Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
J. K.

A question for the non-religious

51 posts in this topic

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Nibs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 ..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

More

Nibs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

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.

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.

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

This brought me to thinking about Cargo Cults.....

A cargo cult is a religious practice that has appeared in many traditional pre-industrial tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced cultures. The cults focus on obtaining the material wealth (the "cargo") of the advanced culture through magic and religious rituals and practices. Cult members believe that the wealth was intended for them by their deities and ancestors. Cargo cults developed primarily in remote parts of New Guinea and other Melanesian and Micronesian societies in the southwest Pacific Ocean, beginning with the first significant arrivals of Westerners in the 19th century. Similar behaviors have, however, also appeared elsewhere in the world.

Cargo cult activity in the Pacific region increased significantly during and immediately after World War II, when the residents of these regions observed the Japanese and American combatants bringing in large amounts of material. When the war ended, the military bases closed and the flow of goods and materials ceased. In an attempt to attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behavior that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.

cargocultplane.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This brought me to thinking about Cargo Cults.....

A cargo cult is a religious practice that has appeared in many traditional pre-industrial tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced cultures. The cults focus on obtaining the material wealth (the "cargo") of the advanced culture through magic and religious rituals and practices. Cult members believe that the wealth was intended for them by their deities and ancestors. Cargo cults developed primarily in remote parts of New Guinea and other Melanesian and Micronesian societies in the southwest Pacific Ocean, beginning with the first significant arrivals of Westerners in the 19th century. Similar behaviors have, however, also appeared elsewhere in the world.

Cargo cult activity in the Pacific region increased significantly during and immediately after World War II, when the residents of these regions observed the Japanese and American combatants bringing in large amounts of material. When the war ended, the military bases closed and the flow of goods and materials ceased. In an attempt to attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behavior that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.

cargocultplane.jpg

Man, I was thinking about that when I wrote that post. I just couldn't think of what it was called at the time so I didn't include it.

Now I feel stupid for not being able to remember "cargo cult."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, I was thinking about that when I wrote that post. I just couldn't think of what it was called at the time so I didn't include it.

Now I feel stupid for not being able to remember "cargo cult."

Hey, I did not remember it either until I read your post, and then it took me some googling to remember the name.......Maybe your age is catching up to you like mine is :)

Here is another thing that I thought of for this topic, and not being sarcastic, it actually makes good points....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

People can imagine almost anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

How to control people and exersice power upon them ? Invent a god and the rest is history :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm...

I was thinking about writing a short story about how humans came to have religion and spirituality. In the beginning, the anatomically modern humans didn't have spirituality. But when aliens came to Earth and saw humans as suitable beasts of burden, they manipulated our gene to have spiritual need, which is a tool for aliens to control us. But the spirituality triggered an unexpected part of our brain: Creativity. So aliens scrapped the plan and left our planet.

Man, gotta take a creative writing class!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Why not? He invented it.
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.

Can you define spiritual? Does it borrow any concepts of the physical world?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

I fear that you didn't get the answers you were hoping for, and had to change it. A lot.

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

What? That simply doesn't follow. If someone sees a phenomenon they cannot explain, and when they ask their peers and elders they can't explain it either, then why would they not think there was 'higher intelligence' at work, even if it was just a more advanced tribe down the road.. And would you deny that people love a good mystery? (A good comedy, drama..) Has that changed over the millenia?

It is a perfectly natural progression - see something weird, can't explain it, assume something unknown caused it, embody that something with higher powers, blame it for misfortune, try to appease it, use the concept to make yourself more important in the tribe, etc..

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.

Again, this doesn't follow. Maybe if there was noone at all with the power of sight, it might be a little more difficult. But if just one person (who could communicate with another) could explain the concept - and even if it was only 50% accurate, your premise is false. Life isn't back and white, it's all shades of grey. Pun intended.

Consider the case of the much oft-discussed flying spaghetti monster. It does not exist, yet we are able to discuss the concept.

You only have to take this a step further, and your argument falls apart. We envisage wormholes, infinity, black holes, time travel, aliens - these concepts are easily the complexity (and much more) of any deity.

I'm afraid if you are looking for proof of a deity in a perceived lack of human imagination, then you may have instead shown your own lack of imagination...

As an aside, when you look at the enormous differences in the nature of the spiritual deities (or stories and NON-deities) that cultures have developed, then you would have to ask why, if there was an actual cause of the spirituality, is it reported so differently by different cultures? As an example, I can find pretty much nothing at all in my local indigenous culture's spiritual beliefs (look up 'Dreamtime') that is even remotely comparable to, say, christianity.

BTW, I regard myself as spiritual, in a non-spiritual way. I think the natural universe we are so lucky to live in - and even luckier to have the intelligence to begin to comprehend - is simply gob-smackingly, unbelievably beautifully complex and rich with untold mysteries yet to be discovered (let alone understood). The journey of discovery is simply the best thing that anyone could ever envisage.

I think my hero Tim Minchin said it best in a somewhat comedic way

(NOTE - unsuitable for work!!), in which towards the end he laments:

"Isn’t this enough?

Just this world?

Just this beautiful, complex

Wonderfully unfathomable, NATURAL world?

How does it so fail to hold our attention

That we have to diminish it with the invention

Of cheap, man-made Myths and Monsters?

Edited by Chrlzs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your insightful comments. A hypothesis of mine has been confirmed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think far too much credit is given to imagination.

I'm an artist; I paint, I draw, I sculpt, I create constantly. It is nearly impossible to create something completely new. To Imagine something new. Everything that I and other artists create comes from somewhere. Whether it is from the morning dew, another artist's work, or lyrics of a song, there is always precedent of some type. All of the things I imagine are some combination of things I've seen/heard/read/etc.

As mankind has learned more and more about the world, the solar system, the universe, we've been able to imagine bigger and bigger things, more far-fetched things. Ancient man wasn't imagining wormholes because he didn't have a concept of outer space or physics as we do. We imagine aliens, and most of the time they are humanoid, relate to some sort of animal or creature on earth, resemble life as we know it in some way.

Mankind has a great imagination, but it always builds on existing concepts, no matter how small or different those concepts were from the imagined "thing". We can't create something out of nothing.

There is something within us that goes beyond our own consciousness. Whether it's a collective unconscious, an attachment to god, or just a life force energy that can be separate from our bodies, there's something that is more than just the physical body / world. Some of us are aware of it, others are not. There are religious people who aren't aware of it, which makes them feel that they don't "really" believe or they aren't believing enough, and they cling all the harder to their religion in the hopes that the better a believer they are, they might feel a connection to ... something... someday.

I can feel it. It is where my art comes from, it is where knowledge I shouldn't have comes from, it responds to certain art, music and stories, it even occasionally writes through me. I'm connected to something from which information and inspiration comes, and it is something I cannot name but I know that it is real and it is separate from myself. I could easily take credit for what it does and says and I think that a lot of people do. I don't... my art is not my own, my vision is not my own. It comes from somewhere else and just happens to move through me. I've also noticed that ideas I have for art whether I actually follow through with them or not, when I look at work of other artists around that same time they have similar ideas.

I think feeling something like this would be what drove early man to any spiritual concepts which could have then been elaborated on with imagination. At the time, the world seemed small so god was described small - close, personal, just overhead or just over on that mountain top. Just because those descriptions exist does not mean that they are accurate and their inaccuracy does not mean there isn't some truth to them. The truth is just obscured by the original description and the known inaccuracy of that original description.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.