1. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    18 Aug '06 12:57
    I wonder if theism, particularly of the literalist fundamentalist kind, is partially a product of the fact that the human mind has evolved to think in terms of dominance hierarchies.

    In particular, I am wondering whether the devotion to God, which greatly puzzles non-adherents, is a form of submission to an abstractified alpha male in the sky, with some ideological bells and whistles attached.

    Exhibit A: The very name "Islam", a key monotheistic religion, means "submission".

    Exhibit B: Fundamentalists chide skeptics for their unmitigated arrogance in daring to defy a legitimate source of authority, and recommend their own humble obedience as the appropriate response.

    Exhibit C: Unless one submits to the Alpha male in the sky, one will be savaged by Him--sent to hell. Compare a smaller dog rolling over and offering his bare neck to a larger dog, as an appeasement gesture. If Dogs believed in God, wouldn't they roll over cognitively as well as anatomically?

    Perhaps, just as submission offers actual benefits in the animal world--a lower but safer position in the hierarchy, perhaps under the protection of the superordinate to whom one defers--it also offers perceived benefits in the abstract religio-cultural world that humans have invented.
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    18 Aug '06 13:03
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    I wonder if theism, particularly of the literalist fundamentalist kind, is partially a product of the fact that the human mind has evolved to think in terms of dominance hierarchies.

    In particular, I am wondering whether the devotion to God, which greatly puzzles non-adherents, is a form of submission to an abstractified alpha male in the sky, with s ...[text shortened]... offers perceived benefits in the abstract religio-cultural world that humans have invented.
    No offence, but this has been covered to death, from Freud and his notion of patriarchal religions portraying god as a father figure to replace the biological father that you outgrow - through maturity - as seeing as all powerful to Foucault and his concept of religion as 'Regime of Truth'...
  3. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    18 Aug '06 17:26
    Originally posted by Serendipity
    No offence, but this has been covered to death, from Freud and his notion of patriarchal religions portraying god as a father figure to replace the biological father that you outgrow - through maturity - as seeing as all powerful to Foucault and his concept of religion as 'Regime of Truth'...
    Yeah, I know people have said similar things in the past. However, I am not sure if their theories have been sufficiently grounded in comparative biological or evolutionary psychology. For example, the alpha male is not necessarily the father. Freud was hung up on family dynamics.
  4. Standard memberNemesio
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    18 Aug '06 17:50
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    However, I am not sure if their theories have been sufficiently grounded in comparative biological or evolutionary psychology.
    This sounds cool. What is evolutionary psychology, though?
  5. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    18 Aug '06 21:08
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    This sounds cool. What is evolutionary psychology, though?
    The basic idea is that the way we think, just like our anatomical structure, has ultimately been shaped by natural selection.
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    18 Aug '06 22:24
    Originally posted by Serendipity
    No offence, but this has been covered to death, from Freud and his notion of patriarchal religions portraying god as a father figure to replace the biological father that you outgrow - through maturity - as seeing as all powerful to Foucault and his concept of religion as 'Regime of Truth'...
    You may talk about the psychology of people who are religious, however, I found a web site that talks about the psychology of atheism.

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/frear/vitz.htm

    It is interesting that Freud himself observed that young people tend to lose their religious faith as soon as they lose the authority of their earthly fathers. He noted that this can happen in several ways.

    1. The father is present, but he is weak, cowardly, unworthy of respect.
    2. The father is present, but is physically, or psychologically or sexually abusive.
    3. The father is absent, whether through death or abandonment.

    I think what Freud had unwittingly done was to reveal the pschology of an atheist. Freud's own father was perceived by Freud to be weak and cowardly. His father was unable to provide for his family and passive in the face of anti-semitic persecution.

    What of some other atheists such as Thomas Hobbes, Ludwig von Feuerbach, Schopenhauer, Nietsche, Camus, Hume, and our contemporary Madeleine O'Hare?

    Thomas Hobbes had a father who was an Anglican clergyman, but abandon his family.
    Ludwig von Feuerbach had a father who left his family for another married woman who lived in the same town.
    Schopenhauer was rejected by his mother, and his father committed suicide when he was 16.
    Nietsche's father died when he was four. Camus and Humes also lost their father's in early childhood.
    Madeleine O'Hare also had an unhappy family life. She often fought with her father and on one occasion tried to kill him with a butcher's knife.

    Some other more superficial factors that may cause someone turning to atheism include:

    1. The belief that atheism is realistic, whereas faith is wishful thinking.
    2. Persoanl motives
    a) The desire for the sophistication of the secular urbanite; embarassment over one's provincial background.
    b) The disire for acceptance. Peer pressure
    c) Personal convenience. It is inconvenient to be a believer in a modern secular society. It involves the renunciation of sexual pleasures and the necessity of committing time and money. We are reluctant to make radical changes in our lifestyles.
  7. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    18 Aug '06 23:39
    Originally posted by whodey
    You may talk about the psychology of people who are religious, however, I found a web site that talks about the psychology of atheism.

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/frear/vitz.htm

    It is interesting that Freud himself observed that young people tend to lose their religious faith as soon as they lose the authority of their earthly fathers. ...[text shortened]... f committing time and money. We are reluctant to make radical changes in our lifestyles.
    ah, so theism is for the weak of mind, whilst atheism is pursuit of the strong of the mind? perhaps that's not what you mean to say, though? You're examples are great there Whodey - they sure got those 5 atheists figured. Just a few billion more to go. Don't let me stop you.
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