Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Psychological needs for God?

I see another reason why God must have been created by the human mind. The emotional and physical duress that some humans experience in their lifetime is so horrible that the idea of God as an everlasting, sustaining force—a friend that sticks by closer than a brother—is something powerfully satisfying and calming; a cure or antidote for life’s constant imbalance.

Also, the idea that Jesus was convicted and killed despite his innocence resonates with many who have been wrongfully accused, sent to prison or jailed, when they are actually innocent of the crime. One of the most painful feelings to have in life is to be accused of something when you know you’re innocent—yet no one else believes you. You become ENTIRELY alone. You might as well be dead. It is worse though, because you have to live with this knowledge and understanding.  To have a deity affected by a similar circumstance? Well, that means he's traveled in our shoes and can understand our most trenchant pains.

When you think of the number of people in your personal life that you have been willing to interact with and give the time of day to—yet who are willing to give up on you after a certain point… when you think upon all of life’s tumultuous moments, almost dying of a disease or being currently plagued by one, perhaps a loved one is battling a disease…when you reflect upon all of life’s pain, break-ups and divorces, being ripped apart and insulted for every quark of your person on a literally daily basis, all the mistakes made, all the times your honest intentions have been misrepresented and misinterpreted, friends of old have turned against you—perhaps your mind needs to fabricate a succor.

Alas, we see the creation of a force that is forever unchanging, always there for you—a presence who cares for you. Whilst the rejection from old friends or relatives and the death of loved ones, you still have God. You still have someone who knows your situation and understands what you are going through and is there by your side. This person will always love you.

It is as if you created a copy of yourself in your mind that can identify with you in every way—someone who will always be there for you. Religion only adds more structure (i.e. doctrines) to this nebulous human desire. 


  1. Agreed, god is the adult version of the imaginary friend.

    I think god arises from numerous things, it ties to a human sense of purpose. There's also the neurological aspect, anomalies in the brain (temporal lobe) - either by hardwired problems, chemical imbalance or drug use leading to chemical imbalance

    Then, there's the ability of others to use and abuse these desires in others, to create order and empire and imprison them.

  2. Such constructions also make it easy to spread like a new product from a salesman. When Christianity started to spread, poor and ill people were seen as "unfavored" by the gods. Now a new God shows up that took the form of a man in their position in life. He teaches how the meek shall inherit the earth and other lessons. Given the obvious fact that the poor are always higher in numbers, it is easy to collect alot of followers with promises of paradise.

  3. Yes,Christianity does seem to offer something to the meek, poor and dependent ( and it would be more likely that one would come to embrace Christianity if they have a downward spiral in their life). Thank you both for your ideas. I agree Anton, the temporal lobe is also something to consider seeing how we can stimulate it and change a person's feelings/impressions....simulate a hallucination etc.

    John I wanted to tell you sorry for not getting back to you yet on that very thought-provoking email you sent to youtube. I have been having some issues lately in my life.

    Also, sorry to anyone else I haven't responded to yet. I do appreciate your emails and your thoughts. You all are so brilliant and it is great to have such a surplus of new ideas to think about, thanks to you.

  4. I certainly relate to your analysis and wonder at times whether I'm deluding myself. But how does one explain the phenomena of the first Penetcost, of the church itself and what the church claims to witness to; the resurrection of Jesus.

    By the way did you see my note on YouTube? Look up David Deutsch on google and if you can read his book the Fabric of Reality. I think you'll enjoy it.

  5. Just thinking: Your analysis about the psychological need for God coild be interpreted as evidence that we are created by and for God. It doesn't have to be self delusion. What would be the evolutionary advantage in self delusion?

  6. Maybe this link to the Catholic cathecism on man's capacity for God, at the vatican website might help provide an alternative perspective.


  7. both nietzsche and camus have a lot to say about this. Camus, famously known for talking about the "absurd", comments on this saying that life has no purpose regardless of the many initiatives of humanity to find one (religions and philosophy are such initiatives). If the relationship to your topic is not as obvious as I believe it to be then I hope it becomes clear once I specify Neitzche's role in all of this (I have been reading all month on this so I tend to make assumptions, please ask me more if my explanation lacks detail ). So, you are probably familiar with the quote "God is dead, we have killed him". this quote according to David Sherman (a scholar on camus), marks not a defeat of christianity but the success of humanists. After all, Neitzsche says such words through the mouth of a madman; but the important thing is not the madman's revelation it is actually the reaction of a crowd around the man that is important. scorning him for having only recently achieved "enlightenment", the crowd is seen unaware of the implications of the madman's statement. to keep things short, Neitszche points out that the death of God is quite alarming since it leaves a considerable emptiness; this is the same emptiness that Pascal referred to in Penses. As the humanities grow and liberal ideals succeed conservative ones, several doctrines rise to set a standard. Then, in the dawn of the 20th century the standard collapses with the world wars and people began to feel discouraged by the humanities. you see, the rises of nationalism and even fascism were undoubtedly related to the humanities; recall the famous words Dulce est decorum est. Having said this, when it comes to your question on the psychological need for a God, I think that there was a need for such a concept and there probably still is, since not even Camus and other existentialists like Samuel Beckett have been able to replace the value of God with "the absurd". Their belief is that upon the absence of a God, the human condition becomes absurd( in simple words, purposeless) and that this then allows us to fulfill ourselves by making up our own purposes.