Need of religion

 Atheists all over the world are against religion. The vociferously oppose religion, but atheism that came out against religion has become a religion unto itself. 
Why? Why do we need god and religion? Or why does it stay and is going to stay?
Here we have to consider god and religion separately. Even though we associate God with religion, both are different. There certainly is some overlap but we have to consider it separately. There are traditional societies without God, they worship spirits and ancestors. Now atheism and its offshoots like communism is another religion, withwit a God. 
Religion is a myth, rather a creator of myth. A myth is akin to the "legal fiction" of modern times. A corporation is a legal fiction, we "believe" it and bring into "existence", for it serves our purpose. Similarly, religion is a creator of myths, it creates some specific fictions, like god or spirit, to serve a function and we believe it. We have a natural propensity to believe makes it easier. 
So belief, after all, is not bad. Anyone who doubts it, take your wallet and pull out that printed paper in your wallet and look at it. You are calling it money, maybe it is a Dollar, Yen, pound, Rupee, Mark..... but whatever you call it, what you can't deny is that it is a worthless piece of printed paper. What gives value to it is its scarcity and your belief that it has value and the government that issued it has credibility, that is, you believe in that government. Suppose you, along with your fellow compatriots lose trust in the government, or the government is dissolved, immediately the paper becomes what it is, a piece of printed paper. That was what happened when the Confederacy government of southern states was dissolved. So we collectively believe to make our human society exists and work.
  Without fictions our life willwil boring and drearyd ImagIma goigo to a film, we enjen it onlh because we take it as real. The greatest fiction we have ever created is that of society.  We collectively willed it into existence. And we imagined myths, to glue the society together, and that became religion - culture.

What about "God"?
God is an evolved product of ancestors and spirits. Humans believe ancestors and spirits exist. It later, by cultural evolution, morphed into gods and then God (the creator of the universe). But why do we do so? There are many reasons. I will list a few,
Memory - Person permanence. Yes, we have memory and we remember people who died. We also know that those who are not in immediate vision still lives and has not passed away. Combine this two, we have person permanence. We can't accept that those died has gone for good. We still remember them and think that they still live somewhere, just like we think that a person who is not seen is still out there somewhere. From there we have created ancestors and spirits.
Pattern seeking. We see patterns even where there is none.We see shapes in clouds and Hunters in star constellation. It was essential for our survival once. We may not be able to see the entire tiger hiding in the bush, but just by seeing a part of him, we can make out it as a tiger and ran away.Those who couldn't leave any progenies. So we see shapes and assume there is someone or something even though there is none.
Assume Cause. Similar to the previous one, we assume, when some event occurs, that there is someone or something behind it.That way we were better able to avoid predators. But that also made as believe that there is someone behind all natural events. The two combined to help us believe in gods.
Imprinting. These is seen in some animals including mammals. Whatever they see at birth, they take it as their mother. It is a survival mechanism. We probably have a similar mechanism, a child immediately stops crying when it hears it mother's voice. This latent mechanism can get activated later in life. We feel there is someone with us when we are lonely and afraid. Some power illusions also play which can be helped by our pattern seeking ability. We see people or feel presence when there is none.Voila,God.
Near death experience. Near death experiences are a group of visions and feelings created by brain when it is deprived of oxygen. It can also be created by hallucinating agents or situations. That also helped us form the belief about other worlds and spirit and people who cold contact them.

There are many other reasons too. But this are the common ones. From this it was easier to form a god.

  Religion initially started as an occasion to communicate with the spirits gradually developed in its own right as society developed.

  Of course, we cannot know how exactly it started. There were no written documents and we are not going to get any, even if there was. Religion is a form of community gathering. The false dichotomy of religion and culture is a modern invention. For the people of the bygone era, religion, culture, nation, and community were all the same. The community was always together.They did rituals and dance together and such rituals, dance, and gossiping cemented the society and that forms what we call religion and culture today.

  In the ancient hunter-gatherer societies, there was no need for much policing. The society itself was the policeman. Gossiping was the most important tool. As a last resort non-conformists were ostracized or killed. And this could work as everyone knew everyone else.

  Gradually the myths, the religion, helped in increasing the size of the society. In the beginning, possibly, it was only for large religious gatherings like that happened in G√∂bekli Tepe. But as humans settled down the society became so large that it became impossible for everyone to know everyone else. The power of gossip to police the society slackened and broke all together.
That is when religion and god helped. As we already discussed god and spirits were part of the human psychology and hence it became part of religion. Spirits and god could act as policemen. From those that are part of nature, an up-gradation was made possible by settlement and nature. Gods became controllers of nature and those who monitor human activities. They became punishers and enforcers.
  Atheists think god is not needed for humans to be good. But they forget this very important role. Angels do not need god to be good. Similarly, devils are bad irrespective of god. But we, majority of humans, are neither Angels nor devils. We are humans, we are mildly dishonest. So a watchful eye is very important for us to behave. Only a pure police state or a fully democratic society can get rid of this function, by taking over it. Atheists do not understand this function and try to get rid of religion by argument.

 Is the function of religion and god only policing? No. there is one more important function. In difficult times, to whom do most people turn? God! So only in a society that takes care of its citizens very well, god can be eliminated for a democratic well-functioning government is more reliable than god. That is why we see more atheists in Scandinavian countries than in America or India.
   
 Religion serves one important function. It is a social glue. People who believe the same and work for the same act as a mechanism for strangers to relate. It helps in forming bonds. These may be taken over by other forms, like nationalism for example.

  As humans, we need to evaluate others. We need to know whether they are trustworthy. People who believe the same are advertising that they are part of the same group. Most beliefs are counter-intuitive. It takes an investment to believe that particular belief. So those who believe are advertising to others who hold a similar belief, that they can be trusted and can interact. At this moment, we should also think about the initiation ceremonies by various groups. Even though they are practically useless, that serves an important function. That proves to other members that the person is willing to sacrifice for the group. It also makes the initiate believe that it was worthwhile being in the group as he had to pay so much - the sunk cost effect.
There is another important factor. We look for social clues. We always check how others behave and modify our behavior accordingly. Why we do, is because we need social validity. We are always suspicious of people who behave differently. So try to conform. So irrespective of what we believe, we tend to follow what others follow. It is easier to conform than to be different.
 We also have to consider two silly but powerful arguments. Argument from authority and Pascal's wager. We always look to our social superiors. We try to emulate them. It is an advantage which helps us save a lot of thinking and thereby reducing our energy expenditure. It also helps us conform to norms.
 Pascal's wager, "what if" is also a mental shortcut that saves energy. We do not need to think much. I am ill, I pray. Anyway, I see a doctor too. If there is no god, it doesn't matter. If there is one he will probably help. Either way, it is a positive outcome and easier.


 So if atheists want a religion free society, what they first have to do is make a nation social democracy. Otherwise, they  will only produce a new religion of atheism at best or communism at worst.

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