Where is God—A modern Invention

Interesting how god is absent in ancient cave art

Of all of the most important things one would scribble on a wall, seems like god would be one of them.

32,000 years ago an artist lived in what is now modern France. Not some pre-enlightened hominid, (for by their works you shall know them) but a talent renown.

200 such paintings in the Chauvet cave alone. Recently discovered caves in various parts depicting hominid and wildlife motifs also show the hand of an accomplished artist. They also show that life may have been very different than we imagine—and the hands of the artists too.

Scenes depicting more modern and also extinct animals, human hands, landscapes, mermaids, sailing ships, but the most important thing (one would think) is gods. Where are the priests and deities in these 20-30,000 year old efforts? Funny how we label the ancients as “primitive” but quite possibly the ideas of god are strictly a modern invention we project in reverse, presupposing because our brains have been ruined by the idea.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

69 thoughts on “Where is God—A modern Invention”

  1. Is god a modern invention? I don’t really think so. I think the concept of “god”, i.e. some kind of supernatural entity that somehow controlled certain aspects of the world, probably developed right along with humans developing the capability of imagination. Can I prove that? Good heaven’s, no. But it makes sense to me that as the brain began to develop the ability to imagine new things, things that hadn’t existed before, new inventions, the idea that there might be a better food supply in the next valley, that they could use that stick to beat that beaver over the head and eat it, that a sharp stone could cut, the human brain would also start wondering about what else was going on, and begin to attribute what they were observing to the actions of entities that they couldn’t directly observe.

    Imagine you’re an ancient human and you and your little group are out wandering around the plains grubbing for food and it’s raining and you’re already feeling cold and miserable and irritated because all you had to eat last night was that dead beaver. Your friend George over there finds this weird looking tree with that funny looking fruit on it, climbs way up into it, eats one, and then gets struck by lightning. Well, the human brain is fully capable of adding up 2+2 and coming up with, oh,27. You don’t associate the bad weather with lightning because you haven’t figured out the whole weather thing yet, so you think hey, George must have done something to piss off somebody, somewhere, and you’ve just come up with the precursor of Thor.

    Okay, so it’s a silly example, but the insomnia is back, it’s about 3:30 in the morning, and coming up with this stuff on 4 hours of sleep, while the cats are sitting here staring at me and wondering what the hell I’m doing up at this ridiculous hour and why haven’t I been giving them treats isn’t easy.

    I’d also think that the lack of depictions of some sort of deity in the very early artwork left behind isn’t an indication that they didn’t believe, but could be attributed to other reasons. The depictions could have been made out of materials that disintegrated long ago, for example. Or the representations they made that did survive are being misinterpreted by us. Or they may have made no representations at all for cultural and religious reasons.

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    1. It is certainly indicative of the fact they knew no YHWY or Jesus. That is the point I’m trying to make. Why would THE god wait till 3000 BCE to make himself known through spectral evidence. THAT god is a fairly modern invention. If he was really this eternal “one god” someone somewhere would’ve known about it.

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      1. ah, I see what you mean!

        Which brings up another question that always bothered me as a kid. If what they were teaching me was right, if this god was the one true god and this was the one true religion, how could god permit so many people not to know about it and end up, presumably, in Hell? Tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of people went to their deaths after the appearance of Jesus who, through no fault of their own, never even heard of this fellow. Yet according to what I was being taught, the only way to be ‘saved’ was if you believed in this Jesus fellow. So you were going to go to hell because some preacher hadn’t found you yet and no one had told you about all of this?

