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Why Does Mankind/Man NEED Religion?

 
 
Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 06:49 pm
In a Theory of Knowledge course I'm currently attending, Ive been asked to create a 20 min. oral presentation on why man/man kind needs religion.
also. i have to try to relate it to different areas of knowledge/ or aproaches to knowledge...for ex: the brain(MRI). emotion, & etc...

I have NO CLUE how to aproach this topic.

If you have any suggestion, comments, theories,information or ANYTHING that might help, please let me know; it will be GREATLY apreciated.

THANK YOU
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 07:55 pm
I think that your professor has given you a loaded question. The appropriate query would be,

"Does mankind need religion, and if so, why?"

Since the loaded question is what you have to work with, here are some thoughts.

Think about it. Why do some people need a group of like minded believers?

Group cohesiveness. Tribal mentality....sense of belonging to something bigger than onesself.

Comfort of ritual.

Simple answers for complicated questions.

Deference to authority, without the necessity and responsibility of working through one's own personal philosophy of life.

Simple answers to questions of life and death.
0 Replies
 
penkem
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Apr, 2007 07:37 pm
I dot't think man needs religion.Any man believing in a religion is because he was persuited in his youth by others .
My son didn't believe any religion when he was at the age of fourteen,at that time a missionary went to my home every weekend to preach him to believe in God,the missionary said if he believe and serve god he would have everlasting life,if he don't ,he'll die in less than 100 year.My son is thus became a believer of a religion.
I think most people who believe in a religion because they fear death and want to have everlasting live.
0 Replies
 
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 03:43 am
asking if man needs religion is a very simple answer, NO. Asking if a man-driven society needs religion is a different question.

religion is an easy way to keep people from thinking in giant masses.
ignorance is bliss, knowledge is power.
0 Replies
 
stach
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2007 03:04 am
"Group cohesiveness. Tribal mentality....sense of belonging to something bigger than onesself.

Comfort of ritual.

Simple answers for complicated questions.

Deference to authority, without the necessity and responsibility of working through one's own personal philosophy of life.

Simple answers to questions of life and death."

Well, we should first redefine what religion is. The way you guys present religion is maybe a little bit simplified.
For example I am a buddhist. Buddhism is considered a kind of religion.

But, the above quoted ideas don't work where I study and practice buddhism.

There is almost no group cohesiveness and never was, at least not any better than at any kind of randomly chosen company.
Sense of belonging to something bigger than I am. Well, we all do, like it or not, belong to something bigger. If you live in NYC, you belong to something bigger, if you are a citizen of the US, you belong to something bigger, if you work for IBM, the same thing. We are all little parts of the universe and I don't think religion can add something extra to it.

Comfort of ritual. Well, if you feel comfortable brushing teeth or taking a shower, these are all rituals of our everyday life. Rituals in religion are everyday life elements of religion, nothing else. Sometimes I am too lazy to bow, but I just do it, sometimes I am too lazy to take a shower, but I just do it, it is simple actions in daily life.

Deference to authority. There is none in our school. My teacher absolutely rejects to be taken in such a way. You have to be polite to him as much as you have to be polite to a co-worker. If you are not polite, then face some harsh moments - no difference from being polite to anybody else.

One's own personal philosophy of life usually consists of mixture of all kinds of philosophies and religions making it easier to gulp down for oneself. Personal philosophy of life is usually a little private religion one has. It is impossible to separate our experience from experience of other people. We all have a lot in common. So great philosophers of past and present can help us find our own way. But ultimately, the way we find in this process is not somebody else, it is just our own life, our own experience.

Simple answers to questions of life and death. The answers sometimes are difficult in Buddhism. Sometimes they sound simple. Our life is never so simple and never so difficult as it may sound or as we may think. Neither too simple, nor too difficult. It is just reality.
0 Replies
 
stach
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2007 06:43 am
I have only posted half of the thing I guess. What I have posted may sound like anarchy and that it has nothing to do with religion. So what is it that we
practice actually, why do we meet and why do we sit still facing a wall for such a long time every day? I mean most of us sit for half an hour, so I don't know if it is such a long time. It depends on how difficult it is for you to sit still.

Well we meet to discuss and learn about Buddhist philosophy and practice sitting still (we call it zazen). Buddhist philosophy is a kind of system and although extremely complicated and confusing at first sight, when you find a good teacher, he or she will guide you through the maze of Buddhist literature and point out the main things and help you understand them. On the other hand we also meet because we practice zazen together.
Why practice zazen? Isn't philosophy enough?

