I was the Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. This was while being a professor of economics and NDSU. Later I became active in the Red River Freethinkers. While I no longer live in Fargo-Moorhead the focus of my blog remains there.


Why Are We Religious


I suppose if you asked the average Christian, "Why are you religious?" he/she would find that a peculiar question. Yet, it is the most important question of all. I have expressed here many times that I do not think studying religious tomes, comparative religions or the Bible are important activities. My view is this literature is but a passing bit of history in the parade of human history which is not 2,000 years old but over 200,000 years old.
Only occasionally does one find articles addressing the totality of religion in human beings. One such article showed up recently and confirmed my understanding. It explains that long, long before there were written "documents" telling us what we are to believe, there were religious thoughts. The expression of these thoughts probably came through the shaman instead of through documents. It was about feelings tapped into by the shaman, not feelings disguised in religious documents.
Humans have anxiety about the future. Think about how much more anxiety they would have had when there was not enough food.
I've heard the theory expressed that people with religious thoughts were be able to find food because they thought a god or spirit of some kind would place it down the path somewhere. Groups with a shaman might have garnered the optimism it took to keep going while other groups, now long gone, gave up.
Religion developed then not because there ever has been a god but because believing there is a god helped them cope with whatever life brought them. No one has ever had, so far as we know, "everlasting life" but believing it exists helped people with the anxiety they felt about death.

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