If God does not exist then where does our notion of God come from?
We know best what does not exist. But the notion of god comes from marketing. Religion is a method to program humans. The method is as old as the oldest mythologies. Probably existed before the written word.
I don’t think I ever believed, but I really did enjoy the sense of belonging and kinship that I found there.
The same belonging and kinship can be found in fans of sports clubs or even in facebook. We don’t need to experience the cosmogonic baggage of religion to feel connected. What makes us feel good is marketing. We can only perceive abstract things visualized by a symbol. You can apply your rational skepticism to prove that a sports club does not exist and you would be right. In this sense it is better to enjoy then to question.
I don’t believe in any god, or gods. . . . I mean this in the sense that there is absolutely no reason to believe deities exist and therefore I reject even their possibility of existence.
Deities may not exist but they fulfill a purpose in daily life. The way humans are designed they cannot perceive without a model. Deities is a particular set of models for humans to identify with. (This is the reason why you felt belonged in your Lutheran community.) Different religious components such as rituals, ceremonies, cosmogony and rules and laws that regulate how to live are all different parts that are added to the core faith later. The cosmogonic part of Christianity was developed in Alexanderia I believe in the 3rd or 5th century. The philosophical component, as in Aristotelianism, was developed by Peripatetic philosophers. Yet, marketers of religions conflate all of these into one branded package.
I have to act on the best available evidence and since any god that would interact with the universe would leave traces, including one which did nothing more than create it.
I don’t understand this sentence. For a believer everything observed is evidence of creation by a god.
Yet belief persists in our society. There seems to be a pathological need to believe.
Belief is not pathological. It is natural. Nothing will happen without trust. When you make a contract with someone else you must believe that he will hold his side of the deal. Society works on trust and belief.
The reason is that a belief in an idea has no bearing on the truth of an idea.
I think this is debatable. You believe that ideas have an absolute truth/untruth value that we can know. I disagree. On the contrary, believing in god makes god to exist. Think about money. There is nothing called money. Money is not the paper you exchange. It’s not the electronic signals that you transfer in Paypal. It’s nothing. It exists solely as a standard which has various appearances. It exists because every human being agrees contractually that money is the universal unit of exchange. This way, any item, tangible or intangible, compatible or incompatible can be translated into money and exchanged easily. God is something like that, it exists because people believe in it.
If you wish to seek further evidence for the existence or non-existence of god, science or rational reasoning cannot help you. The type of evidence will not be scientific evidence because god by definition is an absolute entity. Science cannot reveal god and science cannot disprove god.
Nor does the popularity of religion lend any credence to the many variants of its ‘truths’. This begs the question of ‘why’ religion exists.
Religion exists for marketing reasons. Religion is the easiest way to program humans. Human character is such that no individual would ever do something that another human orders him to do. But if that human individual is indoctrinated in believing in the existence of superhuman deities and fears them then the programmers will tell human individual what to do through gods and he will do it.
Like pretty much every other behavioral feature, curiosity is the end result of a long series of evolutionary accidents which shaped our nature.
Yes, curiosity may have created god. Also, curiosity is a defining property of humans but the education system controlled by the programmers of humans make sure that human curiosity is eradicated and humans are turned into consumer drones unquestioningly obeying the programmers’ orders.
Ours is the most highly developed consciousness on the planet and it is only fitting that we take curiosity to an extreme.
Taking curiosity to the extreme leads to the fox/hedgehog paradox. Curiosity must be focused to be useful. Intelligence is to know how much you can ignore, not how much you know.
Wanting to answer questions such as ‘how did we get here?’ or ‘why are we here?’, what I will call ‘the Burning Questions’, are a natural by-product of this characteristic.
This seems to me an acquired characteristic of humans, not an innate characteristic. Because to ask these questions you need a theoretical language system, like the written word, and then you need to have the leisure to ask and ponder theoretical questions. Raising of these questions coincided in history with the rising of a leisure class in antique Greece. If, as has been the case for the majority of humanity, the entirety of your day is taken up by work to feed your family then “how did we get here?” “Why are we here?” are irrelevant academic questions. There is only one burning question for 85 per cent of humanity: Where is the next meal coming from?
Religion, in my view, is nothing more than an accident of behavioral evolution – rationalization of the fruits of our premature curiosity satisfaction taken to an extreme.
I believe this alludes to personal and humane religion or a religion of a small group or a clan. It may describe the state of religion before the book religions incorporated themselves into giant marketing organisms that feed on humanity. The individual shaman of the clan became the incorporated shamans (physicists?) as clans incorporated into huge city states.
And this is where religion has its roots. It offered a way to answer the questions which are still front-and-center in our psyche.
