Emotional security is as real as physical security, but in the world of emotions (inside brain) instead of physical world.
Sure, it exists as a mental state. Nobody here is denying that. However, the mental state of feeling secure (or feeling anxiety) may not correlate with one's actual level of security or lack thereof. Some people feel absolutely secure in trusting their god to heal their sick child, so no need to trust in the arm of man and call for an ambulance. Sometimes the child will get get better, sometimes they get a prolonged miserable death. In both cases, the parent can wrap themselves in the emotional security blanket of their religion and make themselves feel better. But the main thing that's missing here is the involvement of any actual god
As has already been pointed out, when one's luck runs out and something bad happens, the "sense of security" can turn to thorns, as the person starts having to wonder, "Did I do something to make god/the gods mad at me?"
As has already been pointed out, the answer is often "God wanted it this way." Not that "God is mad at you". Religion doesn't say life will be sweet as cherry pie. Part of the role of religion is to prepare people to cope with problems.
Sure. My point was that religion is at best a two-edged sword. It can provide a "sense" of security, and it can also provide a "sense" of anxiety. One thing it doesn't do, is bring an actual god or gods/goddesses into people's lives. Not in any way distinguishable from imaginary "inside brain" deities anyway.
Here is an article about emotional security: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_security
Religion is mentioned twice in an example situation of death of a loved person. First of all, hoping that the deceased person has gone to 'better place' is not commented as some sick attitude, but rather as a possible healthy reaction, proving one's emotional security. Second, religious devotion is given as one of possible ways to increase one's emotional security.
As I said: just like a security blanket or pacifier. A security blanket can make a child feel safer, so that they want to drag it around with them everywhere they go. Heck, it might even provide a little warmth in a pinch. Yet for some reason, nobody's writing op-ed pieces advocating that everybody ought to start packing a security blanket around.
As with "security," we are once again not talking about an actual love from an actual being that gets manifested in some way. God's love was manifested in many ways (many are described in the Bible).
And Darth Vader's evil is manifested in Star Wars
movies. You seem to have missed that I was communicating in the present tense. The very fact that you bring up the Bible is evidence that on some level you're aware that your god is just a character in a book that lives only "inside brain" and not out in Universe, much less in charge of it. If Stephen Hawking was my roommate, I wouldn't find myself limited to quoting A Brief History of Time
when I wanted to talk about things he said or did. There would be actual
effects in my life. I wouldn't just have a "sense" of having better access to knowledge about physics than most people, I actually would.
I am pretty sure all of them have already been ridiculed on this forum thoroughly, so you should have the idea. Religious people believe in those manifestations, this love is true for them and not an artificial "sense" of abstract love. You may think it's funny or absurd, but that's YOUR opinion.
Hey, it was the article you
cited that talked about all of religion's proposed benefits as an artificial "sense" of (security, love, purpose, etc.) rather than the real thing. Question: do you believe everbody's spiritual/religious/mystical/paranormal experiences and "manifestations" are true? If a person claims to be a UFO Contactee, has had one or more extremely vivid experiences of being abducted by little gray aliens, and believes that they're channeling messages from Sirius, do you nod your head and think, 'Well, that's cool. Guess those folks at SETI can close up shop now'? Or maybe, 'Well, that's cool. Their beliefs give them a sense of purpose and meaning as a channel of revelation from a superior society, and give them a sense of security'? What about all those people who believe in religions other than yours? Are all religions equally true "inside brain" and fie upon external reality?
Whether it's artificially high, depends on the view. Do people ever complain on too much love? Rarely. More love is usually welcome.
"Intense high" versus "normal": in this respect, it's analogical to art, or to knowledge. Is it bad that art makes you feel "high"? Are you against specialized studies, which absorb brain intellectually more than average? Both of these disciplines hook into some desire or need (for beauty, curiosity) and stimulate it.
Nope, nothing at all wrong with art, philosophy, and science. At least in their case the artist/musician/philosopher/area of scientific study actually exists. For that matter, there's nothing wrong with enjoying Tolkien, even though Hobbits don't
exist. If religious people kept their LARP'ing (Live-Action Role Playing) to themselves, I (and probably most if not all of the atheists here) would have no problem with it. The problem is, religious people, believers in the Abrahamic monotheisms in particular, want to force everybody else to play. If there was a powerful group of people who claimed that all humans have a "need" that only playing rummy can meet, and they demanded that America be an officially rummy-playing nation, that "We Play Rummy Here" be printed on all our money, that there should be officially-imposed "rummy in schools" etc., I would oppose them too. I would also point out that the "needs" that can be met by playing rummy can also be met by playing chess, or Texas hold 'em, or video games (as I have pointed to secular alternatives to religion in my previous post).
