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Unbelief, the world’s third-largest religion

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#166    The Silver Thong

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:47 AM

I`m an atheist and if I kill you i do it for a reason not a belief. Simple as that. Killing for a belief is like stamping your feet because Santa didn`t bring you the right gift.  Religion what a gift god gave us, not.

Sittin back drinkin beer watchin the world take it's course.


The only thing god can't do is prove he exists ?

#167    Sherapy

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:21 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 05 January 2013 - 12:47 AM, said:

God is like those objects. Religion is how we relate to them. I know many adolescents for whom ther mobile phone is a religious item, to be venrated worshipped etc. Others make a cult of their computer via games, online pornography, or relationships; or even, dare i say it, forums like this one.

How and what we believe about each of those objects, and how we chose to relate to them, establishes the nature of the connection we have with them. I am an atheist when it comes to  the use of mobile phones. I dont believe in using them, and I so I don't own or use one. To own one is often to become the slave or servant of one. I even turn my home phone off when i dont want to be bothered by callers.

Hmm an interesting way look at Atheism in relationship to mobile phones,e.g. something you do not believe in using. What is your reason for not believing in the use of mobile phones.




#168    Sherapy

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

View Posteight bits, on 23 December 2012 - 03:18 PM, said:

Those who are interested in this aspect of the report may also be interested in the exisitng thread on the report as a whole,

http://www.unexplain...howtopic=239529

which also includes direct links  to the report, and value-added query features hosted by Pew.

I had a look and read the link you provided and I have to say your point is well taken, that perhaps taking these studies with a grain of salt is a good thing to keep in mind.


I cannot tell you how many times I used to put Catholic on certain forms that asked, not because I was practicing/believer-- but because of perceived/conditioned societal/familial pressures. I have a Mormon friend who would hands down identify herself as Mormon on any  public form, yet personally-- she is questioning how it is gonna fit-- to what degree it will identify her and her life.

Your question is a good one, how can we really know that the box that is marked is pure and unadulterated?

Edited by Sherapy, 06 January 2013 - 07:45 PM.




#169    Hawkin

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

Truth to the Bone.

Attached Files


It's good to have some skepticism so you won't be gullible & naïve. But to much skepticism
can make you narrow minded to all possibilities no matter how unconventional.

#170    Order66

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:38 PM

View PostThe Silver Thong, on 05 January 2013 - 06:47 AM, said:

I`m an atheist and if I kill you i do it for a reason not a belief. Simple as that. Killing for a belief is like stamping your feet because Santa didn`t bring you the right gift.  Religion what a gift god gave us, not.

It's just semantics. It's all the same. It's cause and effect, your desire is manifest in your behavior. You've simply decided that your motivation is more valid or legitimate than that of another because you are more enlightened and wise and more awesome. Fair enough, duly noted. I'm afraid that as an uncanadian, my thoughts are shaped differently than yours( unCanada, third largest province in Canada )

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Edited by Order66, 06 January 2013 - 08:47 PM.

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#171    eight bits

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:49 PM

Hi, Sheri

I think something like this can only be seen as an estimate. Pew has credibility as being honest and neutral, and I think that they do the best they can.

But the best anybody can do on something like this is still pretty crude, as your examples illustrate.

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#172    Carl203

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:59 PM

Well, not believing in something that is not there is um... Normal? So those without 'belief' are ok in my book. Also, how can the multitudes believe in something only purported to be true from their predecesors (parents, teachers, clerics) when there is no real fact of the existance of a 'god' creator. Writtings are man-made, edited by another man, and published and taught by yet more men. Why the undying faith in what is not there? Yet, with all the artifacts, ruins, unheard of constructions around the world that no man could possiblly create or manufacture gives only a 'theorist' catagory? Somewhere things are backwards in what should be the understandings of what is, and what is not. How long will we go before we as humans really look to our origins, rather than just go with status quo of a magician creator god?

Edited by Carl203, 06 January 2013 - 10:03 PM.


#173    Mr Walker

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:44 AM

View PostOrder66, on 05 January 2013 - 02:39 AM, said:

So God has commonality with these things, but what separates God from my computer? When you refer to God, what unique feature are you referring to which distinguishes God from a computer? If the answer is nothing, then everyone has beliefs, in which case you aren't really arguing against anybody except yourself.  

The point I was getting at is that saying 'my belief is defined by the fact that it's not a belief' is like saying that 'my humanity is defined by the fact that I'm not human'. It doesn't make sense. People will say 'my belief is not a belief' so that they can argue in the arena of religion, but escape the trappings of it when its convenient. It's a way to say my belief has some special status which makes it immune to the arguments you would stupid religious people would throw against each other.

