The Secret Ingredient Of Religion

…is humanism.

That’s right. Social interaction with other humans is the secret ingredient of religion. It’s not god, or prayer, or heaven, or miracles, or any of that other superstitious claptrap.

“Our study offers compelling evidence that it is the social aspects of religion rather than theology or spirituality that leads to life satisfaction,” said Chaeyoon Lim, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author.

Apparently, the more friends one makes in the church setting , the more satisfied one is with the religious experience.

The nice thing about this, if it is true, is that you don’t need to go to church to be happy. You just need to be involved in a social group in which you have many friends. Any group will do.

For instance, membership in your local atheist or non-believers organization would do nicely. And the added advantage is that your Sundays would be free.  Think about that. One-seventh of your lifetime would be freed up to do as you please.

It’s been fairly clear to me for a long time that the comfort people say they get from their belief in god is actually derived from their social interactions with their fellow human beings. You can simply strip the supernatural out of the whole church experience, gather together on Sundays (if you choose), hold bake sales, get involved in discussions, listen to your leader give a sermon on humanistic values, tithe, give to charity, and even conduct Sunday School, and you will be just as happy, as long as your are doing it with your community of friends.

Belief in the invisible man in the sky is not necessary.

25 thoughts on “The Secret Ingredient Of Religion

  1. Oh, I see! Scientists are now telling us what the secret ingredient in religion is! Isn’t that just like those that think their grandfathers were gorillas, to come up with such a discovery! 😆

    Wonder what’s next? Space aliens from Oooga Booga brought pollen from the sun and pissed on it… and the first infidel came into being? (First having evolved from some sort of slime, themselves, of course!)

    Then, a big Kryptonite comet slammed into Oooga Booga and orphaned them, leading them to infiltrate Earth-society as Darwinists and Freemasons.

  2. You say that “Social interaction with other humans is the secret ingredient of religion. ” I can understand where you are coming from, having fellow Christian believers to help you along is an important part of being involved in a local Church.

  3. You say that “Social interaction with other humans is the secret ingredient of religion. ” I can understand where you are coming from, having fellow Christian believers to help you along is an important part of being involved in a local Church. But this is not the basis of our religion, if you were to look back into the history of Christian believers you would find that they suffered persecution and were oft times alone, and yet for the true Christian this did not hinder them in their relationship with God. Yes there are people who only go to Church for the social aspects of it, but you cannot define all Religion by this standard. Christianity is a religion based solely on a relationship with God, He is the only true friend and the only friend we need.
    Respectfully,
    Maia

    • But this is not the basis of our religion, if you were to look back into the history of Christian believers you would find that they suffered persecution and were oft times alone, and yet for the true Christian this did not hinder them in their relationship with God.

      You would also see that the moment they could they became the persecutors themselves.

      Christianity is a religion based solely on a relationship with God, He is the only true friend and the only friend we need.

      Atheism, on the other hand, is a relationship with reality. I do quite well with my real friends, thanks.

      • “You would also see that the moment they could they became the persecutors themselves.”

        Uh… here, let me catch it, for ya, Shameless… there…

        “… and yet for the true Christian…”

        See, we’re talking about TRUE Christianity/Christians, here, Shameless. No persecution in or from any of those. Especially not like that in certain atheistic cultures, you know… like Soviet Russia? Communist China? Etc.

        Oh, and atheism is a “relationship”, now, is it? Isn’t that something you only get with another entity… like God, for example? Are you confirming that atheism is, indeed, a religion? No problem. I’ve always known that it is.

        “Atheism, on the other hand, is a relationship with reality.”

        Reality? You don’t get that believing Granddad was a gibbon, son! Evolution: that’s the default program that kicks in when you reject Intelligent Design, right?

        Here’s the reality of Atheism.

        That’s all, folks!

  4. Just because one has many friends does not mean that one can be happy. God is only who can give us true happiness. Yes, we can find happiness in friends but not true satifaction knowing that they are not keeping things from us or talking bad about us behind our back. Therefore, not being in a church setting can hinder our personal relationship with God and will not help us edify other believers in Christ.

