As a species, when we were younger we anthropomorphised everything. In other words, we translated externalities through our own experience. Hence God in our image etc.

Anthropomorhising is the only way we can relate to something that is outside of our understanding: by dressing it up in a framework we do understand.

The tenets of science rejects anthropomorphising. Objective observations only. Not easy but we are trying.

My point is this: I think having a deity is important, a higher source to inspire, comfort and offset ego.

But why do we not use the one thing that LITERALLY makes us, houses us, feeds us, protects us and offers us so much wonder and inspiration? Earth. 

Why is Earth not our principal god? There would be no atheists if it were. There would also be no elitism and I think that has to be the point. Obfuscation is the truth behind power.

Principal god: Earth (not even going to anthropomorphise it into her into Gaia)

Tags: Earth, God, actual, belief, literal, obvious

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Nut jobs would interpret any natural disaster as a sign of hate of the earth toward wherever the disaster happened. So in reality it is no different in what it is you call god for as long as the word itself or the concept is used than only negativity can come from it.People don't need a higher power to curb their ego or inspire them. People are responsible for themselves and it's time that they wake up and realize this fact.
Peace be the Journey.

I think I see your point. Given a natural disaster we might reject Earth-worship so we...sorry, they require something that is beyond earth to be kind of neutral?

All religion ends in one concept, FEAR. Apocalypse, Armageddon, reckoning, rapture. From the Roman/Greek to the Norse to Jew/Christian/Muslim it all comes down to fear of the unknown so explaining it in a way that makes it easier. No matter where a religion starts it eventually gets diluted to the point where fear overcomes no matter what good intentions went into it. So it makes religion inherently even if unwillingly evil.

I think having a deity is important, a higher source to inspire, comfort and offset ego

Why?

Why do we need something make-believe to comfort us? Are we children to take refuge in fairy tales?

Why do we need something 'above' us to inspire? Is not existence itself inspiring enough without needing to claim it as something 'higher'? Is its vastness not humbling enough to the ego without needing to impose deity-hood upon it?

Why invent a god at all?

I believe most people on the planet require comfort, require context, and are unable (unlike you) to work things out for themselves. Without it they would be running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Insecurity is the greatest fear of all lifeforms.

Security is the most important goal.

Security is the most important goal.

False security is no security.

I believe most people on the planet require comfort, require context, and are unable (unlike you) to work things out for themselves. Without it they would be running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

I agree, but that has no probative value in terms of there being a Gaia deity. Indeed, most people with such needs would not take much comfort if, indeed, you could prove the Gaia hypothesis. Rather, they'd be appalled. "But Gaia, tell me in explicit terms what's sinful and what's not. And, Gaia, how can I survive my own death?" That kind of stuff.

Security is the most important goal.

I heartily disagree. Security is nice, but not at the cost of things like honesty, liberty, or integrity. Besides, having a false sense of security is not the same as actually being secure.

Plus, I seem to have a higher opinion of humanity than you do. I think that most people could work things out for themselves, given the option and the necessary information. One of religion's purposes is to keep that information away from people and keep them scared.

How do you so casually discount the idea that religion provides some comfort and sense of security for people terrified of death?

First, I didn't say that it does not provide a sense of security. I said that having a false sense of security is not the same thing as actually being secure. Someone may feel totally secure in their belief that they'll get a paradise after they die, this does not mean it's actually going to happen.

And second, to quote George Bernard Shaw: "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."

First of all, when it comes to psychology there is no such thing as "actual" (meaning factual) security because one can't be sure what the future holds. "The best laid plans..." etc.

As for your second point, you seem to be arguing against something you imagine I said (or meant).

Not quite true, Unseen. It's been shown that there can be actual psychological security stemming from a secure society. People living in places with solid, reliable social structures and safety nets not only feel more secure, they actually are more secure.  Sure, something unforeseen may happen, but that is true of anywhere and having systems in place to deal with the things that CAN be foreseen does increase security, both sense of and actual.

The point I was attempting to make with the quote is that illusionary  comfort is just that, illusionary. A comforting lie is still a lie.

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