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        1. My grandma the baptist used to rant about this, although she was in favor of the doctrine because god new best. Mormons believe the most valiant spirits were saved for a time they could know Jesus. But that contradicts their disfavor for predestination. Every point of faith is a mockery to reason. Really

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          1. “mockery to reason” is a great way to put it! I know the Catholics came up with the concept of “limbo” to try to deal with the horror of a god who would condemn people to hell just because they’d never even heard of him. Limbo was either a sort of version of hell but without the burning, or heaven without the fun, they weren’t really sure which. Unbaptized babies and children went there, as did good, non-Catholics who never had an opportunity to hear the true word of god because they were isolated. The whole idea was really nonsense. I don’t believe there was any scriptural justification for “limbo”. I don’t really keep up with this stuff any more, but I think current popes now claim limbo doesn’t really exist, and that unbaptized babies and children who die go to heaven, as, apparently, can good people who aren’t catholics.

            Isn’t there one christian sect who started adding up numbers in Revelations and came up with the idea that only 144,000 people out of the entire human population of the world will actually be “saved”? Seems like kind of poor odds to me. The current population is – what? About 7 billion? Then if you add in all the people who have lived before this current generation we’re probably looking at (this is a wild guess) 15 billion. So 144,000 out of 15 billion or more is damned poor odds, really. I mean with odds like that you might as well just give up.

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            1. ‘Tis the JWs. And you can tell a Jehovahs Witness, but you can’t tell them much…heh — Many have tried., but few Are chosen.

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            2. Apparently that 144,000 has something to do with the tribes of Israel, not necessarily people in general. Even so, to make a determination of who goes and who stays is ridiculosity at its best. (See Jim? I can do neologisms too! 😄) Not to mention there’s really no place to go anyways … except back to the stars.

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    2. GF, you wrote: they began to attribute what they were observing to the actions of entities that they couldn’t directly observe. You are partially correct. Individuals who have examined the lives of very early humans feel they attributed the “unknown” not to “entities,” but to natural causes — mostly the sun.

      However, as the human race advanced, “animism” became predominant and tended to become the explanation behind unknown events. Animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive.

      Even today, simply because something cannot be explained in rational terms, people want to attribute it to some “unknown factor” — generally something “supernatural.” However, as Jim pointed out, if this were the case in the early ages, why weren’t such supernatural ideas depicted in the early cave drawings?

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      1. Maybe it’s the impact that monotheism demands. It also has no substance or reality to truth, hence all the idols (churches, crosses, saints, statues, etc) replacing nature (the real god)

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      2. Nan, you have some good points there and I do understand. Some modern religions like Shinto still incorporate animism. The kami are the spirits that inhabit everything and developed into specific aspects that exist in all things and were considered worthy of veneration or worship. Interestingly, (or not interestingly, I guess) less than half the people of Japan claim they actually belong to a specific religion, and a lot of those claim they are Buddhist. But at the same time the vast majority of them participate in Shinto rituals and visit Shinto temples. In some ways Shinto has become more an aspect of the overall culture, something that is done because one is Japanese, not because one actually believes.

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  2. Hello Jim. I girded my loins and felt braver and so ventured back to your posts. 🤔. As always I thoroughly enjoy3d your take on life. Even if I don’t always agree, and you know I don’t, I love the way your thoughts and interpretations make me think and question mine. In that way you must feel pleased It’s a great blog and even the comments are less rabid than usual. 🙄. All in all a very thought provoking Saturday morning read. Thank you

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  3. Isn’t it now intriguing in the 21st century that the very curiosity, exploration, the desire to find ways to make life EASIER (physically, emotionally, & mentally), and to control/order our surroundings/others has — since the Age of Enlightenment & the Renaissance — moved much further away from ignorance and a need to cope with daunting uncertainty… to now understand those ancient psychological mechanisms actually enabled/nurtured disempowerment, unhealthy codependency, and worst of all UNACCOUNTABILITY… or complicity-passing the buck to someone/something else!!! 🤔 NO!!!!

    Tsk, tsk. We now know better. Unfortunately for progressive improving evolution, there are still millions on this planet who FEAR taking total ownership for their own lifetime of shortcomings, thoughts, actions, words, creative collective genius and helping others in altruistic egalitarian ways. It’s truly simple! Seriously!

