"Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones."
In this essay I would like to put forth my take on the reasons that people choose to believe in relgion. Its not an original thought; psychoanalysis buried this subject years ago. Most aheists and agnostics would attribute it to a simple case of wishful thinking. It may be more complicated than that though. I'll start at the beginning. When we were still physically evolving, we did not yet have the mental capability to form a clear synopsis of our surroundings. By the time we had become humans and formed some semblance of a society, developed a language, etc., there was a need to understand things in order to survive. Religion was a way of explaining things that they their undeveloped minds could not grasp: like why the sun rose at dawn, and why it fell and turned the world dark. People explained the miracles by attributing gods to them, and those were the first religions. This was an acceptable theory because they could not find an argument that claimed otherwise. As the people of the world began to understand the true reasons for some of these happenings, polytheism soon faded as a ridiculous belief; but religion still maintained its status for other phenomena. Thus began the reasoning behind monotheism, in that one Supreme Being controls the universe. In the days of old, these hopes were not considered to be foolish because there really was not much scientific evidence to disprove peoples' theories on their creation and eventual fate. There had to be some reason the sun was shining, right? Wasnít there a reason that rain fell from the skies? But there was more to it than just that. Belief in an all-powerful Creator was popular for another reason. People thirst for eternal life. The fountain of youth and other ways of achieving immortality physically was deemed impossible, so instead the hope was that they would be able to metaphysically obtain this elixir. All these things sprang forth from the human mind, and soon a form of acceptance was gained. Some people will believe only what is beneficial to them, things that could harm them must be ignored. Eternal happiness was a goal worth believing in for the people. The complex human mind was able to play a trick on itself, because it could believe things that the individual needed it to believe; it could decieve itself. By burying any contradictory information in the recesses of the mind, their needs became fact. In this way truth could be denied forever. Every time a new piece of information appeared that could shatter these facts, they once again could be ignored. Insubstantial claims were made substantial in the human mind, and so an extraordinary volume of supporting evidence that didnít exist was now implemented for the religious individual to fall back on. Through manipulation of their own mind, the believers had now proved the impossible.
As for the argument between creationism and evolution, there really is no argument. As I said before, the mind is an amazing thing. Consequently, it appears that the real question would not be how we came to be physically, but mentally. We are nothing great to behold from a physical standpoint. Our greatness resides in the power that resonates from the mind. But how did it come to be? Why are we so far-removed from our fellow animals? What goes on in the mind of other species is something I canít comment on, because I am not knowledgeable enough in that area. I can say that many of those who have studied other primates have noticed that they too have a power to think abstractly. The interaction between people and gorillas show that they too are social animals who have a type of egocentric mind. The gorillas that practice sign language arenít just parrots that mimic sounds. They can actually comprehend what something is and associate it with other things around them. This power of fairly small reasoning isnít enough to turn heads, but it really seems to be what sets human beings away from other animals, including their fellow primates, and probably what led to their domination of the planet. I donít know what conditions led to our gaining of this asset, but it probably propelled to us the top of the chain, evolution-wise. We are still animals, we have certain instincts and behaviors that we are born with. But our ability to delude ourselves is truly amazing. It defies the logic of reasoning and yet is still symbolic of the egoistic nature of man. Itís almost like the loophole that our mind created when it became so encompassing, that the individual could actually acknowledge fiction and identify it as fact. It must be something we acquired along the way to conquering the world. Maybe it's a learned behavior too; that we must create our world on falsehoods if thatís the only way we can bear to live in it.
Egoism Ring sites belong to people who either profess egoism philosophically, or view it as a psychological model.
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