Did Humans Create God?

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Religion and its Controversies

Religion remains one of the most controversial topics that seems to paralyze opinions in society. Discussions have begun, and views have been exchanged, but it appears that humanity would be unable to reach an agreement on such a contentious issue. Wars have been waged over religion, and the fact is that it is very unlikely that people can ever settle to the presence of greater authority.

The Debate Over God's Existence

Religion is a long-standing topic of debate. The faith controversy had existed for decades before the emergence of modern interpretations of concepts such as atheism. Numerous accounts have been made of both Greek and Roman philosophers investigating the issue of whether there indeed is a higher force and if at all there is, does the supposed higher force have any form of influence on the lives of humans? The concept of the existence of an all-powerful deity is one that polarizes opinions with scholars, philosophers, the religious population, and non-believers nowadays known as atheists all holding different opinions about God. While the religious section of the population contends that God does indeed exist and He created us humans, the other side of the divide contends that God is a conception of humans, that is, humans created God.

The Argument of Scholars and Atheists

This analysis aims to critically analyze this issue and posit that God does exist and is not a creation of humans.

The leading proponents of the concept that God is man-made can be found in the field of academia. Their main argument being that the concept of God is simply a human fabrication that has been handed down over time and down different generations from individuals who did not know any better. Among the harshest critics of the idea of the existence of a deity are the atheists, a group of individuals who do not believe in the existence of a higher being (Nietzsche 12). They posit that the idea of the presence of a God or gods is simply a convenient way in which human beings explain the things that are beyond them, so much so that they find them difficult to understand. The main driver for such beliefs simply being superstition, being embraced and science being ignored. To the proponents of the notion that God is a creation of human beings, God is a fantasy that is built on ignorance, propagated by forefathers who did not know any better before science came and proved this notion to be false with the theory of evolution coming to prominence.

The Influence of Beliefs on Views of God

Nicholas Epley, a scholar from the University of Chicago, performed a study in which he passed an interesting message. Epley concluded that for a large majority of religious people, when they pose the common question "What would Jesus do?" is more or less similar to "What would I do?" (Epley 21534) Needless to say, Epley's study is one of the more controversial ones. As a psychologist, Epley clearly conforms to most psychological studies which contend that whenever people consider the mindsets of other people, they use their own beliefs as their starting point, a fact that more often than not determines what their conclusion will be (Epley 21535). Epley applies these findings as the base of his study and he concludes that when people investigate pertinent social issues, their opinion on what God's attitudes towards them are likely to mirror their own beliefs. The implication in this case is that if their beliefs were to change, so would their opinion on what God thinks (Epley 21534). Many proponents of the notion that humans created God, especially scholars, point to such studies and the belief that the uncertainties that at times shroud the issue of religion ensure that individuals will increasingly refer to their beliefs when deducing those of their God.

The Origins of the Idea of a Human-Created God

While the notion that humankind invented God is largely considered to be a modern one based on the fact that it only came to prominence over the last two centuries, the truth is that its roots lie almost three millennia back. Religious scholars who are aware of the idea's origins trace it back to a number of ancient Greek thinkers in the sixth century BC. However, according to Dever, the idea originated from another group altogether. Dever contends that the first people to propose the idea of humans being the creators of God were a number of Jewish prophets in the Old Testament from the eighth century (Dever 19). Even though this might come as a surprise because it might be safe to assume that a serious critique of religion can only emanate from outside a religious perspective.

The Perspective of John Lennon and Critics of Religion

Nonetheless, the most fundamental challenges that religion has had to contend with down the centuries have mostly emanated from radical critics who often criticize the distortion and co-option from within religion. John Lennon was among the first people to imagine "living life in peace" and before that, he is the same person who once quipped, "no heaven... no hell below us... and no religion too" (Ester 17). By summoning the no religion moniker, Lennon was referring to a world devoid of "divine" messengers such as the infamous Osama bin Laden, the advent of religious extremism that more often than not leads to violence or a world whereby mistakes are rectified before blaming the losses associated with these losses to "God's will." In short, John Lennon was a proponent of the prevalence of critical thinking in all facets of human life.

Opposing Views and the Nature of God

However, opponents of the notion that God is a conception of the human tend to disagree. Their main fallback is their religious books such as the Bible, the Quran, et al. To them, the notion that God is a conception of the human imagination is not accurate enough. While skeptics would not agree and point to the fact that there is no tangible evidence, as is the case with science, there is indeed enough evidence to God being the beginning of everything. For man to have had a beginning, there must have been what is known as the "first cause" which came before man (Nietzsche 18). While evolutionists contend that the first cause to the existence of man was simply the big bang, an impersonal force that supposedly set the wheels of life rolling and led to the formation of the world and life as we know it today through evolution.

The main argument proposed by opponents of this notion is that man-made gods are essentially created in the image of man. The gods of pagan cultures are more often than not fraught with human-like flaws, inconsistencies, and weaknesses. Their behavior is not different from that portrayed by humans with pettiness, selfishness, and capriciousness a constant characteristic. As such, for man to be human-made, his nature would extend only as far as the man's imagination. The conception of God as a human creation would effectively imply that He would behave in the same way humans do, with the same sins and jealousies of the human heart. However, the God portrayed in the Christian Bible or the Quran surpasses human understanding but leaves trails which humans can pick up to get to know him better (Dever 32).

The Psychology of Religion

Researchers have in the recent past been focusing on the mind so as to be able to understand the part of humans that encodes the concept of religion. The main premise of their arguments is that in the same way humans have physiological DNA, the psychological mechanism behind faith has over time evolved over a long time with natural selection at the heart of it (Ester 13). Researchers contend that humans are born with an inherent need for attachment. In the same way, children are attached to their mothers at a young age, attachment is reinforced physiologically via brain chemistry. This is the basis of the need for protectors, and this is where humans create a higher being, a god or gods, a kind of 'super-parent' who is able to protect and take care of us.

Conclusion

In conclusion, believers in the presence of an all-powerful being argue that it is not possible to simply remove the idea of the presence of God without replacing the idea with an explanation that is at least reasonable. On the other hand, proponents of the idea that God was created by humans contend that the idea of God is simply a creation of human beings and has no sufficient backing in any case. As the discussion rages on, it is clear that the margins are simply a result of beliefs that vary depending on which side one is on.

Works Cited

Dever, William G. Did God have a wife? Archaeology and folk religion in ancient Israel. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005.

Epley, Nicholas, et al. "Believers' estimates of God's beliefs are more egocentric than estimates of other people's beliefs." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.51 (2009): 21533-21538.

Ester, Martin. "Does God Exist?" (2013).

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the genealogy of morals and ecce homo. Vintage, 2010.

January 25, 2023
Category:

Religion Life

Subcategory:

Biology Experience

Subject area:

God Human Decision

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