I do not believe in a designer, buddy god, nor an ultimate creator god. Why? I haven't seen any evidence. When I speak with religious people, I am less interested in changing their views than I am in understanding WHY they have the beliefs they do in light of all the evidence that contradicts such beliefs. I will ask the simple "why" question to see how they respond. Even the most knowledgeable theist and apologist will give a final answer whose essence is in the following sentence.

The world/universe is beautiful and complex. I can't understand it, so it is evidence that a superior deity HAD to be involved.

Theist look at the world and to them it is self-evident that god created it all. This is where theists and atheists differ and it seems to me that this first basic belief requires more examination in order to understand (in my point of view), why man created god in the first place.

I'm reading a fascinating book right now called "The Belief Instinct, The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life" by Jesse Bering. This book directly addresses this issue.

Mr. Bering (an evolutionary psychologist) proposes the following:

  1. Modern humans have evolved a large brain.
  2. Humans may be the only species of animal with a "theory of mind". (I think therefore I am)
  3. We also have the ability to put ourselves into the minds of others in order to help make sense of others' actions. When someone does something, like jumping up and down, we instantly put ourselves into their minds trying to figure out what they are doing.
  4. This ability is very natural for us and we do it without thinking. It is so automatic that we can easily give a mind to other animals and even inanimate objects. When something does something, we give it a mind and attribute motives to those actions, even when there is no reason to do so. We are very prone to seeing signs in normal events.
  5. Humans tend to give motives and almost everything, and behind these motives is a mind. The ultimate mind is that of god, and it is to this god-mind that we naturally attribute motives to, especially when our lives our going badly and out of our control.
  6. Once you start thinking about an ultimate god-mind, the stories and fables present in all religions just come naturally.

I'm not quite done with the book, but this idea (back by many very interesting psychological studies), helps to explain why people can be lead into their beliefs so easily and hold them so dearly. Even completely rational people can fall into this trap since it is such a natural part of being human.

I would highly recommend this book to atheists and theists alike.

If you have read this book, please let me know your thoughts.

Views: 42

Comment by Dr. Bob on February 6, 2014 at 5:22pm

I think you have to keep digging, IkeArrumba.

There are evolutionary and psychological reasons/explanations for friendship, love, delight in music or poetry.  Does the presence of an explanation make a friendship any less real, or music any less delightful?

The same psychology, after all, leads us humans to look for and see patterns in the world, which is fundamental to science.  Does our natural inclination to find patterns and seek explanations mean that science isn't real?

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