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Psychology of religious belief
#1
Psychology of religious belief
New book coming out:

The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life (by Jesse Bering)

Amazon.com review Wrote:"God is not merely an idea to be entertained or discarded based on the evidence. Nor is God just a cultural invention, an existential Band-Aid, or an opiate of the masses. Instead, Jesse Bering argues, belief in God evolved in the human species as an "adaptive illusion." Drawing on groundbreaking research in cognitive science, The Belief Instinct unravels the evolutionary mystery of why we grapple for meaning, purpose, and destiny in our everyday lives. Bering argues that the strangely deep-rooted sense that some intentional agent created us as individuals, wants us to behave in particular ways, observes our otherwise private actions, and intends to meet us after we die would also have been felt by our ancestors, leading them to behave in ways that favored their reputations—and thus saved their genes. But in today's world, these psychological illusions have outlasted their evolutionary purpose, and Bering draws our attention to a whole new challenge: escaping them."

This looks like a fascinating read, for a psychology buff like me anyway Tongue

The National Post has been printing excerpts from this book, I'll post the links here if anyone is interested. There are more to come in the next few days.

God and Sartre

A child's mind: birthplace of gods

We see dead people

Programmed for afterlife
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#2
RE: Psychology of religious belief
Lots of crazy xtians don't want to escape. They are happy in their delusions.
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#3
RE: Psychology of religious belief
(February 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm)Minimalist Wrote: Lots of crazy xtians don't want to escape. They are happy in their delusions.

True Min, it's unfortunate that most won't read anything that involves questioning their beliefs. Oh well, I enjoy educating myself even if they don't.
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#4
RE: Psychology of religious belief
The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life sounds like a most interesting book. I will certainly read it some time.
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#5
RE: Psychology of religious belief
Psychology and Anthropology are not always good friends. In fact,within the discipline of Anthropology, the term 'psychological reductionism' is an insult.

I think both disciplines have a lot to offer, but so far remain unconvinced that either has THE answer about anything. I remain wary of definitive claims.,especially about human behaviour. I really don't know if we are really such simple,predictable animals that we almost always miss the obvious,or so complex we will never truly understand ourselves. I lean towards the former.

Quote:Human beings are merely animals with delusions of grandeur. (Tarquin St John Shagnasty)
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#6
RE: Psychology of religious belief
(February 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm)padraic Wrote: Psychology and Anthropology are not always good friends. In fact,within the discipline of Anthropology, the term 'psychological reductionism' is an insult.

I think both disciplines have a lot to offer, but so far remain unconvinced that either has THE answer about anything. I remain wary of definitive claims.,especially about human behaviour. I really don't know if we are really such simple,predictable animals that we almost always miss the obvious,or so complex we will never truly understand ourselves. I lean towards the former.

Oh I agree, neither is an exact science. And neither can completely account for any phenomenon. Something as complex as human behaviour requires a multidisciplinary approach, and I would never say that psychology explains everything, but I agree that we are predictable in a lot of ways. I've just been thinking a lot about the origins of spirituality and supernatural beliefs, and the cultural evolution of such ideas. This seemed like an interesting read, one individual's perspective on the topic.
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#7
RE: Psychology of religious belief
Sounds like another one to add to my ever growing list.
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#8
RE: Psychology of religious belief
Certainly has peaked MY interest 'O-Natural' keep posting the excerpts until the tome gets out here to OZ! Great
"The Universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest." G'Kar-B5
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#9
RE: Psychology of religious belief
KichigaiNeko Wrote:Certainly has peaked MY interest 'O-Natural' keep posting the excerpts until the tome gets out here to OZ!

Will do! Here's today's excerpt (I'll add the links to the first post too):

http://www.nationalpost.com/dead+people/...story.html

The theory of mind idea is pretty compelling, this ability we have to infer the mental states and emotions of others. Maybe it's why we tend to anthropomorphize other animals, the weather, the Sun and moon, the constellations, the universe. We may have assumed these things to have minds and motivations similar to our own. And even today it's hard to escape the illusion of an intentional agent out there running the world. When shit happens, even I find myself momentarily demanding 'why,' as if the universe is conspiring to screw with me. Rolleyes
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#10
RE: Psychology of religious belief
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Program...story.html
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