It’s not so easy to talk about Spirituality but at least it’s Game of Self stuff and we know the right approach there, which can be summarized with:
If it helps us to be happy, it helps us to be happy. In our internal world, truth is subjective, but happiness is real.
It’s not so easy to talk about Faith but at least it’s mostly Game of Self stuff (Spirituality with a direction) and we can summarize it with:
If it helps us to be happy and achieve our goals, it helps us to be happy and achieve our goals.
And when our Faith goals get beyond our head and involve other people and the world, then shit hits the fan and it’s a Religion. With making real life claims it becomes such an explosive mix between The Game of Self and The Game of Life that it’s no surprise at all that it’s s major source of conflict all over the world.
So, what is Religion?
Religion is Faith turned into a story, trying to spread its story genes endlessly and outcompete every other competing story, including any other religion or extreme ideology (eg. Communism). It evolves like a living organism responding to good and bad human leaders’ traits and cultural pressure and has one goal: survival.
It doesn’t matter what the story is or how spiritual the initial idea is. It will compete and either survive or not. As 99% of religions ever did not survive to this day, what do you think are the traits for survival?
Being catchy and making us feel good. Best of all, universally loved. Throw in a bunch of afterlife for those who don’t like the idea of death. Oh, that’s all of us… 🙂
Since Religion often seems to meddle with Evolution for some reason, it is a
well-deserved-payback special intellectual experience to analyze religions in evolutionary terms 🙂
I’m sure I have been branded a hardcore atheist by now, but this is not actually true. Just needed to get your attention and show you no slack will be cut in this post. I’m actually quite balanced on the subject and atheists, I’m coming after you in a minute for your lack of understanding of human nature 🙂
Now that I have successfully
offended challenged everyone, let’s share where I stand.
I am for Spirituality. Even if it’s just in our heads and purely a human invention not based on anything real, it has its virtues. The Game of Self needs whatever it needs. Some find hope in truth, others find it in fiction and there is nothing wrong with that… as long as we don’t impose our thoughts on other people who may not need what we need spiritually.
Spirituality has close ties with Morality, a human made concept that is largely a force for good in society. By the way, atheists can be spiritual (drawing the inspiration from nature, science, the universe, quantum physics, etc) and I see no significant difference in morality between atheists and faithful people.
I am for Faith… kinda. Faith is a multiplier of a person’s abilities. Give it to a peaceful man with good principles and you get the behavior of Jesus. Give it to a king or Pope with lust for power and wealth and you get the Crusades. The reason I’m for Faith (kinda) is that people are generally more good than bad in this day and age. In history, in times of scarcity and disinformation, this was not always the case. So Faith, while historically controversial in its results (especially if we count communism and fascism as results of blind faith, which is a close call), can play a role in helping those we collectively left behind in developing countries. It can help realize and combat inequality with some much needed charity. It can even help motivate our asses to do something about Climate change.
Keep in mind Faith is not Wisdom. Spirituality alone can give you Wisdom without any powerful Faith. It’s simply a power multiplier for good… or bad. If you know you’re a good person inside, Faith is something you can use to power up your Game of Self and subsequently, your Game of Life too. Heard of “Fake it till you make it” problem-solving? Well, it doesn’t work if you don’t have any Faith 🙂
This is the part I feel atheists don’t fully grasp. Just because you can handle your own Game of Self based on scientific truth only and it works fine, doesn’t mean you’re living up to your full potential, as you’re missing the powerful multiplier of Faith which is, I kid you not, already biologically embedded in your brain. Imagine in a computer shooter game you carry around the big blaster all the time but you always decide to use your handgun instead 🙂 It also doesn’t mean everyone else can survive your way without this extra tool. Because this is what Faith is. It’s a tool 🙂 One for personal use, that should not be irresponsibly scaled to crowds of unknown people or you don’t know what you’re multiplying and breeding anymore!
So, what is Religion again? In non-evolutionary terms 🙂
Religion is streamlined Faith on steroids. It’s a complex system for ensuring the survival of the underlying story. To do so it needs cultural (art), political (prestige), and financial resources. It has to collect money from society to ensure its survival and it gives some back for good causes, resulting in mixed economic results. It can help people who are on the brink of collapse with mental or drug issues get it back together, but it can also make people narrow-minded by enveloping them in a filter bubble. All this brings mixed social results, which vary between religions, cultures, and places.
To be continued…