"Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.

"Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#1  Postby Spectrum » May 5th, 2017, 12:35 am

viewtopic.php?p=288502#p288502

Felix wrote:Spectrum, Opinion polls should not be taken literally. Opinions are not beliefs, hope is not faith. If people really believed in life after death, they wouldn't fear death, would they?

People say they believe in all sorts of things, but if they won't or don't live by those beliefs, can we trust that they actually believe them? I don't think so. As an example, Christian "right-to-lifers" who claim to be protectors of the unborn and hold human life sacred and yet support wars that kill and maim any number of innocent babies and children.

People adopt religions for various reasons but I just don't see fear of death as the primary one; it's "out of sight, out of mind" to most people.

I believe 'fear of death' in combination with self-consciousness is the primary cause of why the majority of people cling to religions [at the subliminal level].

Views?
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#2  Postby Mosesquine » May 5th, 2017, 5:41 am

Religions are not concerned with truth. Religions are invented by leaders to control people. Those who want to find the truths should look into science. Philosophy is a part of science, like physics, biology, chemistry, etc.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#3  Postby Dark Matter » May 5th, 2017, 12:23 pm

Spectrum wrote:http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=288502#p288502

Felix wrote:Spectrum, Opinion polls should not be taken literally. Opinions are not beliefs, hope is not faith. If people really believed in life after death, they wouldn't fear death, would they?

People say they believe in all sorts of things, but if they won't or don't live by those beliefs, can we trust that they actually believe them? I don't think so. As an example, Christian "right-to-lifers" who claim to be protectors of the unborn and hold human life sacred and yet support wars that kill and maim any number of innocent babies and children.

People adopt religions for various reasons but I just don't see fear of death as the primary one; it's "out of sight, out of mind" to most people.

I believe 'fear of death' in combination with self-consciousness is the primary cause of why the majority of people cling to religions [at the subliminal level].

Views?

:roll: You don’t want to know.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#4  Postby Greta » May 5th, 2017, 10:29 pm

It's hard to know what is most fearful.

Many say that obliteration at the end of life would be welcome - if you experience nothing then there is no problem. Others are worried to lose all those hard-won life and character lessons.

Many find the idea of reincarnation worrying - to go through all that all over again. Others are excited by the idea.

Many find the idea of eternal life worrying - the unknown, possibly negative, ie. hellish. Again, others are excited by the idea.

The law of averages suggests that premise of this thread will be correct in some cases. However, that would be fruitless since but Pascal's wager doesn't work, being based on the idea that God is too dumb and unaware to realise that anyone might embrace religion just to save their own skin.

Anyway, I think most human activities are aimed towards feeling safe or happy.

Edit: typo
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#5  Postby -1- » May 5th, 2017, 11:40 pm

Religions serve many purposes, one has been noted already, the social / spiritual aiding of the ruling class, which dictates the codes of behaviour -- both for the rulers and for the oppressed ones. I find the role of religion in social bonding on the tribal level fascinating. You accept a newcomer to the community only and fully when he or she accepts your religious beliefs. That is the primary reason for the inner urge to convince others to accept your religious views, including the views of atheism.

You will tolerate in your community a newcomer, but you'll only give him a gun to defend the community when he or she accepts your gods are real.

------------

Religion also serves a HUGE purpose in times of war. It is not easy for a human to kill another human. To wage successful wars, many humans must psyche themselves up at the same time to murder other humans. This is achieved now in army training -- making the soldiers feel too tired and worn out to resist the temptation of resisting the carrying-out of orders to kill -- but historically it had been achieved by mass suggestions by priests of all kinds and colours, who blessed the soldiers, alleviated their guilt resulting from killing other humans, and assured them also a safe passage into heaven should they fall in battle.

Religion is a powerful social and psychological tool. Aiding survival like crazy.

A single human had been historically incapable to raise a family. Two humans in bonding had a better chance. Not only has the mutation to feel amorous love been playing a huge part in helping humans stay in couples to raise offspring, but social bonding enhanced the bond. For instance, marriages had been believed to be instigated by god, and thus they had been holy -- you don't want to f around with god's will, you don't want to leave your husband or wife only because he or she beat you or otherwise made life miserable for you. You stuck with him/ her because religious feelings also forced you to.

