Why People Believe in God
The Mother of Invention
Ignorant primitive people invented god(s) to:
- Provide a crutch for their own inherent human weakness and fear of death
- Explain the nature of the world around them when they couldn’t find logical explanations of their own
- Control man and maintain order in society
So What’s Your Excuse?
Modern man with a heightened sense of awareness and a robust understanding of science and the natural world doesn’t have the easy out presented above. He needs a little something else to justify his patently silly beliefs. So when it doubt, blame your fucking parents.
Today’s average bible-punching idiot believes in god primarily because he was brainwashed as a child. Add to that some fear, cowardice, gullibility, and weakness. The rest is explained here.
Basically, people get together and form a society because they’re tired of mayhem, rape, and looting. Societies promote “the greater good” and “the general welfare.” The rules that members of a society follow to ensure the general welfare are what we call laws. Our social contract stipulates that we agree to abide by the laws of our society or else we’ll be excluded (jailed, exiled, sent to bed without din-din, etc.) and lose all of our membership privileges.
There are two levels of moral or ethical behavior: rule-based and principle-based. Individuals of malformed or immature ethical development (e.g. children, gullible adults, career criminals, common street vermin, Raiders fans) need rules to know what appropriate behavior is in a civilized society. People with a more highly developed sense of ethical behavior don’t need rules; principles like “do unto others” are sufficient.
Critics of religion like Gore Vidal have characterized the Judeo-Christian deity as an “angry sky god” – typically one that will judge and condemn you. Now I don’t know what psycho/sexual/logical need that meets but, as Karl “Opiate of the Masses” Marx observed, religion has been pretty good at keeping the lower classes in their place. The extreme right wing still believes in the supreme judge (“god is just”), but in general I think that the Christian god has evolved more into a Santa Claus who’s going to check if you’ve been naughty or nice and reward or punish you accordingly.
Perhaps I’m a bit biased because I was raised in Judaism, but it seems to me that the Jews as a whole are much more fatalistic (and far less child-like) in their view of god. Apparently, they’ve come to the realization that being the “Chosen People” means that you get chosen for a beating more often than the other children. But I think the religious aspect is still important as the glue that binds the nomadic tribal society together.