Re: Earth to God? - Religion based on instinct?
Tue, 17 Jun 1997 14:37:27 -0400 (EDT)

On Tue, 17 Jun 1997, Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko wrote:

> Behaving like there is "somebody out there" to watch after you, may
> be an instinct among all young animals. Many genetically programmed
> emotional expressions - such as crying - are directly based on the
> expectation that there is some Benevolent Observer/Caregiver out
> there who would notice you and do some "magic" to improve things.
- - -
> There is such a big evolutionary advantage in having this Reliance
> on Big Benevolent Force mechanism that it seems to be the most
> important surviving technique for an infant.

In addition, we are social animals. Calls for assistance from "gods" or
"spirits" can only be expected to have some effect on other people about
(especially if they believe in the same gods or spirits).

An amusing (and possibly apocryphal) example of this comes from the early
history of the University of Chicago. The college was having money troubles,
as it often did. Harper, the president, went to Rockefeller, who had original
ly funded the school, to ask for more money. Rockefeller, who had already
been through several rounds of this, said that Harper could talk about
anything he liked, as long as he didn't ask for more money. Harper then just
asked Rockefeller to get down on his knees and help Harper pray for the
salvation of the school.

Harper got his money.