What Are The Benefits Of Veneration?

People's behavior is driven by either restoring some physical or emotional homeostasis or by the stimulation of the pleasure center in the brain.    In short, the results of the behavior are subjectively experienced in some way as beneficial.

I am puzzled about the psychological benefits of veneration and I have not found an answer by googling.

What are the subjective benefits of putting a real life person, not only an imaginary god, upon a pedestal and venerate and revere him as a guru and kind of superior being?

I do not mean the respect for the superior knowledge of a teacher or the achievement of some specialist, when the respect and appreciation is limited to the knowledge and the achievement.   I am wondering about the blind devotion, that is considering the person on the pedestal as perfect and infallible, when even criticizing is considered a sacrilege.

I am very interested in the philosopher Epicurus and a lot of his philosophy coincides with my own inclinations.   But I am puzzled, why he was put on a pedestal as infallible by his disciples, who were swearing an oath of submission to his teachings.

Christians' delusions seem to me the combination of the gullibility to have faith in unproven claims and to venerate someone.    But gullibility and veneration seem to be separate fallacies, because so many people, even though they reject a personal god, are very willing to follow leaders and gurus of cults and sects.

I think that being really apistic means the absence in the brain of any disposition to both, faith and veneration.

Personally, I am apistic by not being susceptible to any faith and I have never felt veneration and reverence in my life.  But while I can rationally see the psychological benefits for the afflicted of their delusional faiths, I am in vain attempting to comprehend the benefits of veneration.

How can veneration be psychologically explained?

Has there ever been found any indication by studies of the brain, that some people have an instinctive urge to submit?

Does the hierarchy instinct have two expressions, one to compete and fight for a higher position and another to submit, accept and fulfill the the lower position?

Does veneration correspond to the acceptance of defeat by animals in relation to the alpha male?

Views: 156

Replies to This Discussion

I think it's more of a genetic issue than a psychological one.

I don't remember the exact details, but I do recall studies that demonstrate babies are hardwired to believe and respect authority figures without question because they have too much to learn in the early developmental and bonding stages.

Babies don't have time to test the truth of information presented to them. In fact, if they did it would be incredibly detrimental ie,  they have to trust their parents that putting their hand in a flame will hurt. It would be evolutionary suicide if a baby had to test every hypothesis. Instead, they just believe without question.

Developmentally, after a certain age, children usually become less 'believing' and start to test the world for themselves.


I believe Dawkins discusses it either in his book or one of the TV series. I think he considers veneration, as an extension of religious faith in a god/preacher, to be a corruption of this innate process during early development.

Some people do not completely lose this 'hardwired' genetic function and continue to believe and look up to authority figures without justifiable reasons. Contentiously, I think he said that, in terms of mind development, they haven't yet 'grown up' properly.

The venerated person as some kind of a delusional hyper parent makes some kind of sense.  

Has anybody some links to some specific sources? 

What about the hierarchy instinct?

I think there's also a sense of being absolved from responsibility. If "The Leader" is always right then the individual doesn't have to think. Give up independence in exchange for a certainty, no matter how false it really is. A little self-delusion can cope with that kind of problem.

That makes sense too.

I just found this - it is very convincing, the one reference to satanic seems to be displaced. 


I would think studies have tried to identify a "god area" in the brain. If not, there's your dissertation. Grab an fMRI and get people to pray. 

If we are hard-wired to adopt some type of infallible master, then how do atheists come about? Have we evolved? I'd like to think so.

Maybe it is some vestigial part of the brain/psyche wherein the diathesis model kicks in when a child is raised in a strict religious fashion, but that doesn't explain why some people are able to break free.

I hold many scientists in VERY high regard, but I know they are not immune to err. That's what makes them easy to relate to, they're human like me.

I have read about babies being hard-wired for learning language.


As far as I've heard, an fMRI scan of people praying shows activity in the brain that corresponds to talking to a confidential friend. It's just an invisible one.

What about seeing a difference between the irrationality and gullibility to take something by faith without proof, and the emotional submission and acceptance of inferiority in the veneration of a living person as a guru upon an imaginary pedestal?  




Update Your Membership :




Nexus on Social Media:


© 2018   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service