I thought this was quite the interesting thought. I was gonna write this
as a response to one of a other discussions, but thought that I'd like
to get a bigger audience in on this one.

Many, if not all, good atheist believe that God simply does not exist. But I beg to ask the question: "If he doesn't exist and nothing in creation lends to the existence of God, why do we have so many thoughts about God? Are not our thoughts shaped by our environment? If our environment does not support the existence of a God, why do so many of us rule him into the equation? Is it that we are inclined to desire a god. Are we naturally inclined to think about one irrespective of our environment?"

The light bulb was created based on something that already existed, light! So I imagine Ben Franklin was inspired by the sun. Even the delusional has inspiration of thoughts based on things that exist. So why do we think about God if he doesn't even exist?

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Thousands of years ago, those suffering from delusions approached sane people. When the sane people did not accept their delusions as real, the delusional killed them. Over many generations, delusional disorder has been chosen for and sanity is being eliminated from the gene pool.
I didn't have a concept of god until my parents sent me to RE and they deposited it into my brain. After that, I was made to continue to receive reinforcement programming until my freshman year in high school. I think that's adequate reason to explain why god was part of my psyche for the next 30 years.
Alright...so what about the first humans. Who programmed them? If there was no God and no concept of one, then where did the idea come from? hypothetically...

God revealed himself to humans long ago and he still does. Sometimes we receive the knowledge about God in bad ways, but that doesn't change his character. For some reason, we humans, saw the grandeur, beauty, and natural order of things and thought..."there must be someone of great power and a beautiful heart who create all this." God reveals himself through creation. Of course, that's not his only means, but it is one way he chooses.
Well, I believe religion probably evolved the same way species do. It probably began as an attempt to answer simple questions, or by experience. The History Channel, in their history of the universe, when they examined the rise of man, acknowledged that religion could have sprung from something as simple as a tribal experience of death. . . how they illustrated it in a reenactment:

A child in the village is partially mauled, or otherwise killed by some animal. When they're fussing over the body they've brought back to the village, a simple deer is espied off on the edge of the wood grazing peacefully. The hunter takes the opportunity to slay the deer, because funeral moment or not they still need food. As the deer passes away from blood loss, the child suddenly stirs and opens his eyes. He was not dead, only knocked unconscious and bloody and bruised. But the tribes-people lend it to some sort of metaphysical miracle that escapes their understanding. This credit eventually evolves into a concept of a soul and its influence over life or death.

Now, whether that's a true scenario or not, Dawkins at least comprehensively addresses why we have religion and the concept of God in the middle of his The God Delusion book, where he separates an entire chapter to explain where religion came from and why we have it. Some believe it's simply a natural part of evolution when dealing with a cognitive being that we resort to unreasonable conclusions such as the belief in a higher power, but it's a phase that will pass in time (and indeed its hold does seem to be slipping on the human mind). Dawkins examines a lot of theories as to why we have religion in that section of the book. It's definitely advisable that you open it up and take a look because he does make a strong argument for his position on it.
I think I will take your advice...
and I would add a form of inspiration from an outside source...
We invented very comforting answers to the big questions, where do we go when we die? etc. Well I wouldn't imagine serving the Lord Jesus Christ was very comforting in the first century. When Nero hung Christian in his garden and lit them on fire to use them as lamps. When Christians were fed to lions in the Colosseum as other watched and cheered on. I don't imagine that was very pleasant. And yet, regardless of all the persecution, Christianity grew. If there wasn't some dept or something of great worth to Christ, I don't believe many would have stuck around. Yes many did leave, but more stayed than those who left. Comforting?...hardly!

In a situation like that, where persecution is imminent, if God didn't exist and the church father's faith was built on fanciful thinking, would they not have concocted more fanciful thinking to live life more comfortably. If faith is built on fanciful thinking, then fanciful thinking would most certainly be plentiful. Because more and more would come to make life more comforting. But the fact that Christians have stuck to the traditions, even in the hardest times proves that faith is not built simply on imagination. Yet it is revelation about a God who exists.
Sounds sincere to me, and hasn't mocked anyone back.
This answer actually shows some ignorance on your part about the history of your own sect.

Martyrdom:

The ideal of martyrdom represented a new ideology of Christian suffering that inverted and subverted the Roman concepts of civic duty, honor, and justice. The martyrs' willing embrace of an ignominious death was perceived by the Christian audience as a heroic victory over the persecutors. For these reasons, some early Christians sought out and welcomed martyrdom. Some Roman authorities tried to avoid Christians because they "goaded, chided, belittled and insulted the crowds until they demanded their death." A group of people presented themselves to the Roman governor of Asia, C. Arrius Antoninus, declared themselves to be Christians, and encouraged the governor to do his duty and put them to death. He executed a few, but as the rest demanded it as well, he responded, exasperated, "You wretches, if you want to die, you have cliffs to leap from and ropes to hang by."

Secondly the persecution of Christians was pretty desultory during the first century - no worse than they had already suffered during the Jewish Revolts, and hardly worth leaving their new religion.

Thirdly - you are making a fallacy of equivocation in your use of the word "comfort" compared to Bulldog's usage of the word. In the first post the term was used to denote emotional or intellectual comfort, as in "I am comforted that there is a god watching over me and I will go to heaven when I die". Your usage implies physical comfort as in, "I am not comfortable being nailed to this cross".

