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How Religion Helps People


Guyver

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44 minutes ago, Sherapy said:

Faith is indeed associated with the psychological aspect of a person and can and does provide individuals with a frame for coping with the hardships of life. For some it can offer comfort, guidance, and a sense of purpose. 

 

An add to:  it is worth mentioning that some people seek scientific explanations/evidence to align their religious beliefs as a way to reconcile or validate their faith within the context of their understanding of the physical world too.  


 

I have a few additions to this conversation when I get home. Need some processing time.

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1 minute ago, XenoFish said:

I have a few additions to this conversation when I get home. Need some processing time.

Look forward to your add to. 💖

Edited by Sherapy
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8 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

I have a few additions to this conversation when I get home. Need some processing time.

Processing will cost you $19.95 + tax. :lol:
 

cormac

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Another add to:

 

While conditioning involves external influences, people have the ability to condition themselves through their own agency. Self-conditioning refers to deliberately and consciously shaping one's own behavior, attitudes, and beliefs through intentional efforts towards viable or maladaptive behaviors. 

For ex: By setting goals, creating routines, practicing positive affirmations, engaging in self-reflection, and adopting new habits, over time a person can condition themselves to develop desired behaviors, perspectives, and mindsets. This self-conditioning process utilizes self-awareness, discipline, and consistent practice. By exerting one’s own agency, people can and do actively shape and influence their thoughts, actions, and reactions, ultimately leading to personal growth and positive change or negative change and little growth. 

We see a lot of posters actively conditioning themselves by their own actions propelled by the beliefs they ascribe to in some manner. Xeno posted a very good link explaining this. Another ex: Mindfulness and CBT are one of many practices that explore this in depth. 
 

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1 hour ago, Sherapy said:

An add to: I think Guyv is confusing conditioning with hardwired.

I wonder if Guyver is referring to something more general with 'hardwiring'.  I don't think we're necessarily hard-wired specifically for religious/spiritual belief but there does seem to be some indication that some may be hardwired to try to resolve uncertainty.  From https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/why-we-need-answers :

Quote

In 1972, the psychologist Jerome Kagan posited that uncertainty resolution was one of the foremost determinants of our behavior. When we can’t immediately gratify our desire to know, we become highly motivated to reach a concrete explanation. That motivation, in Kagan’s conception, lies at the heart of most other common motives: achievement, affiliation, power, and the like. We want to eliminate the distress of the unknown. We want, in other words, to achieve “cognitive closure.” 

The article is not that long and doesn't go fully into the science that may support this idea but if true this may partly explain why some people have firm beliefs on the whether God exists despite it being unknown; it's not just a desire to believe in a god, it's also a desire to have a resolution to the question.  Not everyone is affected to the same degrees and the article does indicate that some of this can vary by environment and such, but it seems at first blush that if some do have a desire to 'eliminate the distress of the unknown' that it may be 'hard-wired' and not necessarily learned.

I think there are numerous problems though with the idea of using intelligence tests for pretty much anything, there are too many variables and undefined factors.  Jimi was mentioned and although I don't think he would have done too well necessarily on an IQ test, he and other artists are incredibly intelligent and brilliant within their art; doesn't that count, I don't know if that kind of intelligence can be measured on any test?  I didn't quite follow 8's comment about IQ tests being scaled so that the mean, median, and mode are all the same, wasn't sure if that was something purposely done or how the data just turned out, but regardless it doesn't really seem to measure the degree to which someone is more intelligent than another; are people 'twice' as smart as others, or are the differences in IQ scores reflecting a much smaller difference in 'intelligence'?

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On 11/30/2023 at 12:16 AM, Guyver said:

Religion helps people in many ways.  Religion in proper context is good for a lot of people.  Having said that, religion can harm people too.  I am not forgetting the fact that where there is A, there must also be B.  So, yes, religion can at times harm people greatly, especially for the extreme fundamentalists of any sect.  They can be so crazed they kill with pleasure.  I am not speaking of that.  I am speaking to the notion that a belief in religion is not only normal, but it is healthy for a large portion of the population.  I intend to support my argument with scientific facts and reasoning.

