this post was submitted on 21 Jun 2024
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[–] [email protected] 139 points 3 weeks ago (2 children)

Maybe you haven't noticed it, but many people are deeply irrational.

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[–] [email protected] 110 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (8 children)

They are taught about it from childhood and many of us don't questions stuff we've learnt in our childhood.

Education fails to instil scientific temper in them

Lack of proper mental health awareness and support.

[–] [email protected] 69 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (2 children)

Even if they do question, it’s not like they are in a safe environment to do so openly. They have to be prepared to give up community, friends, family, potentially their physical safety, and a worldview that says exactly who to be and how to live to be living a good life. That’s a huge step.

I know for a fact there are religious people going through the motions because the alternative is too frightening, just like people stay in bad marriages.

[–] [email protected] 28 points 3 weeks ago (1 children)

Right. Throughout human history, if someone was cast out of a community, they didn’t survive. We’ve been trained through evolution to go along with the tribe because it’s unsafe to question anything and get cast out.

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[–] [email protected] 13 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (3 children)

They are taught about it from childhood

in one single word >> Indoctrinated

OP this is why people believe in religion, and it's nearly impossible to get them out of it, you can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into in the first place

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[–] [email protected] 82 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (3 children)

Because belief is intrinsic to humanity even if we don't believe in religion.

I believe in a lot of human concepts, including kindness, altruism, democracy and humanism. They are all still effectively made up human ideas.

I also believe when I sit down that the chair below me really exists but I cannot truly trust my own senses 100% either. So effectively I "believe" what my sensory organs and brain interpretation tell me, but the reality is the brain and its interpretations can be wrong.

Look at the USA, the founders of the nation are often treated with a reverence akin to that of religious figures.

People have all kinds of delusions. People worship all kinds of weird things. Religion is just one of many.

Finally, someone like Ayn Rand shows that a human can have pretty reprehensible and hypocritical beliefs even if they are an atheist. She promoted bullshit "great men" theories of humanity and argued that selfishness could be used for good.

She also died penniless and on government benefits while spending her whole life preaching against things like government benefits.

People are deeply irrational even without religion.

[–] [email protected] 32 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (2 children)

As an atheist who is not anti-religion, I wholeheartedly agree. The religious do not have a monopoly on irrationality, or weaponizing ideology.

I see many atheists on forums proposing the idea that if we could only just get rid of religion, the world would be a harmonious and rational place. As if human beings wouldn't still be perfectly able to come up with new and interesting ways to rationalize conflict and division amongst themselves.

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[–] [email protected] 18 points 3 weeks ago

I like this explanation most

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[–] [email protected] 53 points 3 weeks ago (7 children)

Here are a few reasons people believe:

  • Meaning and Purpose: Religion can offer a framework for understanding the universe and our place in it. It can provide answers to big questions about life, death, and morality.

  • Community and Belonging: Religious communities can provide social support, a sense of belonging, and shared values. This can be especially important during difficult times.

  • Comfort and Hope: Religion can offer comfort in times of grief or hardship. It can also provide hope for the afterlife or a better future.

  • Tradition and Identity: Religion can be a core part of a person's cultural heritage or family identity. People may feel a connection to their ancestors or cultural background through their faith.

  • Ethics and Morality: Many religions provide a moral code that guides people's behavior. This can be helpful in making decisions about right and wrong.

I don't believe, but I can see why people stick with it and don't look beyond it. You can get all these things without religion, its just not something that's taught/passed down in the same way as religion is. Additionally, deconstructing is very difficult. You're raised to believe something to be real and you're expected to just drop it and step out of Plato's cave? You'd look like a madman to any friends/family who aren't willing and ready to step out and look around.

[–] [email protected] 55 points 3 weeks ago

As a large language model, I cannot endorse any one religion

[–] [email protected] 45 points 3 weeks ago (1 children)

Come on, this list of reasons was written by an LLM

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[–] [email protected] 44 points 3 weeks ago (7 children)

Serious answer:

I can't speak for anyone else, but I believe in a religion because I've found it to be personally beneficial.

