What Causes Religiousity?

Believing in gods and being religious are different things. I suspect that what we call “religion” today was most notably started with Abram (assuming the story to be metaphorically accurate).

In the story of Abram, there is a point where Abram is struggling with an unnamed adversary. The struggle goes on for quite a while until finally, while the adversary has Abram somewhat pinned, he sees that Abram is standing on a “hollow leg” and says to Abram that Abrams lineage will fill the Earth. And so it was.

The story, when seen properly, is talking about an argument between Abram’s point of view and that of an unnamed opponent. What the story was saying is that the leg upon which Abram’s argument stood, had no solid foundation, no logic. But despite that fact, many people for a very long time to come, will accept his argument and be a part of it. Through stubbornness, a religion is born.

There is a common proclamation, “you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground”. Few people realize from where that statement came. What that statement means is, “you cannot see your stubbornness (ass) from a hole in your under-standing (ground)”. Religion is born of stubbornness, what has more recently been touted as “Blind Faith”.

Not all stubbornness or blind faith is irrational. The problem is knowing the difference. Angry self-righteousness, pride, embarrassment, fear, misguided love, and such emotional authority blinds the mind from any hope of seeing self-error.

Online we daily see the same kind of thing going on as people defend their own statements well beyond all reason. Never admitting defeat tends to allow one to believe that they were never really defeated and that they can still claim their proper defense. Ego and religion are all about self-defense of beliefs.

A very similar argument to that of Abram has been going on in the Paradox of the Stopped Clock thread. In the thread, I am the “unnamed adversary” and Carleas is “Abram”. Carleas religiously defends his version of Special Relativity that I keep pointing out is merely a misunderstood version. No matter how many times I get him pinned down and see the hole in his argument, I let him up and he dances into a different posture, hiding the exposed weakness and never giving in, never looking toward the hollowness of his leg. The struggle and dance goes on.

Such is the make of religiosity. The cure is strict Logical form in argumentation. Science offered an additional defense of demonstration as the measure of truth. But without logic, even Science’s demonstrations become obfuscated with misinterpretations of the data or any equations involved. In the end, people simply differ to presumed authority, God, The Church, The Bible, The writings of Einstein, “Science”, and so on and invariably merely what someone ELSE has said. But of course, in every case, there is a problem of interpreting exactly what was meant by what was said. Even mathematics is only a representation that can easily be misunderstood as to what it was intended to represent. Its precision doesn’t make up for its detachment from its intended purpose.

As I presented the story of Abram, no doubt, there are many who believe the story to be strictly literal without any metaphorical or background meanings. To argue with those people (literalists) parallels the very story of Abram - an endless struggle that merely tests the endurance of their faith.

Without adherence to Logic, Religion will always rule the world. Stubborn self-defense, Azazel, The Bull, and other blind passions guide the apes. And just as the Special Relativity theory was founded in logic yet twisted into myth and misunderstanding, any documented logic can become religion. Every generation must learn its own understanding of any prior logic.

What causes religiosity? - The presumptuous stubbornness born from PHT - Perceived Hopes and Threats. Because ALL life is governed by PHT.

Is this a problem that demands a cure? If so, can you clarify what you claim that cure is? Is it to overcome stubborness? Is it to be rational? Isn’t rationality itself a tool to overcome Perceived Hopes and Threats?

You cannot nor should not presume to cure PHT. PHT is your soul’s eyes.
Logic helps to clear the perception so that PHT becomes more accurate. Don’t pluck out the eyes, but clear them. Use rational logic and refusal of ego and anger to pluck out the plank within your own eyes.

So what perceived threat directs your own hopeful philosophy?

A little off topic, but…

Since I have seen that the homosapian is and always has been truly insane (not knowing what is truly good for him nor bad), my first temptation is to simply divorce from him, much as the Buddhist. But having been there and done that, I also see that such leads to nothing but a future of more of the same. So the only purpose in continuing life is merely to take the off chance that there might be a solution found.

During that quest, I found many things, one of which is that the homosapian is on a course of utter extinction, a train headed down and off a cliff. He cannot stop the train he started nor can he or will he exist any longer. But also, being altruist and having no better purpose in heart or mind, I found a means to alter the course of that train, if and only if, I or mine can get into the right position to make one very small and ultimately humble nudge. It is that, and only that, in which I see the Hope and the Threat guiding my existence.