All beliefs (ie those things not known) are of  equal validity as beliefs. Belief in god /belief that god does not exist are beliefs formed in the same way, and based on the same lack of evidence (because if evidence existed beliefs could not logically be held.

So your phone has a factual existence and no one can argue that it exists or does not exist. But how people believe in the phone eg how significant /essential it is, or how it should be used, or how much can reasonably be spent on it, will differ.

But each belief is equally valid  because each is based on personal values and world views.

God is physical like a computer, or a phone, or like you. But how people deal with you, or a computer, or a phone or god; what they believe about each of those things, and how important they are to an individual, is a belief-based opinion which varies from person to person.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#174    Mr Walker

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:03 AM

View PostSherapy, on 06 January 2013 - 07:21 PM, said:

Hmm an interesting way look at Atheism in relationship to mobile phones,e.g. something you do not believe in using. What is your reason for not believing in the use of mobile phones.
There are many.

First a mobile phone, even more than a land line, tends to psycholgically dominate its owner. We never answer our home land line, but allow an answering machine to do so, then if the caller is worth responding to, we pick up.


But it also means we do not have to rush in from hanging up the washing, jump out of the shower or up from the tea table, etc just to answer a pavlovian ringtone.

Mobile phones are one worse. People can track you and call you at any time   If you own a phone they seem to think they can call you any time and you will have to reply. Then there are the social implications for teenagers. We had two teenagers in hysterics at our house last night because of comments posted on facebook via mobile phones and comments overheard made from one daughter to a parent about the other daughter.

Of course it is the people who are the problem, not the technology, but the technology facilitates/exacerbates the problems.

I dont need a phone My wife has one, about 8 years old, which I take to town switched off. Before i come home, I check to see if she has left any messages, eg to add to the shopping list, visit someone, or bring someone home from the city to our place. But I lived all  my life without a mobile phone. I make about 1 call a week on our land line to my mother to see how she is going.

   Then there are the other add ons. A mobile phone has a camera which is generally misused or poorly used  There are all sorts of electronic games and apps which reduce conversation and waste a person's time.

  Since teenage girls got hold of mobile phones their reading has fallen away considerably and is now dropping down to the lower average abilty of boys, because they simply dont spend time reading anymore.

And finally they are basically anti social. When you are with someone you should give your time and energy to the person you are with, not spend hours talking to or texting, or face booking, on a mobile phone.

We get the girls to put theirs on the kitchen tabel when they go to bed so they wont stay awake all night using them and get tired and cranky but they would still spend an average of 10 hours a day or more on their phone during holiday periods and nearly as much during school time And that is about average for modern younger teenage girls . They cause huge problems and conflicts at school and in my opinon no student should be allowed to take a phone to school, or else have to keep it securely locked away and only use it in an emergency, under supervision.

Lastly, every phone sold in Australia must be purchased by an adult who must provide two forms of current ID. That annoys me as well. I dont posses a single phone, but nominally I own about 8 because I have signed up for ones for my great neices, who lose them, or drop them in a cup of coffee every month or two.

This week i signed up for 2 more. One for a 14 year old niece and one for a 12 year old. Both already had mobile phones but wanted to buy better ones with their christmas monies Being under 16 they cant legally buy one, so i had to do the paper work for both, providing IDs etc.



In 2009, this survey collected data on children's mobile phone ownership for the first time. It is estimated that 31% (841,400) of children had a mobile phone at the time of interview. A higher proportion of girls had a mobile phone (33%) compared with boys (29%). Older children were most likely to have a mobile phone (76% for 12 to 14 year olds), while amongst the youngest group (5 to 8 year olds) only 2% of children had a mobile phone. (Table 19)

http://www.abs.gov.a...es?OpenDocument


This was 3 years ago. I suspect the percentages are even higher now.

Ps, in the UK ,75 % of children aged ten own a mobile phone, and their most commonly used site is facebook, despite people under 13 not legally being able to have a facebook account.

Edited by Mr Walker, 07 January 2013 - 05:22 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#175    Sherapy

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:44 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 07 January 2013 - 05:03 AM, said:

There are many.

First a mobile phone, even more than a land line, tends to psycholgically dominate its owner. We never answer our home land line, but allow an answering machine to do so, then if the caller is worth responding to, we pick up.


But it also means we do not have to rush in from hanging up the washing, jump out of the shower or up from the tea table, etc just to answer a pavlovian ringtone.

