One of the more interesting articles I have seen in the New York Times lately – the idea that belief in God or other higher power is the result of genetics.
It is an interesting quandary – the belief in religion, bringing people together, actually helps ensure the survival of certain people. There is a lot of detail in the article, but I also think it is quite interesting thinking of the article in relation to mainland China, which supposedly has many atheists. At least the people in the Communist Party (by far not a majority of the population) are supposed to be atheist.
China has survived a long time, and during much of that time, there have been beliefs in things like the Chinese Zodiac. People want to get married in certain years; get married to certain signs; have things with some numbers (6, 8), but not others (4); and do worship of dead relatives (who continuing their life beyond what is possible in their physical body, naturally must rely on some higher power). While atheism was supposed to get rid of many beliefs, it certainly hasn’t changed much about Chinese culture that believes in things relating to a higher power.
One of my friends here recently told me, "if you don’t know your past, you have no future." To understand one’s own past and to understand one’s familiy’s past, you need to have a deep knowledge of beliefs. Perhaps it is easier just to use those beliefs for everything rather than purposely ignore them (without taking anything up in their place).