How Religion Got Started
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22-03-2016, 01:10 PM
RE: How Religion Got Started
I think religion began from the first spark of wonder. How did that bright light get in the sky? Uga-bunga Was talking yesterday but now he isn't. what happened? What is that loud sound and flash of light something must be angry.

Humans and possibly our ancient ancestors lived from a view that we are the best. We are masters of our domain. But when something happens outside of our abilities or understand we need to attribute these acts to something.

Our brains don't like gaps. Even when telling personal story's if we forget a part we may fill in a gap with what you think might have happened. So when they heard thunder we feel that some sort of hand must have been working the process.

But it could be much deeper then that. Lab tests have shown that animals can create religious practices as well. A food dispenser would distribute food at random to lab pigeon. But they found that a couple of the times the bird would be looking to it's right when the food would be dependence. The bird started attributing the way it was looking to the despencing of the food. It would walk to the food depenser look right then look in the depsencer. Even when it didn't religious the bird would attempt again looking to the right and would do so until the food came out. Then when the food didn't come out with just a look it added scraching the floor. It then combined the right look with a the scrach and would wait for the food. Even though the food was distrubited at completely random intervales the bird associated it's actions to the out come.

I don't this being a long jump to many of the practices that are attributed to human religions. Having to face toward Meka to pray at 4:00pm every day. An eagle flying over a roman army as a sign of Aries being on their side. A valcono dosn't erupt after you throw a virgin in. Associations with events that become attributed to a "higher power"

Lord of the Flies comes to mind on why these practices might be continued.

We can also see other mammals morning their dead. Elephants have grave yards, and will stand over their dead crying. Most likely just feeling the lost of the loved on that they can't interact with any more.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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22-03-2016, 01:13 PM
RE: How Religion Got Started
(22-03-2016 10:47 AM)SYZ Wrote:  I think religion was started by the very first bloke to have a transorbital lobotomy. Big Grin

(Many lobotomies turned the recipients into intellectual vegetables, and in the late 1940s, the lobotomy was considered a possible cure for homosexuality.)

I don't know whether I'd rather have a bottle in front of me or a frontal lobotomy.

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23-03-2016, 03:18 PM
RE: How Religion Got Started
Taking off my theist hat and putting on my secular hat. It is a very interesting topic. I think it is important to note that religion is found all over the world. Even in the most remote regions where there is very little, if any, outside influence. So whatever the cause, I presume that it has to do with something everyone has to experience regardless of location. I believe those reasons were "life" and "death". People wanted to know, "Where did we come from and what happens after we die?"

In order to find answers to these questions, the earliest people had to rely on what they did know and understand which was probably limited to what was around them. Because of the environmental diversity, it could explain the religious diversity.
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23-03-2016, 04:00 PM (This post was last modified: 24-03-2016 02:20 PM by Commonsensei.)
RE: How Religion Got Started
(23-03-2016 03:18 PM)jason_delisle Wrote:  Taking off my theist hat and putting on my secular hat. It is a very interesting topic. I think it is important to note that religion is found all over the world. Even in the most remote regions where there is very little, if any, outside influence. So whatever the cause, I presume that it has to do with something everyone has to experience regardless of location. I believe those reasons were "life" and "death". People wanted to know, "Where did we come from and what happens after we die?"

In order to find answers to these questions, the earliest people had to rely on what they did know and understand which was probably limited to what was around them. Because of the environmental diversity, it could explain the religious diversity.

We don't even have to go that far back. New religions pop up to even today. Scientology is one of the first that pops to mind, but many cults just need a few people to believe what they say and off they go.

Theres one I remember from some of my earlier studies called the Prince Philip Movement. In the early 1950's soldiers would use Islands in the south Pacific as depots for their cargo, and soldiers in case the call was made. The soldiers would give the local tribes food, and items that seemed magical to the people. Plus with the planes that flew over head made them awh with wonder. On this one island in Vanuatu one of the "Cargo Cults" had a visit from Prince Phillip in the 1970's. The indigenous people saw how the soldiers reacted to the prince as he arrived and started creating stores of who he must have been. And from that the Prince Phillip Movement had begun.




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23-03-2016, 04:09 PM
RE: How Religion Got Started
I would imagine man wanted answers to the things he couldnt understand, and they would turn to their elders for explanations...and the elder not knowing the answer either, made some shit up......elder..why does the mountain spit fire....um...because the mountain spirit is angry, quick, throw in a sacrifice to appease the god...this evolved over the years until we had "personal gods" who were immensely involved in the day to day groveling of humans, their thoughts, and how many choice sacrifices could be offered...fast forward until 4th century middle east and baam JESUS

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23-03-2016, 04:43 PM
RE: How Religion Got Started
I think it started when some dude decided witch doctoring paid better than hunting, and realized he could con the village into paying him.

But I suppose maybe this : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_religion

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24-03-2016, 06:01 AM
RE: How Religion Got Started
(22-03-2016 06:18 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  Thoughts?

The idea of an afterlife is only part of the equation. From what I understand, Jews don't (necessarily) believe in heaven and hell.

