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Origin Of Religion From A Psychological Perspective

788 words - 4 pages

To answer the question of why religion exists is a very daunting task, and without a doubt any theory will be controversial. I chose to examine this question from a purely psychological and scientific perspective. It is argued that humans may be genetically predisposed to be religious behavior, or that we are simply reacting to our environment. Religion may even exist because of the human desire to pursue happiness. All three of these theories provide an interesting insight as to why religion and religious behavior are so prevalent in the human race.

One theory of why religion exists is that humans are genetically predisposed to be religious. This theory basically states that ...view middle of the document...

David Hume, a major contributor to this theory, believed that man created religion as a way to cope with our incessant concerns in the many different aspects of our daily lives. This, paired with our inclination to believe in an "invisible, intelligent power", is what led humans to form the many religions that exist today, according to this theory. A basic example of this process would be a man trying to cope with his wife being killed by a lightning strike. As a way for him to deal with the struggle of this tragic event, he may decide that a higher power was responsible for reasons uncomprehendible to him. Using examples like these, it is easy to see how this theory about religion came about.
The human persistence on the pursuit of happiness is another theory of how religion came to be. Happiness is something universally important for us as humans to feel. It helps drive us to achieve success and helps motivate us through tough times, and is overall a great feeling to experience, a feeling we all want to experience more. It is argued that religion may be formed by happiness because many religions reward “good behavior” with a promise of eternal happiness in an afterlife. Believing that oneself is destined...

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