What is the purpose of religion?

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by fgghjjkll, Dec 10, 2012.

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  1. fgghjjkll

    fgghjjkll GBATemp MegaMan

    Jul 7, 2008
    I had quite a debate with a friend today and it really got me thinking about this.
    My opinion on religion was that it was used as a mean to keep society civilized back in the time of Ancient Greeks and stuff. I mean, if you commit a sin, you are damned and go to hell. If you commit acts of kindness, you are blessed and go to heaven. Right? Also, I think that religion helped answer some questions that people had in the day like how humanity came into being or whether the sun or earth goes orbit each other.

    What are you thoughts on this matter? What do you think the purpose of religion is?

  2. uribemaster

    uribemaster GBAtemp Fan

    Feb 9, 2010
    United States
    It's our whole purpose in life to find the true religion in which we can all be saved. Of course this is too much of a strong subject for a gaming forum but if you truly want to know, message me and i'll try to explain.
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  3. DinohScene

    DinohScene DinohScene <З MartyDreamy

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    Oct 11, 2011
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    It's complicated but let me give you an example.

    You're in ancient something.
    Someone has put lemon juice and a copper and steel wire together into a jar.
    You touch the wire and you get a weird sensation.

    You with your "inferior" brain (no offense) can't explain what happened so you call it a divine intervention.

    Same could be said for lightning.
    It's up in the sky and you can't explain what it's for.
    Everything gets destroyed so you start to believe that there is someone up there who's mad.
    Cause you know that when you're mad you start breaking stuff.

    I know it's not the best example but yeah ;p
    Try to look it through the eyes of early mankind.
    Everything that has a scientific explanation now (mostly weather and other big event thingies) couldn't be explained back then.
    So early mankind started to think higher powers where at work and that inspired religion.
  4. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

    Aug 5, 2011
    United States
    New Jersey
    Because we seem to live in a cold, uncaring universe, one that wouldn't even blink should we evaporate from existence. I mean, it's basically life in a nutshell; trying to find meaning and purpose in the seemingly meaningless and purposeless world. For a lot of people, the wisdom, solidarity, and spiritual enrichment offered by religion helps to fill that void.

    I'm not sure if this topic is such a good idea, though; a lot of users here haven't shown much maturity when it comes to the subject of religion and faith (to put it lightly). Can we discuss the matter with restraint and dignity, or is that asking too much?
  5. DrOctapu

    DrOctapu Magnificent Bastard

    Dec 23, 2008
    United States
    Kings were more convincing if they said you'd get eternally damned if you didn't serve them.
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  6. jurassicplayer

    jurassicplayer Completionist Themer

    Mar 7, 2009
    United States
    Silly fgg, religion was created for Suzumiya Haruhi.
  7. gifi4

    gifi4 How am I a 'New Member'?

    Apr 21, 2010
    First off, I'm an atheist so anything I say will probably be biased.

    Anyway, to me, Religion is a guiding finger for people who have no will to live if there's no superior force giving them a reason.

    It was invented to give people a reason to continue their lives.
    Due to the way I've thought it out (Note: That's the shortest summary I could perform, it doesn't truly express everything, or much of anything) it means that religous people are unable to handle the truth that we don't have an actual 'reason' to be on this planet.
    I try to be careful with what I say when around other people but if someone spouts absolute bullshit then it tends to bother me. You can have an opinion but if I ignore because it's bullshit, no need to try and shove the beliefs in.
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  8. NightsOwl

    NightsOwl Pays For Avatar Art (For some reason)

    Jul 8, 2012
    United States
    Because people don't want to accept the fact that when you die, you rot in the ground. So they cling to hope that there's an afterlife.

  9. ZAFDeltaForce

    ZAFDeltaForce Specialist

    Sep 9, 2006
    For some people. religion gives them meaning in life
  10. Psionic Roshambo

    Psionic Roshambo GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Aug 12, 2011
    United States
    Religion serves many purposes... it varies from individual to individual.

    But here are some generalizations I have observed in my studies on human nature.

    For the young many times it is a control device the fear of "going to hell" if your bad...
    For the old many times it is a way to ease fears of death, many people find religion this way... You would be surprised at how many atheists are young people but as they age they "find" religion.
    For the ignorant it is a way to explain what they do not understand.

    These are just some generalizations and like I said religions purpose varies from person to person, so take none of it personally.
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  11. air2004

    air2004 Air

    Oct 24, 2008
    United States
    Religion is for those that are curious as to where we came from , or how we got started.
    Some say that religion is only meant for control ( and they maybe right ) .Others say it has out used its usefulness because of science ( they maybe right but I think otherwise ) << those that say that are the same people that feel primordial human beings (our ancestors where all a bunch of idiots ) . Our ancestors where probably smarter than all of us , after all , if they didnt do the shit that they did , we could have never gotten to where we are.

    The true purpose for religion is to find our creator .
  12. Stephapanda

    Stephapanda Clover's Wife

    Sep 24, 2010
    United States
    I'm just finishing up this semester at school, and one of my classes is world religions. I think I can safely say that there are many answers to this question, none of which are better or worse than the others.

    There are three major perspectives that can answer this question - materialistic, functional, and belief.

    The materialistic perspective is that humans invented religion and it doesn't really exist. The only thing that truly exists is the material world, and anything supernatural is only imagined. Ludwig Feuerbach, a nineteenth century philosopher, was especially influential in this perspective. He said that deities are just projections of desirable qualities that we have, but don't realize it - and then worship it as a supreme being which fits in perfectly with this perspective. There was also Karl Marx, a socialist philosopher who lived around the same time as Feuerbach who viewed religions as basically something to falsely pacify humans. Additionally, he accused Christian authority figures of supporting oppressive acts while explaining them as "punishment for sinners". Basically, authority figures using God to ensure their high status and power over people who are afraid of being punished.

