Why Religion Endures

One is not compelled to test—only to believe. Until it is tested it will endure.

Spiritual disciplines, prayers, meditations, faith, songs, yogas, biblical study, and all forms of scripture, are ways of persisting in folly—doing over and over what you’re doing already, will eventually make you…wise? Yes, but it’s not how you think.

To exhaust all attempts at spiritual knowledge is to finally see the absurdity. Adherents need at last, to take this belief seriously. That is the only way out, as evidenced by those who have already left.

It is akin to convincing a flat-earther the world is round—you must let them walk, due-west as far as it takes for them to see it on their own—when they wind up right back where they started. Field test the words, live it, I mean, finally give it your true attention and quit dabbling in commandments and guilt, and you will see if for what it is—it is nothing at all but a donkey following a virtual carrot. It will last forever because no one takes it seriously.

Every church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.
Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all
”—Thomas Paine

The appeal to faith was a masterful play on the foibles of human psychology. One is not compelled to test, only to believe. Until it is tested it will endure.

Those who are weak in their atheism aren’t much different—believing the experts and catchy memes is no foundation to shout about either. I am mostly convinced that the two questions are wrong, but I know not what they should be.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

75 thoughts on “Why Religion Endures”

  1. Dammit Jim!! I’ll drink to that. Although I’m a little uneasy characterizing atheism as a “belief.” I think if it as NOT drinking the cool-aid. Atheism is the lack of faith like cold is simply the lack of heat, not a natural state of its own.

    Nice write up, Jim.

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    1. If you were a believer most of your life, then heard a couple of good arguments about atheism and decided then you were an atheist, is that not faith in unbelief? Correct me if im wrong, but the natural state was circumvented long ago, so is my stepsons atheism a valid position based on the argument of a celebrity? We are forced to consider religion, that is not natural. I would think at that point atheism would require us to field test the belief and come to a natural conclusion? No?

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      1. heheh! the yoga we do here is acrobatics, not yoga. and the goal is a fit body, not liberation.

        yoga literally means ‘to join, to unite’, the goal being to unite the individual with cosmic consciousness. true yoga rarely involves the physical postures, but these can help (along with meditation and breathing exercises)

        Karma yoga, for ex, is the the path of action, where the individual focuses on his deeds.
        Bhakti yoga is the path of the heart, the individual engages in loving devotion.
        Jnana yoga is the path of knowledge or ‘self-realization’.

        of course, they all interconnect because you can’t have devotion without knowledge or without doing good deeds, but the individual can focus on one or another depending on his temperament. women naturally tend to be more emotional, so they engage in bhakti more. whereas man tend to be more intellectual, so they engage in jnana.

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        1. I thought that comment might inspire an explanation. Haha. Is this you can’t have devotion without knowledge or without doing good deeds necessary for liberation, like a belief, or is it more like a method?

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          1. well, can the individual merge with cosmic consciousness (the whole) by disliking or rejecting parts of it? or being a jerk to others? or without having any idea about what that cosmic consciousness is?
            one is attracted to the idea of underlying unity because he feels it is right, not because unity is a ‘belief’. truth doesn’t really need any support; it always stands independent by itself. unlike religion, that needs stories and principles to support it.

            yoga is a method, zen is a method, the Tao is a method, even buddhism is a method (no gods in buddhism) to bring you to truth. now, the language and practice is different, but the goal is the same- illumination of truth.
            none of these methods deal with beliefs. on the contrary, they try to take you beyond the mind. the chattering mind is the ONLY obstacle between you and what you search. underneath our thoughts is our ‘Buddha-nature’,pure enlightened being.
            and even meditation is not obligatory, if you have the right ripeness. but that’s extremely rare, because most people’s minds are jumping from thought to thought like a wild monkey. really, we live in our minds!

            so the exploration is highly personal, as you feel for yourself the validity of its truth. the real teacher never tells you where to look, he only shows you HOW to look. you find the truth by yourself, or rather, truth will find you.

            once the thirst appears, the whole thing will work for you to realize it. it’s just how it is.😊

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            1. Clearing out the chatter, if nothing else, sounds pretty good. Part of the premise of this post was from a snippet I heard the other day about the guru goal of helping to accelerate one persisting in the illusion, persisting in the folly of self and who, you really think you are. Does that make sense? So one should pray til they’ve exhausted all hope of any supernatural intervención, because only then can they see by testing it to the full extent, that it is folly and wake up. That you are not a creation of a deity god here on probation, but much, much more.