This is the raison d'etre of Buddhism. This very question: Isn't thinking enough? Why sit still facing a wall?

It is a tendency of people to divide their life experience into body and mind. We spend almost all day thinking while doing things in the backround. Driving, eating, walking, shaving, even having sex, we usually think: Oh, what am I supposed to do ... Oh, what an idiot ... oh, what a boring sex... So sometimes we are so fed up with our minds that we have to do something exciting to forget about our mental world. So we play sports or take drugs or someting similar. We try to escape the mind and enter the body experience fully. What is interesting though is the fact that when we play a sport, we still think. Notice when you are about to hit a ball with a bat or catch a ball or dive into water, you don't stop thinking. But in the very moment you are about to catch or throw or hit, your body and mind are in natural, spontanous connection. And this connection feels very good, doesn't it? But more about this later.


So it seems there is something wrong with the way most people connect their mind and body. As if body and mind were separate. But they cannot be separate. They are in fact one system. So Buddha found out that the problem of most people and cause of so much suffering is this human tendency to split oneself into halves - physical and intellectual.
So Buddha noticed when sitting in zazen, that he could find the natural connection between body and mind. When he practiced zazen, it felt as if his body and mind were one thing, actually they were one thing not only as a fact, but also as Buddha's actual experience. And he noticed that there is some very subtle happiness found in this connection.

So now when people ask why Buddhists practice zazen, I would say, they do it to come back to the original, natural state of a human being. I would say that to be human is not so exstatic, sometimes it is pretty difficult, but it is not such a desparate situation, either. Tranquility of zazen cuts off the extremes of human experience and gives this experience some peace and satisfaction.
0 Replies
 
stach
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 05:15 am
I would like to add some more thoughts on Why people need religion.

As Buddhism is not a the kind of religion that most people imagine when they hear the word "religion", I am wondering why people need a religion at all. Why they need something like Absolute, perfect peace, The Pope, Enormous Cathedrals, stunning paintings by Michelangelo etc. Huge mosques, bows, rituals and fear.

I think all of us, no matter how materialistic we tend to be, no matter how scientific our approach to the world is, we all feel there are things unknown, things beyond the capacity of our intellect, we somehow accept the fact that we will die one day, we sometimes admit that there will be absolutely nothing after we die. We sometimes wonder why we exist at all or why anything exists for that matter.

Even scientists, physicists especially, know very well, that our knowledge of the universe is very limited and will be limited for a long time to come or maybe forever. Even modern physicists cant' agree on such issues as time and space. They come to dead end when they want to measure and prove time and space. So no wonder that even such intelligent people as Albert Einstein were not atheists.

Faith in God seems to be something that belongs to both super intelligent people as well as simpletons. Because we all , no matter how intelligent are, feel that we are limited in our minds and bodies. We feel there is something secret or hidden or something essential beyond our thinking.
So we wonder if we could connect to it. Sometimes we believe we are already connected to it, but are not fully aware of it.

So when a group of people agree there is something Huge, Absolute or Eternal, they want to do something specific to celebrate that, to cherish that, to remember that. They build a temple, decorate it, they set up an altar or a totem or something that becomes a symbol of That. And when they worry about everyday problems, they sometimes remember That, they prey, they calm down, they quiet their egos to open to something beyond the limited personal mind.

I think people can benefit from religion in a way that is benefiting universally, I mean people can help others and themselves through religion as long as they dont' forget the basic principle of humbleness before something that is beyond personal knowledge. Religion cannot be used as a weapon, it is ridiculous. Religion is something that all people share, we just don't agree on names of Gods and argue about politics and popes and morals, but the essential reason why people come up with religion is something that we all share. Muslims should tell Christians: How do you cherish It? We build mosques and we call it Allah. What do you do, guys? ANd Christians should say> We call It God and we follow the example of Jesus Christ who was very wise. We go to church and pray and are happy like that. And Moslems should reply> That is wonderful. We all believe in the same thing. We just have different habits and words.

Unfortunately most people don't understand the essential meaning or religion and fight for names, positions, argue about things that were not meant to be argued about.
0 Replies
 
AziMythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 06:08 am
Re: Why Does Mankind/Man NEED Religion?
daliajay wrote:
In a Theory of Knowledge course I'm currently attending, Ive been asked to create a 20 min. oral presentation on why man/man kind needs religion.
also. i have to try to relate it to different areas of knowledge/ or aproaches to knowledge...for ex: the brain(MRI). emotion, & etc...

