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Reasons for Religions

Alex

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I am very interested in why religions were started. Here is a list of reasons I have come up with:

  1. It is an easy explanation for everything. Instead of trying to find the real reason for something, it is much easier to say, "Because that is the way a god wants it" or "a god made it that way."
  2. People need unconditional love. There are times when people do not feel loved and believing in a god fills this void.
  3. People do not want to believe that when we die, that is it. Belief in a god means we go on to another place after death.
  4. People need guidelines to live. Religion helps people make everyday choices.

I am interested in reading what other people believe is the reason for religions. Also I would like to read anyone's objections to my reasons.
 

shuamort

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5) It was told to them as being the truth. Since religion teaches disbelief=hell/punishment etc, it keeps the flock in line.
 

Schweddy

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6) It is simply hard to imagine the complexities that make up life in general, so a superior being or object must have all the answers.
 

Urethra Franklin

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vauge said:
6) It is simply hard to imagine the complexities that make up life in general, so a superior being or object must have all the answers.

Unless you're adult enough and strong enough to accept that it's impossible to have all the answers.
 

Thinker

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My personal theory for the existence of religions is that it's a side-effect of our development. Humans are utterly dependent on adults for a significant portion of their lives. As children, everything that we need is provided by powerful figures who are (usually) always there when needed.

After many years of living in this state, I can see it being quite frightening to realise that this support system is temporary. It would be much safer and less troubling if there were some parent-like entity that would fill this role forever. Of course, there is absolutely no evidence for such an entity, so fairy stories would evolve to explain this unfortunate situation.

Many, if not all, of the holy books of major religions are made up from stories and ideas borrowed from earlier times. Flood myths, sons of god, gods sacrificing themselves, single gods, virgin births: all of them can be found many years before the rise of Christistianity, Islam, Judaism,...

Try starting here: http://www.medmalexperts.com/POCM/index_FLASH.html
 

laska

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Many, if not all, of the holy books of major religions are made up from stories and ideas borrowed from earlier times. Flood myths, sons of god, gods sacrificing themselves, single gods, virgin births: all of them can be found many years before the rise of Christistianity, Islam, Judaism,...

I disagree. the fulness of the gospel of Christ was taught from the beginnining with Adam and Eve, the first parents of humanity. It is the corruption from the original and not the other way around why you see aspects in many other cultures.

The purpose for God revealing true religion to Adam is because we are His literal children and the scriptures, the parts that have been translated correctly, are a guide to return to Him.

The problems with religion is due to apsotate, dead religions. There are many reasons for these and many have been mentioned here. A living religion is one that has true, living prophets, holy men preordained before the foundations of the earth to help the human family to follow God in the paths of virtue and happiness and to return to their heavenly homes. Miracles and personal revelation and ongoing scriptures are present. The problem has been that mankind usually rejects in time the living prophets, who usually are killed by the apostate, but popular, religious leaders. When mankind rejects the living religion, the Heavens withdraw themselves and man is left on their own. A living religion with prophets and personal revelation are replaced with a dead one with religious doctors and interpretation of ancient sacred texts. The result is many sects all claiming the truth. The fruits of the historical religions bear witness against them.
 

StillPhil

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Wow. Where do I start?

laska said:
Thinker said:
Many, if not all, of the holy books of major religions are made up from stories and ideas borrowed from earlier times. Flood myths, sons of god, gods sacrificing themselves, single gods, virgin births: all of them can be found many years before the rise of Christistianity, Islam, Judaism,...
Thinker...right on.

laska said:
I disagree.
So what? Study religious history and you'll find out what Thinker said to be quite true. Buddhism and Paganism for example were around centuries before Christianity. Both of these have myths of a dying and resurrecting God-man who happened to be crucified. They also happened to die for the sins of all mankind. Both Buddhism and Paganism have myths of their saviors being born of a virgin in a humble cow-shed.

laska said:
the fulness of the gospel of Christ was taught from the beginnining with Adam and Eve, the first parents of humanity.
Really?

laska said:
It is the corruption from the original and not the other way around why you see aspects in many other cultures.
Huh?

laska said:
The purpose for God revealing true religion to Adam is because we are His literal children and the scriptures, the parts that have been translated correctly, are a guide to return to Him.
Double Huh??