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            2. hmmm… the guru is only there to break the illusion. he will never do anything to support it. he cannot, it’s against his nature.

              prayer comes from mind, it’s rooted on the idea that there is something ‘outside’ you. the guru will try to break the mind directly, not indirectly. in this case, one could pray for hundred life-times to get to the bottom of his folly, and there is still a chance that will not happen. the tool that is used, the mind, must be seen for what it is.
              only then, one is liberated from it.

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  2. Christianity will endure because it readily adapts itself to the ideological preferences of its practitioners.

    To quote Paul:

    “To the Jews I became a Jew, to win the Jews.. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), to win those under the law. To those without the law I became like one without the law, to win those without the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:91-22

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      1. Got you in a stranglehold baby
        You best get outta the way

        Not a fan of “The Nuge” but I confess that that particular song rocks — especially while your engaged in strenuous physical activity. (I know what you’re thinking: TMI, Ron!)

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          1. Although I’ve seen most of his movies, I can’t remember seeing that one.

            However, rumor has it that Mr. Chase can be a rather unpleasant individual, as well.

            As such, I endeavor not to let my opinions about various artists and performers undermine my appreciation of their artistic merits.

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  3. Although I agree that religion is irrational, I suspect that it began and continues to thrive even among rational people, mainly because it offers emotional support to it’s devotees. Science is rational, but science does not cater to the emotional needs of mankind.

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    1. I read this the other day. It makes a lit of sense. I think we atheist will grab onto any piece of information pointing to collapse, but I look around me in my area and it shows nothing of the sort.

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      1. The move toward secularism may be minuscule when one factors in absolute numbers, yet surely one must look at the most secular humanist nations and examine their history, from almost entirely religious to ostensibly non-religious.
        And the US can be regarded as an outlier, surely?

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        1. They know nothing, which is part of the problem. Arrogant by ignorance. Im over at watchtower, and Jock cant even understand a different point of view.
          I would expect an “i see what your saying” or something, but cannot comprehend he has grasped at nothing and is proud of it.

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          1. Hello Jim, I see you have a blog of your own (I clicked on your name at the AATW blog and it led here).

            You’re right that I didn’t understand what you were on about, but I do now. It was the context that confused me, since you started with `moral compass’. I also thought that the words `appeal to faith’ meant people appealing to their own faith – for some reason it didn’t occur to me that you meant somebody telling somebody else to generate a faith of their own.

            I’m not used to engaging in discussion on blogs.

            I do think that your understanding of what faith is and what faith does is diametrically wrong. Firstly – the `moral compass’ that you wrote about on AATW – well, that doesn’t come through faith; that is something that is already there. That is why you have it (you claim to be an atheist) and everybody has it. This is something innate – we all know that we shouldn’t gratuitously kill people. This is something we already have.

            The first example you gave when you explained what you meant by `appeal to faith’ was that of the Philippian jailer, his question `what must I do to be saved?’ and the response `Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.’ It was only at this point that I actually understood what you meant. Apologies if I was being slow and thick, but I got it now.

            But this is a good example of the order of events: (a) firstly (before any faith occurred) the Philippian jailer understood his `moral compass’ (your terminology). (b) He already had the understanding that he had fallen well short of his own moral compass (his own ideal). (c) He already recognised Jesus as `good’ – and that is the context in which he was told to `believe in the Lord Jesus Christ’.

            If you believe as you wrote `We certainly can and do live the ideal without faith we live the moral compass every day’ then it’s completely clear that there is no place for the Christian faith in your way of thinking; I can understand why it is an irritation to you.

