Do you believe in God?

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Benway

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What's the difference?
Go with your feelings and don't second guess yourself.

Think long, think wrong!
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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There are theories that religious people live longer than atheists and agnostics.

I would guess (without proof) this has to do with two things. And I’d be interested to hear from religious folks on whether I’m close:

-believing in a higher power leaves religious people less inclined to try to control every aspect of their lives.

An intent to control the uncontrollable leads to increased stress on other pre-existing conditions. Pick one. Even if you don’t have one, you can’t control everything. If there’s someone/something out there you can delegate the bigger scarier things to, then life becomes significantly less stressful.

-people tend to increase church attendance at the end of their lives. I have never spoken with anyone on this, but my theory here is that whether they believe in the church’s teachings or not, the time spent with others extends their lives.

Who is better off? A 75 year old atheist who has lost their friends and family and stays in the house all day or a 75 year old atheist who goes to church twice a week?

Probably #2, even if they disagree with the teachings. More opportunities to find friends and a companion, some of whom might also be atheists on the DL.
I definitely think that, as you approach the end of life, those who continually get out and about and engage in something--anything--are likely to live longer. I don't think anyone is going to disagree with that.

I don't agree with your first premise. I see the religious as significantly more high-strung and controlling. There's probably a ton of personal bias involved here, but I don't see those who don't believe in a higher power as controlling--if anything I see them as more comfortable not being in control.


With regards to this research, are we talking about those old Ohio State studies (link) where they just collected newspaper obituaries, and then cross-checked to see if they could find any documented proof of the individual being part of a religion?

If so, the conclusions drawn from that study always seemed dubious at best to me. Would I be considered to have "documented religious affiliation"? I was raised Catholic. I'm sure my name would come up in records as being Catholic. I was even married in a Catholic church, but I've been about as against religion as it gets for twenty years now.

I think the crux of that research is how they define "documented religious affiliation." I have a feeling socioeconomic factors start to come into play there.
 

Benway

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I am convinced that belief in God and eating meat are the two pillars of human ascent.

Without either, our race would still be very hairy and hungry.
 

Hurl Bruce

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I am convinced that belief in God and eating meat are the two pillars of human ascent.

Without either, our race would still be very hairy and hungry.
Isn't the prevailing thought that belief in God was born out of ignorance of science?
 

Sebastian

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I am convinced that belief in God and eating meat are the two pillars of human ascent.

Without either, our race would still be very hairy and hungry.
Eating meat was absolutely instrumental in the evolutionary growth of the human brain.

Carnivores usually have larger brains on average than herbivore prey animals.

All that protein and ease of digestion compared to an all plant diet.

Combined with cooking, which made digestion even easier, allowed for the human body to redirect energy from the digestive tract into brain development.

Even within the period of the AMHs, mostly meat diets in Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals tended result in larger brain volume on average.
 

Wrathe

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There are theories that religious people live longer than atheists and agnostics.

I would guess (without proof) this has to do with two things. And I’d be interested to hear from religious folks on whether I’m close:

-believing in a higher power leaves religious people less inclined to try to control every aspect of their lives.

An intent to control the uncontrollable leads to increased stress on other pre-existing conditions. Pick one. Even if you don’t have one, you can’t control everything. If there’s someone/something out there you can delegate the bigger scarier things to, then life becomes significantly less stressful.

This is the "Give it up to God" concept. Or if you like Country Music, "Jesus Take the Wheel".
Religion or not, life is just bigger than anyone can handle alone. For me, my favorite verse is Psalm 23. That's about comforting during fear, and most importantly, "Thou art with me". You're not ever alone.

It's like the Footprints in the Sand poem, if you've seen that.

Folks don't walk around going, "I'm hungry for lunch, WWJD?" :D

The sense of community is a big draw for Churches, sure. They become almost an extended family if you're active in events and such. Potluck luncheons after Church on Sunday's so the kids are outside playing, the adults are meeting...kinda like a giant neighborhood BBQ, etc. It's normally not until you go for "Membership" do you get into all the "man-made" rules (assuming you believe The Bible is the Word of God).

Then there's all the charity work you can get into if inclined. Our Youth Group would go to CLE each year and donate toys to families who couldn't afford to get their children Christmas gifts. I've been in that position as a child before, and the kindness of a gentleman turned it into a magical Christmas for my brothers and I.

Like most in life, you get out what you put in.
 

CleveRocks

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It's an evolutionary fact that religion prolifirates.. I mean its, what, 95% of a humans have some religion.. I don't have the stats so is someone wants to fact check that, I'm ok being corrected.. whatever today's number is, virtually everyone has a religion in their cultural history.. So right or wrong, religious people breed more and or people prefer to adopt a religion..

It is also very likely that truck drivers breed more than PHD physicists.. so selectivity does not necessarily mean more advanced..

If we are going to consider the nature of God, we need to do that in light of what we know. Life evolves, so whatever God is has to fit in that picture.. at the same time whatever life or consciousness is, that has to fit within the context of physics in some way..

My position leans toward God as an idea or set of ideas, perhaps a culture, which is evolving still. I personally think that Christ ( and others) come close to the ideas I think are ideal.. love others as you love yourself for example...

Religion is about the human relationship to God.. in my mind this is something we choose. I believe we are free beings and make our own choices based on who we think we are.. it's very hard to explain the evil in the world any other way (Putin for example). To the extent we identify with God, we have a relationship with God, and we are therefore religious.. but which religion we choose, if any, is as much a consequence of our culture and our exposure to other possible cultures, as any a priori belief..