There is exactly one and only one answer.
Also, if you replace the word "religion" with "apples", "clothing", "math", or anything else, the answer remains the same.

The reason mankind needs anything at all ... is to survive.
All the details quickly fall out from that premise. Our biological imperative is aided by:

abstract thinking
planning ahead
practicing the idea of cause and effect
intellectual development
social organization
dedication to a cause
teaching of cycles in nature
observing safe/beneficial customs
cultural preservation
competitive experimentation

on and on... !

Regardless of whether we need religion right now today (an irrelevant issue),
or what religions exist in the world (also irrelevant to the assigned speech),
mankind over time has evolved the use of religion because it works!
It actually does propagate itself very well.



For a really fascinating discussion of this, watch the video
"Dan Dennett: A secular, scientific rebuttal to Pastor Rick Warren"
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/94
His oral presentation was 25 minutes long, AND got a standing ovation.

Are you allowed to just play this video and be done with it? Very Happy
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 06:39 am
Man needs religion in the same way a chicken needs its egg.
0 Replies
 
stach
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 06:53 am
I am afraid that if everything in the world people use is just to survive, then people are not different from animals.

Also, I don't think that religion has over time proved that "it works'.
It doesn't work very well. Most Buddhists I know are struggling to understand Buddhism, themselves, others and meaning of life. Most Christians I know face al lot of problems despite being Christians. A lot of reliegious people go crazy and are willing to kill others based on their religion. So religion doesn't work better than an old beat up shitbox you drive to the mall. You never know if you get there or not.

Animals don't have religion. It is because they are not plagued with thinking and questions and desire and hatred. Only people suffer from these things. They notice they are sometimes full of desire for no reason, sometimes full of thoughs for no reason and sometimes full of hatred for no reason. THis doesnt' happen to animals. Animals really follow instincts to survive. They are usually in harmony with the world. When threre is time to fight, they fight and accept it. No philosophy or morals discussion after that. People are quite different. Tehy have almost the same instincts as animals - to survive they try to find a partner, they fall in love, they compete etc. They go to work to surive, they build houses to survive and wear beatuful clothes to fit in the social group or impress a person. But later thay ask a lot of questions. They invent philosophy and religion to try to answer their questions and satsifiy their hunger for wisdom and love. Animals absolutely don't worry about philosophical problems and relions. They just live moment after moment. People cant' do it, they are losing touch with nature in the process of developing their culture and intellectual realm. So they need some kind of link to get back to nature without losing their developed culture and intellect. So to me religion together with philosophy is a means how to transcend or solve the conflict of an intelligent animal trying to find its place in the universe.

It is absolutely impossible to reduce humans to animals.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 07:05 am
Quote:
It is absolutely impossible to reduce humans to animals.


But there is no dividing line apart from the one you invent. No true difference. All the things you name to differentiate us from all the others are caused by opposing thumbs, not religion. And apes have opposing thumbs. Give them a few hundred thousand years and they may even invent the wheel.
0 Replies
 
stach
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 09:00 am
If there is no true difference between humans and animals, then there is no true difference between humans and rocks. Even rocks may evolve into primitive organisms and then into monkeys and later into some kind of people.

I think it is necessary to study the difference between humans and animals and study what it is to be human and how it is different from being an animal.

But it is true that the primary reason why people seek religion is their need to satisfy their primitive instincts - to feel good, to feel protected by some superpower, to overcome fear, to find answers to compulsive questions. Dogs also want to feel good, and are curious and want to find out what the smell coming from the hole is etc. But when we study and practice religion sincerely, we may find a link to a new way of life - we can learn to transcend our primitive life and find satisfaction and peace even where animals can't find satisfaction and peace. Finding satisfaction in being alone, finding satisfaction in being relatively poor, finding satisfaction in the midst of problems of everyday life. Finding peace in the middle of the traffic jam. This is only possible when we transcend the animal in us and discover the full potential of a modern, intelligent human being.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 01:34 pm
Quote:
If there is no true difference between humans and animals, then there is no true difference between humans and rocks. Even rocks may evolve into primitive organisms and then into monkeys and later into some kind of people.


From some perspectives, that is precisely it.