            But as I wrote in our AATW conversation the Christian faith is a response to the fact that we understand our own moral compass and we see that we simply do not live up to it; we fall well short of the mark. As far as I can see, the evaluation that a being (or morality) is good is something that precedes faith and is not part of faith.

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            1. ”well, that doesn’t come through faith; that is something that is already there”. Then why does every child adopt the morality of his own culture? And why do feral children adopt the morality of the host specie? A morality that cannot be unlearned, nor can a new morality supplant it after about 5-7 years old. Neurological studies are quite conclusive on this issue, and it comes and goes with the changes in physiology. When certain parts if the brain are effected, so goes the morality.
              I’ve found the morality argument for a god to be the absolute weakest for the simple reason that we have hard evidence that this thing we call “morality,” which is really nothing but a formative sense of good (positive) and bad (negative) behaviour, is a product of neurological processing power. The more neurons, the more accute an organisms understanding of it. Countless studies, across numerous species, prove this beyond any rational doubt. It is not a human phenomena, and its anything but complicated.

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            2. In essence, it *is* already there – morality isn’t rocket science. It boils down to treating one’s neighbours well, do not gratuitously kill people, etc ….

              What you are talking about, the `morality of its own culture’ is when people teach children exceptions to this basic morality – and hardwire it into them. For example, they modify it to become (for example) `do not gratuitously beat someone up – unless he happens to be a Celtic supporter, then it is quite all right’.

              I think there is a basic morality which is innate, which gets messed up by `culture’, `upbringing’ and that sort of thing.

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            3. Your belief is diametrically opposed to evidence. If its already “in there”, why are christians so big on spanking there way to conformity, and “training up a child” early and often, if its already “in there”?

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            4. Jim – well, I’d say that it was a pretty perverse sort of `Christian’ who enjoyed spanking. What you describe isn’t Christianity – it is some sort of perversion of Christianity. I’m not `training up’ my own child.

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            5. I don’t think the majority enjoy spanking for the most part, but training up a child early is a biblical principle. Conformity is an important feature in christianity. No sense letting a child explore the earthly experience without first exhorting a little authority over them by telling them what it all means. It also demonstrates that christians actually have no faith. That by indoctrinating their children with this nonsense they can hedge their bets, making certain little jimmy gets to heaven?

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            6. Jim – I think you are confusing two things: (a) what is mediated through `church’ organisations and (b) what we see Jesus saying.

              I don’t see `conformity’ as an overarching principle in anything that Jesus said (although I *do* see that much of what calls itself a `church’ tries to get its hook into its adherents and – yes – `conformity’ is something that they do).

              I see that Jesus said `suffer the little children to come unto me and do not hinder them’, but I do not see any instructions there exhorting indoctrination. I think that just about every parent tells their children `what it all means’ according to their point of view, whether it be Christian, atheist, you name it – everybody does that – you can’t criticise parents for doing that.

              The discussion seems to be changing direction quite significantly. Before we were discussing where the `moral compass’ comes from. I believe that it is something that is within us (and which we are born with). I also believe that it can be perverted by over-zealous religious bigotry applied to a child at an early age.

              You seemed to be arguing (I thought) that the moral compass was not something that was `built in’, but was something that was learned – and I disagree with this.

              If you’re anti-church, then I probably agree with much of what you say (I seem to be anti-church myself – I don’t go to one and I certainly don’t want any `church’ to get its hook into my own son). But you’ll find that the bible teaches us that, right from the beginning, The Church has been uniformly awful (and, by approximately AD 30, it was the senior church figures, after all, who were most keen to see Jesus crucified) so if you want to attack the Christian faith I think you’re probably aiming at the wrong target if you attack the church, which has always been anti-Christian.

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            7. ”I don’t see `conformity’ as an overarching principle in anything that Jesus said”
              “Go ye into the world and preach my gospel?”
              “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the father but by me”? Doubtful jesus ever said that. Not only is this second part not true as evidenced by many disciplines that also attain the ethereal oneness with all there is, but christianity played the experience far better than the jews, making jesus the only one.
              https://jimoeba.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/what-really-was-the-good-news/

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            8. Ah ha – well, now I understand what you mean by `conformity’. I had assumed that you had something more rigid in mind. My error.

