Religion Is Nature’s Antidepressant | Robert Sapolsky

Religion Is Nature’s Antidepressant | Robert Sapolsky


So when you look at the really unique bizarre
things humans have come up with, ranging from cave paintings to Snapchats and everything
in between, probably the most unique and universal thing we’ve come up with is this religion
business. We talk about the symbolic metaphorical thinking. Essentially there has been no culture on earth
that has not invented some form of what could be termed “meta-magical thinking,” attributing
things that cannot be seen, faith-based belief systems, things of that sort. It’s universal, and 90-95 percent of people
believe in some sort of omnipotent something or other out there. Every culture has it. People have endlessly speculated about the
evolution of religiosity, and at least in terms of westernized religions it makes perfect
sense why they’ve evolved: Because they’re wonderful mechanisms for reducing stress. It is an awful, terrifying world out there
where bad things happen and we’re all going to die eventually. And believing that there is something, someone
responsible for it at least gives some stress reducing attributes built around understanding
causality. If on top of that you believe there is not
only something out there responsible for all of this but that there is a larger purpose
to it, that’s another level of stress reducing explanation. If then on top of it you believe that individual
out there is benevolent—even more so control and predictability. Benevolent and listens to human entreaties? More elements of control. Benevolent, listens to human entreaties, and
prefers to listen to people like you who look like you, pray like you, request like you? Even more so. They’re just all these levels of control,
predictability; they’re stress reducing. And what is infuriating to me as an utter
complete atheist is a very, very solid literature showing the health benefits of religiosity,
independent of you tend to get a social supportive community. When you’re religious you have fewer lifestyle
risk factors. The mere ability to perceive causality, reason,
benevolence—“Benevolence especially for people like me if I say the right combination
of words and fervently believe in it”—that’s wonderfully protective and there’s health
benefits to it. If it is a totally heartless indifferent apathetic
universe out there you are far more at risk for all the logical things which is to conclude
it is an utterly depressing universe out there. Rates of depression are much higher among
atheists… Go figure. So in terms of that it makes perfect sense
why this is something that people have come up with and rather than asking why is it that
95 percent of humans come up with some form of religiosity, a much more biologically interesting
question to me is: What’s up with the five percent of atheists who don’t do that?

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100 Comments

  1. A big part of my atheism I believe is how poorly I was treated by the so called religious community I grew up in, I couldn't reconcile the pain and injustice I was experiencing with the message that I was living in a "wonderful Catholic utopia." Not to mention the revelation of covert sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Religion's may make a certain high percent of the population happy but can be really cruel to those, through no fault of their own, who have subversive and aberrant thinking.

  2. “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity

    If it is true that there is no real significance to the human life other than what we ourselves can prescribe to it so that we can delude ourselves with some sense of peace, why is it so important to us that there is meaning to our lives? I don't think people are depressed by the idea our lives are finite. We deal with finite things every day. It's that ultimately our universe will cease to be, and us with it, and everything we've ever accomplished will turn to dust and be forgotten, that makes the proposition hard to bear if not unlivable. Why try at all?

    Late in life, Tolstoy called life a "cruel stupid joke", one all the grimmer for the awareness of our "inescapable impermanence". Nietzsche had his parable of the madman, "How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us — for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."…"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him."

    I don't know if there's a god out there or not, but I do know the universe takes on a whole new meaning if there isn't, and that meaning ain't pretty. I can live with dying forever one day. It's the concept that everything I've done in my life is as temporal as I was. And even worse, that applies to the people I care about too. Art, songs, literature, all just as temporal as we are. You can cure cancer, and all you're doing is buying time for creatures that will soon face the same grim fate thereafter. When you go there, all you will ever be able to claim at the end of the day is that a good time was had by all. It's all you're left with. Pleasure. That's the depressing part I see when I look over into atheism. And, there's a never ceasing voice at the back of my head, just as the first humans must have had, that says "There must be more to this than that." If there's no meaning in the universe, why does it bother me so much?

  3. Hey, Buddhists don't believe in a benevolent super being and they've developed the best stress reducer in all of mankind.
    Meditation.

