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Whispering In Our Hearts?


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What is it about the absence of knowledge on something which immediately inspires "magical" explanations? An unfamiliar light in the sky is undoubtedly a UFO (even "UFO" has somehow become hijacked to mean "flying saucer"), or someone winning the lottery thinks, "this could not have been by chance, surely this was caused by___[insert name of diety here]". It seems humans have no problem with the mundane, but the exceptional seems to require an extraordinary explanation. There is almost a positive resistence by many to accept statistical explanations either since people claim they "just know" the truth at some deep intuitive level which overrides any other consideration of evidence, or simply fail to grasp the statistical reality that the improbable must happen.

 

It is almost as if humans abhor a vacuum when faced with something which has no immediate answer that they feel a need to fill it with fanciful beings, just like early explorers populated the seas with fantastic animals. Indeed, there is an alarming willingness by many to favour a "magic" interpretation (in all defiance to Occam's principle) that I often wonder whether the human mind is somehow predisposed to "magical" reasoning? Certainly religion is ubiquitous with human culture across time & geography, but is it only because religion filled a social & interpersonal need in an otherwise unknown world? I’m not asking if there is anything so simplistic as a “god gene”, but I am asking whether there is any predisposition (I'm talking nature, not nurture) in humans which helps them to "favour" the magical over the logical? Why are people so relucatant to say "I don't know" when a ready made magical explanation is readily available?

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Replace the word, 'magical' with 'imaginary' and you'll be closer to the mark.

 

Big brains - big imagination.

Inquisitive nature - needs answers.

No answer to be found - make one up to settle inquisitive nature.

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don't forget that the religious meme doesn't like living with other memes...the Atheist Meme is most threatening to it so it will wipe that out first, followed by competing religious memes. I long ago came to the conclusion that the predisposition to superstitious nonsense has been selectively bred into humanity, by humanity.

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The problem isn't people making up supernatural explanations for things they don't understand...

 

... it's when they insist on doing so when real answers are found :mellow:

 

Praise Jebus :jerkit:

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I have to agree with Grandpa Harley that it was probably selectively bred and probably genetic.

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The problem isn't people making up supernatural explanations for things they don't understand...

 

... it's when they insist on doing so when real answers are found :mellow:

 

Praise Jebus :jerkit:

 

Not only that, but insisting that everyone else believe in their made-up explanations!

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The problem isn't people making up supernatural explanations for things they don't understand...

 

... it's when they insist on doing so when real answers are found :mellow:

 

Praise Jebus :jerkit:

 

Not only that, but insisting that everyone else believe in their made-up explanations!

 

Welcome to OZ...

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Religion is a coping mechanism for many. It's too hard to think about the impossible things, so it's easier (us humans are generally lazy and follows anyone with a strong opinion) to follow what someone say instead of figuring it out. We don't want to take responsibility for thinking about the hard questions, we want someone else to think for us and tell us the answer. That's why we, as monkeys, started to use tools, and much later made computers to do the calculations for us, and cars to take us where we want to go (instead of running, walking or biking). In the vacuum from computers and robots taking our jobs, we have to invent new jobs. And when the technology take over those jobs, we have to invent even newer jobs. In the end, we're in the battle with ourselves, trying to find the Paradise, but destroying it in the process.

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I think it's also just fun to believe crazy shit sometimes. I remember being a little kid and really liking the show "Unsolved Mysteries". Now I think all that stuff is (probably) a load of horseshit, but thinking it might be true is just exciting. Honestly, I still wish some of it were true.

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I think if you answer why people gamble, you answer why people delve into hopeless strategies.

 

Here is one thought.

 

Many gamblers believe that they have the personal ability to beat the odds even when there is no personal contribution to the odds. There is no technique to throwing Craps unlike games like Blackjack where some skill helps.

 

On the other hand, games like poker depend largely on the skill of the individual. In such games, there are always more people who believe they can beat the odds then actualy can beat the odds.

 

Hell, go to a Leafs game and start asking people who will win. An overwhelming number of people will say the Leafs.

 

Life experence shows us that an attitude of defeat will ensure loss. Optimism is important where personal skill must be high. Wars used to be won and lost on confidence.

 

Religion gives people a sence of having an edge and that their own behaviour will result in god intervening on their behalf. It really is all about hope.

 

A man without religion may have the best strategy but the one with religion has hope.

 

Tell me, which of these two people will have more fun tonight... me on the PC or in front of the TV, or Joe Blow who is sitting in front of a 1-armed bandit (slot machine)?

 

Mongo

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Tell me, which of these two people will have more fun tonight... me on the PC or in front of the TV, or Joe Blow who is sitting in front of a 1-armed bandit (slot machine)?

 

Mongo

 

Prolly depends on how much money Joe Blow loses.

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I think it has much more to do with an exaggerated sense of self-importance and fear.

