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Evolutionary origins of religion

PetersSmith
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4/20/2016 8:01:45 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
There's a theory that religious belief is a product of evolution, where it emerged really as a result of human intelligence. According to George Murdock, he considered religion and religious rituals to be considered a cultural universal, rather than an individual one, as a result of advanced human behavior. Individually, however, psychological reasons have been proposed as to why "intelligent" (yes, certain simians have been observed to conduct religious practices) beings "invent" religion.

The first is a cognitive/intellectual function, where the individual feels comfortable using it to explain the unexplainable that has no "logical" answers. Humans, specifically, have developed to have a strong desire to understand themselves and the world around them. But because this understanding is so imperfect, religion provides a framework for giving meaning to events and experiences that cannot be explained in any other way. It assures its believers that the world is meaningful, allowing people to maintain their worldview even when events seem to contradict it.

The second is an emotional function. Where religious belief is "thought up" because it helps people cope with everyday anxieties like death. They turn to religion in an attempt to control, through supernatural means, their circumstances. The less control people have, the more likely they are to practice religion. Religion thus acts as a source of emotional strength when people are faced with a frightening situation. Religious rituals are used to attempt to control the forces people believe they don't have control over.

Then of course there is the development of social functions of religion (instead of the development of just religious belief). One is, most notably, social control. Religion maintains social order by encouraging socially acceptable behavior and discouraging socially inappropriate behavior. Religion, regardless of the form, is an ethical system. When social sanctions are backed by a supernatural force they become more compelling. Michael McCullough and Brian Willoughby believe that sincere belief in religion gives people internal control, resistance to temptation, and obedience to social norms. In their 2009 study, they said that research has shown that religious people are more successful in school, live longer, and have more satisfying marriages. In their brain scan studies, they found that praying, reading scriptures, and meditating stimulate two parts of the brain associated with self-regulation of attention and emotions. In another 2003 study, they concluded that there is a close correlation between religious beliefs and practices and self-control, consciousness, and adherence to social norms.

A second theorized social function of religion is conflict resolution. Religion reduces the stress and frustrations that often lead to social conflict. People avoid the potential disruptiveness to their own society that might occur if they took out their frustrations on "evildoers". Bengt Sundkler conducted a study in South Africa where he believed that certain Africans broke away from the Christian church to reduce conflict by diverting resentment away from the wider power structure (religion as an opiate of the masses).

Finally, there is reinforcement of group solidarity. Religion enables people to express their common identity in an emotionally charged environment, creating powerful social bonds and strengthening a person's sense of group identity and belonging.

So, do you think that religious belief is a product of evolution in order to serve these proposed functions? Does this offer a different perspective to religion and make it seem less demonized? Do you think any of these are really accurate and in actuality religion is actually created by the upper classes in an attempt to preserve the economic superstructure to blind people from their exploitation by the ruling class? Or does religion not have evolutionary functions and is just "made up" because of other reasons? Discuss.
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Chloe8
Posts: 2,614
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4/20/2016 8:43:27 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/20/2016 8:01:45 PM, PetersSmith wrote:
There's a theory that religious belief is a product of evolution, where it emerged really as a result of human intelligence. According to George Murdock, he considered religion and religious rituals to be considered a cultural universal, rather than an individual one, as a result of advanced human behavior. Individually, however, psychological reasons have been proposed as to why "intelligent" (yes, certain simians have been observed to conduct religious practices) beings "invent" religion.

The first is a cognitive/intellectual function, where the individual feels comfortable using it to explain the unexplainable that has no "logical" answers. Humans, specifically, have developed to have a strong desire to understand themselves and the world around them. But because this understanding is so imperfect, religion provides a framework for giving meaning to events and experiences that cannot be explained in any other way. It assures its believers that the world is meaningful, allowing people to maintain their worldview even when events seem to contradict it.

The second is an emotional function. Where religious belief is "thought up" because it helps people cope with everyday anxieties like death. They turn to religion in an attempt to control, through supernatural means, their circumstances. The less control people have, the more likely they are to practice religion. Religion thus acts as a source of emotional strength when people are faced with a frightening situation. Religious rituals are used to attempt to control the forces people believe they don't have control over.

