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Thinking about spirituality and what answers religion is supposed to provide, I came to the conclusion that probability is a good answer. They are at the core of evolution, of quantum mechanics, of social behaviours, etc.
I developed this point of view on this website I have just created:Probabilistic spirituality web site
I would like to have your point of view on how to improve it.
Here is one of the articles, about spiritual beings:
Some people believe in the existence of spiritual beings. The beings are called spiritual because they are a source of inspiration for the believers who have feelings about them. However many philosophical concepts can inspire and give feelings. For this reason, some philosopher believed that ideas can exist in a world of ideas. What makes spiritual beings special concepts is that they involve a social interaction.
When we are in a social interaction, we evaluate probabilities of behaviours. We make interpretations of what we can see and hear. We have the sensation that we are in social contact, as if there was such a sense. If that were true, there would be six senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste and socializing. This sixth sense is of course imaginary, we don't have any specific receptors for social interactions. It goes through body language (visual), voice (hearing), touch and pheromones (smell). We build the socializing sense from these sensory inputs.
Because the socializing sense is imaginary, it is more prone to errors. For example, it is possible to hallucinate a shape when we are in the dark, but it is rare. Same thing for sound, we can have the impression we hear a particular sound, but it is rare. On the contrary, it is very common to imagine interacting with someone absent that we know. We can feel the presence of people when they are not there, because we do not need any specific sensory input from the physical body of the person. For example, an object that was given by a person is a valid sensory input to feel that person. A photo or a statue too. It is in fact not so surprising that Christians feel the presence of Jesus-Christ when they have statues and wear symbols that represent him. Same goes other religions that have visual representations like Hinduism or Mahayana Buddhism.
Of course, in some religions, there are no direct representation of the spiritual beings, like in Islam or in Judaism. In fact, you do not need any visual representation of a person to feel its presence. Suppose you meet a friend and this friend says he is waiting for someone. He does not give you a visual description but tells you what this person like or dislike and shows you a letter from this person. You will start to feel something about him or her. Now, suppose your friend finally tells you that he was not waiting for anyone, he was just making a joke. Nevertheless, you felt that this person existed and are puzzled about this letter. The simple fact that your friend maintained that there was someone and that he showed you an artefact from this person gave you the feeling of its existence.
Again, because we have only partial informations about social beings, we can make only probabilities depending on the level of trust we have to any source of information or any kind of proof. Thus it is very easy to be wrong and to imagine that a social being exist when there is no manifestation at all in the material world. It is of course touchy to say that these beings do not exist at all because they have an impact on people's life. Sacred texts are similar to the fake letter of before, and religious people that believe in sacred texts are affected like people expecting someone and following recommendations to please him or her when he or she arrives. It is similar to an endless preparation that alleviates the pain that the expected person never arrives.
Edited by User 102,083,322 on Jul 16, 2013 1:16 PM