Yes, I agree. Religion offers ready-made answers to cosmogonic questions. We no longer sew our own clothes. Or make our own transportation vehicle. Or buy raw material to bake bread daily. Religion is like that, a ready-made answer to academic burning questions. Consumers buy their life-long answers from a global purveyor of burning answers nicely packaged as a recipe for happy living and don’t ever worry about cosmogonic questions again. I think that’s a good solution. Why do you object to it?
Considering that human lifetime is limited we must by necessity suspend our rationalism and take the word of the professional marketers at least in some major areas. You apply scientific skepticism to religion but as far as I can see not to law. You take law as given. You take political system as given. You take big pharma as given. You take physics as given. As individuals we just don’t have the time to question every marketing pun and trope and polemical monopoly. And the Unhuman Organism makes sure that humans remain divided. I am sure you realize that one of the fundamental objectives of religion is to keep humans divided so that they cannot combine forces and figure out the burning questions in a rational way. Religion is not about god, it is about keeping humanity forever divided.
Today, religions have evolved (and are continuing to evolve) into more sophisticated forms, as evidenced by the regimented structures of the world’s most popular religions.
The reason for this is that religious brands are hierarchical and bureaucratic organisms. They must grow in order to continue to exist. And after they reach their critical size they divide into two like organisms and a new similar organism is created.
In other words, gods were born out of our ignorance and nothing has changed.
I think the god of brand religions is a sophisticated marketing construct. It is a good marketing vehicle. Consider the highly effective Catholic iconography developed by the best painters of Europe starting from the earliest times. That’s sophisticated marketing that cost a bundle to the Church. But the Church knows marketing. It is about marketing. Their god was not born out of ignorance but it was created by sophisticated marketers, like Paul, whose global book tour established the Bible as the Book. This is where Newtonism comes in. Newtonism is the modern state-sponsored religion that replaced Christianity as the state-sponsored religion.
Even Newton, arguably the greatest scientific mind that we can name, demonstrated this ignorance.
How do you argue that Newton was the greatest scientific mind that ever existed? The evidence suggests just the opposite. Newton is a deity and I invite you to apply your scientific skepticism to this deity as well and see if you continue to believe the propaganda that deified Newton as the Moses of Mechanics. You can start by reading Halley’s Ode to Newton that starts the Principia to see the deification process in action.
. . . in his great opus, the Principia, God appears nowhere . . .
As you mention below this statement is not true. Newton’s zeroeth law says that God created a Newtonian world. God is in the foundation of the Principia.
That is, until he could not solve the many-body problem of the motion of the planets. Try as he might, he could not find an analytical solution which would accurately describe the solar system.
Another myth. Newton worked with proportions not with equations. A concept of analytical solution makes no sense in the context of Principia.
And also Newton only computed about half a dozen astronomical quantities and he never tried to “describe the solar system” accurately. He projected his few calculations to the entire universe by fiat and by polemics by calling his force universal. Physicists still believe Newtonian creation by fiat. I also like to mention that Principia is a brand and it makes no sense to criticize it. It’s futile.
Well, if he, the Great Newton . . .
Newton was the greatest marketing genius ever lived, that’s true, he was a shrewd politician, true, and it is also true that he was the greatest anti-science ever lived.
. . . could not figure it out, no one could and it had to be because of the Great Designer! Putting his arrogance aside, to Newton God was all about Newton.
I agree. As Huygens pointed out Newton intended Newton’s force to be Newton’s soul that permeated the universe.
So you too realize that Newton was a propagandist, a self-promoter and a sophisticated marketer who established his own brand of the system of the world as the standard nature.
NASA gets along just fine by calculating the trajectories of probes to other planets solving the equations numerically with an unimaginable precision.
I agree totally. NASA is not using Newtonian dynamics to compute orbits which obviates Newtonism but they still project in their websites that Newton’s laws rule.
Many more modern names, like those of Albert Einstein and Paul Davies lend no credence to God’s existence
But these are the opinions of these writers. The fact that Einstein knew how to manipulate mathematical symbols does not give him the authority to pontificate about the existence of god. On this subject his opinion is as good as yours or mine or anybody else’s.
Einstein’s concept of God seems to spring from his own prejudice and not from any hard data.
If you define god as the ultimate designer there will never be scientific evidence or hard data for or against. If we confine ourselves to science we must accept that we cannot know absolutes and ultimates.
When viewed through the lens of skepticism, both God and Religion fall apart.
Brand religions and their gods fulfill very well what they are suppose to achieve. They are living organisms.
In turn, I will be looking at specific aspects of the concept of God – philosophical arguments of its existence, the necessity of religion for morality, religion benefits society – and why they are all demonstrably wrong.
Well, thanks I’ll read that next.
Note: I also tried to draw a map of this comment here. It turns out that God and religion are linked by marketing. I thought that was interesting.