Afterlife? A huge motivator, but it's a personal attitude now, you can go grocery-shopping these days for many different kinds of afterlife. My view is that it's an inscrutable happening, nobody ever has come back to tell us about it. If the soul is purely a brain function, then obviously there is no afterlife. However, we have no proof or any indication that the soul is PURELY only a brain function. The only thing we can say with any certainty of the afterlife is that we don't know anything about it.

Ede Teller, my compatriot via both Israel and Hungary, the brain behind the Hydrogen Bomb has postulated the hope that in our lifetime humanity will actually LEARN the facts about the afterlife. In my personal view it is impossible, but in his personal view it was not. He was a scientist, I am a philosopher. (The very same reasons that have determined why he was super wealthy and why I am super poor.)

Naturally, many scoundrels will take this opportunity, the lack of concrete knowledge of the afterlife, to cheat the general population -- committing small time fraud, like spiritualists in seances, and large-scale fraud, like the Vatican. This propensity to use religion as a vehicle to commit fraud has very little or else nothing to do with religion, it has to do with human nature, and religion is only a carrier or tool on which the scoundrels ride to achieve their goals.

-- Updated 2017 May 5th, 11:47 pm to add the following --

Correction: please strike in the above script "via Israel and Hungary" and substitute "vie Galica and Hungary", as I believe that Ashkenazi Jews have not descended from the stock of Israeli / Judean Jewish blood line, but assumed Judaism as a religion to follow because they had been convinced, by one reason or another, that that had been a very good idea.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#6  Postby Present awareness » May 5th, 2017, 11:49 pm

Faith is something you either have or you do not have. When the moment of death comes, as it surely will, it will make no difference whether you had faith throughout your life or not, because you will experience death yourself, first hand, and will only know the truth at that very moment. It may be preferable to live a lifetime of faith, even if wrong, then to live a lifetime of fear, even if right.

The bottom line is, nobody gets out of here alive, so enjoy the moment, it's all we ever really have!
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#7  Postby -1- » May 5th, 2017, 11:50 pm

Correction: please strike in the above correction "vie Galicia" and substitute in its place "via Galica". Thanks.

-- Updated 2017 May 5th, 11:54 pm to add the following --

Present awareness wrote:Faith is something you either have or you do not have. When the moment of death comes, as it surely will, it will make no difference whether you had faith throughout your life or not, because you will experience death yourself, first hand, and will only know the truth at that very moment. It may be preferable to live a lifetime of faith, even if wrong, then to live a lifetime of fear, even if right.

The bottom line is, nobody gets out of here alive, so enjoy the moment, it's all we ever really have!


... and in-between, there are doors.

The Doors.
it's all we ever really have!


-- incomplete. It's all we really have knowledge of. Or to put it more precisely, it's all we really have the illusion of knowledge of.

-- Updated 2017 May 5th, 11:56 pm to add the following --

Please strike in the above scripts "via Galica" and "vie Galica" and substitute either by "via Galicia." Thanks.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#8  Postby Spectrum » May 6th, 2017, 1:19 am

Mosesquine wrote:Religions are not concerned with truth. Religions are invented by leaders to control people. Those who want to find the truths should look into science. Philosophy is a part of science, like physics, biology, chemistry, etc.

Isn't death and mortality the only certainty and a sure truth! Science is definitely useful but it merely polished conjecturals -Popper.

-- Updated Sat May 06, 2017 12:48 am to add the following --

@Greta
Greta wrote:It's hard to know what is most fearful.
Many say that obliteration at the end of life would be welcome - if you experience nothing t
Anyway, I think most human activities are aimed towards feeling safe or happy.

Why 'feeling safe'? It is none other than ultimately to avoid death [at least till the inevitable]. 'Happiness' is basically related to matters of procreation and assurance of survival [at least till the inevitable].

There are two main categories relating to the fear of death, i.e.
1. The conscious fear of the threat of death
2. The unconscious or subliminal primal fear pulsating within depths of the mind.

