So, further to the conversation between Rob, a liberal and a socialist who is an atheist and a Christian hater, and myself, a follow up to my comments expressed in my Louis CK post:
Rob the Atheist is typical of many liberals and socialists, who feel like it’s a good idea to get rid of Christianity, and he told me so…with great vehemence and self-righteousness. Like myself, Rob believes in evolution. My response to Rob wanting to get rid of Christianity and religion in general:
I think the thing that you are missing Rob, is that religion itself is an evolutionary adaptation. It comes about because we are mammals, we all die, and having biological limits to knowledge means life is forever a mystery, so we evolved an intuitive set of beliefs to help us navigate life.
If you want to replace religion, sure. Here’s how: Just come up with a formula that explains all of the universe, since that’s what we humans are curious about, and explain the likely infinite number of multi-verses on various infinite levels of complexity, then just explain death, end the limitations of knowledge imposed by biology, and give us this knowledge to believe in….that will do Rob, as a substitute for religion!
Come to think of it Rob, I just described God…. a being who understands infinite levels of complexity, ends the limitations of knowledge imposed by biology, and gives us that knowledge to believe in. Such a being could grant us eternal life. So if you want to replace religion, your replacement has to be basically a religion, or a God….good luck with that.
It’s interesting that a ton of statistics supports the fact that religious belief is a powerful indicator of evolutionary success among humans. Generally speaking, those with atheistic beliefs don’t propagate, don’t survive evolution. And those with theistic beliefs have a much higher genetic rate of evolutionary success.
Not speculation, just fact. The correlation or causation is inversely proportional in math, and has been proved for every race, every religion, every ethnicity, every country, in every part of advanced countries like the United States….and worldwide.
So you want to get rid of religion, Rob? A useful biological adaptation that helps humans survive? Get rid of it? A useful biological adaptive behavior that the majority of humans consider a good thing? Why don’t you just tell them to cut off their foot? You are confusing what you don’t like (religion), then assuming since it’s no good for you, it must be no good for anyone else. Then you make up rationalizations and tell everyone they are wrong.
My own preference is to let everyone make up their own mind. Myself, I feel no need to join a church. I feel humbled enough by the complexity of biology. I could care less if anyone is religious, but what I don’t like is anyone trying to impose their view on anyone else….that all must be non-religious, which is to say, the Sam Harris option. Not for me. My motto: Live and let live, I say.
Rob, they tried to get rid of religion in Russia under communism. And remember: communists were hard core atheists. They tortured people for believing in God. I met one of those men. He described to me, how he was thrown in a hole in the ground for a month, then starved, because he believed in God. His name was Haralan Popov. I met him in 1972. They tortured him, for his faith. How screwed up is that? They did it because they wanted to replace God with Stalin. I get very suspicious of people trying to get rid of religion, because it usually means, they don’t get rid of “God” they just declare themselves to be God. You see this all the time in dictatorships. The dictator fears competition as a God like creature to be obeyed, and pins a big picture of himself in every school room. It happened in Nazi Germany. It happened in Communist Russia, in Communist China, and all Eastern Block countries.
Humans have an innate need for authority figures. It may be evolutionary and appeal to our instincts for a powerful chief. Dictators fear rival imaginary chiefs, with other ideas. They don’t want books around, with ideas that may challenge the morality of their own ideas, so they oppress religion, and brainwash people with their own thoughts. Giving people the option of a religion, allowing that gives people an intellectual choice: they can believe the state, or their religious leaders. That’s dangerous to a dictator. And worse still, religious people have been thinking, writing books for thousands of years. So they are prepared for intellectual challengers.
A friend of mine went to China once, long long before China was opened to the West, and was opened to capitalism. He brought back Mao’s Little Red Book…I read it. My review is the next sentence: What a piece of shit, that was. It was a pseudo Bible….a replacement for the Bible. All children and adults had to revere it, like the Bible, and quote it. So there is no getting rid of religion, nor God, just replacing it….often with a very, very poor substitute.