ONE- religion helps people because it gives people something to believe in.  

TWO - religion helps people because it allows them to follow their own social norms, and therefore be accepted by the people with whom they were raised.

Both having something to believe in (having hope) and being accepted by the group are scientifically proven facts that actually help people.  On my next post, I continue to argue specifically how religion helps people who represent a large percentage of the population.  On my next post I will argue with population dynamics.

Put me down as considering religion a good thing particularly in its more liberal and universal forms. Traditional religions in the western world are in decline but often replaced with people's cafeteria style beliefs. In this age of universal education and information people will naturally want to think for themselves. In previous times and centuries when education and information was very limited among the masses, a more formal traditional religion was more important.

Edit: And belief in benevolent beings and life after death leads to a more positive, happy and contented life for most people.

Edited by papageorge1
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Religion is like many social habits of our species. There are good ideas and bad ideas, even good ideas can sour a person. Depending on the religion the hope of an afterlife can sedate the fears of death to a degree. I know a few who hate the idea of "they're in a better place", but from a certain perspective I can see it as well meaning. The problem is we look at the world through our ideological models (belief systems). Much like how two Christians can see the world different, one might see everything as evil and sinful, the other only seeks to do good in their life. Faith is an expression of hope, trust. 

I've seen it brought up a few times "If god is real why doesn't he just regrow the guys arm." First that assuming that god exist on some objective level. Second that's assuming that this objective being cares. Now a subjective view of god is just one filter within the human psyche. A person can pray, asking for help and all sensory date hones in on confirming that wish. There is definitely a psycho-dynamic going on. Such religious beliefs can be so thorough conditioned into a person that no amount of facts can change their mind. They will fully assume that their beliefs are the only true and valid ones. Disregarding contradictory information at all cost. 

In terms of religion helping people. In the group is a good one that's well meaning. Such a structure can offer social interaction, mental and emotional support. Strength and guidance in troubling times. 

The thing is it really depends on the people. 

Personally I feel that religion tempered with a relaxed mental attitude (not taking it too serious) is a good thing. Taken too far and you get people being murdered for not following the same faith and other such foolish human behaviors. 

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10 hours ago, psyche101 said:

But why the need for an Overlord? I find it hard to understand why people turn to religion for hope. There's so many things in this world that offer so much more. 

Personally I'm a get it done yourself person. It's the only way in the long run. 

Yes, but you’re a smart person.  Not everyone is so fortunate.

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10 hours ago, psyche101 said:

You heard about the golfer who went to heaven? Best greens. Great carts full of top shelf spirits. Perfect clubs.

After a couple thousand years, he was perfect. He got sick of playing perfect games all the time. Hole in one every shot.

In the end he wished for death. 

If one can accept a finite existence, it becomes quickly apparent what a privilege this life is. To be born at a time with modern marvels and space exploration. We have accomplished more than any species on the planet ever came close to doing.

For one, in pretty happy to be on this world, where I am, at this time, and able to marvel at our understanding of the universe.

Oh I know about the book of the dead. Pioneers creating ideas about our deepest desires. Kings surely being told they will continue to rule and be revered across time. Hubris had a lot to do with the original writings. 

When my father passed away I researched the subject intensely for about a decade. I had faith back then too. Years of pursuit can jade the origin quest as one gathers information.

That was good.  Well said.

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7 hours ago, eight bits said:

So the answer to my question is no, you do not have a link.

I did take a quick look here:

https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/32155/does-the-gorilla-koko-have-an-iq-in-the-range-70-95

Assuming that the information there is accurate and that I am interpreting it correctly, Koko took some tests suited for human toddlers that predict how human children will develop and what their adult IQ will be. Since Koko did not develop into an adult human being, her test results cannot be interpeted as what her adult IQ would have been had she developed into a human being.