Then of course there is the development of social functions of religion (instead of the development of just religious belief). One is, most notably, social control. Religion maintains social order by encouraging socially acceptable behavior and discouraging socially inappropriate behavior. Religion, regardless of the form, is an ethical system. When social sanctions are backed by a supernatural force they become more compelling. Michael McCullough and Brian Willoughby believe that sincere belief in religion gives people internal control, resistance to temptation, and obedience to social norms. In their 2009 study, they said that research has shown that religious people are more successful in school, live longer, and have more satisfying marriages. In their brain scan studies, they found that praying, reading scriptures, and meditating stimulate two parts of the brain associated with self-regulation of attention and emotions. In another 2003 study, they concluded that there is a close correlation between religious beliefs and practices and self-control, consciousness, and adherence to social norms.

A second theorized social function of religion is conflict resolution. Religion reduces the stress and frustrations that often lead to social conflict. People avoid the potential disruptiveness to their own society that might occur if they took out their frustrations on "evildoers". Bengt Sundkler conducted a study in South Africa where he believed that certain Africans broke away from the Christian church to reduce conflict by diverting resentment away from the wider power structure (religion as an opiate of the masses).

Finally, there is reinforcement of group solidarity. Religion enables people to express their common identity in an emotionally charged environment, creating powerful social bonds and strengthening a person's sense of group identity and belonging.

So, do you think that religious belief is a product of evolution in order to serve these proposed functions? Does this offer a different perspective to religion and make it seem less demonized? Do you think any of these are really accurate and in actuality religion is actually created by the upper classes in an attempt to preserve the economic superstructure to blind people from their exploitation by the ruling class? Or does religion not have evolutionary functions and is just "made up" because of other reasons? Discuss.

Agree that religion is a natural product of evolution and the best reason early humans could think of to explain their existence and it's purpose. Obviously historically religion was a net benefit to humanity but we have now reached a stage where it is actually holding us back and slowing down social, scientific, educational, technological and moral development. it also leads to wars, prosecution and discrimination. It's time humanity consigns religion to the history books.
"I don't need experience.to knock you out. I'm a man. that's all I need to beat you and any woman."

Fatihah, in his delusion that he could knock out any woman while bragging about being able to knock me out. An example of 7th century Islamic thinking inspired by his hero the paedophile Muhammad.
graceofgod
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4/20/2016 8:52:26 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
hmm how did these early humans no the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing or that the oceans were fed by springs at the very bottom of the oceans...lol

pretty advanced for their time....
Chloe8
Posts: 2,614
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4/20/2016 8:59:15 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/20/2016 8:52:26 PM, graceofgod wrote:
hmm how did these early humans no the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing or that the oceans were fed by springs at the very bottom of the oceans...lol

pretty advanced for their time....

They actually thought a flat earth floated in a cosmic ocean.

https://www.google.co.uk...

They had a good guess but it turned out they were a long way from reality.
"I don't need experience.to knock you out. I'm a man. that's all I need to beat you and any woman."

Fatihah, in his delusion that he could knock out any woman while bragging about being able to knock me out. An example of 7th century Islamic thinking inspired by his hero the paedophile Muhammad.
graceofgod
Posts: 5,113
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4/20/2016 9:01:03 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/20/2016 8:59:15 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:52:26 PM, graceofgod wrote:
hmm how did these early humans no the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing or that the oceans were fed by springs at the very bottom of the oceans...lol

pretty advanced for their time....

They actually thought a flat earth floated in a cosmic ocean.

https://www.google.co.uk...

They had a good guess but it turned out they were a long way from reality.

the word says quite clearly the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing...

though technically speaking a cosmic ocean isn't so far off ..
Chloe8
Posts: 2,614
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4/20/2016 9:28:02 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/20/2016 9:01:03 PM, graceofgod wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:59:15 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:52:26 PM, graceofgod wrote:
hmm how did these early humans no the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing or that the oceans were fed by springs at the very bottom of the oceans...lol

pretty advanced for their time....

They actually thought a flat earth floated in a cosmic ocean.

https://www.google.co.uk...

They had a good guess but it turned out they were a long way from reality.

the word says quite clearly the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing...

though technically speaking a cosmic ocean isn't so far off ..