  4. I am agnostic, and this is why I think atheists are doing harm to the world by working hard to prove that there is no God, we are hard-wired to believe in god

  5. Non-religious people should have social gathering as religious people do. Religion comes with a sense of community and this would allow non-religious people to experience this.

  6. Even though he mentioned all the beneficial points in adhering to religious dogma, I do not believe that all religous people adhere to such believes. Seeing adversity as challenges is not an inclusively christian feature. It's called Cognitive Reframing. Religion has also many dark sides and to face constant cognitive dissonance if one is believing all humans are good when there is evidence that THEY BEHAVE sometimes badly is hard to swallow (unless they reinterpret that as well in which case they are deluding themselves). Some believes are also quite pernicious, i.e. going to heaven or hell and feeling guilty. Therapies like CBT and even more so REBT have a brilliant solution for dealing with guilty feelings etc. which I find to much better. Scientific thinking has a lot of advantages which he omits in that video. While the universe is "indifferent" to what happens to us, it is still not a bad universe. We appraise it to be "bad" when in fact the universe, as human beings, are in a constant flux and are consequently a combination of good, bad and neutral. Global evaluations are so incorrect, because they are over-generalizing few facts and making is as a whole thing.

  7. Those 5% who don't believe are evolutionary inferior because they're more likely to die prematurely. Depressive symptoms dont make for a hale and hearty old age.

  8. I am an Atheist, and while I understand Robert's reach out to the religious community, I would like to say hell no to this video. While sure religions can be an anti-depressant to handle death, it seems he's forgetting it can also be a push to make people kill others for their contradicted god. We know this from many Jehovah "witnesses" that deny blood transfusion in cases a doctor may say they or their kids may need it, but they deny it for god. From "Christian Science" where those idiots believe prayer can heal intense health issues instead of doctors. Muslims killing other people who aren't muslims. SMH so yeah…fuck that! I will not respect their beliefs at all.

  9. I'd think that there are a lot of people in church on Sunday who aren't really believers but go anyway out of habit. It's just the place the family goes on Sunday. Kids that won't listen to their parents and aren't easy to civilize need to know that there's a "higher authority."

  10. Yeah, believing that there's a demon in the sky who'll torture you for eternity if you don't follow his insane, immoral, and contradictory edicts exactly is a great stress reducer.

  11. As an atheist I'm depressed about the fact that in a world choked with evidence of the benefits of rational thinking and the products of science that so many would give science the finger and scuttle back to their superstitions and faiths that try to tell them to behave in nonsensical ways or a thoroughly made up entity will torture them in a thoroughly ficticious place after death.

    I'm also depressed about atheists and theists believing that atheists can't find community in a secular world doing things for the benefit of others without monetary reward. To my fellow atheists: there are loads of secular organizations doing charitable things for people in need that you can volunteer with and they don't ask you to sign some BS statement of faith. Don't give this ground entirely over to religious organizations. You too can get health benefits of participating in community without surrendering your critical thinking.

  12. We didn't evolve the Bible. We didn't evolve the Great Pyramids at Giza. Talking about how religion evolved is like talking about how we evolved word processors. We didn't. We evolved language. We invented word processors. Organized religion is 10,000 years old. It is marked by the 1st professional priests; people who did no work but be priests. Before that people had pastoral religions, but that's a whole different subject. Organized religion was invented at the same time and by the same people as monarchies, slavery, and the 2nd class citizenship of women. And I would argue it is no more moral nor more stress-relieving or healthful than those other institutions.

    I went to college in Kentucky. It was a state university. It wasn't a religious school or anything, but I saw some damn shameful practices when I was there. Religious scholars are, in my experience, religious people first and scholars second. Expect them to lie to your face and then bluntly inform you that they are morally superior to you. That's the way religious people behave. Atheists demonstrate pro-religion biases as well. Some were raised religious and never quite got it out of their heads. Others just pick up the bias from group think.

