Skip to comments.Thinking Can Undermine Religious Faith, Study Finds
Posted on 04/26/2012 7:47:20 PM PDT by lbryce
Scientists have revealed one of the reasons why some folks are less religious than others: They think more analytically, rather than going with their gut. And thinking analytically can cause religious belief to wane for skeptics and true believers alike.
The study, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, indicates that belief may be a more malleable feature of the human psyche than those of strong faith may think.
The cognitive origins of belief and disbelief traditionally haven't been explored with academic rigor, said lead author Will Gervais, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
“actually the reverse is true. a more ridiculous assertion, completely ignorant of the history of science, could hardly be imagined.
the greatest scientists and thinkers ever born, people like boyle, faraday, newton, einstein, and i could go on and on described their work as attempts to discover the mind of God.”
Likewise, the list of great Athiest fathers of science is very short.
Too much thinking is how we got global warming.
This “Would-love-to-hear-some-answers-that-don’t-border-on-the-inane” from you sounds a lot like this “cognitive origins-of-beliefand-disbelieftraditionally-haven’t-been explored-with-academic rigor” from the article.
Both statements assume a shared understanding of what is inanity or what is academic rigor. It reminds me of Socrates, who many many years ago who insisted that for discussion to continue they should first agree that they are human.
You know, as many of these intellectual wastes of time as I’ve seen float through the media over the years, I begin to conclude that many of them are efforts just to troll the thought-space for “oddball” and “radical” responses from the religeous side. It’s nice to see reams of cogent response and discussion of it here. :-)
Well-put. It's an important distinction to stress.
What, then, of those who perished? God chose not to protect them, not to give them the will to survive and not to inspire others to help them?
Your mind is trapped in an existence defined by time and space. To understand how nonsensical your question is, you first have to imagine an existence without the parameter we call time. This is the existence of god. It is not possible for our minds to truly comprehend an existence without time so in the end it is folly.
But...I’ll give it a go anyway...
If there is no time for god, when did he “begin”?
See? that is a nonsensical question, is it not? If there is no time, then there is no beginning and no end. Church goers use the phrase “god is eternal” or “ever lasting” or “existed before creation”. All this is just primitive ways of saying god exists outside parameter of time and space.
Now, lets look at science. They say that time and space are constructs that exist only within the universe. The vacuum of space is not really a vacuum at all. It is filled with a substance that creates the dimensions we call time and space. Therefore, time only exists within the universe. Distance only exists within the universe. You can imagine them as being artificial constructs like a holodeck (star trek) or the matrix(of the movie). Prior to the “big bang” there was no time and there was no distance. If time and distance exist only within the universe, then where are you when you step just outside the universe? Go ahead and try to answer that question. Here’s a hint, you cant use distance to explain it because distance does not exist there.
You can’t answer that question. And that is just the way it is. You also cannot answer the question “from where did god come from” for the same reasons you cannot answer the question “what caused the big bang”.
Read the Critique of Pure Reason by Emmanuel Kant
I am working my way through this concept in the Sunday School class I teach. It took us three weeks to get the class to understand this logical conclusion. They have never been challenged to consider their Christianity through the prism of logic and reason, yet they are coming to understand that logic and reason lead us to God, not away from Him.
I don’t know and never will.
Dont confuse the idea of God with God. We tend to confuse the creation with our ideas of it, because we are immersed in creation. Yet we do transcend nature, or at least our minds do. God does not exist as we exist. To speak of him as Creator means we cannot get behind creation. We can say Where was God before? But does such a statement have any possible meaning? Only in reference to Christianity theology, where we speak of Christ existing before all ages, with the Father and the Spirit . If God created time-space, then neither when nor where means anything. Even to say, NOW in reference to God is to say only admit that unlike us, that Now is not in motion.
I will say that after struggling to regain my lost faith years ago, it was very apparent to me after digging and reading and driving myself mad for ‘answers’, it is no more complex than understanding what is at the heart of faith:
believing that which you cannot see.
I hear people say ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ kinda of attitude - the truth is: ‘You’ll see it when you believe it’
That’s right. Apparently Plato and Aristotle don’t fall under the bane of this article. Their thinking led toward an intellectual understanding of God, not away. No doubt they it was their lack of academic rigor.
Aiii! He’s too verbose.
You're taking the term "mind of God" much too literal. 'Mind of God' is a metaphor used quite often by Einstein, others to describe the inner workings of the Universe, laws of physics.
Einstein use of the word "God" in many of his quotes doesn't necessarily mean he believed in God. One of Einstein's oft-repeated quotes is "that there is no science without God, no God without Science", "God does not play dice with the Universe", others.
