Without knowing about plate tectonics, how would explain earthquakes, mountains, canyons, etc?

What we call spiritual or supernatural explanations (god did it, creationism, giant monster eating the sun) were not spiritual or supernatural explanations to other peoples. They were explanations.
Just because you are capabale of thinking of something doesn't mean it has to exist in some way or have a living counterpart. It's just a frame of reference that we are familiar with.

Edited by Imaginarynumber1, 16 February 2012 - 10:22 PM.

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#14    HerNibs

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 10:26 PM

View PostJ. K., on 16 February 2012 - 10:01 PM, said:

I fear that I did not phrase my original question correctly.

From the secular viewpoint (please correct me if I'm wrong), there are no higher intelligences with which man interacts.  Man on earth has no other source than the planet's own evolution process.  There are no spiritual entities, gods, or unseen forces which guide and shape our lives.

Yes, pretty much.

Quote

With no spiritual elements existing, man should not even be capable of thinking of the existence of of spiritual forces.


And you lost me right there.  IMO you took a pretty big jump.  Spirituality and belief/worship of a deity are two different things.  I think aquatus1 wrote a great post about it.  I'll look for it.

Humans have imagination and curiosity.  Just like a little kid plays pretend some people are more than capable of "making up" a being that is all powerful.

Quote

The best analogy I can consider: if humans were all physically blind, we could not conceive of the concept of color, much less the concept of sight.

I don't think this is an good analogy.  I can't pull a better one out right now but this one just doesn't ring true.

Quote

Consider the case of the much oft-discussed flying spaghetti monster.  It does not exist, yet we are able to discuss the concept.  However, please note that 1) we are aware of existing creatures that do fly; 2) spaghetti itself exists, and 3) monster is a noun we use to refer to certain types of beings.  The point here is that, although the FSM doesn't truly exist, we recognize the elements of its construction, and therefore are able to discuss its attributes in the face of its non-existence.
  

And I can do the same for deity/s.  If the attributes of a god/s can be defined it can be discussed and imagined.  Once a believer takes it into the "we can't know god/s attributes" then it stalls discussion.  

Quote

However, if there are no spiritual aspects of life at all, then there is nothing to extrapolate on to even posit the existence of the supernatural.


Atheist spirituality

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#15    aquatus1

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 11:04 PM

View PostJ. K., on 16 February 2012 - 10:01 PM, said:

I fear that I did not phrase my original question correctly.

From the secular viewpoint (please correct me if I'm wrong), there are no higher intelligences with which man interacts.  Man on earth has no other source than the planet's own evolution process.  There are no spiritual entities, gods, or unseen forces which guide and shape our lives.

Mmm...not quite, from a semantic point of view.  That up there is more an atheistic point of view.  Secular just means that it does not pertain to gods or spirits.  A nun has the regular secular duty of cleaning the floors in the chapel.  All it means is that it is one of her non-God related duties.  It doesn't mean there is no gods or deities.

Quote

With no spiritual elements existing, man should not even be capable of thinking of the existence of of spiritual forces.  

You are confusing spirituality with theism.  One can be spiritual without subscribing to the notion of the supernatural.

Additionally, simply because something does not exist does not lead to the conclusion that we are incapable of conceiving it.  Even if it turns out that alien life does not exist, it still did not prevent us from conceiving it in the first place.

Quote

The best analogy I can consider: if humans were all physically blind, we could not conceive of the concept of color, much less the concept of sight.

Why is that?  No human has an electrosense, however that did not prevent us from noticing the ability of sharks to sense magnetic fields, and later discovering the Ampullae of Lorenzie.

Quote

Consider the case of the much oft-discussed flying spaghetti monster.  It does not exist, yet we are able to discuss the concept.  However, please note that 1) we are aware of existing creatures that do fly; 2) spaghetti itself exists, and 3) monster is a noun we use to refer to certain types of beings.  The point here is that, although the FSM doesn't truly exist, we recognize the elements of its construction, and therefore are able to discuss its attributes in the face of its non-existence.  

However, if there are no spiritual aspects of life at all, then there is nothing to extrapolate on to even posit the existence of the supernatural.

Then you have to ask yourself the following question:  "Being that humans have shown a regular ability to conceive of virtually hundreds of thousands of non-existent concepts; and that pretty much all (though there are some exceptions) of these concepts can be eventually traced back to concepts that we are indeed aware of; What is the probability that my assumption regarding "no spiritual aspects of life" is correct?

Either the majority of the world is making a fundamental error, or one person is making a fundamental error.  Which is the more probable situation?

Edited by aquatus1, 16 February 2012 - 11:07 PM.





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