Why is religion still such a big part of the world?

I believe in God and miracles about as much as I now believe in the tooth fairy and father christmas (i.e. not). To me they are the same thing - superstitions for children.
So why do so many apparently inteligent people still believe so strongly in this giant fairy-tale that is religion?

I find myself losing respect for people who turn out to be religious. I find myself thinking “How can I believe your views on [subject] if you also believe there is an all powerful God who knows all and sees all?”)
I am sorry if this comes across as presumptuous (assuming God/the bible is a lie, which I very very much do) but I just don’t understand. It defies logic.

Its’ easier than trying to sell “life’s a bitch, then you die”. And that is a serious answer. People like the idea that the long hard struggle doesn’t just end.

Strangely, what inspires my belief that there may actually be a God is the fact that I can’t comprehend a begining to time.

I fear I’ll send this to IMHO Land with my response but . . .

Perhaps because it defies logic.

Because I honor and respect the faith of my parents and their parents and their parents’ parents and way back to the early Greek Christians. Because when I sit in my (Greek Orthodox) church on Sunday, I feel the presence of the almighty during the liturgy. Because, at times, I feel comforted by something I can only believe is beyond reason.

I really can only speak for myself, and I most certainly ain’t gonna WAG why religion is important to many other people in the world.

Anyway, that’s the way I am. You certainly don’t need to believe, and if you lack respect for me on other subjects, so be it. I’m pretty much a newbie, anyway. :stuck_out_tongue:

Because it’s true?

Is it easier for you to comprehend that a complex being that knows all and can do all was always there?

Fear of the dark.

Wow! That’s it! Why didn’t we think of that?

Believing out of honour and respect for what the family believes in is admirable, but isn’t that just forcing yourself to believe so as to be loyal to your families beliefs? A concsious decision to believe? A surface belief. Or do you genuinely believe deep down, regardless of your families beliefs?

And as for the wanting to believe for the sake of hope. That seems like a forced belief too. Like escapism, escaping into a non-reality in order to avoid the harsh truth. trying to believe something in the hope of feeling better about life.

I might respect people who will question their beliefs and remain open to the possibility that it is all just an elaborate story. But it is people who blindly and trully believe in it all as much as I believe I am typing on a keyboard right now, or that grass is green.

I think I am failing to make my point. I guess I’ll just say I’d like to believe something nice will happen to me after I die, or that if I am good I will go to heaven. I am not against the goodness of religion, it’s just that I simply. do. not. believe.

That feels like a set part of me, hardwired. Like if one day I really really really wanted to become a christian that solid unbelief part would still be there, unbreakable.

What’s so difficult about that? It’s not as though you’re required to comprehend the precise nature of that being.

Oh, I guess that’s simple to comprehend JThunder? Can you please enlighten the rest of us that find that hard to comprehend, how a complex being who is omniscient and omnipotent always existed?


Not really, IMHO (which is where I fear I’ll take this, not that “It’s true”/“Oh yeah?” is really much of a debate). It’s simply a part of who I am. It’s a part of my upbringing, my ethnic tradition, etc. If you find that shallow, so be it. Broader perspective has made me see that.


I genuinely believe, yes. “Regardless” of my family’s beliefs is a bit off-point from my perspective, because my family’s beliefs are elements of my belief. From my experience, much of it is collective. (You can call it a group and individual delusion, if you will.) My religious tradition certainly does not dwell much on the priesthood of the believer (or the unbeliever, as it were) like Western Christianity does.


Oh, well I certainly have done that. Ex-agnostic speaking.


What do you mean by “remain open to the possibility”?

Does it occur to me that it may all be an elaborate story? Of course. At times, do I suspect it? Yes, at times. But those times just don’t seem to stick, or haven’t for quite a while now. So I can’t “remain open” in what appears to me an agnostic sense.

To mix up a legal metaphor in here, my faith raises a presumption of the death and third-day resurrection of Jesus Christ, and nothing rebuts it. Although I still try sometimes . . . :slight_smile:


Well then, good for you. I fail to see why a belief contrary to your unbelief would rate one as unreliable in all other aspects of conversation/debate, but that’s your call.
Note: I realize, though, that just because you “feel” something like that may not be your actual position on the matter.

Even if not, belief in a higher power that provides a framework of values, morals and aesthetics with which to approach life beats the tar out of trying to be “rational” about everything. As a species, we’re not all that good at logic. Remember how much math class hurt, and how you hated it ? For most of us, rationality is a veneer over a non-logical core. That core has served us well in the struggle up from the caves. It would be hopelessly premature for us to abandon that core now, a few short centuries after the dawn of the age of reason. We’re comfortable with it. It works. The alternative is kludgy, difficult, and not yet completely thought out.

