My response to this comment about “God” being a childish idea from a more primitive age.
Kev @ 45,
Maybe. But I understand the evolution of human consciousness a bit differently. Your theory (that God was invented in our species’ infancy by childish minds who wanted an explanation for things) seems to me to inappropriately project our modern scientific attitude back in time. We should not be so quick to assume that human perception and cognition operate today in a way identical to how they operated thousands of years ago. I don’t think our species became religious because it wanted an explanation for things, but because primal people actually perceived nature in a way that has become completely foreign to we technologically inundated city dwellers. The world around them was perceived to be full of meaning and significance. This was their immediate experience, not a conceptual projection onto experience based on the desire to explain things. Ancient people developed a relationship with spiritual realities because these realities were immediately apparent to them. We still live amidst the daily miracles of the natural world, but our sense of their numinosity has been dulled both by a nearly complete re-making of the earth in our own image (so that we live within and amongst various machines and are to a large extent cut off from the natural world) and by the dominance of abstract intellectuality that obscures or paints over the overwhelming mystery of every moment of our existence. We have a scientific explanation (or at least a hypothesis) for everything these days, and in our anxious modern rush to cover over the non-rational aspects of life with such explanations, we have become blind to the spiritual realities that once cosmically situated and gave ultimate meaning to our ancestors. God is not (or at least was not originally) a (bad) scientific hypothesis meant to explain some natural phenomenon, but a symbol of the human psyche’s need for and experience of transcendence. God is a word which today might be said to represent the object of the ecstatic experience of a few mystics, but which originally was the common experience of all primal peoples.
What do you think?