I imagine it was some combination of at least three things, and how those things played out varied from region to region.
  • Humans have a knack for pattern matching. We love arguments from ignorance (the formal name of God of the Gaps). We want to have control over our world, and understanding it gives us some control. So, it makes sense that people would start guessing about how things work when they have no way to actually know.
  • You're probably right in a lot of ways about people seeking comfort from things they can't control. If they can't stop themselves from dying, they might as well make death more appealing.
  • At least in some groups, I'm sure control has a lot to do with it. Take a look at the myriad of minutia in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
Even today, you can talk to religious people and see more of one of these points and less of another in their lives/beliefs.
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24-03-2016, 07:29 AM
RE: How Religion Got Started
(22-03-2016 06:18 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  Here's something I've thought about for some time.

How did religion get started?

I have no evidence (nor does anyone else, really) of how or why it all started -- but I can make a few guesses.

.....

As humans evolved - their emotions became more complex - and more of a factor in their day to day lives.

Lower primates face death fairly simply. It's been observed that chimps and some other lower primates seem to understand death in it's most basic of terms. The dead member of the group is no longer going to move, eat, or do anything else except decay and smell bad. The surviving members seem to feel bad for a day or so, then go on about normal life.

Humans on the other hand, do more thinking about it, and tend to get hung up on it. We also have the tendency to extend our maternal instincts to it, and try to shield the young from the hurt of a group member's death.

What I expect happened - is long ago - a group of hunter/gatherers had a member of the group that had a flair for storytelling -- and when one of the beloved members of the group died he/she told the kids a story about how that dead member hadn't really died --- "But went to a better place to live" -- in order to make the kids feel better.

If you've been around kids for more than two minutes - you know how they incessantly ask questions. The storyteller had to make more shit up all the time to keep the kids believing in the story.

The problem - some of the more impressionable kids actually believed it. It's likely that the storyteller never fessed up -- or the kids who believed the nonsense got separated from the group, and went on propagating the stories as real.

Thoughts?

No see we do know what caused religion to get started, fear and ignorance and gap filling. The God Delusion explains in real evolutionary terms why god claims exist.

And your analogy of children is quite apt in evolutionary terms. We simply did not have our current knowledge back then, so we made up these stories as gap answers, some out of fear, some out of narcissism and some as a way of convincing others to follow, and or a combo of all. It is easy to fall for a story when you don't know any better and you see everyone around you buy into it.

Religion is a result of our species notoriously false perceptions of reality.

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24-03-2016, 07:48 AM
RE: How Religion Got Started
Wow! I actually got a like from Chas!
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25-03-2016, 02:53 PM (This post was last modified: 25-03-2016 03:02 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: How Religion Got Started
(22-03-2016 06:18 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  Here's something I've thought about for some time.

How did religion get started?

I have no evidence (nor does anyone else, really) of how or why it all started -- but I can make a few guesses.

.....

As humans evolved - their emotions became more complex - and more of a factor in their day to day lives.

Lower primates face death fairly simply. It's been observed that chimps and some other lower primates seem to understand death in it's most basic of terms. The dead member of the group is no longer going to move, eat, or do anything else except decay and smell bad. The surviving members seem to feel bad for a day or so, then go on about normal life.

Humans on the other hand, do more thinking about it, and tend to get hung up on it. We also have the tendency to extend our maternal instincts to it, and try to shield the young from the hurt of a group member's death.

What I expect happened - is long ago - a group of hunter/gatherers had a member of the group that had a flair for storytelling -- and when one of the beloved members of the group died he/she told the kids a story about how that dead member hadn't really died --- "But went to a better place to live" -- in order to make the kids feel better.

If you've been around kids for more than two minutes - you know how they incessantly ask questions. The storyteller had to make more shit up all the time to keep the kids believing in the story.

The problem - some of the more impressionable kids actually believed it. It's likely that the storyteller never fessed up -- or the kids who believed the nonsense got separated from the group, and went on propagating the stories as real.

Thoughts?

Proto-religion most likely predates the genus Homo. As I explained in this thread, it's possible the precursor of a "man in the clouds" was the anthropomorphizing of the elements by our early ape-like ancestors. And as you know, chimps appear to know what death is. These could be the antecedents of a belief in a soul going to heaven. While chimps are capable of second order awareness (i.e., I know that you know), it probably required more brain power to think of an entity, such as the soul, that was separate from the body. This may have coincided with the ritual burial of the deceased. This article mentions the possible “caching” of corpses by H. heidelbergensis in Spain around 200,000 years ago. However, considering the recent H. naledi find, it’s possible this practice goes back some two million years. H. naledi has an estimated brain volume of 450 and 550 cm3, whereas chimps have a volume of 275–500 cm3. While there is some overlap, the early hominid was clearly on the larger end of the scale. The question is then at what brain volume did early human species begin to believe in a soul?

By the way, here is a paper that suggests chimps have a form of religion. I haven't read it yet, so I can't speak to its accuracy.
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