From 5700-year old Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, a prophecy has often emerged, based on "liver omens" (soothsaying done by analyzing the shape of a sheep's liver), that expressed a yearning for unity at a time when Babylonia had once again disintegrated into a dozen or more small city-states: "There will come a king of the four corners of the earth."

The Jews have spent 3000 years anticipating a "Messiah," while Christians have passed 2000 years waiting for the return of theirs.

Is there something innate and universal within Humans - a lack of faith in our own abilities, perhaps - that subliminally urges us to seek out a savior?

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I'm not sure how to respond to this thread, but I'll try....

I have a hard time believing that we humans are born with any desire for a savior. That said, as we age and begin to realize some aspects of our lives are out of our control, the idea of a savior-figure coming (or having had already came) might offer some level of comfort...even if it is unnecessary. While I don't believe in any of it, I can see how it was possible some felt the need to write the new testament as a means of easing some of the stress factors associated with the old. In other words, I'd rather hand out with the Jesus of the New Testament, than the angry/jealous god of the old. I don't know.

Interesting thread. Sorry I don't have much to offer to it at the moment.

No.  The need for a savior only stems from feelings of guilt.  Someone at some point started making people believe they were bad, and needed saving, otherwise the concept would never have arisen.

highly likely.

Excellent question!  I think the notion of something more powerful than yourself could be an attractive notion for individuals who feel a lack of control over their lives or who suffer from other esteem or anxiety issues.   Perhaps those who are intellectually lazy,  would also give in to the comfort that comes from having some force bigger than themselves in control of their destiny and answer all their difficult questions.  There are those who buy in to that whole original sin nonsense.  I could never understand that.  It offended my innate sense of justice and fairness.  Yet many people enjoy beating themselves up over it.  What does that say about them?     Conversely, there are those who feel internally strong enough to not only question the dictatorship of the believers but face the serious questions on their own.  Without super powers or safety nets.   Those people I can respect. 

Geoff - RE: "Perhaps those who are intellectually lazy,  would also give in to the comfort that comes from having some force bigger than themselves in control of their destiny"

There are certainly those among us who agree with you:

"Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
-- John F. Kennedy --

"Whatever we cannot easily understand, we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues....Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination."
-- Edward Abbey --

pax vobiscum,

Is there something innate and universal within Humans - a lack of faith in our own abilities, perhaps - that subliminally urges us to seek out a savior?

In my opinion no. Not at all. The desire for a savior is forced down the throats of theists and indoctrinated into children in a very young age. There is nothing innate about that.

I feel however, there is a want, innate or not, in most people to be around, see, feel and experience in some way greatness. Greatness can come in various forms, sports heroes, politicians, humanitarians but we are drawn to these people. Think about the crowds that Tiger Woods draws. Despite his past missteps he is still widely admired and the hope for his greatness to return supersedes his past. But let's go deeper.  For me, personally, Hitchens was a great man. Bobby Kennedy was a great man. King was a great man. Malcom X was a great man. I find though, in these days, greatness is hard to come by. Obama could a great man. But I digress.

The point being that I feel that there is a desire in each of us to be great, to do great things, and to experiences greatness. That is part of being human.

But a savior? Nothing innate or even human about that desire. It's completely manufactured.

I think that people thought there was 'something' out there that made the volcano erupt or a disease wiping out a village, or it was a lousy season for fish or whatever, or someone inexplicably dying  - superstition then came into it, and other people jumping on the bandwagon, soothsayers and witch doctors. People realized how much control and kudos they could have if they convinced people they had 'the power' .If you do not heed what I say, then introduced fear, which is what religions rely on today.

Then when prophesies were made, just the same as a Mom saying if you don't do 'this', there will be dire consequences, as in 'go to hell and burn  FOREVER!' That's hard not to believe if one is told this from the age of four.

In todays society, people want community, which old religions are losing, and some mega churches are twigging to. Jump for Jesus, with music, is the way to go. A smart mega church talks about families, life, kids, and has coffee shops. Winning combination. What communities used to do.

This site is a community for like minded people who are Atheists, a comfort zone especially for teenagers coming out in a bible belt or evangelical family. Just the same as church gives comfort to people with problems. 

There are people on this site, when they know they are an Atheist, can have trouble with the concept of their death being final, after many years of believing there was something really nice (debatable)  -that is it - finito - nothing more.

Religious people have to think there is somebody in control of this frgging chaos, that evil people will suffer for the injustice they have caused,  something 'in the end after all this crap'. Life ever after.  Atheists are just realistic.

I was thinking much along these same lines.  Thank you.

I do not believe that there is an intrinsic, or natural, desire in humans for a saviour. Explaining the phenomenon by the insecurities of life, such as feeling helpless as to government, health, morality, and so forth, do sound plausible, to be sure – a little bit too plausible in my taste. In my view, cause and effect are confused in this kind of explanation.

When I was young, I had no desire for a saviour, neither personal nor with respect to the rest of the world. On the contrary, I feared the Christian God and the concept of a returning Jesus Christ as a Saviour because I thought I might be judged falsely, although I had tried to be good. I eagerly read the Bible so as to know what to do in order to go to heaven instead of hell. At one time, I was convinced that if anyone in the world would go to heaven, it would be I, whereas even the rest of my family would certainly go to hell. Yet at some point, I had to realize that it is impossible to be good enough to go to heaven – partly because of the contradictions in the Bible.

I believe, therefore (and for other reasons as well, but it would expand the point I am making too much), that the phenomenon (and thereby the explanation) originates the other way round: that humans are told that they are morally bad, sinful, despicable beings, truely unworthy of any praise or glory whatsoever, causes the desire for a saviour in them. For why would you desire to be saved unless there be anything to be saved from?

"I've been the worst" - to choose a username like that, SOMEone must have done a number on you, but you seem to have recovered nicely, and you make an excellent point: "why would you desire to be saved unless there be anything to be saved from?"

The method behind the madness that is Basic Training in the US Army lies in breaking down recruits until all vestiges of their self esteem are gone, then rebuilding them in the Army's image - I strongly suspect the concept of "original sin," and the accompanying guilt, employs much the same modus operandi.

pax vobiscum,

I am not really sure what you mean by ‘“I’ve been the worst” – to choose a username like that, SOMEone must have done a number on you …’. My username does not mean this, to be sure. My username is German, and it is a combination of the two sentences ‘Ich bin das Wort’ (‘I am the word’) and ‘Das wort ist ich’ (‘The word is I’). ;)
But thank you very much for praising my point, nonetheless! :)

ichbin - I knew it was German, I just mistranslated - my bad! Guess it's back to Berlitz for me! Ich bin dumkoph!#-o d'oh!

But what I said about your post, I still stand by.

pax vobiscum,


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