Why religion is good for us ...

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Why religion is good for us ...

#1  Postby katja z » Mar 05, 2010 4:47 pm

Lionel Tiger on why religion is good for us: it increases our serotonin levels.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/03/04/macleans-interview-lionel-tiger/

Religion as an equivalent of a Prozac pill? I doubt I would like this argument if I were a believer ... :think:
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#2  Postby Tbickle » Mar 05, 2010 5:02 pm

What else do they have to go on? Besides, it is my personal opinion that most people I know only believe in god because that's how they were raised and because it provides comfort.
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#3  Postby Luis Dias » Mar 05, 2010 5:03 pm

Perhaps they can present it as a low cost alternative to prozac!

Ah! Fuck I'm sold!
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#4  Postby Alan B » Mar 06, 2010 10:26 am

Take this religion five times a day and give me money...

I feel better already! :puke:
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#5  Postby midnightfire » Mar 06, 2010 5:10 pm

My mom says she would probably consider herself an atheist. But she hates other atheists because "they want to take religion away from people". She considers it a source of comfort and happiness. But she can't seem to see the guilt and unhappiness it causes, as well. Nor its absolute atrocities.

Turkey increases serotonin levels, too. Maybe we should all be Turkeyists?
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#6  Postby NineOneFour » Mar 06, 2010 5:12 pm

I just had some turkey and as a result my serotonin level increased.

So, screw religion.

Does bacon increase serotonin levels? I think i wouldn't mind being a baconist.
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#7  Postby midnightfire » Mar 06, 2010 5:19 pm

Mmmmmmmm, bacon.............

Is it lunchtime yet? I'm picturing a turkey & bacon sandwich ;)
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#8  Postby Scarlett » Mar 06, 2010 5:25 pm

I went to a born-again church quite recently, for the experience of it only I might add. To be honest, there appeared to me to be alot of quite vulnerable people there, there was alot of crying and praying, and there was an air of desperation unlike anything I've felt anywhere else. Happy pill? I think this lot needed a bucketload
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#9  Postby Spearthrower » Mar 06, 2010 6:45 pm

katja z wrote:Lionel Tiger on why religion is good for us: it increases our serotonin levels.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/03/04/macleans-interview-lionel-tiger/

Religion as an equivalent of a Prozac pill? I doubt I would like this argument if I were a believer ... :think:



Prozac seems to have a lot less baggage, if you ask me.
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#10  Postby Mick » Mar 06, 2010 7:10 pm

Tbickle wrote:What else do they have to go on? Besides, it is my personal opinion that most people I know only believe in god because that's how they were raised and because it provides comfort.



Well, that's not how I'd say it. Rather, I think it's that God is the foundation of that person's worldview. It's the light which allows him to see and the rock that he stands upon to view the horizon. It functions a lot like the Cartesian archimedean point, I think. Then there are also the pragmatic points of God-belief such like offering purpose, enduring companionship, immortality and even significance qua human being. Indeed, one of the features of Christianity that I love is the significance imported into every human being in virtue of him being made in the image of God. :dance:
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#11  Postby katja z » Mar 07, 2010 6:57 pm

What I was getting at is that while Lionel Tiger is undoubtedly "in favour" of religion - and by that, he obviously means organized religion, religious community, religious ritual, the works - as a good and natural phenomenon (btw, I sense the classic "natural, therefore good for you" fallacy at work here), his descriptions of why it is good should surely offend religious people?

Now, if you took it as a cognitive experience—and the sermon had all to do with veils and whatever—it was kind of incomprehensible, but what you did get was a sense of people hanging around, playing music for each other, being together, holding each others’ hands after the service was over. And unquestionably, if you were to do a brain assay—as Mike was able to do with chimps—as they left the church you’d see that they were thriving with serotonin, that there was no cortisol bothering them, things were good neurophysiologically, oxytocin was flowing, all the things that we now know are associated with pro-social, pro-survival activity.


I’m not sure we’ll ever learn to manage brain secretions in any manner, and it may be that we don’t want to, but at least we now know that the feeling of oceanic identification with others in an assembly—a church assembly or whenever—is not magical, it’s neurophysiological. We can identify the juices. I think that’s fantastic, actually. And Mike’s work on serotonin did generate Prozac and a whole array of medications.


In a nutshell, organized religion as a way of fooling our brain to secrete more serotonin.

