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If we took a modern society and erased all memory and knowledge of religion and somehow lengthened the life span to be infinite. And then allowed that society to progress, would religion be recreated?

There is a recurring theme of some sort of life after death in all religions, would there be a need for religion if there was no fear of death?

There is a code of ethics built into religion, would there be a need for it with a code of law in the society?

Religion is a way to explain the unexplainable, would it be needed if everything could be explained?

Does man have in innate need to have an abstract figure which is greater then himself? Or without it, would we strive harder to be greater?

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  • A 'code of law' is still quite different from a moral compass. Just because the law allows or prohibits something doesn't mean it's right or wrong; I know this also applies to holy books, but people are more inclined to view these books as a moral compass than a man-made law, I believe, not to mention that a law doesn't tell you what you should do, only what you aren't allowed to do.
    – Ben
    Jun 26 '13 at 21:41
  • You need to qualify the statement "Would we create Gods again..." by at least trying to prove that we created him once. General consensus among his believers is that he has always existed.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jul 1 '13 at 15:56
  • @NeilMeyer If you believe He exists, this is not a discussion you should be a part of. General consensus among non-believers is that its all nonsense, which is the demographic I am speaking to.
    – Matt Bear
    Jul 1 '13 at 18:33
  • OK I did not realise only atheist can answer this.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jul 2 '13 at 7:21
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    This is not a good question for this site, as questions like this simply breed speculation. If you narrowed the scope a bit, that might be one thing, but this touches on so many concepts in psychology, sociology, biology, human behavior, philosophy of mind, innatism, etc., it cannot reasonably be answered here in an adequate manner. Just look at the range of the answers, touching on so many secondary topics. Don't get me wrong, I think this is an interesting question and I have my own views here, but you need to focus on some aspect of philosophy rather than human behavior.
    – stoicfury
    Jul 4 '13 at 22:50
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If we took a modern society and erased all memory and knowledge of religion and somehow lengthened the life span to be infinite. And then allowed that society to progress, would religion be recreated?

Death is a constant in the world. All things eventually pass away. Even the world will one day. You may as well decide to legislate gravity away.

Religions do not explain everything in detail, they give meaning & coherence to a people. This though has to be qualified - it's not a objectified meaning - that can be grasped and looked at, and understood as this is what gives meaning; its pervasive and wrapped up in their being.

Although Dawkins made a fashionable that religion is a 'viral parisitical meme', anthropologists who actually study human beings & their culture as opposed to their biology, say the opposite - which is that its central to culture & society. It can take many varying & subtle forms within the same people, but of course central body of ritual & myth remains. In Lacanian terms - this is the Big Other.

One could argue that as European Christianity is slowly melting away that new religions will either be taken up or evolve. John Gray, the British philosopher for example understands Marxism & Neoliberalism as forms of political religion. Auguste Comte, the sociologist & one of the primary advocates of positivism attempted to turn this into a religion of man.

There is a recurring theme of some sort of life after death in all religions, would there be a need for religion if there was no fear of death?

One could argue, if one was to take an external objective view of religion, that to have a notion of life-after-death is to have no fear of death. Of course no religion justifies itself in that way.

There is a code of ethics built into religion, would there be a need for it with a code of law in the society?

Where do codes of law come from? Shelley said that Poets were the unacknowledged legislators of the world. This begins to make sense When you understand that in antiquity prophets & poets overlapped. Plato makes the same point when he has the philosopher-king as lawgiver & ruler of his republic; this should also be understood as the priest-king.

Religion is a way to explain the unexplainable, would it be needed if everything could be explained?

What makes you think we can possibly explain everything? Blake, the poet said 'the world is infinite in all directions'; meaning there is no end to its depth. We only see so much; and what we see we explain, so it appears to us we see & explain everything. In the last century when such a basic idea as counting or addition has undergone convulsions how can we conceivably say we understand the world completely?

Does man have in innate need to have an abstract figure which is greater then himself? Or without it, would we strive harder to be greater?

Gods do not have to be abstract. That is a relatively recent innovation. For most of the life of humanity icons & idols have been used. If a people was to worship a god(s) - is it conceivable that they would worship something less powerful than themselves? It cannot even be remotely be close. A veil of mystery must hide the divine from the material - for familiarity breeds contempt. All religions have a cosmology, within which is embedded an originary myth. Despite all the rhetoric of kings, emperors, philosophers, artists or physicists - no man has the creative power to make even a stone or a grain of sand. Their creative power is in refashioning - the fundamental creative act is transcendentally beyond them - to make a stone, to create a world takes a god or gods.

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I like what Bertrand Russell once said about religion: "I regard religion as a disease born out of fear". In fact, I also remember a statement from another philosopher (forgot the name): "If there was no any source of unhappiness, almost all the religions would completely disappear". With my knowledge so far, I feel the organized religion has generally been a means to achieve a certain end, a material end mostly. Once you are equipped with all necessary tools for material well-bring, religion would thus be redundant. But extinction of religion would give space for the rise of spiritualism, a way higher form of living than what religion is, at least for me. I have though not thought if spiritualism would also die when "all questions are answered".

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[...] then allowed that society to progress, would religion be recreated?

I do not know, but a good starting point is to answer why there are societies that prosper and religiosity decreases. Why is there more disbelief among scientists than in general population?

