How Religions are Made.

Everyone should visit Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, in Memphis, TN.  It is a laboratory in human mythology and emotion.

Every day, dozens of tour buses roll in.  You take a number and wait for a guided tour through the somewhat modest house.  There are rooms displaying awards he received and his many costumes. For an additional fee, you can walk through his airplane.

At the end of the tour are the graves of himself and his parents.  Piles of flowers are placed there every day, and, I suppose, taken to the city dump every night.  There are several restaurants and gift shops.

To me, the Graceland experience is to observe how religions get started.  Someone’s life is made into something bigger than it ever was.  Then, if stories start circulating about supernatural things he did, we’re off and running.  There are already stories Elvis came back to life.

It’s still early since Elvis died.  With the passing of years, and, when it suits someones selfish purposes, miraculous stories about Elvis could make him into a diety.

There is one baseball player quoted more often than any other, Yogi Berra.  He is quoted as saying all kinds of things that fit his colorful character perfectly.  The problem is, he says he never said most of them.

In the Bible are quotes from Jesus. None of the writers knew him. He quotes are longer and more flamboyant in the Book of John, written later, than in the gospels written closer to when he lived.  One has to doubt Jesus said those things.

Religions are made of manufactured myths and human emotions.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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64 Responses to How Religions are Made.

  1. Grandma says:

    They are also made of human dreams, though that doesn’t make them more real.

  2. entech says:

    They seem to have started as an explanation of the natural world, with different deities having different duties. As it settled to one, the one became anthropomorphic, created in our image. As the story became more elaborate the creator did the creating with us in mind.
    There must be a little bit of masochism in human nature to have created such a cruel creator. You perhaps it is part of an evolutionary defense mechanism, keep us alert and on our toes once we left the safety of the trees.

  3. Nate says:

    “Manufactured myths” seems a bit redundant, but it is nice alliteration. Unfortunately I found this post a bit off the mark, at best a cheap shot rather than a reasoned assault. As all metaphors, in the end, fail; perhaps a stronger case could be made?

  4. Candyman says:

    “In the Bible are quotes from Jesus. None of the writers knew him. He quotes are longer and more flamboyant in the Book of John, written later, than in the gospels written closer to when he lived. One has to doubt Jesus said those things.”

    Hello Jonn- you’re really trying to out do yourself here, aren’t you? Let me ask you? what discipline did you get your doctorate in? Was it something related to economics I presume?…distribution of scarcity among competing ends to a given benefit or yield per unit of time/space cet. parabus. Certainly not in early church history!? Maybe you have an honorary doctorate in such writings? I presume you’re just an academic? am I not correct?…Let me ask you an academic question then?… why are you comparing “religion” to Christianity? Unless you can openly share with us what the simple difference between the two is, I would respectfully ask you to keep your uneducated academic statements to yourself-until you can openly prove otherwise…quantify and qualify your remarks if you dare.

    • Formerly Fargo Bob says:

      Not much of an argument you’re putting forth. No one is forcing you to read Jon’s blog, and there’s no reason he needs to keep his opinions to himself. We’re all affected by religion, and Jon has as much right as anyone else to comment. If you really think that only trained theologians should discuss this subject, then you should apply that standard equally and ask most Christian blogs and websites to shut down.

      • Candyman says:

        Bob obviously you don’t understand the difference between “religion” and Christianity either? do you? Trained theologians? are you kidding me? I’m asking simple questions in which Jonn should know the basic logic here if he is able to make statements with no regard to the subject matter. If he’s going to dump on someone at least give us the common decency
        of “why” he feels the need to belittle someone he knows so much about. He said two sentences about a person that the historical records states, “and there are also many other things Jesus did, in which, if they should be written everyone the world itself could not contain the books that should be written”. Jonn can’t say more than one sentence about the man prior to putting him down? Someone who birth changed the time of civilization. This is absolutely ludicrous! and no one here reading this smog has the decency to speak up for him when He is not here? if anyone of you call yourself Christians you should be ashamed of yourself!

