The psychological benefits of religion
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27-06-2012, 12:40 AM
The psychological benefits of religion
Seeing as how there are no gods talking back to the faithful, or bothering to lift a finger to cease the suffering of even one innocent child, there has to be a reason why people continue to worship, apart from outright fear of death. So let's look at the acts of religion and why they are pleasing to the religious.

I'll start with the most obvious.



You get to be comforted with knowledge of an afterlife.

Death is a scary thing, and there is no escaping it. As a living organism, our number one priority in life is to continue living. Self-preservation trumps all else. And death carries with it the frightening state of the unknown. We do not know what happens to our mind when we die. Rational thought would suggest that you would simply cease to exist. The energy in your brain would stop functioning and everything you are would disperse along with your decomposing body. But that is a depressing and finite concept. So by donning the reigns of religion, you are presented with comfort and closure. No more wonderment or fear. You KNOW what happens, and it is pleasant and sets the mind at ease.

My problem with that: is that believing that you will live forever degrades the preciousness of life. This life becomes nothing but a brief stay in an imperfect existence, not worth improving or caring. It comforts the mind, but simultaneously tells you to stop thinking. Since you KNOW what happens when you die, there's no need to continue trying to figure out other alternative possibilities. In this manner, it doesn't comfort, but sedates the mind. You inject your mind with religion because a comforting vegetative state is preferable to perpetual bafflement, with no answers forthcoming.



The power of prayer.

No, not magical telepathy capable of changing the state of being. But rather, the physical act of prayer. Prayer is nothing more than meditation. And meditation is a conscious effort to relax, breathe, and lower your stress. And whether you utilize a booth in a church or simply send a mental note to God himself, during prayer you confess your sins. And confessing your sins is nothing more then crystallizing what's bothering you by admitting it openly. You clear a guilty conscious by stating outright that which you regret doing, all the while taking deep breathes and relaxing.

My problem with that: is that you're wasting too much time focused on something that isn't there. It's great to take time out of your day to close your eyes, relax, and clear your conscious. While you're at it, hope that your neighbors and family are lucky in their fortunes and health. Super! Well wishing never hurt anyone and it's nice to think of family. But why then are you praising and asking forgiveness from an imaginary magician? You are sacrificing independence through self-reliance and self-knowledge by confessing to someone you are dependent on instead of confessing to yourself. And you're mostly doing it out of fear because you don't want to burn forever. Do it because you should, not because you're afraid not to.



The communal feeling of church.

I loved church as a kid. Well most of it. You would come together with friends, who all looked and smelled nice, and you would sing out loud, while clapping your hands and just having fun. Church was mostly beautiful. Stained glass windows and towering pillars and magnificent decor, all the while you're dancing and singing. But every once in a while they would get to the part that wasn't so beautiful.

My problem with that: The singing and dancing and feelings of elation were frequently interspersed with guilt, shame, and demands for money. Every so often, they would organize plays that depicted families dying and being dragged to hell by demons. Suddenly, instead of release, I'm plagued with terror and nightmares that will last through my entire childhood. The man who was just leading the beautiful sounds of the choir is now shouting and pointing at me and my friends, telling me how evil and worthless we are, and they unless we come forward right now, there is no saving us. The man inspiring me to embrace the joy of song is now passing around a plate, telling me to put money into it or else burn forever in a lake of fire. My friends and family are now being held hostage for ransom, when really all I wanted to do was sing and then go to McDonalds for some ice cream.



You are now special.

Who are you? Joe Everyman, who lives on Normal Street, in Averagetown, Nebraska. Just 1 of 7,000,000,000 humans on this space rock. Well my friend, what if I told you that you could become Joe Christian, who lives on God's Chosen Blvd, in Divine Blessing, Heaven? All you have to do is skim through this book and repeat a few prayers to an invisible man who will never acknowledge you. YOU are now better than the majority of the earth. Those hopeless, godless scientists and their complicated devilspeak. They are coal for the fire, while you are the shining light of the world. God chose you to represent him and will hang out with you on Chocolate Mountain in the Gumdrop Village when you die.

