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Were we left with no choice, when choosing religion?

Iittle or nothing was known about evolution at the time most religions came into being. Evolution= Ability. Ability without some means to govern it would spiral out of control. This applies to all ability where ever it exists. This applying to evolution, is it no wonder that with the absence of this knowledge that religion was the only answer. If this knowledge had been available at this time; would the world have been a different place? I think perhaps we have come too far down the wrong path to ever get back overnight. In time however we may find our way back to that point again and this time we will be more equipped to choose the right path. Take out the divine help and the only way that evolution can work is by information passed on by the species.

  • May 20 2011: Religion is a paranoid, delusional silly, comical, offensive, sexist, racist, stupid, uneducated approach to answer the big questions. Religion is essentailly the same as an adult saying they believe that babies come from the stork. There is no excuse. Religion is a disability, a disease. A religious person is no more than a child, because they aren't willing to do several important adult things.
    1. They won't admit they're wrong.
    2. They'd prefer a simple to understand fairy tale than the truth.
    3. They still have imaginary friends.
    Time to grow up.
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      May 20 2011: I share your frustration, Dan. Well said.
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      May 20 2011: "Religion is a..." Not really, instead try "Religion could be a ..."

      "Religion is a disability, a disease"

      Depends on the interpretation of religion and/or the religion and the individual practicing the religion.

      The rest I agree on.
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      May 20 2011: Hi Dan. It is funny how you selected the bad part to cook your case like religion has never been a force for good. On a practical note; the first university in the sense of a higher learning, degree awarding institute, the word university being coined has its foundation in the church.

      Faith is a private and personal issue- when you said religion is " stupid" what you are saying is that there are religious folks who are stupid hence religion by its very nature promote stupidity. This is not true - and if have ever heard of Jesus his only message was Love both to your enemies.

      I understand there are ignoramus under the umbrella but don't paint the whole movement with a single brush. Those who believe in God are not "child", rather immature people hide under religious platform to air their views.

      You said "They won't admit they're wrong". I have to laugh to that. Religion is a personal thing - not communual.
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        May 21 2011: I'm not defending Dan entirely as he is quick to the gun and not entirely considering the world but just his interpretations of fundamental religions probably Christianity and Muslim the most. However you are not giving the best defense for religion either but of faith-systems.

        "On a practical note; the first university in the sense of a higher learning, degree awarding institute, the word university being coined has its foundation in the church."

        Yes but this could also be considered awful. Consider such, Aristotle. His form of education was having "students" to preach and respond with. This was some of the first critical thinking in history and this man is still revered today as a genius although all he did was common sense practices of thinking and asking questions then allowing feedback from others. Organized educations only mean organized information(s) in my opinion. I do not remember learning how to think critically in school until the end of the chapter which was too late because I was already told the "theme" "key points" and "messages" of the chapter(s) by then.

        "This is not true - and if have ever heard of Jesus his only message was Love both to your enemies."

        Yes, but what inspiring spiritual leader didn't? Also if the people are stupid the love would also be stupid. "I love God" come on now, God for the Christians is supposed to be love. "I love love" Without a little bit of critical thought behind what love is, love is superficial and just an ambiguous word.

        "Those who believe in God are not "child", rather immature people hide under religious platform to air their views."

        Immature.. children... what is the difference exactly? This is why I agree with Dan immature is most correct to those who practice fundamentalism in religion. To say "I go to heaven" when I die takes a million thoughts/questions away from human beings, character building considerations that are important.

        " You said..."

        Faith is personal not religion.
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          May 21 2011: Hi- Nicholas .
          I agree with you all the way - but my point to Dan Finkel was that religion, take christianity, is the opposite of his message.

          You do not need inspiring leaders to be a Christian - just because you consider one to be an inspiring leader does not make him a Christian. Assessing Christianity on the conduct of its leaders is completely wrong. It is a personal thing – and if there is judgement day it is for you alone.

          On the point of love i meant "Love your neighbor as yourself”, that was the only message of Jesus Christ. This message is far from been a sexist, racist or stupid. This goes to the core of morality and it’s what makes you a Christian not church going.

