Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
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29-01-2014, 09:47 PM
Star Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
I'm sure you know of a few reasons. Please post them.

Only post positive reasons. For example, "being part of a community", and not things like "socially acceptable way of enslaving women" or "having sex with the underage", etc.

The purpose? The purpose is to later then brainstorm of ways to transition people away towards various other (secular) alternatives. Some may be easy, others not so much.

I'll start:

-seeing and interacting with your neighborhood at least once a week in a formal way
-finding a similar community, whether tiny or large, anywhere around the world
-well financed and organized organizations for charity
-well financed and organized organizations for communal events or projects
-sense of being loved and cared for, feeling you always have a second chance if you want it bad enough
-sense that your life matters, and you being alive meant something
-not being burdened with the eventuality of death
-a burning unyielding desire for a cause, that nothing other than death could stop you from doing
-exposed to rich history, art, and architecture
-a clear conscious and guide for what is right and wrong
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29-01-2014, 09:49 PM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
The only thing I can think of that religious people have easy time doing is getting to like a shitty life. It's sort of masochistic scheme.
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30-01-2014, 09:07 AM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
I can't really add anything. Any "positive" I can think of is more than balanced by the negative of basing a world view on things that are likely false. I wanted to add something about "feeling happy when loved ones die", but that also could get filed under "feeling happy because you're delusional".

I can't think of anything seriously good that couldn't be accomplished without the non-falsifiability and other baggage.
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30-01-2014, 09:18 AM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
-sense that your life matters, and you being alive meant something -

this one applies to me more now then when I was a muslim,
I had to pray 5 times a day, I had to remember that this is not the real life, this is just an exam
and the judgment day will come and you better be able to pass it to get to heaven or else you go to hell.


on another note i dont hold this view when I was religious
but for many religious people it gives them comfort when their loved ones pass away and they seek comfort in their religion,
they tend to become even more religious the few weeks and months after as a coping mechanism for the loss that they suffered and get them out of the suffering.

EDIT:
sorry tend to edit a lot after I post.

I also forgot to say that is my theory for the extreme behavior of radical muslims
who live in abject poverty in 3rd world countries, or feel like they are out of place with the western world when they grow up here, thats when they become extremely dedicated to their religion and it makes them do crazy things.
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30-01-2014, 09:33 AM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
A friend of mine says that god is the best thing in her life. No matter what happens, she can always talk to him, and he listens and understands and she feels all calm and collected after that.

So - the power of prayer - the release of dopamine on demand.

Not that there are no other things that will do this - but prayer is what she learned and uses.

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30-01-2014, 10:18 AM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
I have all those things now without having to get out of bed early on a Sunday.
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30-01-2014, 11:38 AM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
Fear of the unknown, a fatherly figure to take care of them, and the doughnuts at bible study.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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30-01-2014, 02:15 PM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
(29-01-2014 09:47 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  -a clear conscious and guide for what is right and wrong

*conscience

#1 reason: childhood indoctrination -- and most people never think to question it after that. This is why the vast majority of religious people subscribe to the same religion as their parents.
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30-01-2014, 05:33 PM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
Cheers PoolBoy for a good thread subject.

I can probably give you guys a little bit of insight. I am probably best described as a deist, but come from a Christian family with very religious parents.

The most important thing is to remember that religious people are no different from you. They make decisions in the same way. Everyone makes decisions based on a combination of logic and prejudices. Those prejudices may be based on their parents' beliefs, they may be based on how a belief system allows them to fit into a crowd or stand out from one, or they may be based on what makes them feel good about themselves. There is always an element of logic in there, but the prejudices will affect people's logic (obviously to varying degrees based on the strength of the prejudice) and will also affect the premises that they will accept as a basis for their logical analysis.

I know, I know, you guys are thinking to yourself, "I'm an atheist because it is correct, not because of my prejudices." But, you know perfectly well that any religious person is going to tell you the exact same thing.

The important thing to remember is that just because someone has a different belief set than you does not mean that they make decisions any differently. That often holds up even when people change their beliefs.

I found this site after listening to Seth Andrew's book "Deconverted" and I was fascinated by his story. One thing that I noticed is that his transformation from Christianity to atheism isn't really a transformation. He changes his beliefs, but he remains pretty much the exact same person. He is raised as a hardcore Christian tasked with being a warrior in God's army and converting the poor ignorant people who haven't found the "truth". After changing his beliefs, he ends up as a hardcore atheist who tasks himself as being a warrior in Richard Dawkins' army to convert the ignorant people who haven't found the "truth". He was raised as a blind-faith Christian, gets disenchanted with it and then turns into a blind-faith atheist. He admits in his book that he never even seriously considered any other sort of religion after becoming disenchanted with Christianity. When you listen to his story you notice that his decisions all the way along were influenced by emotion. Atheism made him feel "free" from the constraints of his extremist religious upbringing. It made him feel superior to others who hadn't found the "truth", and allowed him to find a new purpose in sharing that truth and enlightening others.

Religious people think in the same way. A born-again Christian may find religion as a way to "free" them from the terrible purposeless life they led before their conversion (usually the most extreme born-again Christians have the most extreme back stories about how Christ saved them from a life of crime or drug abuse). That same born-again also thinks they have found the "truth". It makes them feel superior to those who are still ignorant and gives them a new purpose: to share that truth and enlighten others.

Do not fall into the trap of believing that people have certain characteristics simply based on their beliefs. There are numerous closed-minded religious people, but there are also numerous closed-minded atheists. There are some very intelligent atheists out there, but there are also some very intelligent religious people, agnostics and deists. Think about every opinion you have on every topic imaginable. I guarantee that for every one of those topics there is someone smarter than you who disagrees with your opinion (and this applies to me, too). That doesn't necessarily mean that you are wrong, but it does mean that you shouldn't dismiss the opinion of anyone based on their perceived level of intelligence (because you wouldn't like it if someone smarter than you did that to you).

If you want to convince someone, you have to play to their prejudices, play to the emotions that cause them to make decisions one way or another. But, if you are interested in actually finding truth, try to identify your own prejudices and try to figure out why you believe the things that you believe. Only then can you effectively and challenge your own beliefs and objectively consider the beliefs of others.
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30-01-2014, 05:46 PM
RE: Positive reasons for why people become/stay religious?
What about the prisoners who are converted by epiphany groups? My aunt and uncle do it for a women's prison here. I think it's really good. These girls have had rough lives. I don't go to the meetings but I pen pal a couple girls. Obviously they have to get their dose of Jesus from someone else. I just think it's nice for these people to know there's someone out their who loves them and cares about them. Would it be better if there was a secular group that did it, maybe, but there isn't. I really think loving someone and listening to them and being their for them as support (especially after they get out) is so much better for them than tossing them in jail which does nothing to help them be less likely to commit crime again.

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