Why does spirituality exist?

Where agnostics and atheists can freely discuss

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
help3434
Guru
Posts: 1434
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:19 pm
Location: United States
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Why does spirituality exist?

Post #1

Post by help3434 »

Why does spirituality exist? By spirituality I mean things like the warm glow I would sometimes get at church, an overwhelming feeling I got when I testified of the love of Christ and a warm feeling when testifying of the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. Even those who were never religious can experience overwhelming awe when contemplating nature, or great art, or when in love, or even when having a good time with good friends. On hand these make for great experiences, on the other hand this quirk of human psychology has tricked people into believing the truth claims made by religions, and in some cases has made people become fanatics.

User avatar
Furrowed Brow
Site Supporter
Posts: 3725
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:29 am
Location: Here
Been thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Post #2

Post by Furrowed Brow »

Spirituality is a word. I've been in church for wedding and christenings and don't get warm glows around religion. I call this sojngdlsjkfnb'el. When I use this word you now know it means a lack of warm glow about anything religious. Don't get a warm glow around football crowds either. But some folk do I hear. Once had a very warm glow when my best friend married......in a hotel. Some music gives me a glow.

This really comes down to some folk like church and some folk don't. Some folk also like thrash rock concerts and some don't. We can think up a word for sweating as a thrash rock concert too. So the underlying question is why do some folk get warm glows? I suspect it is something do with a sense of peace, happiness, hope etc. It probably needs a neuroscientist and a psychologists to unpack "warm glows" further.

User avatar
Molly
Student
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:19 pm

Re: Why does spirituality exist?

Post #3

Post by Molly »

[Replying to post 1 by help3434
]
Why does spirituality exist? By spirituality I mean things like the warm glow I would sometimes get at church, an overwhelming feeling I got when I testified of the love of Christ and a warm feeling when testifying of the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. Even those who were never religious can experience overwhelming awe when contemplating nature, or great art, or when in love, or even when having a good time with good friends. On hand these make for great experiences, on the other hand this quirk of human psychology has tricked people into believing the truth claims made by religions, and in some cases has made people become fanatics.
Faulty instinctive human logic, neurological chemicals, and left over pack animal traits.

keithprosser3

Post #4

Post by keithprosser3 »

I find all this interesting because I can't relate to that experience at all. It sounds like an endorphin rush or a drug high (I'm not saying if that is something I can relate to).

User avatar
Jack Stoddart
Apprentice
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:34 am

Post #5

Post by Jack Stoddart »

When we attended sunday school it was explained that humans consisted of body, soul and spirit. It was never explained what "spirit" was but it was made very plain that it was not a warm feeling, either in church or anywhere else. Any warm feelings I experienced at that age would call "embarrassment" if I felt them now but as a rule I did not get any warm feelings in the church environment.

The biblical origins were presented as derived from the Greek distinction between their 2 words giving us our words
  • pneumatic - from the Greek root meaning "spirit" or "breath"
    psychology - from the Greek root for "soul"
however the psych- root has other applications in English (psychotic for example which a dictionary soon reveals to a school aged child). The Greek word for "mind" is something else.

In music therapy there is some interest in what happens to nerves upon hearing sound. The eardrum vibrates, the vibration is transmitted via small bones to the inner ear where a membrane vibrates close to short tufts of hair sprouting from cells which hypo- and hyper-polarise as they are moved this way and that by the membrane. Different sounds cause different portions of the membrane to resonante and the corresponding haircells deliver a neurotransmitter to the eagerly waiting nerve.

Although if dragged along to church perhaps they would be less eager. Most of the signals carried to the brain do not go to the hearing centres. They go somewhere else, such as to the reflex area, understandably, due to mammals being nice food and our wish not to be eaten. An example of that is when your ears twitch, as you hear a faint sound, waiting for the beloved to arrive.

In that example, a very faint sound can trigger warm feelings but they are wholly somatic. The reflex to beloved's car door, however faint, triggers all sorts of neurotransmitter events and they are all physical and that is not what "spiritual" means, I was told, at sunday school.

When the NT says something is "spiritually discerned"
I Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [AV]
some other mechanism must be intended. The somatic responses are not "spiritual" because they will cease at death whereas the spirit phenomenon is claimed not to. Spirit is "..not breathing, it is breath" or similar gobbledygook has always puzzled me. What causes breathing? and Why is the same word used for that as for what causes trees to move? and How do we know that what the Greeks called pneuma- (as in pneumatic tyre) is the same as what we call spirit? and You still haven't explained what spirit means have you? never got satisfactory responses at sunday school. There doesn't seem to be an answer. It's just a weasel word substantiated by frequent and repeated use.

The expression "the spirit of the law" is easy to understand. But I don't think that's what churchgoers mean. The psych- effects I'd describe in terms of music therapy. They're neurological, auditory evoked. If you took that away there'd be not much left. Even churches without music still have singing and religions without churches have chanting too. Or gongs. Creep up behind someone with your gong (they don't know you're there) strike gong with mallet. The reaction is a profound neurological response and that's essentially how I see religion. There is nothing spiritual in it at all (but, like a tree, they do move).

None of them can explain what "spiritual" means. I do ask them. Nada.

User avatar
help3434
Guru
Posts: 1434
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:19 pm
Location: United States
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Post #6

Post by help3434 »

[Replying to post 5 by Jack Stoddart]

Not sure what you mean when you say that without music there would be little left. The "spiritual" moments in my life that stand out most to me in memory are not listen to music in church, but in the feelings I felt when talking about the love Jesus showed for us by His suffering and testifying of Joseph Smith's first vision.

User avatar
Jack Stoddart
Apprentice
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:34 am

Post #7

Post by Jack Stoddart »

[Replying to post 6 by help3434]Oh, yes. I see - I meant the effect of a church service would be greatly reduced without hymns and music.

Churches (sunday school in particular) are where I first heard about spirituality and what those people said to me is explained by reactions to sound, which I detailed.

I can be fairly confident about the sound bit because I work with it. To explain how one feels when witnessing I have thought that might be related to complying with expected behaviours, as a self reinforcing result of operant conditioning, or with one's own expectations.

That means an opportunity to comply with what one expects should happen (without considering why one would expect that). So then if I'd grown up in an environment where adults expressed joy resulting from witnessing—but not really understending what "witnessing" meant because I was a child—then when I found out what the word signified and was presented with an opportunity to witness myself, that would satisfy the longing to emulate adults.

In that environment, the religious urge which I altogether lack would be a pre-existing inclination. Not a learned response. Despite attempts to indoctrinate me at sunday school I never developed the inclination. I never really saw anyone "witnessing" so never wanted to emulate that activity.

Does that make sense?

postroad
Prodigy
Posts: 2882
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:58 am

Post #8

Post by postroad »

help3434 wrote: [Replying to post 5 by Jack Stoddart]

Not sure what you mean when you say that without music there would be little left. The "spiritual" moments in my life that stand out most to me in memory are not listen to music in church, but in the feelings I felt when talking about the love Jesus showed for us by His suffering and testifying of Joseph Smith's first vision.
Maybe you long for a better state of existence. Isn't that what religion offers?

When you are in an environment where you can suspend unbelief and embrace something that speaks to your subconscious you get rewarded with some of the same feelings as if it were reality.

Maybe that's the reason why believers get so hostile? We are attacking their subconscious ego.

Post Reply