In the context of your post, Koko's results reinforce an impression that's been in the literature for a long time, that very young human children and other apes (young and old) show remarkably comparable cognitive attainments. One thing that distinguishes humans from other apes is a "long childhood" during which cognitive capacity continues to grow. The result is that human adults usually have vastly greater cognitive capacity than human toddlers, and human toddlers are the level at which Koko performed.

tl;dr: It is probably a good idea that human adults tell toddlers what to do rather than leaving the tots to make their own life choices. Koko's test performance does not support depriving ordinary human adults of their autonomy and human rights.

Dear Eight, 

I don't understand how my points could be considered depriving ordinary human adults of their autonomy and human rights.

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7 hours ago, eight bits said:

What you quoted is aspirational - what the speaker (whom you don't name) wishes to find in the scholarship. I think I located your source (why am I having to hunt down something you quoted?)

https://philarchive.org/archive/LITWIRv2

OK. I'll just withdraw the claim. I'm pulling these things about "rational belief" out of my butt, or so you are free to believe. Which still gives you no license to deprive any adult of their human rights, nor any warrant to pronounce them better off being told what to do rather than thinking for themselves, nor any rational foundation for electing religious authorities as fit to do the telling.

 

Fair enough.  I think you meant inspirational, not aspirational.  Anyway, I have no problem with the notion of rational beliefs, even though you may have just made that up.  It does make sense, IMO.  If we are to consider it as a cognitive process, it does speak to critical thinking skills.

Why should we not all accept that we do have beliefs, and those beliefs are a product of both nature and nurture - or at least nurture without question....and therefore, subject those beliefs to critical examination?  It makes sense.  It seems a rational person, one who has the ability to engage in critical thinking skills, could examine their beliefs with the lens of rationality and critical thinking, and thereby clarify those beliefs that we hold which we can consider reasonable, and those which just do not stand up to any kind of rational scrutiny whatsoever.  I not only have no problem with it, I think it's a good idea and one that we may just be practicing intrinsically anyway, if we practice self-examination and reflection.  

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3 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

I think there are numerous problems though with the idea of using intelligence tests for pretty much anything, there are too many variables and undefined factors.  Jimi was mentioned and although I don't think he would have done too well necessarily on an IQ test, he and other artists are incredibly intelligent and brilliant within their art; doesn't that count, I don't know if that kind of intelligence can be measured on any test?  I didn't quite follow 8's comment about IQ tests being scaled so that the mean, median, and mode are all the same, wasn't sure if that was something purposely done or how the data just turned out, but regardless it doesn't really seem to measure the degree to which someone is more intelligent than another; are people 'twice' as smart as others, or are the differences in IQ scores reflecting a much smaller difference in 'intelligence'?

In statistical analysis of a proper data set, the Mean, Median, and Mode are measures of what's called central tendency.  They will often times work out to be very close mathematically, but not identically the same.  So, to say that they are exactly the same would not be correct, except under extremely rare conditions.  

The mean is the average value of the data set, that is the total sum of values divided by the number of values.  The median is the specific number in the very middle of the date when ordered from least to greatest, the mode is the numerical value that occurs most frequently in the data set.  

In any event, you made a great post IMO, and I think you are absolutely right about Hendrix and people like him.  I think he does display a type of genius in his art, and that may or may not equate to a high score on an IQ test.  Similarly, there could be someone who scores above 145 on an IQ test who could not write a song, carry a tune, or play any musical instrument.  So, your point is well taken.  

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37 minutes ago, Guyver said:

They will often times work out to be very close mathematically, but not identically the same.  So, to say that they are exactly the same would not be correct, except under extremely rare conditions.  

Looking back I see you had specifically referenced posting a bell graph for intelligence, which I think if it is a perfectly symmetrical bell graph the median and mean would be the same.  It's been decades since my stats classes, but regardless I've always been wary about claims that 'half of people are below average', I believe technically it's half of people are below and above the median.  I understand that it's a pedantic point and probably doesn't matter all that much in a lot of cases but for instance there are significant differences between the median net worth in the US and the average/mean, due partly to there being some people who are extremely wealthy for instance.  Most Americans are of below average net worth, stats-wise. 

