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Religious beliefs are almost entirely a product of culture - June 7th, 2013, 04:01 PM

You are all aware of the undeniable fact that someone's religious beliefs, the vast majority of the time, will be either the religious beliefs of one's parents in the household they grew up in, or will be the religious belief most prevalent in one's own society.

Part of the reason for this is almost all religions demand faith. What will someone put faith in? Something that is unfamiliar, or something that is familar and feels trustworthy? Faith itself is a kind of trust despite an absense of convicing evidence. Trust is largely emotional and intuition based, and humans are far more trusting of the familar than the unknown.

Another reason for this is childhood indoctrination: thinking patterns are developed in early childhood, and religions have a lot of defense mechanisms against doubt and critical questioning, which shapes the thinking patterns of the children, much of which remains as adults.

Despite a lot of people here insisting that those of us who do not believe in their conception of God are "God deniers", people aren't naturally Christians or even monotheists. If God was so self evident as these Christians like to claim, you'd see a pattern of isolated cultures being monotheistic.

What do we see instead? The vast majority of the time, isolated cultures develop and have developed combinations of polytheism and animism. This is the natural tendancy of religious belief in humans. It takes organized religion to turn vast segments of humanity into monotheists. There is no inherent knowledge of God contained within people's brains or hearts. So much for the "God denier" claim. Anthropology proves that claim false. You aren't an anthropology denier, are you?

The way humans form beliefs is also largely not a matter of choice. It is controlled by thinking patterns and processes in the brain (which is determined by genetics and upbringing and society). The brain considers certain propositions and comes to a conclusion on the matter on its own.

As an easy example, can you choose to believe that Romney is the current president of the United States instead of Obama? Of course not. Even if you verbally claim it, you know it is inaccurate. You do not have a choice in the matter, as the thinking patterns in your brain have already formed the belief that Obama is president, regardless of whether you have a desire to believe differently.

Given all this, isn't it most interesting that Chrisitans say that belief in their particular theological doctrines is the number one most important thing, so important, in fact, that one's eternal fate hangs on the balance, and furthermore, that it demands faith? What a bizzare and extremely surprising thing to demand, given humans natural tendancies to not be monotheists, the fact that religious belief is determined almost entirely by culture and the beliefs of one's parents in the household they grew up in, and lack of the ability to choose to believe in something or not, which is more so a deterministic process in the brain itself.

Isn't the far more likely explaination that demanding correct belief and faith, with one's eternal fate being in the balance, is a way to perpetuate the religion itself? That those religions without such an idea tend not to spread and grow very readily throughout the world and in society, while those that do have this feature tend to become very widespread and perpetuate across the world? What is the second biggest religion behind Christianity? Islam. What does Islam demand? Correct theological belief and faith, or eternal damnation will result. Sound familiar?





The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
Albert Einstein
   
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June 7th, 2013, 04:09 PM

Actually, culture is almost entirely a product of religion.





"If a sheerly linguistic version of the gospel could be concocted, it would merely so be no longer the gospel. In the Lutheran Reformation’s understanding, which we believe in this matter to be correct, the sacraments make the inalienable externality of the gospel message and therefore are necessary to the authenticity of that message." (Christian Dogmatics [1984], II:302-303 as cited in Pontifications)

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June 7th, 2013, 04:10 PM

Tinark, are your parents theists?



   
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June 7th, 2013, 04:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
Religion is a product of culture, but also shapes the evolution of that culture. It's like a feedback loop.

This doesn't refute anything in my OP I don't think.





The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
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June 7th, 2013, 04:16 PM

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Originally Posted by Eeset View Post
Are your parents theists?
Yes.

Let's not forget that I did say the vast majority of the time. There are of course exceptions. An anecdote is not data.

Also, I grew up in WA state, which is a highly secular region of the U.S., religion isn't very much emphasized and is treated as a personal matter (almost zero proselytizing went in on my community). Many of my best friends growing up were nonreligious. I'm sure these products of my culture shaped my eventual beliefs.





The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
Albert Einstein

Last edited by Tinark; June 7th, 2013 at 04:39 PM..
   
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June 7th, 2013, 06:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinark View Post
You are all aware of the undeniable fact that someone's religious beliefs, the vast majority of the time, will be either the religious beliefs of one's parents in the household they grew up in, or will be the religious belief most prevalent in one's own society.

