Would humanity have survived without religion? | INFJ Forum

Would humanity have survived without religion?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by TinyBubbles, Apr 28, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    Regardless of whether there is or isn't a God, the existence of RELIGION has surely had a huge impact on humanity. We would not be as a society where we are now, if a significant proportion of us did not believe in God - if our ancestors did not follow religious practices. You can look through any law book to confirm it, it all derives from a religious past. Morality & legality have always been intimately linked with religious mores.

    My question is this: Was religion NECESSARY for our survival, all those years ago? We didn't always know what we know now about how the world works - we didn't know about DNA, we didn't know about what lightening was, or earthquakes, or disease, or any of myriad of things we now are fortunate enough to understand. At those times throughout history when things have gone wrong, such as wars, disease, hunger, etc. and we couldn't respond to them systematically & rationally-- all we could do beyond a certain, frequently insufficient limit was hope -- would we have survived, mentally physically emotionally spiritually, would we as a group has sustained our will to live and prosper if we didn't believe some figure/s out there was looking out for us? That there was a reason for destruction - that there was a way to control and prevent it - through prayer?

    What do people nowadays follow religion for? Numerous studies have shown faithful people are generally happier, their immune systems even work harder to fight infection and disease when they're sick. This could be a simple placebo effect - but an effect it surely is- could this effect have been responsible (at least in part) for the survival of our race itself? How do you think the world would be different if the concept of deities just never materialized?
     
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  2. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    Side Note: I see the Christian religion as something fundamentally different from other religions.

    However, most religions (including Christianity) cultivate a respect, admiration, veneration, love, aspiration, etc. for what is better, greater, purer, more perfect, more beautiful, wiser, etc. than us.

    In many ways, one aspect of the function of religion has been to give to the entire population an appreciation, or at least a respect of those more abstract things, which Intuits normally dwell on.

    If we, as a race, had no intuition, I suspect that we would be little more than highly evolved animals, incapable of conceptualising anything beyond what is sensed in one's immediate environment. In this respect, I think religion (in it's broadest term, outlined above) or at least our capacity for religion is what distinguishes us from the other animals.

    Could we have survived? Yes.
    Have we done much better than just survived? Yes - in great part because religion has transferred the esteem of ideals (of justice, beauty, truth, equity, love, wisdom, etc.) from individuals to whole populations.
     
  3. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    science of the discworld II
     
  4. Poetic Justice

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    Why?

    We are animals and what makes you think other animals don't have intuition? they do. In fact they operate mostly on intuition. Some animals entirely. Crocodiles for example

    It is actually the opposite of this which makes us different to other animals. It is our exagerated ability (some other animals have a limited ability to do this) to apply logic to our intuition which seperates us.

    Religion does not equal morality. This is one of the most common misconceptions about religion. The most reasonable and accepting people in my experienceare either Buddists or atheists

    The pope said condoms are evil so millions of Africans died of Aids, thousands died in the crusades, 9/11 and numerous other conflicts.

    How many wars have been started because of religion? How many people hung or whatever in medieval times because of a random belief of some religion or other. How many women worldwide are oppressed because of their religion?

    Could we survive without religion? of course.
     
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  5. 88chaz88

    88chaz88 Back for a limited time only
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    Some other form of ignorance will merely take it's place.

    I can see a lot of arguments against this statement from both the religious and anti-religious groups. So let me say, before you make your massive argument about how wrong and idiotic I am to claim such a bold thing, and then trying to enlighten me in some way, I don't care what you have to say. Argue amongst yourselves, not with me.

    Sorry to anyone reading that who doesn't feel any animosity towards my statement.
     
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  6. Jack

    Jack Community Member

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    We probably could have survived, but probably not as well. I think it was Dawkins (maybe?) who said "evolution is smarter than you."

    On the spiritual side of the argument, perhaps God performed a miracle for us or something to help us along...

    It also may have been key in the first civilizations.

    Even now think it is overall beneficial to humanity be it correct or not.
     
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    #6 Jack, Apr 28, 2010
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  7. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    Many superstitions have been useful in times of lack of understanding, and some still are. But it would have been better if people consciously were applying them as heuristics.

    Indeed, that's why law and declarative morality are so unscientific, and on their way out too, aiming to transform them into functional application, because this doesn't work.