Edited by Liquid Gardens
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3 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Looking back I see you had specifically referenced posting a bell graph for intelligence, which I think if it is a perfectly symmetrical bell graph the median and mean would be the same.  It's been decades since my stats classes, but regardless I've always been wary about claims that 'half of people are below average', I believe technically it's half of people are below and above the median.  I understand that it's a pedantic point and probably doesn't matter all that much in a lot of cases but for instance there are significant differences between the median net worth in the US and the average/mean, due partly to there being some people who are extremely wealthy for instance.  Most Americans are of below average net worth, stats-wise. 

Yes.  The mean and median will often be close to the same but not identical because the mean is a “manufactured” mathematical middle or average, and the median is the exact value in the center.

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Just to add, in an odd numbered data set, there will be a true median.  But, in an even numbered set of date, there is no true median.  In that case, the median with be the average, or mean of two data points, unless those two central numbers are identical.

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4 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

I wonder if Guyver is referring to something more general with 'hardwiring'.  I don't think we're necessarily hard-wired specifically for religious/spiritual belief but there does seem to be some indication that some may be hardwired to try to resolve uncertainty.  From https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/why-we-need-answers :

The article is not that long and doesn't go fully into the science that may support this idea but if true this may partly explain why some people have firm beliefs on the whether God exists despite it being unknown; it's not just a desire to believe in a god, it's also a desire to have a resolution to the question.  Not everyone is affected to the same degrees and the article does indicate that some of this can vary by environment and such, but it seems at first blush that if some do have a desire to 'eliminate the distress of the unknown' that it may be 'hard-wired' and not necessarily learned.

I think there are numerous problems though with the idea of using intelligence tests for pretty much anything, there are too many variables and undefined factors.  Jimi was mentioned and although I don't think he would have done too well necessarily on an IQ test, he and other artists are incredibly intelligent and brilliant within their art; doesn't that count, I don't know if that kind of intelligence can be measured on any test?  I didn't quite follow 8's comment about IQ tests being scaled so that the mean, median, and mode are all the same, wasn't sure if that was something purposely done or how the data just turned out, but regardless it doesn't really seem to measure the degree to which someone is more intelligent than another; are people 'twice' as smart as others, or are the differences in IQ scores reflecting a much smaller difference in 'intelligence'?

Love this. Excellent post, LG. I will read article after work. 

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7 hours ago, XenoFish said:

Faith is more or less dealing with the psychological aspect of a person. How they cope with the hardships of life. Why do people always want to scientifically validate God? There is zero reason. You either believe that life has some god/s given meaning or you don't. 

Having Faith means letting go of worrying about things existential and just living one's life and wringing every ounce of joy out of life one can.

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39 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

Having Faith means letting go of worrying about things existential and just living one's life and wringing every ounce of joy out of life one can.

I did that once.

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42 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

Having Faith means letting go of worrying about things existential and just living one's life and wringing every ounce of joy out of life one can.

Hi Hammer

I guess that is one way of looking at it but is that faith dependent on a religion? I could say I get the same effect having faith in myself, no worrying about things and finding joy in life as well as feeling rewarded.

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Just now, jmccr8 said:

Hi Hammer

I guess that is one way of looking at it but is that faith dependent on a religion? I could say I get the same effect having faith in myself, no worrying about things and finding joy in life as well as feeling rewarded.

To each tribe its own poison.

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1 hour ago, Hammerclaw said:

To each tribe its own poison.

Hi Hammer

Yes of course and was not challenging what you had said.

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49 minutes ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi Hammer

Yes of course and was not challenging what you had said.

I was not perturbed. All roads may lead to Rome, with some less traveled by. 

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3 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

Having Faith means letting go of worrying about things existential and just living one's life and wringing every ounce of joy out of life one can.

Faith in what? Yourself do you mean?

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28 minutes ago, Dejarma said:

Faith in what? Yourself do you mean?

It's always a "yourself" thing. No one can make their own life journey but themselves.

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32 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

It's always a "yourself" thing. No one can make their own life journey but themselves.

oh yeah, without a doubt but what is it you have faith in with regards to your good self?

You have faith in your ability to do/ be what?

For me I can make myself content by playing the guitar & writing music as one of many examples

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