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Is religion an evolutionary adaptation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2018 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 938 times Debate No: 117495
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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I believe that religion is an evolutionary survival adaptation that has kept many humans alive, Kept many humans from making uncivil decisions, And reduced anxiety and depression in many humans. I believe these things to be true due to the following reasoning.

1. Due to there being thousands of different religions in the world, Rational thinking would conclude that there is no god at all. Vrather rational thinking would conclude that religion is a survival adaptation that has protected humans lives and human stability for thousands of years

2. Humans that are religious on average tend to be less depressed as believing that you will never die and are intimately loved and important by a powerful individual obviously provides comfort and support. Additionally humans who are religious tend to have more self control as believing that you are being judged keeps your behavior civil and acceptable to others around you. Having faith that a God has everything under control in a poor and uncontrollable situation additionally can provide anxiety relief in high stress situations.

3. Additionally, People that are religious tend to create alliances and trust networks through worshipping a certain god together. For example, If an adolescent were to attend a youth group at a church, Odds are that individual will make alliances with other youth or adults. Although today it is true that when it comes to survival it's not important to have these connections, Historically the more alliances you could create, The more likely you were to survive.

For these basic reasons I think that is is very apparent that religion is an evolutionary survival adaptation that has definitely played a role in protecting human life.


1) As far as there being thousands of different religions a person can propose two things. The first is a general observation. With there being so many religions could you say that people have a natural yearning for the spiritual? If there was no God and no spiritual realm it would make sense for there to be no religion at all. People must have been getting results specifically from religious activity over the years or everyone would be insane. For the colloquial definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If they kept getting no result specifically from religion they wouldn't do it. I propose that people yearn for God and in turn partake in religious activity while getting results. Otherwise, According to the definition of insanity, Billions and billions of people would be insane.

The second proposition is from a Christian perspective to address the issue of so many different religions. A conservative Christian will say that present day Christianity is the only religion that God honors as legitimate. I will say that all other religions are man-made religions while not being centered around Jesus Christ. You will see that pretty much all of these man-made religions are legalistic in nature which is the opposite of Christianity. Also, A personal and intimate relationship with God differs from others, Including a major one of Islam.

As far as religion being a survival adaptation, It is apparent from history that some religions have resulted in wide scale death. The first example I will use is Islam which through history has done much marauding and aggressive warfare to advance its agenda. The second example claims to not be a religion, But it bases its main tenet on a sort of faith in there being no God, Which it can't prove. Atheistic leaders have headed tyrannical governments resulting in millions of murders. So, With misled belief systems much death can result. A person can research and find multitudes of examples of murder and death resulting from misled belief systems.

2) The the only thing I will debate with this point is that I don't have self control out of a fear of being judged. This is because as a Christian I have no condemnation from God because of the faith I place in Jesus who made the payment for my sin with his sacrifice on the cross. I have self control because I want to be like Jesus and please God.

3) In many places in the world, It is actually dangerous to be a Christian. Most of the central figures in the New Testament of the bible were martyrs and it still happens often today. In fact, In the last book of the bible the specific condition of the martyr is addressed. The vast majority of Christians have addressed the question of whether or not they would deny their faith in the face of death.

I would say, Especially with Christianity, Religion tends to go against the natural grain of survival life.
Debate Round No. 1


Overall I see many flaws in my opponents argument. I will begin by stating that my opponents view of sanity is valid.

1) The definition of insanity is doing something repeatedly and expecting different results to be yielded. Having beliefs in the supernatural or extra ordinary does not classify you as insane. If it did, Then people with a belief that there dead grandma is looking over them or that psychics can see there future by reading there palms, Would be classified as crazy if humans set rational standards on what defines delusions. Severe PTSD resulting in psychosis can easily result in symptoms that could be (excluding a flat affect) indistinguishable from scizophrenia. PTSD historically is a survival mechanism utilized by our ancestors to provide anxiety after something violent had happened to them or a loved one perpetrated by an individual or predatory animal. Unlike today, If something bad happens you can't just get into a car and drive hundreds of miles away from the situation and the likelihood of a violent situation occurring again is very likely. Thus our bodies utilizing anxiety in the form of paranoia and delusions {PTSD} to prepare themselves for a future violent encounter protected the life of the individual substantialy more than if the "disorder" was not present.
[1]httpss://www. Ncbi. Nlm. Nih. Gov/m/pubmed/20001399/

2) With that being said, Religious beliefs and PTSD have many similarities. Both cause irrational and often times impossible delusions for survival purposes. The government link used above and below can address and attest that PTSD is likely a survival mechanism. Hence giving a large likelihood to the fact that all religion is a survival adaptation.

3) For my 3rd point, I will rationalize the irrationality of believing that an all good and all powerful god would allow so many religions in the world. As stated by my opponent, Religion has gotten millions of people murdered throughout time. A rational god would not allow such things to happen to his closely loved animals that identify themselves as humans. Therefore this argument is irrational due to economical reasons. A good God would only allow one religion, Not thousands as even humans using common sense could identify that this move would be extremely ignorant and result in violence towards many individuals. . . Including woman and children.

4) Finally for my last argument, People inventing other religions for there own personal survival struggles for there own personal gain is vital to survival itself. The brain cannot evolve to what other individuals would or could do to you for having your adaptation. It can only give the individual the edge that it would need for effective survival historically. An adaptation such as making religion irrational for possibilities of persecution is not a rational or economical reason to completely abandon the day to day perks of having a religion.
[1]https://www. Ncbi. Nlm. Nih. Gov/m/pubmed/20001399/
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
Not knowing can be painfull. Any lie can ease that pain.
Posted by skipsaweirdo 3 years ago
"Not knowing can be painful. " And. . . . . ?
"Any lie can ease that pain". . . . So.
You have an acute ability to mean absolutely nothing while attempting to sound insightful in regards to recondite subjects.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
Not knowing can be painfull. Any lie can ease that pain.
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