Atheism/Survival instinct


Vincent, What do you think about the following statements?

James Randi and many atheists are convinced the faithful attempt to remove anxiety by creating a God that is an explanation for the unknown. Isn't it appropriate to create anxiety when one feels endangered in order to quickly react to the threat imagined or otherwise? It may be an instinctive method of survival.


Apologies for the delay in responding. My ISP was having issues last night.

While you're correct in what you say about anxiety helping to protect us from danger, I don't see how that applies to the question of God. The things that faith addresses are not threatening.

I've long agreed with this particular view. Primitive humans, for example, did not understand weather, so thunderstorms were scary and mysterious. Ascribing lightning bolts to Zeus or Thor was an explanation they could accept, since a being (godlike or otherwise) was more familiar to them than the concepts of high and low atmospheric fronts. (And okay, yes... storms can be dangerous. But you don't need a religous belief to be anxious about them; you just need to see a tree reduced to splinters by a lightning strike.)

I also believe that the reason religion continues to thrive is because of the ultimate unanswered question: what happens when we die? People seem unable to accept that we just cease to exist, so religion provides comfort by assuring them that they'll continue.  (Though, to be honest, since the Bible clearly states that more go to hell than to heaven, I'm not sure why this is a comfort.)  


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Vincent M. Wales


Skeptic and atheist for more than three decades.


Living as a non-believer in an increasingly religious nation... and writing about it.

Atheists and Other Freethinkers (Sacramento)
Freedom from Religion Foundation
(founder of) Freethought Society of Northern Utah

Not really applicable.

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