Religion an Elaborate Mechanism to Deal with Man's Fear of Death? DOUBTS at times?

Hi Friends,
Does anyone here ever have doubts, frequent or only occasional, that in reality, death is merely a total end to our individual existance, and religion is Man’s way of dealing with this frightening reality? I admit that this thought occurs to me from time to time.

From primitive man, the reality of death, and it’s seeming permenance, has always been a looming reality. Maybe, in our attempt to deal with the harsh fact, that when we diewe will cease to exist, Man invented religion as a source of psychological comfort as we face the unknown oblivian.

I’m not saying this is true, but it’s a possiblity. From the obtainable data the world presents to us through our senses, and what can be measured through science, we have no hard evidence to the contrary.

It really doesn’t work that way.There would be no need for religion to believe there is life after death. You could just be a spirit or whatever else wandering aimlessly for eternity. Religion is about a deity (I am being fairly inclusive here talking about religions so please dont hang me or think I am aginast the Church). Religion formed from the idea that this world could not have come from nothing, ergo somebody must have created or put into motion. Religion is about being able to understand the deity, to a point. It is not about death, but about life and its origins. Does religion make one feel better about death? It can for some people. For me, it does. But that is not religions purpose. Religion is about God. What makes Catholicism/Christianity more belivable than say Islam or Buddism? The love of a mericful, yet just God. The Incarnation. The Eucharist. The Church and its Saints. Thats why I am in RCIA…to be part of something bigger than life.

dxu

Dear Snowman,
I didn’t really ask if it worked this way or that way. Religion fulfills different needs to different people, it seems to me.

What I was specifically wondered is, do these thoughts that I expressed in my opening post ever occur to anyone else here? Do others have these doubts at times? I guess you don’t.

Hello,
Yes I had these doubts, until I faced death. doubt tries to get you to forget to call on the Lord. doubt introduces despair, despair introduces death. Jesus Christ defeated death, pray He delivers you from it with His presence, Tim

Hi Friends,
Does anyone here ever have doubts, frequent or only occasional, that in reality, death is merely a total end to our individual existance, and religion is Man’s way of dealing with this frightening reality? I admit that this thought occurs to me from time to time.

We all dought from time-to-time because of our concupiscience (tendancy toward sin). Yet, if death is merely a total end to our individual existance, and there is no accountability for our actions in time on this Earth, and no purpose to life then I would ask a few questions for you to ponder.

  1. Where did morality come from? If it did not come from a higher source (what we call God and what St. Thomas Aquinas called the uncaused cause) and being that everyone human is equal to the other then who in humanity is to say what is moral and what isn’t?

  2. Since all humanity is equal which person(s) decide what is right and wrong? If a person claims that society decides what is right and wrong then logically they would have to agree that the horrible acts of what the Nazi’s did were correct, since their society accepted the destruction of the innocent Jews; which is really scary.

From primitive man, the reality of death, and it’s seeming permenance, has always been a looming reality. Maybe, in our attempt to deal with the harsh fact, that when we diewe will cease to exist, Man invented religion as a source of psychological comfort as we face the unknown oblivian.

Again, if man “invented religion” then which person or persons decides what is moral and what isn’t?

I’m not saying this is true, but it’s a possiblity. From the obtainable data the world presents to us through our senses, and what can be measured through science, we have no hard evidence to the contrary.

Well, in the strict sense many things are a possiblity, but in the practical, rational, and philosophical senses they aren’t, since there are MANY truths that point to a higher power and sufficient and persuasive arguments that would out weigh the notion that somehow God doesn’t exist and that is said in some circles that we evolved from apes!

The Teleolgical argument I found in a web search:

Premise 1: X was intelligently designed,
Premise 2: X was not designed by humans.
Premise 3: The only conceivable beings capable of intelligent design are humans (who exist) and God (who may or may not exist).
From (3): The only conceivable beings capable of designing X in particular are humans (who exist) and God (who may or may not exist).

Recall (2): that X was not designed by humans.

If God doesn’t exist, then X was also not designed by God.

Thus if God doesn’t exist, then none of the conceivable beings capable of designing X designed X, in which case X was not designed at all.

Since God not existing therefore results in a contradiction of (1), God must exist if (1) is true.

I say:
God is real, we are sinners in need of salvation; experientially this makes a lot of practical sense, since the world is full of injustice and hate. Christ was a real historical figure who claimed to be God, was either a liar, lunatic or LORD, I say the later, died for the sins of humanity, and resurrected from the dead. We have a plethora of evidence and more historical documentation that Christ was whom He said He was and that the Bible is real book full of real stories, than any other historical figure or book that has ever been written. In that book I believe what 1 Cor 15:17-22 says:

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Don’t give into the world; Satan is real, God is real too and more powerful than anyone. God loves you so much that He died for you, if only you would trust and follow Him.

