Why do so many people still believe in God?

I’m not sure I buy this. The fact something is historical doesn’t prevent you from celebrating it on different days. Hell, the UK does not celebrate the Queen’s birthday on her birthday (really) but that doesn’t mean her birth is not historical fact.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth is a historical event, but only in years when it actually falls on a Monday.

One objection I can see is that belief in the Resurrection at Easter is not a belief shared by the majority of the people on Earth who believe in God, or in gods in general. Only 31% of the world’s population are Christians, and not all of them believe in the literal ressurection of Christ at Easter (or at any other time).

Although Jesus is revered in Islam, the status of his resurrection in that faith is a complex one.

Fair point, thanks.

The calendar is an arbitrary construction. Why is it more historical to celebrate an event on a particular calendar date as opposed to how Easter is calculated now?

Exactly. I was in school back in the 1950s, and the school had an intercom system to make announcements in the classes. When the teachers left the room they would tell students that the principal had a switch to turn the loudspeakers into microphones, and everything that was said in the class would be heard by the principal.

Some students believed this, and some did not. You know how you could tell? Sure you do, by the way they behaved while the teacher was out. It’s the same with belief in a deity, 95% of the people who profess belief do not truly believe, and the evidence is how they behave. No one who believed in God would act the way they do.

I think Church of Christ believes JC resurrected, but the date isn’t important. Same for Christmas. He was born, but they don’t care when. I’m not religious, but I can say CoC is an oddball (I think that of most religions though). Playing an instrument in church puts you on the Highway to Hell (along with nearly every other thing I do in life). Lots of fire and brimstone over there.

You mean like how no one who believes that smoking or overeating is bad for you smokes or overeats?

If a guy concludes that meeting a supernatural entity while awake would be evidence that supernatural entities exist, and an angel then appears to him in real life while he’s wide awake, then I figure that such an experience would help explain why he’d believe that supernatural entities exist — and maybe he’d tell others of his experience, and seem believable by dint of honestly relaying first-hand testimony about it to people who’d figure a reasonable reaction to such an experience would be his belief in the existence of supernatural entities.

And if another guy concludes that meeting a supernatural entity while asleep and dreaming would be evidence that supernatural entities exist, and he then dreams about an angel while he’s asleep, then I figure that such an experience would help explain why he’d believe that supernatural entities exist — and maybe he’d tell others of his experience, and, again, seem believable by dint of honestly relaying first-hand testimony about it to people who figure it’s reasonable to so react to said dreams.

I’m not clear on which part of that isn’t clear.

Since they believe they’re forgiven without limit, of course they will.

The individual punishments for smoking and overeating are trivial compared to eternal punishment. Literally infinitesimally small.

If you were sure that if you overate or smoked, an eternal all powerful all seeing being who was 100% guaranteed to know about it would then TORTURE YOU FOR ETERNITY, would you do it?

As long as there was a Get Out of Jail Free card like in Christianity, then sure I would. Even without that I might. I could skip the food but addictions are tough. Eternal torture doesn’t look so bad when you’re jones’n.

Woops, you died of an instant stroke while smoking before you get your get out of free jail card. Hope that cigarette was worth eternal torture, which is literally infinitely more suffering than all of the combined suffering in the entire universe during the entire age of the universe.

Also, this is assuming that God is cool with your strategy of “I’ll just pretend to be sorry after I do it, every time I do it” because if he’s not, whoops, unending torture again.

It’s funny, but I can’t figure out the point you’re trying to get across either. I’ve read all of your posts on this a couple of times now.

Sure, but he may not be cool with me not believing in him either. Or all the times I wish I did believe just so I could complain and tell him what I think about he’s done. So yeah, if needed a smoke back when I was using then the eternal damnation threat wouldn’t cross my mind. Nor if I overeat sushi, because ‘overeat’ is my standard portion size for sushi.

