Do people believe in religion mainly because of the incentive of immortality? Because as I look around me, many theists today say they believe in God and are "religious", but are anything but the sort. So, the only conclusion I can come up with is that these people are simply scared to die. They(or anyone else for that matter) don't want to become annihilated when they reach death, they mearly want to continue on living. So desiring other peoples' input, is this the only reason why people choose to believe in a higher power these days?

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Yes that "something"is recycling. Back into the universe.

  Make no mistake: religion is nothing more than mass fear.  If someone claimed Santa Claus carried immortality in His bag, deluded Americans would flock to worship Him.  They would pray to St. Rudolph.  They would erect images of His sleigh in the sacristy.  They would face the North Pole when they gathered in mass prayer.  His elves would cobble together a muddled book about Him that you would know was true because it was all red.  They would threaten non-believers with exile to the South Pole.  Finally, to all who said that the notion of a fat, bearded man in a red suit being simultaneously, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent was logically impossible, their retort would be  “FAITH.”  

i wld agree

I don't understand why people seem to get stuck on this "eternity would be boring" idea. I doubt there is life after death but if there is how do we know it would be boring? Maybe it would be a better place where for whatever reason people would be incapable of getting intolerably bored.

But to address the OP, I feel that most peoples' belief in a higher power boils down to a combination of being afraid this life is all there is, and being afraid of going to hell. If I had to bet I'd say fear of hell is a bigger reason.

I agree with you, if there was a God, then why would he make his heaven anything less than perfect, but then again this world is far from perfect, so why would an all-perfect God make an imperfect world, but I digress.

I have come to believe a good part of religion is simply a basic human instinct to have support when it isnt really there. Not so much how Freud put it, in that it's a yearning for the care we recieved as babies/children that is no longer there. But I think more in terms of, it being the brain's way of coping with loss, grief, and the otherwise unexplainable. That is why I cannot knock religion especially to my patients who are mentally staring into the eye of an emotional storm over the loss of a loved one. Who is to say if that persons brain could even process the truth at that point? There is some comfort in thinking: He is in a better place, its what he wanted, we will meet again. I think a good portion of "religion" is a basic human survival response to deal with uncertainty. Or it could just be a crutch......

I was however shocked to learn that a recent survey revealed 76% of physicians to be religious. 55% saying their beliefs influence the way they practice. I guess it is most likely the whole death and dying process that leads back to religion. I really dont know if I would call it incentive. I guess its like ice cream after your wisdom tooth extraction. It gets you to look past it long enough to get it over with.....

As the director of my favorite movie "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" puts it..: "The basis of religion is the fear of death." -Irvin Kershner

I agree. All of the big 5 religions are based around this idea of the soul and what happens to it depending on how amicable you are in life. Its like the "soul" is the heart of the story and the religion is the mythology. The end game of each of these religions is about where you go when you die. Religion is just a means of describing where your soul goes depending on how well you respect the mythology.

This is why arguing against religion is trifling and boring to me. I argued religion when I was a kid. I feel we should be arguing against the soul. As there is no proof of it and it is the CORE of all of the religions. It is in face the root of the problem and the thing that shares an equal amount of evidence as god.

You're right about the big 5 religions, and especially with Islam. Whenever I read the comments of an article about refuting that religion, most of the muslim commenters essentially say the same thing: I'm going to heaven, and you're not. This mentality of "I'm-more-rightious-than-you-I'm-going-to-heaven" is much more prevelant in their community than among Christians. I assume this is part of the reason why Islam is more conductive of violent terrorism than most other religions.

I believe it is the primary reason that people believe. I hear Christians telling me all the time that they look forward to heaven, that my life must be droll without the promise of heaven, that they can't wait for the rapture and end times.

I get the impression that if it weren't for heaven and hell, most of them wouldn't care. I think this would be an excellent question to pose on Facebook as most of the people I know on there are very religious.

Post it and friend me so I can read their diabolical spewings...LOL

I have purposely kept my friend list small on facebook, however I'd open up my quota for such a good cause.

People are scared into believing what would happen after death.

They believe in belief, as Dan Dennett said. 

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