[quote=spiritblows]Dear Snowman,
I didn’t really ask if it worked this way or that way. Religion fulfills different needs to different people, it seems to me.

What I was specifically wondered is, do these thoughts that I expressed in my opening post ever occur to anyone else here? Do others have these doubts at times? I guess you don’t.
[/quote]

Im sorry if my post was not what what you were looking for. While I can understand your thought as I have had it before, the premise is faulty to think religion is something designed to help us deal with death. Like I said in my previous post Religion is about who is God, who are we, where did we come from, and where are we going. It also answers the origins of material, such as the Earth.

But yes I have felt what you are feeling, but only before I really thought about it in depth did I realize this is not what religion’s intent is for.

dxu

That view would make more sense if the “inventors” of religion (Christianity, in particular) hadn’t also invented hell. How comforting is that? “Yes, there’s life after death, but it may be a life of endless torment!”

Dear Voci,
Perhaps, for some, religion is a way of manipulating others with coercive methods, and Hell is one tool in the arsenal. Also, many symbols in religion are archetypal ones, with Hell being that of our nightmares.

Or, one can argue that archetypes represent spiritual realities. Really life is a mystery, even with the explanation of our faith.

Anyways, here on this thread I am opening up about some of the secret, occasional doubts that cross my mind sometimes. I’m sort of playing the devil’s advocate here, and my original post is part of those musings. There are times when I feel like I’m clinging to a false hope, especially since there isn’t any concrete evidence to the contrary. Plus, I don’t see clear evidence of the fruits in individuals of one religion over another. I can’t state emphatically and irrefutably that my Catholic faith produces better people than any other belief system.

Life does baffle me at times…

[quote=spiritblows]What I was specifically wondered is, do these thoughts that I expressed in my opening post ever occur to anyone else here? Do others have these doubts at times? I guess you don’t.
[/quote]

Hi friend.

Yes I have felt this way. It’s a question I still often ask myself. Strangely, I remain convinced of a spiritual aspect to our being and that our ‘souls’ are real.

I get frustrated with men preaching what they percieve to be the will of God. It’s all very well saying that the Holy Spirit works through this chap or that chap, but ultimately it’s all chaps and very little else these days.

Despite these doubts (which are more doubting men and their intention than ‘GOD’) I still find comfort in prayer and I still love my Church. So I go and I try to help and be a good Catholic.

The martyrs could have found security from death by merely renouncing their faith, yet many went to the gallows joyfully.

Dictators tried to smash religion by persecuting it, only to find it sprout again like a flower, even in the Gulag and the concentration camps.

Renaissance excess encouraged lives of comfort and the misuse of church offices for coercion, only to find the asetics and Saints like Philip of Neri leading them back to the doctrine of self-denial.

etc. etc. etc.

Any “psychological” reason you can devise to explain religion away can be flatly refuted by finding an example in the long history of the Church wherein that specific psychological security was offered to her, and yet she turned her back on it.

As a matter of fact, religion breaks almost every psychological law there is.

[quote=spiritblows]Dear Voci,
Perhaps, for some, religion is a way of manipulating others with coercive methods, and Hell is one tool in the arsenal. Also, many symbols in religion are archetypal ones, with Hell being that of our nightmares.

Or, one can argue that archetypes represent spiritual realities. Really life is a mystery, even with the explanation of our faith.

Anyways, here on this thread I am opening up about some of the secret, occasional doubts that cross my mind sometimes. I’m sort of playing the devil’s advocate here, and my original post is part of those musings. There are times when I feel like I’m clinging to a false hope, especially since there isn’t any concrete evidence to the contrary. Plus, I don’t see clear evidence of the fruits in individuals of one religion over another. I can’t state emphatically and irrefutably that my Catholic faith produces better people than any other belief system.

Life does baffle me at times…
[/quote]

I imagine everybody has doubts at some point. But consider this. If religion is really a just a comfort against death, and God does not exist, then what’s wrong with that comfort? After all, without God nothing we do matters anyway. No matter how we live, everybody we touch for good or ill will be gone forever in a hundred years or so. And if there is no God then nature has simply played a vicious trick on us by giving us the capacity to imagine Him, and the knowledge of our own mortality (and that of everybody we love). So if there is no God then our very existence is proof that nature stinks and to heck with it.

[quote=spiritblows]Dear Snowman,
I didn’t really ask if it worked this way or that way. Religion fulfills different needs to different people, it seems to me.

What I was specifically wondered is, do these thoughts that I expressed in my opening post ever occur to anyone else here? Do others have these doubts at times? I guess you don’t.
[/quote]

It’s like you read my mind, man.

