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Religion and Fear

 
 
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2016 09:52 am
I believe that religion is above all an expression of fear. The religious beliefs of our earliest ancestors undoubtedly stemmed from the fear of death, starvation, disease, dangerous animals, mysterious things like weather, the starry sky, random chance and coincidence, etc. Through the millennia, it has evolved through many stages to it's many present forms, although still expresses (or attempts to alleviate) fear. Some of the new ones are fear of being labeled a heretic, fear of one's own baser instincts, and fear of being unprepared for the afterlife. I look forward to the discussion and what I will learn from it.
 
oristarA
 
  0  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2016 10:01 am
@TomTomBinks,
TomTomBinks wrote:

I believe that religion is above all an expression of fear.


You have to make your theory falsifiable.
Animals have fears, but they don't have religions, which means your theory need be improved or abandoned.
TomTomBinks
 
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Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2016 10:21 am
@oristarA,
I guess I don't quite understand "make it falsifiable".
I came to this idea through imagination. How else to understand the minds of our ancient ancestors except by thought experiments and using my own emotions as results?
Animals don't have religions because their thoughts and communications are too simple. Possibly higher animals such as chimpanzees have the beginnings of the kinds of mental abilities that someday might become superstition and eventually religion.
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2016 12:18 pm
@TomTomBinks,
TomTomBinks wrote:
The religious beliefs of our earliest ancestors undoubtedly stemmed from the fear of death, starvation, disease, dangerous animals, mysterious things like weather, the starry sky, random chance and coincidence, etc.

It may be fear driven currently, but I don't think that was how it started.

Consider that humans always try to figure things out and make sense of them, especially things in nature. At this point in time we have a lot of knowledge (collected over generations) which influence our conclusions, but back in prehistory our ancestors didn't have any of that information so anthropomorphising things was probably a logical inference. Deities and Spirits (benevolent or otherwise) might well have been the highest probability (scientific) theory back then.

Scientific exploration without the restriction to naturalistic conclusions would always result in magical theories because they are simple and comprehensive. It's only the recent advent of Naturalistic Methodology which prevents magic from being a logical conclusion, and in a world (prehistoric) without an existing knowledge base to work from religion was probably just the "science" of the day.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2016 12:46 pm
There have been any number of religions in which the god or gods have been completely indifferent to human beings. Not all humans have seen themselves as the center of the cosmos.
oristarA
 
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Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2016 12:22 am
@TomTomBinks,
Ever heard of Cargo Cult?
A new religion could appear overnight simply because of the misunderstanding of commercial networks, rather than fear of death: the belief that various ritualistic acts will lead to a bestowing of material wealth ("cargo").

TomTomBinks
 
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Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2016 11:19 pm
@Setanta,
What are they called? I would like to look into them. Thanks in advance.
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TomTomBinks
 
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Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2016 11:23 pm
@oristarA,
I have heard of that. On TV a few years back. I see what you mean but I doubt that that was the whole of those people's religious beliefs. I will study further. Thank you for your interest and response.
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onevoice
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2016 08:41 am
@TomTomBinks,
Quote:
I believe that religion is above all an expression of fear.


You are absolutely correct, sir. Religion is an expression of fear. In 1 John 4 it says:

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.

Surely we can all agree that there are many, many tormented Christians now a days. A2K seems to be magnet for such things. Oh but, Facebook tops anything I have ever seen! Anyway, one thing that bothers me a little though is peoples general lack of willingness to see religion outside of the church.

The church gets the majority of attention I think because of all the supposed "martyrs" picketing and screaming about their "cause" while being completely unwilling to use the change in their pocket to buy a McDouble for the hungry homeless person they keep walking past. Meaning: A complete lack of compassion for anything outside of their "cause". That's just one example.

They are openly offensive to the world without even realizing it. They are blinded by their "cause" because they are desperate for support and validation. Honestly, if you step back and take a long hard look at any "cause" religious or not, there are always martyrs. There are always people who get lost in it somehow. My point is that even politics has become religious in some right. The black lives matter movement has. The LGBT movement has. Just to name a few. It's actually everywhere if you take your eyes off the church and their faults for a second.

