God, The Ultimate Human Meme - Intrinsic, Integral, or Irrelevant?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Cleverboy, Jun 6, 2008.

?

What is God

  1. God is very clearly a meme

    15 vote(s)
    24.2%
  2. God is an nth dimensional complex manifold

    6 vote(s)
    9.7%
  3. God does not exist... at all

    19 vote(s)
    30.6%
  4. God is love

    16 vote(s)
    25.8%
  5. Huh?

    6 vote(s)
    9.7%
  1. Cleverboy macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #1
    A couple of years ago, I wrote a handful of blog entries dealing with some scattered thoughts on religion. I whipped out a big brush and determined to spatter a healthy dose of paint on as many topics as I cared to. Amongst those targets of my philosophical ponderings were:


    Much of my repeated conclusions dwelled upon two highly heretical and unsettling premise. The first, that "reality" as we know it, is merely agreement (an ecosystem defined in "The Tri-Partite Universe"). Then secondly, that the God concept... is an evolutionary construct in our species, in part birthed by our fundamental nature as "pattern finding" organisms. Just as a "behavior" is a pattern, so is, on a much more metaphysical level, human thought... the ultimate quest for finding "patterns" in our own perception. Just look at how we decrypt "dreams", and how dreams form in the first place.

    At one point, I found myself arguing with one fairly intelligent commenter, on whether or not religion came before philosophy. Whether religion existed as a placeholder for philosophical uncertainty, or whether philosophy in essence attempted to burn away to call of primal pattern-finding that would have us believe that lightning was God.

    "Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children." - William Makepeace Thackeray

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme#Memetic_accounts_of_religion

    Memes, I think... amuse me. Whether it is the disturbing fear that robots will overthrow humanity (springing from the very first robot story), or the latest Internet crazy hitting the tubes... I look at it, and I think I see our species struggling to surivive by making ideas spread under the radar of most conscious thinking.

    Most people like arguing that somehow GOD or RELIGION is at the root of all the violence and hatred in the world. Instead, I believe that the violence and hatred is already there, and often clings to the GOD meme as a handy and responsive excuse to propagate it. In turn however, the God meme vacillates between inspiring charity (the protection of the weak in the absence of benefit or reward) and prejudice (sectarianism and xenophobia, allowing a specific set of beliefs vie for legitimacy through insular civilization). I end up believing that the "truth" of it, is that we're only still around because of religion.

    It doesn't, in fact, always promote "peace"... but it does result in behaviors that result in more often than not... in a successful civilization or society that finds an equilibrium and an ancestral tradition.

    What these ends up meaning... I feel, anyway... is that we shouldn't make so much of a fuss about religion when beliefs are not overtly causing harm. On balance, its all part of the giant hampster wheel of a life we call reality.

    Isn't it?

    ~ CB
     
  2. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #2
    No question, God is love.

    All the rest is just some useless rhetoric.
     
  3. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #3
    I selected "Huh?", since even stating that God does not exist already grants the concept a degree of reality.

    As for "I end up believing that the "truth" of it, is that we're only still around because of religion", you might as well assert that this applies to cats and dogs, too. The commonest mistake in our thought-processes is anthropocentric vanity. We are just grubbing about.
     
  4. Queso macrumors G4

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    #4
    All gods were born from misunderstanding of nature, although once the idea had taken root within a social grouping it was easier to attach the society's code of behaviour to the made-up god in order to spread that code's acceptance. Adoption of the same code by the social group led to less discord and increased the likelihood of survival for the whole.

    And the ultimate human meme was and still is survival. God is simply tacked onto the side of that as a method of ensuring obedience to a set of rules.
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    There is nothing to suggest that the prospects for survival are affected one way or the other by the notional acceptance of religious taboos.
     
  6. Queso macrumors G4

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    #6
    No, but several thousand years ago (and at times since) having everyone possessing the same idea of right and wrong would most definitely have been an advantage in producing a stable society, and stability usually increases the likelihood of survival quite dramatically.
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #7
    You are implying that ideas of right and wrong are derived from religion, which is entirely at odds with your position as stated elsewhere.
     
  8. Queso macrumors G4

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    #8
    No, I am arguing that religion was developed as a method of applying ideas of right and wrong, one which I believe is now superseded.
     
  9. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #9
    I picked "huh?" because it was the closest to "doesn't care".
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    If you don't care, why post? :confused:
     
  11. floyde macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #11
    God is the fear of death and the way to cope with the fact that "everything wont necessarily be ok". I think it is time for humanity to grow up, fairy tales can be harmful when believed by adults.

    I disagree with you here. Religion is obviously not the root of all evil, but I do think it's a crutch, and a dangerous one at that. I think religion was beneficial for the establishment of societies on the earlier stages of our species, but that's only because it might have been too much to ask for primitive men to come up with something better.

