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How can modern man believe in a God?

When studying past civilizations it had been discovered that some ancient societies worshipped many gods. After digging deeper into some of these religions it was found that they had believed that these gods had great powers and that they used those powers to control all natural functions. They did not understand how the natural world worked so they figured that it must be gods that were controlling it. So my question is this: if modern people know that the reason ancient people believed in gods was only to help them understand their world, how does modern man justify believing in a God when science has given us most of the answers on how our world works and does not seem to support the idea of a God?

By CaseyBurch
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47 comments

6

How? The same way modern people believe in political parties. Religion and politics are different aces from the same deck of cards. One has a dogma, the other has a party platform. Both subsist on selling fear, hope, and empty promises of a better life. Both demand unquestioned loyalty, etc.

skepticguy Level 3 Dec 6, 2018
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O so true

Wow I now have something new ponder. I joined this site just for that reason: find people who in discussion will bring a new idea or way of thinking my attention I am most happy when in pursuit of answers the big questions that are important me.

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5

Fear of the unknown and death.

Jimba Level 3 Dec 9, 2018
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5

Repetitive messaging targeting children is extremely effective.

powder Level 7 Dec 7, 2018
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3

Have read some reasonable comments here and I do believe there is not one reason but many. One that I did not see mentioned though, and I consider near the top of the list is POWER. I think people need to feel they have some power over their world and if you can work with the, and get help from, a supreme power of the universe they have power.

astrojc Level 5 Dec 23, 2018
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3

They've been intentionally crippled since birth.

ldheinz Level 7 Dec 18, 2018
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Very true. The book itself says to bring up a child in the teachings of god and he will not depart from it.

3

Take a child and the time it is able to start putting words together, tell them myths that religion spouts....it's called brain washing. ..and when its done constantly, it takes alot to overcome. Many don't, and go on to perpetuate the evil

HankSherman Level 7 Dec 9, 2018
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3

One has to be careful of scientism and the dogma that "science has answered most of our questions" because as a scientist myself, I can tell you that the number of unresolved questions in the world outnumber the number of answers.

It is because of this understanding that most people (68%) see no conflict between their religious beliefs and their scientific knowledge [1] and why a small majority (51%) of scientists hold onto religious beliefs in the USA [2] and across the world [3].

The idea that there is conflict is mostly perpetuated by non-scientists, atheists and theist alike, in an attempt to "bandwagon" people into thinking that they have science on their side when in fact they don't.


[1] [pewinternet.org]
[2] [pewforum.org]
[3] [journals.sagepub.com]

TheMiddleWay Level 8 Dec 8, 2018
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It's misleading and a fallacy frankly to compare science to a religion. Scientists are human too and indoctrination, particularly when it's predicated on fear, is hard to break away from no matter who you are. There are no leprechauns because there is no observable evidence that leprechauns exist. There is no god because there is no observable evidence that god exists. Science proves both of those statements. It's cognitive dissonance that allows someone to agree with one of those statements and not the other.

@Sacrilege
"Science proves both of those statements"
Careful. This is the dogma that I was referring to. By this I mean that when you say the science proves both the statements, then clearly there must be some scientific experiment or equation or simulations that proves both of the statements. I am unaware of any scientific journal that has proved that leprechauns or God does not exist and thus Science in fact has not proven either statement.

One can put forth logical arguments for them not existing but that is not the same as a science proving that they don't exist. In effect, logical arguments are in the realm of philosophy where we don't need to have access to that leprechauns and God's to make statements about them... but science is in the realm of the tangible and experimental and since we have neither are leprechauns nor God's to experiment with, we can draw no scientific conclusions about them even if we're comfortable with philosophical conclusions about them.

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@TheMiddleWay You're using philosophy to try and confuse things. Philosophy ponders what if. Facts are facts though. You can't prove a negative. I believe there is an invisible 10ft tall alien behind you masturbating onto to your head. You can't prove that isn't true therefore you can't prove anything because everything is possible. It's nonsense. The core of science is about observing the world around us. You use those observations to derive repeatable experiments in an effort to prove how things work. It's not about eliminating possibilities but inst instead it's about observable truths. There is no observable evidence to support the hypothesis leprechauns exist. There is no observable evidence to support the hypothesis gods exist. Therefore, until that changes, neither exist. That is science at it's core. By all means, if you're interested in proving the existence of either feel free use science to do that. If you succeed I'll be right there to congratulate you. Until then, all you're spouting is make believe.

@Sacrilege
"You can't prove a negative. "
That's a common statement but actually false. While it is more difficult to prove a negative than a positive, it is possible. Science does it all the time when they prove certain particles or phenomena that have been hypothesized don't exist.

"The core of science is about observing the world around us."
Precisely. Therefore if you can't observe it then science can't comment on it. After all, one of the core principles of science is experimentation and thus if you can't perform an experiment on something, then we are not justified to make any scientific claims about something.

