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Just a theory
#21
RE: Just a theory
(July 8, 2018 at 11:56 pm)kbultra Wrote: I know this is very far fetched but hear me out.  I was thinking about religion (I am newly atheist) and thought that maybe religion was originally made to keep early humans in order.  Before police and jail and law at all.  Think about it, if you couldn't keep people under control and there were no laws, what would you do to keep people from killing and stealing?  I know what I would do.  I would come up with a story in which people who do bad and immoral things get punished after they die, and people who do great and kind things live in a perfect place after they die.  Sound familiar?  I honestly believe that religion could have originated from an early human form of "law"

That was my observation too, back at age seven when chatting with the boy next door and his older brother on the subject of hell.  It was such a garish and outlandish and excessive way to deal with people, it seemed out of line for a god.  IMO, gods should know better than that.  Obviously hell was the invention of the politico-religious hierarchy, as they would be the main beneficiaries from a cowed, submissive populace.
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#22
RE: Just a theory
Theories such as the one you propose tend to fit only a small slice of recent religions. But the history of religion is much more diverse than that, and doesn't even fit that description, for example, for the African tribes who believe in witchcraft, and for whom, the purpose of religion is determining who is cursing your fields and how to protect against them. In my view, there was no intentional creation of religion, its origins are much more organic, being built on our natural cognitions as a social species, and serving multiple functions in any society. Different people posit different singular theories of why religion developed, yet they all seem to fail when looking back at the vast variety that the religious impulse has taken. I would be hard pressed to apply your idea to the bulk of Hindu and Buddhist thought. Yes, we have the laws of Manu, but I don't think they fit what you're describing.
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#23
RE: Just a theory
I’ve always thought that religion was first invented to explain what our early ancestors didn’t understand.

If you don’t know what causes lightning, then perhaps it’s an angry god in the sky. If you don’t know the cause of disease, it must be caused by a devil or demon.

Most of us have moved beyond the need for such supernatural explanations for every day events. Some of us have not (look at the opposition to evolution that is so prevalent in highly religious societies).

Afterwards I think religion became a way to control the masses and keep them in line. Much as it is still used today to keep the people in fear of places of torment.
Dying to live, living to die.
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#24
RE: Just a theory
(July 9, 2018 at 5:06 pm)Jörmungandr Wrote: Theories such as the one you propose tend to fit only a small slice of recent religions.  But the history of religion is much more diverse than that, and doesn't even fit that description, for example, for the African tribes who believe in witchcraft, and for whom, the purpose of religion is determining who is cursing your fields and how to protect against them.  In my view, there was no intentional creation of religion, its origins are much more organic, being built on our natural cognitions as a social species, and serving multiple functions in any society.  Different people posit different singular theories of why religion developed, yet they all seem to fail when looking back at the vast variety that the religious impulse has taken.  I would be hard pressed to apply your idea to the bulk of Hindu and Buddhist thought.  Yes, we have the laws of Manu, but I don't think they fit what you're describing.

All religions follow the same format.  A few con men get authority over the sheep and get out of doing any real work because they live off of the 
sheep's money.  They get to walk around in fancy robes looking important and acting as if they have their favorite deity on speed dial.
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#25
RE: Just a theory
That would be religious institutions, not the religions themselves.  Religious institutions are alot easier to peg down.  Their formation and behavior can be predicted, or retroactively contextualized.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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#26
RE: Just a theory
(July 9, 2018 at 5:21 pm)The Valkyrie Wrote: I’ve always thought  that religion was first invented to explain what our early ancestors didn’t understand.

Where would the idea of a god or gods come from, what would cause people to actually try and conceive of such, there is no evidence to support your thought. We do see these things in religion after they were established, on this I agree. But the concept of a higher being, they had no references to go to that end.

The Valkyrie Wrote:If you don’t know what causes lightning, then perhaps it’s an angry god in the sky.  If you don’t know the cause of disease, it must be caused by a devil or demon.

Even if our idea of ancient man was true, what was it that pushed them to the imagination of gods and demons, they had nothing to reference from, and as I've heard on here so many times ancient man's mind was primitive so how does a simple mind conceptualize such beings. 

The Valkyrie Wrote:Most of us have moved beyond the need for such supernatural explanations for every day events.  Some of us have not (look at the opposition to evolution that is so prevalent in highly religious societies).