I'd love to know what religious members of this forum think of his arguments ...
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#12  Postby Alan B » Mar 07, 2010 7:50 pm

katja z wrote:In a nutshell, organized religion as a way of fooling our brain to secrete more serotonin money.

Fixed.
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#13  Postby Kelly » Mar 07, 2010 11:33 pm

Mick wrote:
Tbickle wrote:What else do they have to go on? Besides, it is my personal opinion that most people I know only believe in god because that's how they were raised and because it provides comfort.



Well, that's not how I'd say it. Rather, I think it's that God is the foundation of that person's worldview. It's the light which allows him to see and the rock that he stands upon to view the horizon. It functions a lot like the Cartesian archimedean point, I think. Then there are also the pragmatic points of God-belief such like offering purpose, enduring companionship, immortality and even significance qua human being. Indeed, one of the features of Christianity that I love is the significance imported into every human being in virtue of him being made in the image of God. :dance:



One of the problems with this, in my opinion, is that it offers no validity to the truth claims of the existence of god, or any gods. It may feel good, but that doesn't make it true.
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#14  Postby Roger Cooke » Mar 08, 2010 12:37 am

Mick wrote:
Tbickle wrote:What else do they have to go on? Besides, it is my personal opinion that most people I know only believe in god because that's how they were raised and because it provides comfort.



Well, that's not how I'd say it. Rather, I think it's that God is the foundation of that person's worldview. It's the light which allows him to see and the rock that he stands upon to view the horizon. It functions a lot like the Cartesian archimedean point, I think. Then there are also the pragmatic points of God-belief such like offering purpose, enduring companionship, immortality and even significance qua human being. Indeed, one of the features of Christianity that I love is the significance imported into every human being in virtue of him being made in the image of God. :dance:


Yes indeed. I've just been reading a book called The Paradox of Choice. It explains why having options makes people unhappy. Dostoevsky said it very well in "The Grand Inquisitor" passage from The Brothers Karamazov, where the Inquisitor says that there is nothing a human being desires more ardently than to find somewhere to bestow that cursed freedom he has. I regard this unseemly haste to turn all decisions over to an oracle as a waste of human potential, but I must admit that most people appear to be happier for doing so. If mere contentment, like that of a cat after eating a bowl of tuna fish, is what one wants, religion can certainly provide it. Doesn't matter which one.

Of course, the human mind will always be subliminally aware of all the contradictions involved in affirming a creed, and some effort will be required to silence the promptings of the rational mind, but then life is full of compromises....
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#15  Postby Mick » Mar 08, 2010 12:47 am

Kelly wrote:
Mick wrote:
Tbickle wrote:What else do they have to go on? Besides, it is my personal opinion that most people I know only believe in god because that's how they were raised and because it provides comfort.



Well, that's not how I'd say it. Rather, I think it's that God is the foundation of that person's worldview. It's the light which allows him to see and the rock that he stands upon to view the horizon. It functions a lot like the Cartesian archimedean point, I think. Then there are also the pragmatic points of God-belief such like offering purpose, enduring companionship, immortality and even significance qua human being. Indeed, one of the features of Christianity that I love is the significance imported into every human being in virtue of him being made in the image of God. :dance:



One of the problems with this, in my opinion, is that it offers no validity to the truth claims of the existence of god, or any gods. It may feel good, but that doesn't make it true.



Meh. It doesn't mean it's unreasonable, either.
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#16  Postby hackenslash » Mar 08, 2010 1:26 am

No it doesn't. What is unreasonable is that it is not rooted in reason, but the abandonment of reason.

Anyhoo, who is this 'us' of which you speak? Religion is certainly not good for those contracting HIV in Africa due to the utterly immoral doctrines of the catholic church.
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#17  Postby katja z » Mar 08, 2010 8:58 am

Hackenslash, it's a very general "us" as in "us, human beings". Not my fault, I was just summing up the ideas of Lionel Tiger in an interview which I wanted us ("us" as in "us, forum members") to discuss. I posted the link in the OP, do have a read.

I certainly agree with you! :cheers:
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#18  Postby hackenslash » Mar 08, 2010 11:04 am

I did read it. He's talking through his arse.
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Re: Why religion is good for us ...

#19  Postby katja z » Mar 08, 2010 11:57 am

hackenslash wrote:I did read it. He's talking through his arse.


A masterful summary :mrgreen:
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