Study: Fear of vengeful omniscient gods may have helped human societies expand.

Discussion in 'Help From Above' started by elagache, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Dear V-8 Buick spiritualists,

    As "spirited debates" on this topic have shown, science and religion rarely mix. That makes the following study reported on ABC news that much more remarkable:

    It is remarkable enough that science would even explore such a topic and even more remarkable what was found. Quoting from the article:

    The author's of the study then point out:

    In addition:

    All this is extremely interesting because of the obvious problem is poses. If believe in the supernatural was an essential ingredient in the belief system that gave rise to our present society - what happens when the belief is lost and the moral commitments driven by that faith are no longer justified?

  2. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    Crimes against humanity rise and moral values go out the window. Easier to drop to the level of the caveman than raise to higher values.
  3. schlepcar

    schlepcar Gold Level Contributor

    True,because without the fear of rebuttal from ones own self knowledge of an inevitable grand jury of judgement....who is to
    discipline one's actions. I think society rocks on a pendulum that reaches extreme highs and lows. We have evolved past the cat of nine tails to discipline those who do not conform,but the problem will always exist as to what we want them to conform to. I was actually just discussing the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649 with some people. At this point in history,it was deemed necessary to decide what religion would consist of. Judging by our current situation,I can see exactly why Americans decided upon its creation. I can also see a lot of sheeple re-inventing themself if it was enforced as enacted. No more hiding behind self created religions as tax shelters,ponzi schemes,etc.Since the Mayflower arrived,we were built up from nothing with a simple moral compass,but we tend to tolerate more than our predecessors as far as cultural adaptation.
  4. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    /\/\/\ Well stated.
  5. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Two thoughts (Re: Study: Fear of vengeful omniscient gods helped human societies.)

    Dear Jerry, Dan, and V-8 Buick spiritualists,

    I think there are points worth taking away from this study:

    1.) Spiritual phenomena is real objective matter suitable for scientific study. The "politically correct" supposition that religious belief is to be kept completely private and apart from your relationships in the world is just plain wrong. The religions of the world are underpinned by real phenomena and science could uncover it if the effort was invested to do so.

    2.) The freedom to practice religion isn't the freedom to practice religion "only if you feel like it." On the contrary, the freedom to practice religion come with effectively a social contract to try with all your heart and soul to establish that relationship with the divine - breaking with established religions, if need be, to achieve that end. People in modern societies do not have the right to ignore religious calling because they don't like the message. On the contrary, they are obligated by their participation in modern society to head those religious callings, because that is how modern societies came to exist in the first place.

    The latter is certainly not likely to be popular, but what other conclusion is possible?

  6. schlepcar

    schlepcar Gold Level Contributor

    So you are basically saying that every religion has an effect that could be scientifically studied and perhaps prove its positive influence? I think with the exception of scientology,you may be onto something. I can see many similiarities that tend to group the culture together through similar beliefs and expectations of man within their own religious culture. It could even be argued most religions are in support of "everyman",not the elite,or nobility of their environment. This is why I mentioned the drastic swing of the pendulum that only needs a little push to go too far in the wrong direction. I am sure we could think of hundreds of such examples...Such as King Henry blaming the church when they would not take his opinion of marriage as the new ideology. I think one could also argue that religion takes the blow when usually the instigator should be held responsible. We have seen hundreds of examples in the Muslim culture,to the point where they simply had to conform to ideas or die. For my two cents,it seems that religions are a backbone for a brotherhood of men who desire to do what is right. History is scattered with stories of men like Alexander The Great,we just have to remember that a lot of these titles are written by the winners of wars that they started. The religion was what the meekest of men practiced to defend themselves from becoming such winners.
  7. Premier 350

    Premier 350 Chris (aka Webby)

    I can only speak for myself. I'm an athiest and have been since my early teens, and was skeptical even earlier. So its been over 40 years now.
    I don't need the fear of a vengeful diety to keep me from doing the wrong thing. I'm far from perfect, but I manage to live a decent, honest life. I don't cheat on my wife, don't steal, assault or murder, etc.
    As I've said earlier in sensitive topics, I'm not interested in a flame war, but adult, rational discussion. Which is what I get at V8Buick. Long may that continue.