    1. The conscious fear of the threat of death
    As programmed, all humans would fear the threat of death consciously, but for all humans such a conscious fear of death is also inhibited and suppressed most of the time so that humans can function consciously.
    Any one who has a constant fear of death at the conscious level would relatively be considered psychologically and mentally sick, which is Thanatophobia. Those who has such a sickness should seek psychiatric help.

    2. The unconscious or subliminal primal fear pulsating within depths of the mind.
    It is no doubt the threat of death generate fears but as in 1 above this fact of life is inhibited and suppressed at the conscious level but not at the subconscious level.

    It is also a known fact what is activated at the subconscious [subliminal] level will manifest itself [most of the time] [more compelling] in various forms without the experiencer understanding/knowing its root causes.

    This subliminal fear of death in combination with self-consciousness generate a suppressed form of cognitive dissonance and existential crisis brewing at the basement of the mind. This terrible dissonance is often manifest as angst, anxieties, worries, mental pains, lost, helplessness, despairs, psychological tremblings. pangs, etc. at the conscious level. Such terrible feelings are like an itch where one cannot find the exact spot to scratch.
    However the majority has naturally veered [driven] toward a psychological balm, i.e. religions to soothe this terrible angst. Believe [god, etc.] and viola the pangs of angst suddenly disappear.

Thus the OP "Fear of Death" [inhibited as a subliminal angst] is THE Primary Motivator of Religions.

With the advent of religions, they are open to abuse by others for various purposes [political [control of the masses], social, economics, romance, love, money, etc.] but these are secondary motivators not the primary motivator [OP].

-- Updated Sat May 06, 2017 12:54 am to add the following --

@ -1-
-1- wrote:Religions serve many purposes, one has been noted already, the social / spiritual aiding of the ruling class, which dictates the codes of behaviour -- both for the rulers and for the oppressed ones.

Note my explanation above.
It is the subliminal existential crisis arising out of the suppressed fear of death that is THE primary motivating factor that drive the majority toward religions. Religion is the ultimate root cause.
The points you proposed above are merely secondary factors.

-- Updated Sat May 06, 2017 1:06 am to add the following --

@ Present awareness
Present awareness wrote:... ... It may be preferable to live a lifetime of faith, even if wrong, then to live a lifetime of fear, even if right. ... ...

You got a point here but it is not complete for humanity in going forward in the future.
It is very rational to cling to something even if it a lie, delusions, fantasy, etc. as long it provide relief to the VERY terrible existential crisis gnawing like a worm from the depth of the human psyche. This is the pro of religion. As long as one keep their religion private and personal there is no issue to humanity.

But the reality is religions [especially the Abrahamic ones, notably Islam] stretch itself into the public sphere, infringe on the rights of others and it is a potential to exterminate the human species.

With such a terrible threat to the survival of the human species, therefore it is critical humanity trace all the evils committed by SOME believers to its ultimate root causes, i.e. the 'subliminal fear of death' and the evil elements within the holy texts of the religion [part of]. This is effective problem solving on the ultimate root causes in contrast of fire-fighting the secondary causes.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#9  Postby Dark Matter » May 6th, 2017, 2:24 am

Recommend reading: The Courage to Be by Paul Tillich.

-- Updated May 6th, 2017, 2:43 am to add the following --

Better yet, The Dynamics of Faith.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#10  Postby Felix » May 6th, 2017, 4:39 am

Any one who has a constant fear of death at the conscious level would relatively be considered psychologically and mentally sick, which is Thanatophobia. Those who has such a sickness should seek psychiatric help.


Psychiatric help from whom, someone who relies on religious or psychological indoctrination to suppress their fear of death? If you are consciously aware that you fear death, that would make you saner than the person who is afraid to admit and face their fear, wouldn't it? In which case, they should seek psychiatric help from you.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#11  Postby Spectrum » May 6th, 2017, 6:15 am

Felix wrote:
Any one who has a constant fear of death at the conscious level would relatively be considered psychologically and mentally sick, which is Thanatophobia. Those who has such a sickness should seek psychiatric help.