Quote:
I think it is necessary to study the difference between humans and animals and study what it is to be human and how it is different from being an animal.


It is good to study the differences, but when that study reveals that the genetic resemblance of humans and gorillas differ by three or four percent, it might be good to look at the similarities as well.

After all, what does all this activity that so differs us from animals amount to? Mostly it's a few basic concepts that make the human world the way it is. One is the notion that we can own things. Sense of self is another.

Does the ability to create and sustain these concepts set us more apart from animals than the dolphins ability to form images out of soundwaves? The biggest difference is that the consequences of our ability are so much more visible to us and far reaching.
0 Replies
 
AziMythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 04:46 pm
stach wrote:
I am afraid that if everything in the world people use is just to survive, then people are not different from animals.

Also, I don't think that religion has over time proved that "it works'.
It doesn't work very well. Most Buddhists I know are struggling to understand Buddhism, themselves, others and meaning of life. Most Christians I know face al lot of problems despite being Christians. A lot of reliegious people go crazy and are willing to kill others based on their religion. So religion doesn't work better than an old beat up shitbox you drive to the mall. You never know if you get there or not.

Animals don't have religion. It is because they are not plagued with thinking and questions and desire and hatred. Only people suffer from these things. They notice they are sometimes full of desire for no reason, sometimes full of thoughs for no reason and sometimes full of hatred for no reason. THis doesnt' happen to animals. Animals really follow instincts to survive. They are usually in harmony with the world. When threre is time to fight, they fight and accept it. No philosophy or morals discussion after that. People are quite different. Tehy have almost the same instincts as animals - to survive they try to find a partner, they fall in love, they compete etc. They go to work to surive, they build houses to survive and wear beatuful clothes to fit in the social group or impress a person. But later thay ask a lot of questions. They invent philosophy and religion to try to answer their questions and satsifiy their hunger for wisdom and love. Animals absolutely don't worry about philosophical problems and relions. They just live moment after moment. People cant' do it, they are losing touch with nature in the process of developing their culture and intellectual realm. So they need some kind of link to get back to nature without losing their developed culture and intellect. So to me religion together with philosophy is a means how to transcend or solve the conflict of an intelligent animal trying to find its place in the universe.

It is absolutely impossible to reduce humans to animals.


Stach, I respect that you can live by those ideas, but of the dozen claims you make I strongly disagree with every one of them. And I'm amazed that such claims could ever be made. I simply don't know where to begin or how to discuss it.

Your words are very clear and understandable, but I have no idea how to say something that could be heard by you.
0 Replies
 
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 01:55 am
i dont see how we are any different from animals.

please elaborate?
0 Replies
 
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 01:57 am
Cyracuz wrote:
Quote:
If there is no true difference between humans and animals, then there is no true difference between humans and rocks. Even rocks may evolve into primitive organisms and then into monkeys and later into some kind of people.


From some perspectives, that is precisely it.

Quote:
I think it is necessary to study the difference between humans and animals and study what it is to be human and how it is different from being an animal.


It is good to study the differences, but when that study reveals that the genetic resemblance of humans and gorillas differ by three or four percent, it might be good to look at the similarities as well.

After all, what does all this activity that so differs us from animals amount to? Mostly it's a few basic concepts that make the human world the way it is. One is the notion that we can own things. Sense of self is another.

Does the ability to create and sustain these concepts set us more apart from animals than the dolphins ability to form images out of soundwaves? The biggest difference is that the consequences of our ability are so much more visible to us and far reaching.


I'd have to disagree on that one, animals are constantly claiming territory as their own, what could this be describes as other than ownership?
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 02:52 am
Quote:
I am afraid that if everything in the world people use is just to survive, then people are not different from animals.


Good. You've reached the first level of understanding.

Joe(they only thing we humans can't do well is wag our tails)Nation
0 Replies
 
stach
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 04:02 pm
AziMythe wrote:
stach wrote:
I am afraid that if everything in the world people use is just to survive, then people are not different from animals.

Also, I don't think that religion has over time proved that "it works'.
It doesn't work very well. Most Buddhists I know are struggling to understand Buddhism, themselves, others and meaning of life. Most Christians I know face al lot of problems despite being Christians. A lot of reliegious people go crazy and are willing to kill others based on their religion. So religion doesn't work better than an old beat up shitbox you drive to the mall. You never know if you get there or not.