          I did mention "university" to make the simple point that religion on a serious note has contributed to the present society more than any other culture. It does not matter how learning in the early times were - Religion laid the foundation, and mind you - learning is an evolutionary process. In 100 years’ forward i have every reason to believe it will be delivered differently.
    • May 20 2011: I dnot think that religion is personal thing more is faith personal thing, but in any case Dan Finkel is right, religion is stupid and there is no place for religinon in the future
    • May 20 2011: Dan,

      This is a strange post. First, what do you mean by religion? I find it strange that you would lump all religions together and attack them all in the same way. Different religions believe different things. Saying "Religion is stupid" is like saying "Person is stupid" Which person? Which religion? Could you be a little more specific? If you could name some particular things, I might even join you in parts of your criticism. Right now you're speaking so generally that it means nothing. You sound more angry and uneducated than pointed and convincing.

      Also, since you mentioned being offensive, I'd like to point out that you say that "religion" is a "disability, a disease," "uneducated," and that a religious person is "no more than a child." Well, this strikes me as ironic, because pretty much every religious person I've ever encountered has compassion on the disabled, reaches out in some way to the diseased, teaches the uneducated, and encourages children to grow up in maturity. They don't scream look at these types of people and scream "You have no excuse!!!" Right now, I think you're the only offensive one in this equation.
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      May 21 2011: Show me the monkeyman then. I'm being serious too, if evolution is nature's way of adapting and becoming better and we supposedly derived from monkeys and other primates; why do monkeys still exist then?
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        May 21 2011: Hahahaha, you need a refresher course on evolutionary and biological principles. It is false to say we derived from monkeys, but we do share evolutionary ancestors with them. Look up the philogeny of hominid evolution for correction. There are many many many "monkey men" as you call them dug up all the time by paleoanthropologists, from Erectus to Ardipithicus and beyond. A lineage that has been tracked using many various reliable techniques such as tracking mitochondrial DNA, Radio Carbon and many other forms of dating technologies have displayed a very obvious delineation of species up to our own.

        "take a look, its in a book, reading rainbow", I suggest you read a book that contains real information; the one you've been reading is very outdated.
        I recommend "Human Natures" by Paul Ehrlich, it has very easy to understand accessible information in it. Or even better, pick up a text book on evolutionary theory.
      • May 22 2011: Hello Justin. The reason that the apes still exist and have not proceeded to develop into human, is because once intelligent life had been reached; there was no reason for them to go on evolving. This information was passed down through the species by a natural source. Do you see how religion stops us from thinking? Finding that source would eventually solve the meaning of life. Perhaps!
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        May 24 2011: Because we didn't come from "monkeys", this is one of the most common fallacies I see in this debate, along with that 2nd law of thermodynamics thing people keep piping on about. Modern monkeys and modern man come from a common ancestor, NOT from each other. Also, we DO have fossils of those ancestors, simply do an image search on google for "Homo Habilis"...of if you're looking for older, pre-branching examples, "Sahelanthropus tchadensis" predates the split between chimpanzees and the precursor human skeletons.
        • May 24 2011: Hello Andrew. How do you explain the Galapagos Cormorants and the Mud skipper? Your theory of the Sahelahthropus Tchadensis does not stand up to scrutiny. I would like to get your theory of the dinosaur's reign of terror and its pupose?
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    May 21 2011: Religion survives through the indoctrination of children at a young age by their parents. All that dogma is stiffed in their head with fear. Perfect recipe for a closed mind.

    It is not a coincidence that children have the religion of their parents.
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    May 19 2011: have a read of richard dawkins the god dilusion. it looks at a number of different avenues and ideas by which religion came to be.