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  8. SteeveeDee

    SteeveeDee Orange Acres

    If one needs an alleged "all-seeing eye in the sky" to threaten them with eternal damnation for their allegedly "sinful" actions, it doesn't speak well for that person. One should do what is right, even when no one else is watching. And I'll wager that most people already do what is right without having to worry about that alleged "all-seeing eye". A decent upbringing would provide that guidance, no alleged deity (read- hell-fire and brimstone wielding entity who will torture you forever for saying the wrong thing, once) required. I'd go read that article, but I'd soon discover who the authors are and what their agenda is, and be disappointed yet again in the wishful thinking of mankind.
  9. schlepcar

    schlepcar Gold Level Contributor

    If it were true that everyone is good,I do not see why we have spent millions building eyes in the sky. I am not sure that an Atheist view ads any more to this particular post than a dog at a cat show. I do not think anyone is trying to be argumentative and if people believe that young men are being raised to be "good" in our society,I would start a new post on a different site to prove otherwise. This was posted in the "help from above" and it is not necessary to make any more out of it than just conversation from somewhat like-minded people.
  10. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    There are still young men and women being raised to be good people. It's just that the bad examples brought into this world by non-parenting baby machines who collect the "mommy money" but fail to do the job, and spermintors who, for the most part, take off for the next orifice, get more press. Sorry to get off topic, but had to respond because I'm very pissed off by this "practice".
  11. schlepcar

    schlepcar Gold Level Contributor

    Not real sure that you are off topic. The truth may be that they are not raised at all,except at the public school level. The school is conflicted because...How do you raise these young men? Half the teachers want to take a Pledge of Allegiance,and half do not even know the words. I think the original post touches on a much larger picture that touches on subjects of local vs. worldwide problems. Religion often gets the blame for a few that have used it to turn cultures against one another whereas it has historically been justified to bring them together. There is a bit of truth in the old saying....When God is all you have...then you will know God. We are a pretty arrogant culture by comparison to the east and it tends to rub off on our youth. I think the confusion largely stems from grown men whose actions do not necessarily match their words.Kids pick up on everything and eventually we all decide who is popular and who is telling you the truth. Just a quick note on the baby mamas.....The jugglers of human resources would say.......Truth of the matter is that they are good for business. After they confuse everyone with all of their justification for welfare,public housing,public transportation,school taxes,etc....We have not evolved past the streets of Tombstone.
  12. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Grapling with religiion is good for the mind (Re: Fear of vengeful omniscient gods)

    Dear Dan, Chris, SteeveeDee, Jerry, and V-8 Buick spiritualists,

    You guys are jumping to a conclusion that is very common in people's minds, but isn't the way people should think or seek to be religious. There is no such thing as any religion that is nothing more than a checklist of rights and wrongs that you have to follow. This is a modern misconception and I cannot say I understand where it came from. It is more a parody of religion created by intellectuals who aren't willing to try to understand what religious practice is like. Spend some time in any religious institution and you'll recognize it is like any other human institution. Religion is lived, it isn't computed as some sort of moral calculus.

    My point was one that I sincerely believe in because precisely it doesn't lead to a blind acceptance of any faith. When I had personal website included this saying on the page related to my faith:

    There is no surer sign of a flawed intellect than an easy acceptance or rejection of religion.

    My point is that we all should seek to sincerely understand why faith exists, how our humanity personally interacts with that, and how others respond to it. To insist that spirituality doesn't exist is just as disrespectful of other human beings as insisting that sincere atheists are somehow "stupid." Both kinds of people exist in sufficient numbers that the only plausible explanation for these beliefs is some sort of underlying phenomena that causes some people to find faith and other to be unable to find it.

