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Why we love to lose ourselves in religion

(CNN) -- What's an atheist scientist like me doing writing good things about religion? I didn't start out this way. As a teenager, I had contempt for religion. I was raised Jewish, but when I read the Bible, I was shocked. It hardly seemed to me like a good guide for ethical behavior in modern times, what with all the smiting and stoning and genocide, some of it ordered by God. In college, I read other holy books, and they didn't make me any more positive toward religion.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Jonathan Haidt: Religion, like love and ethical action, offers a way to transcend the self
  • He says whether you believe or not, religion accomplishes the miracle of group inspiration
  • Haidt says religion's ability to move people makes it an evolutionary advantage for groups
  • He says our minds evolved to be more religious in tandem with our cultures

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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Of course, devoted Urantia Book readers understand more than most about religion and morality

16:7.1 "Intelligence alone cannot explain the moral nature. Morality, virtue, is indigenous to human personality. Moral intuition, the realization of duty, is a component of human mind endowment and is associated with the other inalienables of human nature: scientific curiosity and spiritual insight. Man's mentality far transcends that of his animal cousins, but it is his moral and religious natures that especially distinguish him from the animal world.

"The selective response of an animal is limited to the motor level of behavior. The supposed insight of the higher animals is on a motor level and usually appears only after the experience of motor trial and error. Man is able to exercise scientific, moral, and spiritual insight prior to all exploration or experimentation.

"Only a personality can know what it is doing before it does it; only personalities possess insight in advance of experience. A personality can look before it leaps and can therefore learn from looking as well as from leaping. A nonpersonal animal ordinarily learns only by leaping."

And what IS religion, exactly?

...Religion is society's adjustment, in any age, to that which is mysterious. As a social institution it embraces rites, symbols, cults, scriptures, altars, shrines, and temples. Holy water, relics, fetishes, charms, vestments, bells, drums, and priesthoods are common to all religions. And it is impossible entirely to divorce purely evolved religion from either magic or sorcery. ~ The Urantia Book, (92:1.3)

...true religion is the only power which can lastingly increase the responsiveness of one social group to the needs and sufferings of other groups. ~ The Urantia Book, (92:1.5)

...True religion is a meaningful way of living dynamically face to face with the commonplace realities of everyday life. ~ The Urantia Book, (99:4.3)

Link to External Source Article

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