Sunday, March 18, 2007

God Origins

Dear Paul,

Let me first extend my deepest apologies for the lateness of my response, as mid-semester is providing me with a considerable load of work. You asked me what I made of your assesment that human beings like to give human personalities to non-human things; I think I would have to agree with your assesment overall.

I'm sure we've all come across people who can describe the "personality" of each of their pets or, as you pointed out, name their cars. As you have pointed out that a personality is a predictive model of behavior, it makes sense that humans may find "comfort" in ascribing human personality to non-human things.

I think human beings are driven to look for a purpose in things, even where there really isn't one. Since we are human and, therefore, understand human traits the best, we look for these traits in other things an, thus, work to personify them. Of course, this is not the best way to go about things because while bearing teeth may be a smile indicating happiness in humans, a dog that is bearing its teeth is likely none too happy.

When certain events happen, we often want to think they are part of some larger plan. That's why we see so many religious baffoons blaming terrorist attacks or hurricaines on "decaying morality." We want to think things happen for a reason.

I think human beings want comfort and predictableness along with purpose. In a world where so much is uncertain, people will try to find meaning. Therefore, I think it only "natural" that humankind developed a concept of God/s (possessing a predictable personality) and religion (typically aimed at serving the purpose of God/s). What do you make of this? Is human creation of God and religion a way to address the human need for purpose? Or do I have it all wrong?

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