Religious views of Albert Einstein
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Albert Einstein's religious views have been studied due to his sometimes apparently ambiguous statements and writings on the subject. He believed in the god of Baruch Spinoza, but not in a personal god, a belief he criticized. He also called himself an agnostic, and criticized atheism, preferring he said "an attitude of humility."
Albert Einstein Quotes on Spirituality
Einstein did not believe in God.
Complete bull! The most mature, honest, and faithfully Christians I know have questioned their faith and have come to know the truth.
Well, from an egg! I always thought this was a no brainer. There were eggs for many millions of years before there were chickens.
we’ll have to agree to disagree about einstein (for one thing, he was a documented and devout practitioner of judaism as a youth) and by many accounts he was at least a theist in later life but perhaps one who didn’t have or believe in a “personal” relationship with God.
my “extensive” reading of einstein (including many of his scientific papers) makes me confident that you are mistaken. but i’ll give you one citation out of many possible you could consult just to balance your interpretation of his quotes and assure you that many people and scholars have good evidence that einstein indeed believed in the literal mind of God.
Sure thing. Hence the great thinkers such as Newton and Da Vinci. Or even closer to us C.S Lewis or G.K. Chesterton.
This is some yokels effort to justify their own lack of faith
“I’ve never come across any religious discussion dealing with God in which ‘I don’t know’ seems a viable response.”
You’re in one now because I don’t know. I believe to the strongest extent based on my personal analysis on these matters, but I don’t ‘know’. And that’s the problem with this whole thing. A lot of arrogant people claiming wisdom and knowledge beyond their actual inventory.
Kind of a random way to get to the point, but trust me, I’ll get there...
The holodeck/Matrix comparisons have been brought up so I’ll add another. Some years ago I caught a (British?) TV show that had an earthling ripped out of our reality and brought before God. Turn’s out that God was a college kid doing a science experiment in his higher plane of existance and our reality was that experiment. “God” knew no more about his “God” than we new about him.
With that in mind, consider this....
Less than 1000 years ago many still believed the earth was flat and the heliocentric theory was blasphemous. They knew nothing of atoms, quantum physics or genetically modified crops. Most still survived wearing animal skins and gathering food from the surrounding area.
There can be no doubt that we have evolved by orders of magnitude. But when one takes a hard look at what ‘science’ “knows” today, it’s surprisingly little. In a universe so vast that the entire planet is less than an atom in an ocean by comparison, a planet that only recently discovered that other planets exist outside our solar system, a planet that collectively does not yet ‘know’ that life exists anywhere but here....
How can anyone definitively assert something as bold as “There is no God”, much less what he can/did/didn’t do, when that same person cannot with any scientific accuracy show that there are “no” bacteria on Mars?
My point is this. We as a species are not capable of even formulating rational questions pertaining to “God”, much less give definitive answers about him. We cannot predict our own weather but we are purport to to “know” whether or not the entity that is responsible for it even exists? The sheer arrogance boggles the mind.
For the scientifically atheistic minded out there I would ask this...
If it’s perfectly logical to believe that a universe sprang into being from nothingness, poof! there it was!, can you explain how/why an ultimately powerful being is not equally logical?
Galileo is a good candidate for it. He professed loyalty to the church, but his arguments reveal a certain cynicism. For example, he accepts that the Bible is infallible, but then says that this means that it can't possibly contradict any scientific finding, and that if it appears to, that just means that it has been misinterpreted, not that he knows anything about it.
A question like this cannot be answered in 25 words or less in a forum such as this.
A couple of observations: The term "religion" is vague and embraces a multitude of beliefs. The Christian faith is predicated on certain principles 1) man is not the measure of all things, also intellectually. 2) There is a God who has spoken in a form which man can know with certainty and understand 3) That knowledge embodied in his revealed word can be studied and known systematically. Theology is a science.
The short Biblical answer to your question is God's revealed name is "I AM" Exodus 3:14. It is a declaration of His eternal self existence, the doctrinal term is His "aseitas." Moreover He declares I AM THAT I AM, that is, He is eternally unchangeable in His self existence. Therefore in the context of His word to Moses in Exodus, He has not changed respecting His promise, though 400 years have passed. As God says I AM, so we say HE IS, that name is the name rendered LORD in the Old Testament or Yaweh in Hebrew or Jehovah in English. It is also the Root of Jesus' name Je-sus literally Jehovah-salvation.
Christian theologians have dealt with the kinds of questions you are asking at length. Get a copy of John Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion." After an introduction to the king of France, Calvin addresses exactly the questions you raise in the opening chapters of the Institutes. The books and similar works have been available for centuries.