    About religious folks being happier: when some people are happy in a world full of unhappiness, it's not a true measure of health.
     
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    #7 enfp can be shy, Apr 28, 2010
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  8. Jack

    Jack Community Member

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    I am suprised you would think that morality, declarative or otherwise is even in the realm of science.
     
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    #8 Jack, Apr 28, 2010
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  9. Rakawi

    Rakawi Community Member

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    I suspect not, but it's hard to prove an alternate reality.
     
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  10. Stu

    Stu Constipated
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    The question is not Was religion Necessay, the question is, Is religion Necessary. This is Jung's fundamental point. You seem stuck on the idea of a Divinity and a Creed as the definition of religion. Without access to a personal numinous experience humans find great difficulty in deriving meaning from life. Meaningless human life is (in the long run) unsustainable. Our propensity to believe in a transcendent divinity arises from deep within our instinctual unconsciousness.
     
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  11. IndigoSensor

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    I can't see how it wouldn't have.
     
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  12. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Religion is part of what makes humanity human, and it also is part of what makes us demonic (irony intended). We all sit somewhere in the following definitions:

    re
     
  13. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    Spirituality, as a spiritual sense, seems to have emerged in humanity early on and continues to today. We notice things, we make connections, rational and intuitive. I think it is a part of us, even in a scientific age. Religion, in it's best forms, is a system that seeks to understand spirituality, articulating it somehow. Almost every religion has it's structures and these do serve a rightful purpose...to teach and to pass on a communal awareness for spiritual connection and well-being on a personal level.

    Now, the more worldly forms of religion we could have definitely lived without, yet within these (whose failings we are glad to enumerate) there has also been great good...in fact, some of the most enlightened, free, and complete human beings to ever walk the earth came out of religion.

    In the end, I think religion is a good thing and we should encourage it's proper and full expression. Religious systems, when done properly, have an intersting dynamic in they require one to bump up against ideas that may not seem comfortable (or seem odd, or seem trivial) initially. If we press on however (and get past our own egos and linear logic) we find that in time this process opens entire vistas that we never knew existed. In this world, all of our initial assumptions are challenged and deepened...we come to encounter truth and beauty that is new and fresh, yet still connected to the mysteries of the religious tradition. It's like coming full circle over and over, and what seemed initially trivial actually takes on great and profound meaning. This is where the individual aspects, experiences, and aspirations of personal spirituality intertwine with the communal aspects and experience of religion. Religion represents a path (and usually very diverse paths) and the individual benefits greatly from this communal experience through time. Yet, at the same time it is new and immediate in every person's expression.

    It is in vogue to criticize religion, and in many respects this is deserved. However, there is also great good here and humanity would have deep regrets is it were to vanish altogether. It is a world many do not understand as the inner dynamics can seem so foreign. There is more to the story though, and here religion becomes linked to our own spiritual instincts, aspirations, and freedom. In this regard I do think it is necessary on some level.
     
    #13 randomsomeone, Apr 28, 2010
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  14. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    what do you mean by religion, does it includes spirituality?

    For spirituality I would say yes. It is necessary for mankind to believe in something that is bigger and greater than him, something to aim for. It encourages to improve your live and the lives of others and fills you with hope and purpose

    In the most structural form of religion, I would say, it depends on the religion. There is a reason why the Middle Ages are called the Dark ages. Mankind has made a HUGE step backwards in all fields of live and the only reason why is because of CHRISTIANITY. The romans had such an advanced culture with science and democracy. Although it was not all sunshine, it was a lot better than the feodale system afterwards where people where kept stupid and ignorent, it was the realm of injustice, doctrine, fear of God, fear of doing something wrong, fear of being doomed for ever. It was the age of the burning of the wiches, all free thinking was burned and cut down at the rouths. We forgot all the knowledge of the Greek and the Moslim and had to start all over again and it was all because of religion.

    virtues as in hope, humanity, care, love, ... are not solely the realms of religion. Those are universel topics, everyone knows it, carries it deep inside, whether they have a religion or not. That is wat matters and not religion as a system. Religion as a doctrine is more a killer of humanity than a saviour
     
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  15. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    To add to my previous post, superstitions and science are the same things. Just the level of reproducibility raises with time. But it will never be 100%, because the conditions for each experiment are in fact unique. (hence, the misattributed Einstein quote about insanity is not valid) In any case, our current level of science is the funny superstition of the future. Our current scientists are the priests and shamans of the past. We are just too short-sighted and guided by labels, to see that. There's a lot of dogma in each scientific approach; it is about dogma: it gives answers and methods. The difference is that now it works much better, but we never know if it is entirely correct or optimal.