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            9. Christians and muslims teach there children they are merely here on probation, only candidates for humanity and heaven if they just can manage to do voluntarily, what is expected of them. So they put on a mask. In their teens they finally rebel the distasteful way of life and gain their independence. But where to go now? They choose from a handful of genres to be themselves, but in the back of their mind they can’t escape the anchoring bias. They either give in to it and return, but either way the conflict is set. The anxiety lasts until they acquiesce to their founding delusions.
              A better way would be to be honest with them. Ie; these are the rules of the game kids. When your old enough you can make up your own rules, but for now this is the way we fo it. Who can change their consciousness, or their personality? You can pretend, but you cant hide from yourself. Person comes from persona, the mask worn in greek and roman theater. To be a real person is to be a genuine fake, conforming to pressure to be someone you are not. Be proud of it. Its your religion that has created such hypocrisy.

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            10. Jim – Ummm – it’s probably best if I break off the discussion now, because it seems to be raising your blood pressure and isn’t doing you any good. One problem is that you use very general terms which may be understood in many ways (such as `conformity’) and then you seem to hit the ceiling when I haven’t understood what you’re trying to say.

              Now that I understand what you’re getting at, all I can say is that `belief in Jesus’ hardly looks like conformity to me and I am reminded of the song which goes `the one thing which unites us all is Doctor Marten’s boots’. I believe on the Lord Jesus, but I find very very few people who seem to conform to me (or vice versa) – and never anything that looks like a church fellowship which fits the description.

              In short – I believe that we are born with what you call a `moral compass’. On the one hand, this does get distorted by factors of upbringing (and religious people seem very good at distorting it), but on the other hand, we’re all ultimately responsible for what we accept and what we reject from our upbringing, what we do, etc …. Sometimes we go in a direction that is diametrically opposed to what we know to be right. The Christian understanding of this is sin. And it is through belief in the Lord Jesus that we can be restored to what we are supposed to be.

              Going back to your latest – well, yes, I have heard of Muslims and Christians who bring up their families like that and I have seen (in my case `Christian’) people rebelling – as you say, it often happens in their teenage years – and going completely off the rails.

              But you write in such generalities that I wonder if you have seen anything of this yourself, or are you just writing in abstract terms? Because what you write looks (a) superficial and (b) cliched – the sort of thing that anyone could come up with – and at some key points the words sound good, but it’s actually difficult to see what you’re getting at.

              About hypocrisy – well, of course, you’re absolutely right about that – the Christian religion has always generated such hypocrisy – Jesus found that the religious zealots and the church men were the worst of the hypocrites. But you can hardly blame Jesus for that – his views on hypocrisy are well documented and quite clear.

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            11. I have no hypertension at all. Just observing the outcomes of faith and monism through the lens of unbelief. You “believe” morality is innate. Prove it. There is plenty (hoards) of evidence that shows otherwise. If that is cliché, to you, it is simply an easy out without explanation. Sometimes we go “diametrically opposed” because we know it “isn’t” right, but the herd is a powerful thing.
              Generalities? Superficial? Where? Of course you would say that because you have “belief” without evidence. Belief, that you will be exonerated in the end by believing, also authoring your own immunity for bad behavior. How convenient. A cliché generality is charting your course with the mainstream mythology and claiming independence from it. Basically you are stating that being a christian is independent of being a christian. Which you yourself have questioned the outcomes of such belief by the state if the churches. That is the outcome of faith—every single time. But that has nothing to do with jesus? That absurd.

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            12. Jim – with apologies for over-posting here – I think you’ve shot your own argument in the foot.

              The fact that religious nutters have to work s-o-o hard to mess their children up would suggest to me that there *is* an innate morality within an individual and it requires extreme effort to twist it and to shape somebody into conformity to something horrible.

              You’re right that this is going on. The `spanking’ business goes a long way to explain why huge swathes of the so-called `Christian’ community actually seem to back UK/USA military forces doing an awful lot of bombing, causing mayhem and destabilisation on the `might makes right until they see the light’ principle.