    Respectfully,
    Jay

    • Yes, we can find happiness in friends but not true satifaction knowing that they are not keeping things from us or talking bad about us behind our back.

      Then you need new friends. Those sound more like enemies.

      Therefore, not being in a church setting can hinder our personal relationship with God and will not help us edify other believers in Christ.

      Wait, so you can only have a relationship with your god in a church? What kind of a friend is it that requires you to have that relationship on their terms? Not much of one, I should say.

  5. I don’t think that you have a clear understanding of the relationship between God and His people. I am a Christian have personally experienced a relationship with God himself. I understand that you have seen a trend in social interactions within churches. But first allow me to clarify. What you are seeing is “Mainstream” religion, which I will admit that there are a vast number of hypocrites who do not practice true religion, but are there for the social interaction. But you should take a closer look. In the true church of God…and by that I mean Christianity (not Catholicism), there is a deep, loving and personal relationship with God that offers peace, and hope for the future. Our Christian fellowship would be nothing without having God as our center. I would encourage you to read the whole Bible and you will see how personal God really is and wants to be in your life. Also, it is important to study the facts of an issue before casting judgments. I also see that your post is littered with self. If I may, what do you base your philosophy on if it is not in a higher power such as God?

    • I don’t think that you have a clear understanding of the relationship between God and His people. I am a Christian have personally experienced a relationship with God himself.

      Whether you did or did not is not at issue. Such subjective experiences carry no weight as evidence. Why, if you have had such an experience, have I never had such? Does not a creator god not want all its creations to have such experiences?

      …and by that I mean Christianity (not Catholicism),…

      What the….? You do realize that the original “true Christians” were for a long time Catholics. While Philly has already dealt with the “no true Scotsman” fallacy, I still have to ask- What makes you think that you represent “true Christianity” when every version says the same thing?

      I would encourage you to read the whole Bible and you will see how personal God really is and wants to be in your life.

      How presumptuous. You do realize that most atheists were once fervent believers and it was because they read the bible that they ended up atheists, do you not?

      If I may, what do you base your philosophy on if it is not in a higher power such as God?

      Finally. An honest question. The problem in answering this question is that no atheist can answer it for any other. Why is that? Because atheism is not a philosophy or a world view. It is a position on a single claim. That’s it. Any philosophy an atheist has is separate from that, though atheism does somewhat restrict what form that philosophy takes. For instance, it is difficult for an atheist to adhere to a theocratic political philosophy.

      I hold many different philosophical positions, but I presume (correct me if I’m wrong) that your question refers to how I make moral judgements. It’s easy, simple and sans the need for any deity. It is a system of ethics based on consequences of actions, reciprocation and empathy. I understand that any action taken that has an effect on others has consequences. If I would not want to experience those consequences, I consider such consequences as “bad”. If I would benefit from the consequences should such an action be aimed at myself, such consequences can be thought of as “good”.

      Empathy comes into play when I realize that if I would not want bad consequences to happen to me as result of actions of others, that it is probable that others feel the same way. Thus, I make a social contract with others that I will not do those actions which might generate bad consequences for others and they will act in a similar manner to me. That’s reciprocation.

      Further, I feel good when I do something that benefits others. Don’t you? And since I would like others to perform actions which produce such benefits to me, I will do the same for them.

      Does this look familiar? It should. Philly names it below. And it does not require god. In fact, it is not that we get that rule from scripture (the codification of behavior we know as the Golden Rule predates the bible by a long way), it was scripture got the Golden Rule from a basic understanding of this tenet.

      I have many other philosophies as well. For instance, I am a skeptic in the modern sense. I require evidence before I accept any claim. I care not one whit whether belief in a god makes one happier. I care only whether or not claim that some god or gods exist is true. And there is not one shred of evidence which would compel me to accept the claims of Christianity as true.