    You think it's a great stress-relief believing in god? You've never even thought about it, have you? Constantly having this judgemental voyeur looking over your shoulder, nevermind that he has a long history of smiting people who offend him. There are psychologists who specialize in helping people who were traumatized by their religious upbringings because it turns out thinking about all your friends burning in hell can cause permanent psychological damage. And that's before we start talking about people who believe in witches, Satanists, and demons who can assume human form, and I'll bet there are a lot more of those people than you'd like to think. Can you imagine the paranoia? Always watching your neighbors for signs of supernatural powers and motivation by pure evil for its own sake? It's like being insane.

    As for your statistics, the ones that aren't just flat-out lies have some explanation other than what you're suggesting. You note atheists are more prone to depression. I heard a funny thing a while ago. Religious apologists love to say that religious people are happier than non-religious people. I heard that when you interrogate that data you find that: religious people are a lot happier in very religious countries like the US and Turkey, religious people are slightly happier in middling religious countries like the UK and Japan, and there's no difference in the happiness of religious versus non-religious people in predominantly non-religious countries like Sweden and Switzerland. The data is telling us that religious people discriminate against non-religious people but non-religious people do not discriminate against religious people. They're happier because they don't have to put up with their neighbors shunning them because they're atheists. I suspect that also explains your depression stat. It might explain the health stats too.

    But regardless, why is it that whenever someone produces stats about how healthy and happy religious people are and how much they give to charity, everyone immediately and without discussion accepts that these are the direct effect of religion but whenever some religious person beats a homosexual to death in the streets as his priest told him to do backed up by the words of his holy book no one ever thinks that violence is the direct effect of religion. The word is bias. There are all kinds of terrible, terrible things associated with religion, but good luck finding the statistics or finding funding to do the study.

  13. Science needs to conceive a practice that gives the benefits without the sacrifice of reason and that is less seceptible to abuse.

  14. Religion is addictive gradually one needs higher and higher doses and in the end it creates a false belief system that your drug is the only one that works, leading to further horrors, remember Jones town?

  15. Belief in God is not a convenient explanation for an infinitely complex world, it is the ACCEPTANCE of it. Once you accept a high power exists (even if it is just the irreducible complexity of life/nature/the universe) you can begin to orient yourself properly in that existence. Attempting to rationalize and reduce EVERYTHING via science or other such intellectual pursuits only tortures the mind and soul. This is partly why smarter people, I think, are more likely to be depressed.  Whether one wants to claim there is some superior metaphysical entity playing "God" is just semantics, as the infinite nature of the universe is, from our severely limited viewpoint, practically indistinguishable.  Many Atheists claim that it is the human need for explanations that give rise to "simplistic" ideas like Gods and supernatural. I say that desire is what torments them as well, as Science's abilities to reduce things to a human understanding level breaks down in proportion to the complexity and alien nature of what is being studied (human behavior, weather, quantum physics…). There inevitably are going to be things we can never grasp (therefore predict and control), no matter how clever we may get. Subserviating oneself to the unknowable God of all of existence is the best first step to existential peace.

  16. New Testament starts out at the Desert Inn.  All them confessions lead to a cash landfall.  Jesus comes by and Big John jumps out his socks and eventually loses his head to the Kings daughter.  Jesus gets into a fix when he starts to convert with the people and tanning their hides.  Pilate intervenes and gets Jesus a reprieve and a new occupation.

  17. If you want to talk about adeptness and control, and having a firm grasp of predictability… and the science of stress… Professor Sapolsky most certainly has less fear / stress.

    His appreciation of nature as a scientist is an understanding that nature is not fickle, you see.

  18. 1. Telling yourself that god exist as a coping mechanism is one thing, truly believing a god exist is another.

    2. These people clearly have no desire to understand all theist because then we'd see more of them sharing their thoughts on our testimonies instead of constantly trying to tell us why we turn to religion.

    3. Anti depressant? LOL. I fucking wish. As someone who believes in the bible, you clearly don't realize how depressing shit really is. I don't expect you all to either. It doesn't validate your bs narrative.

  19. i think your data is a bit outdated, there are far more atheist than 5% in the current time, there is more than 60% of china that confirms atheists, that alone is nearing a billion people, which mean at the very least there are more than 14% confirm atheist in the current world population, and that counting on just 1 country alone

  20. So true, I'm not engage in any forms of religion, and I got depress most of the time, or at least anxiety. Religious groups just give you some companion feelings, sense of belong to a larger group, nothing special or benevolent about it.

