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The Human Species And Religion

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nailit | 18:12 Sun 24th Aug 2014 | Religion & Spirituality
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Why are humans the only animal to have evolved with a religious nature?
As much as we might 'rubbish' religion, we cant escape the fact that humans, by and large, have a religious nature and a need for religious ritual.
Is it something to do with having a conscience? Do animals have a conscience? Why have only humans developed a conscience?
I'm not religious in any way and if asked would describe myself as agnostic but leaning towards atheism, but cant help wondering why humans are so different from other species of life forms.
Humans can reason, talk (and learn the language of others) and invent things. We are the only animals that cook food, wear clothes and finds cures for natural diseases. In addition we are the only animal that has sexual fetishes...never seen a chimp with a can of whipped cream, a baboon with a porno dvd collection or a gorilla with a gimp mask. Going of the point a bit but why are humans so different from animals and why have we developed religious rituals? No other animal fights over whose God is the right God.
Thanks.

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I don't know the answer,but what an interesting question.
Because no other has evolved the intellect. that said Neanderthals may well have had religion. Evolution merely selects for survival, intellect isn't a predetermined aim. In the low likelihood event of more than one animal species becoming intellectually clever enough to ponder the questions, one is likely to overcome the other until only one species is left.
I suppose some will want to have their lives lived by dictates from other sources...they can't think for themselves Or live by their own code. It seems some have to have a crutch to aid their lives and religion is the only thing. I personally think they are weak people, that if common sense doesn't tell them how to live and react they have this crutch they can hang onto our blame when things go wrong. I know where I would rather be...with my own 'belief' that I know right from wrong and I don't need anyone or anything else to guide me. If only more people thought for themselves and didn't need this tribal crutch, maybe, just maybe the world might be a better place......
we don't know whether or not animals believe in a god.
Bees may see their beehive may be a gigantic mother-cult temple for all we know. Elephants appear to mourn their dead. Bonobos go at it like something off the Discovery Channel. I don't think we're all that far removed from our animal friends.
-- answer removed --
Question Author

//and you wouldn't believe what Dolphins get up to.//

Please tell, DB. !
Human beings may have moved on from earlier worship, perhaps other animals and birds still praise the sun each morning.
Good question and a very valid point. I can't speak about other religions but being a Muslim, I know that according to Quran every human being is born with a religious inclination or interest. And that inclination is towards religion or God is due to soul we human are given.
/ I know that according to Quran every human being is born with a religious inclination or interest./
So that's another fail for the koran...
Something about us makes us want to arrange all we perceive into a narrative and every event must have a cause. When that cause is not apparent, not visible or beyond our comprehension then it becomes necessary to resort to 'magical thinking'.

Practically all belief systems revolve around an entity or energy or series of historical events which cannot be observed, or measured or challenged in any way.

And, should anyone ever succeed in proving something, you can longer merely believe it, you know it. The (scientifically proven) health benefits stemming from a faith presumably stand to be lost from having the existence of the object of faith proved, beyond doubt!

As for all other species, they cannot converse with us so we have no idea what's going on in there. They don't have our command of language so they cannot 'think' in the way we might understand it (using words as tokens for ideas), about imponderables like the existence of gods.

Most pet owners of faith would obviously like their pets to be with them in the afterlife and it would be upsetting to think that an animal's inability to comprehend a faith would mean they are locked out. They question of whether animals have souls has been running for centuries (I once thought it is only recently that we've got all soppy about our animals, but was wrong). If they can get in even though they don't understand God then maybe atheists can as well?
;-)
This is an interesting question, but the potential ramifications are extensive - I feel that with a little research I could write reams.

However I will restrict myself to one point - sexual fetishes. The ones you mention are Human - how do we know what animal sexual fetishes would be - would we recognise them (in the unlikely event we would witness them - most sexual fetishes take place in rivate after all) anyway. For example, for all we know the dolphins cavorting with humans may be one of their sexual fetishes - how do you recognise a dolphin orgasm. Food for thought.
I don't know the answer but after watching the films THE MATRIX and PROMETHEUS I'm starting to wonder about the origin of man and our role here
Our origin is evolution, and our role is to live and die, whatever Hollywood might say.
I am not sure that man has "evolved" with a religious nature naillit. All religions are made up and maybe the rest of the animal kingdom is far too busy finding something to give the kids for their Tea to faff about bothering with gods, angels, miracles, etc !