Am I the only one who feels that without religion we would have no fear of death at all?

After all, once youre dead (in your scenario), its not like anything can be done about it. Once you are dead and cease to exist it doesnt matter?

If we live good, if we die we wont know, so… :slight_smile:

However, with religion I do fear death/the second coming. In fact i fear it so much that it has driven me to change my lifestyle and embrace the catholic lifestyle (lifelong catholic, lapsed), although now the fear factor is slowly turning into a deep love for God.

(Created) religion is actually the worst way to deal with a fear of death, create a false idea and then hold to it? How would that give anyone comfort??

Care to explain how dying for the faith relieves one fear of death?

In Christ.

Andre.

[quote=Magicsilence]Am I the only one who feels that without religion we would have no fear of death at all?

After all, once youre dead (in your scenario), its not like anything can be done about it. Once you are dead and cease to exist it doesnt matter?

If we live good, if we die we wont know, so… :slight_smile:

However, with religion I do fear death/the second coming. In fact i fear it so much that it has driven me to change my lifestyle and embrace the catholic lifestyle (lifelong catholic, lapsed), although now the fear factor is slowly turning into a deep love for God.

(Created) religion is actually the worst way to deal with a fear of death, create a false idea and then hold to it? How would that give anyone comfort??

Care to explain how dying for the faith relieves one fear of death?

In Christ.

Andre.
[/quote]

Great Answer!

[quote=spiritblows]Hi Friends,
Does anyone here ever have doubts, frequent or only occasional, that in reality, death is merely a total end to our individual existance, and religion is Man’s way of dealing with this frightening reality? I admit that this thought occurs to me from time to time.
[/quote]

I often think this might be true - more often, I wonder whether belief in God is simply a result of bio-chemical changes in the brain and body.

The really depressing idea, ISTM, is that life is ultimately meaningless & purposeless, that death is the end, and that human history, and death and birth of the universe, Milky Way, solar system, earth, and human race will recur for ever and ever - and that mankind will carry on thinking, wrongly, that there is a Loving God, when all that is happeniong is that people’s body chemistry is playing tricks on them. The notion of an unceasing repetition of thousands of centuries of human misery, all for no purpose, is truly horrible - but that is not a reason for denying this is so, if it is so. For many horrors are real. I think that such possibilities should be faced, not fled from, comfortless as they are.

I also think we should make the most of life while we have it - because it’s not going to come again ##

From primitive man, the reality of death, and it’s seeming permenance, has always been a looming reality. Maybe, in our attempt to deal with the harsh fact, that when we die we will cease to exist, Man invented religion as a source of psychological comfort as we face the unknown oblivian.

I’m not saying this is true, but it’s a possiblity. From the obtainable data the world presents to us through our senses, and what can be measured through science, we have no hard evidence to the contrary.

I think this is a very sensible approach :slight_smile:

I don’t mean to be rude to anybody here, but to even consider this as a possibility shows a true lack of faith, in the Christian sense. Please have no doubt.God does exist and He loves you. As far as death goes, “Be not afraid”. There is no way that God and an afterlife do not exist. They do and we will all experience it. Have faith and use your God given rational mind and senses. Something cannot come from nothing.

I wish I could of more service but I am sure there is more to life than this fleeting moment on Earth. So much more. I hope to see you all there.

peace to all,
dxu

Dear Snowman,
You sound a little upset, my friend. Does my honesty in sharing my doubts disturb you? These ARE very private thoughts of mine that I don’t normally share. I was hoping this would be a safe place to discuss them.

I do have faith, but my doubts pop into my head sometimes too. To be accused of wrongdoing for thinking things over is really not fair. I can’t help it that I live in a confusing world where things aren’t exactly obvious. I mean, if God wanted to make his truth readily apparent, I’m sure he could. But no, he chose to come in human form 2000 years ago, making us all rely on third hand reports from ancient scriptures that are often unclear and open to wildly varying interpertations. Do you follow me? Life on this planet is often perplexing!

[quote=spiritblows]Dear Snowman,
You sound a little upset, my friend. Does my honesty in sharing my doubts disturb you? These ARE very private thoughts of mine that I don’t normally share. I was hoping this would be a safe place to discuss them.

I do have faith, but my doubts pop into my head sometimes too. To be accused of wrongdoing for thinking things over is really not fair. I can’t help it that I live in a confusing world where things aren’t exactly obvious. I mean, if God wanted to make his truth readily apparent, I’m sure he could. But no, he chose to come in human form 2000 years ago, making us all rely on third hand reports from ancient scriptures that are often unclear and open to wildly varying interpertations. Do you follow me? Life on this planet is often perplexing!
[/quote]

I am very pleased to hear you consider me your friend, I am indeed grateful and appreciative and view you as my friend as well.

