There are many theories about belief in God.

One recent theory is the "God Module". The God Module was discovered when researchers tried to understand why certain epileptics experience deeply moving spiritual experiences during, and between, epileptic seizures. It appears that the seizures occur adjacent to an area of the brain, called the "God Module". The God Module allegedly predisposes us to transcendent feelings. It supposedly developed as a survival mechanism. By giving us a shared sense of something greater than ourselves, we bond into groups more readily and are more socially compliant. Or so the theory goes.

There are many other theories for belief in God but I want to focus on the anthropological evidence.

After man developed enough language to ponder life and death, he came up with the concept of soul. He then attributed soul to animals -- especially ones important to his survival. He performed ceremonies to the animals’ souls. This is known as "animism".

Animism evolved into anthropomorphism: the attribution of uniquely human traits to animals, forces of nature, the sun, the moon, lakes, mountains, and other features of nature.

Animism and anthropomorphism don't, of themselves, constitute religion but they do rely on the concept of souls or spirits . . . which led to the concept (meme) of God. Primitive men were in constant fear of death; they didn't live long and had little by way of medicine or healing.

When superstitious ceremonies and rituals (to attune with nature and bring good luck), combined with veneration of souls, worship (appeasement) resulted . . . and gods were born. Fear of death gave birth to gods.

Gods proliferated and all kinds of primitive rituals and ceremonies spread throughout humanity.

The great world religions emerged from the bronze age (Islam was a latecomer) and incorporated many primitive rituals and ceremonies. Warrior gods, with a lust for blood-sacrifice and obsessive worship, were incorporated into the Abrahamic religions. Surely you can see the remnants of these primitive superstitions in the Torah, Old Testament and the Qur'an.

That religion evolved from animism and anthropomorphism seems plainly obvious to me. Man simply got more sophisticated over time. The process is ongoing, so you should be able to recognize it as the concessions religions make to knowledge.

So could there be a God who divinely inspired man to write the Bible? If He did, then the divinely inspired, holy, Bible would be Godly. Wouldn’t it?

But, is it?

How many of you support slavery? Genocide? Subjugation of women? How many religions still support these things? Christians everywhere condemn these biblical mainstays. But the divinely inspired Bible accepts them. How can true believers condemn what their God supports, condones or even participated in?

Clearly, people need to keep an open mind and, if they must, find holy scripture that does not espouse ideas and practices that WE KNOW ARE WRONG. If everybody would only invest their faith in scripture that does not contain things we know are wrong, then religions would fade away -- BECAUSE THERE IS NO SCRIPTURE THAT DOES NOT CONTAIN THINGS WE KNOW ARE WRONG.

It's really as simple as that. People ignore the bad things about their scripture and tout only the good (selective worship). They never question how the divinely inspired, holy, scripture (their source of belief) can contain such atrocious ideas and acts.

It all boils down to choice. A person's religion is his/her choice -- his/her personal preference -- not a valid, logical, conclusion (and no more valid than anybody else's personal preference). If everybody would admit this, then fundamentalism and zealotry would evaporate. There'd be nothing to fight about.

Wouldn't that be nice?

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Comment by Atheist Exile on March 31, 2009 at 10:56am
Hi Reality Activist,

The God module, if it's for real, would constitute a "biological affinity towards beliefs". Even if it is real, the God module wouldn't be the final word on spirituality. There are many reasons for religious beliefs, including linguistics.

Even when we are hurt or angry, we often use language that acknowledges the prominence of religion in our culture: hit your thumb with a hammer and you might say something like, "Jesus, f_cking Christ!"; or "God damn it!". When startled or overwhelmed, you might mutter, "Jesus!" under your breath. And of course, the old stand-by, "Oh, God", during sex. :-)
Comment by Atheist Exile on March 31, 2009 at 10:24am
Hi Jennifer,

I wish I had seen that TV piece on the God Module. Come to think of it, I think I'll do a video search, on YouTube, for it. Maybe it's there.

I think you're right about some people using religion as an excuse to escape responsibility, or to "forgive themselves", for past misdeeds. If there really is a God module in the brain, then it would literally require us to evolve before spiritual circuitry in the brain no longer affects us. My personal belief is that some God modules are more sensitive than others. I suspect that the God module is latent in most of us and is only "activated" by psychotropic drugs or extreme emotional duress.