And the root of it all is fear.

That is why no one will ever find God through religion. He's not there. Fear is a part of everyone's life, but I think the fear of death is the one common denominator we have all shared at some point in life. Why is that? Well, for all practical purposes I would like to say it's because being creative in nature, we don't like the idea of that ending. And death is the one thing in this life that no matter how smart the individual or how determined he/she may be... Absolutely no one can figure out how to overcome it.

Becoming religious about anything does not alleviate the fear of death, because it is after all inevitable no matter what you believe.



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jwagner
 
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Reply Tue 10 May, 2016 05:19 pm
@TomTomBinks,
Through evolution?
TomTomBinks
 
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Reply Tue 10 May, 2016 11:02 pm
@jwagner,
Yes, I suppose so. We (humans) developed religion through the natural evolution of our minds and cultures.
jwagner
 
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Reply Wed 11 May, 2016 08:07 pm
@TomTomBinks,
If religion stemmed from fear, does that mean that there is a possibility of an afterlife? And we are just scared because we do not know how to get into it or what it is we are getting into, maybe even leading to some infinite creator who made this afterlife? I'm curious about what you think.
TomTomBinks
 
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Reply Wed 11 May, 2016 10:59 pm
@jwagner,
I don't have a clue about afterlife. It would be nice, but I doubt it. I don't think our ancient ancestors were fearful of not knowing how to get into the afterlife. I think they were fearful of tangible things that they didn't understand, and invented the answers themselves as best they could, thus the beginnings of religion. This is what I think, although I don't have any evidence. This is just a thought experiment. I try to imagine myself living 30,000 or 50,000 or 70,000 or so years ago. What would life be like on a day to day basis. What would I think about, what would I do? That sort of thing.
jwagner
 
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Reply Thu 12 May, 2016 04:54 pm
@TomTomBinks,
Ok yes I see what you mean, so as you believe what you believe on the beginning of religion, could yoi share your view on the beginning of the universe?
TomTomBinks
 
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Reply Thu 12 May, 2016 11:07 pm
@jwagner,
Yes I will. I believe that the universe began with the "Big Bang". I believe this because I learned about the idea and it seemed to make sense to me. At least it makes more sense than it was created by "God". If you actually want to learn about this idea, you'll have to ask someone else, I know very little. Some members on this forum seem to be very knowledgeable on this subject. Just search the forum for Origin of the Universe and read.
jwagner, you ask a lot of the same questions of many members. Why? Are you cataloging the responses? Keeping a list of some kind?
jwagner
 
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Reply Thu 19 May, 2016 07:33 pm
@TomTomBinks,
Yes, I'm having spiritual conversations with people for a religion class. I compile all the conversations with people into a final paper. We keep lists so that if we run into something we don't know how to respond to we can research and find out how to respond if we come into contact with it again. When you said that the "Big Bang" made more sense than a "God" creating the universe, how is that? I believe that an all-powerful God did create the universe.
TomTomBinks
 
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Reply Thu 19 May, 2016 11:10 pm
@jwagner,
The universe is expanding. This is an observable fact. If it is expanding, it must have been smaller in the past. Extrapolate. It must have in the very distant past been a single point. Do we need a God for any of this? God is an unnecessary complication.
Setanta
 
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Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 02:52 am
@jwagner,
jwagner wrote:
We keep lists so that if we run into something we don't know how to respond to we can research and find out how to respond if we come into contact with it again.


I certainly hope that this "religion class" is not offered by any state-supported institution, which should not be in the business of polishing your arguments in favor of your preferred superstition.
TomTomBinks
 
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Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 08:25 am
@jwagner,
Is this class designed to teach you how to refute arguments against religion, so that you can gain more converts?
jwagner
 
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Reply Sat 21 May, 2016 01:42 pm
@TomTomBinks,
"gaining more converts" is a way to put it, but I like to view it more like giving your view about what you believe and if it doesn't match what someone else believes, you can have reasoned arguments about it. But yes, the goal is for the person to see the reason to what you believe, wanting to learn more, and then adopting the want to change their beliefs.
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