Influenced, I suppose. But “governed” I disagree with. We direct our hopes and fears as much as they direct us. How can you even be sure all life perceives hopes and threats?

I will agree that a need for dogma is likely driven primarily through hopes and/or fears, but that isn’t really a new or particularly profound idea at this point.

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Yet, in the same sense, your existence guides your perception of that hope or threat. If a million people died today, your experience would emphasize the threat of extinction. Your hopes to thwart it would decline in proportion. Only then would that new balance begin to influence you subconsciously. You are programming yourself, in a sense. You decide what to think and then use it in action. That is, you indirectly govern yourself.

Well, I meant govern life’s efforts, not govern its situation. But one affects the other. To what you effort, effects to where you are situated. But it is not your God in determining all outcomes.

My “existence determines”??
What does that even mean? :confused:

So you meant that my “experience determines”?

“You decide what to think.”
Isn’t that getting the cart before the horse?
Don’t you have to think in order to decide (given that emotion is a part of thinking)?

Your experience offers a perception. What every living creature watches for is signs of hopes and/or threats. Your very sensory structure is designed with that in mind (evolutionary or not). You can affect your perception in many ways and thus self-determine your future PHT. That is one of the ways of designing a religion. At that point, it is usually referred to as a “cult”.

But none of that directs away from the fact that all creatures, all life, chooses based upon what they perceive as their situation. And their situation is categorized by hopes and threats, hence PHT. Life cannot exist without PHT. No choices could be made. A simple machine operates without PHT. Life is not a simple machine.

If we are agreed that religion is a set of ideas or beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and propositions for the purpose of the universe, often considered the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs, then we can look at your claim.

I am not familiar with the story about Abraham you are referring to, perhaps you could tell me where to find it. The exegesis you gave seemed to make sense, but I would like to see what context was given.

I have repeatedly argued that we must look at humanities ideas concerning his limited ability to analyse the cause, nature, and propositions for the purpose of the universe without assuming that ancient man was as deranged as modern day man is. I am aware that a certain madness has always been around, but this is explainable without assuming a complete and utter derangement amongst humans – after all, where are we in this idea?

I believe that humanity has become displaced (verrückt) by our very nature of being apparently distinctly animal with a Mind that seems out of place and at odds with our brutish side. It is those ideas which promote dualism and prevent the synthesis of both sides which causes this displacement and in that way I think you are right about religion playing a role in causing insanity amongst human beings. However, I believe that we would be overlooking the fact that if scripture contains a story pointing this out, it could be that it is more the latter day exegesis which is at fault rather than the origins.

Take Care

I get ya. Although, I still think hopes and fears are things used as much as they are things obeyed. In other words, I’m asserting that hopes and fears are pragmatic utility inasmuch as they are rules to live by.

…are we having the same conversation?

What are you talking about? I mean experience influences – you determine.

Yeah, but we are talking about things that have already been conceived of in thought. You already know and recognize what you think. If it works, you use it. If not, you can cling to it or abandon it.

That’s what I’m saying. I think we do affect our perceptions as such all the time, and we don’t need any formal dogma to validate it. We fly by the seat of our pants, so to speak. We pick up hopes and fears, and affirm or negate them, through experience.

But only if their efforts are categorized the same, by your own definition. What of life that may not perceive hopes or fears? And wouldn’t you agree that some choices are forced by circumstances and more spontaneous?

What does an amoeba perceive as its hopes or fears? Or grass?

Is the ability to choose requisite to life? We didn’t evolve out of choice.

All of that is what is included in a typical religion, but they are not what defines a religion.

A religion is defined by its effort to “maintain the legion”, from ligit and ligare, to bind or hold together, to form a legion as it is applied to belief and ritual.

Well, I’m really lousy at quoting chapter and verse. I just took a very quick scan of Genesis, but didn’t see it. It was so long ago for me, that I might be thinking of a reading of the Torah. It’s in there somewhere. Sorry, I can’t be more specific.

