Spike Jones wrote:
> Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> > <big snip>...They just developed faith that if they did as the shaman
> > instructed, it would be better. It was not an irrational belief,
> > because it really worked....
> All this reinforces my earlier notion that there are *plenty* of mechanisms
> to explain the rise of god memes.
As an a-theist this is a little controversial for me to bring up, but has anyone ever considered the possibility that there might be certain states of consciousness - states that have somehow evolved over thousands of years of natural 'memetic' selection, maybe even biological (psyho-neuro-physiological), that require a belief in "God" (any religion) in order to pull you through otherwise impossible emotional tribulation? I can't tell you the number of skeptical people I know who fell back on their childhood religious beliefs, even if only temporarily (hours, days), to pull them through emotionally difficult periods. As soon as the trouble passes, they resume their lives as happy agnostics or atheists.
My own theory is that belief in some kind of a supreme power is *not* biologically programmed into our genetic code, but that it is a psychological program imprinted into our brains at an early age. As much as we enlighten ourselves through critical thinking, rational inquiry and scientific exploration, those old programs for many of us re-assert themselves from time to time. Like many childhood programs, it may take many years of self-work and re-programming ones brain in order to eliminate those programs we don't want anymore