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A review of common superstitions and beliefs in the society

Volume 1-4 " 2005 33arguing that myth is essential for good ethics and meaningful living. How do all of these thinkers rationalize the fact that many god-believers, myth-believers and suchlike, appear to commit the same atrocities and immoralities as unbelievers? From the Dark Ages presided over by Christianity, to the spectre of Islamist brutality against for example women and gays in Islamic countries, it seems that religious morals are hardly a panacea. Karen Armstrong dismisses these problems with the odd concept that they are caused by "failed myths" 34.

An element of double-think appears to be in place: Such circular logic ought to be challenged wherever it is heard. So there are numbers of people who, if they want to be good or, wants to be seen as good, will gravitate towards religion simply because they think it is what required.

These people, who have come to actively choosing to be a better person, will find that their efforts are rewarded whether or not they choose to do it within a religious framework. There is plenty of evidence that religion is not required.

Parson in 1966 and Wilson in 1982 both warned of systematic collapse in morality if secularisation continued. It not only continued, but has accelerated. There has been no mass failure. Crime is down, wars are shorter, violence is down.

It happens that people can also adopt non-religious and secular philosophies in order to promote good moralizing. Secular movements such as the British Humanist Association and IHEU International Humanist and Ethical Union are devoted to encouraging moral behavior, moral thinking, overall conscientiousness and rationality. The main difference between these and religious groups who do the same, is that the religious groups often teach that they are the only valid source of morals.

If I am threatened into behaving in a good manner then I am at best amoralbecause I am a review of common superstitions and beliefs in the society acting with free will.

If you believe that a supreme god is going to punish you in hell or deny you life annihilation if you misbehave, it is like being permanently threatened into behaving well. In addition, if you believe there is some great reward for behaving well, then your motives for good behavior are more selfish.

  • There is plenty of evidence that religion is not required;
  • These parts of the brain would normally have a purely practical function;
  • In general, it must be acknowledged that a lot of what we call religion is in fact a mixture of semi-believed mythology and cultural practices; a 'cause' of religion is therefore our want of simple categorisation.

An atheist who does not believe in heaven and hell is potentially more moral, for s he acts without these added factors. Most atheists who do not believe in divine judgement, and most theists who do, both act morally. Some of both groups act consistently immorally. The claim that belief in God is essential or aids moral behavior is wrong, and any amusing theistic claim that they have "better" morals, despite acting under a reward and punishment system, is deeply questionable.

Who is more moral? Those who act for the sake of goodness itself, or those who do good acts under the belief that failure to do so results in hell? In conclusion, the simplicity and drama of religious stick-and-carrot approaches to morality often make religions appealing, and, to be seen as good in society - or to try to reform themselves - many people find themselves attracted to a religion. Unfortunately, all of this psychology functions just as well no matter if the tenets of the religion are actually true, or not.

Culture and Myth buddhism hinduism It is only in modern literate times that myth and religion have become individual areas of study: So, agricultural communities had agricultural religions as part of that culture. A 1915 study of ancient Mesopotamian religion found that it was apparent that although many cultures shared beliefs and myths, "striking differences remain to be accounted for.

Human experiences varied in localities because all sections of humanity were not confronted in ancient times by the same problems in their everyday lives" 35. Agricultural people had gods that waxed and waned, lived and died, with the seasons.

Superstitious Minds

Native hunting tribes had gods and rituals that would secure them luck in the hunt 36. Those gods are clearly products of the people's environment, and the personal stories and dramas told about them are products of the imagination in an attempt to explain facets of the natural environment. In retrospect it is hard to tell what elements of ancient cultures were actually believed, what was known to be mythical, and what was therefore religious i.

In " A Short History of Myth: Volume 1-4 " by Karen Armstrong 2005 33 we see this confusion as a central theme 37.

Buddhism and Hinduism are very hard to separate out into culture and religion and no-one knows whether "Jew" means the religious, dietary-observing Synagogue-attending type, or the atheist secular type. For that reason, there are many sociologists who deny that Hinduism is a distinct religion, although in recent decades, Hindu nationalists have been building a much clearer and more forceful definition of Hindutva 'Hindu-ness'.

In general, it must be acknowledged that a lot of what we call religion is in fact a mixture of semi-believed mythology and cultural practices; a 'cause' of religion is therefore our want of simple categorisation.

Carib witchcraft christianity islam Anthony Laying 2010 has studied the prevalence of superstitions and witchcraft-accusations in certain cultures in this case, the Caribs. The general idea, held by "many tribal and peasant communities all over the world" is that witches are responsible for many social maladies from disease to failed crops, and they are simply evil and sneaky.

A review of common superstitions and beliefs in the society so-called witches are murdered, tortured, expelled or at least shunned; the Dark Ages of Christian history and the heresy-accusations of Islam today both follow ed the same psychology.