Many, if not all, good atheist believe that God simply does not exist. But I beg to ask the question: "If he doesn't exist and nothing in creation lends to the existence of God, why do we have so many thoughts about God? Are not our thoughts shaped by our environment? If our environment does not support the existence of a God, why do so many of us rule him into the equation? Is it that we are inclined to desire a god. Are we naturally inclined to think about one irrespective of our environment?"


For the same reasons that the Greeks thought Zeus made the lightening. It was an explanation for something that our ancestors didn't understand. They may look at a spear and realize that someone made it. So with the limited mental ability (in comparison with modern humans) it made sense that 'someone' had to have made everything else and be responsible for all they didn't understand. Over time, these legends become part of the culture and take on a life of their own. So yes, I feel it is possible for one to create an idea for something that does not exist. Be it from a need for understanding (whether the explanation is logical or not) or from ones own imagination.

The light bulb was created based on something that already existed, light! So I imagine Ben Franklin was inspired by the sun.

I believe you meant Thomas Alva Edison as he is who invented electric light.
I believe you meant Thomas Alva Edison wow...thank you. I'm not as smart as I thought I guess. I knew that, but for some reason had Ben Franklin on the brain.

For the same reasons that the Greeks thought Zeus made the lightening. It was an explanation for something that our ancestors didn't understand. But why conjure up God? Why would any one concoct that and make it the driving force behind their entire life and society? I guess one could rule in the possibility that we are some how designed to recognize God. Or maybe, it is as the bible says, creation declares his glory. Or maybe both.

So yes, I feel it is possible for one to create an idea for something that does not exist. Be it from a need for understanding (whether the explanation is logical or not) or from ones own imagination. I might have been more inclined to believe you if you had mentioned SciFi authors of times past. Because many have dreamed some interesting things that is now realize. But on the other hand, their imagination, I would say, stem from hopes, dreams, fears of the world they already know, see, and/or feel. James, it would seem to me that you are arguing absolute objectivity. That we can separate ourselves from our experiences and come up with something totally original. And I doubt that very much. We believe we have limited objectivity but not full.

So with the limited mental ability (in comparison with modern humans) it made sense that 'someone' had to have made everything else and be responsible for all they didn't understand. I would say that this is a huge insult to the human race. I do believe that they had the same mental capacity as we do now. Progression of technology is the only thing that separates us. But their ingenuity was off da hook. Look at the Pyramids. If you are saying that we today have more brain force than Edison or Einstein, then there is no reason for us to base our understanding on the things they have done. We might as well throw out Darwin too, because we today have evolved beyond him. Sir you are gravely wrong on this point.
But why conjure up God? Why would any one concoct that and make it the driving force behind their entire life and society? I guess one could rule in the possibility that we are some how designed to recognize God. Or maybe, it is as the bible says, creation declares his glory. Or maybe both.

I explained this earlier in my post, but I'll repeat it again. Early man likely looked at all his tools, shelter, etc and realized that he made it. Yet he saw so much that he didn't make and that no one he knew had made. Things that he would have no way of making. So they must have been made by an even bigger/better 'maker' by his estimation. They didn't share our understanding of the natural world, thusly they drew a conclusion that made sense based on what they knew at the time.

As far as your reference to the God or the Bible... You do realize that as far as religions go, in the grand scheme of things Christianity is a fairly young religion (Islam is younger still). The first religions were much simpler and much different to what is practiced now. Religion has evolved through the years, both purposely as well as accidentally (like the telephone game).

it would seem to me that you are arguing absolute objectivity. That we can separate ourselves from our experiences and come up with something totally original. And I doubt that very much. We believe we have limited objectivity but not full.

Okay then... not sure how you drew that conclusion, but you're free to think as you wish. My point was that one can dream something up, but that ability does not determine that what it is automatically true or viable. My wife works with a Theist that argues that Atheists believe in God even though the claim not to. How does she explain that claim? She states that the fact that Atheists have a concept of God = God is real. As if there were no good, they wouldn't be able to even think of God. I can imagine a two inch tall polar bear that rides dragonflies from Spain to Brazil for his annual holiday, but my ability to image this does not make it so.

Yes, many things are drawn from an obvious inspiration. Gods inspiration? Us! We created gods in our image because of what early man observed and didn't understand.

I would say that this is a huge insult to the human race. I do believe that they had the same mental capacity as we do now. Progression of technology is the only thing that separates us. But their ingenuity was off da hook. Look at the Pyramids. If you are saying that we today have more brain force than Edison or Einstein, then there is no reason for us to base our understanding on the things they have done. We might as well throw out Darwin too, because we today have evolved beyond him. Sir you are gravely wrong on this point.

What I was referring to is understanding. Early man had a very limited knowledge of the natural world compared to what we know now. Now, if you want to compare our evolutionary ancestors with Homo Sapiens, it isn't a stretch to say that we are more developed. But of course you are not defining early man the same as I am. I would refer the early man as the earliest of our hunter gatherer ancestors, those who lived the kill or be killed life and lived in groups in the wilderness. But you are going back a very short while. The building of the pyramids to Edison, Einstein and Darwin. That is not early man. Edison was just yesterday and the Pyramids were a month or so ago on an evolutionary time scale. I hope that you now understand my point. In the future the generations to come may have a laugh at the fact that we're not capable of interstellar space flight or cold fusion. It's not that we're 'stupid' but that there are many things me just don't understand or know about yet.

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