Have you actually looked at the diagram showing what the Hebrew writers of genesis thought the universe looked like? At the time the bible was written this was the concept people believed was true. The bible matches it nicely.
"I don't need experience.to knock you out. I'm a man. that's all I need to beat you and any woman."

Fatihah, in his delusion that he could knock out any woman while bragging about being able to knock me out. An example of 7th century Islamic thinking inspired by his hero the paedophile Muhammad.
graceofgod
Posts: 5,113
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4/20/2016 9:34:25 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/20/2016 9:28:02 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 9:01:03 PM, graceofgod wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:59:15 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:52:26 PM, graceofgod wrote:
hmm how did these early humans no the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing or that the oceans were fed by springs at the very bottom of the oceans...lol

pretty advanced for their time....

They actually thought a flat earth floated in a cosmic ocean.

https://www.google.co.uk...

They had a good guess but it turned out they were a long way from reality.

the word says quite clearly the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing...

though technically speaking a cosmic ocean isn't so far off ..

Have you actually looked at the diagram showing what the Hebrew writers of genesis thought the universe looked like? At the time the bible was written this was the concept people believed was true. The bible matches it nicely.

yet they knew the earth was round, they knew the earth was suspended in the heavens from nothing and they knew the oceans were fed from springs at the very bottom of the oceans, I think that sounds pretty good for people you say didn't know anything or where just guessing...lol
Chloe8
Posts: 2,614
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4/20/2016 9:39:40 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/20/2016 9:34:25 PM, graceofgod wrote:
At 4/20/2016 9:28:02 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 9:01:03 PM, graceofgod wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:59:15 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:52:26 PM, graceofgod wrote:
hmm how did these early humans no the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing or that the oceans were fed by springs at the very bottom of the oceans...lol

pretty advanced for their time....

They actually thought a flat earth floated in a cosmic ocean.

https://www.google.co.uk...

They had a good guess but it turned out they were a long way from reality.

the word says quite clearly the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing...

though technically speaking a cosmic ocean isn't so far off ..

Have you actually looked at the diagram showing what the Hebrew writers of genesis thought the universe looked like? At the time the bible was written this was the concept people believed was true. The bible matches it nicely.

yet they knew the earth was round, they knew the earth was suspended in the heavens from nothing and they knew the oceans were fed from springs at the very bottom of the oceans, I think that sounds pretty good for people you say didn't know anything or where just guessing...lol

They thought the firmament kept held back the water above them. They thought the sun moved back and forth across the firmament. They thought the firmament was supported by foundations. Maybe you think that's true but like most people I know it's an incorrect theory.
"I don't need experience.to knock you out. I'm a man. that's all I need to beat you and any woman."

Fatihah, in his delusion that he could knock out any woman while bragging about being able to knock me out. An example of 7th century Islamic thinking inspired by his hero the paedophile Muhammad.
graceofgod
Posts: 5,113
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4/20/2016 9:45:12 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/20/2016 9:39:40 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 9:34:25 PM, graceofgod wrote:
At 4/20/2016 9:28:02 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 9:01:03 PM, graceofgod wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:59:15 PM, Chloe8 wrote:
At 4/20/2016 8:52:26 PM, graceofgod wrote:
hmm how did these early humans no the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing or that the oceans were fed by springs at the very bottom of the oceans...lol

pretty advanced for their time....

They actually thought a flat earth floated in a cosmic ocean.

https://www.google.co.uk...

They had a good guess but it turned out they were a long way from reality.

the word says quite clearly the earth is suspended in the heavens on nothing...

though technically speaking a cosmic ocean isn't so far off ..

Have you actually looked at the diagram showing what the Hebrew writers of genesis thought the universe looked like? At the time the bible was written this was the concept people believed was true. The bible matches it nicely.

yet they knew the earth was round, they knew the earth was suspended in the heavens from nothing and they knew the oceans were fed from springs at the very bottom of the oceans, I think that sounds pretty good for people you say didn't know anything or where just guessing...lol

They thought the firmament kept held back the water above them. They thought the sun moved back and forth across the firmament. They thought the firmament was supported by foundations. Maybe you think that's true but like most people I know it's an incorrect theory.

not my work so please excuse the answer...

http://www.kjvbible.org...

hebrew is a very complex language....