    It is much different these days. We HAVE the ability to come up with a better foundation for our society. Evil will still exist without religion, but at least we might be able to rid ourselves of the harmful segregation and the unnecessary creation of several groups or tribes. We are one species, and we should look after each other, and we should also look after our fellow living creatures (which are often claimed to be "inferior" by religion). Religion prevents us from coming up with economic/political systems that work for everyone, that is, the entire human species.

    I heard this from a Dawkings documentary, and I think it's something important to think about: (I don't remember it 100%)
    "There are bad people who do bad things and good people who do good things, but it's only with religion that you see good people doing bad things"
     
  12. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    No, we "moderns" are no less primitive than the people of the Palaeolithic.
    There were plenty of examples in the ancient world of religions coexisting or being accepted by different groups. It is not religion as such which causes problems, it is the dreadful arrogance of monotheism above all which has set people at each others' throats.

    Attractive soundbite, but unfortunately lacking any basis in truth.
     
  13. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #13
    Speak for yourself, stinky. :p

    But I know you are talking about the collective "we". :D
     
  14. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #14
    As far as I am concerned, the idea of progress is entirely illusory. The baubles may be gaudier, but the foibles are just as feeble.
     
  15. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

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    #15
    God is the belief in a rationalizing principle. If the universe can be understood, then God is the ideal consciousness at the end of that telos that understands it.

    However, I agree with skunk. There is no such thing as progress.

    If one understands things relatively, then there ain't no ideal and there ain't no God. Maybe there are personal Gods, role models and fictionalized ideals that we construct to represent our goals du jour.
     
  16. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #16
    That may be true, for now, but as the wheat is separated from the chaff, we "might" have cause for hope.

    EDIT: Whoops, should have gone one post further.

    There are nothing BUT personal Gods.

    I have mine, within me, and He serves me well.
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #17
    What exactly are you suggesting here? Splitting the human race? How will that change anything for the better? I assume of course that you would class yourself as "wheat".
     
  18. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #18
    Brings a new meaning to the term "chav", no?
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #19
    Indeed. However, the whole idea is thoroughly abominable.
     
  20. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #20
    Don't care.

    I know what I stand for.

    Do you??
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    Why post?

    Yes, I do. I stand for every member of the human race being capable of the best of things and the worst of things.
     
  22. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #22
    Yes sir! No doubt, and no negotiation.
    (I fear you are "casting your pearls before swine.")
     
  23. Cleverboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #23
    Come on. Religion is a not a primary motivator for human behavior. It is the container that frames the instincts we are already led to participate in. Ayn Rand once commented that religion has co-opted many of the higher concepts that would otherwise exist in mankind absent its fascination with the gods. Among these, she included "worship", "sacred", "reverence", "grandeur" and "exaltation".

    Where I disagree with Rand, is that I personally think that religion is basically a "mass market" way of propagating access to experiential benefits of such emotions where practical access, through mere philosophy, can prove too difficult or obtuse.

    Basically, religion has been known to pull people out of depression, and help people make sense of an all too random universe. The TRUTH unfortunately, is that the universe is VERY random, and survival necessitates humanity find easy ways of propagating the will to live in the face of the often debilitating realities of self-awareness. It amuses me that some science-fiction stories find that the first thing self-awareness caused for a new creation, was the desire to destroy itself. It's very annoying and somewhat puzzling.

    When it comes to "harmful segregation", I think you're not looking at the bigger picture. Personally, I think "civiization" is the larger organism we form when we successfully learn to work together. There is a natural process by which it is determined that some templates for civilization will war with one another, until the dominant civilization remains... whether it fits with OUR concept of "better" or not... its how it works.

    It think its only by acknowledging this reality, that we will EVER gain the ability to not surcomb to it. Unfortunately, most people are too busy participating in the "war"... attempting to "change" it... as opposed to working to "transform" our way out of it (by understanding its nature).

    Honestly... there are many atheists out there who would wish to simply "convert" people to atheism. I was gratified in reading the post in the thread "I've seen the light", that picked up on the person would said they'd choose atheism "for now". If one were truly "choosing" to be an atheist, its generally not a "for now" decision, but something arrived at through a thorough and open-minded inquiry into one's own beliefs. It is the OPPOSITE (in the ideal sense) of "group-think". As such, writers like Rand appreciate that it will likely remain a "fringe" conviction to the mainstream... which she remained ambivalent about (as she should).

    ~ CB
     
  24. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #24
    Just who are you calling swine here?
     
  25. Cleverboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #25
    You TOTALLY care. :)

    Funny thing is, I honestly believe that only applies to zealots. Everyone else appreciates that life is somewhat complicated and that each experience tests our character and gives us greater insight into who we are and what we truly believe.

    On a given question, on a given day, I can generally give a very solid and unequivocal answer. But, I'm always open to hearing someone else's' point of view, especially if they're open to expressing it in vivid and compelling detail.

    ~ CB
     

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