My problem with that: is best described by Fight Club. "You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are same decaying organic matter as everyone else." Inflating an ego only leads to atrocities.



What else am I missing?

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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27-06-2012, 01:15 AM
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
Superiority complex - or holier than thou attitude.

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
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27-06-2012, 01:25 AM (This post was last modified: 27-06-2012 01:30 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
(27-06-2012 12:40 AM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  The power of prayer.

No, not magical telepathy capable of changing the state of being. But rather, the physical act of prayer. Prayer is nothing more than meditation. And meditation is a conscious effort to relax, breathe, and lower your stress. And whether you utilize a booth in a church or simply send a mental note to God himself, during prayer you confess your sins. And confessing your sins is nothing more then crystallizing what's bothering you by admitting it openly. You clear a guilty conscious by stating outright that which you regret doing, all the while taking deep breathes and relaxing.

My problem with that: is that you're wasting too much time focused on something that isn't there. It's great to take time out of your day to close your eyes, relax, and clear your conscious. While you're at it, hope that your neighbors and family are lucky in their fortunes and health. Super! Well wishing never hurt anyone and it's nice to think of family. But why then are you praising and asking forgiveness from an imaginary magician? You are sacrificing independence through self-reliance and self-knowledge by confessing to someone you are dependent on instead of confessing to yourself. And you're mostly doing it out of fear because you don't want to burn forever. Do it because you should, not because you're afraid not to.

Hey Buddy Boy,

You can add the singing and dancing, and aesthetic experiences, and stick em in with the prayer part, cuz in the end, they all have one thing in common. They raise your circulating beta-endorphin levels, ( http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Natural-Rush ), and dopamine levels. ( http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/10...Connected_ . )

They're addicted. Very simple. Tongue And anyway, I'm always thpesthial.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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27-06-2012, 01:37 AM
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
(27-06-2012 01:25 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(27-06-2012 12:40 AM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  The power of prayer.

No, not magical telepathy capable of changing the state of being. But rather, the physical act of prayer. Prayer is nothing more than meditation. And meditation is a conscious effort to relax, breathe, and lower your stress. And whether you utilize a booth in a church or simply send a mental note to God himself, during prayer you confess your sins. And confessing your sins is nothing more then crystallizing what's bothering you by admitting it openly. You clear a guilty conscious by stating outright that which you regret doing, all the while taking deep breathes and relaxing.

My problem with that: is that you're wasting too much time focused on something that isn't there. It's great to take time out of your day to close your eyes, relax, and clear your conscious. While you're at it, hope that your neighbors and family are lucky in their fortunes and health. Super! Well wishing never hurt anyone and it's nice to think of family. But why then are you praising and asking forgiveness from an imaginary magician? You are sacrificing independence through self-reliance and self-knowledge by confessing to someone you are dependent on instead of confessing to yourself. And you're mostly doing it out of fear because you don't want to burn forever. Do it because you should, not because you're afraid not to.

Hey Buddy Boy,

You can add the singing and dancing, and aesthetic experiences, and stick em in with the prayer part, cuz in the end, they all have one thing in common. They raise your circulating beta-endorphin levels, ( http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Natural-Rush ), and dopamine levels. ( http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/10...Connected_ . )

They're addicted. Very simple. Tongue And anyway, I'm always thpesthial.

I actually did have them in the same category, but I had two different objections to the two so I separated them. Plus I love the sound of my own text, so I made the post longer.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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27-06-2012, 01:45 AM
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
(27-06-2012 01:25 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(27-06-2012 12:40 AM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  The power of prayer.

No, not magical telepathy capable of changing the state of being. But rather, the physical act of prayer. Prayer is nothing more than meditation. And meditation is a conscious effort to relax, breathe, and lower your stress. And whether you utilize a booth in a church or simply send a mental note to God himself, during prayer you confess your sins. And confessing your sins is nothing more then crystallizing what's bothering you by admitting it openly. You clear a guilty conscious by stating outright that which you regret doing, all the while taking deep breathes and relaxing.