Animals don't have religion. It is because they are not plagued with thinking and questions and desire and hatred. Only people suffer from these things. They notice they are sometimes full of desire for no reason, sometimes full of thoughs for no reason and sometimes full of hatred for no reason. THis doesnt' happen to animals. Animals really follow instincts to survive. They are usually in harmony with the world. When threre is time to fight, they fight and accept it. No philosophy or morals discussion after that. People are quite different. Tehy have almost the same instincts as animals - to survive they try to find a partner, they fall in love, they compete etc. They go to work to surive, they build houses to survive and wear beatuful clothes to fit in the social group or impress a person. But later thay ask a lot of questions. They invent philosophy and religion to try to answer their questions and satsifiy their hunger for wisdom and love. Animals absolutely don't worry about philosophical problems and relions. They just live moment after moment. People cant' do it, they are losing touch with nature in the process of developing their culture and intellectual realm. So they need some kind of link to get back to nature without losing their developed culture and intellect. So to me religion together with philosophy is a means how to transcend or solve the conflict of an intelligent animal trying to find its place in the universe.

It is absolutely impossible to reduce humans to animals.


Stach, I respect that you can live by those ideas, but of the dozen claims you make I strongly disagree with every one of them. And I'm amazed that such claims could ever be made. I simply don't know where to begin or how to discuss it.

Your words are very clear and understandable, but I have no idea how to say something that could be heard by you.


Ok, so if you strongly disagree with my ideas then let's see what happens when we negate all I say and say the opposite.

Read this, which is the opposite of what I say:

Religion has over time proved that it works.
It works very well. Most Buddhists I know are not struggling to understand Buddhism, themselves, others and meaning of life. Most Christians I know don't face many problems as they are Christians. Hardly any religious people go crazy and almost nobody is willing to kill others based on their religion. So religion works very well and gets everyone safely where they want to get.

Animals have religion. It is because they are plagued with thinking and questions and desire and hatred. Only people don't suffer from these things. People are not driven by desire, people are not full of thoughts and hardly ever hate anyone. This doesnt' happen to animals. Animals really desire something all the time, think all the time and hate all the time. Animals don't follow their instincts. They are hardly ever in harmony with the world. When there is time to fight, animals hesitate and can't accept such a situation. Then they discuss philosophy and morals
People are the same. They don't have many common instincts with animals. For example people don't try to find a partner, they don't fall in love, they don't compete with others. They don't go to work to survive, they don't build houses to survive and don't care what they wear. Because they dont' care if they fit in the social group or impress a person.
But later they don't ask questions. They have no idea what philosophy is and don't care about it. They don't use religion to try to find answers to their questions and satisfy their hunger for wisdom because people simply don't care about wisdom. They don't care about love either. Animals on the other hand worry a lot about philosophical problems and religions. They just can't live moment after moment. People can do it easily, they never lose touch with nature in the process of developing their culture and intellectual realm. So they don't need some kind of link to get back to nature without losing their developed culture and intellect. So to me there is no reason why religion together with philosophy could help people transcend or solve the conflict of an intelligent animal trying to find its place in the universe.


Man, the above text sounds like the biggest bullshit I have ever heard, including fashism. I hope you make more sense than the above philosophy.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2007 06:34 am
Quote:
I'd have to disagree on that one, animals are constantly claiming territory as their own, what could this be describes as other than ownership?


It's the same thing. But humans have tweaked this idea so that one individual can own so much that he'll never even know of half of it. Animals live on the land. Make their marks and smells to scare off others, but hardly think they see themselves as the masters of the land they live on. That is a key difference.
0 Replies
 
stach
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2007 07:39 am
I have just listened to Dan Dennet's lecture.

He is great. There is nothing in his lecture that I would not agree with.
He is a sincere scientist and is interested in the truth, not in myths.

THe problem is that almost everything he says relates to crowd driving, brainwashing kinds of religion. There is nothing like that in Buddhism I have been studying and practicing. We are not opposed to science at all as we also want to see what is real.

So Buddhism as I have known it is not a religion in the sense Dan Dennet uses the word. But Buddhism does not deny itself as some kind of nonsense because to study oneself and the world is also possible the way Buddha did it.
To practice zazen and study Buddhist philosophy is a kind of science. We practice zazen the way BUddha did it because it provides a very useful experience and that experience is not somewhere out of reality, it is real experience of a real person.
0 Replies
 
 

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