Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why God ?

The universality of religion/God indicates at least two things -
  1. Religion is a consequence of our evolutionary history. It perhaps helped in our wild past. The reasons are not difficult to find out. It is no brainer that having a aggressive religion helps tremendously in wars. Increased cohesion and harmony also helps in ensuring food security. It also promotes xenophobia against other tribes, which is necessary for wars and aggressive expansion of tribe. Those societies which are hostile and aggressive against other friendly tribes will have much more incentive to massacre those other tribes and expand their folk/religion. No wonder, most of the wars all over the world are either fought over religion or escalated to unsolvable levels due to religion.
  2. There is also probably an innate aptitude for religion in humans. Humans are unique in having a unmatched and limitless power of thinking and imagination, which is greatly amplified by language. With a power of thinking also comes amplification of fears, anxiety and stress. And also proclivity for generalization / gullibility of all sorts. If a weaker man can break a thin branch, a stronger person can break a thicker one, and an elephant can tear off an entire trunk it follows that the tornado which can uproot an entire forest must be the handiwork of a super powerful being. The obvious generalization is to postulate existence of an omnipotent force much more powerful than the tornado. This is the innate aptitude for God I am talking about. This is perhaps akin to the innate aptitude for language we have. If true, it is a worthwhile experiment to raise a child without teaching her any religious ideas and only inculcating a scientific rationality to see whether she later acquires any taste for God.

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