It isn’t “assumption”.
If one wants to learn of sanity, one must first discover what constitutes sanity. From there, it isn’t that difficult to get a clear picture of the insanity, even if a part of it.

Insane homosapians say the darnedest things… sometimes they are even true.

And since you brought that up, I would like to add…

A “spirit” is not a gossamer thing that hides in attics and floats down dark hallways, but is merely an effort or a behavior. People of kindred spirit are those who follow similar incentives.

A “holy spirit” is an effort/spirit that is considerate of all things, “whole” - “holy”.

It is a fine tuned but complex statement, but the holy spirit of sentient life is the effort/spirit to;
Clarify, Verify, and Remember the Hopes and Threats that Inspire the Maximum Momentum of Self-Harmony.

If you take out the “verify”, you have the spirit of life (sentient or not) and such is what has led to ALL of life on Earth and all of its complexity.

All life attempts the spirit of life (else it isn’t life). Sentient life, like Science, affords itself the effort to verify what it otherwise would assume through misguided perceptions.

The film, “The Matrix” points out the power in controlling a mind through controlling perception, the Perception Matrix - controlled media and communication.

PHT is what gives inspiration to all endeavors. Clarity of perception is what yields accuracy in those endeavors. Verification is what ensures the devil isn’t in the details. Momentum of Self-Harmony is what ensures the maximum life span and inner joy. That which remains in harmony cannot perish. Joy is the inner perception of making progress in the endeavors (whether accurate or not).

Such is the “philosophy of my conscious life” efforts.

Without first having hopes and threats, you have no use for anything. Without PHT, you have no perceived purpose with which to make the decision is use or pursue anything at all. Without PHT, you are merely a machine unconcerned with its survival.

You are perhaps. I am talking about the very seed of life itself.

The purpose of dogma is memory. The complaint is that you might be dogmatically remembering the wrong things. Secularism preaches a different set of dogmatic truths that it aspires to replace the prior religion’s truths. It is merely the next set.

Then it isn’t life, but merely a blind mechanism.

If a decision is forced upon you, then it is not your decision. Spontaneous choices are merely choices void of deeper thought, more likely to be erroneous without verification.

Yes it does. The grass grows toward the sunlight. The amoeba pulls away from touch and toward food.

We didn’t create our life. And yes, if there are truly no choices, no decisions being made, it is not alive.

Re-ligion has also been said to be a “re-binding” or reconnecting in the way you mentioned above rather than having connections to “legion”, which is a gathering, generally of soldiers.

Well that is quite disappointing since you build your OP on that statement-

OK, what does constitute sanity? Being in a field of work where I am regularly confronted with psychosis, dementia and various other disorders, I see a distinct difference between these disorders and the general “Verrücktheit” or displacement of those people without a diagnosed disorder. In fact, some religious people appear to me to be more stable in borderline experiences than those without some belief-system.

This seems to be a very noncommittal statement. I think we need more evidence for your thesis before we proceed.

Take Care

The story of Abram/ham and the entire Bible could be total fiction without changing my argument. I am speaking of the concepts.

Sanity == Knowing what is good from bad for you”.

Well certainly. As they say, “believing in anything is better than believing in nothing”.

Don’t accept the notion that I am proclaiming good or bad when it comes to religion. I am discussing what causes it. If religion is good, then what causes it must also be good, assuming the good of it out weighs that bad. :sunglasses:

It is a discussion, not a proposed proof.

Take Care 2

Does grass have use for sunlight?

Why do I need a purpose to do anything? All I need is a motive. I’d think that basic necessity preceded any notion of hope or fear in terms of survival. We become conscious of our needs and desires upon which we build our hopes and fears.

I’m not even going to pretend I know what that means.

Dogma has many uses and purposes. Anyway, I fail to see how your statement is relevant to the discussion.

That’s a little vague. A blind mechanism of/for what?

If you’d like to assert a new definition of “life”, I say let’s have it. Otherwise, your statement here doesn’t seem to mean anything.

So if I’m driving with a cop behind me, his lights and siren on, it isn’t my decision to pull over? Any episode of COPS would serve as evidence to the contrary. Sometimes you don’t have time to run through every possible consequence thoroughly, so you roll the dice. Obviously you roll them with hope, but that is not necessarily the reason you roll them.