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British Social Attitudes Survey between 1983 and 2009

A study has shown atheism in the West to be particularly prevalent among scientists, a tendency already quite marked at the beginning of the 20th century, developing into a dominant one during the course of the century. In 1914, James H. Leuba found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected U.S. natural scientists expressed "disbelief or doubt in the existence of God" (defined as a personal God which interacts directly with human beings). The same study, repeated in 1996, gave a similar percentage of 60.7%. Expressions of positive disbelief rose from 52% to 72%.

What is certain is that in some areas of the world (such as Europe and South America) atheism and secularization are increasing, and in other areas of the world (such as former Communist states like Russia), atheism is decreasing. The number of atheists is on the rise across the world, with religiosity generally declining. France had the most skeptics (19% atheist, 16% agnostic). South Korea had the greatest percentage without a religion (41%). A poll in Canadá sampled 1,129 Canadian adults and came up 30% who do not believe in a god. Interestingly, the same poll found that 33% of respondents who identified themselves as Catholics and 28% Protestants said they didn't believe in a god. In Israel, around 50% of Israelis who were born ethnically Jewish consider themselves "secular" or hilonim, some of them still keep certain religious traditions for cultural reasons, but most are immersed within the secular Jewish culture. The number of atheists and agnostics is lower, and it stands at 15% to 37% respectively. The 2009 Avi-Chai study found 77% of Israeli Jews believe in a "higher power", while 46% define themselves as secular, of which 8% define themselves as "anti-religious".


Would there be a need for religion if there was no fear of death?

A preoccupation with the next world clearly shows an inability to cope credibly with this one. If you're religious and you believe in another life somehow, that means you don't live this life to the full because you think you're going to get another chance life. We make sense of the notion of "the purpose of a life" by stipulating that the purpose is whatever inscrutable reasons God had in mind when he created us, then we argue for the existence of God because he is the only one who could have designed us with a purpose in mind. The argumentation of a person's entire life serving a purpose, above and beyond the purpose of all the person's choices, is inscrutable, circular. Did God need to be glorified by humans? Or would God need to achieve perfection with them? Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God's approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? You can not admire a virtue which is based on fear. You can not admire a religion which is based on fear of death.

Is there a code of ethics built into religion, would there be a need for it with a code of law in the society?

Before we worship a God or Jesus we must judge him good, so our moral is not derived and is independent from a God or Jesus.

Is religion a way to explain the unexplainable, would it be needed if everything could be explained?

God is inscrutable, then God doesn't explain nothing. Contingent truths cannot be explained by a necessary truth because a necessary truth can only imply other necessary truths, not contingent truths.

Without it, would we strive harder to be greater?

When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. Religion is the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Religions are an extremely dangerous doctrine, because the more likely we are to assume that the solution comes from the outside, the less likely we are to solve our problems ourselves.

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There is a code of ethics built into religion, would there be a need for it with a code of law in the society?

The Nurnberg Laws pretty well should answer this question. Just because something is lawful, does not mean it is ethical.

Apartheid was lawful in South Africa. Slavery was lawful in many Western countries. Discrimination was lawful in the U.S.

Pay day loans are lawful. They are definitely not ethical.

So, in answer to this question, there will always be a need for a code of ethics outside of the legal system. Laws are made by the few who are in charge. What will lawmakers use as a measuring stick?

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  • Why are your examples "definitely" not ethical? It seems to me you are stating your opinion as fact. There were/are worldviews in which slavery and other kind of discrimination was/is ethical. Or if you claim ethical value to be universal, how would justify it? Would you claim a god commanded it? ;)
    – k0pernikus
    Jun 28 '13 at 12:21
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If we took a modern society and erased all memory and knowledge of religion and somehow lengthened the life span to be infinite. And then allowed that society to progress, would religion be recreated?

Too many conditions in this question; if the world were a cube would we then stumble over the corners?

There is a recurring theme of some sort of life after death in all religions, would there be a need for religion if there was no fear of death?

Do you mean that religion tells there is life after death because of fear of death or because philosophers realized that this is the only logic consequence that there is something after this life?

There is a code of ethics built into religion, would there be a need for it with a code of law in the society?

Ethics or philosophical moral is because philosophers can "prove" that this giudes towards a better life; ethics is not some kind of "let us be good people but we don't know why".

Religion is a way to explain the unexplainable, would it be needed if everything could be explained?

My opinion is that religion of a level of philosophy (not of beliefs of the people told by the christian church which is nonsense) that religion explains as far as it is explainable.

Does man have in innate need to have an abstract figure which is greater then himself? Or without it, would we strive harder to be greater?

You see the cosmos. There is something bigger than you.

Can you give us your definition of religion; what is religion for you? Do you know that the christianity of the church is for the people and that there is much more to see in the bible as they tell? They educate a wrong picture of religion.

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Consider this: as we move further away from the idea that God provides for our needs, we seem to be moving towards the notion that the State should be providing for us. There's a strong correlation between low concentrations of religious citizens and high levels of socialism. I would therefore conclude that the State may take the place of "god" as time progresses and we become more decadent.

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No we wouldn't create God again, but God would.

You have not understood a complex subject, because you're basing your internal dialog on ideas solely from the Christian world (that is the Gregorian calendar) as it relates to the intellectual one.

Notably, it is clear that you have not interviewed an actual Jew who has a personal experience (distinct from belief) of God.

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    What would such an interview go like?
    – commando
    Jun 27 '13 at 20:42
  • 1
    Well, jeez, don't you owe it to yourself to find out? Why piss around here for intellectual speculation?
    – TheDoctor
    Jul 9 '13 at 3:58

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