    The functional perspective is that religion is useful to us. For example, it supposedly helps to define us and gives us reasons for living. Many functional explanations are based on sociological concepts - social structure and whatnot. Biological concepts also come to play in the functional perspective, including its "survival value". There are also theories that religious potential is genetically inherent because of this. Many medical studies have been performed to study this sort of thing, and its value to our health and general well-being (such as how prayer can be a benefit to health, and etc).

    The last main perspective is the belief perspective, which is exactly what it sounds like - belief that a supreme being or deity actually exists and there is another existing reality that can't be seen by humans.

    These are just a few different reasons what people think the purpose of religion is - there are many, many more. It's all a matter of opinion, I guess since usually you won't meet people with the exact same beliefs on why something is the way it is.
  13. kupo3000

    kupo3000 GBAtemp Fan

    Sep 14, 2009
    An ancient game of telephone that went horribly wrong.
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  14. Crimson Lotus

    Crimson Lotus Metal

    Dec 7, 2012
    United States
    New York City
    What is the purpose of religion? That's rather hard to answer because all the men that authored the organized religions are all dead. What does religion do? This is a question that we can deliberate over. I think religion is a force of evil, an insult to human decency and our native morality. As the late Christopher Hitchens so brilliantly put it, "Name me one good deed I could not do as a non-believer. Now think of one sinister action taken for the sake of religion." You've already thought of one sinister action and you'll think of a couple more before this post is over. Religious apologists constantly ask how we would know right from wrong without the bible, the Quuran or whatever holy text. Then they go on to say that non-believers are immoral. See the fallacy there? They need some thousand year old text from when slavery was the norm, you could rape or murder children of your enemies to please a jealous celestial North Korea that requires you to praise it for the rest of eternity. You must praise this unparalleled dictator even if you are born sick and if you don't you will burn in a lake of fire for the rest of eternity so that you can become well again? This is an absolute disgrace and many of us will not be spoken to in such a manner. We've had a sense of morality long before religion otherwise we wouldn't be here, our species would certainly have debunked at the bud if we couldn't figure out that perhaps raping children, killing a stranger, stealing from the poor wasn't the best of ideas. Religion does not keep people civilized. A normal, morally well person would not hack off the clitoris of their new born daughter but he will if he's a believer. Normal good people wouldn't do stupid and evil things but they will when corrupted by religion. Going back to the purpose question, I can't answer it, at least not the intent of the vile and sinister that pioneered such evil. Whether it gives someone a purpose in life or answer questions (which it doesn't, creationism is so ridiculous that it's on par with being a holocaust denier) it certainly isn't the right way to go about it, in my view.
  15. porkiewpyne

    porkiewpyne Report-er

    Global Moderator
    Jun 8, 2008
    For the lulz

    In all seriousness, I think of it as a set of guidelines for peace purposes.

    And also to give lives some bigger purpose.
  16. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

    pip Reporter
    Sep 13, 2009
    Gaming Grotto
    To me, the main focus of religion was always to cater to the spiritual part of our being - religions were created to pass on sets of moral rules within societies as well as cultivate them. Not only that, religion also provides comfort - allows one to become a part of a greater whole - a group of people who share his or her beliefs. Even more importantly, it introduces the notions of God, afterlife and "soul", it gives hope that our current condition is not the end of the journey. Finally, it attempts to give answers to questions which science cannot answer not due to lack of data but due to the nature of the question - things like "the sense behind life?" or "who created the world?". I know where this thread is inevitably heading - discussions like this one require a certain level of maturity, so I'll just use this opportunity to say that the thought that there is, or at least might be another sentient being out there which carefuly designed the universe as if it was clockwork appeals to me.
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  17. kupo3000

    kupo3000 GBAtemp Fan

    Sep 14, 2009
    Carefully designed universe you say?
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  18. tatripp

    tatripp GBAtemp Fan

    Mar 15, 2009
    United States
    Religion should not be viewed as a conspiracy and exists in every culture. Even if some religions are used to control people (Anyone want some kool aid?), the purpose of religion in general is not to control, but to seek or explain truth.
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  19. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

    pip Reporter
    Sep 13, 2009
    Gaming Grotto
    Of course. Not in the sense of the Genesis or Intelligent Design, however designed nonetheless. The probability of life occuring naturally in the course of chemical reactions is pretty much non-existant - I firmly believe in the scientifically-proven origins of species and laws of nature, but that alone in no way disproves the existence of a higher intelligence setting the process up. Think of the world as a line of domino blocks with God or Gods as the force that pushed the first block.

    One has to understand that religious stories are just that - stories. They are designed to pass on a core concept in a metaphorical way, reading them literally is a mistake.
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  20. Crimson Lotus

    Crimson Lotus Metal

    Dec 7, 2012
    United States
    New York City
    Taking on beliefs and ideas without any testable means or any evidence, peer review and scrutiny is not what I call "seeking and explaining truth". It is blind and unwarranted, hence the term faith.

    Foxi4: If we are to start debating on whether God or gods exist the burden of proof lies on the party that is making extraordinary claims and it would require extraordinary evidence for which apologists have not succeeded in providing. It's a spin on "God of the gaps" and that logic is flawed. Just because something is not known in its entirety does not mean it is defacto "oh, God must have done it".

    Edit 2: Let me make a clarification so we can avoid some unnecessary conflict of ideas. I am taking the atheist position, which is very often misunderstood. It is not that I am saying God certainly does not exist but rather that there is no viable, sufficient evidence in believing in a supernatural power.
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