  21. The latest science says that the old science was leading us to incomplete (more wrong than right) conclusions.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-raj-persaud/religion-depression_b_3928675.html

    As it turns out, faith usually makes people MORE DEPRESSED;
    -especially if their faith-community (not merely a factor of church, but of whether or not the region they live in is predominantly of their same faith/culture) (if that) is not large and cohesive enough; which is why the effect is far worse in in the UK (for example); because there is not as much mutual religiosity there to draw from.

    Faith does both: lifts up and weighs down;
    so the result is largely a factor of which force is greater for a person (or persons).

    Downsides can include:
    * nagging cognitive dissonance.

    * the effect of there being so many sociodemographics which they are supposed to hold in derision; which becomes a bigger and bigger problem, the more and more of those they are surrounded by.

    * stress caused by the demands of participation in fundraising activities.
    Most churches only have a few members who regularly take the lead in those efforts. It's usually out of a sense of obligation, when there aren't enough volunteers; and it's usually people who really can't spare the personal resources (time, energy, stress, etc) they are sacrificing for it.

    *stress caused by feeling obligated to self-abuse and self-neglect, whenever the needs of the person
    run contrary to the doctrines of their faith-collective ( an entire book could be (and probably should be) written on this alone).

    and

    * The effects on the brain while living in an abusive relationship with an imaginary (but "real to you") malignant Narcissistic Psychopath who can "do no wrong" ;
    and the Stockholm Syndrome that develops from that, when both the golden carrot and the fiery stick (and the person's own Identity-dependencies) require that you love him (and see no fault in him) unwaveringly. You can't even rely on faking it, because he is always watching and can read your mind.
    Worse yet, if their God has a "Holy Spirit" that will NOT forgive sins against it (or him); noting that such sins can come in the form of (or be caused by) thoughts and feelings that could creep up, if a believer is not careful enough about what they think and feel. The stresses caused by that can build up gradually. And as the saying goes, at some point, "something's got to give" (and when that happens, it isn't going to be pretty).

  22. Human language may be a very practical way of connecting social groups that work together better because of specialized skills, and if one of those skills is theorizing about the value of grouping, then it's become a circular argument for why religions or philosophy or institutionalized common interests prevail as "super-organisms".
    Atheism may be the only protection against the excesses of theism become authoritarianism and dictatorship, and it's also a natural behaviour that puts individuals at physical risk, but hollow beliefs in power structures built on predatory abuse, if the individual recognizes it as the greater personal threat..(?)
    So it's a matter of what your group does that is constructive against what the individual recognizes as destructive.

    It's well worth watching Dr Sapolskys lectures on animal behaviours before the human part, because the social culture added on by the "global super-predator" hides behind "words of comfort and joy".

  23. A "wonderful mechanism" that convinces people to do things like witch burning and throwing gays off of buildings..

  24. I am my happiest as an atheist as I know the truth. I no longer harbor any fears of death, or eternal torture by some fucking psychopath god. I don´t give a penny, much 10 % of my income to some fucking crooked preacher or church, and I live life as I want, not by some arbitrary rules made up by ignorant, bronze age barbarians.

    Why would anyone want to live in a free country and belong to a group of assholes who set rules for you to live by. It´s kind of like a housing association. Religion is for the ignorant, weak minded, or those in social need; none of which apply to me. I´m a loner and I love it that way.

  25. RS got it right. Very right. However, he certainly was not the first to understand the benefits of religion. One of my favorites is by Karl Marx: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people". And in a painful universe, little opium now and then is a good thing.

  26. I'm an atheist/agnostic (whatever) and i know for certain that my life would be so much easier if i was religious. I'm not intellectually capable of believing in the supernatural, there is no evidence etc. I can accept reality, or chose to live a lie at the benefit of having an easier life. Unfortunately i'm going through depression, if i was religious i would have killed myself by now, believing i would go someplace better. But maybe if i was religious i wouldn't be depressed, or at least less depressed.

