Why We Believe

Excerpts and photo from “God: A Human History” by Reza Aslan

Belief is a very ancient byproduct of evolution.

“Beyond the myths and rituals, the temples and cathedrals, the dos and don’ts that have, for millennia, separated humanity into different and often competing camps of belief, religion is little more than a “language” made up of symbols and metaphors that allows believers to communicate, to one another and to themselves, the unexplainable experience of faith.”

“If the propensity for religious belief is inherent in our species, then it must be a product of human evolution. There must be some adaptive advantage to it. Otherwise there would be no reason for religion to exist.”

“Even those contemporary Jews, Christians, and Muslims who strive so hard to profess theologically “correct” beliefs about a sole, singular God who is incorporeal or infallible, ever-present or all-knowing, seem compelled to envision God in human form and to speak of God in human terms. Studies performed by a range of psychologists and cognitive scientists have shown that the most devout believers, when forced to communicate their thoughts about God, overwhelmingly treat God as though they were talking about some person they might have met on the street.” — God: A Human History by Reza Aslan

Cueva de las Manos, Santa Cruz, Argentina (15,000 to 11,000 B.C.E.)

Somewhere in time, sentient beings developed language to communicate feeling—and then ability to propagate the almighty question. “What do you believe?” is quite possibly the greatest hurdle. If we are ever to overcome evolution it will be on this point alone. Or belief is solely necessary because the illusion isn’t real. Why else would you have to believe it?

It is rather obvious man has created god in his own image, taking the best and worst traits of society and projecting himself on a path to transcend nature.