    • entech says:

      Yes Jon, that is a really good question why are you comparing that mystical mish mash of moronic myth, mystery and magic to a real religion

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Candyman 4:22 “why are you comparing ‘religion’ to Christianity/”

      I’ve been told Christianity is a religion. Is that incorrect?

      • Candyman says:

        “you’ve been told?” You are discrediting first-hand eye witnesses but you fully believe and accept something “you have been told?” I’m trying to wrap my mind around “why” you would believe and accept this? Help us understand why a man who has made the majority of his income educating students logical ways how individuals and society measures “utility”, an intangible object, a person would think someone of the level of education you have would do more than blindly believe “what you’ve been told” by someone, somewhere, sometime. You’re kicking something that has changed the course of history and nations but you don’t have a simple, common, working definition, of what your talking about? I can’t tell you something you’re unwilling to research for yourself and if I did, what validity would it contain?

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Candyman 7:33 I’ve always understood Christianity is a religion. Religions are full of myths and supernatural stories. Christianity has lots of those. There are no eye witness accounts of the Jesus in the Bible. There is a little corroberating evidence of an itinetate Jewish preacher but not of the miracles and other events. The authors of the Bible and later editors are unknown.

          I don’t deny Christianity has been important in history. I do deny the ressurection, death for sins, miracles,etc are based on historically varifiable facts.

          • Candyman says:

            again, Jonn. The what are the definitions of “religion” and Christianity? Copy and pasting doesn’t quantify or qualify your response. How was I to rattle off the def of economics in less 30 seconds after 20 yrs removed from a post secondary classroom?

          • entech says:

            “On another occasion it happened that a certain heathen came before Shammai and said to him, “Make me a proselyte, on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” Thereupon he chased him away with the builder’s cubit that was in his hand.
            When he came before Hillel, (he also asked Hillel to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot) Hillel replied, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah while the rest is commentary; go and learn it.”

    • entech says:

      Obviously we are all ignorant, please give us some enlightenment:
      That religion is more generic and can include Hinduism for instance,
      and Christianity is more specific, one of many religions.
      More than that please instruct us, teach me that I may learn.

  5. Wolfy32 says:

    Reminds me of Braveheart when he’s walking along the military lines and says “He’s taller and shoots lignting bolts out his arse.”

    We have this desire to make things bigger than ourselves. Whether it’s our own problems thinking along the line of “This debt is too much, I should just quit my job since I can’t make a dent in any of it anyways.” Or “I’m so miserable with my life, I might as well drink more.”

    When we create bigger than life things that we feel are way bigger than ourselves, we find solace in knowing we couldn’t do anything more to save ourselves. I can’t beat this, so, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’ve tried many times to imagine what ancient life would have been like.. Being indentured servants, never having a life of one’s own until you’re too old to care about having a life of one’s own. Having no privacy or any rights to own anything. Having very little hope for any type of economic freedom from poverty unless you were an nobleborn person of some type.

    Religion comes a long and says, hey, someone cares about you that’s bigger than you and you’re miserable excuse for an indentured life. Religion gave blacks hope when enslaved by the world. Religion gave the servants of Europe hope when they had nothing to hope for. Religion gave a hopeless civilization something to hope for.

    I think many leaders of the world realized people needed something to look forward to to motivate them to work harder and be more productive to accomplish the buildings the leaders wanted. Whether it was more plantations and larger crops or the great pyramids, or castle building, leaders recognized a need to help people to have hope for something. Embracing religion gave those people hope to continue on another day.

    Governments recognize that they cannot give people everything the people need or want. People need to have something to hope for to keep living. Even though, Christianity is inherently backwards in that… It should by definition, be encouraging people to die or commit suicide. Why live here when one can skip right to heaven.

    Early Catholic priests realized this way to bypass life. And decided to deam suicide evil. Even though the bible really issues no warnings about suicide and in some ways continues to encourage it by stating there’s no greater sacrafice than to die for someone else. By willing dieing for someone else, one is committing suicide. People could choose to interpret this as, I’m going to die for my family so I’m not a strain on them anymore. It’s sacraficial. Yet, would be frowned on by society.