My problem with that: is that you're wasting too much time focused on something that isn't there. It's great to take time out of your day to close your eyes, relax, and clear your conscious. While you're at it, hope that your neighbors and family are lucky in their fortunes and health. Super! Well wishing never hurt anyone and it's nice to think of family. But why then are you praising and asking forgiveness from an imaginary magician? You are sacrificing independence through self-reliance and self-knowledge by confessing to someone you are dependent on instead of confessing to yourself. And you're mostly doing it out of fear because you don't want to burn forever. Do it because you should, not because you're afraid not to.

Hey Buddy Boy,

You can add the singing and dancing, and aesthetic experiences, and stick em in with the prayer part, cuz in the end, they all have one thing in common. They raise your circulating beta-endorphin levels, ( http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Natural-Rush ), and dopamine levels. ( http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/10...Connected_ . )

They're addicted. Very simple. Tongue And anyway, I'm always thpesthial.
I think there was an article on worshipers, who were having orgasms for Jesus...

Member of the Cult of Reason

The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
-Baron d'Holbach-
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27-06-2012, 02:06 AM
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
Yeah, I'll have what she's having.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecstasy_of_Saint_Teresa Tongue

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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27-06-2012, 12:10 PM (This post was last modified: 27-06-2012 03:20 PM by Thomas.)
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
The psychological benefits of racism.
The racist feels secure in the fact that his/her group is superior. "Thank god I wasn't born a ..." You are special.
The communial relationships with others of your kind. You can all agree that you're better than those people.
You can select members of your group over other groups; therefore maintaining the security circle so that you will be taken care of by others in your group.
I see little difference in religious group behavior and racialist group behavior.
Then again, I could just be a "religious hater". Ohmy

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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27-06-2012, 01:16 PM
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
(27-06-2012 12:10 PM)Thomas Wrote:  The psychological benefits of racism.
The racist feels secure in the fact that his/her group is superior. "Thank god I wasn't born a ..." You are special.
The communial relationships with others of your kind. You can all agree that you're better than those people.
You can select members of your group over other groups; therefore maintaining the security circle so that you will be taken care of by others in your group.
I see little difference in religious group behavior and racialist group behavior.
Then again, I could just be a "religious hatter". Ohmy
Is that anything like the "Mad Hatter?"

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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27-06-2012, 02:15 PM
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
(27-06-2012 12:10 PM)Thomas Wrote:  The psychological benefits of racism.
The racist feels secure in the fact that his/her group is superior. "Thank god I wasn't born a ..." You are special.
The communial relationships with others of your kind. You can all agree that you're better than those people.
You can select members of your group over other groups; therefore maintaining the security circle so that you will be taken care of by others in your group.
I see little difference in religious group behavior and racialist group behavior.
Then again, I could just be a "religious hatter". Ohmy

True. Religion is simply organized racism towards all those different from them. You can even see it in their word games.

"All atheists are immoral monsters."

"I'm an atheist."

"Well, I didn't mean YOU. I just meant atheists in general. I'm not a bigot though, I have friends who are atheists."

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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27-06-2012, 02:52 PM
RE: The psychological benefits of religion
(27-06-2012 12:40 AM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  What else am I missing?

Give your troubles to God/Jesus

Nothing is possible without God/Jesus, so if you are troubled, give your problems to God/Jesus and your troubles will cease. You will immediately experience comfort and an untroubled life, when you let God/Jesus handle everything. It's all beyond your control. Give it to God.

Really?

Comfort is one thing, but giving up all responsibility to something that isn't there, will only bring the same problems back around. Chances are if there is something troubling you, it's because there is some real problem that needs to be dealt with. Putting it off will just keep it troubling you, and make someone else responsible for your inactions. It sets up a very comfortable, destructive, and self destructive, behavioral pattern which is difficult to alter.

If you want comfort for your troubles, find a friend to commiserate with. A real friend will comfort you while telling you to get your shit together. And the only payment they might demand is that you pay for the pizza. Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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