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            13. @ Jock MSporran

              Jim – with apologies for over-posting here – I think you’ve shot your own argument in the foot.

              Bollocks! Time and again Jim has mentioned there are numerous studies providing scientific evidence that back his assertion to the hilt.
              On what authority are you basing your assertions, the bible and the character Jesus of Nazareth?

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            14. Jock’s words from the post Ark called bollocks: “there *is* an innate morality within an individual and it requires extreme effort to twist it and to shape somebody into conformity to something horrible.”

              Ark’s words: “My understanding is human morality is part of evolution and what is deemed the most beneficial for the tribe.”

              Uhm, If human morality is a product of evolution wouldn’t that match up pretty well with Jock’s claim that morality is “innate?”

              I don’t know Jock’s specific positions on evolution, but it doesn’t take much wiggling to come up with a claim such as: we have an innate sense of morality or right and wrong based on how humans evolved.

              Also if Jim has studies that supposedly back up his claims he does need to cite them or provide links, otherwise your comments aren’t really fair. If a theist had done the reverse and merely mentioned the existence of studies in a comment to you you’d be demanding citations or accusing them of making these studies up. A little bit of a double-standard, no?

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            15. He never asks for anything and has already concluded without evidence that it is innate. It is a formative development at complete odds with more natural cultures. Arks term “evolution” would be more proper as “developed” which is exactly what we see is real life, in all its different venues. Ie, why has being topless been ok in some cultures and forbidden in others? Simple question, but says a lot about what a crock innate morality is, when christians pretend to be aghast at such behavior, but not atheists? Why would that be?

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            16. There is plenty of evidence that human morality and its building block behaviors stems from the natural processes involved in evolution:
              Is Human Morality a byproduct of Evolution?

              In this sense all human beings tend to share certain shared behaviors related to getting along, taking others mental perspectives, and identifying maladaptive behaviors

              While it’s also certainly true that some aspects of our morality are culturally specific (environmental factors).

              This explains why most humans have some idea or rule that murder is wrong across cultures, while also taking into account why some cultures would be aghast at topless women and others not care at all. I don’t really see the two as being mutually exclusive.

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            17. Three things; We see the height of immorality in the group setting—as in the accounts by Bartolome de las Casas. We also see piety at its finest in the group setting. Outside of those influences the majority of people are just normal citizens and live a different life in private. We put on our public masks (as the hindu would say) as part of the game. There are countless examples of both. Thirdly, we see in the examples of feral children, that empathy cannot be taught after a certain age. It is in fact a “nurture” trait. While empathy is a learned behavior, altruism is an evolutionary trait. These children were not blood thirsty heathens (though a few killed their handlers) but had no feeling over a corpse, even the one that was mentoring them back into society.
              Its been a while since I’ve posted on these topics and can dig out the links if you need them. But don’t forget to use your own eyes. Our societal common senses now come from opinion vs utility.
              But morality is simply group consensus for survival of the species. Sexual purity also falls in that category.

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            18. I think you’re trying to draw a lot from the feral children example. Language Acquisition is a good way of looking it.

              View at Medium.com

              Feral children have been used to defend both socialization models of language acquisition and innate language acquisition models in which our ability turns off by a certain age.

              In other words, much like language you’re assuming the lack of these things in feral children must represent evidence that these skills are completely socialized rather than innate abilities require socialization to grow like a muscle needs to lift heavy weight to grow and can atrophy greatly from disuse.

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            19. Atrophy is one thing, but adapting the morality of the host specie shows we have the ability to be moral, but not innate morality. What should I assume from these studies that also are represented by the changing morality of brain insults. By injury it can come and go and is therefore a physical phenomenon, not morality placed in the hearts of men by god.
              Regarding feral examples, the opposite also appears to be true with early indoctrinations virtually hardwired by repetition, those areas lack neuroplasticity are habits hardwired and difficult to undue once they are done. Especially by belief. By belief one can handwave the best evidence and form a rebuttal before the sentence is even finished. One reason I quit providing links—They never get read and when they do, a complete misunderstanding of the data is returned in pure bias.