    In the end, I believe society centered itself around religion out of its own need for something bigger than itself. After all, it is very terrifying to imagine that our little ball of dirt in such a big and empty universe is all alone. It’d be similar to a single person being left on a island with no people around anywhere within thousands of miles. In some ways it is terrifying to think there’s nothing but us.

    I also believe it is very terrifying that there’s someone out there a trillion times greater than us, that’s judging us. Try judging an ant sometime? Can you judge whether the ant is doing right or wrong? Doing good deeds or bad deeds? Does it matter to you…. Anything that’s a trillion times smarter and greater than us, isn’t going to see us as much more than ants. So, I can’t imagine the task of being judged. What criteria, who’s criteria?

    How do I know if in 5 minutes I’m a person that isn’t in the book of life, but 10 minutes ago I was.

    Religion is selfish, it serves humanity, human dreams, desires, hopes, etc.. When religion serves God, then it might actually have a purpose greater than that of humans.

    • Fr. James says:

      Yet Christians were persecuted. To become one meant a terrible death not prosperity and happiness. Our martyrs were not suicides. Sacrificing oneself for others was never deemed suicide. You simply don’t understand our faith.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        I do… It was easier to die “for the faith” hoping others would believe in it, than it was to endure the persecution.

      • Jinx says:

        Its the fake priest again…….

        • entech says:

          Oh yeah, cunning Our martyrs were not suicides. Sacrificing oneself for others was never deemed suicide.
          In what way do you think being a martyr for your faith could be called sacrificing yourself for others. One of the main attractions in the early church was the promise of eternal life in paradise, once you have that in your head it is not really sacrificing yourself for others to die for your belief that you would be going straight to paradise.
          Cunning, cunning as a faux.

          • Fr. James says:

            entech, Atheists are not noted for being very sacrificial. So it is no surprise you don’t understand. Many atheists have martyred Christians and evidenced the same attitude. Our martyrs died in order to profess their faith. We see it happening currently. They have the courage of their convictions. I guess that is foreign to you.

      • entech says:

        Fr. James @ 4:18 pm
        Yet Christians were persecuted. To become one meant a terrible death not prosperity and happiness.
        Certainly the Romans persecuted them as atheists, as a danger to the state. They were right about the danger part, with hindsight they should have tried harder in the beginning, by the time a serious effort was made it had become to widespread. Eventually the Magesterium passed from the Caesar to the Pope but the persecutions continued, just the sword had changed hands.
        Our martyrs were not suicides. Sacrificing oneself for others was never deemed suicide.
        Martyrs do it for themselves or their cause, not for others
        You simply don’t understand our faith.
        You certainly have that part right. I doubt that many do, I seem to remember from my schooldays something about a “faith that passeth all understanding”. Faith replaces understanding.

        @ 11:40 I try to make a point that martyrdom is not sacrifice for others as you stated, it is a personal thing, if you believe strongly enough you will hold that belief regardless. To allow yourself to become a martyr in some ways is the most selfish of acts, of you go to heaven leaving friends and loved ones to grieve for you.
        What was needed at that time was a version of Pascals wager.

        @ 4:40 You really demonstrate your hatred of atheists in this post
        “We are noble, that is something you would not understand.”
        “We have courage, … ”
        You make the bald statement “Many atheists have martyred Christians … “, and seem to want to give the impression that it never happened the other way around.
        This is tantamount to lying by omission. Take, for example, Pomponio Algerio, a young man, a university student at a time when a certain leniency was give to students, Had the audacity to say;
        “I say that the Church deviates from the truth in so far as it says that a man could not do anything in any way good on his own, since nothing praiseworthy can proceed from our corrupt infected nature except to the extent that the lord God gives us his grace… the Roman Catholic Church is a particular Church and no Christian should restrict himself to any particular Church. This Church deviates in many things from truth.”
        For this he was executed by Christians, not for denying Christianity just for different view, a protestant view. As an act of loving kindness he was told that if he recanted he would be strangled first to avoid the agony, not forgiveness and acceptance back into the church but an easier death.
        In Scotland we have the young Aikenhead, martyred by the Church of Scotland as an example to others, blasphemy is not permitted. In this case the young man did recant, confess that he was wrong and begged forgiveness, no way, they not only murdered him but were blasphemous themselves – kneeling and prying for the soul of their victim.