Part of the reason for this is almost all religions demand faith. What will someone put faith in? Something that is unfamiliar, or something that is familar and feels trustworthy? Faith itself is a kind of trust despite an absense of convicing evidence. Trust is largely emotional and intuition based, and humans are far more trusting of the familar than the unknown.

Another reason for this is childhood indoctrination: thinking patterns are developed in early childhood, and religions have a lot of defense mechanisms against doubt and critical questioning, which shapes the thinking patterns of the children, much of which remains as adults.

Despite a lot of people here insisting that those of us who do not believe in their conception of God are "God deniers", people aren't naturally Christians or even monotheists. If God was so self evident as these Christians like to claim, you'd see a pattern of isolated cultures being monotheistic.

What do we see instead? The vast majority of the time, isolated cultures develop and have developed combinations of polytheism and animism. This is the natural tendancy of religious belief in humans. It takes organized religion to turn vast segments of humanity into monotheists. There is no inherent knowledge of God contained within people's brains or hearts. So much for the "God denier" claim. Anthropology proves that claim false. You aren't an anthropology denier, are you?

The way humans form beliefs is also largely not a matter of choice. It is controlled by thinking patterns and processes in the brain (which is determined by genetics and upbringing and society). The brain considers certain propositions and comes to a conclusion on the matter on its own.

As an easy example, can you choose to believe that Romney is the current president of the United States instead of Obama? Of course not. Even if you verbally claim it, you know it is inaccurate. You do not have a choice in the matter, as the thinking patterns in your brain have already formed the belief that Obama is president, regardless of whether you have a desire to believe differently.

Given all this, isn't it most interesting that Chrisitans say that belief in their particular theological doctrines is the number one most important thing, so important, in fact, that one's eternal fate hangs on the balance, and furthermore, that it demands faith? What a bizzare and extremely surprising thing to demand, given humans natural tendancies to not be monotheists, the fact that religious belief is determined almost entirely by culture and the beliefs of one's parents in the household they grew up in, and lack of the ability to choose to believe in something or not, which is more so a deterministic process in the brain itself.

Isn't the far more likely explaination that demanding correct belief and faith, with one's eternal fate being in the balance, is a way to perpetuate the religion itself? That those religions without such an idea tend not to spread and grow very readily throughout the world and in society, while those that do have this feature tend to become very widespread and perpetuate across the world? What is the second biggest religion behind Christianity? Islam. What does Islam demand? Correct theological belief and faith, or eternal damnation will result. Sound familiar?

as are all beliefs, including atheism.

However, as we our thinking processes mature, if and when they do, we realize we can think and choose

Christianity/believing scripture supersedes transcends culture and background.

When you believe God's words and know God did his part in your life, there is no greater reality.

It is more real than life itself

oatmeal





"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers." Acts 2:42

"For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?" Psalm 6:5

I John 3:1-2. Prov 14:34 Psalm 133:1
   
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June 7th, 2013, 06:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinark View Post
Yes.

Let's not forget that I did say the vast majority of the time. There are of course exceptions. An anecdote is not data.

Also, I grew up in WA state, which is a highly secular region of the U.S., religion isn't very much emphasized and is treated as a personal matter (almost zero proselytizing went in on my community). Many of my best friends growing up were nonreligious. I'm sure these products of my culture shaped my eventual beliefs.
I see. I think I need to take a trip to the state of Washington with some of my Christian friends to share and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks fo the heads up Tinark.

Matthew 28:19-20
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”





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June 7th, 2013, 06:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
So you grant it for all religions? Is culture a product of Islam? Can it be?

You realise if not, then there's at least one culture without religion, if not how about primative humankind in our infancy?

You could say that some great culture comes from religion, you could also cop out and say that all culture comes from religion because God created us... but if you're not going to take that weak argument you're in for a struggle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oatmeal View Post
as are all beliefs, including atheism.
Atheism isn't a belief, I don't "believe" in anything.

For someone who thinks belief is good, I'm not sure why you want to label us with it, smells a little of insecurity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oatmeal View Post
However, as we our thinking processes mature, if and when they do, we realize we can think and choose

Christianity/believing scripture supersedes transcends culture and background.

When you believe God's words and know God did his part in your life, there is no greater reality.

It is more real than life itself

oatmeal
As I said above, the muslims think the same way. Yet you you negate each other.



   
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June 7th, 2013, 07:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Berean View Post
I see. I think I need to take a trip to the state of Washington with some of my Christian friends to share and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks fo the heads up Tinark.

Matthew 28:19-20
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Woo Hoo!