Mobile phones are one worse. People can track you and call you at any time   If you own a phone they seem to think they can call you any time and you will have to reply. Then there are the social implications for teenagers. We had two teenagers in hysterics at our house last night because of comments posted on facebook via mobile phones and comments overheard made from one daughter to a parent about the other daughter.

Of course it is the people who are the problem, not the technology, but the technology facilitates/exacerbates the problems.

I dont need a phone My wife has one, about 8 years old, which I take to town switched off. Before i come home, I check to see if she has left any messages, eg to add to the shopping list, visit someone, or bring someone home from the city to our place. But I lived all  my life without a mobile phone. I make about 1 call a week on our land line to my mother to see how she is going.

   Then there are the other add ons. A mobile phone has a camera which is generally misused or poorly used  There are all sorts of electronic games and apps which reduce conversation and waste a person's time.

  Since teenage girls got hold of mobile phones their reading has fallen away considerably and is now dropping down to the lower average abilty of boys, because they simply dont spend time reading anymore.

And finally they are basically anti social. When you are with someone you should give your time and energy to the person you are with, not spend hours talking to or texting, or face booking, on a mobile phone.

We get the girls to put theirs on the kitchen tabel when they go to bed so they wont stay awake all night using them and get tired and cranky but they would still spend an average of 10 hours a day or more on their phone during holiday periods and nearly as much during school time And that is about average for modern younger teenage girls . They cause huge problems and conflicts at school and in my opinon no student should be allowed to take a phone to school, or else have to keep it securely locked away and only use it in an emergency, under supervision.

Lastly, every phone sold in Australia must be purchased by an adult who must provide two forms of current ID. That annoys me as well. I dont posses a single phone, but nominally I own about 8 because I have signed up for ones for my great neices, who lose them, or drop them in a cup of coffee every month or two.

This week i signed up for 2 more. One for a 14 year old niece and one for a 12 year old. Both already had mobile phones but wanted to buy better ones with their christmas monies Being under 16 they cant legally buy one, so i had to do the paper work for both, providing IDs etc.



In 2009, this survey collected data on children's mobile phone ownership for the first time. It is estimated that 31% (841,400) of children had a mobile phone at the time of interview. A higher proportion of girls had a mobile phone (33%) compared with boys (29%). Older children were most likely to have a mobile phone (76% for 12 to 14 year olds), while amongst the youngest group (5 to 8 year olds) only 2% of children had a mobile phone. (Table 19)

http://www.abs.gov.a...es?OpenDocument


This was 3 years ago. I suspect the percentages are even higher now.

Ps, in the UK ,75 % of children aged ten own a mobile phone, and their most commonly used site is facebook, despite people under 13 not legally being able to have a facebook account.

Great post MW,

I am nine toes in on your concerns with cell/mobile phones; especially with kids involved one definitely would have to come up with rules for cell phones for the reasons you have outlined.

I share in your view  that a cell phone is not a substitute for socialization, it serves only as an "in addition too" in my home, with very specific guidelines and a deep understanding of what socialization involves. (in truth I have not had any issues-- I am a stickler for putting a lot of thought into things ahead of time and discussing all the concerns with my kids.)


I did not shy away from cell phones or computers though because I think one can find value in most anything, cell phones and the computer have served as a educational tool for me to teach a lot of things, and to reinforce some things e.g.  (correct spelling, how to disagree without ad homing, it nurtures curiosity and inquiry, the rule here is look it up. How to know and use credible sources etc.It also helps cultivate patience for a teen, they are learning self control, texting gives them time to think before reacting/acting, it also offers a way to practice small talk a necessary component of socialization.I think conflict resolution is a great skill and let me tell you teens can get a lot of practice working things out via text.  Teens brains are just maturing and they go through an awkward phase when they are forming identity (see Erickson's Psychosocial Theory of Development.)  and I do think social media if used positively can help in some aspects of this transition.For me, as a parent it is fun to come up with ways to help kids my mature/explore  using the tools that define our culture. Lastly, I appreciate and value technology so I take the time to pass this on to my brood.


http://en.wikipedia....ial_development

Edited by Sherapy, 07 January 2013 - 07:55 PM.




#176    Sean93

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:30 AM

I wonder what the belief statistics and outcomes would be like if people were not indoctrinated...I'd love to see it, y'know. People finding their own ways.

Kids should not be labelled with a faith until they are mature enough to actually understand religion.

"Be peaceful, be courteous, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."

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#177    Mr Walker

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:09 AM

View PostSean93, on 11 January 2013 - 02:30 AM, said:

I wonder what the belief statistics and outcomes would be like if people were not indoctrinated...I'd love to see it, y'know. People finding their own ways.

