WHY do we WANT to believe?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by aaqucnaona, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

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    Where does the urge to believe come from? Why do people not only believe but also want to believe? I knew I did. Its what made me a New Ager. Its what made it difficult to let go of my faith, even more so than the fear of hell or the taboos against religious critique. I may want to garnish this with some context. Well, it was dinnertime and I was talking with my parents when the question of prayer came about. Now, to my knowledge, I accepted my atheism on the 5th of december, 2011 and revealed it to my parents in the following January. So it has been a year since they know I do not believe. But they were shocked, dismayed even, to find I did not pray - hadnt prayed - for over a year. I did TRY praying as a control to see if my "answered" prayers as a theist were placebos [I seems they were], but those dont count. Now the main reason I dont pray is not that I dont believe. I wont pray even if I did, because to me there is nothing more selfish than to pray for some money, some luck, some healing and so on - things which may occur anyway [I have always wondered why God helped only those who helped themselves. If they helped themselves anyway, what exactly did god do? And why would someone who doesnt or cant help themselves not deserve equal opportunity to happiness, especially from an omniscient, omnipotent being?]; while people die of hunger - DIE OF HUNGER in some places. How dare you ask for the supreme being in the universe to heal your broken ankle rather than feed the starving.

    Anyway, this lead to two interesting situations when I managed to corner my mother into two notable statements - first was when she said "I believe with the deepest conviction in my heart that at some state in your life, you shall believe". [Me - Thats entirely possible, but so far no such evidence has been -]. Mom - "Why are you so extremely immovable and closeminded? I have personal experiences, call them placeboes if you like, but even if they are an illusion, they are enough for me." At this stage, you could better imagine my surprise if you understand that my parents are moderates and my mother is quite rational in general. I wonder less why she believes [most probably because she was raised to. I told her she would be just as sure about any other god of any other locale or time when she said, "one must have faith". I asked her why is that so, she asked me why I did not want to have faith. Sensing it go nowhere and puzzled by her desire to believe I countinued, which led to the second situation]; and more about why does she WANT to believe. WHY did I want to believe in God, in horoscopes and Fung-shui? How did this arise and what function did this serve?

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    Now I break the paragraph here because the rest of the discussion isnt relevant to the point I am trying to make here, but for those interested in the conversation, read on.

    Now, onto the second situation, which for the first time in my experience, lead me to come face to face with breathtaking compartmentalism - approaching Doublethink in its intensity [recently read 1984. Awesome book.] and this was the assertion that ONE MUST HAVE FAITH in something, anything; while also asserting that whether or not I was a believer in anything doesnt matter, NOTHING I think matters as long as I was a good person. I asked her again, seperately each and together and each time her answer to both was yes. I asked her whether see saw the contradiction in it at which stage after a long silence [during which my dad would have stormed out of the room if he hadnt done so already, but my mother, the more rational of the two, hung on and] finally admitted - "well I guess you could say that being a good person is more important, but that in no way removes the need for faith."

    I told her, "Here's why I think one can dispose of faith. First, no miracle can ever be a proof of the divine. Any unexplained event simply means that there is no explaination to currently explain an observation - and this doesnt mean that "god did it" thereby becomes the answer BY DEFAULT. Second, I agree with Nietzsche when he says [via a character, tellingly enough of the modern world, in a marketplace, not a church] "God is dead and we have killed him." What that implies is simply that we have created a world today where not only does religion have no place but also that it has no significane or meaning at all. When you look out the window and see the city sprawling outside and try to take in that the buildings, each one of them, where put in place by humans and their construction envisioned by humans, ditto for cars and tvs and trains and medicine and ditto too for philosophy and social and political rules - all secular, all entirely deviod of any idea of religion or God, in a world like this, a world which we currently inhabit, what PURPOSE does religion serve? Is that small assurance of safety in peril or the occasional placebo enough reason anymore for 9/11? Was it enough reason for the Partition of India or is it now for the troubles in Ireland? Can you abstain from the responsibility when a christian kills an abortion doctor or some Arab group bombs a city? Is it not religion itself, even if as a perversion of its true self, it such a self even exists independent of its believers, the root of this?

    For me, its not worth it. Something like this, which does far more harm now than it can possibly do good, is simply not worth the cost to human happiness, property and life. I will admit that religion may once have been a useful crutch and that the scriptures have quite a bit of literary value and even some philosophical one, but it no longer cuts it. And while some God may exist and their existence made evident by the future expansion of our knowledge, we can be sure that self-contradicting concepts such as the Christian God of the Old testament do not represent reality. Its the simple question of "Why be religious at all, what function would that serve?" in the context of the modern world that has lead to the popularity of the New atheism movement. IMO" As per the norm, we soon laid our differences to the side and thereafter drifted into an existential discussion of our daily problems, but that is for another time. I must admit however, that I am lucky to have someone to talk to. I dread to think what I would have done were I some teen in an Arab theocracy. Anyhow, I still puzzle over how someone who thinks the way my mom does and is so rational about most things then also hold a belief in Feng-shui and horoscopy? So in conclusion, we come back to the titular question: WHY DO WE WANT TO BELIEVE?

    Ps. A sister thread on this secondary discussion can be found here :
    http://www.sciforums.com/showthread...-More-Harm-or-More-Good&p=3046049#post3046049
     
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  3. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Q: Why do we want to believe?
    A: Believing makes a lot of people feel good, and people want to feel good. Our species' two primary motivators are pleasure and pain.
     
