"All gods are man-made" - evidence?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by wynn, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    How does it shoot my assumption down in flames?
    There is archeological evidence that religions and deities predate scriptures quite considerably - perhaps as long ago as 30-50,000 years.
    I suggest you look up "Paleolithic Religion".
    Yes, there is some doubt as to what the archeology means (such is the nature of archeology of periods that predate the written word) but it is widely accepted that religion began during this time... and that they had their versions of gods long before any scriptures were written.
    Naturally these are not the monotheistic religions or deities, but rather pantheistic or animist etc.

    Regardless of their nature, it remains, to me, more rational that as our understanding of the natural world improved, that our conception of gods was amended to fit that understanding, and will continue to be so amended. At least for those who still wish to believe.
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  3. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    Because there is no before scriptures.

    What is that evidence?

    I have done. But what I would like to know is ''what is religious behaviour'', and why is artifacts buried with people regarded as ''religious behaviour''? While your at it, give me a definition of religion so I know where you're coming from?

    Firstley, scriptures were only written for the people of this age, approx 5-10k years, as I said before, they were passed down aurally, so you cannot possibly what you claim.

    Then why hasn't our conception of gods changed over the last hundred years, as it is quite clear that our understanding of the natural world has improved?

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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I don't believe that gods exist apart from human concepts of them. So my interest in belief in gods is largely academic at this point. I'm interested in why people believe in the existence of gods, in what kind of gods they believe in, in what they say about them and in the roles that these beliefs play in people's lives. More broadly, I'm interested in the scope and limits of human knowledge, and in what kind of things can be known by human beings (particularly the more problematic borderline cases, ranging from numbers and logical principles to far more controversial things like gods).

    And I hold open the possibility that I'm mistaken. And if by some unexpected chance (however unlikely I currently judge it to be) gods do exist, that might conceivably be the most important thing in the universe for a human being to know.

    Again, I agree with you. I guess that's what I meant when I spoke of the need to exercise discernment.

    Speaking for myself, the thing that I weight most heavily might be what I think of as 'heart'. Does the prospective teacher display real compassion and pure motivation? I guess that I perceive spiritual paths (at least the ones suitable for me) as emphasizing and increasing those qualities. So my sensing their presence in a teacher is at least a superficial indicator that the path might be working for the teacher. If the teacher is a jerk, then I'm inclined to think that the teacher's path might not be doing him/her much good.

    Then there's the intellectual aspect. I weight that heavily too. Does what the teacher teach, and what he or she prescribes for me to do, make sense? Is it plausible? The only way I can assess that is from the perspective of where I'm currently at, from the context of the knowledge-base that I've acquired in all the rest of my life. That probably biases things, but it's the human condition. (We're all in the position of lifting ourselves by our bootstraps.)

    I guess that Sciforums is populated by people just like us. It's very much a layman's board, in religious matters just as much as in science. We aren't likely to discover a teacher here, it's more a matter of the blind leading the blind. (And those with the least to say often have the biggest attitudes.) But this place does give us the opportunity to try out ideas and to hear what other reasonably intelligent people think, even if a large portion of what they say isn't likely to be very helpful. That's life, I guess.
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I'm confused by what you mean here? You mean you think scriptures is the beginning of time, or some such?
    Burials with artefacts, and other ritualised treatment of the dead. The anthropomorphism of animals in paintings, totemism, wood/stone circles etc.
    I see religious behaviour as any behaviour (often ritualistic) that portrays worship to a spirituality or divinity, and is generally seen as most evident with how the dead are treated.
    Burying artefacts with people is considered religious for two main reasons, I think:
    First, the act of burying someone formally, rather than just digging a hole and hiding the carcass, suggests that there is some reverence toward death beyond merely respect or thanks for the person.
    Second, the burying of artefacts implies some element of continued usefulness to the person being buried, or as an offering. And if an offering then to who if not a divinity?
    Again - not sure what you're getting at here... you perhaps missed a word: "so you cannot possibly ????? what you claim".?
    Your time period is also changing. First it was 2.5k, then perhaps 5k and now up to 10k. Any chance you can pin down your view or will it, like concepts of god, adapt to what else you become aware of?

