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Why do people need a symbol
JohnH
This is a serious question. In the sense that I wonder at the human need for god(s).

Do we find our own self's insufficient.

Are we afraid of our own death. I think this may be the most important possibility.

The need to find outside constraints on how we act seems universal, or outside motivators to how we act.

Humans invented god(s). Why did we have the need to do so.
 
Cynic
It's a bit over-vague to chalk it up to insecurity, but that's the fundamental nature of it in my opinion. The details matter here and I'm not privy to them, not that any one explanation would fit all cases.

I was pool-side tonight after my older daughter's swim class encouraging her to dive headfirst and expressing confidence that she can do it. That's something I can do, but I've never been particularly comfortable with it. (I'm an unrepentant nose-breather and being submerged doesn't seem to impact that habit!)

So anyway, it occurred to me that it's a lot easier to feel confidence in others, especially when we don't have it ourselves. But of course, the more we regard others as being just like us, that confidence gets shaken and misery loves company. So we express our confidence in something we can't spoil with knowledge.

Even us atheists tend to generate ideals that are external to us, if only in humility. That's my insight into the matter of the day. Good topic, John. Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say.
 
Skeeve
I think this touches on the eternal question, "Why are we here?".

With our self awareness, humans have been driven to find purpose. In my opinion people turn to outward causes or reasons after failing to find a reasonable explanation for being.

I see atheists as those that are content in knowing they don't know, but will always look to the future for an answer. Those that have given up and may be afraid of finding no real answer turn to mysticism and religion to comfort them.

So, needing a symbol is probably something we will always have. Some will just see it for what it is and not make a deity out of it.
 
catman
I think the fact that natural laws and processes can cause the Universe, the world, and the life on it to exist as they are is wondrous beyond anything that any religion can postulate.
Edited by catman on 03/16/2011 23:28
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
Hypatia
JohnH wrote:
This is a serious question. In the sense that I wonder at the human need for god(s).

Do we find our own self's insufficient.

Are we afraid of our own death. I think this may be the most important possibility.

The need to find outside constraints on how we act seems universal, or outside motivators to how we act.

Humans invented god(s). Why did we have the need to do so.


I think a lot of it was simply because early humans had no idea about, and had no way of knowing about why and how, things happened - like natural occurrences in nature, but especially the tragic, or any of the readily unexplainable occurrences that were part of life for them that we may or may not have discovered answers or theories for since then.

So without answers or a way to figure it out right then, their bewildered and awed and frightened brains had to have some explanation and answer for the hows and whys, because it's too scary not to. Some simply can't look at all the beauty and wonder in the universe and wrap their minds around the possibility that it couldn't have been created by someone - it just all had to be made by someone, all this couldn't possibly happen by accident - maybe the planets and stars, but not humans, or even animals. No way. It's a mystery to me how people of today can insist that possibilities other than a divine creator are more far fetched and ridiculous than their creator 'theory' - I would expect that of people long ago.

So it's really something the ways humans have evolved, but how so many have failed to evolve their views of the universe even in the face of all the discoveries and knowledge we've made since then.

I really think a lot of people just can't mentally and emotionally handle thinking they'll never see their loved ones who have died, that they won't be reunited in some other life after death. The ancients were afraid of the same thing, and that's why that's covered so well in the babble. And yes, people are afraid of their own deaths. Escapism and denial are like drugs for some people - it's the only way they can make it through, and they have to have their fix. And, unlike other impaired people, they want to share their drugs with everyone.

Of course everyone needs some support and comforting, etc. at some time in their lives (we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but, if we are wise, we know that there's always tomorrow. Oh. But I digress Smile Sorry), but I think a lot of believers are people who need constant reassuring and support of some kind, and they do find themselves insufficient to go inside themselves for strength, and so who better to turn to than the 'person' invented to give credit to for all the things we don't understand but who we can give the pain and confusion to, so we don't really have to deal with it or anyone else really. Why not hand our problems over to a fantasy, so we can escape and tell ourselves it's being handled, by the best, which surely can't be ourselves.

So what started with the confused and frightened ancients has continued, against all natural common sense, and people are too scared and in denial and superstitious, and herd mentality like to stop doing it.

'Help! We're dangerously ridiculous and we can't stop!'
 
seeker
I think this is all about programming. We all spend the earliest part of our lives completely dependent on providers (parents) who take care of our needs.

A well known phenomenon is that people tend to revert to the most basic reactions when in crisis. Mortally wounded soldiers often spend their last moments desperately calling for their mothers. God is just another expression of that tendency, an abstraction of the desire to be provided for.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
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