Psychiatric help from whom, someone who relies on religious or psychological indoctrination to suppress their fear of death? If you are consciously aware that you fear death, that would make you saner than the person who is afraid to admit and face their fear, wouldn't it? In which case, they should seek psychiatric help from you.

I suggest you update yourself on what is Thanatophobia.
Point is if one has Arachnophobia, one good solution is to avoid places where there are spiders or if other phobias, one can avoid the sources that trigger the respective phobia. Alternatively one can find ways to cure oneself of the phobia through various methods.

The problem with Thanatophobia is the fact of mortality is always there with the person with no effective means of escape or avoidance, like spiders, height, snakes, etc.

If one has a psychiatric problem one should see a psychiatrist or psychologists depending on the severity of the mental problem.

I think you have missed what I have wrote or had deliberately ignored them. Read my post again and argue the points if you think I am wrong.
I stated all normal persons' conscious fear of death are inhibited and suppressed naturally so that they can function effectively. This is a feature of human evolution.
If it is not inhibited and the person become conscious of it all the time, then it is a problem especially if it is severe Thanatophobia where one would need help.

All humans can be conscious of the fear of death and some can deal with it rationally by various means when it arises. In a normal situation a normal person is not bothered [as anxieties, worries] by such a conscious fear of death constantly and at all times except intermittently or not at all.
However the majority are bothered by that fear of death [resulting existential crisis] indirectly on a subliminal unconscious basis where the person is not even aware their anxieties are related to the fear of death oozing from the subconscious mind.

What you have been focusing is what is happening with the conscious mind. You have overlooked on what is happening with the subconscious mind.
Note the example of learning how to ride a bicycle. First one learn consciously and deliberately but once a person has mastered it, it is competence at the subconscious level.
The subconscious mind influence good, negative, unpleasant and evil motives.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#12  Postby Lark_Truth » May 18th, 2017, 10:15 am

I don't know if anyone has heard or not, but it has been scientifically proven that converting to a religion out of fear means that you will die at an earlier age.

It is in my opinion that a true religion wouldn't try to convert people through the fear of hell, eternal suffering, and damnation, but would do so through logic, peace, happiness, hope, and by providing a way for people to communicate with divinity so that they might know that God does not want to be feared, but to have the love and faith of His children.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#13  Postby Spectrum » May 19th, 2017, 12:29 am

Lark_Truth wrote:I don't know if anyone has heard or not, but it has been scientifically proven that converting to a religion out of fear means that you will die at an earlier age.

Reference?? I don't think such research if ever done can be accurate.

It is in my opinion that a true religion wouldn't try to convert people through the fear of hell, eternal suffering, and damnation, but would do so through logic, peace, happiness, hope, and by providing a way for people to communicate with divinity so that they might know that God does not want to be feared, but to have the love and faith of His children.

As far as I know it is very obvious the Abrahamic religions, i.e. Judaism, Christianity, Islam are significantly based on fear of hell, eternal suffering, and damnation as can be proven from their holy texts.

I don't see the relevance of qualifying any religion as 'true'.
The main purpose of religions are to alleviate and soothe the cognitive dissonance as contributed by the fear of death in combination with other factors.
Some religions focus on invoking the terrible fear of death, hell, eternal suffering, and damnation while others do on a lesser degree and some don't at all.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#14  Postby Philosch » June 9th, 2017, 12:21 am

I agree with the original post assertion completely. Most anthologists would agree based on the very primitive preoccupation with burial rituals for both humans and animals alike amongst all primitive and primary cultures. Consider the very first inkling of self awareness and the need to try and understand non-existence, the loss of animation when a creature died, the connection that the first conscious humans would have made between the death of humans and animals around them and their own eventual non-existence. You can easily see how traumatic this realization would be and the fear and bewilderment it would have caused. Like all the mysteries of the natural world, primitive man developed a mythology to explain and otherwise contain this mystery. The existential angst this has caused and which is present in all of us to this day in various degrees and with various manifestations is simply undeniable. We know this from psychology as well. The impulse to live, the survival instinct itself becomes sublimated into the conscious desire to continue in being.