They are not light reading
Well, I guess it is, as long as we restrict our inquiry to that time and place, as it were. This was the issue of Deism, which found a focus in the dedicatory "Ode to Newton" composed by Edmond Halley for Newton's Principia Mathematica. It contained a brief line, in Latin of course, seeming to imply that God's creative action was restricted to the founding of the Universe and its Laws. This was seen as a denial of "Providence", the ongoing intervention of God in the events of the world. Due to the zealous actions of an interested clergyman, whose name escapes me, the Ode was henceforth edited to make it less objectionable. Fortunately, from my point of view, the original was at length restored.
Quite the understatement. Regardless of language you tackle them in.
My grandfather, a preacher who thought I was ignorant because I couldn't read greek, would toss a tome like that to me when I asked questions.
It's a hard slog. But well worthwhile.
Huh? This track sounds like the one that comes right before F#ck Western Civilization. You can't be serious. What on earth can you mean? If politics is for real, it is imperative to answer the God question. There is no way around it.
That's just foolish. As an Atheist I can not understand how any supposedly rational person can believe such utter nonsense as religion.
See silly insults can go both ways. I don't begrudge anyone their faith. And as long as its harmless I even encourage it.
Of course I’m serious. How can a species that has not yet learned a fraction of the things there are to know bypass 99.9% of everything and suddenly claim the ultimate knowledge with a straight face?
We make discoveries daily. We do not suddenly know everything about them. Science, actual science, spends years learning about new discoveries and formulates questions along the way as it learns new things about the original discovery. Did Newton envision immediately think about Quantum gravity when the apple fell from the tree? He could not then even envision the concept to ask the question about.
Nor can we.
OK, let’s just say you’re right. But if you or I have any reason, the flip side is also true that we as a species are not capable of even formulating rational questions pertaining to ourselves. So the game is up. Either that or you and I are simply not on page one to even begin a conversation.
(I’m rather convinced that Socrates. Plus I believe love isn’t an illusion.)
. . . that Socrates was right
Well, he envisioned gravity, and insofar as gravity may have a quantum nature, this was part of his vision, however inchoate. ( I love that word. )
“Well, he envisioned gravity, and insofar as gravity may have a quantum nature, this was part of his vision, however inchoate.”
Yes, and this is what I’m getting at. He/we believed there was more to it, but could not/did not know how to define what it was. He did not have that knowledge. The knowledge that led to our current and still incomplete understanding was beyond his ability as there was nothing for him to draw from/learn from.
A scientist today has the hindsight of all that came before on which to help solve his problem. Pre-Srodinger (random example), no one pondered cats in boxes. They couldn’t grasp the whole live/dead cat thing. It never occurred to them to ask if a cat can be alive and dead simultaneously. Then he did and knowledge developed from his question.
We IMO are still unable to grasp the God questions “Where did God come from” and such. We, like Newton think there’s more to it but simply lack the ability at present, to formulate/ask the kind of questions that would advance our understanding.
The article and your summation proceed from the assumption: 1) Man was confronted with phenomena he did not understand. 2) He developed god and religion as an answer to his limited knowledge. 3) Religion is a Psychological-cultural product of man's intuition, his gut feeling.
The premise includes also certain unstated assumptions: 1) There is no god 2) god is a metaphor for forces in nature that are given personal spiritual properties out of man's imagination. 3) Reason destroys this construct.
The assumptions are false.
Rather: 1) God is, by definition in the Christian faith, a transcendent being above the phenomena and everything else, the stuff of the universe, is creature. 2) God, by definition, is not mute, incapable of communicating to man his word in a form to be understood. 3) He has done so. 4) Man's problem is he is a sinner who does not want to hear God's speech but stands at enmity with God like a four year old with his fingers in his ears going la, la, la. 5) Man turns from the truth of God to worship powers and forces in the creation in the place of God not by evolution but willful devolution, He is an idolater. 6) that other false or religions exist does not demonstrate there is no true God or religion. 7) the Christian faith is rational, analytic and can be and has been stated systematically. But it starts with the principle, we know God because he has first spoken. 8) Scientific so-called empiricism is by definition doctrinal atheism. It excludes God and then cannot find him. Its staring point is a religions one based on the false notion that man's reason is a god in his own understanding. It is based on a gut feeling that does not want a god to begin with.
That’s what I say, that some things, such as The Resurrection, and The Acsendence, and all of the miracles of Jesus and His disciples, will require faith. So do the unfulfilled future prophecies (though the past ones, naturally, have been proven). True Bible-believing Christianity will always require faith-many verses in the Bible call us to the innocent, trusting faith of a child, or as small a faith, at times when its all we can muster, as that of a mustard seed, because it can yet move mountains. God has always held back on proving His existence to us and asking us to have faith, to trust Him.
