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Born Believers: Is Religion really an adaption?

Religion is a big part of many peoples life. In 2001, eighty-one percent of the adult population identified with one or another religion group. In the United States, seventy nine percent of the Americans who is a part of religion are some kind of Christian who worships the same God. Anthropologist Scott Atran of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor says “I don't think the idea makes much sense, given the kinds of things you find in religion,” I feel the same way with what the bible reads. I am not a Christian, I have read parts of the Bible and while other Christians believe in the bible, I think the book is just a fairytale. The Bible talks about events that would happen in a fairytales.

I am Hmong and most Hmong people holds a strong belief in Shamanism, but I have Hmong friends who are Christians and many Hmongs who is still holding to the original religion thinks that the Hmong Christians are traitors to the Hmongs but that is usually what the parents of first generations would think. My parents believe in Shamanism, but that doesn’t make me one, I consider myself an Atheist. Shaminism is the belief in communicating with the spirits from the Spirit World. So when a family member is sick, we don’t pray for that person to become well, we believe that a bad spirit has taken that person’s soul with the spirit. The family will then hire a Shaman who can enter the Spiritual World and communicate with the dead to bring that soul back. Like I said, I do have Hmong friends who are Christians, but I do not care what religion they live for. Whenever my Hmong Christian friends talk God to me, I find it hard to believe in what they believe in and I just keep that feeling inside. I am the type of person who needs facts before I can believe in it. For example, the evolution theory has a lot of scientific facts behind it to prove how animals are related to each other through evolution. With the Christian religion belief, they believe that the Creation of Earth, Humanity, etc. is all due to God. So far with this belief not many can prove this theory using scientific reasoning.

I agree strongly agree with Michael Brooks’ article “Born believers: How your brain creates God.” He uses scientific reasonings through psychology on how people created God and not the other way around. It all starts with a psychologist at Yale University, Paul Bloom who observed different age groups from pre-school students to adults and record results on how they use their minds. In the studies shows that part of our brain are capable to create supernatural thoughts and beliefs proving that the thoughts of God could be just created through the mind.
If you ask the Christians who are strong believer of God, they will have a testimony about how God has touched them. Most of the testimonies are about how they were in trouble and God saved them. That gives the reason why during the leanest of times, the strictest, most authoritarian churches saw a surge in attendance. When people are stressed, sad, or when they feel like no one is there for them anymore, they turn to the one they hear as the “Almighty God,” this Almighty God will save you from your misery and bring you happiness. What's going on, Jennifer Whitson of the University of Texas in Austin suggests that when we feel a lack of control we fall back on superstitious ways of thinking. Having a religion, for example church, makes people feel like they belong to a group. When they go to church, it is not just a building to them; it is a sanctuary that hides them from the corrupted world filled with crimes, poverty, selfishness, greediness, hatred, etc.

Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford strongly identified with the religion-as-adaptation argument. With Robin Dunbar argument, I think what he is trying to say is that religion is part of survival method to humans and Darwin Theory clearly states “Survival of the Fittest.” That means that believing in God is not going against the theory of evolution, it is part of the evolution. Religion is a part of the evolution of humanity.

http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/research_briefs/aris/key_findings.htm

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html

Comments


I think you picked out the two main points of the article nicely: Religion is important and when we are insecure we think religion is really important. Religion is a very prominent part of life, regardless of what country you live in or what time period you are from. The New Scientist article attempts to explain just why or how religion is consistently a big deal, especially during uncertain times. The AsiaOne Business Journal outlined the increase of religious observances in Singapore, while the Canadian paper Globe Life noted that Canadian pews were packed. Religion brought people together as communities during the Babylonian times, transferred across the Silk Roads, spurred travel to the New World, and survive during ‘the leanest of times’ (Born believers: How your brain creates God). If God were an organism, it would certainly pass Darwin’s survival of the fittest test as God survives, reproduces and evolves time and time again.