Also, I view the ability to hold multiple identities as a key evolutionary trait. Humans are the LeBron James's of identity. Simple animals like cows or lions can identify as individuals, families, herds etc, but are limited . Humans are able to identify with hundreds of groups at the same time.. I am a global citizen, but also and American, but also a Buckeye ( I live in Ohio) and a Hoosier( I was born in Indy), I identify with Cleveland, and Columbus and my village and my home town, I vote in my county and my township, and my school system, I am an aluminum pf my Highschool and college, a member of a Fraternity, my pledge class, and on and on
... This ability is what enables the cooperative behaviors that humans have used to gain dominance over all other known species. It is this same ability that allows religions to even exist..

So long story short, people with religion are ok in my book to the extent they are ok with different cultures coexisting.. it's when they want to go kill other cultures and the freedom of an individual to choose thier own, that I have a problem.

In the words of a religious critic.. "Tend your own garden"...
 

Jack Brickman

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Isn't the prevailing thought that belief in God was born out of ignorance of science?

Religion at its basest form is an attempt to cope with and explain death.

It's been twisted into a tool for control and brainwashing, but the original intent is obvious. At some point, humans became intelligent enough to comprehend the concept of death, and we needed a way to explain it. That's the birth of religion. An attempt to justify our lives and pretend that something comes after to make it all worthwhile.
 

jjvors

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It's an evolutionary fact that religion prolifirates.. I mean its, what, 95% of a humans have some religion.. I don't have the stats so is someone wants to fact check that, I'm ok being corrected.. whatever today's number is, virtually everyone has a religion in their cultural history.. So right or wrong, religious people breed more and or people prefer to adopt a religion..

It is also very likely that truck drivers breed more than PHD physicists.. so selectivity does not necessarily mean more advanced..

If we are going to consider the nature of God, we need to do that in light of what we know. Life evolves, so whatever God is has to fit in that picture.. at the same time whatever life or consciousness is, that has to fit within the context of physics in some way..

My position leans toward God as an idea or set of ideas, perhaps a culture, which is evolving still. I personally think that Christ ( and others) come close to the ideas I think are ideal.. love others as you love yourself for example...

Religion is about the human relationship to God.. in my mind this is something we choose. I believe we are free beings and make our own choices based on who we think we are.. it's very hard to explain the evil in the world any other way (Putin for example). To the extent we identify with God, we have a relationship with God, and we are therefore religious.. but which religion we choose, if any, is as much a consequence of our culture and our exposure to other possible cultures, as any a priori belief..

Also, I view the ability to hold multiple identities as a key evolutionary trait. Humans are the LeBron James's of identity. Simple animals like cows or lions can identify as individuals, families, herds etc, but are limited . Humans are able to identify with hundreds of groups at the same time.. I am a global citizen, but also and American, but also a Buckeye ( I live in Ohio) and a Hoosier( I was born in Indy), I identify with Cleveland, and Columbus and my village and my home town, I vote in my county and my township, and my school system, I am an aluminum pf my Highschool and college, a member of a Fraternity, my pledge class, and on and on
... This ability is what enables the cooperative behaviors that humans have used to gain dominance over all other known species. It is this same ability that allows religions to even exist..

So long story short, people with religion are ok in my book to the extent they are ok with different cultures coexisting.. it's when they want to go kill other cultures and the freedom of an individual to choose thier own, that I have a problem.

In the words of a religious critic.. "Tend your own garden"...
Ha! Nice Voltaire reference. From Candide, 'this is the best of all possible worlds'. That was a pretty funny book and I don't think I got all the references he made to his era's religions and politics.
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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Religion at its basest form is an attempt to cope with and explain death.

It's been twisted into a tool for control and brainwashing, but the original intent is obvious. At some point, humans became intelligent enough to comprehend the concept of death, and we needed a way to explain it. That's the birth of religion. An attempt to justify our lives and pretend that something comes after to make it all worthwhile.
I actually have a theory that old cultures weren't as stupid as we make them out to be.

I think using Gods and imaginary things to explain what we weren't able to explain is normal, but I think we moved past that stage of humanity a long time ago.

I don't think the Romans actually believed that there were all these Gods who were real. I think they more used the Gods as storytelling devices and symbols. They didn't actually believe there was a little cherub flying around shooting love arrows at people, but that's a great metaphor for attraction and enables great myths and stories.

Then, when these cultures are long-since passed and we look back on the remnants that remain, we assume things were literal and scoff at how silly they were. In reality, we haven't changed much. If anything, we have more people believing in literal Gods than they did.
 

foucault87

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I actually have a theory that old cultures weren't as stupid as we make them out to be.

I think using Gods and imaginary things to explain what we weren't able to explain is normal, but I think we moved past that stage of humanity a long time ago.

I don't think the Romans actually believed that there were all these Gods who were real. I think they more used the Gods as storytelling devices and symbols. They didn't actually believe there was a little cherub flying around shooting love arrows at people, but that's a great metaphor for attraction and enables great myths and stories.

Then, when these cultures are long-since passed and we look back on the remnants that remain, we assume things were literal and scoff at how silly they were. In reality, we haven't changed much. If anything, we have more people believing in literal Gods than they did.
From what I remember of Greek and Roman philosophy, the Gods were basically viewed as abstractions by the time of Heraclitus, let along guys like Socrates and Plato. If you look at how their metaphysics describes gods, it is more talking about the nature of being and creation rather than the embodiments of nature that were worshipped in the early days of Greece. You see similar progressions with other pantheons over time.

By the time modern religions had come around, our thinking about divinity was more sophisticated so, at least among the scholars, discussion was always about more metaphyisically relevant issues like the soul, the nature of creation, good and evil etc rather than just ascribing everything to a power we don't understand. Of course, religion for mass consumption is a totally different ball game
 

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