Religion hooks into need for love. Experiencing God's love
That would require that a "God" actually show up and do some loving. Sorry, but "See this book? It says that God loves people sometimes (when he's not smiting them and condemning them to everlasting torment)" isn't the same thing.
may sometimes get a bit "high" (exaltation). Agape - "a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well-being of the other" (by wikipedia). It's wrong with experiencing it?
There's nothing wrong with having a high, IMO. Problems come when you confuse your "high" with external reality, and do things like demand that legislation be based on it, or discriminate against people (e.g. gays, nonbelievers) because your game has a rule that says they're bad, indoctrinate children into your game and do your level best to keep them from getting the opportunity to choose their own game, or decide not to play, tell them they'll be tortured for eternity if they don't play your favorite variant of the Christianity Game, etc.. You want to experience an amazing high? Try psilocybin mushrooms sometime. It'll blow the doors off of anything you've ever experienced in church, I guarantee it. I think it would be awesome if they could be legalized, and sold to adults in grocery stores like beer and cigarettes. But, I would be opposed to anyone who wanted to force everyone to consume psilocybin mushrooms, or wanted society to treat non-shroomers as second-class citizens, or tried to convince people that they'd suffer forever if they didn't join the Mushroom Temple.
Are you saying that religion does not offer "real human community"? Googling for "Christian communities" shows 269,000,000 results, so at least some of them must be real.
No. I'm saying that it's the "real human" part that meets the need for community and mutual support. Religious doctrines aren't necessary.
About the "secular replacement" for the "unreal christian community", e.g. in Sweden. It's true Sweden is viewed as an example of how well a secular community develops. But note also, that it is a very rich country. It's easier to deal very well when you have a lot of money.
Sure. It's also easier to build megachurches and cathedrals. What's your point?
Besides, the "secular communities" seem to be missing spirituality. In “The epidemiology of lost meaning: A study in psychology of religion and existential public health in a Swedish context” by Cecilia A. Melder, you can read about it: ( http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:371919/SUMMARY01 )
OK, I've started in on this, but I don't have time right now to read all of it. A couple things:
Others have pointed to the importance of developing a trans-cultural instrument,
which could work in different religious cultures and environments.
The instrument focuses on a person’s health and life quality during the a
time period of the last two weeks and measures the spiritual, religious, and
personal beliefs [SRPB] through eight different aspects: spiritual connection,
meaning and purpose in life, experience of awe and wonder, wholeness and
integration, spiritual strength, inner peace, hope and optimism, and faith.
I've colored the parts of their system that are not exclusive to religion blue. The others are quite vague. "Spiritual connection"--to what? Are they talking about something like channeling the spirit of an Ascended Master from Atlantis, or does this mean having close-knit relationships with "kindred spirits," i.e. other like-minded people? Could both fall under this category? "Spiritual strength:" this could mean anything from the ability to bend spoons with your mind, to having the grit and determination to climb the Matterhorn. "Faith:" a notoriously malleable word. It can mean everything from an earned trust ("I have faith in you") to being worthy of trust ("A faithful spouse") to rational confidence ("Airline safety records show that it's safer to fly than to drive; therefore, I have faith that this airplane will carry me safely to my destination") to evidence-free belief in something like "The Blessed Virgin Mary was born without sin (Immaculate Conception) and was assumed bodily into Heaven upon her death; also, she comes back every now and then." Since it's lumped together with hope and optimism in this case, "faith" could be interpreted either way.
Through a second model DeMarinis has, inspired by David Wulff’s categories
for psychology of religion, constructed a worldview typology model for
how different approaches to meaning-making systems can be understood,
including both literal and symbolic worldview constructions of systems with
or without a transcendent belief foundation (DeMarinis, 2004, p. 163f). In
the Swedish context she found it necessary to add two additional categories
to the original model. One new category includes a mix of different systems
for meaning making, for example being a Christian and also attending Wicca-
A "meaning-making system" is not necessarily a religion. As you yourself point out, patriotism can do the trick. In the second emphasized part, they start trying to grapple with the issue of multiple religions. So far, as I've read to this point, this article still doesn't get you within a light-year of proving that everybody has a Jesus-shaped hole in their hearts, as your citation in the OP tried to claim.
