I've spent alot of time thinking about religion and debating theology. Why would the masses but blind faith into archaic ideals? Why would people bother living for some deity whose existence lacks any factual evidence? Jesus might have been a real man, but how do we know that his deeds were any more than fable?
The answer is simple. People (in general) are ignorant and insecure. They need to feel purpose and understanding, and often reach out to simple answers like creationism to acheive understanding, and put blind faith in god to feel purpose. They needn't question, only believe, and for the simple-minded this is the ideal solution. Take the most common analogy for christians, used by christians, as being a flock, and god the shepherd. They admit to being simple sheep, obeying their higher power without qualm or question and so surrender their lives to him. But still, their are some Christians (and members of other religions) who have thought deeply about their gods and feel that they have logical explainations. Allow me to explain why these explanations are little more than an understanding of their surrender to their faith.
I have debated theology with Christians, and most of their arguments can be condensed to the idea that we either have no purpose in life, or we have a purpose towards a higher power (given this is a very concise statement of the arguments I've heard, but this is the foundation to said arguments). They all find the latter to be more logical, and more agreeable. These Christians lack the aforementioned ignorance, but maintain the insecurity, the need to have an explanation. You see, it is not that we have a purpose, but that we have no purpose.
Humans are capable of higher thought, thought beyond mere survival which animals have. Because of our thoughts, we have decided that there must be some power behind them. Descartes said "I think therefore I am," but it seems humans have twisted the statement to something like "I think it, therefore it is." A Greek philosipher (Aristotle?) believed that things existed on two planes, one being the world we sense and the other being the plain we imagine. He argued that anything and everthing exists because of that second plane. Even though this is a profound argument, it doesn't necessarily hold sway in the real world. Just because we can imagine a god doesn't mean he exists in the plane of reality. True, the idea, the concept of god exists, but a factual god does not.
Going back to the higher thought process of humans, we tend to fear the unknown, and so use our thoughts and ideas to fill the void. In Paeganistic times we didn't understand elements such as weather and the sun, so created dieties to represent the power of these elements (i.e. Zeus, Posiedon). As we came to understand these elements we cast out the old ideals as barbaric, and created new dieties to represent the current unknowns. The christian god represents creation and purpose, the unknowns of this era. This era is almost over, as we delve into the mysteries of how we came to be with theories of the big bang and evolution. I am not supporting these ideas in this blog, merely stating our change in thought. At the very least, these theories are more logical and have more evidence than creationism. Now we enter the quest for purpose.
For most, religion is a declaration that life is a median in which to serve the higher power so that eternal happiness may be achieved. Many are uncomfortable with the idea that we have no purpose, and so wish to create one. No amount of science can create a purpose for humankind. But, neither can religion. Because we can use our higher thoughts to create answers, we assume that there are answers to be found. There aren't. We overlook the most profound, most simple purpose we can achieve. Survival. All we can do is survive in this world and try to embetter our lives. We create concepts such ans heaven and the immortal soul because we fear the void. We fear that this blink in the course of existence is all we can have, and we want more. Because of our need to survive we create a situation in which we can survive. This alleviates the one true fear we all face, and therefore gives security.
The irony of my theory is that my higher thoughts may be interfering with my perception. As an agnostic, I beleive that no one can truly know everything, not even myself, especially dealing with the matter of a higher power. For now, all I can say is that my theory is alot more logical than some biblical bedtime story.