        Atheists are not noted for being very sacrificial
        Right up until the American revolution and beyond, The Boston Martyrs and Salem, Christians have been making sacrifices, human sacrifices. (Perhaps, as Josh would have it these people weren’t Real Christians, Real Christians would never do such a thing?)

        Before you bring up all the Stalins and so on, I agree they were mostly atheists, they slaughtered many more, but this does not mean that the other things did not happen, that they were actually done in the name of God by groups arrogating to themselves the high moral ground while saying the atheists could not and do not have any morality.

        • Fr. James says:

          Touched a nerve did I? Where have I denied that Christians have sinned? I have insisted that they do. Once again there is a difference between whether a belief is true and whether people have followed that belief well. Does 2+2=4 stop being true if your math teacher is a bad man and gets other problems wrong?

          Atheists have murdered millions in the name of atheism, many of them believers. That is a fact. So using your standard atheism is held accountable for this, not just individual atheists. do you accept that responsibility and therefore agree that atheism is wrong because of these bad actions?

    • entech says:

      Wolfy Religion comes a long and says, hey, someone cares about you that’s bigger than you and you’re miserable excuse for an indentured life

      Sounds about right, I always, think the combination of threats and promises is pretty hard to beat.

      Couple of thoughts along the same line:
      … Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. …

      And a little bit further on in the same critique
      Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. …

  6. Fr. James says:

    Things wrong with this:
    1. There is a difference between a religion and appreciation of a rock and roll singer. I am sure there is a “church of Elvis” somewhere, but it would be a joke. No significant number of people worship Elvis as a god and model their lives after him, other then a few nuts. He was a good singer and that’s it.
    2. In fact Matthew, John, and probably Mark knew Jesus. Mark wrote for Peter, who knew Jesus. We have NT writings from around 40 AD, about 10 years after his death. The NT was completely written by 100 AD.
    3. Jon has no reason for doubt, other then he wants to doubt. He has manufactured a myth out of his human emotion.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Fr. James 4:16 “..John, …probably knew Jesus.”

      There is, so far as I can tell, a consensus among contemprary scholars the Gosple of John was written over a period of time by different writers trying to piece together different written accounts they had available. That consensus is also that most of it was written 70 or more years after the assumed death of the Biblical character, Jesus.

      • Fr. James says:

        As far as you can tell. Even assuming it was redacted and contained eye witness testimony that does not mean it is doubtful. 70 years isn’t that long, especially when other gospels were already extant and some still lived who had met Jesus.

        You doubt because you WANT to doubt. No other reason.

        • noblindersonme says:

          Fr james- Ok- you make a kinda generalized pompous opinion on how Jon makes his mind up and maybe you have a point , but aint is just as reasonable to assume YOU BELIEVE because you WANT TO BELIEVE?
          You cannnot base your opinions on limitataions of other’s frail human emotions when you own so many of the same frailities yourself.
          ” I believe all those who say climate change is real and a grave danger are motivated only by personal greed and a misguided new relgion of ecoism!” “And I say that because I WANT to believe that!”‘ yeah I know my beliefs are based on little or no facts but by golly MY WANTS sure count for a hell of lot.”
          Fr James I am seeing how even the past few decades of my life and the history I have seen is being twisted and mashed up in the gears of’ political correctness’ and when I say PC , I meant too the relgious zealots who have twisted events to suit their “wants’. Case in point the 70′s that I lived through and still have a solid memory of , has undergone a republican revisionism that is historically criminal. Without going into detail , my point is that if we can witness history being twisted now , why in the hell is it so hard to imagine history 2 millenium ago not being twisted?
          WANTING to believe or DOUBT is a freedom we are priviledged to have but neither way is as sacred as you make it.

