What Does it Mean to be Human? One of the most fundamental questions that is increasingly facing bioethicists and society alike is the question, "What does it mean to be human?
Nobody really knows how many religions there are on the planet, but whatever the number, there are at least that many theories about why we have religion at all. One idea is that, as humans evolved from small hunter-gatherer tribes into large agrarian cultures, our ancestors needed to encourage cooperation and tolerance among relative strangers.
Religion then—along with the belief in a moralizing God—was a cultural adaptation to these challenges. There are many others—or make up your own. But they are all just theories. None has been empirically tested. Researcher Kevin Rounding and his colleagues are arguing that the primary purpose of religious belief is to enhance the basic cognitive process of self-control, which in turn promotes any number of valuable social behaviors.
They tested this theory in four fairly simple experiments, using classic measures of self-control. Then they asked all the volunteers using a ruse to drink an unsavory mix of OJ and vinegar, one ounce at a time. They were told they could stop any time, and to take as much time as they liked, and that they would be paid a small amount for each ounce of the brew that they drank.
The amount they drank was a proxy for self-discipline. The more OJ and vinegar they forced down, they greater their self-control. And as predicted, those with religion on their mind endured longer at the unpleasant task.
Another way to think of self-control, perhaps the most familiar, is delayed gratification—resisting immediate temptation to wait for a greater reward later on. In another experiment, the scientists again primed some of the volunteers with hidden religious words, but in this case they were told falsely that the experiment was concluded and that they would be paid.
This is a widely used laboratory paradigm for measuring the exertion of discipline in the face of temptation, and indeed, almost twice as many of those with religion opted for more money later.
Self-control is costly, consuming a lot of mental resources. The mind and brain can become fatigued, just like a muscle, and when depleted, normal self-control is impaired.
Then they primed half of these depleted volunteers, and half the controls, with religious words. So at this point, there were four groups: Depleted; depleted but religiously primed; undepleted controls; and religiously primed controls.
All of these volunteers then attempted a set of geometrical puzzles, which, unknown to them, were impossible to solve.
The impossible task was included to test their persistence against great difficulty—another measure of self-control. The results were unambiguous. Among those who were mentally depleted, the ones with religion on their minds persisted longer at the impossible task—suggesting that the religious priming restored their cognitive powers—and their patience in the process.
They performed basically the same as those who were never tired out in the first place. The scientists take this as strong evidence for the replenishing effect of religion on self-discipline. The fourth and final experiment was the only one with ambiguous results. The first three studies had shown direct causal evidence of religion on self-control—and downstream effects on enduring discomfort, delaying rewards, and exerting patience.different religions, suffering raises the question of, why would God allow evil and suffering to bear on human beings?
At first, sufferers do not necessarily require explanations but over time, they need a theoretical explanation for their suffering.
David, your comment that all sentient beings have religion is hogwash. There is no evidence to support this statement.
Religion is a human construct for humans. Various religions compete for the ‘scarce resource’ of adherents to their faith. At present the fastest growing ‘religion’ is ‘None’. Why not believe it to be the central form of power in our lives? My belief is that it created us, somehow. But this obviously cannot be exactly explained until we reach the afterlife, in which I also believe.
If we follow the guidelines above, all will be revealed to us. Your destiny: Human-beings have the ability to do whatever they wish to do. Why Animals are not Equal to Human Beings Some philosophers deny that animals warrant direct moral concern due to religious or philosophical theories of the nature of the world and the proper place of its inhabitants.
Essay on Religion: Meaning, Nature, Role and other details ( Words) ADVERTISEMENTS: Here is your essay on religion, it’s meaning, nature, role and other details! Religion is an almost universal institution in human society. It is found in all societies, past and present.
Religion is concerned with the shared beliefs and . We humans have a “predisposition” to believe in some kind of divine being and in the afterlife; to be religious.
Such beliefs are, indeed, part of what makes us human and are innate rather than learned, says an international project, The Cognition, Religion and Theology Project, based at Oxford University academics. For over three years, 57 .