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            20. Well, I am not disagreeing that maybe Jock means we have innate morality based on God implanting it at birth or maybe he means we have innate sense of morality based on biology, which we evolved. Or maybe he means some combination. There are many possible variations there.

              I have purposely tried to steer clear of the religious element of the conversation precisely to get away from both atheists’ (“religion poisons everything!”) and theists’ biases. The question is simply: is there evidence that some of our morality is innate regardless of the explanation of how it got there?

              I provided a link to an article discussing the work of scientists (note: not a priest or a theologian) that states that their research and others says, yes, there is a biological basis to our morality.

              In terms of my own views, I believe the evidence as a whole suggests that morality is a combination of biological processes that we evolved and cultural socialization. Rather than completely one or the other, I think it’s most likely some elements of both.

              For example, brain injuries suggest a biological basis to morality and thus innate in the sense I am using it here rather than simply socialized.

              The problem seems to be a lack of solid explanations and definitions of terms like “innate” or “morality.” So there seems to be a lot of talking around each other.

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            21. One thing I found interesting in my prior studies on feral children, was the fact that they could adapt or adopt, acute sense of smell, night vision, and acute hearing. Suggesting that evolutionary processes may be a little quicker than we imagined in some cases. But really I am no expert on evolution. Those were some of my observations as a believer, and another thing, with the speech issue I toyed with the fact that God spoke to Adam and eve and that was all it took. Prior to that the speech centers would not have developed the way that they have. But I’m really not an expert in those areas of speech development.

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            22. Arkenaten – look – Jim has done no such thing.

              You’re the atheist – you’re the one who is opposed to the `leap of faith’.

              Jim has said `there exist studies …’ bla bla bla, but he never once said, `here is a study, these are the questions considered, this is the data gathered, this is the analysis performed on the data’ absolutely none of this – no links, no citations. Even though you are an atheist, you expect *me* to swallow this? You have to do better than that.

              And I’m not interested in woolly ill-defined concepts like `morality’ – I need examples, for example – `do not kill’. You say that the principle `do not gratuitously kill people’ is not something that we have imprinted within us, but rather is something that is learned and you evidence of this – well, show it.

              Another one, `behave decently towards your neighbour’ – do people broadly agree with this – and, as a follow up, it would be *very* interesting to know how they understand who their `neighbour’ actually is. But Jim didn’t mention any of this – he talks in generalities, doesn’t give anything specific or concrete, certainly no basis for further discussion.

              The whole problem with discussion here is that Jim probably does have clear idea in his head of what he means, but then he talks in generalities (without anything specific) uses abstract terms which could have several meanings – and then expects people to know exactly what he is on about.

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            23. @ Jock McSporran

              Arkenaten – look – Jim has done no such thing.

              Yes he has. I wrote that he mentioned there are studies, I did not say he cited studies. Look again.
              For the record I am sure Jim will provide these details if you ask? So, go ahead and ask him.
              Or, if you are not going t be petulant and say something like: ”Not up to me to check” you could always do the Googly Thing, yes? As Jeremy Clarkson is wont to say …. ”How hard could it be?”

              Even though you are an atheist, you expect *me* to swallow this? You have to do better than that.

              Ironic then that you expect someone such as Jim to swallow the crap of faith-based Christianity, especially where it refers to the topic at hand.

              You say that the principle `do not gratuitously kill people’ is not something that we have imprinted within us,

              I never ”said” anything of the sort. My understanding is human morality is part of evolution and what is deemed the most beneficial for the tribe. However, to run around (gratuitously) killing each other willy nilly does not sound like an idea that will ensure the long term survival of our species.

              Another one, `behave decently towards your neighbour’ – do people broadly agree with this

              I would imaging they do agree, yes, as it is merely an extension of not running around gratuitously killing each other .
              Has Jim said they don’t agree?

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  4. WTF?

    You say weak in faith applies to atheism, too… like those I infer have the same kind of ‘faith’ in expert opinion and catchy memes?