    • entech says:

      Poor Jon, you only doubt because you want to!
      On the other hand, some people believe because they need to!

      Personally, having been brought up and educated in religious schools, daily assembly and instruction, long Sunday marches to the village church, and so on found that once the indoctrination ended so did belief in the truth. Looking back on it my favourite subjects were, history, geography and Religious instruction and they all blend together, the correlations are perfect.

      • Fr. James says:

        It is easy not to believe, especially if you don’t want any pesky morals to get in the way.

        • entech says:

          There we go again the moral high ground based on an entity that murdered the first born of Egypt.

          • Fr. James says:

            Stalin killed how many 1st born…?

          • entech says:

            I really don’t know how many first born Stalin killed. I do know he didn’t specifically aim his murderous intent at the first born of a particular country. The whole Egypt thing is so sick first he hardens the heart of the king so that he won’t release the Hebrews in order, it appears, so that he can demonstrate his power and use it to frighten the Hebrews forever.

            Stalin was a murderous monster, a paranoid madman.
            The acts of this madman should not be compared to the acts of a perfect being, cannot be used to distract attention from the fact that going by the actions of both Stalin was not the only murderous monster and paranoid madman.

            You keep quacking on about how the atheist has no grounds for morality, cannot be a moral being without your god, keep on about the horrors perpetrated by whoever – what do you expect from immoral beings. If your god exists I would expect much better from him as the moral law giver.
            What Stalin and others do is not relevant at all, what the giver of morality that you claim does matter, how moral is it tho say to Moses did you slaughter them all, like I told you, NO, get back and finish the job. It is all in your own book. At one time he took it on himself to personally kill more then the Hebrew army with his thunderbolts.

            Is this your moral teaching, it is all right as long as someone else did something worse.???

          • Fr. James says:

            entech, so we are back again to the same point. You don’t understand how we interpret scripture. And you fall back on “you’re bad” argumentation. I respond with “you’re worse.” And round and round she goes. How many times will you play this same boring game?

          • entech says:

            7:05 The game continues as long as you keep trying to use the “sins” of others as exoneration for your own.
            I most certainly do not understand how you interpret scripture, I can only see the words as they are written. If you with your “multiple degrees” can interpret them as meaning something different then they can mean anything you want them to. If they can mean anything then they actually mean nothing.

            In this case it is not your bad with the retort that others are worse. You say an atheist cannot be a moral being without your god, I merely point out that the words in your book indicate that he is not a good example.

          • entech says:

            me @8:54
            In this case it is not your bad with the retort that others are worse. You say an atheist cannot be a moral being without your god, I merely point out that the words in your book indicate that he is not a good example.
            That is the whole thing, I know Stalin and others were atheists and that they killed millions between them. Every time you bring up the argument that morals are impossible without your God I somehow feel the need to say he is not a good example, at least going by a lot of things I read in the Bible, instead of a defense you always, somehow feel the need to say how bad others were knowing that going by the words in Bible you are in an indefensible position.

        • noblindersonme says:

          please Fr james again , enough with the dragging out the tally sheet on murderous history and who killed whom and who killed how many.
          ” Stalin killed how many..? ‘ you drag out because ,what, you WANT to balance the scales? I would think all genocides would be history all of us condemn equally no matter who perpetrated them.
          “It is easy to not believe ‘ you prattle on about, but don’t you tend to ignore the ‘pesky immoralies’ that is the Christian Church over the centuries. The Crusades, the Inquisitions , the slaughtering of ignorant pagans over the millenium to fear them into conversions, etc. hardly places us in a higher level in hell than Stalin.

          • Fr. James says:

            See my above response. He brought it up. Atheists usually do when they can think of nothing else.

        • noblindersonme says:

          Now you really lost me Fr James. you do sound like a little kid here which is what I was calling you out for- “He Started it!”. Yeah of course he did and You picked up the ball and ran away with it and whined when we came after you. You can’t complain about this childish game when you act as immature as your tormenters.
          How many times do we play this boring game? – as many times as we deny our own behavior is just as bad .
          I TRY to see that when I type in my stuff , I don’t always suceed because human fraility in these political arguments always tempts us (Me ) to call out the other’s hypocrisy.
          the best way to get off the ‘merrry go round ‘ FR? is to look inward and not succumb to the temptation to end your coments with an insult and to convince your self that ‘ the two wrongs don’t make a right’ argument applies to yourself too.

