Above is Douglas Adams explaining how early man may have come to the belief that there is a God. As Richard Dawkins has pointed out, history is filled with abandoned Gods and deities. I don’t know what the mental block is that makes the overly religious so certain their God is the right one. As if they literally can’t imagine being born in India and trying to imagine what it would like to be raised a Hindu, or born into a Jewish family, or born in Saudi Arabia and raised Muslim. How would that change their outlook? Would they still be a Christian, or would they have a different religious persuasion?
Much like Sherri Shepherd’s explanation that she didn’t know the world was round, I imagine this particular issue isn’t given much thought by the true believer. Or maybe they believe faith is a virtue. However, faith in this case means believing in something despite strong evidence to the contrary. Or put from the opposite view, the supposed virtue is the ability to continue believing in a lie.
One of the things that I find interesting is how much evidence we find to support the man-made God hypothesis that Douglas Adams gives. Our fitness to the world is amazing because we are the end product of billions of years of evolution.
No matter how much evidence we find that God is a psychological need and evolutionary artifact to give a narrative to the unknown forces and eventualities in our lives, it doesn’t seem to give the religious pause or signal the need for reflection. The anthropogenic God view explains what we see in the world so well, and the opposite requires such a complicated set of beliefs about the truth of the world versus what the religious texts say that new evidence constantly destroys the complicated patchwork almost as quickly as it can be established.
Astronomy tells us that our place in the universe is very small. Religion gives us the idea that everything in our lives is of cosmic importance. However, as we gaze at galaxies millions of miles away and in the past, we find no sign of anything that will save us. Avoiding extinction is rationally, something we must do for ourselves.