Why does God always get the credit?

Religions evolved as a way of consolidating tribal identities. They essentially devalued individualism and placed emphasis on the value of the collective. Human beings therefore, survived as members of communities by being useful to each other.

This may explain why modern individualistic societies have the most trouble with religion. Places where communal identity is more important have much less trouble with religion as tribal identities are already largely in sync with what religion calls for.

Individuals therefore, grow up learning that it is selfish to think of yourself or do the things that make you happy. Often, even when individual desires do not overtly clash with group interests, they are generally discouraged. We are told we must put the family’s interests before our own. The society, the nation, the community — they are all said to be more important than the individual.

This gives rise to an environment where the individual sometimes hides and pretends to be like every other member of the collective. It’s not always even a conscious act.

And this, I think, is where the habit of thanking god for an individual’s achievements comes from. It is an acquired humbleness.

Is it wrong though? After all, the individual is a product of his or her community and would not have been successful if many others had not stood by in support. I think this impulse of acquired humbleness is often balanced out by society’s celebration of the individual. A sort of you’re awesome — no, you’re awesome — no of course not, you’re awesome that values humbleness as well as the importance of the collective.

#god, #individualism, #religion, #society