    i feel 2000 years after the time of jesus is long enough to stop believing in the nonsense dont you? ok, i can perhaps understand in the less developed world, with less resources available to them but in the '1st' world, there are two reasons why people still believe. 1, fear of accepting an absolute end after we die. there must be a point they feel. and 2, sheer ignorance. the evidence that has arrived from studied genes is conclusive enough on its on if people would care to look into it.
    • May 19 2011: Hi Davie. You are right of course, but I wonder, if evolution had been accepted from the start instead of religion; would life eternal still be the outcome? This human condition comes with the intelligence of the species. Is there some unforseen reason why this is so? We may find out in a few billion years time, until then, here's hoping.
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        May 20 2011: We are merely the first species to evolve the ability to question our own existence is all. No different to the birds in the sky, ants under our feet or chicken on our plate. A billion years is not required to understand the meaning of life.
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        May 22 2011: I'm with Davie... Given time and evolution it is logical to think we will come to know that each form of life has it's own unique ability to think and act with it's own unique reality, blending together with all other forms of life.
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    May 18 2011: Religion was been perverted but it does not disprove the existence of God, science cannot answer all questions it should focus on the observable world.
    • May 19 2011: Hello Ehis. I agree, science does not disprove the existence of God. However the spiritual world often clashes with the observable one. Elmo's fire, the sun, the moon, snakes and even plants have had their place in promoting the spiritual side of man and that is only the tip of the iceberg. By saying; only focus on the observable world is like saying; stop thinking. If it was not for science we would still be worshipping some of these things.
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        May 19 2011: Derek

        I disagree with you; spiritual world do not clash with the visible one. Spiritual by definition should be limited to things of the spirit, unworldly, not belonging to this planet. However, there has been an overlap in religion and science; the former should explain the spirit realms while the latter should think only of the observable and testable. Spiritual things are not testable.

        The problem is that, in the past and even presently, people in position of religious power have often used faith as a tool to control aspects of people’s life. They have often used faith to gain power and control. When science came and disproved claims made by people of religious authorities, science became reliable. But note that this only points to the human element of religion – it did not disprove the existence of a creator.

        If religion limits its authority to things of the spiritual, science would not have been a threat to its existence.
        • May 19 2011: Hi Ehis. I do agree with you, science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. However we are an intelligent species and with that intelligence comes the need to solve anything that comes our way. It is called stimulation, without which you and I and the rest of mankind could not survive, it is what intelligence feeds on. Some things give us the belief in the spiritual; however until that what appears to be spiritual is investigated how can we be sure? Can you give me an instance where this has been proved? Facts only please.
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        May 20 2011: "Some things give us the belief in the spiritual; however until that what appears to be spiritual is investigated how can we be sure?"

        I do hope you see the glaring paradox in the quoted extract. If it can be investigated it is not spiritual. Spirituality holds its definition in what cannot be tested or investigated physically- yet you need scientific investigation to believe in the spiritual. . I hope you get my point.

        What you need to believe in the spiritual is “understanding” not confirmation. If you do not have the understandings don’t bother yourself because you will keep asking the wrong questions.
        • May 20 2011: Ehis,
          You speak of understanding when Religion has no basis in understanding. It's a hypothesis created by people in a time without indoor plumbing. Uneducated, and unintelligent by today's standards. The thing is, "The invisible and the non-existant look very much alike," which is true, religious supporters have constantly had to twist and pervert every detail investigated about the ancient religious texts because they constantly answer scientific questions in a farcical manner. They were wrong about where we came from. We know the Earth wasn't created in a week, we know evolution is true, and the Bible still denies this. Why would this text foolishly try to refute why has been obviously proved by science. Perhaps because it is a 2000 year old pile of illogical garbage. The Bible wasn't written to speak the truth, it was written to speak lies as truth. But they didn't care, they just wanted an answer. Well we now find ourselves in the age of answers. WE have started to know things. We know that a rainbow is a reflection of the visible spectrum of light, our ancestors didn't know that, so they made up a silly little fairy tale to explain it. I leave you with this final quote, "If religion was wrong about where we came from, how can we let it tell us where we are going?"
        • May 20 2011: Hey Dan,

          You seem to discredit people who lived in times without indoor plumbing. I was wondering if you know how to plumb a house. Also, my grandmother grew up in a house without indoor plumbing. I would ask that you please take this opportunity to apologize to her.

          Also, I was wondering if you could expound on where we all DID come from and how you know that. This would be helpful to me, because although I am a deeply religious person, I am open to changing my mind about some things if you can persuade me to do so in a convincing manner. If you want some background for your audience, while I am not a six-day creationist, I do believe that the universe and the earth and all that is in them was created by God. I hold that he did it "ex nihilo" which means "out of nothing," and I don't believe that the natural laws in this universe created the universe. I believe that a God who is spirit, not flesh and bone or matter, did this by the power of his will. This means that an outside force acted on this physical universe to produce what we see today.

