The Web Log of Jon Henshaw

Religion is the Survivalism of Higher Reasoning

Written by , published on and related to 🤔 Philosophy


I’ve been thinking a lot about why human beings are drawn towards religion. My initial premise was that religion was a coping mechanism for the (discovery and) loss of hope and meaning. However, as I’ve thought about it more, that premise seems to be more of a symptom or attribute than a source. It displays the the current behavior of a need or desire, but doesn’t explain how that behavior evolved.

The key word here is “evolve.” If I approach the issue through the eyes of evolution, then my core focus shifts from the observable “now” to survival. Ingrained into all human beings is the innate desire to survive — to not die. Higher reasoning doesn’t seem to change that desire, instead it masks it into the abstract.

We all desire to live forever and religious belief (including less organized, but culturally transmitted superstitions) communicate that one can live forever. Therefore, religious belief, and it’s prevalence across all humankind, can be described as a form of survivalism. It quite possibly is the evidence of what survivalism looks like in the mind of the conscious self.