And the abuses of replacing God and religion are just as bad, just as real, as anything in religion. In fact according to Jordan Peterson, who spent decades looking into it, the abuses under atheism, which basically set itself up as a religion, were worse than any religion. So I don’t understand the moral sense of superiority of the Sam Harris type of atheist, who thinks all the world’s troubles, trace back to religions, and if we just get rid of them, all will be peaceful. Actually the death toll from atheist regimes in the 20th Century was a around 60 million in the atheist Soviet Union. That doesn’t count the death toll in the 2nd World War. And the Chinese atheist communists, with their Little Red Book, far outperformed the Soviet Union, their fellow atheists, in death tolls that reached 100 Million in China. You’ll find those figures in the Jordan Peterson video below.
So where is this atheist sense of moral superiority coming from?
I don’t like the abuses of religion. I don’t like the abuses of atheism. And it’s naive to think, just whisking away religion will change the impulses and behavior of humans.
I agree with my friend Rob….compassion has evolutionary roots. Sure it does. You can see it even in elephants. They visit their dead. They remember their dead. They care for their young, as do all mammals. That evolutionary observation only means religion reflects our biological reality, it didn’t create it. I never said it did.
Then Rob tried to argue that religion was basically tribal and about being king of the hill. My response was, it depends on the particular religion. Rob was in in a small cult like religion, without universal appeal, and much insularity. I know for a fact, that is not the general tendency in religious groups I was affiliated with. In fact Christianity is growing like crazy in the world, particularly in Africa, because it has a unifying message.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”…Galatians 3:28…..which indicates racial unity, even gender equality, is implicit in Christianity, with proper interpretation. So it’s all about the religious interpretation, whether it is divisive…..It certainly can be, as the religious history of Europe indicates. But I know a bit of that history. That happened because of religious interpretation.
So although religious ideals have evolutionary roots….that’s where religion came from, replacing religion means teaching people how to behave. It means organizing people to behave in a certain way, and teaching them that moral things are important. First you have to get a bunch of people to agree to a code, and how to justify it. Then you organize them and create a sustainable structure, to perpetuate that teaching, into the future, with a manual of some kind, and based on internal dynamics within that psycho-social structure, that perpetuate that teaching structure, into the future.
You know what I just described? A religion. To replace religion, you basically have to create some sort of religion. One of the obstacles to that, is this: The human mind is capable of creating an almost infinite number of moral variations on teaching, on thinking about ethics and morality, right and wrong. To solve this problem, you need to delineate what you believe in, and get other people to believe in it. You know what kind of organization does that? A religion.
Then you need to make it deeply meaningful, to people’s lives, their families, their death. You must create a narrative so compelling, they will want to teach it to their children, so their children get indoctrinated in their beliefs, and continue those beliefs. This means collecting money from people, money must be given voluntarily to this new society to replace religion, so it has the money to perpetuate it into the future, with people who devote willingly and freely, their own time and money, to ensure this organization perpetuates itself into the future.
And it must be a compelling enough set of beliefs, written down, to hold people of various temperaments together.
Can you do all that? If so you have replaced religion…..but only with another religion. The Catholics have managed the same trick, for 2,000 years. Yes, they have got much wrong, and much of their belief I don’t agree with. But who else has done it? No one……the market is open I told my friend Rob…go set up a religion, or a counter or replacement to religion, see if you can do it. You will quickly run into reality, that it is incredibly difficult and you will get no where.
Rob is a builder, a man I can respect, as he has talented hands and can build anything. I talked to him, on his own terms: “Talking about what a crappy house someone built is easy. Building a beautiful house is hard. Building a house that lasts 2,000 years, is quite a trick.”
That’s one of many reasons atheists never succeed. They have nothing to believe in, nothing to fight for, no reason to organize, to they muddle through life, don’t bother even having children usually, then die off. So they don’t get together, they don’t organize, they don’t perpetuate themselves, into the future. By their own definition, they have nothing to believe in.
And religious people have reasons for thinking life is worth it, they have organizing principles, and have survived in many forms, since we became modern humans. It’s not just about Christianity. Religion, it’s an evolutionary adaptation, in narrative form. Nature keeps selecting it out for survival, whatever your opinion is of it. Good luck getting rid of, what evolution has strongly decreed, has a lot of biological value.
All people who grow up surrounded by Hindu religion are Hindus. People who are not even religious but grow up in Muslim countries, pick up the dominant cultural thought, and Muslim countries were mentally formed by Islam, just as the world you grew up in, was formed by Christianity. I told Rob: “You are a cultural Christian Rob, and are so immersed in it’s influence, it’s invisible to you.”
Losing my religion? No thanks….I’ll keep it.