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    Because our knowledge over the last few hundred years has really only been in the minutiae rather than gross changes in understanding.
    And once you've pushed a deity into the realms of the unprovable, there is little else that need be changed other than interpretations of scriptures.
    But the lack of change over the past few hundred years is no evidence that they did not exist before scriptures were written.
  8. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

    I believe and have faith there A god. You don't that's your "problem".
    There is the Bible, Koran, Tora, etc...
    There is something... And it appears more "divine" than just human.. To ME...
  9. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    ''Scriptures'' are the writings of what was previously passed down aurally.




    Sorry, I meant to say you cannot possibly know what you claim, and it is misleading when you put it out there as an hypothesis. What we do know is that religion is a part of human life, and as far as we know, it always has been. We know that scriptural texts inform us of things that modern scientific
    knowledge has only found out in the 150 years or so, predating it thousands of years. We know that scriptures came about between 2.5 to 10k years and before that the same instructions were spoken and heard. We've no reason to assume that gods and God were introduced at separate times. It's not in human nature to introduce completely new concepts which is what you're saying occurred. All concepts arrive from other concepts, or just simply based on other concepts.

    The 2.5k years was the scholarly estimate, and the 5 to 10k years is the view of the scriptures themselves. Whichever way it doesn't matter as people had knowledge of things a long time before modern science found those same things.

    ''Atheist scientific attitudes'', the type that make sure ''not a divine foot shall step through the door'', beg to differ. They believe that there is good scientific evidence that God does not exist, and the scriptures were written by knuckle-draggers, who for some unknown reason, made up gods to explain lightening, and rain, and to give themselves comfort in death, and went to all trouble to create scriptures, and issue religions according to time, place, and circumstance. And now it's time, from their lofty perspective (atheists), to abandon all that stuff (it being far too old an' all), and embrace their way of thinking.

    Sarkus, I'm afraid you're going to have to give a better answer to that question than the one you gave, given that scriptures aren't a joke, they obviously weren't constructed by knuckle-draggers, and nothing about real religion has changed.
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    The same can be said for mere "stories".
    The term "scriptures" has something more about it.
    And I'm still confused by what you mean when you say "there is no before scriptures"?
    Why give offerings to deceased ancestors if there was no sense of an afterlife?
    What would the purpose be if not some religious overtone?
    Why waste something of value on what would otherwise be seen as a carcass?
    I don't claim to know.
    I put it out there as a hypothesis because, in the absence of knowledge, we determine what is rational (to us) based on the available evidence.
    As such, to me any hypotheses that do not require something for which there is no evidence (eg divinity) are favourable to those that do.
    Occam's razor etc.
    While scriptures may state things that we only relatively recently discovered in the west is not too difficult to appreciate, given the dark ages that Europe went through. It is possible and likely that vast amounts of knowledge was lost to us that we didn't rediscover until relatively recently.
    I don't see that as evidence of anything but how humanity took a backward step in its intellectual understanding of its place.
    I see it more likely that early humans anthropomorphised anything they didn't understand, in an attempt to understand it.
    They worshipped that which they did not understand yet held power over them, such as the sun, the wind, the moon etc.
    And because they could not defeat these things they considered them powerful.
    Very powerful.
    Eventually the concept of gods arose, as a natural progression.
    I see this as a more rational explanation.
    Ok. But I see this as just evidence that we lost a lot of knowledge. Until recently we didn't know how they built the pyramids, but we're getting there. I choose not to underestimate their level of understanding that they achieved in their own right. I don't see a need for a deity to impart it to them.
    I'm not speaking for them. I'm speaking for myself. So please don't assume anything from the crowd you want to put me in, but rather from what I say for myself.
    I do not consider ancient man knuckle-draggers or whatever term you care to suggest. There was certainly a time when perhaps our ancestors did, but they were not homosapiens.
    I just don't see anything to convince me that scriptures we not a means to collate information in the most appropriate format, style, manner for the time, by people who wished to then use that information for whatever reasons.
    And I see nothing to suggest that the concept of a deity did not precede those scriptures by a considerable margin, and that religion and superstition was ingrained into the human condition (perhaps an evolutionary benefit).
    I also see no evidence that gods do exist, and so my position, that I consider most rational, is that the concept was man-made.
    I do not (or try not to) read into observations what I want to in order to fulfil my preconceived ideas. Instead if an item of evidence says nothing about a subject then I will be content to say as much.
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    500 years ago there were still many Paleolithic (Early Stone Age: nomadic hunter-gatherers) and Neolithic (Late Stone Age: permanent villages with farming and animal husbandry) societies on this planet. While most Europeans regarded them as "heathens" to be annihilated, enslaved, converted to Christianity, or any combination of the above, there were scholars in those days and they fanned out into the newly discovered regions to study the newly discovered people. By definition, Stone Age societies have no written language (in fact writing wasn't invented until the Bronze Age), yet these tribes had gods.