I was a pastor for many years and saw much of the best and worst religion had to offer. I haven't stepped foot inside a church since COVID broke out and don't know that I ever will again.

My personal beliefs are still a significant part of my life, but I understand why someone would ask the question that spawned this discussion.

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[–] [email protected] 37 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago) (10 children)

I'm not religious at all. But in responding to your question OP: we don't have to understand why people believe. Religion just isn't for us, and that's fine. Other people find it has value, and that's fine too. The fact that religion has lasted this long with this many people is proof in itself that there's some value people get out of it. We don't have to get it to understand that.

All the comments here that explain religion solely as dumb or irrational are just as closed minded as the people they're criticising.

[–] [email protected] 13 points 2 weeks ago (1 children)

On point, additionally religion has also effectively associated itself with spirituality. It's also associated itself with caring for others, volunteering, community, togetherness and acceptance. Additionally it's a great place to network and organize communities. Even if belief has faded, tradition is usually important with that group of people.

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[–] [email protected] 33 points 3 weeks ago (3 children)

In some religions walking away from the church means being excluded from family, social, and business contacts. So cutting ties with everyone you know basically.

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[–] [email protected] 33 points 3 weeks ago (4 children)

For the same reasons they always have.

The year has little to do with it. The only things we've really undeniably progressed in over the past century are scientific knowledge and the level of technology. Existential philosophy hasn't exactly made breakthroughs recently, to my knowledge.

Each person still needs to find their own answer to the fundamental questions of "why am I here" and "wtf is death and how do I deal with it".

Our mechanical, scientific understanding of reality provides fairly depressing answers to these questions. Religion? Sunshine and roses.

Also, on a more practical factor: childhood indoctrination and cultural inertia. Most people are raised in religion and they find it "good enough", so religion continues.

[–] [email protected] 14 points 3 weeks ago (9 children)

I find it more depressing that there is a God that decides what is good and what isn't and gives us "free will" just so He can torture us for eternity if we dont do what He wants... kinda fucked up ngl

Fortunately I don't need any more reasons to live than enjoying my day to day, being with the people I love, doing my little projects etc.

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[–] [email protected] 28 points 3 weeks ago

In 2024 life is hard and you can't do anything about it in most cases. Religion gives you an excuse for why it must be so, so that you can keep grinding away.

[–] [email protected] 24 points 3 weeks ago (2 children)
  • Need psychological support in times of distress
  • Gullible
  • sense of community and shared experience
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[–] [email protected] 23 points 3 weeks ago


[–] [email protected] 21 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (3 children)

This is a pretty broad question, it really depends on what you mean by "believe in religion":

  1. Believe that a particular holy book is literal, historical truth.

  2. Believe in the moral teachings of a particular holy book and follow its practices.

  3. Believe in the existence of a universal higher consciousness (God)

1 is a vocal minority, and the reasons have been sufficiently explained elsewhere in this thread.

2 is much more common, and can derive from a number of reasons. Cultural identity generally determines which holy book (and interpretation thereof) you follow, but the attraction to moral framework is deeper than cultural identity. Having a set of guidelines to inform moral behavior, and a method of alignment and focus (prayer) is very valuable.

3 is a metaphysical consideration, and pops up even in 2024 because consciousness is still a mysterious phenomenon. Every explanation leads to roughly the same conclusion: if consciousness is an emergent property of complex interconnected systems, then it stands to reason that the most complex interconnected system (the universe) is more likely than not to be conscious; if consciousness is some external force that complex systems can "tune into" like a radio, then it stands to reason that "consciousness" permeates the universe; if consciousness is something else which defies scientific description, then it stands to reason that there exists some agency to dictate the rules.

Those are, broadly, the rational explanations of consciousness of which I'm aware, and they all imply a universal consciousness of one variety or another. If you can think of another I'd love to consider it.

If you meant something else by "believe in religion", let me know.