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  5. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

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    How does it make one feel good? Does a father honour-killing their raped daughter feel good? Does he expect to feel good in the future? Does he believe that she will feel better in the afterlife if she didnt suffer humiliation for the rest of her life? I get why feeling loved and cared by essentially a cosmic superman feels good, but what is the hook that takes in so deeply that people believe and continue to do so even when it cause them great suffering and pain and even sometimes causes them to inflict the same on others? Where does this, um, 'Will to Faith' come from? Why did it arise? Any personal experiences relevant to it?

    Ps. Anything to add on the sister thread?
     
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  7. arauca Banned Banned

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  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Because we are dumb lazy pieces of shit.
     
  9. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

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    But if you have a relationship with God, you believe in him. How are you then a rebel? Also, its not the reason for the belief itself but rather the reason for the desire to believe anything supernatural at all that is in question, for while individual reason may be rationalised, an umberlla reason must have some substence to it.
     
  10. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

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    I will admit that for the majority, that does seem to be a calling. However, why would it mainfest in this particular way?

    Ps. "If God loves you, use a condom" LOL. Too hilarious not to mention.
     
  11. arauca Banned Banned

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    Because I believe it does not put a hello over my head , I am human with natural instinct , but for me believing in Him restrains my personality and gives me hopes that some day I will have self control. In other words " I look toward God and from him comes my strength to go on.
     
  12. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Because it's the ultimate answer to everything, so we don't have to think about it.
     
  13. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

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    It gives people importance, certainty, purpose, identity, superiority, a social network, fearlesness, answers, and for some euphoric states due to prayer (meditation) and / or drug usage.

    You would have to ask a person who has done that, but I'll speculate that how the father feels trumps the life of his daughter. That's the number one side-effect of religion that I don't like. Truth takes a backseat to how you feel.

    Again, I can speculate but you would have to ask someone who has done that.

    I will guess it's identity. When something is a part of your identity (no matter how false the underlying premises), any attempt to change that will nearly always be perceived as an assault on your identity (which people often equate with their very lives). In other words, it's less painful to cause pain to others than to try to uproot your identity.

    I don't even know what that phrase is supposed to mean, but faith seems easy. Just unconditionally accept whatever you want. There is not much 'will' to it in my opinion.

    Perhaps later.
     
  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    So you can feel good without actually being good?
     
  15. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Honor-killings aren't likely to be something a parent enjoys, but rather sees as an unfortunate necessity. I honestly believe there is a functional difference between dogmatic believers and those who are less strident in their adherence. I think people who commit honor killings, or put their children through hell houses, have faith founded on fear, rather than a desire to believe. It's not about understanding existence, but about avoiding hell.

    As to what makes people want to believe, well, I think there are many possible reasons for that. It could be a desire to make sense of the world, or simply to keep the beliefs of one's parents, or probably countless other reasons.
     
  16. arauca Banned Banned

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    I am like bread unfinished baking
     
  17. Imperfectionist Pope Humanzee the First Registered Senior Member

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    I guess that makes me totally baked.
     
  18. Imperfectionist Pope Humanzee the First Registered Senior Member

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    I LOL'd. The Prophylactic of Reason.
     
  19. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    How to believe in god scientifically!

    @ aaqucnaona/OP,

    Believing gives hope of an afterlife basically.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  20. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I grew up with it (a sense of spirituality), so it was part of my life from my youth. When the adults around you make it real, it's hard to focus on a rational perspective. I've always had a desire to find something more than the mundane, but never did. I gave up on looking.
     
  21. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    People want to win the lottery, they want to be waited on hand and foot, they want to superstars, they want the perfect body, they want to change their new cars every year for the latest model, the list goes on and on and on. We live in a world where everything including happiness, and state of mind, appears to be acquired simply because we WANT them and God is no different.

    Serious people don't particularly WANT things, especially in this kiddy-pop kind of way, they accept who they are and what they have and as a result are happier and more content. Serious people understand that this culture is an escalator leading to anxiety and frustration (having bitten by the 'I WANT' already). It is the coming to terms of this realisation (at least in part) that makes lean towards spiritual philosophy, and in this way one develops the understanding which may or may not lead to belief in God.

    You have a lot to learn in this area.

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    http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?133450-Trying-to-hard-to-believe

    jan.
     
  22. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    The urge to believe comes from the right side of the brain, which is more spatial and intuitive and internally integrates us. Culture and science are more left brained and tends to differentiate us in terms of being unique individuals, groups, specialties, cultures, races, sexes, etc. Not everyone wants to be separate from the rest via a clic. The right brain integrates us with all. Also what is seen as random in the left side of the brain (coincidence) can be based on logic using 3-D data processing; determinism.

    To explain how this is possible, picture a 3-D object like a tennis ball. We can approximate this 3-D ball with a large number of circles, all with a common center, but at various angles. The right brain defines the 3-D ball, while the differential left brain differentiates the 3-D ball, into a large number of 2-D circles at different angle, the sum of which approaches the 3-D ball.

    Many believe in god (3-D ball). This basic belief is distributed into dozens of religions, the doctrine of each, is one of the 2-D circles that intersect the center of the ball, with each at a slightly different angle.

    If I was to hit the 3-D ball with a tennis racket, the distortion of the ball in 3-D would be defined by the cause and effect of the force applied. But at the level of any given circle (specific doctrine) the 3-D logic can cause the entire 2-D circle to become distorted. This means the 3-D logic does not adds up and therefore appears to be random/unrelated.

    The attraction for 3-D and faith put one in touch with the future even before left brain circles understand why their planes are being distorted in ways that don't seem to add up in 2-D cause and effect.
     
  23. river Valued Senior Member

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    We want to believe because the primitive mind could do or had not the ability to do nothing else , than to believe

    The primitive mind simply was more emotional , rather than scientific

    For myself in thinking , it is the collective unconscious that rules

    Rather than the conscious and unconscious mind of Humanity
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013

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