    I'm only (modestly) familiar with the tribes in my own country's shameful history: the Native Americans. But they had elaborate religions, with their own pantheons.
  12. Username Registered Senior Member

    To say all gods are man-made is to say nothing came before man.
    The only type of god that is man-made is some type of demi-god.
    Otherwise there is no reason believe god (or a god as far as we know) is just a human construct.
  13. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    There is no reason to believe it isn't, and the burden of proof is on you.
  14. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    You make it sound as if stories are somehow wrong. The full aspect of man incorporates
    right brain as well as left brain. Religion is a personal endeavour exercising all aspects of human beings, whereas secular education requires aspects like emotion, compassion, and empahthy to be left at the door.

    Yes, the source is of a divine/holy nature (definition), passed down in sucsessive lines. The information is from the one source passed down through various times according to particular place and circumstances.

    Scriptures are written versions of what was passed on aurally, specific to this age (the last 5-10k years). So the the idea of gods would have been part of that aural tradition, meaning there's no way of telling if at some stage man decided to invent gods.
    Of course we could digress and argue whether or not the scriptures are what they say they are, and whether or not aural traditions were more elaborate versions of scriptures, but that's a different discussion. For now we are discussing whether or not man invented gods.
    Most (if not all) indigenous cultures had a sense of transition (afterlife), so was not even seen as ''a religion'' but was a part of their religion (code to life).

    Religion is simply a code of life. You have it in your mind that religion is worship of God or gods, that it needs very specific rituals by people dressed in fancy robes and hats.
    Religion can be any man-made practise.

    They know that it is ''a carcass'', but they don't worship the carcass (maybe some do, I don't know), but they worship the spirit/ghost, and they don't see it as a waste, because they want to looked out for, and helped by the spirits/ghosts.

    But there isn't an absense of knowledge. We both understand that there is substantial knowledge of things that we now know through modern science, and we know that they didn't have the physical scientific structure or technological advancements we have today.
    We know that they couldn't of guessed the earth was a sphere, or how other planets move, or that the universe was expanding (just to name a few things), they would have to have some way of calculating this information. That said, it is highly unlikely that they were of the type of mind to make up gods, ghosts, afterlife, etc.. to explain phenomena they didn't understand.
    So I find it hard to accept that this hypothesis is based on rational thinking, either that or it is too rational to the point of ignorance. I think it is simply based on belief that God, therefore anything to do with God, does not exist.

    You don't know what constitutes evidence of God, other than you personally will know when you know, which is basically what some theists actually do. But as you have that portion of your mind open, it begs some interesting questions. If you do find evidence of God, how will it differ from any other theists evidence? And if God isn't what current theists/scripture say's, then why would you call it God, plus what could this ''God'' be? And finally what would you constitute as evidence, given that you have no idea, and find the current explanations and testimonies irrational, bordering on delusional?

