Religion: Psychology, Evolution, and Socio-political Aspects

I added some updates to this post that I thought were important.

The Open Mind

Religion is such a strong driving force in most (if not all) cultures as it significantly affects how people behave and how they look at the world around them.  It’s interesting to see that so many religions share certain common elements, and it seems likely that these common elements arose from several factors including some psychological similarities between human beings.  Much like Carl Jung’s idea of a “collective unconscious”, humans likely share certain psychological tendencies and this would help to explain the religious commonalities that have precipitated over time.  It seems plausible that some evolutionary mechanisms, including natural selection and also the “evolution” of certain social/political structures, also played a role in establishing some of these religious commonalities.  I’d like to discuss some of my thoughts on certain religious beliefs including what I believe to be some important psychological, social, political, and evolutionary factors that have likely influenced the formation, acceptance…

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3 thoughts on “Religion: Psychology, Evolution, and Socio-political Aspects

  1. You cover a lot of ground here, and cover it very well. I go along with most of it, without seeing all religion as simply a construct of evolutionary forces and human needs and desires. The historical sins of religion are obvious, but when I view — or remember — the transcendent beauty of Chartres cathedral, I have to make room for something more. I’m all for science, but I know that there are realities that escape its grasp. For some random thoughts of mine on these and related matters, see post #62, “Abnormal and Paranormal Adventures,” in my blog, No Place for Normal: New York. But your article is heavyweight intellectual stuff, probably beyond the ken of many Internet surfers. That doesn’t put me off, but watch those intellectual phrases: “cognitive dissonance reduction,” “memetic reinforcement,” etc. As a refugee from Academia, I resist them, want something simpler. But thanks anyway for the article; it has depth, whereas most renderings online are all surface.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read it Clifford. It seems that most people aren’t interested in thinking critically about such deep and sensitive subject matter, and so, often times people stay as far away from these topics as they can and then I never get a dialogue going. So thanks again for reading it and thanks for the feedback.

      I will say that I don’t think that religion is ENTIRELY a construct of psychological, evolutionary, and socio-political factors (at least in some sense it is not). I do think that those are the most influential factors behind religious beliefs, but I also recognize that there are particular aspects of our reality and the universe that may never be explainable or accessible by scientific methodologies (or our human cognitive machinery may lack the ability to answer certain questions it poses upon itself) and some religious constructs may result from these epistemological limitations.

      I will definitely take a look at those random thoughts of yours… 🙂
      It’s always a pleasure!

      Peace and love,

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