"By all means, if you're interested in proving the existence of either feel free use science to do that"
As an agnostic and a scientist, I only work with those things that I can observe and thus experiment, simulate, or otherwise manipulate. Therefore when it comes to leprechauns and gods and invisible masturbating monster, regardless of the claims that people make about them, I neither claim they exist nor don't exist nor have any interest in setting out to prove or disprove either. in fact, if you claim there's a masturbating monster behind me, then you have the burden of proof to prove that it exists. I don't have any burden to prove that it does or doesn't nor any scientific justification to deny or accept their existence.

This is why I said in my first reply to you that science makes absolutely no comments on these issues and to claim that it does is to misuse or misunderstand the realm of Science and its scope of application. On the other hand, philosophies requirements are not so strict and do not require experimentation simulation or manipulation. That is why any claims about invisible masturbating monster, leprechauns, or even gods, fall squarely in the realm of philosophy and not science

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3

Because most people are brainwashed practically from birth about God and Jesus.

RobertMartin Level 7 Dec 7, 2018
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I definitely think that brainwashing has something to do with it.

2

Many people are innately gullible. That seems like something that evolved to help us to stay in groups. But by not being constrained to facts or truth testing, religions can make up whatever kinds of stories that sound good to people. Religion will always have that advantage over truth.

SeekersNeverFind Level 4 Dec 9, 2018
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2

Many of them practice religion to avoid social stigma and don’t really believe. Some churches provide networking to an advantage. An example would be my friend’s church has members that help other members get jobs. There are several reasons and not are all belief.

Dave75 Level 7 Dec 6, 2018
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@Redcraze I don’t necessarily think an equivalent to my example is the way to go. What my friends church does is illegal since they are basically setting people up with jobs based on religion to the exclusion of others. More socializing would be welcome though.

Unionization on a very high level

@HankSherman Unions were intended to protect labor. My comment was not intended to be used by someone with an anterior motive. Corporations use bargaining power to get what they want all the time. Why are people some people so desperate to white knight for the 1%? Do you really believe they will act contrary to their previous actions and do the right thing on their own accord? If so I think you are gullible.

@Dave75 ordinarily I would apologize when someone mis-interprets my post.... but you are just so blatant about it, I won't. I refuse your assumtion that my motive was either "anterior" or ulterior in nature. Try a differant box to think outside of...as in my not having a thing against unions....but rather that the methods of unions in helping their members, socializing and gathering their members into a fold, is simular in many ways to the methods of religious groups....

1

Because they are weak-minded people

Polhamus Level 1 Dec 16, 2018
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1

It is a startling question. I for one cannot figure it out but then again who can figure out Trump supporters. Facts just loose their meaning when speaking to a mind that is chained up in a cage.

EMC2 Level 7 Dec 16, 2018
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1

In a word, I think a lot of people really believe in magic, even if they don't see it that way. The insecurities of mortal existence can make some of us desperate enough to believe almost anything.

How many religious folk in the modern world think that the critical difference between themselves and ancient peoples long vanished is that they worship "the one true God?" Probably more than a few.

Parse religion strictly as a meme, an idea trying to survive by spreading from one brain to another, and what characteristics would be beneficial? Promising a reward that can't be disproven makes sense. Insinuating doom (that also can't be disproven) for disbelief seems like a pretty good choice too.

So, are core beliefs especially subject to Alexander Pope's recommendation on learning, "drink deeply, or not at all?" I don't think so. What is more critical than knowing a great deal about how the natural world really works is to understand that what is known was arrived at mostly by following the evidence wherever it led, even when what we found was not comforting, and revising our picture of reality when we achieved subsequent breakthroughs. Knowing vast amounts of detail is less important than knowing the central principle; an idea must be formulated such that we can prove it false, and if the idea survives repeated challenges we have solid evidence it's actually true. That's where we are in areas like atomic theory and the genetic code.

We also need to recognize that changing the details of what we know is normal, because we are still clarifying our picture of reality. We no longer have the perfect picture of reality we made up when all causes were opaque, but instead now have some details that are useful, that seem to reflect reality, and that we can continue building upon. The modern mindset requires some belief too, but it's a belief in following the evidence, and skepticism is just as important as belief.

alliwant Level 6 Dec 15, 2018
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Thank you

1

I still remember, as a child, being taught the song "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so". The next verse talked about how children especially are under his protection because "they are weak but he is strong". It would be very comforting to accept the message that there's a supernatural, omnipotent protector right now looking out for me. I think that's part of the answer; as Wilhelm Reich postulated, people often seem to desire a dictatorial protector to run their lives, and a God person would fulfill that role. However, I accept personal responsibility for my life, and I know that scientifically there is almost certainly no God. (I wouldn't mind a Goddess, though...)

Paul4747 Level 7 Dec 10, 2018
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1

Because they feel small and want to think they are not ultimately in control of their life. Organized religion remains to try to control the crowd and to extort money from them.

Trump's 35%-40% approval rate shows you that some people will believe anything even though they know they are being lied to! I view that as more of a mental deficiency than an actual chosen belief!