We need to design better studies. There is already a lot of evidence accumulating
that religion is somehow related to personal and public health, but
we’re still left with a number of questions about how and why it works (if it
indeed does positively affect health). We need more studies
Notice how he admits that the effects he's claiming are so subtle that it's still an open question whether they're there or not. He's right: we need to design better studies. It's not enough to have some study that seems to show benefits to having some kind of vaguely-defined "spirituality" broad enough to include both Carl Sagan and Fred Phelps, Zen Buddhists and Muslim fundamentalists, and then try to go from that to "See? Everybody ought to believe in the Bible and go to church." It's muddled thinking, followed by a giant non sequitur. You're not even in the neighborhood of making your case until you can show that Christian monks "have it" (a nicely-filled God-shaped hole) and Hindu yogis don't.
In The Lancet professor Wolfgand Rutz describes the current public health
status in Europe in this way, “During this period of European transition,
societal stress and loss of social cohesion and spiritual values directly affect
patterns of morbidity and mortality“
So why is there so much more societal stress and less social cohesion in highly-religious societies (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Bible Belt of the USA) as measured in indices of social health (crime rates, child mortality, etc.) than in secular societies?
And again, it's false for you. Someone may live or die for ideas (e.g. patriotism) which are meaningless and false to someone else.
And this is exactly my point. If the articles you cited in your OP were correct, there wouldn't be any of this "it's true for me and false for you" stuff. We would all have Jesus-shaped holes in our hearts, while the people who worshiped [the right version of] Jesus would be discernibly better off than those that didn't. Other things, like patriotism, wouldn't do the trick.
This is goal (aim), not purpose (although purpose is a synonim of goal in the dictionary). The purpose that the Seattlepi article is talking about is more like "meaning of life" or "cause of life". In this sense, it would be impossible for human to set the cause of life themselves. According to religion, God set the purpose of life.
First of all, Christianity is not "religion." It's a
religion. This is one of Christianity's more irritating rhetorical tricks: to just blithely assume that it owns the patent and trademark on something (religion, morality, meaning of life, purpose, etc.) while treating the vast panoply of religions, cultures, philosophies, science, and everything else outside of its own little bubble as unworthy of notice. Then, once Christians are forced to acknowledge that yes, other religions do
exist, and it isn't just "Worship Jesus, or the Devil", without losing an ounce of smug, they say, "Oh, well, Christianity isn't a religion (those are man-made and worthless), it's a relationship
, so neener neener!"
And as the article says, humans need to know this *deeper* purpose. Need answer! And religion explains exactly this.
And what's this wondrous "deeper purpose" Christianity offers us? Oh yeah: kiss the ass of a cosmic monarch forever and ever. Wow. That's soooo deep
That's what religion teaches.
Sure, religions have their moral teachings. Nobody disputes that. What we dispute is the claim that "religion" (yours, naturally) owns the patent and trademark on morality. There's such a thing as "ethics," an entire branch of human thought that isn't limited to the pronouncements of some bearded desert nomad's claim to be the voice of a king in the sky.
The secular alternative to "reconciliation with the ultimate" is to do our best to develop the most accurate understanding we can of reality as it is, take joy in the merely real, and act within reality's parameters.
That's good rational life. Reconciliation with the ultimate is something else. But if you never felt the void she's talking about, it's hard to explain.
Aaaaand, once again, my point exactly. The "void" you're talking about, and your source in the OP was claiming, is something only Christians ever claim to feel. Only they claim have a Jesus-shaped hole in their hearts, so it's lucky for them that they found Jesus, I guess.
I also think that the joy she is talking about is not unique to religion. Religion can be the source of inner joy, meditation (and maybe some other techniques) also can. But meditation is difficult and is not for everybody. Drugs on the other hand are destructive and short term.
Depends on which drugs.
Shamans have been using psychoactive plants for a looong
time, probably going back at least to when the paint on the cave walls at Lascaux was wet.
Unfortunately, the worst religious violence is that waged by the religious groups themselves, under the authority of their most respected leaders, backed by the teachings of their religious scriptures and/or doctrines. Yes. So is secular violence.
Once again: exactly my point. Your article was claiming that "religion" owned the patent and trademark on morality, and that violence was caused by people straying from their religion and not getting their Jesus-shaped holes filled properly. My claim was that this was not the case, that religious people are not gliding along on some higher moral plane than the rest of us.