    Hence, there has never been the need for any Savior/salvation from a problem or depraved state or human condition that never existed!!! What DOES need to be understood is that non-stop exploration, testing, scrutiny, dissecting, questioning, utilizing our collective intelligent gift of critical-analysis and abstract thought… to keep understanding EVERYTHING about this planet, its systems, all its inhabitants including human nature (inside & out-behavior), THEN understanding thoroughly our Solar System, galaxy, and beyond into the spectacular Cosmos! 🙂

    That’s just my brief opinion Jim. 😛

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    1. I would expect THE GOD of the Old Testament to have left his mark throughout all eras of time, but like you’ve stated previously, never the same god twice. I’m shocked there are no halos and references in 12’s and prophetic jibberish. Cave art would be the perfect apocalyptic setting for these universal truths—but nothing. Weird.

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  4. This would really only matter if one is attached to an Abrahamic idea of what a god should be.

    I would not point out the absence of special architecture meant for religious purposes as evidence, because that is itself something that came with increased civilization and centralization. Many cultures have not built big temples or cathedrals. The reverence for sacred places was originally directed toward natural formations, not buildings. I would look for evidence of ritual activity and offering deposits in certain places before I would look for man-made structures. And I would look for veneration of the dead.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe

    This was probably some kind of Neolithic ritual site.

    Images of a god also do not present such a problem. Look at a culture like the Ainu. What they call kamui(spirits, gods) are embodied in trees and animals, or in natural formations. There is a bear kamui of the mountains, for example. The orca is considered an embodiment of a powerful sea kamui. Grandmother Fire is another important kamui. The Ainu in the past did not have temples or images of gods either. Worship was conducted at a village or home altar, and sometimes offerings were made in particular places. Much of their worship is ancestor veneration. Hunting and fishing were ritualized, the animals’ remains had to be treated a certain way out of respect for the kamui. Finns and their relatives had or have very similar ideas and practices to the Ainu.

    What we know for sure is absent from the evidence is Abrahamic and temple based religious sensibilities.

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    1. Relating everything to the spiritual or reverence for such makes sense. The native Americans (and other indigenous cultures) struggled mightily with the concept of private property. It made no sense that one could own their creator and other decent reasons. Nor does it make sense now, but we’ve given away many good parts of ourselves to manipúlate the world and each other to fit this new faith, which has no utility.

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    1. My own belief, ALoR, if that the laziest man in the group, the one most scared of getting hurt, came up with the idea of being able to talk to spirits in order to be released from going on hunts. As long as others believed he could get the gods to do his bidding, he could get out of work, and have his pick of the pretty girls. If the gods didn’t help it was because someone else screwed up, not him.
      Sound like anyone you know? I know a few like that!

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  5. Art is all about interpretation. We have no idea what wasmin an artist’s mind when he/she/they create a piece of art. Yet listen to the critics, they “know” what was in the artist’s mind. If there was a god, it would be laughing its head off–silently.l

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    1. Through modern history a huge portion of art and architecture was dedicated to god. If men are men, that would hint to me that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The idea that god was a part of there life is glaringly missing.

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      1. have you considered Australian aboriginal art? that is oldest art we are aware of going back 40,000 yrs. (Pilbara region and the Olary district of South Australia). only their interpretation of the divine is through dreamtime or the rainbow-serpent. it just goes by different names, the creator or the Great Spirit.
        there is no doubt that god has been on human’s minds since they first walked on earth. i hate to say it, Jim, it is ‘innate’. make friends with it😉🌞

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        1. Innate means nobody would have had to be asked or be told it exists. Children are non believers. They are born gullible. It would be an extended phenotype like a beaver dam or a birds nest. It isn’t. The search for meaning begins only by the questions which humans feel compelled to answer. So no, I won’t get used to it.

