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Is the idea of a "god" inherent in our minds? posted 18 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a "god" inherent in our minds? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Every society develops an ideology to conserve the status quo. Since societies are, in the most fundamental sense, collections of people acting in systematically interrelated ways, and since desire and belief are the bases of all directed actions, stable societies, by definition, require that its members be socialized with the proper desires and beliefs. Religion has always played a pivotal role in this.

But the question of whether we're hardwired to believe in deity is a different one, I think. What seems to be the case is that human cognition is largely the evolutionary result of sexual selection: our version of a peacock's colours, you might say. We seem to be designed to understand one another more than the world, and as a result, we're predisposed to prefer intentional explanations - understanding by recourse to reasons and agency - over causal or functional explanations (which is why so much training is required for people to see the world from a scientific perspective - it's an accomplishment).

As a result, we seem predisposed to understand natural events in the same way we understand human events. We believe (falsely, it appears) that natural events have reasons. And since reasons belong to agents, we conjure quasi-human agencies to explain things. We anthropomorphize.

Given our hardwired preferences for simplicity and synthesis, it seems almost inevitable that the multiple agencies that characterize animism would, over time, be condensed into a single 'agent of agents.' God.

So I wouldn't so much say we're hardwired to believe in God as I would say we're hardwired to eventually arrive at Him. view post


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