Religion from a biological or anthropological point of view

It seems to me that everything we do is for one purpose and one purpose alone, and that is to survive. We eat, sleep, exercise, work, play, wear clothes, buy houses, read, write, speak, listen, study, teach, sing, have sex, defecate, pretty do everything as a way to survive.

We create institutions to survive. Health care, education, science, philosophy and religion are just some of the institutions we have as a way to survive as a group rather than as an individual.

Seen this way, religion is no different to the ballroom dancing club, tennis club, academic associations that we create in order to survive. Religion, God, souls, mind and self, therefore, are concepts to help us, and should be studied as a biological and anthropological necessities. It should be off-limits to scrutiny.

Body and soul

For as long as religion has been with us the soul and how it relates to the body has been central to human life and understanding. Let me stress this again – human life.

While some will argue that we are different to (the catch-all-term) animals it is suspicious that it is a binary between human and animals. We consider ourselves special, different, privileged. What makes us different is the soul. Animals have none. Animals do not sin. Animals do not go to hell (but always to heaven). Puzzling.

Animals have body and “spirit”. Humans have body and soul. Let us not forget things are animate or inanimate. Someone found it hard to make the word humanate.

So we can give animals souls … if we want but then brings about the problem (already pointed out) of sin. What is a soul good for if there is no sin?

So if we go back to the original problem of what exists then we can say this – we have body. Making soul disappear difficult because we must make sin and god(s) disappear as well. They will not let us because in the end they are grandnarratives.

The surprising part is, I do not want them to disappear also. Not for the reasons of belief in them, but because this is what humans to do best. The human mind creates religions, science, philosophies, literature and art to help us understand or to make sense of the world. But more often than not it confuses the hell out of us. “Theology is anthropology,” wrote Feuerbach in 1841, 40 years before Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra the work most associated with eh idea of “God is dead”. Specifically, he was looking at Christianity. Indeed, religion (and philosophy) should not escape analysis.

We know so little about us

Almost daily we are learning something new about ourselves, the human species.

The branch that is known as homo sapiens sapiens has taken a new twist with the discovery of remains of a new human species in Russia dubbed Denisovans. Together with Neanderthals, Flores, us, and now the Denisovans we have a new picture of our ancestry.

From our DNA it is clear that we interbred with Neanderthals. Surprising is that we also interbred with Denisovans evidenced in Melanesian DNA.

This shouldn’t be surprising to us but as complacent and too intelligent our for own good that we want to believe we are some how different to other animals (for that is what we are) that our genes is pure somehow, is a ridiculous notion to say the least.

Like it or not we are have a mixed gene pool here, perhaps for the better. Diversity is an important feature of the machination of evolution. We should not dismiss but embrace our past. After all our distant relatives were apes and monkeys. To say they are inferior is to say we are inferior which obviously we are not (though this can be disputed).