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          1. Anandamayi Ma is India’s most precious gift. she was born fully enlightened, and she never, not even for a moment, did she feel separate from god/source/whatever. she never felt herself to be an individual, a body, but always lived in the awareness of being reality.
            it is only our identification with a body/ego that the ‘split’ occurs. it is said (big bangs support it) that consciousness was unified once. it was one. but being one, it cannot know or experience itself. so it breaks into many, and has this game of hide and seek.
            in the oneness state, there is no subject/object, which is how most of us experience life, me (here) and life (out there).
            what would it mean, if you and life were never separate? that life did not occur “outside”?

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            1. What makes you believe she was born fully enlightened? I mean did she start describing her state of consciousness at 4 months old? Anandamayi Ma was born to orthodox Brahmins. She would have been surrounded by people talking about and practicing her faith. What Jim says is true, children aren’t born with a belief in God, even if this woman was somehow believing in God from the first time she uttered words, this would make her the exception and not the rule. From your words here you speak as if all others are impaired and she was enlightened. It could also be that she was defected in some way, prone to auditory and visual hallucinations. People with mental illness, drug inducement, sleep deprivation, have been seeing all sorts of things they believe to be real throughout history. What appears in the mind does not define reality. If it did, pretty much anything would be possible and physical laws would not be reliable in any way shape or form.

              And no the big bang doesn’t support a unified consciousness. It doesn’t have anything to say about that subject. It is about the origin of matter in the universe.

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            2. Many people that enter these non-ordinary states believe they experienced something real. LSD for instance, which attaches to at least five different receptors meant for other purposes, heightens the activity perceptions, puts people on track to search for the source of it the rest of their lives, while its most likely just your own brain communing with other regions right inside your head.

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            3. Are people just knowing who they are a reliable way of determining truth. Is a guy who thinks he’s God’s answer to women, actually God’s answer to women? Is a psychopath who believe’s he God’s crusader and he must kill prostitutes as a means of wiping sin from the Earth actually correct? I mean if just knowing what you were required no other truth discriminating information, I think we’d all be a lot of trouble as we would be at the whim of anybody who was absolutely convinced as to who they were and their role on the Earth. Obviously we can be happy about those who give themselves such peaceful and positive roles, but we can’t apply norms of truth selectively. Either knowing what you are is a valid of way of determining truth or it isn’t. Personally I’m not willing to be at the whim to any individual’s claim as to what they are an arbiter of reality.

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            4. My aging stepmother said gay people have a tendency to be arsonist. She said she doesn’t know how she knows that, but “I just know what I know”. Ha!

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            5. That’s just an unsubstantiated claim you are making. Do we have Jesus or Buddha to perform a neurophysiological evaluation, or a psychological evaluation? Are they really beyond human understanding? I find many people beyond my understanding. I don’t know why they think the way they do, or why they do what they do. With sufficient information that might change. Given the human propensity to put people on pedestals and ignore their faults, it doesn’t surprise me that after even a 100 years we might give that person some sort of divine attributes. There are people in India who worship Mohandas K. Gandhi. We have the benefit of lots of documentation to know that he had plenty of faults and very much a person of his time regardless of the many areas he was quite progressive. If people make extraordinary claims about themselves, you can’t just decide that some of them are beyond human understanding and the others are simply mentally ill. I mean according to Wikipedia Ramana Maharshi at the age of 16 and was struck with a sudden extreme fear of death, which not surprisingly lead to a revelation that no one truly dies. How convenient. I suspect there is nothing that far beyond human understanding if they were in fact humans. Again plenty of people believe they are mediums, prophets, messiahs, etc. Either they are all right about themselves, or they aren’t. And if only some are who they claim to be, then there must be some way of determining that other than you think what they had to say “feels right”.

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            6. i’m not trying to convince you of anything. i am merely presenting a different view to reality and truth than most westerners are accustomed to. you see, for a regular meditator, nothing that i say is new. consciousness has many levels. ordinarily, we only experience a very small percentage. just like light, we only see 0.0035% of the electromagnetic spectrum. yet you feel you know all?