Kids should not be labelled with a faith until they are mature enough to actually understand religion.

Human beings, particularly young children, create their own gods and belief systems. They do so "from scratch" because of the way our brains function, and our minds work.

This has been demonstrated around the world by scientists in a variety of fields, and "The new scientist" devoted quite a few pages to it, in its "god" issue, 17 march 2012.

Very briefly; based on the "theory of mind" "children do not need to be "indoctrinated", to believe in god . They naturally gravitate towards the idea."
They do this because of how they view what are known as agents and non agents, which they observe and categorise around them, in the very early years of their lives.
So; dont allow a child any exposure to the idea of religion or god and it will create its own unique variants of both.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#178    Arbenol

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:05 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 12 January 2013 - 05:09 AM, said:

Human beings, particularly young children, create their own gods and belief systems. They do so "from scratch" because of the way our brains function, and our minds work.

This has been demonstrated around the world by scientists in a variety of fields, and "The new scientist" devoted quite a few pages to it, in its "god" issue, 17 march 2012.

Very briefly; based on the "theory of mind" "children do not need to be "indoctrinated", to believe in god . They naturally gravitate towards the idea."
They do this because of how they view what are known as agents and non agents, which they observe and categorise around them, in the very early years of their lives.
So; dont allow a child any exposure to the idea of religion or god and it will create its own unique variants of both.

From the article:

"Drawing upon research in developmental psychology, cognitive anthropology and particularly the cognitive science of religion, I argue that religion comes nearly as naturally to us as language. The vast majority of humans are "born believers", naturally inclined to find religious claims and explanations ..."

I can't read the full article, so maybe you can explain a couple of queries I have with it.

First of all, from the above quote, it appears that the article is an opinion piece. It's the writer's interpretation and application of principles to religion. This is clearly controversial to a degree, but is something you embrace as it may fit your view of the world. I could be wrong, but I think you claim that "young children, create their own gods and belief systems. They do so from scratch", may be something of an embellishment of the article.

How can anyone make a claim that young children will invent god without any external influence. Where did the researchers find these children? In a forest being raised by wolves? Sorry to sound so cynical, but without clear evidence that it happens, it's not a sound claim to make. You need a sample of children who have received no external cultural influences. Pretty difficult, I would imagine.

From  http://somethingsurp...isappoints.html

Moving on the the first of these authors, Justin Barrett seems to be a little known academic with a book to sell.  On the basis of this performance I think you should not be tempted to buy it.  He starts with basic and obvious observations (to anyone who has read anything at all about the subject) that babies are born to recognise agency, that adults retain some of these characteristics, and that we are all sensitive to the concept of 'design'.  Eventually he gets to 'theory of mind' and develops the idea to say that we are all born believers in 'natural religion'.  So what?  He goes on to point out that nobody starts believing in Santa when they are adults, but that they do convert to religions, as if this proves something superior about gods.  He neglects to mention that there is no well-funded and well practised organisation offering Santa as a solution to all your problems when you are feeling at your most sensitive and vulnerable.  Religions do tend to prey on those who are in need.

Barrett's assertion that "adults do not typically eat sacrifices left out for the gods" demonstrates precisely that he has no notion of the role of the priesthood.  These people live solely on the sacrifices of their followers - either literally as in the priests of the temple in Jerusalem or metaphorically by consuming financial contributions.  Religion is big business.  Just look at the Vatican if you don't believe that



#179    eight bits

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:27 AM

New Scientist isn't really a scientific journal, but a magazine marketed to people interested and generally knowledgable about science. In a market dominated by Scientific American (and its many other affiliated titles worldwide), and for the especially discerning, American Scientist, New Scientist aspires to be edgy, as opposed to the staid competitors. Long story short, if it's in NS, then it's not necessarily true, but it's probably fun to talk about if you're a geek.

Quote

How can anyone make a claim that young children will invent god without any external influence. Where did the researchers find these children? In a forest being raised by wolves? Sorry to sound so cynical, but without clear evidence that it happens, it's not a sound claim to make. You need a sample of children who have received no external cultural influences. Pretty difficult, I would imagine.

The basis of the statement is the same as for many engineering inferences. We know the properties of the materials, that much allows us to predict confidently the behavior of the construction using the materials. While it is true that occasional failures are instructive (who hasn't seen the Tacoma Narrows bridge film? Well, yes, there have been feral, or otherwise language-isolated children... fortunately few, but enough to see what the deficits are).

I would modify a flat prediction about gods, however, because "god" is a loaded term. We see it here in the forum. People seem to think the gods of ancient pagan religions were "of the same species" as the modern God of the Protestants. There's really no evidence of that. So, what is reliable is the development of archetypal props for a particular modality of reasoning.

