Challenge to Athiests - is Religion a Pox on Mankind?

by jgnat 169 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • jgnat

    I'm at a cross-roads. I've spent the last few years examining my core beliefs to test what still stands. I've let go of an inviolate bible, demoted Jesus to a failed prophet, and god as unable to act against injustice. Our universe made itself. What remains is inspiration to rise above my raising, worship as the bird sings, and reverence life. Be human, embrace all humanity, and aim high. I like my church for the shared community and our reaching out to help the vulnerable in the neighbourhood.

    I understand the logical athiest, as my reasoning side forced this re-examination in the first place. What stands up to scrutiny, and what doesn't? I am intolerant of evangelists who try and batter reasoning and science in order to maintain their flawed worldview. It is embarrassing to their religion, it's an embarrassment to logic, and leads them down dangerous trails. Why must the whole world fit in the box of reason? Perhaps being a Christian satisfies something other than logic.

    It has been distressing to see the arguments between believer and non-theist descend in to tired platitudes and old slogans, with neither side bringing anything new to the table. I recently contributed to a "bring your best argument" thread for the existence of god, and my best argument was ignored. I wonder if this is because I brought some original thoughts to the table? An instant retort was not available?

    So this is my challenge to the logical non-theists; could it be possible that religions are evidence of an evolutionary imperative, which humankind has leveraged to superior advantage, for collective action? For instance, a pleasure hormone, oxytocin, is released when we participate collectively.

  • confusedandalone

    I was listening to NPR about 4 months ago and the exact question(almost) was addressed. It started of mentioning that no doubt the first humanoids needed some form of communal practices that would allow there "group" to have advantages that others did not. It started out as some form of hunting rituals and as time progressed these groups morphed these rituals into religious rights. It was on the Michuooooo CACKOOO (I can't speel his name so I had fun with it).

    He went on to explain how it provided huge advantages to the tribes that participated in the practices because no doubt the rituals and chanting got adrenaline going, hieghtened senses and did things for morale. However over time the practices no longer served a valid purpose as the human way of life began to change and we are now seeing the negative manifestations of it. I am sure I am leaving alot out since it was along time ago but this is what I remember.

  • cofty

    Marking for later.

    Jgnat - I just looked up the post I think you are referring to.

    "Set aside the idea of a Supreme Creator for a moment. What if people have a god circuit, an internal voice that encourages greatness?"

  • Ruby456

    jgnat there's vast amounts of exciting material that inspires atheists. I was reading something by an anthropologist recently who suggests that a way to inhabit or dwell in our world is to understand it as being more fluid and porous than it appears to be - like a river running past its banks moulding and being moulded by them.

    edit: I agree with this

    Not an atheist here but my skepticism sends me down interesting rabbit holes.

    Set aside the idea of a Supreme Creator for a moment. What if people have a god circuit, an internal voice that encourages greatness?

    I think there is also a type of mass hypnosis that we spread by story. We do love our stories!

    yes I think we do have something like a god circuit but I don't think it encourages greatness as I think it encourages us to be insatiable, to never give up and I think we need a rest from it sometimes

  • wasblind

    Hello Jgnat

    I think organized religion can kill the spirit

    I for one hate to be preached at and made to feel as if I'm not good enough

    or haven't done enough and I'm " Undeserving " of this gift of life



    It is most definitely a turn off and can indeed be considered a pox

    especially when we see the crazy side of religion that can actually destroy

    instead of uplift



  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    Yes it is a pox on mankind. (cancer is a better analogy)

    Humans like answers to questions, so in the absence of good data tend to make stuff up to fit. The plausible (at the time) explainations end up being FACT until proven otherwise. These days we have huge and improving amounts of good data and so most of those old stories and myths have been debunked because we have better data.

    Giant bones sticking out of the hillside or found in the ground are no longer evidence of giants or dragons.

    The vast oceans are no longer evidence of a global flood, nor are seashells on the top of mountains.

    Disease or mental illness is no longer atrributed to demons or sin.

    Religion was born out of a need for answers and exploited over the ages by those who saw the power and control available over those seeking those answers and to maintain the status quo, those who had the knowledge and the chanel and those who had to pay to use it.

    Religion is now redundant. Good works and charity can be done by anyone, faith is not needed.

  • Laika

    Great thread, I'm looking forward to the discussion. :)

    I think a lot of people take a kind of comfort from feeling better than others, so that it's not enough to find something that makes sense and works for you, but you also need to convince yourself that your worldview makes you both intellectually and morally superior to those who don't share it. This is how you get the kind of ridiculous statements from theists such as that atheists who don't believe are just people who 'want to live in sin'. Or vice versa where otherwise brilliant atheists will make the ridiculous claim that religious people who do good things are doing them in spite of religion, not because of it, yet when they do bad things it's because of religious faith, not in spite of it.

    This is not directed at anyone specific btw, lest anyone here thinks I'm attacking them!

  • LucidChimp

    Are you asking if religion is man's way of exploiting the tribal impulse - or if rather evolution has amplified the impulse thus "creating" the religious mindset?

    Or am I misunderstanding the crux of your question?

    (I do that... I also rephrase questions a few times when I'm asking people, so as to ensure they "get me". It pisses my friends off constantly that I project that insecurity upon them in conversation, makes me sound dogged even when I'm unsure of my position)

  • jgnat

    Confusedandalone, might it be a value judgement and a tad premature to declare the advantages of collective action obsolete? It got us through two world wars and might just pull us out of global warming.

  • jgnat

    Cofty, thank you for honouring me by looking that up. You found it.

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