RiverRick Level 7 Dec 10, 2018
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1

Familial and social scripting combined with the need to fit in. People want to be accepted. In the majority of society, it is generally necessary to be a believer. Pack mentality.

MissKathleen Level 8 Dec 10, 2018
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1

I believe it works the same way we fall in love with the wrong people initially believing them be the one ! Only difference here is it's possible break-up and move on, but with God it's a million times tougher.

JosephVarghese Level 1 Dec 8, 2018
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1

They find comfort in messages of hope to assuage their fear of the unknown.

uuberdude Level 6 Dec 7, 2018
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I see do see the upsides of having a belief that is shared by millions and being able to havie the benefit of knowing you have an all powerful god that is unquestionably real and that it is mandatory for that god to love you forever. Just as long as you stay faithful to the belief of him and the belief of the religion you can be certain that any problem you face there is a being that cares greatly about it and is going to help you but ithe help that is given is not always what you feel is needed or not not accredited to him. I have sometimes felt envy of the people’s unquestioned certainity of their self worth it , I fell is the result of knowing that someone more important than yourself is not only aware of your existence and is in your corner very happy to fight for your cause. It would be so awesome if I felt that without any doubt I am going somewhere better after this life. Instead of that I am confident I that after serious reading and research I know that when a living creature dies that is the very end of its consciousness. I have no doubts that what I have concluded from my search to get answers to the the age old question of what stage of a persons life time death is a part of. It is the very last.

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Different reasons. It is hard to get away from what you have been indoctrinated to believe in and some people need hope.

Jolanta Level 8 Dec 6, 2018
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0

I think it is because the young a brainwashed and they belief what the adults tell them, something like the god virus, a god meme. I know that book was written, do not remember the author

SueNel224 Level 3 Jan 18, 2019
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0

Well, from my experience as a child and son of a deacon in the church: What you are taught and have hammered into your brain on a daily basis becomes your version of "reality," even if it feels wrong to you. A child's mind is so malleable, coupled with the idea that your parents "know everything" when you're little, you are subconsciously brainwashed from the start. I was lucky enough to meet friends and a particular professor in college who welcomed my questioning of the bible and offered input and recommended readings to free my mind. Upon realizing the errors in the bible the blinders came off. Sadly, not many people are willing to even explore the concept (or maybe incapable) of thinking otherwise bc the religious trauma runs so deep that their critical thinking skills become nonexistent.

micmorgan6 Level 3 Jan 17, 2019
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0

Because easy answers was only one small part of the reasons people believe in gods. There is also the emotional coddling.
I don't think being religious makes someone a racist, but it has never surprised me that the more notorious hate-groups in America are (a version of) Christians. Why? Because the center piece of monotheistic teachings is that there will be a separation of the sheep and the goats. The superior will be elevated and the unworthy will burn.

If you're a useless idiot with delusions of grandeur, god is the quick n' easy key to your supremacy; a lifetime of ego-boosting bullshit that reality can't touch.

Perhaps it's a coincidence. It is my two cents, anyway.

MLinoge Level 6 Jan 15, 2019
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0

The use of "God" has changed for modern people into not just an explanation for the unknown, or in many cases I think the I do not want to know so God did it. Rather it or she or he has become a tool for social power and a sense of place in a world increasingly polarized between the rich and everyone else and those who want to know even if the knowing hurts or is scary. Versus those (the majority I think) who want to believe far more then they want to know. Ironically the Internet and its access to information simply allows people to pick and choose facts as well as bend and alter them to fit a narrative. Also I feel there is a lot of backlash to knowledge. It is not just religion that is the problem I feel with nationalistic movements and any group that seeks the demonization of others as a tool to power or purpose also part of the dynamic which is and always has torn apart the world. Add in racial and gender identity to the mix. We as a species need two things; reason based governance and identifying all humans as equal irrelevant to any thing intrinsic to their identity and physical/neurological nature that does not directly harm others.

Quarm Level 5 Jan 12, 2019
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0

A lot of people still believe in gods in a cultural sense, but there are far fewer people who really believe the mythology now, and those tend to be in pockets of (usually willful) ignorance. Modern man is still capable of believing some pretty ridiculous things (bigfoot, aliens, Trekkies, etc), only now it requires willful ignorance.

Dajokn Level 2 Jan 1, 2019
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I think you can add astrology, psychics, and the lies of politicians to that list. In the animal world particularly with social animals such as apes it is a biological necessity for the survival of the that they obey the instructions of the parents. If those instructions include dogma it will be hard wired into the children's brain.Remember the Jesuit's claim "give me the child to the age of seven and I will give you the man" In the UK where belief has been reducing for it will continue to reduce as fewer parents indoctrinate their children, Drive around the UK and in every town you will find churches either empty converted for other uses. In the USA, particularly in the bible belt churches are not only still very common but huge new mega churches are being built. Children are still being indoctrinated so belief will most likely last much longer.

0

I think it just goes down from generation to generation. Possibly the biggest ongoing scam in modern history

mxelh Level 2 Jan 1, 2019
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