[–] [email protected] 13 points 3 weeks ago (3 children)

Another big reason is reason number 4

  1. Gives a sense of community and cultural connection that other things don't quite provide.

I've met a not so inconsequential amount of people in my life that when pressed admitted, they don't believe in god, don't believe in the moral teachings, but attend a place of worship because they think there is no replacement for the interwoven community and cultural connection their place of worship provides. Many people simply like the community connection of their root culture. This is especially true in minority groups (black church, synagogue).

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[–] [email protected] 19 points 3 weeks ago (1 children)

They are raised with it and old habits die hard.

[–] [email protected] 13 points 3 weeks ago (17 children)

The fact that some people start as atheists and later become religious demonstrates there has to be more reasons than just that.

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[–] [email protected] 18 points 2 weeks ago (5 children)
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[–] [email protected] 17 points 2 weeks ago (4 children)

It is very difficult to accept mortality if you don't believe in an afterlife. Religion brings comfort, and comfort improves mental health (at the cost of some delusion).

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[–] [email protected] 17 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (9 children)

Like it or not, people who went to prayer house or religious gatherings socialise more than people who stay indoor and only interact with limited amount of people. Assuming there's no fishy business going on with that particular chapter, they tend to be happier considering the fact human are social animal and the feeling of loneliness due to lack of human to human interaction is the build-in alarm system to warn us against solitude. It's this reason religion is so success because it's enforce togetherness and make you feels like you're part of something.

If we're going into a utopian world where human doesn't need to work anymore and social security is guaranteed, religious will be something even bigger than today.

Edit: forgot to mentioned, am atheist and give no shit to skyman, but somehow on the internet atheist can't have opinion that's not shitting on people with faith.

[–] [email protected] 11 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (2 children)

Nah, I like my community without the side of eternal suffering that so many religions like to threaten you with for varioua reasons.

I'd put my money on huge adoption of D&D in the utopian future before I put it on religion.

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[–] [email protected] 16 points 3 weeks ago (13 children)

Ignoring the inherit assumption that religion is de facto an issue or backwards, and ignoring the fallacy that "progress" is co-liniar with the passage of time, logic is not in of itself a perfect humanistic process of thought, rather it has been developed by humans over the millennia.

There is great comfort in the process of growing into and exploring one's faith. Growing up in a theologically liberal Christian church, I was invited to find ways to meld the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man is such a way that I find purpose and vocation within my life. Religion also offers a place for community among people committed to a mission, be it good or bad. These communities preserve and honor cultural traditions, again, the good and the bad. These are just a few reasons I think people are now, and will remain well into the future, religious.

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[–] [email protected] 16 points 3 weeks ago (3 children)

You have a cult following around celebrities and you are surprised by religion which is older than you?

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[–] [email protected] 15 points 3 weeks ago (3 children)

Indoctrination and ignorance, notice how a big chunk of its members are old people. Younger people are less interested, thankfully. Also, for some people, it is a social club.

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[–] [email protected] 15 points 2 weeks ago

Indoctrination at a young age.

[–] [email protected] 15 points 3 weeks ago (4 children)

It's a good coping mechanism.

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[–] [email protected] 15 points 3 weeks ago

The social aspect might be underappreciated. My guess is people are mainly introduced by family and friends and it becomes a big part of their identity. It becomes difficult to separate the individual elements.

[–] [email protected] 14 points 2 weeks ago

Gods are literally just a psychological comfort blanket to explain the unexplainable. Most religious people don’t put that much thought into what they believe, challenging concepts are just tucked nicely away in the β€œGods will” box and they move on. I think everyone copes with those brain shattering concepts in their own creative way or risk getting buried alive in anxiety.

[–] [email protected] 13 points 3 weeks ago (2 children)

More comforting than the alternative. Its one reason why when material conditions worsen people faith goes up.