    What is that bit all about? Creating a false dichotomy here doesn’t create a more ‘balanced’ opinion; it creates another ‘I’m and atheist, but…’ apologist with a drive by smear at those who have every reason to grant experts higher degrees of confidence in their informed opinions. That’s not ‘faith’ of the religious kind at all Jim, and you should know this by now.

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    1. Maybe that comment was too broad a brush? There are many atheists (just watch a Ray Comfort video, that stall out in the argument because they haven’t given anything much thought.
      Not that my way is the only way, but I have made quite an effort to avoid the expert opinions videos to follow my own observations these past few years. Really for me, that was the only way I would not be subject to bias. I unbelieved on my own after some years in the jungle.
      I have an 18 year old son who recently told me he was an atheist. (Grandma had convinced him to believe, many years ago). I asked him why, and it basically boiled down to a couple of Joe Rogan podcasts. This is faith in atheism, not a lack of evidence for christianity.

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        1. Obviously those that are engaged (like here) have thought through the process. My stepson is essentially atheist by faith. He believes a good argument. He is well on his way though, i think.

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      1. This is faith in atheism, not a lack of evidence for christianity.

        A more accurate description of what your grandson means would likely be: I believe in what Joe Rogan says on the two podcasts I listened to.”

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          1. Belief in anything does not necessarily make such belief fact, of course, but using the term belief is far less erroneous than using the word faith, especially when it refers to anything that might remotely be associated with religion.
            As you probably would have had to sit down for a few moments if your son announced: ”Having weighed all the arguments for and against theism I have concluded that, based on the evidence presented by Joe Rogan rejecting theism is only logical, thus I am now an atheist.” (Amen) His brief announcement , therefore, will have to suffice.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I think one of the most telling things that almost always comes up in discussions like this consists of one word, Fear. That is what almost every impartial discussion of religion ends up focusing on because, ultimately, that is what every religion is about, fear. And religion’s manipulation of our fear is a very effective way of manipulating people.

    For whatever reason, we human beings have always had difficulty dealing with the fact that we, like every other living thing, are going to die. One day our bodies will cease to function, our lives will end, our bodies will decay, and poof, that’s it. Sooner or later even the very memory of our existence will simply vanish. And a lot of us simply cannot accept that. We cannot conceive of the idea that one day we will cease to exist. It justifiably frightens us, especially if we cannot accept the fact that this is just how nature works. We are also afraid of our lives being, ultimately, meaningless.

    We evolved a sense of fear because evolutionarily it makes sense to be afraid of things. Fear can help continue the survival of the species. As can a need to have meaning. Needing to learn about the meaning of things means that we investigate, study, learn, and that, in turn, made us, as a species, able to figure things out to our benefit. But it that is also a double edged sword, something that religion latched onto early on and is taking full advantage of today.

    I personally am something of an existentialist. An existentialist thinks that, well, to copy a quote from Wikipedia, “human beings, through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a meaning to their life.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sometime in our past we became aware that we were aware, and began to think about thinking. But you may be partly wrong here. Religion only exacerbates fear, intensifies it by assigning some kind of meaning to life.
      There have been many isolated incidents of natives recorded, that did not have this existential fear and like Henry Rambow and Daniel Everett described, they laughed at them when they tried to use this tactic while spreading the gospel to remote regions.
      I think today we have too much time on our hands and have replaced utility with opinions. These thoughts and opinions (ask the experts) are virtual nothings but to create more of nothing.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Let’s start with responsibility: religion takes all responsibility out of your hands, and puts it in the hand of whatever deity you choose, and you can therefore do no wrong–unless you do not believe in the proper deity, then you are judged, and punished forever (No deals after death, even if you swear on a stack of religious books)!
    Fear is another cause: As long as you fear your deity, and therefore do everything it tells you to do (give 10% of your earnings to the lazy slob who shoves words down your throat that no matter how good you are, you are never good enough), and in the end you will be able to spend eternity worshipping at that deity’s feet, singing hosannas to it. But do not fear it, and you’re going to hell.
    Is the threat of hell, or the weakness of accepting responsibility for your own actions, really enough to keep you believing in a deity? Or would you rather believe in yourself, and not live in fear? Christ, if I thought some asshole God was watching over my shoulder every waking and sleeping moment of my life, I would go insane. Oh yeah, religious fanaticism is now a certifiable psychiatric disorder. It’s okay, though, if you only believe on Sundays, or the Sabbaths, or Friday, as long as it’s only one day a week. Then you’re sane.
    Yeah. Right.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “if I thought some asshole God was watching over my shoulder every waking and sleeping moment of my life, I would go insane”.