          I will eagerly await your response.
        • May 27 2011: Hi, understanding does not mean the same as faith, it is totally the opposite. Understanding in the terms you use are the same as believing in lucky numbers, black cats, walking under ladders and breaking mirrors. We know there is no truth in these superstitions, yet 70% of us believe in them. Crazy!
      • May 20 2011: Derek,

        "Some things give us the belief in the spiritual; however until that what appears to be spiritual is investigated how can we be sure? Can you give me an instance where this has been proved? Facts only please."

        I can can give you one. In the New Testament of the Bible, there are accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus which were recorded by eyewitnesses and in some case, close acquaintances of eyewitnesses. Some of the authors, like Luke, who wrote the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, investigated these high-profile events by interviewing people still living. The account they give is not speculation or philosophy, but historical observations of a particular person who claimed to be God. Claiming to be God is a spiritual thing. An eyewitness account is a factual endeavor. I think this is the best case you're going to get of facts supporting spiritual claims.

        When some of those people had to defend their account of events, particularly the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, they prove themselves less by philosophical speculation and more by the reliability of eyewitness accounts. In the book of Acts, when some of the followers are challenged on the Christian things they began speaking about, the claimed that they could not stop talking about what they had "seen and heard" (Acts 4:20). These are actually empirical claims leading to spiritual truths. If the empirical claims are disproved, then the spiritual truths fall flat.

        Now, to be fair, these are now historical facts, and not scientifically reproducible empirical facts. But they are claims of FACT, not philosophy or speculation, on spiritual matters. They can be investigated and judged in the same way that claims of fact about Julius Caesar, the Civil War, or the Zhou dynasty can be investigated. I think they hold up quite well, and that's why I believe the account. I hope that is helpful in your quest for facts on spiritual matters.
        • May 22 2011: Thanks Caleb, i understand where you are coming from. Take the most inspiring and probably the most meaningful story from the bible, the death of Jesus and the resurrection. Though most people don't believe in ghosts, there is a lot of evidence to prove otherwise. The pattern of these sightings takes us down different paths, the present and the past. After a lot of studying, the pattern that emerges is the same pattern by which we live. We have the past memories to guide us when making plans for the present and the future. Of course there are no ghosts of the future and our plans for the future are only in our minds. The pattern is so striking it leaves me in little doubt how evolution maybe working. Is this answer anymore unbelievable than the one portrayed in the bible?
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      May 24 2011: The purpose of science isn't "disproving"'s nearly impossible to prove a for example, has never "disproven" Santa clause, or the Fae folk...that isn't it's responsibility. Until there's some modicum of evidence FOR santa claus, or god, or faeries then it's a non-issue to science.
      • May 25 2011: No need for science to disprove what isn't. our own intelligence is adequate.
  • May 26 2011: Evolution is as theoretical as Religion, it is yet to be proved beyond reasonable doubt just as most religions.
    If we were given no choice, atheists wouldn't exist.
    Parents want whats best for their child, atheists wouldn't want their kids going to church "for nothing."
    And other Parents would want their kids to go to heaven.
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      May 26 2011: Ah speculative logic... a correlation of how religion has lasted so long

      Evolution is both fact and theory. The fact is we evolve, the theory is what correlates, affects/effects, and are the conditions in which evolution takes place under.

      Religion is the use of practices, symbols, traditions, group efforts, shared-beliefs, faith systems, usually culturally drived, and/or usually has leaders.

      Now putting these two things in the same connection is silly. Because the word evolution can be used on religion. The evolution of religion, it is how Christians, particularly Catholic, are still not book burning, "witch" killing, science oppressing and as delusional as in during the "Dark Ages" or Renaissance. So evolution is a response to the world about whatever the subject, thing, or idea we are considering.

      Consider now the evolution of dance.

      You see evolution happens and it does not just involve the human species, it involves culture, society, religion, and effects/affects the environment in which people are raised and educated in.

