The excerpt that I have here is from Chapter 19, from my book,  "Balanceology: The 4M's of motivation, meaning, measurement, mitigation." welcomes guest posts.

Man-made - I have heard the argument made that without the knowledge of our impending death religion is not necessary. Are religions based on a fear-mongering of the Triune Mystery concerning death? Is a religion’s main purpose to help self-aware human beings cope with our knowledge of death? Doesn’t it appear that many religions have a pathological fixation on death? Often it appears to me that more attention is given to prepare for an afterlife than on living this life. It seems that religion gives death phobic humans a means to transcend death. I maintain that transending death surely has some correlation with our solipsistic reality that utterly cannot imagine our non-reality. According to Harris, “the first indication of a religious belief can be seen in the burial sites of later Neanderthaloids.” (1969) I contend that religions are man-made interpretations of Nature that attempt to understand the mystery of death. The early religions were also man-made attempts to understand Nature's dramatic forces seen in lighting, forest fires, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. Chris Hitchens suggested, “the mildest criticism of religion is also the most radical and the most devastating one. Religion is man-made.” (2007) I contend that religions are merely man-made exercises in creating a God <---> a God did not create humans. I assert and advance the idea that all religions are man-made bad jokes that have gone way too far (more to come). I propose that man-made religions write spurious “truths” according to their ideological and theological views that are based on their interpretation of reality.

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Comment by Compelledunbeliever on September 13, 2018 at 11:38am

It is odd that people attribute the deeds of man to magical gods almost without thought. When it is suggested that man created god then there is much anamosity.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on August 29, 2018 at 4:32pm

Yeah,  so the Celtics have a great chance to make it to the finals. If the tea leaves are in line Celtics beat Golden State in a humdinger of a 7 game series.

There ya go AW, i have augmented albeit without ameliorating...

Comment by Al Wm Johnson on August 29, 2018 at 4:09pm

This man-made post is generating alot of conversation.  Fantastic.  Al 

Comment by Grinning Cat on August 29, 2018 at 2:29pm

We do need to be careful not to equate religion in general with afterlife teachings and emphasis. Judaism, for instance, very much emphasizes doing right (and obeying God) in this life for its own sake; in my experience its afterlife teachings are vague and only tend to come up in the funeral and memorial liturgies.

In contrast, those of us in American and certain other Western cultures can't help but have been exposed to the Christian ideas (yes, painting lots of different kinds of believers with a broad brush!) of heaven and hell.

How important are afterlife ideas to Muslims (ditto) in practice? How a/typical are the beliefs that end up giving motivation and "justification" to Muslim murder-suicide bombers?

And there are lots of religions I know little to nothing about...

Of course, the entire idea of relying on unproven and unprovable emotional assertions, backed by authority and tradition, over evidence is problematic, no matter what a particular tradition teaches about people somehow "persisting" after death.

Comment by Al Wm Johnson on August 29, 2018 at 10:36am

Michael -  you are right. Most religions emphasize an Afterlife instead of this life.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 29, 2018 at 9:43am

Religion believes that the best thing about life happens when you are dead. It makes no sense. They make it all up with proof of nothing. Faith, they say. Faith can be anything that you want it to be.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on August 28, 2018 at 4:56pm

Fear of death is an incomplete explanation. 

Religion emerged initially to cope with nature. Pantheism is observed in primitive cultures. Emergence of pantheism makes sense within confines of a culture that is without much or any science. Projection of human characteristics onto nature yielded gods. Rituals emerged to cope with nature and control it giving priests/shamans an opportunity to seize power and status within the tribe.

To augment their power codes of conduct were promulgated. As the power of the religious institutions increased the codes became more stringent and denial of codes or ethos were met with stiff punishment. Further the gods became one god so that the fealty to the one god was not diffused the way it had been and by extension the fealty to the priest and religious institution. (take no gods before me) To further the influence of the priest and his institution life is made intelligible and given defined steps. 

Fear of death and punishment is of course utilized to control the believers. But it is only part of the story.

Comment by Grinning Cat on August 28, 2018 at 1:44pm

btw, Al, you can edit the starting post in "Options" at the top, if you'd like to fix the reference to Christopher Hitchens. (A few paragraph breaks would make it easier to read, too.)

Comment by Al Wm Johnson on August 28, 2018 at 11:20am

Yes -  the Christian religion is on a path the will not end well

Comment by Al Wm Johnson on August 28, 2018 at 7:42am

I was able to see Christopher Hitchens in a couple of debates. Brilliant individual. He died too soon.  I will start saying Christopher instead of Chris. Thank you for letting me know his name preference.  Al



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