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 Purpose of Religion

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 25, 2017 in The Human Beast
Religion consumes up to a tenth of economic productivity in some societies. So it must produce corresponding benefits. What are they?

Why Do People Cherry-Pick Which Science They Accept?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 21, 2017 in Ambigamy
By not explaining why anything matters, science becomes dubious enough that we can easily escape its inconvenient truths.

The Dreams of a Religious Cult Member

What can a thirty-year long dream journal reveal about the life of an ex-member of a religious cult?

The Science of Religion for Everyone

Why insist that religion is immune from scientific study when cognitive and evolutionary theories have already made great strides in explaining a wide array of religious phenomena?

Before Adam and Eve

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on April 19, 2017 in The Secular Life
Biblical myths are just that: myths.

The New 'Religious Freedom' Is a Boon for Churches

By David Niose on April 19, 2017 in Our Humanity, Naturally
As courts and politicians continuously redefine religious liberty, hang on to your checkbook.

What Mythology Reveals about the Mind

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Cui Bono
"That is a myth," usually means "That is not true." But can myths reveal truths about the mind? And did you know that the stories you tell about yourself can be useful myth-making?

Religious Conflict Makes Porn Bad for Relationships

By David J Ley Ph.D. on April 17, 2017 in Women Who Stray
A new research study finds more evidence that the alleged harms from porn are actually caused by religious conflict, shame, and the "porn addict" identity.

Face-it Versus Escapist Coping Strategies

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 10, 2017 in Ambigamy
Do you reduce stress in ways that increase or decrease your peripheral vision?

Can Religious Identity Inspire Pro-Environmental Action?

Religious identity can shape worldviews, build community, and provide networks of communication. So why is it so hard to motivate adherents to take pro-environmental action?

These Are Strange Days in Which to Be an Ex-Bulimarexic

By Anneli Rufus on April 04, 2017 in Stuck
Eating disorders, unlike most other disorders, have an endgame, a vision of victory. Will traces of that yearning haunt us every time we butter toast or watch you slicing pie?

Seeking Common Ground I: The Conservative Tradition

There are people today who believe that the past presents a worthy, indeed better, model for living. Past times were simpler, or at least more blinkered in their resolve.
DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

Having a Religion Doesn't Help You, But Practicing One Does

Religious with a practice? Religious without a practice? No religion? Learn new research on these 3 groups and practical strategies for each.

Growing Old in Ancient Greece and Rome

Is past prologue? Part 2 of our exploration of aging in past cultures.

On Interpreting Islamic Terror

We tend to see outgroup members as all alike to each other. But this simply isn't the case.

Cure the Religion, Not the LGBT Child

Conversion therapy does more harm than good.

True Believers and Donald Trump

A True Believer who has passionate faith in a fundamentalist credo or a charismatic leader, totally accepting the promises and predictions as absolute truth, is often disillusioned
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Is Using Profanity a Sign of Honesty?

A recent paper suggests that profanity may be a reflection of emotional honesty and candor. However, closer examination of the studies' results casts doubt on this idea.

The Psychology Behind London's Terrorist Attacker

A recent study found that much tactical planning goes into lone-actor terrorist events.

We Are All Mojo Addicts

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 21, 2017 in Ambigamy
We all gravitate toward self-revitalizing signs of hope, and in the process, we generate social and interpersonal congestion.

Intellectual Humility Augments Nonpartisan Open-Mindedness

Regardless of your party or religious beliefs, new research from Duke shows that intellectual humility may be the key to breaking down barriers that divide us.
Hydra: Wikipedia commons

Why Do We Die?

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on March 18, 2017 in Statistical Life
Our survivability is the bargaining chip that life pays to keep us immortal.

The Meaning of Adam and Eve

By Neel Burton M.D. on March 18, 2017 in Hide and Seek
Was the fall from Eden a price worth paying?

Fervor and Fanaticism

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on March 12, 2017 in Side Effects
On the parallels between Trumpism and other mass movements.

Humanists Doing Good in Uganda, Part 2

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on March 10, 2017 in The Secular Life
Humanism and secularism are growing in Africa, and doing good.

Help! I Hate My Daughter's Boyfriend!

By Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D. on March 08, 2017 in Social Lights
How parents can cope with their child’s dating choices

Mothering Nature in the Age of Trump: Dr. Riane Eisler

By Rachel Clark on March 08, 2017 in Mothering Nature
We have to recognize that the rape of nature and the rape of women is of the same dominator cloth: part of an authoritarian and exploitive system of top down-rankings. —Dr. Eisler

An Autistic Saint?

Modern understanding of autistic spectrum disorders may shed light on the eccentric behavior of the Hindu saint, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Humanists Doing Good in Uganda, Part 1

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on March 01, 2017 in The Secular Life
Humanist schools and orphanages in Africa are helping children in need.

Mark Stewart's Faith Is Room For Doubt

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on February 28, 2017 in Brick by Brick
Mark Stewart of the band The Pop Group told me, “People for some reason say that my stuff is prescient.”