laska said:
The problems with religion is due to apsotate, dead religions. There are many reasons for these and many have been mentioned here. A living religion is one that has true, living prophets, holy men preordained before the foundations of the earth to help the human family to follow God in the paths of virtue and happiness and to return to their heavenly homes. Miracles and personal revelation and ongoing scriptures are present. The problem has been that mankind usually rejects in time the living prophets, who usually are killed by the apostate, but popular, religious leaders. When mankind rejects the living religion, the Heavens withdraw themselves and man is left on their own. A living religion with prophets and personal revelation are replaced with a dead one with religious doctors and interpretation of ancient sacred texts. The result is many sects all claiming the truth. The fruits of the historical religions bear witness against them.
:confused: I am seriously at a loss for words. This paragraph has totally derailed me. I really wish I could respond, but I can't. Maybe you could clarify this a little bit? Please?
 

laska

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Hey Stillphil, sorry for not being more clear, not the best writer here. The scriptures teach that the religion of the Hebrews did not begin with Abraham or later with Moses. Each of these prophets RESTORED(because it had become lost to mankind for the most part) the same religion that was taught from the very beginning from Adam, the gospel of Jesus Christ, who was to come in the meridian of time. So the religion of Moses is already very ancient and predates all other religions(although the fulness of the gospel of Christ was not given to the Israelites in the beginning because of the golden calf incident at the foot of Mount Sinai and so a prepatory gospel of rigid laws meant to prepare the Israelites later for a higher, principle based religion was given, the law of Moses, which points to Christ.)

The reasons why the Sumerians have a flood story that predates Moses is because there actually was a flood of some kind and Noah predated the Sumerians. The reason why the Egyptian temple rites have some similarities with the Hebrew temple rites is because the Egyptians tried to imitate the original from Noah. Moses later restored the original temple in its purity as God revealed this to him(it had been lost to mankind for many centuries.) This is why the corrupted form of the Egyptian temple rites have some similarities with the later Hebrew ones.

A living religion experiences God's hand in their lives, has communications directly from Him, and does His will. A dead religion reads about when God used to do these things and does not have the faith to open the heavens. What happened to the prophets and ongoing scriptures of historical Chritianity and Judiasm the last two thousand years. The religious sects may speak in God's name but they do not have the proper authority and are not really speaking for God. This is why in the name of religion free agency has been undermined thruought history, which God would never do, this is why people were put to death because they taught the earth was not the center of the universe and revolved around the sun, protestant fighting protestant in Europe, etc, etc, etc.
 
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This is exactly equivalent to the argument that the universe was created one second ago, and every person started with a set of memories of a non-existent past. It's self-consistent, but unprovable and utterly useless.
 

laska

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Thinker said:
This is exactly equivalent to the argument that the universe was created one second ago, and every person started with a set of memories of a non-existent past. It's self-consistent, but unprovable and utterly useless.
It is not useless. You cannot prove your point but it did not stop you to state it as fact. The alternative given in the scriptures is just as plausible, that Adam and the ancient patriarchs, Seth on down to Noah, also were holy prophets in the same tradition as Moses. Obviously, many scholars cannot concieve that the scriptures are what they claim to be and so they cannot even consider this other alternative, which is just as consistent as you state.
 

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Also, with your logic you would have to dismiss the field of science. It sets up hypothesis, does tests for PLAUSBILITY. I do not think science is useless though.
 

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but there is no proof. i could easily say that hinduism (it has the oldest religious texts known to man) is the true religion, and all others are apostates (this isn't what hinduism states however). Its all faith.

Through logic however, many of us assume that since there is no evidence of an adam or eve, or a predating religion that holds true to Biblical claims, the BIble is a bunch of metaphorical stories.
 

laska

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nkgupta80 said:
but there is no proof. i could easily say that hinduism (it has the oldest religious texts known to man) is the true religion, and all others are apostates (this isn't what hinduism states however). Its all faith.

Through logic however, many of us assume that since there is no evidence of an adam or eve, or a predating religion that holds true to Biblical claims, the BIble is a bunch of metaphorical stories.
I believe this life is a test of faith. Faith is the first step in acquiring knowledge. Assume God really is omnipotent, our Father in Heaven who has used His agency wiselyto embrace all true principles in perfection and has an infinite fulness of each divine attribute. Now, He knows the path to perfection and a fulness of joy for His children, the same path that He has followed. The problem is because complete free agency must exist for growth, men and women are free to choose to follow God or some other path. Now if God knows the way, how does He prove this so that his children will listen to Him. Just becuase He does a lot of miracles doesn't mean He has a fulness of knowledge and will forever embrace all righteous principles, even if this is a fact. Do not estimate people's ability to doubt even with great miracles. It seems to me it is impossible to prove that He is and will remain this type of being. If God is not omnipotent, then you cannot follow Him, as He could be wrong. If He is, there is no way to prove it 100 percent, and strict obedience to God's principles is the only way to reach the end of our creations. Faith is the belief in those things that are true that cannot be seen. Without faith we cannot progress, it is the first step, a few steps in the dark before you see the light. This is the test of this life. If a person can believe in this life and hear the promptings of the spirit, and be obedient to His commandments in the dark, then in the eternities when that soul is brought back into the presence of God, then he will keep on the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life, the life God lives (These are just my own personal thoughts on this.) A prophet stated the following:
 

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[1] And it came to pass that they did go forth, and began to preach the word of God unto the people, entering into their synagogues, and into their houses; yea, and even they did preach the word in their streets.