  7. josh says:

    Hello ya all. I’d just like to say this is my last post. My whole point of being here was really just to troll and expose the atheists for what they are. Prejudiced, hateful, and bigoted against Christians and the other faiths. Any comments from the past I may have made were truly not from my heart but posted in order to elicit a response. Johns thread of Church and Crime rap sheet truly ripped the veil off of the attitudes and anger shared by the atheist movement. Goodbye.

    • Fr. James says:

      You didn’t have to make that much effort to expose prejudice, hate, and bigotry on the part of the atheists. They love those things and have no problem expressing them.

      You are correct that it exposed Jon. He is not a reasonable and friendly adversary. That is a facade that covers his hatred.

      • Adam Heckathorn says:

        “You are correct that it exposed Jon. He is not a reasonable and friendly adversary. That is a facade that covers his hatred.” Am I missing something? I haven’t read all posts but I haven’t seen anywhere Jon expressed hatred for anyone. Fr. James although I may not agree with everything You say I certainly appreciate Your posts. I have also appreciated Josh’s posts although I find it regrettable that He would tell Us He’s been less than forthright.

        • Fr. James says:

          Jon posts are the usual “Hitler was a Catholic” and “priests are abusers” and they are “in it for the money” type of atheist bigotry. Nothing new. Nothing that shows a real interest in respectful dialogue. He was careful to hide his beliefs when he was mayor.

          • Adam Heckathorn says:

            I’ve noticed that people (including Me) tend to like to use the words always and never especially about things We feel passionately about. Really how much does what Hitler thought about religion matter. What I find more relevant was the ordinary folks that enabled Hitler to happen.

      • entech says:

        You didn’t have to make that much effort to expose prejudice, hate, and bigotry on the part of the atheists.
        This so because once you have decided that it is so, it is so easy to find, in fact it is found everywhere especially where it does not exist. The hatred of Christians by the non believer is an item of faith, I can’t recall any one here that hasn’t used that line at some time, it is all in the imagination. So much imagination involved in all of this, imagined hatred of imagined deities – this comes up all the time as well “Why do you hate God”, and on and on as if constant repetition would make it true, I don’t hate anyone in fact you have my sympathy with all this imagined hatred you have no imagination left over to see beyond the religious mindset that was first imposed on you and now you have to defend so vehemently.

        • Fr. James says:

          Of course you hate me. Read back over your snide posts. I don’t mind really, so long as you are honest about it. That is my beef with Jon, he is pretending he doesn’t hate us.

          • entech says:

            I have admitted very early on that I do not hate Christians in general but that you deserve to be an exception.
            You should think about some of the stuff you write.

          • Fr. James says:

            Right back at you. You hate me because I do not agree with you and say so directly.

  8. Michael Ross says:

    re·li·gion [ri-lij-uhn] Show IPA
    noun
    1.
    a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    That is a good definition. “beliefs concerning” God or the supernatural. Not necessarily beliefs IN. . . That makes Jon as religious as the as Billy Graham or the Pope, if not more so. I have noticed that Jon’s blog is listed under “faith” in the AV directory. He is a great man of faith. Not in God but in himself, great humanistic thinkers, human nature, the state (if its run by leftist politicians). Anyone that believes in civil government is devoutly religous because there is only one form of government, theocracy. Its just a matter of who or what your theo (god or God) is (” superhuman agency or agencies”). Local government will not fit this criteria when your civil magistrate is a neighbor down the road. That is ordinary men governing themselves. No, it must be the most unapproachable, incomprehensible, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, in short, the most godlike. That would be the federal government.

    “a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 4:57 “He is a great man of faith. Not in God but in himself, great humanistic thinkers, human nature, the state…”

      Thoughful post, even though I disagree with much of it. I would agree I, and likeminded folks, believer humans can figure things out over time and sometimes agree to do tasks collectively, either through government or outside of it.