  27. That may be true but you can't force yourself to believe anymore than you can unlearn to read. Some people just can't. If there is a god it's nothing like anything humans describe.

  28. You have fallen short of perfection. People you love are going to hell. You can't have a career in science because it contradicts your beliefs. You can't bring yourself to sell everything. You don't understand why we can't kill homosexuals. People laugh at you for believing a 600 year old man built the largest wooden boat ever and got every creature in the world to fit, not starve and not die in the dark from the lack of ventilation. How is your stress now. I was first diagnosed with depression as a Christian. As an atheist I feel liberated. The view here seems to be people are idiots incapable of the truth. I hope not as the cost of abandoning science will create more stress.

  29. I never experienced peace or freedom while indoctrinated. Now that I've shed religion, I've never felt more free…pure…authentic. There is no longer the stress of rules or wondering why god didn't answer my prayers. I feel empowered by knowing that i alone am responsible for my life.

  30. I just found this channel and I love how professional Atheist and Theists give their opinion on the subject of religion without being offensive or pushing their beliefs onto others.

  31. Both ways are great. If there is no God we are on our own and decide everything which is awesome! If there is God on the other hand, we have been given even the instructions how to live life! The choice is yours. But please dont say that one of it is more certain than the other. Did you go yesterday to check out whats up outside the universe? Another thing if we think that we decide everything around and inside of us, why we just cant decide, you know what, from now on I want only good thoughts in my brain, no bad thoughts, thats it, bad thoughts and bad feelings out!? Both are great explanation of life, but atheism only teaches you theres no God and too much useless information that why do you need actually, if it doesnt matter anyway, just go there kill couple of people in your life or be proud gay, or just loose some caveman beard and look and talk like a mental. So thats why I choose Christianity, because not only it teaches me why things are how they are, but also how to become, look and act like real man. And then you can ofcourse study and learn many things from biology and chemistry as well.

  32. Religion is nature's antidepressant.

    Unless you get introduced to an angry, demanding, impossible to please God, in which case religion is another millstone around your neck and a source of immense stress.

  33. i don't think 95% of people come up with shit. maybe there's a god hole in people, maybe not, but where are these vast populations of people that were never exposed to the idea of religion and, therefore, came up with it?

  34. Not to diminish his factual observations. My free thinking actually fills me with the wonder and joy of the universe and all that it has to offer. If you are a human on earth you have won the cosmic lottery. Having been raised a catholic I have seen both sides and I prefer logic and reason over made up stories. We are a way for the universe to view itself.

  35. It may be acceptable that the human possess psychological attractions towards God's existence, every human who accepts are in the manner to trust on themselves in same a way who don't. Who's gonna lead in such scenario………..?

  36. This guy sounds like his first day on this planet, braindead biases.

    what is good about making up a goddess that loves to drink blood and declare a festival that officially allows thousands of innocent animals to be sluaghtred for some bizarre fuck sake!!
    or dump several feet tall statues into to the river/sea that pollutes, waste so much raw material and days of annoying rituals while giving a big flying fuck to law n order!!

    nobody will have any problem if religious beliefs are universal and subject to constant change but it's exactly the opposite.

    it needs an upgrade, because we live in changing times, with new needs

    if while growing up we believe in tooth fairies, we understand there is no such thing in adulthood then why so much pressure on having any made up beliefs when in deathbed?

    should we all also resort to Santa n tooth fairies when old enough?

    why it is so fucking hard to accept that there is no afterlife, we all die and it's a part of existence, everything comes to an end?

    things are utterly random, some get to live long, some die before the age of 5

    instead of justifying religion, work on socio-economic n political systems to curb corruption n inequality, so that everyone gets to live a comfortable life. Inspire people to innovate and cure diseases like cancer, aids, and neonatal diseases, mandatory free higher education, maintain a healthy lifestyle but NO!!! everybody wants to give head to their made up sky daddy because too egoistic to let go such ideologies. SMH!!