The features of witchcraft highlight the functionalism of religion in wider ways. Witness how many of the effects serve to reinforce people's already-existing beliefs and to maintain social structure even when the religious dogmas suffer from counter-evidence: Maintaining mental health gaining sympathy and compensation for low status, displacing antagonism and jealousy, achieving a sense of control.

Victims of witchcraft, often persons who otherwise attract little attention, receive intense sympathetic concern from their neighbours. Those accused of using witchcraft are frequently very unpopular and, therefore, are ideal scapegoats.

Blaming misfortune on gods, demons, or bad luck gives the believer very little sense of control; witches, being here among the living, may be identified and dealt with. Providing Explanations explaining death, illness, misfortune, and why magical cures sometimes fail. Where witchcraft is presumed, bad luck, accident, or infection are not considered satisfactory explanations.

  • Tolerance for deviant behaviour decreases under these conditions, inviting witch hunts and creating incentive to abide by traditional cultural norms;
  • We humans, he suggest, and especially children, are natural born dualists;
  • This superstition finds its origin in the middles ages due to the misconstrued belief that single, mostly elderly; women who associated themselves with many cats were actually witches who could become cats themselves;
  • A superstition is a belief or way of behaving based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck; a belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck.

When misfortune is especially persistent, witchcraft is readily assumed to be the cause. When magical cures fail, witchcraft may be blamed for the failure, thus preserving faith in such good magic.

Encouraging proper conduct reinforcing and clarifying correct behaviour and providing negative role models to discourage bad behaviour. Nonconformists are the most likely to be accused of practicing witchcraft; their strange behaviour provides 'evidence' of their evil nature.

In egalitarian societies and communities plagued by persistent poverty, individuals and households adapt by sharing with others.

  1. Often so-called witches are murdered, tortured, expelled or at least shunned; the Dark Ages of Christian history and the heresy-accusations of Islam today both follow ed the same psychology.
  2. Those who refuse [can be accused of being a witch, or conversely might attract the attention of a jealous witch]. It happens that people can also adopt non-religious and secular philosophies in order to promote good moralizing.
  3. Text the word 'NEWS' to 22840.

Those who refuse [can be accused of being a witch, or conversely might attract the attention of a jealous witch]. Conserving tradition defending the social order and community cohesion. Those who openly challenge accepted norms are especially likely to be accused of witchcraft. Dramatic folktales about witches and gossip concerning an unpopular neighbour suspected of inflicting illness or bad luck on a household are listened to with great interest, especially by children.

Consequently, lessons to be learned from these accounts fall on fertile ground and help perpetuate the beliefs. Coping with rapid social change attempting to reinstate social order. Under conditions of rapid cultural change and prolonged stress, witchcraft accusations may increase dramatically.

  • Victims of witchcraft, often persons who otherwise attract little attention, receive intense sympathetic concern from their neighbours;
  • When traditional remedies fail or in modern monotheistic religions , when prayer fails it is often said that lack-of-genuine-belief is the cause;
  • There has been no mass failure;
  • Karen Armstrong dismisses these problems with the odd concept that they are caused by "failed myths" 34.

Tolerance for deviant behaviour decreases under these conditions, inviting witch hunts and creating incentive to abide by traditional cultural norms. For example, there has been a resurgence of this belief in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years. When traditional remedies fail or in modern monotheistic religionswhen prayer fails it is often said that lack-of-genuine-belief is the cause. The ironic solution to failure of traditional solutions is therefore is to believe more strongly!

Misapplied Cognitive Functions Many psychologists, scientists and researchers have come to the conclusion that religion is a by-product of otherwise-normal processes in the brain.

A theory of religion developed by Stark and Bainbridge 1987 "is both cognitive in nature and fundamentally atheistic", being rooted in the idea that the information-processing and language-producing functions of our brain are not perfect as they evolved for practical purposes only, and when they are applied to theoretical issues they result in faulty conclusions and perceptions.

Lawrence Krauss 38 notes that "we are hardwired to think that everything that happens to us is significant and meaningful" 39. Certain types of stimulus are misunderstood and some of these processes cause us to hold religious beliefs. Other human behaviours also result from misapplied cognitive functions. Our enjoyment of music is the result of a side-effect of our complicated auditory systems in the brain and a lot of other behaviours are of a similar ilk: Figurative art is another area Boyer uses as an example of our embrace of artificial stimulation of parts of our brain object and face recognition, etc.

These parts of the brain would normally have a purely practical function. According to Boyer religion isn't a case of 'neuronal dysfunction' as I say, but more like a case of misdirected, overstimulated, or inappropriately applied cognitive functions 42.

Scott Atran 2002 and Justin Barrett discussed in the next section offer "a compatible evolutionary argument about why humans tend to imagine supernatural beings that have feelings, thoughts, and desires. Richard Dawkins summarizes some more of the contributors towards the biological psychology of religion: Religion, for him, is a by-product of such instinctive dualism.

We humans, he suggest, and especially children, are natural born dualists.