That wasn’t a yes or no question, and what you gave is a description of behavior. I’m asking what their hopes and fears are, and, if you endeavor an answer, how you know this information.

I have not seen a single definition of “life” that lists choice as a requisite. Are you redefining then?

In short, all you really need to do is support one of these assertions. My contention is that both are false. Hopes and fears are established through experience, so existence must precede them. An infant doesn’t consider his hopes and fears when he makes decisions. “PHT” is background noise, in a sense. Those things are largely subconscious and do influence us quite a bit, but are not the sole mechanisms by which we operate or choose.

My understanding is that it dies without it, so yeah, I suspect so.

What do you think a motive is??
Or from where do you think your purposes derive?
Your highest motive, is your highest need, is your highest purpose. But don’t be so naive as to think that you know what that would be. Your body created your mind to serve the body, not the other way around.

Blind to consequences that relate to its survival.

A hope is defined by whatever it is that you strive toward. Leaves (grass), strive toward light. They turn in the morning to face the light. They follow it through the day. They are aware of the light. They seek it. It is a part of their entire hope of survival (by definition of “hope”). Don’t think just because your mind hopes in certain ways, that the word “hope” only applies to what your silly mind does.

And grass has “PHT”?

I noticed you mentioned “need” in that formula, but no hope or fear. Necessity is more fundamental. And my body didn’t create my mind. The mind was inherent property of my physiology. Body, brain, and mind are created at once, though they may evolve at different paces.

Is that sufficient grounds to negate the life?

No, it isn’t. I won’t bother listing all the formal definitions of “hope”, but it suffices to say your’s isn’t accurate.

I don’t think leaves have desires or agendas, they simply need sunlight and, as such, are attracted to it. So I really don’t think hope applies whatsoever.

Well to be honest, I read it to my neighbor’s dog. I don’t think she believes it either. So you aren’t alone.

OK, so I’m back at the beginning. Your discussion of the cause of religion starts out by stating that presumptuous stubbornness born from PHT - Perceived Hopes and Threats causes religiosity (or piety, devoutness).

Putting the presumptuous stubbornness to one side, PHT, you say, governs all life. Therein we have first of all perception.

Perception is first of all the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding. For an awakening species which is attempting to grasp the meaning of or understand its environment, there must be a process of collecting and sorting of information by its relevance and the result of its testing. Ancient man will have done this by trial and error even before he had stories to transport collective knowledge which, for me, are the beginnings of religion.

It will have been important to acquire an immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation of a situation or experience, in order to become secure in a certain setting. Maslow’s model of the hierarchy of needs helps us understand the progression of requirements before we gain the security of our lives today. Even if the model isn’t to be seen dogmatically, it is true to a large degree, although we must perhaps add or alter the higher regions with the supposed needs of a modern society, without reaching self-actualisation.

Of course, many of us haven’t gone through this progression ourselves, but were born into a relative security which has only been marginally threatened now and then. Along this line of progression we perceive developments which give us cause for hope of further progression, as well as threats which endanger such progression, but we haven’t had to struggle for moral, psychological, or aesthetic qualities in the way that ancient man has had to, therefore our insight, intuition or discernment often has a shallow quality. The perception required of ancient man has become rare – which explains perhaps the risks we take and mistakes we make in modern society, and also the social wrecks which seem to be increasing rather than diminishing.

I believe that religion has a part in this derogative development, but only in as much as it fails to rise above the common ground of basic needs to “self-actualisation” for want of another term. When religion is a part of re-binding to wisdom and insight rather than just passing on tradition and knowledge of scriptures, then it rises to the integral ability of mankind to awaken. We have lost this distinction between science and knowledge and awareness and insight, and although they are distinct they are complementary but often seen as opposites by people on both sides of the fence. Science distinguishes what we really know and what is illusion, but awareness and insight recognise what that knowledge means.

Therefore I think that your thesis presents the real problem in a simplistic manner and tends to whitewash all of mankind instead of acknowledging that, despite natural entropy, cultural and cognitive development has taken place under adverse circumstances. I believe that the exception to the rule is of great importance, because it is there that hope lies.

Take Care