Brap: Humans have wondered about the origins of the earth, the sun, the stars, and themselves for a long time. Many creation myths were developed in ancient times in an attempt to explain these origins, and these creation myths are easily proven to be untrue given the current state of scientific knowledge. The account of creation in the book of Genesis appears to be another easily disproven creation myth.
Meta: “This is interesting because he takes at face value the creation myth as the point of departure for justification. . . . (1) it assumes that the reason for belief in modern world is the same as the reason for the existence of religion in the ancient world.” Brap: A major factor in both is the carryover of the beliefs of the prior generation. Any original religious beliefs typically lead to schism. “(2) it assumes that religion exists in order to explain where we came from,as though that's the only major question that really concenred ancinet man.”
Brap: I think religions came about to explain not only origins but also what happens after death, and what causes weather, natural disasters, disease, etc. But I think the true origin of religion has to do with two things: A) Worship of imaginary gods who controlled the weather and the few other things early humans cared about (such as fertility, or bountiful crops once people started farming.)
"The experience of pure consciousness is typically called "mystical". The essence of the mystical experience has been debated for years (Horne, 1982). It is often held that "mysticism is a manifestation of something which is at the root of all religions (p. 16; Happold, 1963)." The empirical assessment of the mystical experience in psychology has occurred to a limited extent."
a). Core of Organized Religion
The Mystical Core of Organized Religion
Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B., is a monk of Mount Savior Monastery in the Finger Lake Region of New York State and a member of the board of the Council on Spiritual Practices. He holds a Ph.D. from the Psychological Institute at the University of Vienna and has practiced Zen with Buddhist masters. His most recent book is Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer (Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1984).
"If the religious pursuit is essentially the human quest for meaning, then these most meaningful moments of human existence must certainly be called "religious." They are, in fact, quickly recognized as the very heart of religion, especially by people who have the good fortune of feeling at home in a religious tradition."
"It is the experience of the transcendent, including the human response to that experience, that creates faith, or more precisely the life of faith. [Huston] Smith seems to regard human beings as having a propensity for faith, so that one speaks of their faith as "innate." In his analysis, faith and transcendence are more accurate descriptions of the lives of religious human beings than conventional uses of the word, religion. The reason for this has to do with the distinction between participant and observer. This is a fundamental distinction for Smith, separating religious people (the participants) from the detached, so-called objective students of religious people (the observers). Smith's argument is that religious persons do not ordinarily have "a religion." The word, religion, comes into usage not as the participant's word but as the observer's word, one that focuses on observable doctrines, institutions, ceremonies, and other practices. By contrast, faith is about the nonobservable, life-shaping vision of transcendence held by a participant..."
Any young tribesman who told the elders it was a waste of time to do a rain dance because the rain is a result of natural processes would have been quite the outcast. As the saying goes, in an insane society, the sane person appears insane. So belief in the false gods persisted and other false gods were added over time.
Then someone had the bright idea of worshipping an omnipotent god who controlled everything, but even that omnipotent God couldn't keep all of his followers on the same page. And B) Religion did help bring people together for common activities during and after the transition from a mostly nomadic species of hunter-gatherers to a more settlement-based society.
“(3) since they assume science is the only form of knowledge they assume that scinece must be the origin of all human thought.” Brap: Quite the contrary, I know the human brain is quite capable of thinking up non-sciencey stuff. “(4) it assumes creation myths are the actual accretion of ancient religious wisdom”
Brap: It doesn’t really matter to me whether a creation myth is the accretion of ancient religious wisdom, the foundation of a religion, or just a side story. The fact that the creation story in Genesis was generally accepted as fact only until the evidence against it became overwhelming, and is still accepted as fact by some people, is troublesome.