Could it be that Christian scientist and Christians interested in science sees flaws in evolution that really keeps it in deep question, we are not as dumb as you would like us to be.

The Valkyrie Wrote:Afterwards I think religion became a way to control the masses and keep them in line.  Much as it is still used today to keep the people in fear of places of torment.

  Who do you think is controlling Christianity and why, just why would there be people to have a need to control people outside of the con man who only desire is money. The secular world sees more cons going than the religious world does.

GC
God loves those who believe and those who do not and the same goes for me, you have no choice in this matter. That puts the matter of total free will to rest.
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#27
RE: Just a theory
(July 9, 2018 at 5:21 pm)The Valkyrie Wrote: I’ve always thought  that religion was first invented to explain what our early ancestors didn’t understand.

It seems that humans were inventing religions two times because human look on a world changed almost completely when they switched to agricultural society. So humans invented gods once when they were hunter gatherers looking out of caves and wondering about what they saw. What made the lightning flash? Where did the wind come from? Why would winter start soon and why would all the green things die? And then why did they all come back to life the next spring?
The wind is much stronger than the breath of any ordinary man and it had been blowing ever since man could remember. Therefore, the wind must be created by a tremendously huge and powerful man, one who never died. Such a superhuman being was a "god" or "demon."

But then as humans became agricultural gods took a turn to be about food. There needed to be like a mediator between the idea of life-force that comes down as food, feeds people and then people give back to the life-force and then it goes back again which were kings and ruling class.
The Bible used a tale of forbidden food to define all of human nature.
Mayas believed that maize was the flesh of the gods containing divine power, and at harvest time the gods were, in effect, sacrificing themselves to sustain humanity.
Aztecs belived The Earth Mother was nourished by human blood and the crops would only grow if she was given enough of it.
Incas also thought sacrifice was necessary to nourish the gods.
In China both gods and royal ancestors were offered grain, millet beer, animals and human sacrifices. etc
teachings of the Bible are so muddled and self-contradictory that it was possible for Christians to happily burn heretics alive for five long centuries. It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas). Martin Luther and John Calvin advocated the wholesale murder of heretics, apostates, Jews, and witches. - Sam Harris, "Letter To A Christian Nation"
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#28
RE: Just a theory
(July 10, 2018 at 2:00 am)Godscreated Wrote:
(July 9, 2018 at 5:21 pm)The Valkyrie Wrote: I’ve always thought  that religion was first invented to explain what our early ancestors didn’t understand.

Where would the idea of a god or gods come from, what would cause people to actually try and conceive of such, there is no evidence to support your thought. We do see these things in religion after they were established, on this I agree. But the concept of a higher being, they had no references to go to that end.
GC

You're really stumped by where ideas come from? Do you think the idea of aliens came from aliens and if they weren't real we'd never have thought of them? Ideas come from our dreams and our imaginations.

When we sleep, we seem to go places and encounter people and things, while everyone can confirm that you never left your spot by the campfire. It sure seems like there's an invisible part of you that can walk around and have adventures while you're asleep. While you're dreaming you can encounter people who are dead, talking animals (talking anything, really), and gods (and these days, aliens).

Not to mention our ancestors were as capable of making up stories as we are. Storytelling is what humans do when its dark and there's a fire going. Memorable stories are more likely to remembered and passed on, and throwing in some superhuman feats by the heroes and villains makes the story more memorable.
I'm not anti-Christian. I'm anti-stupid.
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#29
RE: Just a theory
(July 10, 2018 at 2:00 am)Godscreated Wrote: Where would the idea of a god or gods come from, what would cause people to actually try and conceive of such, there is no evidence to support your thought. We do see these things in religion after they were established, on this I agree. But the concept of a higher being, they had no references to go to that end.

It's a simple extrapolation of an idea that we are all born with. We only see the physical form of another person, yet we project the idea of an invisible, immaterial mind behind the face of the other person as a way of explaining their behavior. We don't view people just as bodies, but bodies which possess minds that move and coordinate their actions. Minds which we "believe" are the same as our own, possessed of thoughts, beliefs, and so on. From there, it's a simple step to imagine minds without bodies, such as ghosts, or people continuing on after death. From there, it's but a hop skip and a jump to imagine minds which are able to make things happen simply by willing them. And thus gods were born. They had plenty of reference to immaterial minds with the power to will things to happen prior to the invention of gods.