      That’s a very appropriate comment. I think I did for a time when I was, oh, eight, nine years old, go a bit bonkers. Perhaps a type of PTSD? I was not in good shape mentally for a while. Nightmares, insomnia, and I think that was the start of my anxiety problems. The nuns had me starting when I was five years old and the sense of guilt and fear they drilled into us kids was horrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t Catholic, and lived at home. The religion my mother taught me was gentle, while the religion my father taught me was pain on top of pain on top of pain. My whole life, I think, has been lived with PTSD in varying levels. Then one day I changed the spelling of my name, Gerald to Jerrold (Jerry, like you), and a whole new me entered the world. Gerald kept the crap world. The new me found myself in a fantastic new world, where I could do me. That took a long time, but now I am doing me, and I am much happier.
        ?

        Liked by 2 people

          1. I know how it goes, “some people will try to convince you there is no god watching over you. Be careful, they’re just trying to trick you into being bad”—love, mommy. Mothering is a powerful force, even to absurdity.
            We have our discussions though, since he lives with me. I don’t criticize, but I do talk openly about better ways of seeing yourself in the world. He really likes “life is a game” and for now you have to live by a set of arbitrary rules, but when you are older you can have your own rules.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. christianity almost certainly won’t endure. It’s only been around 2,000 years and it’s already falling apart. In the grand scheme of things it’s a relative youngster when compared to the gods of Egypt and even the Greek/Roman gods. In another few thousand years people will look back at christianity and wonder how in the world people could believe that kind of nonsense, just as we today say the same thing about Zeus, Osiris, and the other gods who fell by the wayside over the centuries. Unfortunately its place will almost certainly be taken by yet another deity. Well, if the human race can survive its own worst impulses.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. If there were a god (follow the evidence of what is, not what we’re told it is) god is certainly not a deity. But there need be a different word, as god has a sickly connotation. I’d be curious to take a survey someday of what people imagine when they think of god.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Consider the first image that comes to mind. Consider the images on stain glass windows in the average church or the naked bloke hanging from a cross over a church altar.
        That should give you a near-as-dammit idea of what the average Christian has been indoctrinated to believe /imagines his/her god looks like, even if they go on to try to to convince (themselves?) that the anthropomorphic image is not really what God is like. (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
        After all, what else is there as a basis? The pet Hamster?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Part of the problem here is although christians deny god has form, their god is the monarchial, white bearded boss taking notes on your behavior. This imagery is universal in christianity. Its in the art, the books, and like you said, the glass. For them to not believe in god of this nature, is a huge step toward unbelief. If they remove the idol, the graven image, they will see there is nothing left to believe. It is all empty bloviation. And Ark be careful, you are here on probation, and you better not piss him off.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. Ah, well, people’s image of what god is varies wildly. Heck, I know catholics and protestants who think Jesus was a lily white, blue eyed, non-jewish boy, with a blonde haired, equally lily white, blue eyed caucasian who somehow existed in a geographical area where they were surrounded people of middle eastern and African ethnicity. Oh, and she was a virgin. Somehow. Because Mom would never, ever do something as “dirty” as sex.

        How, exactly, they pull off that bit of mental gymnastics, I have no idea. God didn’t make man in his image, humanity made god in its image, and every person’s concept of god alters depending on their own prejudices and personal needs.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I have mixed feelings on meditation. I agree with you, but in our culture meditation is more a contemplation or pondering. “I’ll meditate on this a while” is not really meditating.

      Liked by 1 person

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