I am not accusing you of wrongdoings by thinking things over. In fact, I am pleased. However, I am upset. Your thoughts are disturbing. Why? Because I do understand them and they have been my biggest obstacle EVER! I fear death, not as much as I did though. Death is my #1 fear though because we just can’t see it or touch it or have others come back telling us what it is like. It is the one thing we cannot stop or avoid. Everyone from Kings to peasants experience it. Even our Lord did. I am sorry if I seem insensitive but I have fought with this for the longest time. To be honest, I could use something to make me feel better…:o…please accept my apologies.

peace to all, now and forever

dxu

Dear Snowman,.
What a beautifully honest post. I really appreciate it. Yes, I think there is sometimes a denial about death. I’ve pondered it since I was 5 years old, when the reality of death impressed itsself on my consciousness. I remember very clearly. And, I will tell you now, I don’t know anymore about this mystery than I did then.

It doesn’t make sense, though, that life would have no meaning. It’s just as hard to believe that matter arose out of nothingness, with no rhyme or reason, and accidentally produced life. That is even more illogical than the concept that there is a God, which is pure and unadulterated consciousness and power.

[quote=Bishopite]We all dought from time-to-time because of our concupiscience (tendancy toward sin). Yet, if death is merely a total end to our individual existance, and there is no accountability for our actions in time on this Earth, and no purpose to life then I would ask a few questions for you to ponder.

  1. Where did morality come from? If it did not come from a higher source (what we call God and what St. Thomas Aquinas called the uncaused cause) and being that everyone human is equal to the other then who in humanity is to say what is moral and what isn’t?
    [/quote]

You assume that to reject God is to still accept the idea of a universal code of morality. You also assume that, in absence of God, all humans are equal to one another. (Not that the second assumption matters in light of the baselessness of the first.)

In regards to your question, though, I would submit that, in the opinion of the atheist, morality is merely humanity’s natural attempt to preserve itself. For example, I, as an individual, do not want to die. I therefore enter into an assumption with my neighbors that to kill is “wrong”. I want to possess material things, and I do not want my belongings stolen from me, therefore stealing is wrong. Etc. Arguably, there is nothing implicit about morality itself that infers the existence of God.

Arguably.

  1. Since all humanity is equal which person(s) decide what is right and wrong? If a person claims that society decides what is right and wrong then logically they would have to agree that the horrible acts of what the Nazi’s did were correct, since their society accepted the destruction of the innocent Jews; which is really scary.

Again, you assume that an atheist still accepts that all humanity is equal, not that it is really relevant.

Strictly speaking, logically, there is no “right and wrong”. There is no morality. There is simply what can be done and what cannot. What is acceptable to individuals, institutions, and society and what is not. What is beneficial and what is not. What accomplishes a certain goal and what does not. Etc…

Well, in the strict sense many things are a possiblity, but in the practical, rational, and philosophical senses they aren’t, since there are MANY truths that point to a higher power and sufficient and persuasive arguments that would out weigh the notion that somehow God doesn’t exist and that is said in some circles that we evolved from apes!

Personally, I believe in God and am not at odds with the theory of evolution, but that’s another discussion entirely.

The Teleological argument I found in a web search:

Premise 1: X was intelligently designed,
Premise 2: X was not designed by humans.
Premise 3: The only conceivable beings capable of intelligent design are humans (who exist) and God (who may or may not exist).
From (3): The only conceivable beings capable of designing X in particular are humans (who exist) and God (who may or may not exist).

Recall (2): that X was not designed by humans.

If God doesn’t exist, then X was also not designed by God.

Thus if God doesn’t exist, then none of the conceivable beings capable of designing X designed X, in which case X was not designed at all.

Since God not existing therefore results in a contradiction of (1), God must exist if (1) is true.

I find the whole intelligent design thing rather flimsy. The whole idea of “design” is kind of beneath the idea of God, in my opinion. The lines between before and after are sort of blurred by a God who is beyond time, in the sense that we understand it.

In my opinion, it was all sort of random in the sense that our origins lie in the natural, scientific progression of matter through the universe, the formation of the earth, life on earth, etc, but that is not to say that it isn’t all God’s will that it happened as such.

On a similar note, we are free willed, in that we have a rational mind and make decisions. We choose between Path A and Path B. We have the potential to take either, and in a sense we write our own future. It is a great blessing that we are highly developed enough beings, higher than all the beasts of the earth, “in God’s image”, that we can perceive and interact with the Universe, the living manifestation of God, the “ultimate reality”, in this way. However, our understanding of time is so limited in that this seemingly contradicts the thought that God knows all and has a plan which will come to fruition. It’s hard for us as humans being tossed around in the flow of the river of time to reconcile those two truths (imho).

Anyway, I’m rambling.

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