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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

What Causes Religion?

"What Causes Religion and Superstitions?" by Vexen Crabtree (2007)

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Ooh! On a totally unrelated note, I've just gotten your letter, and I love the pin! It has now joined the proud ranks of buttons, pins, and dangly things on my Button Bag (TM). I wonder how long before some peace protesting nutter lynches me for it... :)

Yay, pleased you like it :-)

I agree with your analysis there. However, what do you say to people? Do you pull the rug out from under them? If somebody is leading a productive life living under a delusion does it matter? What should I have said to my mum when my dad died?

Re: What do you say to them?

It's an interesting question and a problem.

I'd normally say leave it be, but what if their beliefs are damaging
either to them or to you? What if you want to do something that their
dogma disallows but you cannot see harm in yourself? Then we get battles.

I am sometimes accused of challenging people's beliefs too much.
It can be hard not to when you are in a situation where you are up
against that religion - in my case recently a lot of pressure to attend
a church course to learn to become more Christian. It can become a
case of walking on metaphorical eggshells, especially when the other
positively shuns things that would cause the beliefs to be questioned,
refusing to see or read things that put the other argument.

Religion can serve a lot of good, but some of the lengths people can go to
to protect it rather than just adapt their philosophy to the circumstances
can cause problems.

Re: What do you say to them?

To answer the original question:

The belief that the loved one is in heaven can be comforting, but I think
it can cause problems in long term coping. It can result in attachment and
cause difficulty I think in letting go and completing the coping process.

I met someone who seemed very attached to the prospect that when she
died she will be with her late husband in heaven, even though it was
a while since he'd died. She was leading the course on Christianity I
mentioned before, so the possibility that someone could question those
beliefs was not well taken. As another example, the church in question
at a service to remember someone's death preached that "we look forward
to when we join her".

So what to tell children? Does it help them to tell them about heaven,
or to try to let them cope with the change? Coping with death of a loved
one is hard, but is the danger of remaining strongly attached, even
looking forward to, "joining them in heaven" more of a problem?

I think what you tell them depends on what is best for them. I think a
significant factor is how long that person can be expected to live.
Will the comfort carry them through long enough without the need to fully
let go?

Re: What do you say to them?

Thankfully my mum is more of a physical rather than spiritual Christian. On recently asking about this, she admitted? that she did not really believe that he was still around in any real way. I do not know whether she still believes in a god, but it's not something I'm likely to press on. After all a practical Christian who doesn't believe in god, and is tolerant of others is pretty indistinguishable from a humanist in many ways.

Unbeknowest to you, you have been on my to-do list since this discussion in 2007, awaiting my authoring of "Why Question Beliefs?" by Vexen Crabtree (2009).

It is a warning of how inocuous beliefs can sometimes infuse an entire society into irrationalism, and lead to horrendous conclusions.

Dude, you've got to be kidding me. People who believe in God are not crazy. YOU'RE crazy for suggesting such a thing. Who is this 'Vexen Crabtree' character? She sounds nuts to me...

Idiot. It isn't just vexen who was proposing that religious experiences might merely be something psychological, but ACTUAL psychologists(which he referenced in the article). Also vexen is a man. Christian snob.

I don't think I need to anything to the reply from the above poster.

What Causes Religion?

Religion I would summise is caused when fear hits and hope needs to be rekindled. Although I believe that religion IS man-made, man has made some pretty cool things!

But religion like everything GOOD, needs to adapt to the current times. I also tend to challenge people's beliefs, but in the end something positive should come of it. It is destructive to break away people's beliefs without filling that void with something better.

I believe that Christianity does it's job, but the MAJOR problem is that the esoteric side of the religion is never truly taught in churches. THIS is probably why I left Christianity - searching for more - searching for the actual meaning behind the illusion.

Interesting points

It seems as if you are picking Christianity as a target out of all religions for this piece of writing, although some points you make do apply for all religions many are quite pointed. Is there any reason for this? And as I have looked at all religions and beliefs myself have to ask have you?

It is always great to include other points of view and unfortunately your article will not be read by many religious people because it would be good to get their view point, although it would be nice to have a educated Christian or person of belief respond, unlike the previous, to get a proper debate going.

Re: Interesting points

I agree, I do want to expand it to make it more generic. There is a general slant towards Christian - and certainly monotheist - stuff in most of my pages, simply because in the English-speaking world, it is the language of Christianity that is most widely understood. I think the concepts translate into terms of general human psychology so I think it is only really the language that is the problem, not the arguments themselves.

Re: Interesting points

Thanks for your comment by the way.


All this is obvious to anyone who thinks at all. I am wondering, what else is going on. I am thinking of a story about natives in Australia "initiating" young men (boys?) into the ranks of their priesthood (or equivalent). I read somewhere that initiation consisted in part in learning how to simulate the presence of ghosts. So on the one hand, the clerics are working towards keeping the populace in check. On the other hand, the populace (or part of it) must be contributing to this keeping in check. I mean that some proportion of the populace must be unbelievers (maybe 2%?), but they must think that they should pretend, because it is good for society (or whatever) that enough people are kept "stupid". Has this been explored?

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