U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-07-2012, 08:42 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,304 posts, read 19,585,657 times
Reputation: 13095

Advertisements

I remember when I was a child, fairy tales seemed to help to make life hopeful and promising. They created a magical world that every kid wanted to live in. It was only later on that we came to know that all of that stuff was made up and not real.

Lately, I've been wondering if God and religion serve the same purpose for most adults. Do you think that people need God-belief to make living their lives hopeful and promising? Is this make-believe concept a kind of noble lie without which life would unbearable for people? Is this why belief in God has lasted as long as it has in spite of the absence of evidence that any such being ever existed?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-07-2012, 09:19 PM
 
12,540 posts, read 12,543,523 times
Reputation: 28901
Although I tend to think of things like prayer and "leaving it in God's hands" as psychological coping mechanisms, I don't think people inherently need to believe in deities. I think that in the vast majority of cases, they are taught that they need to believe in deities. They are taught that they are somehow frail and inferior, and that they will never understand the why of something. They're taught that they aren't capable of accomplishing something on their own, without needing some kind of help, or that there really is no reason for a lot of the bad things that happen to them other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, having a bad gene, or running into a malicious, evil individual. There has to be something else in play, some other plan devised by someone else.

Well, we're all born atheists.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-07-2012, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,900,280 times
Reputation: 7441
It is a coping mechanism but I agree that it's one that's taught, not inherent. When people are young and having difficulty they are taught to go to God for comfort. Giving it up to God is commonly taught.

When they are bad they are taught to ask for forgiveness and then they move past it.

When they don't like something they are taught to pray for correction or guidance from a God, not to deal with it themselves. They are taught to pray a thankful prayer for what they've achieved or received.

Most religious people also practice telling their kids that the Easter Bunny is real and Santa is real until they grow enough to hear elsewhere it's not real. They are quite convincing to a young child, they are their parents after all. So, fairy tales are coping strategies from a young age that parents instill in their kids. God allows these to continue through adulthood.

Believe it or not my kids do fine without these myths. They don't worry more than others about dying or bad occurrences. They deal with problems without the connection to God. They have learned to forgive themselves and to find solutions to their problems without prayer. They are very healthy that way, God doesn't have to be injected to live happily but some people feel it does.

I find my sister's kids who are religious worry about getting to heaven, doing bad things and what God will do about these things. Seems a bit hard to digest for a kid. IMO of course but I find kids are still worried about an after life in heaven, it doesn't seem to make the thought of dying any easier for them. No kid wants to leave what they have here on earth, even if it's filled with angles and puffy clouds. The thought of dying sucks for pretty much everyone. As an atheist I just ignore it. I don't need a fun world to go to. It doesn't change anything I'd miss about my life. I'm just glad for the life I have and the people in it.

Some habits never die. Some people see the connection, some don't as adults. But I do think it's taught.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-07-2012, 09:49 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,900,280 times
Reputation: 7441
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I remember when I was a child, fairy tales seemed to help to make life hopeful and promising. They created a magical world that every kid wanted to live in. It was only later on that we came to know that all of that stuff was made up and not real.

Lately, I've been wondering if God and religion serve the same purpose for most adults. Do you think that people need God-belief to make living their lives hopeful and promising? Is this make-believe concept a kind of noble lie without which life would unbearable for people? Is this why belief in God has lasted as long as it has in spite of the absence of evidence that any such being ever existed?
I do think people are always asking why. This is my reasoning for Gods and God lasting through time. Just something to explain the unexplainable. We fear the unknown.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-07-2012, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,131 posts, read 18,604,845 times
Reputation: 18731
I would imagine it varies from individual to individual. I recall a few years back that some scientist announced that he had found the religion gene. I read up on it and it appeared to be a case of someone claiming more than than science involved justified. While it remains possible that a disposition or need for having religious faith might be part of the hard wiring for some of us, it is also possible that a more rare genetic distribution accounts for the disinterest in faith based beliefs as evidenced by the patrons of this forum. That might mean that a disposition to faith is the norm and they are simply missing the skepticism gene. That is the sort of thing I hope gets discovered while I'm still around to hear of it...how much of what we perceive as our individual philosophies, may be arising from chemicals.

There are all sorts of differing views of Christianity out there, but the dynamic which I think describes the basic beliefs of the majority is the Santa Claus model. They seem operate congruently.

God is remote and unreachable in heaven....Santa is remote and unreachable at the North Pole. God made a temporary appearance on earth in the form of Jesus, Santa moves among us once a year at distribution time.

Both devote most of their time to keeping track of your behavior for purposes of assigning you to a reward (heaven/presents for the good), or punishment (hell/coals in your stocking for the wicked.)

They both get depicted with white beards most of the time.

So, a Christian whose subscribes to those basic tenants of a remote patriarch with supernatural powers, who keeps an eye on your behavior and will ultimately reward or punish you accordingly, has embraced the Santa Claus model.

That certainly shores up the "childlike faith" or attraction to fairy tales theory offered by BigCity, but I suspect that it is all way more complicated than that.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-07-2012, 11:00 PM
 
12,540 posts, read 12,543,523 times
Reputation: 28901
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
Whether people believe in a god has nothing to do with the OP's question, which is whether people need to believe in a god.

No, they do not.

Believing in a god is about as necessary for humans as eating meat. Some enjoy it. Others say it gives them benefits. But it is not necessary. The fact that millions of people live good, happy, productive lives without it is proof.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-07-2012, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Niflheim
1,302 posts, read 1,675,650 times
Reputation: 1065
They don't need to blieve in "God"' they just have to fear him...isn't that how this lie has been kept alive for so long?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-08-2012, 06:55 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,774 posts, read 14,888,814 times
Reputation: 11886
While many highly educated people do believe in God IMO it is the lower educated who keep on believing and are the ones most likely to turn to God when things are going wrong in their life.
They don't call it the bible belt because they are turning out scholars.
These are some really nice people that would give you the shirt off their back but they are all convinced that some invisible guy is watching and listening to them 24/7.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-08-2012, 07:34 AM
 
Location: The land where cats rule
10,946 posts, read 8,263,546 times
Reputation: 3602
For some people, they do seem to need to believe in god.

Others, not so much.

I don't really think that that may people truly think about it deeply (except the fringe element on either side) or think that it really matters.

I don't let either side bother me as long as either side does not try to impose their thinking on me.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-08-2012, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Athens, Greece
526 posts, read 580,059 times
Reputation: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
Do you think that people need God-belief to make living their lives hopeful and promising? Is this make-believe concept a kind of noble lie without which life would unbearable for people? Is this why belief in God has lasted as long as it has in spite of the absence of evidence that any such being ever existed?
No, I do not think so!
Religion has been around for approximately 12 to 14 thousand years but only the last 3 thousands years people were taught by theologians to believe in a most merciful God (the God of the Old Testament, being a traditional God, is described as a wicked criminal creature).
The belief in gods/God lasted so long because it is part of the culture of almost all peoples on earth. Lilac110 put it very well:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilac110 View Post
I think that in the vast majority of cases, they are taught that they need to believe in deities. They are taught that they are somehow frail and inferior,

Well, we're all born atheists.
And, yes!... we're all born atheists.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top