Trayvon! What were you thinking? Use your gut, for heaven’s sake!
” How did God emerge out of nothingness?? “
Spirited: Either the living, personal supernatural Creator has always existed or impersonal, non-lifebearing primordial matter has as naturalists (i.e., ancient and modern pagans) believe.
In the first instance, an eternally existing living Creator transcendent to and discontinuous with His creation created everything including all life-forms. In the second, everything— including all life forms— evolved over time out of non-lifebearing primordial matter that itself emerged out of nothingness.
The former accounts for life, consciousness, mind, conscience and will. The latter does not, nor can it ever.
The first makes sense and can logically account for science. The second cannot account for science since it cannot account for consciousness, mind and will and is therefore nonsense.
1 Corintians 2:14
Pretty much sums it up.
14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corintians 2:14
Pretty much sums it up.
14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
“Where did God come from? How did God emerge out of nothingness?? “
In order to even ask that question intelligently, one has to understand the qualities of “nothingness”...even science has no asnwer for that one. Scripture says that God made both the qualities of light and he had to make the darkness as well. It stands to reason he had to make fullness and emptiness as well.
If the God we worship ever had a cause, then we should have to reject that God and worship that which caused God!
To even ask those questions actually shows a LACK OF study, not “too much thinking”.
To answer them though - God has no cause, God is ever-existing (”ever” being a non-applicable concept anyway, as God made time), and made everything else out of nothing by His spoken word.
Actually, it wasn't meant to be an insult. I've met and/or seen online a number of atheists whose essential argument against "religion" is that because something bad happened to them when they were a child, often something fairly trivial, therefore God cannot exist, because otherwise He would have stopped it from happening. Often sounds more like an excuse, than anything else.
Funny how God always gets the blame for bad things, but never the credit for good things.
It’s rare to see people thanking God for allowing man to have the knowledge and ability to, say, cure smallpox or figure out how to chlorinate water so that people don’t die from typhus by the thousands. But, when man does something bad, like the Holocaust, suddenly it’s all completely, 100% God’s fault, with no real culpability on the part of man himself.
Fixed that headline...
Ah, the old “Problem of Evil”...
I call it the “Excuse of Evil”. Because that’s what it is - an excuse to reject God.
I think you meant typhoid. Typhus is a richettsial disease which is transmitted by an arthropod vector, not water. But I take your point.
Of course. About this much I think Norm is right: whether we believe religiously or liberally, we believe there is more to it. We have to. Otherwise we're left with trying deny the reality of future time and be entertained by existentialist artists who color up or color down angst and dread and nothingness, arrogating the absurd waiting for Godot over coffee and cigarettes.
Why would an atheist complain about 'something bad' that happened to them? "Bad" cannot exist in an atheistic universe. It is simply an event of determinism. It cannot be purposeful. If something is bad, its is purposeful. In the atheistic universe there are no objective moral absolutes and therefore, though there may be an opinion that something is 'bad', the atheist has no point of reference to make the assertion, and he certainly cannot account epistemologically for a value of an event....only an opinion, and if thought out, an opinion which is without foundation. He continually contradicts himself by complaining about anything. To complain about the inainity of the theist is, on its face, complete nonsense to the atheist. This is because without God there is only brute material. This material is ONLY responsive to the laws of nature and therefore everything, even what the atheist says is bad, is determined by those very laws which he champions as exclusive. Therefore the atheist can only say an event 'just is'. Any complaint about child torture, lack of civil rights and civil rights 'injustice', murder, rape, or any other 'event' is simply a determined occurance.
However, in a theistic universe, the God of creation is the creator not only of the material universe but that which is unseen....immaterial abstract universal entities. He is the creator of those absolute objective moral truths and therefore those with the JudeoChristian worldview can begin to make sense. In the atheistic universe those moral truths do not, yea, cannot exist. Now, we begin to see why the atheist says something is bad...because even the atheist has written in his conscience those laws, and this is why the atheist calls upon those moral truths, even while requiring logic and reason requires denial that the possibility of that moral truth even exists.
One of the atheists on this thread said the nonatheist cannot even formulate a formidable question for the 'atheistic scientist'. Consider this question.....'If God does not exist, why is there anything at all'? Aristotle said, NOTHING is what rocks dream about. So,...out of NOTHING, came everything? I wish some atheist would explain the epistemology and ontology of this claim.
Shoot, I probably meant cholera, for all I know.