The origins of worship – and now
Posted by robertpriddy on May 7, 2014
Religion usually tries to impose an orderly pattern on the chaotic appearance of reality, while science aims to discover what order and regularity are to be found in reality. Science has established without any doubt whatever that reality is ordered according to predictable laws wherever it can be observed.
The beginnings of religion certainly lie in mankind’s inability to predict very much due to the lack of knowledge of the causes of natural events. The emerging belief in good and evil spirits, deities and gods was a way of explaining what one did not understand as the actions of such entities, and also provided a focus for ways of trying to influence those imaginary entities: offerings to them from food and valuables to animal and even human sacrifices, from expressing thanks for perceived gifts and prayer and onwards to all manner of activities designed to propitiate these spirits. Many of these elements are still found in differing forms in all the mainstream religions, their sects and ‘spiritual cults’. Belief – as opposed to the urge to learn facts about reality as represented by the sciences and related enterprises – leads to a personal deprivation of reality, of being in touch with the world as it is, not as it is wishfully imagined it is or may become. In this era the need to rid human society of all unfounded beliefs and false practices they encourage is pressing, as the world is faced with the greatest challenges to the continued security of humanity, challenges of climate change and overpopulation, scarcity of resources and much more that can only be hindered by false beliefs and advanced by determined worldly action on the basis of knowledge.
This viewpoint is among the central themes on a website entitled ‘god is imaginary’ which takes a standpoint on a large number of issues concerning the validity of prayer, belief, scripture and science. By clicking on the headings below one finds a wide range of arguments refuting religious beliefs.