Anyway, there is no reason whatsoever to think that archetypes are learned, although (like language acquisition) social interaction, even if naive, may be crucial. "Gods" are specializations of archetypes, "worship" is a certain kind of contemplation of an archetype.

I might never develop theology from archetypal roots without being exposed to the idea, but I could develop Buddhism from dreams alone (my own and comparing notes with my fellows). "The clear white light" isn't a god, but what Tibetans do with it is indistinguishable from Eastern Christian theosis. Ancestor worship? There isn't any suspense about that arising of its own accord. Shamanism, ditto. Even a high-culture religion, like Shinto, is well within reach without a pre-exisiting version to copy from.

The emergence of a god from the archetypal soup is a little like a mine or unexploded bomb. I can't actually know whether it will ever blow up or not. There are probably some mines still floating around from WW II. I do know that the bomb has the potential to blow up, however, because I know what the materials it's made from will do, given a chance.

And that is the basis of a confident statement, "Even if the production of explosive ordnance were banned tomorrow, there would still be explosions of ordnance." Same thing with gods.

I am unsure why some specific god-believers take comfort in their fantasy type being universal. Nevertheless, I am fully confident that they are correct about that. The counterarguments, that "proper" socialization would "correct" any and every "shortcoming" that the critic identifies in existing human beings is pretty much a fantasy, too, and a perennial. And like a lot of other fantasies, that one even has a nice little story about why it could never actually be tested.

So, we'll just have to believe it's so. Believe what again? That nobody would believe an untestable but attractive idea unless they were socialized to do so. Lol.

Edited by eight bits, 13 January 2013 - 10:28 AM.

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#180    Mr Walker

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:11 AM

View PostArbenol68, on 13 January 2013 - 03:05 AM, said:

From the article:

"Drawing upon research in developmental psychology, cognitive anthropology and particularly the cognitive science of religion, I argue that religion comes nearly as naturally to us as language. The vast majority of humans are "born believers", naturally inclined to find religious claims and explanations ..."

I can't read the full article, so maybe you can explain a couple of queries I have with it.

First of all, from the above quote, it appears that the article is an opinion piece. It's the writer's interpretation and application of principles to religion. This is clearly controversial to a degree, but is something you embrace as it may fit your view of the world. I could be wrong, but I think you claim that "young children, create their own gods and belief systems. They do so from scratch", may be something of an embellishment of the article.

How can anyone make a claim that young children will invent god without any external influence. Where did the researchers find these children? In a forest being raised by wolves? Sorry to sound so cynical, but without clear evidence that it happens, it's not a sound claim to make. You need a sample of children who have received no external cultural influences. Pretty difficult, I would imagine.

From  http://somethingsurp...isappoints.html

Moving on the the first of these authors, Justin Barrett seems to be a little known academic with a book to sell.  On the basis of this performance I think you should not be tempted to buy it.  He starts with basic and obvious observations (to anyone who has read anything at all about the subject) that babies are born to recognise agency, that adults retain some of these characteristics, and that we are all sensitive to the concept of 'design'.  Eventually he gets to 'theory of mind' and develops the idea to say that we are all born believers in 'natural religion'.  So what?  He goes on to point out that nobody starts believing in Santa when they are adults, but that they do convert to religions, as if this proves something superior about gods.  He neglects to mention that there is no well-funded and well practised organisation offering Santa as a solution to all your problems when you are feeling at your most sensitive and vulnerable.  Religions do tend to prey on those who are in need.

Barrett's assertion that "adults do not typically eat sacrifices left out for the gods" demonstrates precisely that he has no notion of the role of the priesthood.  These people live solely on the sacrifices of their followers - either literally as in the priests of the temple in Jerusalem or metaphorically by consuming financial contributions.  Religion is big business.  Just look at the Vatican if you don't believe that


The article quoted studies from around the world reported in scientific journals and other sources (Perception vol33 p355. Journal of cognition and culture vol3 p208 vol6 p3, Cognitive psychology vol42 p217, Cognition vol111 p138, Proceedings of the national academy of science vol107 p17140, Journal of cognition and culture vol 8 p235. It quoted studies carried aout in; albania israel britain america mexico and other cultures.

However there were other pieces by experts in other fields which explained in cognitive terms WHY children(and adult) humans think like this.

Relifion is the way humans organise their desire to belong and to be a member of a team, like we belong to sport or social clubs. It is an expresion of our psychology and spirituality, but it is not the same as innately constructing a belief in gods any more than desiring to play football is an innate desire in humans.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.




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