[2] And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel --

[3] Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart.

[4] Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah, there came a great multitude unto him, who were those of whom we have been speaking, of whom were poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world.

[5] And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do?

[6] And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them and that they were in a preparation to hear the word.

[7] Therefore he did say no more to the other multitude; but he stretched forth his hand, and cried unto those whom he beheld, who were truly penitent, and said unto them:

[8] I behold that ye are lowly in heart; and if so, blessed are ye.

[9] Behold thy brother hath said, What shall we do? -- for we are cast out of our synagogues, that we cannot worship our God.

[10] Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?

[11] Moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week?

[12] I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble.

[13] And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.

[14] And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?

[15] Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed -- yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.

[16] Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.

[17] Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.

[18] Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.

[19] And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?

[20] Now of this thing ye must judge. Behold, I say unto you, that it is on the one hand even as it is on the other; and it shall be unto every man according to his work.

[21] And now as I said concerning faith -- faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

[22] And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word.
 
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[23] And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times which confound the wise and the learned.

[24] And now, my beloved brethren, as ye have desired to know of me what ye shall do because ye are afflicted and cast out -- now I do not desire that ye should suppose that I mean to judge you only according to that which is true --

[25] For I do not mean that ye all of you have been compelled to humble yourselves; for I verily believe that there are some among you who would humble themselves, let them be in whatsoever circumstances they might.

[26] Now, as I said concerning faith -- that it was not a perfect knowledge -- even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.

[27] But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

[28] Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves -- It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

[29] Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

[30] But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

[31] And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.

[32] Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.

[33] And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.

[34] And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because ye know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.

[35] O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?

[36] Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

[37] And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

[38] But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.

[39] Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.

[40] And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

[41] But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

[42] And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

[43] Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you. (Alma 32)
 
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We have the scriptures, testimonies of those who have communicated with God, and personal prayer inorder to find truth. We have the ability to test the principles, just as a scientist would, to see if they are true. Overwhelming physical evidence undermines the purpose of this life(although after a test of ones faith, faith can become knowledge in this life.)
 

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I want to add a few comments on my post about dead and living religion. I do not want it to seem like I am bashing others religions. I believe there is truth and goodness in all religions, and all of us no matter what religion, are sons and daughters of God, and no one has more worth than the other. I just believe that inorder to speak in God's name, you must have His authority. It is like a king granting government officials the right to talk in his name, they produce the royal seal and they only state the will of the king, and not their own. A person does not give him or herself this authority, I cannot give myself the right to collect taxes for the U.S. government and go knocking on doors with a tin can. The bibical prophets had the Melchizadech priesthood, the proper authority given to them by God, and only spoke the will of the Lord as they were inspired to speak. I believe the historical religions lost this authority soon after the last of the apostles were martyred. This is why so much evil has been done in the name of religion, the religious leaders that were behind it had no authority, were not inspired, and were following their own will, whether they follwed a degree of goodness or not.
 

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laska said:
You cannot prove your point but it did not stop you to state it as fact.
Just what point did I state as "fact" with supporting evidence?
 

laska

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Thinker said:
Many, if not all, of the holy books of major religions are made up from stories and ideas borrowed from earlier times.?
I did not notice the question mark after this sentence. I sincerely apologize if I took what you said out of context. Are you stating the above as a fact or as a plausible scenario?
 

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laska said:
I did not notice the question mark after this sentence. I
sincerely apologize if I took what you said out of context. Are you stating the
above as a fact or as a plausible scenario?
There is no need to apologise as there was no question mark after the
relevant sentence. I was stating that as a fact, but I included a
reference to one web site (of many) as a starting point for locating the
supporting evidence.

On the other hand, you have stated as fact:

laska said:
The bibical prophets had the Melchizadech priesthood, the
proper authority given to them by god, and only spoke the will of the Lord as
they were inspired to speak.
Here you are stating that God had given authority. This is claiming two facts:
one, that there is a God, and two, that this god gave authority to a group of
people. On what evidence do you assert this (other than the book in which it
is stated)?
 

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I believe there is a N.T. verse that states something to the effect that the only way to know if something is from God is for God to reveal it to a person. This is the only sure evidence. I do know the scripures are true, but the evidence is of a spiritual nature and is not understood or accepted by the secular world for the most part.