    However, I suspect something else. I suspect the positive results voiced by shamans of the past, and by scientists of today, are not their work, on average. They are usually the insight of people uninvolved with such community, who explore and experiment, without following the accepted methods of work. The rest, the biggest bulk of it, is fillers; often in cycles.

    Well, it's a "debate" between the so called postmodernist and realist scientists. Which as always leaves the case "open", so the status quo can still reign in its own pity. Partial reason is the unnecessary popular division in some western school systems between natural sciences and liberal arts. That allows the narrow-mindedness to treat science as "techie" stuff. :)
     
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    #15 enfp can be shy, Apr 28, 2010
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  16. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    Not sure that is entirely fair. The Dark Ages and the Middle Ages are two different things, and the Dark Ages were thus because of the vacuum left by the fall of the Roman empire which, despite their achivements in engineering (and running over indigenous peoples) were not a just society by any means, if only because it ran on slavery. In fact, Christianity played a major role is assuring classical literature was not lost entirely, and the first written voice in western civilization to decry the practice of slavery was a Christian. Nevermind it's contributions to science.

    It's easy to oversimplify when picking villians...I suggest that one might look past religion as a prime motivator and more to lust for power, out-of-control egos, and love of riches...and lots of folks were/are guilty of this, religious or not. In any case, once Christianity was co-opted as a state religion, all kinds of people (many with very mixed motivations) signed up. That cause all kinds of odd problems...and some opportunities, too, I guess. It's still this way.
     
  17. Stu

    Stu Constipated
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    this is the most oft quoted myth about christianity. Kicking and screaming comes the christian creeds into the light of science.

    that said, it is the rational ego worship of science that has most jeopardized the soul of humanity
     
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  18. testing

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    Well, I'll just pop in and say: what about all those pre-Christian religions which involved ritual human sacrifice and massive amounts of slavery? (such as the Aztecs and Mayans and, I believe, some of the Greek pagan religions) They were pretty gory, really. Yuk-o. Have you ever seen some of those carvings on Mayan temples of people having thier hearts ripped out? Makes Judith and Holofernes look pretty tame.

    Some modern religions arguably seem a step up from that kind of thing, although I know Christ was supposed to be the ultimate sacrifice to end all sacrifices, and elements of pagan religions are incorporated into Christianity.

    Maybe humanity will just keep upgrading religions like a computer program (Christianity Release 2010.1.0.345.666... dramatically improves upon performance issues in earlier versions. Stay tuned for the entirely new 2012 version coming soon!!!)
     
  19. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    Yeah, the New World imperial religions were not so good. But still, wherever you go there is A religion.

    I think religions will continue to upgrade, and as an avid religious technology user, I can't wait!

    1) I skipped the whole "Judaic Religion: Islam Edition" upgrade because I didn't like some of the new features.
    2) I'm still waiting for the big release that is coming up in the next century. I thought about being on the development team, but decided I wasn't qualified.
    3) Honestly, I'm still using elements of the old pagan pre-text interface.
    4) I'm a typical guy in that I'd personally opt for less ritual in my user interface, as I feel it clutters up my work flow.
    5) I'd probably install Quaker, myself, but I'm still waiting for Leviticus to get deprecated.

    But on a more serious note, the New World religions I would not classify as pre-christian as that implies an order form the perspective of christian manifest destiny. Glad I am not stuck under their rule of law, definitely. The more we learn about Mayan culture, the worse it gets.

    As for the original question, I'm more inclined to believe that people are naturally religious rather than necessarily religious, but that religion is very important to civilization in fundamental ways.
     
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    #19 Ecton, Apr 28, 2010
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  20. testing

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    :m146: That was funny. Quakernet.

    Apparently, some of my early ancestors were Quaker, but the Quakers have those little rules about not drinking and being a pacifist, and my ancestors couldn't quite handle that. So they switched to a religion where you could drink and fight. Hehehe. Explains a lot!

    Sigh. Let me know how that upgrade works out for you, okay? :-D
     
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