      Babies are born atheist, meaning if no one ever talked to a baby, they would never consider there being a higher being. You say "If we were given no choice, atheists wouldn't exist." Now this is either misguided thinking or information. I was indoctrinated as a baby into Catholicism I was able to see through the fictions lies and myths because I went to Catholic School, payed attention, and saw the contradictions myself of the religion. If this one religion is correct why are there still so many others? Perhaps our "educators" aren't getting the full story and only teaching speculative philosophies and logic.

      Heaven... God loves us right? But if we do not listen to his rules we go to hell? How about those people who never heard of God and live lives dedicated to helping people, do they not get into heaven because they can't confess their adultery to a priest? Nonsense, traditionalized
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    May 24 2011: You speak as though evolutionary theory and religion are incompatible...they aren't. I'm an atheist, but I know plenty of Christians and virtually all of them have no issue at all, whatsoever with Evolution, it's only the hardest of the hard-line fundamentalists that have issues there. I don't think we have to "work back" to anything, we need to figure out how to effectively integrate the two views into something cohesive. Neither evolutionary theory OR religion is going anywhere, they can exist harmoniously together though.

    Hell, if you can have Atheist Christians, anything's possible :P
    • May 24 2011: Hi Andrew. It's just a thought, if the evolution theory had been around at the beginning, would religion even have got started? My guess is : we would have a better meaning of life following what is true and not what cannot be proven. Since the knowledge we have gathered is leading us back to that realization, we will eventually get back to the authentic square one, where it should have been in the first place.
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        May 24 2011: If we had evolutionary theory at the beginning it would just have been one more bit of information...the issues of WHERE the life that's evolving came from in particular would still be a complete unknown. Metaphysics tends to begin where observable data ends, it sort of "fills the gaps" in what we know. If people had known of evolution I get the feeling they'd have just gone back a step or two and started looking at how such life came to be (and likely reach the same conclusion in that age, "god did it")...

        that's the feeling I get anyway...
        • May 25 2011: Hi,we shall never know. I can only go by what's happenning today, as we gather more information the more the tide is turning.
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    May 20 2011: Religion is a belief of a higher power. It's a belief, a right that people are entitled to. What's wrong with people, as I myself do, believing in a Heaven and a Hell? It gives meaning to life and gives some people a reason to live justly. What fun is it looking at Death as the complete ending of your existence (not talking scientifically into fertilizer and stuff).
    • May 20 2011: Hello Justin. How do you know that evolution does not offer more to the meaning of life than religion? Evolution only benefits the species, so whatever evolution is all about: it is working in our interests. Perhaps it is our own fear and ignorance that keeps us away from the truth. Searching for the truth can only bring rewards if we start from a neutral position. An individual learns a trade, then decides to move on to some other work: that trade will still be with that individual, to be used whenever it's needed. When that individual dies however all that they have learned dies with them. Put this situation into a species and the scenario changes completely. When an individual dies within a species, the species does not die! With the absence of some divine help, the species can only progress through the information passed from the individuals in that species. In that way evolution knows exactly what is needed. This information could be held for generations and indeed for an eternity, depending when that information is needed. This could easily explain Ghosts, past lives and all the unexplained. It also raises one very important question; does the ferryman really exist? Maybe not!
  • May 19 2011: In my mind, the belief that amino acids somehow coalesced into proteins which somehow coalesced into one celled organisms which somehow evolved into human beings with speech and language and thought and appreciation for art and inquisitive minds is just as much a leap of faith as any religion I've ever encountered.

    That makes the whole premise of this debate, pitting religion vs. evolution, silly.
    • May 19 2011: Hello Caleb. Amino acids and protiens are fact, so are one celled organisms. Science has created life in a laboratory; it is only a leap of faith if you ignore the facts.
      • May 19 2011: I know amino acids and proteins are a fact. I also know that one celled organisms are a fact. I am not aware that proteins being created randomly by lightning bolts in prehistoric goo is a fact. I am not aware that proteins aligning themselves randomly into a living organism is a fact. I've always heard of natural selection being the non-random part of the question, but inanimate objects like amino-acids and proteins do not naturally select. Only living organisms do. It's just a leap in the dark.

        Can you explain to me how science has created life in a laboratory? I am very interested in the details of that as it may turn my entire case upside down.