    It is evidence that some kind of method was used to procure this knowledge. We know from our own experience that the work involved is very rigorous, requiring technolgy to achieve results. We don't see any remnants of the type of tech we employ today, in the ancient past (although there are some fantastic impliments that have been un-earthed). So how did they acquire access to this information? You say you will believe God exists if there is sufficient evidence. You also say we became retarded due to the dark ages, alot of knowledge was supressed, and lost.
    How do you know that knowledge of how to communicate with God and gods was not the knowledge that was supressed?

    Why would they do that? It's not a human trait. We generally don't give a monkeys about things we don't understand, especially things like thunder and lightening. We simply accept the sun, not even having to realise it's purpose other than heat and light. Indigenous people see themselves as part of the eco system, they don't waste time trying to harness power unecessarily, they simply lived according to their environment taking only what they needed.

    You'll find that alot of the indigenous people believed that they decended from the sun or moon dynasties, which is probably why they gave it special attention. But there is no need to worship the sun or the moon because they have a great effect on the planet, and it is quite obvious that they work in a cycle and have no choice but to affect the planet.

    Why would they want to defeat them? As far as they are concerned, the sun and moon does what it does. It seems as though you are creating something to fit your worldview.

    Why would such a concept arise?

    But it doesn't explain anything.
    Why would we anthropomorphise the sun and moon, from a position of seeing them as part and parcel of this planet? Why would we feel as though we were defeated by them? And why would we make up gods (effectively lie), and make up elaborate scriptures, and rituals for something we know isn't true. The psychological aspect of this is far more interesting than the subject.

    It's not about what you or I see a need for, it's about what actually is. They acheive great things, but you accept some explanations and disregard others because it doesn't match your worldview. That's how it seems to me.

    No problem.

    It's only a figure of speech.

    Can you rephrase this, the double negative is confusing.

    They did precede the scriptures in the capacity that the scriptures are written versions of aural traditions, but the concept of god, it has to be said, was always there, unless you can find evidence that they were introduced/invented at some point in time.

    I agree with you regarding religion. It is true that people can be fooled by all sorts of ideas and theories, but religion is a man-made phenomena, or to be more precise, specific religions are man-made. Religion itself is just a way of life, and can be anything.

    And that position is based purely on your belief, you say ''evidence'' because it seems like a rational thing to say, but we have establised on numerous occassions that...

    1. you have no idea what would constitute evidence for God.

    2. if you don't believe that ''evidence for God'' incorporates everything (inner/outer observations), then you cannot ever accept God exists.

    3. the reason you don't believe in God is through choice or ignorance (I don't mean to be harsh)
    Sounds good, but it means nothing as you yourself as set the parameter for what is and isn't evidence.

  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Jan, I'm not going to reply in detail, as I'm not sure there will be much point in responding to each and every question and comment that I disagree with.
    Needless to say I think your position stems in a large part on your underestimation of what ancient man was capable of, and the knowledge they were capable of garnering. There was not much technological difference between what they had and what, say, Aristotle or Pythagoras had when they formulated their theorems and established with empircism that the earth was round, for example.
    And I think you do this primarily because it helps strengthen your belief.

    You also don't seem to understand that anthropomorphism is very much a human trait (read, for example: http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/03/01/why-do-we-anthropomorphize/11766.html) and thus reject through personal incredulity anything that might suggest we do so.

    But ultimately I disagree with you that there is any evidence whatsoever to support the notion of god being anything other than man-made. Every other possible explanation for the "evidence" you reject through, it seems, nothing but personal incredulity or through an a priori belief.
    And it is not about what I consider evidence of God to be, but whether there are more plausible/mudane explanations for the evidence that you put forth.
    And there are, whether there is proof for those explanations or not.
    And because there are, I find your claims that the "evidence" supports God being not-man-made to be irrational.

    I can't see that we're going to agree, and I appreciate the civility of the discussion. But I'm now going to leave it alone for a while.

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  16. Mr Hope Registered Member

    What evidence are you willing to accept?

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