I believe is a combination of things, it is in part in our biology, and our nurturing, more often that not, you will be borne into it. (Never underestimate family and peer pressure.)

It is only when (and if) one finds out that many belief positions (i.e. hell) do not make sense, that one begins to lose religion. On this, no two people are alike, and some people will never get it.

As long as they are not busy making laws that insidiously press religion into infidels, or discriminate against non-believers, I prefer to let them find the truth for themselves. Discussing scripture is essentially useless, since we end up going in circles. instead, info that shows how wrong scripture is, or that interpretations of it are dead wrong; eventually do change intelligent people for the better.

Like, for example: finding recently that the whole Onan interpretation of masturbation=bad has been proven to be evil in itself. Recently, it was found that male masturbation reduces the probability of prostate cancer, who knew! Well somebody knew! If we take the religious point of view, problem is, it took us until the 21st century to find that out. I could go then go crazy assuming god did not bother to tell their disciples that that interpretation was wrong, and he ended up causing unnecessary pain. Or, I could just conclude those interpretations were wrong, and that church x that promoted that view is wrong.

And that, BTW, is only one small step to find the truth, and we unbelievers should not feel disappointed or lose respect if intelligent people do not see it that way; that is ok, as I see myself, losing religion is not a binary proposition. Humans that we are, we will still remain open to possibilities, that is why I am a hard agnostic.

Why is religion still a big part of the world?

Because rationality cannot and will not explain everything we know.

I’m gonna throw this into this thread. I have Muslim friends, Orthodox Jewish friends, and Christian acquaintances. Christians are the only ones whose intellect is stunted. They have the answers. Of course…IT’S JESUS! Jesus is the answer. Muslims and Jews seem to be willing to accept that there is a world out there that they can’t understand, but their religion gives them a way to interpret it. Chrtistians (fundamentalist Bible thumpers, I mean), on the other hand, seem to think that it’s a shame the world doesn’t conform to the way they think it ought to be, and thus, everyone else who doesn’t conform is going to hell. I wish I could be as close-minded as that. I guess I wish religion was used more as a way to get through life, instead of a way to divide people.

I’m amazed at how some people can believe that the universe,it’s grand design,our eco-system & biology(all intricate & specifically designed) have their source in random chaos & not a benevolent creator.Religion is still a "big part " of this world because the majority of civilization is aware of the existance of God.He’s there if you truly search for him.Of course,accepting his existance is one thing,choosing to follow God requires you to accept certain practices & ideas that modern society finds…oppressive.There’s no denying that the more permissive our society gets,the more
inconvienient God becomes.
Imagine that.

Lobsang, why did you chose this nick if you’re atheist?

Without wanting to be hostile Lobsang, it really sounds as though your problem is one of prejudice, rather than reason; you have (perhaps for the soundest of reasons) already concluded that religion is a silly, childish thing and therefore, by your own admission,

This being the case, it seems rather likely that any attempt at explanation (at least self-explanation from the believer’s side) will have a hard time making an impression on you.

Anyway; to answer your question from my own point of view; my own belief in God is based on the sum of my personal experience - I don’t rule out possibilities like delusion or insanity as the real explanation for the subjective phenomena that have brought me to belief, neither do I avoid careful consideration about the whole thing, but at the moment (and this is an entirely personal thing) God is the ‘best fit’ for me.

I think we need a better definition of terms. Belief in God is one thing, and is a private matter that each person has to work out to their own satisfaction. Religion on the other hand is the beauraucracy that gets in the way and tries to tell you what God is. Usually for money or some other kind of support. All of the beautiful artwork in the Vatican didn’t just appear one day for free.

Religion still has its hooks in humanity because the power base that was set up in the form of organized churches (speaking mainly from a Christian point of view here) were very good at making sure they had power. They managed to take some very good ideas and twist them so that if you disobey you burn forever and ever. Thankfully this wonderful Church is here to help you, now where’s your tithe?

Beleiving in some kind of God or supreme entity is one thing, a thing that only the individual can decide on, giving legitimacy and power to groups who have for hundreds of years only been an impediment to human growth is another.

Lobsang - you raise what I consider one of the toughest things about non-belief. It is very difficult to be in a vast minority, and think that the overwhelming percentage of folk you deal with daily are mistaken or downright silly in their mystical beliefs.

Minds as great and small as CS Lewis and Marilyn vos Savant have relied upon this as one (if not a prime) basis for their beliefs. Namely, how can so many people be so wrong?