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)
Earth - the pacifier that lies between "breast-fed" and "weaned" - not sure I need one, but for those who do, sure, why not?
I do not think having a deity is important. Give that Deity any form or name you wish but it is still a construct invented in the human mind. Any comfort and solace it may give is only placebic (another new word?) in nature. For the rest of us we gain the strength to cope with life through education and discussion. Once we strip away all the woo and superstition we gain an insight into seeing how much of an infliction on the human spirit religions are. It is religion that holds us back. It is this God meme that it has instilled in the collective minds of our species that poisons our ability to see ourselves as we actually are.
We are an evolved species on a small planet, one of billions in a Universe so vast we cannot conceive of its size. It does not even know or care we exist. We have only one short life to live and yet in those few years we can come to realize how magnificent it is. We need to get over the idea of thinking “there must be more” and accept that as individuals we are of no real importance in the bigger scheme of things. As a species we have great abilities and potential. There is much Truth and beauty to be discovered and enjoyed and all without requiring us to be slaves to the traditions and values of ancient tribesmen. There is nothing bleak about being an Atheist and knowing that “this is it”. It gives those of us that have reached this “nirvana” the freedom to think clearly and to fully appreciate our lives and the value that is can have.
It is religion that says that this viewpoint is wrong. There is nothing to despair of. This is not a valley of sin. It is religions that tries to break and enslave the human spirit. It is this need for a god that means people must also seek it out in order to have solace or comfort when the going gets tough. People would not need to cling to the concept or nourish their delusion if they were not blinded by religion as children and left to think like children even when they become adults. There are no gods and there is no need for any to exist. We will flourish without them.
People don't care that much about God, they care about religion and the particular God described by that religion. The God described by Christians is different from the one described by Jews and Muslims. And they all supposedly worship the same God. What unites them in their own faith and differentiates them from each other is different catechisms and theologies. God comes into the picture later through the way the religions describe their particular version of God.
Nicely said, Martin, and welcome to TA :)
I suppose if someone is unable to get comfort or solace from whatever god they believe in they can always press this Magic Button.
I did, and got this:
"Everything is OK now
If everything is still not OK, try checking your settings of perception of objective reality."
According to the magic button on Reg's site, I am, or my perception of objective reality is set too high --
Like the old Virginia Slims commercial used to say, "You've come a long way, Baby --"
No ay de que, mija --
Nicely put, Belle.
RE: "I think having a deity is important, a higher source to inspire, comfort and offset ego."
It's not the Ego you need concern yourself about offsetting, it's the Id, and you have just such a deity, built in, it's called the Super-ego, directing you to what you "should," "must," "s'posed to" do, then you have a built-in arbitrator between the two - THAT's the function of the Ego, to arbitrate between the childlike, ("I want what I want, and I want it NOW!") Id, and the moralizing Superego.
You need only look inside yourself for your deity, Grasshopper, you are self-contained.