Thinker, the evidence that you give is valid evidence but all it proves is plausibility. I gave a consistent alternative interpretation to the evidence and then you stated that it was useless. I was trying to show that it also is valid and plausible.

Here is one of the N.T. verses I was thinking of.

(13)When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
(14) And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
(15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
(16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
 
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If you reduce your argument to its simplest form you get something like: "The
statements in my book are true because the statements in my book are
true". That's not very convincing.

You are absolutely correct: much of science is plausibility: something is
observed; a hypothesis is made and implications drawn; further evidence
agrees with the implications, and so the plausibility of the hypothesis is
increased. Similarly, conflicting evidence decreases the plausibility of the
hypothesis. Religious arguments on the other hand are purely based on belief
and are usually phrased in such a way as to preclude any possibility of refutation.

I suspect you are unable to believe that there is anything that could
convince you that you are wrong. This, of course, does not mean that you
are right (see previous posts on "Burden of Proof"). That is the fundamental
difference between science and religion: science welcomes refutation, religion
refuses to be wrong.

I do not accept evidence of "spiritual revelation" because I know people are
easily fooled (even by themselves) into believing things that are patently
false. Magicians make a living out of this, but they are honest and make an
explicit pretence of supernatural powers. Faith healers, spiritualists,
clairvoiants, and many others are not so honest and for some reason people
actually believe the nonsense they spout.

The reason I think that spiritual explanations for phenomena are useless is
that they do not actually answer anything. Question:"Where did life come
from?" Answer:"God did it". We are now no further forward than if we'd
answered "I don't know". In fact we are worse off, because now we have
simply replaced one problem ("Where did life come from") with two
("Where did God come from", and "How did he create life").
 

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Thinker said:
If you reduce your argument to its simplest form you get something like: "The
statements in my book are true because the statements in my book are
true". That's not very convincing.
No, I described real communication from God as the sure evidence.

Thinker said:
You are absolutely correct: much of science is plausibility: something is
observed; a hypothesis is made and implications drawn; further evidence
agrees with the implications, and so the plausibility of the hypothesis is
increased. Similarly, conflicting evidence decreases the plausibility of the
hypothesis.
I agree(I embrace science.)

Thinker said:
Religious arguments on the other hand are purely based on belief...
Again, I am talking about direct revelation and not just belief.


Thinker said:
I suspect you are unable to believe that there is anything that could
convince you that you are wrong. This, of course, does not mean that you
are right (see previous posts on "Burden of Proof"). That is the fundamental
difference between science and religion: science welcomes refutation, religion
refuses to be wrong.
Science must continually revise its findings as it does not have a fulness of all truth. Revealed principles are derived from the source of all truth. There is no way to prove anything from God without it being revealed from God. The scriptures teach the methodology that God uses to reveal knowledge. If a person refuses to embrace this methodology then only after this life can a person know if these things are true or not. There is no sense in debating it, as there is no way to prove these things by any other way.

I believe true religion and true science do not contradict each other. Science gives us a glimpse at the fingerprints of God.



Thinker said:
I do not accept evidence of "spiritual revelation" because I know people are
easily fooled (even by themselves) into believing things that are patently
false. Magicians make a living out of this, but they are honest and make an
explicit pretence of supernatural powers. Faith healers, spiritualists,
clairvoiants, and many others are not so honest and for some reason people
actually believe the nonsense they spout.
If a hundred people are making things up or are delusional does not mean that the one is not telling the truth.

Thinker said:
The reason I think that spiritual explanations for phenomena are useless is
that they do not actually answer anything. Question:"Where did life come
from?" Answer:"God did it". We are now no further forward than if we'd
answered "I don't know". In fact we are worse off, because now we have
simply replaced one problem ("Where did life come from") with two
("Where did God come from", and "How did he create life").
actually, revelation is the only way to find these things out. The promise in the scriptures is that if a person's eye is single to the glory of God, that his body will become full of light, and will be able to comprehend all things, line upon line, precept upon precept. Anyway, this is how I see things.
 
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shuamort

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laska said:
actually, revelation is the only way to find these things out. The promise in the scriptures is that if a person's eye is single to the glory of God, that his body will become full of light, and will be able to comprehend all things, line upon line, precept upon precept. Anyway, this is how I see things.
OK, I'm going to make a statement:

If the earth should keep spinning tomorrow and the sun shines all along the equator, my divinity shall be proved and it shall be noted that I am GOD. If the earth does not, then it is proven that my statement is false.

Do you accept that statement? If not, why not?
 
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