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            7. Never made claim I knew it all. Why does experiencing more of one’s consciousness imply the existence of unknown realities? Why isn’t it just a different part of one’s imagination? A different way of processing information like getting infra-red readings from on object as opposed to visible light. Oh and we can measure all parts of the EM spectrum…no need to visually see gamma rays. We have other ways of measurement.

              I have studied meditation quite a bit, and no many atheist meditators (and I enjoy meditation myself) who have all kinds of experiences, but in no way do they think that there are alternate planes of existence, or that any human is anymore beyond human understanding than the next.

              You having an experience and interpreting it incorrectly doesn’t make you any better arbiter of reality than my lack of experience. So it’s also important to remember you know something more than I do. You’ve only experienced something I haven’t. That’s really as far as you can go.

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            8. I am going to try Monica’s challenge to me, but not sure how to interpret what I anticipate may happen. I think of it for the moment like a VR experience, when you take off the hood you realize it was really cool, but just neurological stimulation. Maybe I know too much about the neurological studies to buy in as another extension of pure reality. I know the shaman could arrange these experiences too, but as far as looking into another dimension or connecting with god, the results can be manipulated in a lab, even with lies. Truth has nothing to do with the neuro-perceptions.

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            9. There need be no divine, supernatural world, to experience different states of consciousness, to have “spiritual experiences”. Like you said, we know we can manufacture these in the laboratory. Getting there through a drug, or some meditative state is just another way of accessing that part of your consciousness. Plenty of atheists have had these experiences with mindfulness meditation and haven’t converted to deism or theism.

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            10. Exactamente! Really though what gets me puzzled is the spiritual quest and all these meditations and you’d think a place like India would be all enlightened and beautiful, but alas, as you well know from your heritage India is a caste system and rivers polluted with dead bodies (literally) because the beliefs that come from these systems of guruism is a disaster, ecologically and socially.

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            11. Not to mention strongly patriarchal values as well. Don’t get me wrong, I think the west has ignored the value of eastern philosophy and we’d do well to comb through it for wisdom it contains, but certainly that wisdom can be detached from the supernatural. There is a lot of scientific study on meditation these days, and it’s interesting stuff, and I think there are different states of consciousness that we don’t experience and that we could, and that I think it would be beneficial for us to do so. But I see no causal link as to why it would imply that there is a God or anything supernatural.

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            12. It is interesting to see, as wrong as we know some things actually are, our meditations can confirm our deeply rooted and cultural biases. Why today would patriarchy and castes be accepted if truly enlightened? I was watching a TED from an recently contacted tribal member from the amazon. The level of honesty and true human enlightenment is surpassed by no one, yet they had never even heard of us. The point is, our meditations confirm biases and are trumping the common sense to rid the world of such practices. We really haven’t gone very far.

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        2. QUESTIONS about how things work (i.e., curiosity) have been on human’s minds since they first walked on earth. The propensity to attribute the answers to these questions to natural or supernatural causes is what makes the difference.

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            1. Of course. But it was you who wrote: there is no doubt that god has been on human’s minds since they first walked on earth. For most people, “god” is considered a supernatural force.

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            2. Indeed, what would constitute a supernatural event? No matter what it was any intelligent person would realize it must have a natural explanation. Even if I can’t explain it, the fact that it exists/happened, tells me that it has a natural cause else it could not manifest.

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        3. Gods are not innate to human minds, Monica, not according to my experience. I knew nothing about any kind of superbeing until I was told there was such a superbeing. I was not even given a choice. I was told 1 + 1 = god. I of course had no reason to dispute it at the time. I had no concept of people being willing to lie to me. But as I grew up I realized I ws being lied to. God what not what I was told it was. It did nothing for me but break promises and take my money, of which I had so little. I got NOTHING out of it.
          On the other hand, a woman I know was never introduced to a being called god until her late teens. When she finally encountered such ideas they made no sense to her at all. Somebody told her she had to believe in god, and refused to believe it. God is not innate, but non-belief is.