There's an interesting experiment by Jesse Bering, in which he put on a brief puppet show for children of various ages. In the puppet show, an alligator eats a mouse. The researchers then asked the children various questions, such as does the mouse still need food? Does the mouse still want to go home? And so on. From a young age, the children could understand that the mouse no longer had physical needs and actions, but they continued to posit mental qualities to the mouse after its death. It was only later children who acknowledged that those, too, ended with the death of the mouse. Interestingly enough, they repeated the experiment with groups that might have a bias towards belief in the afterlife, such as children at a Catholic school, and they found that those children did not give up the belief in the persistence of the mouse's mental attributes after death as readily as more secular children.
[Image: Fenrir-sign.jpg]
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#30
RE: Just a theory
(July 10, 2018 at 9:13 am)Mister Agenda Wrote:
(July 10, 2018 at 2:00 am)Godscreated Wrote: Where would the idea of a god or gods come from, what would cause people to actually try and conceive of such, there is no evidence to support your thought. We do see these things in religion after they were established, on this I agree. But the concept of a higher being, they had no references to go to that end.
GC

You're really stumped by where ideas come from? Do you think the idea of aliens came from aliens and if they weren't real we'd never have thought of them? Ideas come from our dreams and our imaginations.

When we sleep, we seem to go places and encounter people and things, while everyone can confirm that you never left your spot by the campfire. It sure seems like there's an invisible part of you that can walk around and have adventures while you're asleep. While you're dreaming you can encounter people who are dead, talking animals (talking anything, really), and gods (and these days, aliens).

Not to mention our ancestors were as capable of making up stories as we are. Storytelling is what humans do when its dark and there's a fire going. Memorable stories are more likely to remembered and passed on, and throwing in some superhuman feats by the heroes and villains makes the story more memorable.

 None of what you said explains anything and here's why. When we dream our minds use what we have already been exposed to, sure the mind might extrapolate something weird from the information but nothing new. A god would be something new for man because he would have not been exposed to the idea or information that would lead to such a dream, the concept would have been completely foreign to him.

 GC

(July 10, 2018 at 10:19 am)Jörmungandr Wrote:
(July 10, 2018 at 2:00 am)Godscreated Wrote: Where would the idea of a god or gods come from, what would cause people to actually try and conceive of such, there is no evidence to support your thought. We do see these things in religion after they were established, on this I agree. But the concept of a higher being, they had no references to go to that end.

It's a simple extrapolation of an idea that we are all born with.  We only see the physical form of another person, yet we project the idea of an invisible, immaterial mind behind the face of the other person as a way of explaining their behavior.  We don't view people just as bodies, but bodies which possess minds that move and coordinate their actions.  Minds which we "believe" are the same as our own, possessed of thoughts, beliefs, and so on.  From there, it's a simple step to imagine minds without bodies, such as ghosts, or people continuing on after death.  From there, it's but a hop skip and a jump to imagine minds which are able to make things happen simply by willing them.  And thus gods were born.  They had plenty of reference to immaterial minds with the power to will things to happen prior to the invention of gods.

There's an interesting experiment by Jesse Bering, in which he put on a brief puppet show for children of various ages.  In the puppet show, an alligator eats a mouse.  The researchers then asked the children various questions, such as does the mouse still need food?  Does the mouse still want to go home?  And so on.  From a young age, the children could understand that the mouse no longer had physical needs and actions, but they continued to posit mental qualities to the mouse after its death.  It was only later children who acknowledged that those, too, ended with the death of the mouse.  Interestingly enough, they repeated the experiment with groups that might have a bias towards belief in the afterlife, such as children at a Catholic school, and they found that those children did not give up the belief in the persistence of the mouse's mental attributes after death as readily as more secular children.

As for the first part of your post I disagree, it would be far more complicated than you seem to believe. As for death people understood what death was and at some point someone would have wanted to live forever because of their fear of death, but this in no way could lead to an idea of gods. In the first part of your post you are basing and assuming from a modern man's perspective, from ideas we have today not what they were missing in the ages past. The only reasonable answer is that from the beginning God made himself know to man through Adam and Eve.

GC
God loves those who believe and those who do not and the same goes for me, you have no choice in this matter. That puts the matter of total free will to rest.
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