  37. I've been trying to re-believe in the Easter Bunny to reduce stress, but I feel terrible, really bad for failing at this. Perhaps I'm not trying hard enough? I hang out with first graders and we share our Easter Bunny inspired hopes and dreams, but when I go home or back to work, all the fun evaporates. I've really got to do this to lower my anxiety over the state of the world and the loss of my loved ones. Why has the Easter Bunny abandoned me to hopelessness? Oh, Peter Cottontail, why can't you be real?

  38. I don't want an illusion of control or predictability hiding reality from me in a super funky manner, why would I want to live a lie, just accept things as they are, be a positive force in the world for others, encourage them to do the same, simples, "in pratice"

    Why, I think they vastly overcomplicate things, when just realising nobody's puting any energy into undoing or preventing things, can open a window on proactivity in the world, what a group of individuals can come together & achieve.

  39. right, and so is cocaine, but the COMEDOWN and then DEPRESSION AFTER LONG TERM USE IS DEADLY AF. no, it's not an advantage in any way, shape, or form. it is trash.

  40. Many religious people are slowing down our way to technological singularity and transhumanism, so many religious people are evil. Also, spirituality can exist without religion.

  41. Is belief and more or less of a trade-off than marriage? One learns to associate abuse with security in most working class families. How is either one of the above any different if one suffers when belief (or marriage) fails?

  42. Very interesting to hear this and I appreciate the atheist point of view. It’s incredible to experience the vast ability of the human intellect in it’s fallen state to look everywhere except Christ. And that’s what this is. Religion is a word that could refer to anything and therefore has very little meaning. Good work though.

  43. I have nothing against people still wanting to believe in a god , I just don’t get why high priests are mortal as I, get treated like gods. Operating like a global conglomerate yet don’t have to pay tax in Australia, over AU$30 Billion assets in Australia alone in documents court case. One would wonder what is the charity portion from that? Or more exploitation and patchy excuses. My faith is humanity, I hope not too little too late

  44. when you still havent grown up, you need an authoritarian god for a mind bending solace, whilst writhing in pain. ultimately either making others suffer for your own (divine) life or getting crushed under the weight. i prefer a more benevolent world without religions, even at the price of not having illusory/false comfort.

  45. I believe in God because he’s made our history. It’s written down. The theory of evolution is an ASSUMPTION. The Holy Bible is the history. It’s easy to deny something you don’t believe in. It’s hard to have blind faith in something you can’t see.

  46. Either way, the living God came and spoke to me to come out of my sin when I was on the way to the hospital from a suicide attempt and THAT WAS REAL, no doubt. I hear from Jesus and he guides me everyday now. He is our God, and now I have so much joy and peace because Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He truly saved me from my depression. No pill or therapy worked for me!

  47. I would like to share with you my thoughts, simplest way to do this and more fun is by using analogies. I ask you to be patient.
    Before we determine there is no God or there is a God, we need to know what is a “God”. Is it an old man with white beard? Is it something next to something else? Can we see him?/her?/it??? Can my five senses catch it?

    These all are old questions that logicians, philosophers, thinkers, natural scientists, behavioral scientists etc. historians… All have answered. Therefore, don’t worry, you will not be missing anything. Therefore, I ask you the following, this something I am asking myself as will, “make sure you are ready to accept the smartest answers”.

    You are here because you doubt the existence of God your parents, your friends, your neighbors, your teachers have told you about, Great. But do you doubt the criminality of your specie? Do you doubt that some of us rape? lie, steal, hate, kill, envy, want to control and dominate? Do you doubt that there are some of us because of their lies there were ethnic cleansing, genocides, other terrible things?

    Because we do not doubt our predisposition to be careless about our reasonableness, we need to make certain we are functional ‘machines’ before we hit this subject or any subject really. Physically, physiologically, logically and intellectually. We do this by following certain paths which are known to many but not all.

    An example, the science has discovered that the brain does not fully mature until we reach 29 or 30 years old. Therefore, until then do not choose a team and a go all radical about it believes. This is only from one angle but doesn’t this sound reasonable?
    We all are eager to joins teams and be radical about its orientations under the believe we are changing the world to be better place. But, in reality, there is a very high chance we are doing the opposite. This is truer when it comes to teenagers.