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            1. Despite my monicker, I am not my own god, not if god is an omniscient omnipotent being. There is no such being anywhere in the cosmos. I chose the life I was born to (though I am not quite sure why I did it), but I did not create that life. My parents created the life, and the life circumstances, I just agreed to take it on. This is not being a god, in my opinion, just another living being.

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            2. I tried listening to your video, Monica, but Spira talks too softly and too slowly for me. I will look to find a written transcript of this, In the part I heard I was more confused than anything. His use of consciousness and mind are quite foreign to my way of thinking. He stated consciousness cannot be known is correct as far as I can tell, but his attempt to explain that statement leaves me gasping for understanding. His English is highly specific (almost scientific), while mine is more general.

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            3. oh, i’m sorry it didn’t work. yes, his speech was an obstacle, but there are reasons why he leaves those long spaces in between- it allows for the thought to incubate in the mind.
              next time, i’ll look for something more clear😊

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    2. ah, finally an agreement, rawgod!😁 we can only judge something from a limited perspective and experience. people have always done that. to the small ant, god is a big huge ant with golden antennas!

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      1. Well, Monica, that would be your interpretation of a god to an ant. My interpretation would be the sole of a shoe coming out of nowhere, crushing the life out of the ant without the shoe even noticing it just played god.
        Why would you even think an ant would want to have a god? Look at all the problems the idea of humans having a god causes us. No one gains anything useful by believing in a god, in my opinion. All I see is people being taken advantage of by others, people being forced to live unnatural ways, people suffering because they cannot live up to someone’s expectations, including their own expectations for themselves. Ants don’t need to be as stupid as we are, they can take life one step at a time, working for the good of the colony. If the colony is successful the ants are doing a good job. If the colony is a failure, the ants themselves are failing. It as as simple as that. They do not need gods to decide whether they succeed or fail.
        Humans should have the same rights as ants, and in fact do. But there are so many people who believe in gods that they do not realize how simple life can be. Stop believing in god(s), and people are left in charge of their own lives. This is the way life should be.

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        1. i agree, being fully in charge of our lives. which means, we are responsible for everything that happens in our lives, suffering and not. you feel people like having that kind of responsibility? illness, pain, loss.. but you’re right. it is all ourselves.

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          1. I am not saying everyone takes that responsibility, but certainly it is theirs to take. This is one of the biggest problems with both government and religion, they do everything they can to take that responsibility away from us, telling us we are incapable of doing things on our own. They want us to be weak individuals. I want us to be strong and connected individuals, working together for the good of all, not just some.

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  6. God, a modern invention???! Quite not! Animals are easy to see, God is not. The true creator, the caveman, and humans have been chained to the delusion of the supernatural ever since. GROG hi Jim.

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    1. Modern yes, within the last 6-8 thousand years. Once religion hit the stage it was all encompassing art and architecture. They couldn’t help it. The pre history (as we know it) humans weren’t that way. Quite modern when you consider how long this game has been played. What would you draw as a legacy to be opened in 30,000 years?

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  7. And once invented, we play the game of “My God is Better (Stronger/Faster/Smarter/Gooder/etc.) than Yours” and their powers grow and grow and grow, until the Almighty God, the most powerful fictional character even invented, arises.

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    1. Very, very likely Steve. I was reading an article this week about god in cave art. It was a gal out of Harvard trying to show god was depicted. It was ridiculous, really. She said the fat bellies on the kine signified gods blessings to them. I’d say the fat bellies signified a wetter climate with more lush than seasonal savanna’s. I wonder how much the Bible story has restricted the minds of early archaeological dating practices when they decided the dates for the pyramids? Much older than the creation story. Much much older.

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