One thing's for sure: given the majority of earthlings who believe in the supernatural, it will be a long while before we get rid of religion. In the meantime, I hope that education will push back the ignorance and eventually relegate religion to the lunatic fringe.
Comment by Reality Activist on March 30, 2009 at 8:02pm
I don't think that the human race has some biological affinity towards beliefs. I do think that we tend to propagate beliefs through our languages. The words that we use are created by our social mindsets. It is difficult to be completely rational when so much of our vocabulary expresses some belief. It is also the reason why we don't communicate well with each other. Modify our languages by removing many of the "belief" words and we could evolve much quicker towards a more reasonable society(s).
Comment by Jennifer W on March 30, 2009 at 10:09am
I read on the internet and saw TV on the God Module. Its pretty amazing coping mechanism to happen when not enough blood flows through your brain. I saw video when people in NASA had this machine that took several people to these experiences, and the majority of them had a giant smile on their faces when they came to!

Now onto my rant:
I think the role religion plays now is people tend to not accept reality. Like when people find Jesus through a past shortcoming, its easier to say you found Jesus than to admit that you were stupid and you did a stupid thing and its your fault.

I think humans are evolving to a point in the future (maybe even far future) where they themselves would want to build their own moral compass, and Atheism would seem like a good idea.
Comment by Atheist Exile on March 29, 2009 at 8:08pm
Hi ellejohara,

Lucky you! Taking a class in Theory of Religion. Enjoy :-)

I look forward to reading about what you've learned. Be sure to find out what your professor believes and where he stands (I'm not assuming it will necessarily be what he teaches). Knowing his personal stance might reveal any biases me might have. Even professors are human :-)
Comment by Atheist Exile on March 29, 2009 at 8:03pm
Hi Angie,

Thanks for your comments. Perhaps there really is something to the idea that our brains are prone to, or susceptible to, transcendent experiences. Spiritual experiences are one of the strongest reasons some people have for their religious faith. As an entirely subjective experience, it's hard to argue against. It's not very helpful to point out that mental institutions are full of people who see God. :-)

Perhaps, some day soon, we'll get irrefutable evidence that spiritual experience is an epiphenomenon of the brain. Even then, believers will say that God made us that way so we could commune with him. There's no persuading somebody who doesn't want to be persuaded.
Comment by Atheist Exile on March 29, 2009 at 8:00pm
Hi Reality Activist,

Yes, we're thinking along the same lines, I think. It seems like a pretty natural progression, to me. As far as I know, there are NO religions that have not been adapted from or influenced by prior beliefs. Even the very first religions stem from prior beliefs (superstitions) like animism and anthropomorphism.
Comment by Atheist Exile on March 29, 2009 at 7:12pm
Hi Celtix,

You're very privileged to know somebody so rare and unique! I found myself imagining him on the show, "Scare Tactics". I know, I know . . . I'm terrible!

No, really, most people don't get the opportunity to know somebody so different. It would be enlightening to know him. For instance, if he is a man of good, strong, character, then that would discredit Christian claims of the bible as the source of morality. If he sheds his superstitions, over time, this would suggest that other believers can also (eventually) see the light of reason.

I don't mean to suggest that my sole interest would be to observe him; though I admit, it's the first thing that came to mind.

Thanks for your comments.
Comment by Angie Jackson on March 29, 2009 at 11:03am
I've read about the "God module" before. There are studies ( linking OCD and extreme religious preoccupation. OCD (which I have) is basically a serotonin imbalance. So it's faulty brain chemistry that made me buy into that crap so long. Once I rebelled enough to get medical care (a big taboo in my cult) and started getting my serotonin levels more in line, I started doubting the existence of God.
Comment by Celtix1234 on March 28, 2009 at 10:30am
I had a friend who came from a very primitive tribe in Papua New Guinea, where he was raised in the belief of evil and good spirits. Every morning, before going out to fish, his father would put some special necklace of leaves around his neck to ward off the evil spirits of the ocean. Collins told me how he got really sick once, and so he went to the medicine man, who told him that recently Collins had gone out the back of his hut and urinated on an evil spirit, so this was that spirit getting back at him. Collins was impressed, because he HAD gone out the back of his hut and peed just before getting sick. But then the missionaries came and converted everyone to Christianity. He ended up marrying their daughter (a white girl), and the two of them moved to America (where he is still confused over concepts like "matching clothes" and deodorant). He has not left his beliefs behind, however. He told me that we Americans are just blind to the evil spirits that are all around us, and that at Halloween, when we make light of it, we are pissing the evil spirits off. He is very interesting to talk to, but it's another case of "how can someone so intelligent buy into this crap?"

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