You express a need for scientific facts to explain a phenomenon or religion, which would appeal to the rational side of most people. The second main point of the article alludes to the creative, survival, or perhaps irrational side of people which adapts to tough times by conjuring superstitious ways of thinking. “The subjects who sensed a loss of control were much more likely to see patterns where there were none. "We were surprised that the phenomenon is as widespread as it is," Whitson says. What's going on, she suggests, is that when we feel a lack of control we fall back on superstitious ways of thinking. That would explain why religions enjoy a revival during hard times.” This adaptation or blind faith if you will, is incredibly wide spread. It is said that when one door closes, God opens another window. On February 14th, 2009, Father James Martin graced the Colbert Report. The Father held a finance degree before he saw the light, and became a Jesuit priest. Although he gave up a ‘good life’ full of materialistic goods he feels as if he is happy now because he doesn’t need possessions to be happy. Although everyone needs a few certain things like food shelter and clothing, if you tie your self to your possessions, your possessions start owning you. When people feel more vulnerable they are more open to God’s presence in their life. Faith is about freedom, freedom from possession, free to follow Christ, and being free to help other people, and being able to feel empathy and compassion towards the poor. Whether or not Father Martin spoke on the behalf of only himself or the group of Catholics he represents, he certainly outlined a secondary reason to serve the lord. People not only turn to God and religion to ease their own uncertainty, but to help others as well. Whether or not the “other’s” they help refers only to their own religion culture is a whole separate discussion, but the altruistic measure of humans is an important aspect that both your discussion and the New Science article left out.

Perhaps it is not as clear as a “last-chance last-call for salvation” bell that cause people to get down on their knees to pray to God. It turns out that by answering God’s call, people act not only in their own best interest, but also in the interest of their fellow group members.

I think you picked out the two main points of the article nicely: Religion is important and when we are insecure we think religion is really important. Religion is a very prominent part of life, regardless of what country you live in or what time period you are from. The New Scientist article attempts to explain just why or how religion is consistently a big deal, especially during uncertain times. The AsiaOne Business Journal outlined the increase of religious observances in Singapore, while the Canadian paper Globe Life noted that Canadian pews were packed. Religion brought people together as communities during the Babylonian times, transferred across the Silk Roads, spurred travel to the New World, and survive during ‘the leanest of times’ (Born believers: How your brain creates God). If God were an organism, it would certainly pass Darwin’s survival of the fittest test as God survives, reproduces and evolves time and time again.

You express a need for scientific facts to explain a phenomenon or religion, which would appeal to the rational side of most people. The second main point of the article alludes to the creative, survival, or perhaps irrational side of people which adapts to tough times by conjuring superstitious ways of thinking. “The subjects who sensed a loss of control were much more likely to see patterns where there were none. "We were surprised that the phenomenon is as widespread as it is," Whitson says. What's going on, she suggests, is that when we feel a lack of control we fall back on superstitious ways of thinking. That would explain why religions enjoy a revival during hard times.” This adaptation or blind faith if you will, is incredibly wide spread. It is said that when one door closes, God opens another window. On February 14th, 2009, Father James Martin graced the Colbert Report. The Father held a finance degree before he saw the light, and became a Jesuit priest. Although he gave up a ‘good life’ full of materialistic goods he feels as if he is happy now because he doesn’t need possessions to be happy. Although everyone needs a few certain things like food shelter and clothing, if you tie your self to your possessions, your possessions start owning you. When people feel more vulnerable they are more open to God’s presence in their life. Faith is about freedom, freedom from possession, free to follow Christ, and being free to help other people, and being able to feel empathy and compassion towards the poor. Whether or not Father Martin spoke on the behalf of only himself or the group of Catholics he represents, he certainly outlined a secondary reason to serve the lord. People not only turn to God and religion to ease their own uncertainty, but to help others as well. Whether or not the “other’s” they help refers only to their own religion culture is a whole separate discussion, but the altruistic measure of humans is an important aspect that both your discussion and the New Science article left out.

Perhaps it is not as clear as a “last-chance last-call for salvation” bell that cause people to get down on their knees to pray to God. It turns out that by answering God’s call, people act not only in their own best interest, but also in the interest of their fellow group members.