    Where I do harshly criticize are those people who reject any point of view out of hand. I am particularly critical of those who reject religion because they insist in impedes the freedom. Freedom is not self-generated and freedom cannot ever be unlimited. Societies are essentially a realm of give and take. Religion has played a central role in getting human beings to get along in societies and it is those moral underpinnings that prevented people for getting too much into each other's way. So tinkering with such a moral code is rather like pulling out the bolts that secure your house to the foundation. Perhaps some of those bolts aren't needed, but you better sure you know which of those bolts matter otherwise you might find your house sliding off the foundation. There appear to be signs that this is exactly what is happening.

    On the other hand, I think we having to be respectful of the uncertainty of the human condition. We haven't found the "one answer religion." Different faith traditions have contributed to the good of humanity. Where we recognize good we must accept that those spiritual traditions must also be tapping into the underlying spirituality that does lead humans toward a genuine better world - an achievable utopia. Alas, it is painfully clear we do not seem to have direct access to that underlying source of good, because of this humans suffer a great deal and in myriad of unfortunate ways. Dying of cancer is a horrible ordeal, but being alone and unloved is a insufferable misery in its own right.

    The honest person should accept the deep gloom that hangs over the human race at this time. Whether or not they can find faith, their sense of the world should be rooted in the overall reality we are facing. For all the power the human has amassed, never have we been so vulnerable. There are too many of us, we are running out of natural resources, and most of us live an existence that is little more than than a fight for survival in a "synthetic jungle." Those who have faith are not allowed to turn their backs on the suffering of the masses in order to sustain their faith. At the same time, those who conclude there is nothing to be faithful in, need to decide how we can be hopeful in this situation.

    In the end, I believe every human being owes the rest of us a genuine grappling with questions like this. Only through such a process can you discover what is human about yourself and what is promise that would enable humanity to become better than it is now.

  13. SteeveeDee

    SteeveeDee Orange Acres

    We are indeed in trying times. But in truth, despite what the news may show, the world is experiencing a far lower level of internecine warfare than any other time in human history. Not sure how that equates to gloomy. It's just that now you (lucky you) can watch war happening half a world away, from your armchair, on TV. The flip side of the coin with the news is the fact that the heinous activity has a spotlight on it, and like roaches scattering away from a light, it helps reduce the violence.

    As far as "There is no surer sign of a flawed intellect than an easy acceptance or rejection of religion.", my position is a considered one, with years of thought behind it. YMMV. Most people are indoctrinated into their parent's religion from an early age, much like brainwashing. I'd wager that people here would be Muslim, were they born in the Middle East. I'll not post here any more, but I'd like for the people who take exception to my words to consider them a little. BTW, "atheist" is not capitalized. It only means non-belief in any god, not denial of a god, and it certainly doesn't mean a belief in satan, considering that (s)he is just the flip side of the god record.
  14. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Technology doesn't help us get along (Re: Gods have helped human societies)

    Dear SteeveeDee and V-8 Buick futurists,

    Unfortunately you are wrong on this point. All we can safely say is that warfare in at an ebb recorded human history. The Gbekli Tepe site suggests that humans have been in comparative peace for longer periods of time before the time of writing.

    There is no denying that humans have made extraordinary strides in technology. Alas, we have utterly failed to harness this technology to get along with one another. If the improvements in communication technology had resulted in equivalent leaps in understanding and tolerance - war not be possible and even violent crime would be unthinkable. The human race has become much more clever - but it hasn't become much more wise. If you don't believe this, simply consider the state of political gridlock that plagues most western democracies.

    Your attitude toward religion is disrespectful and disrespectful to other human beings. As such, you are contributing to the ills will you try to blame on religion. If you call billions of people fools, do you think you are contributing to world peace?

    You have concluded spirituality cannot exist in as genuine phenomena. That leaves you with a fundamental problem that you ignore. The world in which you exist came into existence because of tens of thousands of year of religious devotion. The world view that you eagerly insist is the correct one is less than 500 year old. To dismiss religious phenomena so tritely is to call the founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and even Martin Luther King nothing more than fools. Are you ready to live without their contributions?

    I agree with you 100% that no established religion has come even close to capturing the underlying basis of human spirituality.

    However, I disagree with you 100% that there is no underlying reality to human spirituality. On the contrary I insist our very existence has depended on it and continues do to so.


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