Origin of God? (The nature of a \'Creator\')

by dhw, Friday, April 15, 2016, 14:37 (675 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID (under "Bacterial motors)": Why is it then that all civilizations have suggested that there must be God/gods? It is an idea built into our consciousness, as a recognition that the mysteries of nature and life require a mind to plan it.

You are asking me to tell you the origin of religion, which of course I can't do. Maybe it originated because God or gods exist. That's a nice simple positive answer. So here are a few scattered thoughts to present the negative case. With our additional layers of consciousness (a) we wanted explanations, and (b) we wanted reassurance. We depended on the sun, so we worshipped it. We saw terrifying events in the sky, and we attributed them to superpowers fighting. We didn't like the idea of dying, or of being all alone in our misery (if we were miserable). We liked to have hope. There were gods all over the place, in every nook and cranny, cave and river, and up every mountain. In fact, any old thingummy would do (even a man-made idol) so long as we could say “The Blobbies did it” and “The Blobbies will look after us”. But then some folk decided it was simpler to have a single god who was everywhere. Good for priests too, if the plebs needed someone clever to gain them access to a God who was beyond their reach. And so although I don't think our prehistoric ancestors would have been asking themselves how chance could possibly have assembled the components of the cell, I would suggest that early religion may have been the product of wanting answers to unsolved mysteries and wanting reassurance. However, as I said at the beginning, the origin may have been simply that there is such a thing as God/gods. Voltaire summed it all up:

“If God did not exist, we would have to invent him.”

So does he exist, or did we invent him?


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