Once one's consciousness develops fully and one understands rationally that they, as an isolated individual entity simply cannot continue in being and they must come to an end, that conscious being has really only a few choices. They either identify themselves as part of something larger enabling the acceptance of their own demise, simply ignore the question in quiet acquiescence, make up fairy tales to comfort themselves into believing that somehow they won't cease as an individual being or lastly they kill themselves in protest of the absurdity of the whole experience.

The fairy tale route is easily the most seductive, the most likely for primitive beings to adopt and also the one that's most likely to lead to a culture that does not live in harmony with "WHAT IS". It is the mode of thinking most satisfying to the ego, the self-important part of any conscious human as it's the only mode of thinking that promises that this particular person or individual being is important and will continue on after it's body dies. This basic theme not only is the root of ALL religion, it gives rise to all kinds of belief systems, beliefs in ghosts, alien abductions, you name it. All of those seemingly unrelated and widely varying beliefs reflect the need for individual egos to remain important, significant and even immortal in some sense or even quite literally. Religious belief is an extremely egotistical thing to engage in. It assures ego's they are important, loved and immortal....of course that's all dependent on obedience to the particular belief but that part has been added on as a means of social control by clever people seeking power and recognizing how to play upon that original underlying fear.

The most rational and psychological healthy approach for the intelligent mind would be to take a "Zen" approach to the fear of death which aligns not with a religious construct but certainly a philosophical one. Namely the first choice described above and that is to recognize that your ego is not you, that your ego is more like an appendage, useful but not "you" and that you can identify yourself with all of creation by simply recognizing what you are beyond your ego. This allows you to completely accept the demise of your own individual ego because you recognize your true being is an aspect of all of creation. It renders the fear of death that the ego holds onto as powerless and it does not require leaps of faith or belief, it only requires a deep recognition and acceptance of "WHAT IS". For the mind that is too fearful and/or too "ego" bound, religion becomes the only satisfactory answer and that unfortunately has lead to the world in it's present state, quite literally on the verge of annihilation.

If we as a species of conscious being never conquer this fear and never develop a harmony with what is we will perish much sooner than we would have otherwise at the hands of the universe......but then maybe that fact is also part of accepting WHAT IS.
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Re: "Fear of Death" a Primary Motivator of Religions?

Post Number:#15  Postby Spectrum » June 9th, 2017, 1:57 am

Philosch wrote:The fairy tale route is easily the most seductive, the most likely for primitive beings to adopt and also the one that's most likely to lead to a culture that does not live in harmony with "WHAT IS". It is the mode of thinking most satisfying to the ego, the self-important part of any conscious human as it's the only mode of thinking that promises that this particular person or individual being is important and will continue on after it's body dies.

This basic theme not only is the root of ALL religion, it gives rise to all kinds of belief systems, beliefs in ghosts, alien abductions, you name it. All of those seemingly unrelated and widely varying beliefs reflect the need for individual egos to remain important, significant and even immortal in some sense or even quite literally. Religious belief is an extremely egotistical thing to engage in. It assures ego's they are important, loved and immortal....of course that's all dependent on obedience to the particular belief but that part has been added on as a means of social control by clever people seeking power and recognizing how to play upon that original underlying fear.
..
..
If we as a species of conscious being never conquer this fear and never develop a harmony with what is we will perish much sooner than we would have otherwise at the hands of the universe......but then maybe that fact is also part of accepting WHAT IS.

Well said, I agree but add besides Zen, there are many effective ways to deal with the existential dilemma to maintain consonance.

What is critical here is whenever there is an issue with religion [God exists, violence, evils, etc.] we must dig into the issues and ground them to the above existential crisis manifesting from subliminal and unconscious.
Note my further details in this post.
viewtopic.php?p=288572#p288572

The existence of a God is illusory and grounded on an inherent inevitable unavoidable psychological existential crisis.

So it is not 'God said so' that a believer can do this or that [worst is killing non-believers] but rather the root cause is due to what is going on within the sub-conscious mind of the individual[s].
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