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[–] [email protected] 12 points 3 weeks ago

I'm an effort to get you an answer that isn't dismissive:

  1. Youth indoctrination, social conformity, and cultural isolation. If your parents, friends, and most of your community tells you something is true, you are unlikely to challenge it for a variety of reasons including trust (most of what they've taught you works for your daily life), tribal identity, etc

  2. People naturally fear death, and one coping strategy for the existential fear of death is to convince yourself that the death of your body is not the end of your existence. Science does not provide a pathway to this coping strategy so people will accept or create belief systems that quell that fear, even in the face of contradictory evidence. Relieving the pressure of that fear is a strong motivator.

  3. Release of responsibility. When there is no higher power to dictate moral absolutes, we are left feeling responsible for the complex decisions around what is or isn't the appropriate course of action. And that shit is complicated and often anxiety inducing. Many people find comfort in offloading that work to a third party.

[–] [email protected] 12 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago) (3 children)

Because the lowest common denominator is much MUCH lower than you think it is.

This means it's easy to indoctrinate and easy to maintain that for a massive number of people.

Scientific illiteracy is extremely high, and actual "6th grade reading comprehension" is the highest level of literacy for > 50% of a country like the U.S. and ~20% are low literacy or actually illiterate.

This means that half of everyone in the U.S. can read and understand what they read at or below a 6th grade level. This isn't "reading big words", it's "tell us about what you read", "what is the relationship between x & y" type questions.

This comment for example, up to this point only, would be difficult to understand & comprehend for > 50% of people in the U.S. (it demands an 11th grade reading comprehension). And may be misread, misunderstood, or not understood at all.

People are driven to religions to cults and alt conspiracy theories when they don't understand how the world works around them. They latch onto extremely simple often misleading or incorrect ideas of how the world works because they can understand it and it "makes sense" within their sphere of ignorance (we all have one, this isn't meant to be a disparaging term).

This means that the problem is that humans are just not smart enough to escape religion yet. It's the simplest answer, and it appears to be correct.

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[–] [email protected] 12 points 2 weeks ago (1 children)

The alternative is absolutely unfathomable. Like I am an atheist and the fact we exist in any capacity is insane. Where did everything come from? Where will it go? People believe in religion because it's easier.

When I have an existential crisis over it I sometimes wish I was religious.

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[–] [email protected] 12 points 2 weeks ago (1 children)

One popular answer is that sometimes people just experience things that they find scientific answers to not be able to answer adequately. We as a species are still far from knowing everything.

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[–] [email protected] 11 points 2 weeks ago (4 children)

I, for real, want to know if there are any religious/spiritual people here commenting because yikes. I think a lot of people also interpreted your question to be about organized religion, and specifically christianity of the US variety. Please seek out other religious thoughts - I've found much Jewish thought on religion to be of interest. For myself, I'm not christian and not Jewish.

I'm religious because growing up, I adopted the values of the religion I was taught - values of kindness, openness, and inclusion. It's as core a part of my being as my ways of cooking or socializing. To not be religious would feel like hiding parts of myself.

The routine of following the practices, as well as religion/spirituality being able to help us face the unknown we still have in our lives. It can provide internal strength and belief in our ability. I also find the routine a way to connect to my family, my culture, and to my day-to-day. My religious time is more a time of internal reflection on my own actions and if they align with my values. Do folks without a routine religious/spiritual practice do the same?

The community aspect some touched on is huge. I read a book, Palaces for the People, where it mentioned that those with strong social connections fare better in times of crisis. While there are institutions that are getting to the same influence of religious institutions, they are still far less impactful.

I guess this is all less a belief and more why do people still engage with religion. But why do we believe, what is the act of believing? I don't have to believe that the sun will rise every morning, but, I do still believe it will rise every morning. Belief is a whole area of study alone I'm sure.

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[–] [email protected] 11 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

Humans psyche is a meaning inference recursive engine, semiotically I mean, following Charles Sanders Peirce's Theory of Signs, it generates meaning and thus needs a story to explain it, or simply to tell itself.

The story doesn't need to hold sound logic or any objectivity true to reality, it only needs to convey the meaning that it generated so that the mind can believe it more than questioning its validity.

Long story short, humans really likes being told and believing stories, and often they are the ones telling the story right to themselves.

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