Road Trip!


I call shotgun!



   
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June 7th, 2013, 07:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinark View Post
You are all aware of the undeniable fact that someone's religious beliefs, the vast majority of the time, will be either the religious beliefs of one's parents in the household they grew up in, or will be the religious belief most prevalent in one's own society.

<snip for length>
Tell that Madalyn o 'hares son - the one she claimed to trying to "protect" from the influences of God in the public schools resulting in prayer being banned.

Hes a christian now, in fact a pastor. Christianity could not have been spread if that were the case either. <end of thread>





"Jesus warned that we would face times when people would seek to silence us, believing that they were doing their god a service. In much of the world, that god is called "Allah." Here, in the U.S., that god is called "tolerance." And folks, we are witnessing more and more every day the god of tolerance is a very jealous god indeed." - John Stonestreet

Psalm 12:8 The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Psalm 40:5
Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.


Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation

   
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June 7th, 2013, 07:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel4Truth View Post
Tell that Madalyn o 'hares son - the one she claimed to trying to "protect" from the influences of God in the public schools resulting in prayer being banned.

Hes a christian now, in fact a pastor. Christianity could not have been spread if that were the case either. <end of thread>
I presume you know the difference between "the vast majority of the time" vs. "100% of the time". Furthermore, Christianity is prevalent in the culture, so I already took that into account.

It goes something like this:

Religion of ones parents/household > Religion Most Prevalent In society > Some other religious belief

This is simply a fact if one cares to look at the data. But I'm sure you know it is true without having to even look at the actual data.





The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
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June 7th, 2013, 07:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinark View Post
I presume you know the difference between "the vast majority of the time" vs. "100% of the time". Furthermore, Christianity is prevalent in the culture, so I already took that into account.

It goes something like this:

Religion of ones parents/household > Religion Most Prevalent In society > Some other religious belief

This is simply a fact if one cares to look at the data. But I'm sure you know it is true without having to even look at the actual data.
Again, Christianity would not have been able to be spread worldwide if your op was factual.





"Jesus warned that we would face times when people would seek to silence us, believing that they were doing their god a service. In much of the world, that god is called "Allah." Here, in the U.S., that god is called "tolerance." And folks, we are witnessing more and more every day the god of tolerance is a very jealous god indeed." - John Stonestreet

Psalm 12:8 The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Psalm 40:5
Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.


Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation

   
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June 7th, 2013, 07:54 PM

All atheists are atheists only because they're mad at someone who they view as "religious," not because they're more rational than anyone else or any of that other nonsense they expect us to believe.



Isn't this fun?

I betcha tinark can't even give us a useful definition of "religious" that's functional to define everyone who he uses it to identify.



   
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June 7th, 2013, 07:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel4Truth View Post
Again, Christianity would not have been able to be spread worldwide if your op was factual.
Sure it can, given enough. It just has to be better at spreading/transmitting its beliefs compared to other religions. An active effort to recruit new adherents is simply one method of cultural transmission, and some religions are better at it than others. It took hundreds of years for it to become very prevalent.

My statement also isn't an absolute, but a general fact pattern that largely holds. There are exceptions of course. It is no mystery why the West is Christian and not the East, and why the Middle East is Muslim, India is Hindu, etc. These are all the geographic reigions where the religion originated. So strong is the principle that these geographic distinctions have held for over a thousand years.





The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
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June 7th, 2013, 08:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinark View Post
Sure it can, given enough. It just has to be better at spreading/transmitting its beliefs compared to other religions. An active effort to recruit new adherents is simply one method of cultural transmission, and some religions are better at it than others. It took hundreds of years for it to become very prevalent.

My statement also isn't an absolute, but a general fact pattern that largely holds. There are exceptions of course. It is no mystery why the West is Christian and not the East, and why the Middle East is Muslim, India is Hindu, etc. These are all the geographic reigions where the religion originated. So strong is the principle that these geographic distinctions have held for over a thousand years.

The belief and spread of religions period shows your op false and ludicrous. That fact that atheists are on the bottom rung as far as percentage of worldwide belief, also shows your op false.





"Jesus warned that we would face times when people would seek to silence us, believing that they were doing their god a service. In much of the world, that god is called "Allah." Here, in the U.S., that god is called "tolerance." And folks, we are witnessing more and more every day the god of tolerance is a very jealous god indeed." - John Stonestreet

Psalm 12:8 The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Psalm 40:5
Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.


Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation

   
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