    In summary, all I am saying, before we throw the CD for not working, let us make sure the CD player is working. This is a must no matter what was the CD. Because after all, you are going to play something anyway. And it is your duty as a member of the living society to be logical and fare on a personal level and public level.

    In the end, we all live together on this earth and we need more rational individuals not radicals. And believe me, many of the pains in this world in the past and in the present are started from radicals/(logically,intellectually and Internally mistaken people).

  48. "The opiate of the masses"  (People in cults think they are special and secure.)  (A lot of stress comes from the human imagination and relieving it is the same subconscious thing)  I'm an atheist, but I am not in the atheism cult.  I don't think I'm special and I am secure enjoying the happy surprises in life and the human comedy.

  49. Intelligence comes with a price, and that price is arrogance. The most brilliant human human mind is a pea-brain compared to our creator. How is the sun set in perfect distance as is the moon?(God) Are the gases we that are so vital us just in accidental perfect balance?
    Check

  50. Anyone else think the honorable and very clever Doc should have an
    LSD or guided Ayahuasca trip
    ……all in the interests of broadening his scientific repetoire of course. 😉

  51. I find it arrogant to be an atheist, knowing so little one knows about everything around, there are many things left to be unearthed.

  52. If there were no G-d it would be necessary for us to invent Him, ourselves, the world and everything in existence. The coincidence that following His commandments has benefits is a big fat duh.

  53. Religion exists for many reasons. Many people can't live happily without a faith because there situation in life is less than ideal. While an atheist can be rich or poor. It's better to be wealthy any be faithless than it is to be poor and be one. Many people in poverty never leave poverty. For many if they don't believe in something better life generally becomes miserable. Many scientific individuals have held strong religious beliefs along with their knowledge. Through introspection and analysis many of these people concluded why they believed. As an agnostic I don't believe atheism is a reasonable stance it's an assumption. Any who says they know for certain there are no deities is a liar. If you truly do know then I would personally love to know what the answer is as would everyone else.

  54. The rate of depression is much higher among atheists?
    Not so fast.
    I do get the mechanism of stress reduction by religious thinking (ignoring the fact that religious type thinking is the lifeblood of warfare and opression).
    If that was a general principle, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden would have to be shaken to bits by depression, but this is not the case.
    My suspicion: Professor Sapolsky is talking about the US.
    In the US, atheists are given a hard time by the religious majority, to put it mildly.
    Might that be a reason why atheists are more likely to fall into that hellhole that is depression?

  55. People in affluent stable societies have the luxury of atheism. That also explains the creeping depression in those societies where atheism is being spread. In a sense, the strong are poisoning the weak with the weapon of atheism and you have survival of the fittest.

  56. Having been on both sides of the fence, I Can Say with Certainty that 'I Don't Know any better' . I cannot say with absolute certainty that there isn't a higher power , an all powerful being, nor can I say that there does exist such an all powerful being with absolute certainty, for i don't know any better. I can only poke really small holes at the fabric of the working of the world and only try to understand the mechanics of the world with my limited sense of observation and intellectual capabilities , my inherent human frailities and insecurities. I can just have empathy for people on both sides of the fence and reserve my judgements.

  57. Having been on both sides of the fence, I Can Say with Certainty that 'I Don't Know any better' . I cannot say with absolute certainty that there isn't a higher power , an all powerful being, nor can I say that there does not exist such an all powerful being with absolute certainty, for i don't know any better. I can only poke really small holes at the fabric of the working of the world and only try to understand the mechanics of the world with my limited sense of observation and intellectual capabilities , my inherent human frailities and insecurities. I can just have empathy for people on both sides of the fence and reserve my judgements.

  58. Rats did those cave paintings after being tortured by religious people who believe Adam and eve were depressed rats that needed to be violently and prolongedly baptised in order to test antidepressants on and for Catholic primates who can't stop abusing themselves with gerbils who are depressed coz the Catholic primate stuffed it into it's bottom

  59. lol. Sapolsky misses the big picture. Religion also increases stress. The tremendous guilt, fear, and anxiety so many religious people feel because they imagine a non-existent deity is rating their behavior and could sentence them to an eternity in hell.

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