Why do some people need to believe?

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Why do some people need to believe?

#1  Postby Adco » Mar 17, 2010 9:57 am

Why is there a need for some humans to have to believe in "something"? There must be some survival reasoning to why it is built into us. Is it part of the fear factor?

Religion has taken full advantage of this attribute. Religion exploits and controls people with fear of the unknown in the form of "God" and the masses fall for it all over the world. Many cultures have used God/Gods/Goddesses etc to take control of people and the people have allowed it to happen. Why? What benefit does it have to the survival of the species? OR is it just an off-shoot behaviour as a result of bad wiring and actually has no survivasl benifit.

Sure, we can say there is no benefit to believing in all the religious crap but there was always beliefs and fear based controlls before organised religions came along so is there more to it than meets the eye?
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Re: Why do some people need to believe?

#2  Postby katja z » Mar 17, 2010 12:53 pm

I've found this video very interesting.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrg[/youtube]
Thomson's main point is that religious belief "hijacks" a number of psychological traits that do have an evolutionary advantage. I'm not sure about all of his arguments (I'm no expert either) but it's a thought-provoking perspective.
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Re: Why do some people need to believe?

#3  Postby endless psych » Mar 17, 2010 5:22 pm

Bruce Hoods "Supersense" is worth a mention here I reckon.

The use of "some people" is something I dispute - everyone believes in "something" there are just scales of belief and disbelief and different categories. People who don't hold theist beliefs probably still prescribe to one of the following: a political ideology;moral and ethical code;believe their team/fans of their sporting team to be the best in the world; consider themselves patriotic or nationalistic/knock on wood etc etc...

There are categories and scales of superstitious belief - it's not a "need" as such rather something that happens.

Although in the case of organised religion a good case can be made that they play on peoples needs to be part of a group or socially connected to likeminded folks and use that to their advantage.

But I doubt there is anything particularly special about any given belief or subset of believers psychologically.
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Re: Why do some people need to believe?

#4  Postby Adco » Mar 18, 2010 5:24 am

endless psych wrote:The use of "some people" is something I dispute - everyone believes in "something" there are just scales of belief and disbelief and different categories. People who don't hold theist beliefs probably still prescribe to one of the following: a political ideology;moral and ethical code;believe their team/fans of their sporting team to be the best in the world; consider themselves patriotic or nationalistic/knock on wood etc etc...

I used "some people" to be careful. Last time I said "people" I was shot down for including the whole population. I was trying to be politically correct but I am happy to say everyone is included.
There are categories and scales of superstitious belief - it's not a "need" as such rather something that happens.

I disagree. To me, it appears to be a built-in need that happens. I am trying to find out how this need benefits us. What part does it play in our survival. It can't just be something that happens. It must have evolved for a reason. Or not?

Although in the case of organised religion a good case can be made that they play on peoples needs to be part of a group or socially connected to likeminded folks and use that to their advantage.

Perhaps humans have to be lead by someone "stronger and wiser" otherwise we flounder aimlessly. Religion is maybe a nasty by-product.

But I doubt there is anything particularly special about any given belief or subset of believers psychologically.

There is nothing special about any belief system per se. They are all made up by humans to satisfy the minds of other humans.
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