      In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that it is the most secular and atheist societies that by any measure you care to name are the happiest. The US is arguably the most religious of western nations, yet it also leads in the incidence of teen pregnancy/STD transmission, domestic abuse, rape, murder, yada yada yada. Religion is obviously no guarantor of good behavior.

      So, tell me Alethia- why would you believe in something which cannot even remotely be shown to be true? That’s what “faith” is, after all. If consequences of belief are so important, why would you believe in something that measurably poisons society? For me, “faith” is not something which is to be commended. It is not something to be aspired to. It is an evil thing which directly leads to bad behavior as all wrong or unfalsifiable beliefs eventually do, whether they are of a religious nature or not.

      • You said,
        “How presumptuous. You do realize that most atheists were once fervent believers and it was because they read the bible that they ended up atheists, do you not?”

        So here is the first question……would you include yourself in that catagory?

        • No, I would not. I would, however, include almost every atheist I know in that category. Being on the executive board I know a lot of atheists- literally dozens. In fact, I can only think of one person other than myself who doesn’t. But do not think that because of this that I have not read the Bible or do not have a strong understanding of its history. Indeed, I do have an excellent knowledge base, a far deeper understanding of the books contained in the Bible and their history than the vast majority of Christians.

          I’ve been more than fair in answering this question, Alethia, while you have carefully avoided answering mine….

  6. No doubt having fellow believers to “help you along” helps you buy into the nonsense, Maia. Ever wonder how, if believers were alone, you ever heard about them one way or another? Hmmmm

    How does being in a church setting affect whether friends are keeping things from you or talking bad behind your back, Jay?

    Hey Alethia, ever hear of the no true Scotsman fallacy? Ever actually read your Bible? Were you referring to the parts where your god allegedly instructed the Israelites to dash their enemy’s babies upon the rocks or stick their swords into the swollen bellies of their enemy’s wives? Yeah, that’s pretty personal alright. How about the instructions for slavery? No? Stoning unruly children? Killing witches and gays? Am I getting close?

    I base my philosophy upon the Golden Rule (the original one, not the christian bastardization of it), pragmatism and let sic human empathy guide the rest pretty much. No belief in supernatural entities such as ghosts or gods necessary.

  7. Interesting how the Christians in this thread try to explain away the “secret ingredient” (friendship) with The Secret Ingredient (friendship w/G).

    Also, I note that the main point of the study (“the compelling evidence that it is the social aspects of religion rather than theology or spirituality that leads to life satisfaction”) has not been refuted by Gideon, Maria, Jaynette, or Alethia. ‘Life satisfaction’ and ‘happiness’ are not the same thing.

    • “Interesting how the Christians in this thread…”

      So what’s wrong with a little Christian fellowship, son? I mean, you infidels are always running around in packs. You saying there’s no benefit from association with other infidels, in trying to escape the awesome reality that there is a God?

      Anyway, like your infidelity, my faith isn’t dependent on whether anyone agrees with me or not. Christianity and/or Intelligent design is simply a fact of life that you can accept or ignore, it doesn’t require a following to be legitimate. The social aspect is a fringe benefit, it doesn’t of itself lend any authority or legitimacy to Christianity or Intelligent Design… just like you being alone in your delusion wouldn’t make it any less of one.

      • You saying there’s no benefit from association with other infidels….

        More lies from the troll. I know of no one that has ever said that…

        Anyway, like your infidelity, my faith isn’t dependent on whether anyone agrees with me or not.

        Nope. But your belief is certainly not dependent on evidence, either. What seems to matter to you, troll, is coming on here and being a twit. Does it really look to you like dc is alone?

        Phah! You’re just a silly troll.

  8. It’s funny how the maybe-sock-puppets don’t seem to get that the findings imply that even though they don’t -think- that’s what the secret ingredient is, that that’s what it is. That there will certainly be the illusion that other things are responsible, but that ultimately it’s camaraderie.

    And not camaraderie with a deity either… every time I hear someone say “I have a personal relationship with God” I think “You’re either mentally ill, or you know that’s not true.”

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