I grew up believing in God because apparently my parents believed and my friends believed and I got sent off to Hebrew School where I was taught “history” starting with Abraham. I grew up not believing in Jesus for exactly the same reasons.
But, I found later that a lot of these people did not believe. My grandfather was almost certainly an atheist, and while he never went to shul he’d never say so openly. My mother probably didn’t believe. My father sent me to Hebrew School since that was what people did and that got me a coveted Saturday morning bar mitzvah slot which was an excuse for him to hold a big party.
In much of the US pretending to believe is a much safer option than being honest - like the little kid who figures out before her friends that Santa isn’t real.
If my kids went to Temple they would have had no problem sharing that with their friends. Not believing in any God at all though was something they didn’t bring up. And I live in a very secular place.
As soon as I got myself exposed to the real story of the Bible (in the introduction to a Bible!) I quit believing. It was no big deal.

If you don’t mind me repurposing a post I made to the FaceBook “MENSA” group… the question that had been posed was “how can I view people as intelligent if they’re referring to ‘God’ every five minutes?” and following a slew of mostly atheist replies I entered the following:


Not all theistic people find it necessary to refer to god every 5 minutes. If we focus on those that do, I suspect the population we’ve thus isolated consists primarily of those who find illusory comfort in the promise of absolute certainty, which absolves them of having to think on certain matters or in certain problematic topic areas (mostly pertaining to human interaction, although issues such as one’s own mortality or summing up the overall experience of life may also fall into this zone). Conversing with anyone in a topic area where they’ve opted to not think is going to convey the impression of scant intelligence.

But most people turn to prepackaged theistic solutions and promises not because they’re fundamentally stupid, but because modern life is complex and for most people difficult to sort out. I had the distinct impression between the ages of 15 and 20 that most folks of my cohort stopped assuming that they’d figure out the adult stuff by the time they were adults, got nervous about how little made sense, and stopped trying and instead looked around and began to copycat anyone who seemed to be doing relatively well… and hoped nobody noticed that they were an imposter, a fake grownup who had no clue what they were doing.

When you’re in that state of mind, it’s pretty easy to sell you on a bag of plastic answers.

Keep in mind that less than 500 years ago you could mostly look around and understand human endeavors and motivations, tools and processes, mores and morals, even if a lot of it wasn’t healthy and a lot of the big-scale stuff remained mysterious. Back off to 10,000 years and life mostly consisted of picking or digging up what was growing, chasing down a tasty critter now and then, and dealing with the aggressive animals that viewed you as a tasty critter. But fast forward again to the present and vast swaths of how human experience is set up are “black boxes”, processes that are far from self-explanatory and where most of us shrug and participate with only superficial understanding; and where options and alternatives are myriad but clarity about how to choose or how to proceed is considerably less available.

When you grow up in a world dominated by the prepackaged McReligion institutions, it’s easy to conclude that the entire body of theistic thought exists only as “opiate of the masses” or “pablum for stupid people” or “get rick quick schemes for jim bakker types”.

But let’s look at it from the other vantage point. In a world where there were some topic areas that didn’t easily yield themselves to understanding — and, I might add, a world without a formalized scientific method as of yet — there would be a few people who for whatever reason were inclined to ponder these things. For most of human history they didn’t come back with an array of experiments and resultant data but now and then they had insights about human behavior or life choices or how a government and its officials ought to behave. Some of which was empty of useful content but some of which people found helpful, and hence a social role and social notion arose for these odd people and their odd social contributions.

Note the presence in that list of potential criticism of the government. It should not be difficult to connect the dots and see that it might be useful to the governor to have an Official State Religion to point to and tell the people “don’t go listening to these charlatans with their ideas, we already have a holy man and a temple and they have Right Answers”. But that is a response to the original not-so-prepackaged version, yes?

Dub in the renaissance and modern scientific method and we’ve got positivist science and highly compelling results, but scientific method doesn’t answer the human interaction stuff, the choices stuff, the meaning of life stuff. Not every human concern yielded itself to the methodology that put human footprints on the moon. Doesn’t mean any blithering idiot who claims to be bearing the word of god should be embraced as a visionary, but it sheds some light on why a thinking person might be theistic, or at least to be a ponderer of these questions that don’t have easy answers.

ETA: I have no idea why that first ¶ is all boldface, I didn’t format it that way

Divine Intervention, clearly.

I still think the 2000 election was “stolen”. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Why the scare quotes? It was. /hijack