      My view is, also, humans have always figured things out for themselves and, furthermore, alway will. They will at times, however, attribute events to some god or another. There is always a slice of humanity who does fine on its own, but likes to pretend the god in its mind played some role.

      • Adam Heckathorn says:

        That’s pretty much My conclusion. I would add that You get a few unforeseen results such as The Inquisition, The Salem Witch Trials, putting Women in jail for the death of a fetus, The justification of Slavery in the South etc.etc.etc.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Michael, I don’t share Jon’s belief in humanity. It is simply too restrictive, it doesn’t allow for anything else in the universe. Whether it’s a God being, some alien race acting as a God being, or some cosmic intelligence way beyond our comprehension. For all we know there’s particles in space that comprise a sentience that spreads out over an infinite amount of space and time. And those particles are each beyond our intelligence, detection, sentient beyond our understanding.

      I don’t know, what’s out there and I freely admit that. Jon, admits, there’s no proof of anything therefore there is nothing… And how can I say he’s wrong. Nor can I say that you Michael are wrong. Humanity has screwed up much.. Nearly destroyed itself numerous times. And humanity in general for all our attempts to control our world we have so little understanding or control of anything.

      So, I would freely admit that I hope you’re right Michael, I hope the muslims are right in that there’s an Allah for them, that the hindus are right and that there’s something for them. That the diversity of our experience is somehow linked to diversity of all the particles belonging to the God being. Whomever, or whatever it is, if it exists.

      Religion, in my opinion is man made– a set of directives, rules, regulations, doctrines, principles, and boundaries, set by man for man to in the religious eyes, better humanity. Set aside for man, by man. Belief in a God being, something greater than mankind, is not a religion set aside for man… It is selfless and a sense of losing oneself and giving one’s all to the God being. It is about the God being, not about us.

      Religion = about man. God = about God.

      The problem is we try to combine the two and that’s where things get messed up. because now we have man trying to serve man by introducing man as representation of the God being.

      Religion in my opinion, is no different than state or federal government. Why does a religion get it’s own country? and have diplomats, and military protection? Because it’s a manmade man serving institution, no different than governments.

      I simply can not buy into a religion. I can have faith and belief in something greater than humanity.

      • Fr. James says:

        Just because it is a human institution does not mean that it is not also a divine institution. Religion is lived out in the world. Catholicism is a sacramental faith. The use of material things is a part of our faith. We are not gnostics. We are not man made. Jesus founded the Church and he is God.

        • entech says:

          That sounds pretty definitive, any reason to think that? Give me a reason to believe that and I will join you for instruction.

          • Fr. James says:

            Okay, Jesus founded the Church, see Matthew 16:18ff. The Church has lasted 2000 years despite many efforts to destroy her and the faults of her members. Jesus said and did things only God can say or do. For example he rose from the dead.

            Those are all reasons. I welcome you to join us for instruction and learn more. Contact your local parish.

          • entech says:

            I am stubborn, I need more than one old book. Especially one that was a daily part of my schooldays.
            Longevity is a good case, but when you think about it Zoroastrian and Hindu beliefs have lasted longer, are they more real, more true because older.

          • Fr. James says:

            I gave you reasons to start to look. I guess reason isn’t enough for you.

    • H.P.D. says:

      Like your post Michael !

      H.P.D.

    • entech says:

      Michael, as is so often with you a well thought out piece, but (you know me, must have a but) I can never reconcile the idea that not having faith in your God automatically implies faith in something else equally as abstract. I have faith that my financial advisor and investments will keep me comfortable for the rest of my time, but that is a different kind of a faith.
      Same with religion, it is so often the case that non-religion is called a religion itself.
      If you can give up these false ideas perhaps you could give up the false basis for the projections, And who knows what else you could give up?

      • H.P.D. says:

        He is on his way, a thinking man, who is developing, life is not futile Michael, never was, never will be, to give ideas away, is the way to get new ones, choices of your own thinking

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