We have far too much time on our hands it would seem to me.
I'm not sure about us having a religious 'gene ' or any other built in religious
' inclination ' but we do have a desire to understand our world and beyond.
As our scientific knowledge expands the less we turn to ' mumbo-jumbo ' .
However many people need their 'mumbo-jumbo ' to cope with life . It gives them a crutch , the type of support that science doesn't offer. It also sets out guidelines and standards not practiced with a pure pragmatic scientific approach.
The bottom line is that science may eventually be able to explain how everything evolved ' after the ' big bang ' except for what was the first trigger and how 'Life ' itself came into existence. Mumbo-jumbo fills that gap .
Tribes which had a belief system would have had a tighter social grouping than those which had no beliefs. The tighter grouping would probably survive better in the face of adversity, since all members would feel obliged by their deity to help each other, whether they wanted to or not. Thus a belief system provides an evolutionary advantage.
Many people observe the design in nature and yet do not believe in the existence of a Designer, a Creator

So it is obvious that human efforts alone have not succeeded in finding the truth about life, and it seems that they never will.

There is good reason, It down to how people idolize inanimate things? Isaiah shows that the real problem lies in a person’s heart:

7 Who is there like me? Let him call out and tell it and prove it to me! From the time I established the people of long ago, Let them tell both the things to come And what will yet happen. 8 Do not be in dread, And do not become paralyzed with fear. Have I not told each of you beforehand and declared it? You are my witnesses. Is there any God but me? No, there is no other Rock; I know of none.’” 9 All who form carved images amount to nothing, And their cherished objects will be of no benefit. As their witnesses, they see nothing and know nothing, So those who made them will be put to shame. 10 Who would form a god or cast a metal image That can bring no benefit? 11 Look! All his associates will be put to shame! The craftsmen are mere humans. Let them all assemble and take their stand. They will be terrified and be put to shame together. 12 The metalsmith works the iron over the coals with his tool. He forms it with hammers, Working it with his powerful arm. Then he grows hungry and his strength fails; He drinks no water and grows tired. 13 The wood-carver stretches the measuring line, tracing out the pattern with red chalk. He works it with a wood scraper and traces it with a compass. He patterns it after a man, With the beauty of a man, To sit in a house. 14 There is one whose work is to cut down cedars. He selects a certain type of tree, an oak, And he lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a laurel tree, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man to make fires. He takes part of it to warm himself; He builds a fire and bakes bread. But he also makes a god and worships it. He makes it into a carved image, and he bows down before it. 16 Half of it he burns up in a fire; With that half he roasts the meat that he eats, and he is satisfied. He also warms himself and says: “Ah! I am warm as I watch the fire.” 17 But the rest of it he makes into a god, into his carved image. He bows down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says: “Save me, for you are my god.” 18 They know nothing, they understand nothing, Because their eyes are sealed shut and they cannot see, And their heart has no insight. Isaiah 44:7-18 Says it all
@mikey4444

//We have far too much time on our hands it would seem to me.//

It's been that way since hunter-gatherers worked out how to farm. Idle goat-herds, shepherds and people waiting for their crops to grow have time on their hands to start worrying about things. Neurosis can stop you functioning day-to-day so, as soon as someone dreamt up a way to quell those fears, they were assured a willing audience.

The donation plate was, no doubt, invented soon after that.
;-)
Goodlife - any appearance of design is entirely accidental. Just because ( say) scenery looks beautiful doesn't mean someone or something made it so. The world became what it is by a series of random processes, and if it suits homo sapiens the way it is, that is entirely because of evolution. Evolution has only one purpose - procreation. The "purpose" of a rose-bush is to make more rosebushes, the "purpose" of a whale is to make more whales, and the "purpose" of a human is to make more humans.
I'm afraid you will have to do more than quoting irrelevant "scriptures" at us. First of all, you have to convince us that such quotations have some point to them. I can quote Grimm's Fairy Tales to prove that wicked witches exist, but you'd be justified in asking for more than words. How about some proof ? 1) that those scriptures are what they claim to be, and 2) that what they say has any relevance to Homo Sapiens.
But I expect we shall get yet more of your amusing non-sequiturs. I look forward to them, as usual.

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