God Is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human

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God Is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human

Post25 Jan 2017

Newish OUP book ... I have not read it, so cannot comment. 'God Is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human' by Dominic Johnson. Reviews, here and here.

While writing the book the author asked a colleague trained in theology and religious studies whether there was a standard work in the field on the role of supernatural reward and punishment, explored why supernatural belief would be needed to deter selfish behavior and goes on to suggest that there are several good reasons why God - or other supernatural agents - actually represent the best possible deterrent against selfishness ... belief in supernatural punishment being a good method of deterring people from the real-world costs of selfish actions because of the asymmetry in the possible errors one may make.
“... the unpredictability and unknown nature of our environment may mean that factual knowledge isn’t as useful as the behaviors we have evolved to deal with this world.”

He looks at how superstitious behavior can have advantages if it "somehow reduces anxiety, helps us attempt otherwise daunting tasks, or improves performance", refers to laboratory experiments, where superstitious beliefs actually increased success at solving problems and documents evidence that superstitious beliefs can help us, for example, correlating higher performing basketball teams, with higher performing players within them, to their showing more superstitious behaviors.

So there you go folks. The BKs have got it right, even if they are entirely wrong, and what the Dalai Lama really needs to do is have a league winning basketball team to "prove" Buddhism leads to enlightenment. :shock:
'God Is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human' by Dominic Johnson

For millennia human civilization has relied on such beliefs to create a moral order that threatens divine punishment on people who commit crimes or other bad deeds, while promising rewards-abstract or material-for those who do good. Today, while secularism and unbelief are at an all-time high, this almost superstitious willingness to believe in karma persists. We find ourselves imagining what our parents, spouse, or boss would think of our thoughts and actions, even if they are miles away and will never find out. We often feel that we are being monitored. We talk of eyes burning into the backs of our heads, the walls listening, a sense that someone or something is out there, observing our every move, aware of our thoughts and intentions.

God Is Watching You is an exploration of this belief as it has developed over time and how it has shaped the course of human evolution. Dominic Johnson explores questions such as: How has a concern for supernatural consequences affected the way human society has changed, how we live today, and how we will live in the future? Does it expand or limit the potential for local, regional and global cooperation today? How will the current decline in religious belief (at least in many Western countries) affect selfishness and society in the future? And what, if anything, is replacing our ancient concerns for supernatural punishment as the means to temper self-interest and promote cooperation? In short, do we still need God?

Drawing on new research from anthropology, evolutionary biology, experimental psychology, and neuroscience, Johnson presents a new theory of supernatural punishment that offers fresh insight on the origins and evolution of not only religion, but human cooperation and society. He shows that belief in supernatural reward and punishment is no quirk of Western or Christian culture, but a ubiquitous part of human nature that spans geographical regions, cultures, and human history.
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Pink Panther

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Re: God Is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human

Post26 Jan 2017

What it is really implying is much simpler, you are influenced by what you believe.

The Indicator of what you actually believe (versus what you say you believe) is what you allow to influence you. If you try to change the thing you say you believe in so it can be ”better’ than it is, to be more like what you want it to be, then it is that standard or goal which is actually what you believe in, not the thing you are trying to change. Like the Shift group mentioned in the other thread.

They say they believe in BK teachings & practice but they want to change it to something else. That ”something else” is what they actually believe. if they want it to be fairer, then they believe in fairness more than they believe that the institution has been set up by a supreme being

Can we not then deduce that one finds real peace, equanimity, courage, etc when one knows what one believes, does what one believes and both of those are coherent with what one says one believes?

GuptaRati 6666

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Re: God Is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human

Post29 Jan 2017

Benson, at Harvard Medical School has written two books documenting the influence of beliefs on the health and physiology of the body. one is Beyond The Relaxation Response and the other is the Break Out Principle.

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