Understanding Religion

Though we can't prove the existence of one (or many) god(s), we can provide evidence for the power of religion. For good or for evil, faith factors into our everyday functioning: We've evolved to believe. Religion can help us make sense of our world, provide motivation, and bind us together. Nevertheless, structured belief has its drawbacks. So keep your mind open when dealing with dogma.

Recent Posts on Religion

The Power of Awe: A Sense of Wonder Promotes Loving-Kindness

A new study led by researchers at the University of California reports that having a sense of wonder and being in awe of something greater than oneself promotes loving-kindness and prosocial behavior.

A Select Assortment of Books and More

Not every worthy book or DVD gets the attention it deserves. Here are a few you might otherwise miss.

Clergy as Counselor

Clergy are usually the first to know when painful psychological problems come up for people. Michelle Friedman, MD helps us understand the value of religious leadership and what clergy need to learn to fulfill their calling. Good counseling, after all, is also a Godsend. But, it often requires extra training.

Do Christians Trust Muslims?

Does the apparent increase in religious tension between Muslims and Christians adversely affect trust between the two groups. A new study sheds light with both surprising and reassuring results.

Christianity Declining, Secularism Rising

There are fewer Christians and more non-religious Americans than ever before. This is good news, for several reasons.

Can God Be Its Own Cause?

Many humans find First Cause arguments for the existence of God compelling. Why? There are two collaborating reasons: Our confusion over infinity, and our lack of confusion over the strange notion of being self-caused -- a property often attributed to God. Both of these implicate our amazing and puzzling ability to conceive.

Freedom of Speech Is Everything

By Gad Saad Ph.D. on May 06, 2015 in Homo Consumericus
Offending someone’s religious sensibilities can never justify a violent response. There are no “but” qualifiers and the sooner that this lesson is internalized, the rosier our future will be.

No Virginia, Gay Marriage Won’t Lead to 900,000 Abortions

Gene Schaerr’s recently argued, before the Supreme Court, that gay marriage will lead to more abortions--900,000 more! But his argument wouldn't even receive a passing grade in my sophomore level logic class.

Role of Youth: Countering Violent Extremism, Promoting Peace

By Scott Atran Ph.D. on May 05, 2015 in In Gods We Trust
An anthropologist addresses the UN Security Council.

Geography of Aging and the Illusion of Self

By Mario D Garrett PhD on May 04, 2015 in iAge
There is no "me". My body is a fusion of the outside world and an internal reality. The distinction between me and them is purely a creation of my mind. The separation comes as an afterthought. My mind creates this dualism, but in reality my body is fused with the geography and behavior of others around. The sense of self is how the body placates me.

Embracing Death

We all know Death, the Detroit rock band that was "punk before punk was punk." But Death is something else: It’s a living, breathing monument to how one can live, create, cope with adversity, and thrive if one does not fear dying.

Good Faith

By Russ Gerber on April 22, 2015 in Our Health
Materialism or spirituality? Which way should you go? Which way can you count on?

A Dream of Decapitation

By Robert J Landy Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Couch and Stage
Two drama therapists discuss a dream about a beheading and an attempt to restore life. In doing so, they recount two mythological stories, one about the Golem of Prague and the other about a simple journey home. Through their dialogue they seek to understand the meaning of healing.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Language in the Mind
What accounts for the hullabaloo surrounding the publication of The Language Myth. Is Chomskyan linguistics a form of intellectual fundamentalism? And is language science in the throes of a paradigm shift? It's certainly beginning to look that way!

Alien Landing in Sindelfingen

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in One Among Many
Imagine a world in which “learning” is easy. Believe anything! Such a world exists. It was recently put on display in Sindelfingen, Germany.

Moral Motivation and God's Rewards

What humans' moral intuitions suggest about the relative merits of religious versus secular accounts of moral motivation.

3 Simple Steps to Control Anger and Frustration with Others

By Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in Living Forward
The majority of anger and frustration in life, no matter what the situation, has at it’s basis one simple thought….It shouldn’t be this way. Learn what to do when other people don't play by our rules.

We’ve Been Warned!

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in Time Out
The precursors of group violence, terrorism and even genocide have been identified. Despite extreme cultural and religious differences between the terrorist of Oklahoma City and 9/11 - they emerged from ideologically similar muck that continues to produce horrific mass murderers internationally. We hate to face it, but we must.

Will You Be Openly Secular?

By David Niose on April 19, 2015 in Our Humanity, Naturally
Openly Secular Day aims to encourage nonbelievers to be open about their personal secularity.

What Causes You Inner Turmoil?

Being in heated conflict not with others but with yourself can—let’s face it—be agonizing. To be split down the middle, to endlessly waver between two (and sometimes more) options, can at its worst be almost unimaginably distressing. Obsessive to an extreme, it can lead to a paralysis of will (not to mention, much lost sleep). . . .

Bethlehem: A Subjective Travelogue

My love of the capacity of the human spirit to transcend all odds soared as I munched on a traditional oven-baked lamb dish. Across from me sat one of Holy Land Trust’s core team members, telling me bits of his story of opening up to the vision that fuels the organization. As hard as it was to be there, it was also a tiny slice of what’s humanly possible.

God, Humans, and the 20th Century

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in The Secular Life
More humans died from diarrhea than all genocides combined.

The Brain Is Wider Than the Sky

Neuroscientists often quote Emily Dickinson's poem that begins, "The brain is wider than the sky," in support of their view that the mind is nothing but the brain. But they interpret the poem too narrowly, and miss its deeper meaning. Her poetry can teach us about the brain and mind, in ways that neuroscience can't.

Empathy

How do we come by what's morally right or wrong?

Finding Home with Jesse Malin

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on April 15, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Jesse Malin shares how he has used music and creativity to create community.

Why Your Next Vacation Should Be Nowhere

By Gregory Ciotti on April 14, 2015 in Habits, Not Hacks
The value of stillness.

Tired of Being 'Stuck' in Your Relationship?

There is an art to creating and embracing change so you can reinvigorate your relationship.

Loving the Process Means Everything for Creativity

By Gregory Ciotti on April 13, 2015 in Habits, Not Hacks
Artists must enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.

Heisenberg Capacitor

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in One Among Many
Here’s Part III of my effort to strike a blow for hedonism by nullifying Nozick’s experience machine. Reality as it is is good enough. Enjoy it.

5 Questions We Often Ask Ourselves After Microaggressions

Society’s awareness of microaggressions and its many expressions have increased over the past few years. The internal dialogues and psychological struggles that microaggressions cause marginalized people, however, are rarely discussed and remain largely “Unseen and Unheard” by the general public. I hope this helps.