 

FEAR: SHIT, I'm going to DIE someday! What the fuck is going to happen?

 

SELF-IMPORTANCE: Well, naturally there HAS to be some sort of life after this! I mean, I'm the shit. I can't just die and have that be the end of it all.

 

Hence, God was "born."

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I think it has much more to do with an exaggerated sense of self-importance and fear.

 

FEAR: SHIT, I'm going to DIE someday! What the fuck is going to happen?

 

SELF-IMPORTANCE: Well, naturally there HAS to be some sort of life after this! I mean, I'm the shit. I can't just die and have that be the end of it all.

 

Hence, God was "born."

Indeed... but the overweening religious impulse is something else... Case in point... I have a fatal interest in mysticism... it attracts me like nothing else. No good reason. Hell, I'm not even afraid of death (I confess I don't like the idea of getting dead, it usually being painful and messy*, but being dead has never bothered me)

 

 

 

* completely off topic - Since death is messy, I have the vague ambition of dying in the bed of someone I don't like, after having a large, garishly coloured, curry, and around 6 or 7 pints of Guinness... If I do it right they'll not only have to replace the mattress, but the bed and the carpet underneath... and perhaps re-plaster the ceiling of the floor below... But I am a singulary *nasty* individual...

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I think there is more than one reason.

 

Another thought says that people find their lives more interesting with god in it than without god. Hence, the story of their lives with god is the better story.

 

This thought is highlighted in the book The Life of Pi. <<recommended - very well written - entertaining>>. The protagonist, Pi Patel is lost on a life boat for several months and after he finds land he is visited by the insurance agents of the boat he was travelling on before it capsized. He tells them a fantastic story about being on the life boat with a zebra, a hyena and a bengal tiger. They don't believe the story so he tells them a terrible story about being on the lifeboat with a violent cook and his mother who is killed and eaten by the cook and then killed by Pi. The insurance agents are aghast at the second story but find it more believable. Pi then asks them which story they liked better, the one with the animals or the one without the animals. They say it is silly because the first story isn't true but when pressed, they conceed that the story with the animals is better. Pi replies that "and so it is with god".

 

The story with god is the better story.

 

From many of the fundies I know, they do weave an interesting tale of miracles and adventures with the holy spirit and would be outright bores without god.

 

I find this a compelling argument. Not the only argument but a good one.

 

Mongo

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I think there is more than one reason.

 

Another thought says that people find their lives more interesting with god in it than without god. Hence, the story of their lives with god is the better story.

 

This thought is highlighted in the book The Life of Pi. <<recommended - very well written - entertaining>>. The protagonist, Pi Patel is lost on a life boat for several months and after he finds land he is visited by the insurance agents of the boat he was travelling on before it capsized. He tells them a fantastic story about being on the life boat with a zebra, a hyena and a bengal tiger. They don't believe the story so he tells them a terrible story about being on the lifeboat with a violent cook and his mother who is killed and eaten by the cook and then killed by Pi. The insurance agents are aghast at the second story but find it more believable. Pi then asks them which story they liked better, the one with the animals or the one without the animals. They say it is silly because the first story isn't true but when pressed, they conceed that the story with the animals is better. Pi replies that "and so it is with god".

 

The story with god is the better story.

 

From many of the fundies I know, they do weave an interesting tale of miracles and adventures with the holy spirit and would be outright bores without god.

 

I find this a compelling argument. Not the only argument but a good one.

 

Mongo

You've basically defined 'myth'

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HARLEY:

 

I agree in some aspects although I personally don't care for fiction or fantasy. I much prefer to listen to NPR than read Tolkien.

 

It may be an unfair assumption, nonetheless I'm of a mind that most infidels are pragmatists and prefer fact over fiction.

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Not so much unfair as inaccurate.

 

I'm discriminating in my consumption thereof, to be sure, but there are few things I love more than a good yarn. ;)

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You've basically defined 'myth'

 

Yes but at a level where people internalize the myth as if it were real whereas myth (according to others here) is not normally taken as real but rather as inspiration.

 

The fundy who comes to work on Monday to tell her coworkers that god cured her teenage son of acne at the Sunday night prayer meeting is not telling a 'myth' but inventing a better story.

 

Mongo

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You've basically defined 'myth'

 

Yes but at a level where people internalize the myth as if it were real whereas myth (according to others here) is not normally taken as real but rather as inspiration.

 

The fundy who comes to work on Monday to tell her coworkers that god cured her teenage son of acne at the Sunday night prayer meeting is not telling a 'myth' but inventing a better story.

 

Mongo

 

I quoted a Jesuit of my acquaintance the other day 'Myth isn't a lie it's a metaphor. It's only a lie if it's treated as real'

 

The case you give there isn't a myth... it's a lie. People lie for Jesus all the time, to others and themselves...

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