Theism Is Healthy
Evolutionists are at a loss to explain why belief in God makes people happy.
Secular scientists typically relegate religion to natural selection, making up stories about how it provided survival value somehow. Live Science, for instance, reproduced an op-ed from The Conversation, “Did angry gods drive humanity’s expansion?” The expected answer to the rhetorical question is, well yes. “Our team of anthropologists and psychologists decided to experimentally investigate how beliefs in gods – specifically those who care about how we treat each other and punish us for immoral behavior – may have contributed to more widespread cooperation.” It goes without saying that “beliefs in gods” are just that—beliefs, according to the worldview of author Benjamin Purzycki, a human evolutionist at the University of British Columbia.
Well, if Purzycki really believes that, maybe he should get right with God so that he can see more cooperation. The fact is, psychologists continue to find that theism is healthy, as long as it is the kind of theism that sees a just God who watches our actions. Watch what Science Daily says about Purcycki’s research. Who wouldn’t want the fruits of a theistic outlook?
“Certain kinds of beliefs — involving gods who are aware of human interactions and punish for moral transgressions — can indeed contribute to the evolution of human co-operation,” said lead author Benjamin Purzycki, a postdoctoral research fellow at UBC’s Centre for Human Evolution, Cognition and Culture.
“If you think you’re being watched, and expect to be divinely punished for being too greedy or thieving, you might be less inclined to engage in anti-social behavior towards a wider range of people who share those beliefs.”
Notice the criteria there; not just any god will do. It needs to be one who dislikes greed and theft. There are “gods” who reward that kind of unrighteousness. That won’t do. The deity must not only be omniscient, but good. He must care about how we treat one another.
Results show that believers in all-knowing gods who punish for wrongdoing are more likely to behave fairly towards anonymous, distant “co-religionists” — those who share beliefs about gods and rituals, but may not belong to the same religious organization.
Now we see that fairness is another moral quality that the deity must reward. And fairness must extend to those of other groups. The Parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind.
When people act this way, the study suggests, they are engaging in behaviour that can support key features of modern-day societies — such as large, co-operative institutions, trade, markets and partnerships.
“Religious beliefs may have been one of the major contributing factors in the development and stability of highly complex social organizations, such as states,” said Purzycki.
Without doubt, Purzycki ascribes this to natural selection. He is, after all, a research fellow on human evolution. But since the fruit is so good – social stability, cooperation, trade, markets, partnerships, and a just society that looks down on theft and greed – why wouldn’t every evolutionist wish to promote theism? That would seem to promote the evolutionary fitness of the community.
But wait—there’s more. PhysOrg reports that “Americans who see God as ‘a secure base’ tend to be more committed, satisfied on the job.” Someone like Purzycki might describe this belief as a comforting myth, an opiate for the masses as Karl Marx put it. The point is that it works. Not only do you get a stable, cooperative society with theism; you get job satisfaction, too! What evolutionary anthropologist wouldn’t crave that? There’s a hidden subtext that the converse is also true. Disbelieving in God might produce the opposite results.
What is it that he wants, anyway? The truth? Better an inconvenient truth than a comfortable myth, he might respond. People need to know about natural selection! Then they can rise above their myths, and enjoy the fruits of an enlightened, scientific worldview.
And what might those fruits be? We can find the fruits of evolutionary non-theism in the 20th century, Darwin’s century: eugenics, wars for survival of the fittest, communism, fascism, gulags, genocide. For his own safety, Purzycki should rush to promote theism for all his fellow organisms, even if he doesn’t believe it himself. Better a comfortable myth than death in prison camps!
If Purzycki takes that approach, it’s likely he will have a twinge of conscience. He would be promoting something he doesn’t believe is true. This could cause a severe moral conflict in his inner being, one in which he might feel punishment would be just. Is he being greedy? Is he stealing someone else’s goodness? Is he a liar?
One solution would be to repent and believe in theism himself. Then, he could enjoy all the benefits honestly. It would have to be the right theism, one that believes in God’s omniscience and righteousness. That would rule out religions that think their “god” is OK with rape, genocide and bombings. It would rule out religions that say the world is just an illusion, and that a man’s duty is to drop out mentally (that would end his scientific pursuits). It would rule out religions that keep a man in the dark about whether he is good enough or has done enough to avoid punishment. That would eliminate all the ritualistic religions or systems of salvation by works.
By this time, his guilt might be so strong he would cry out for a merciful God. Searching hard through the options, he might find one theistic system that offers a unique concept that would satisfy everything he’s looking for: a five-letter word spelled G-R-A-C-E.
Evolutionists, accept Christ for your own good. Your own theory’s assumptions demand it. Just don’t be a hypocrite about it.