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 Secular/Religious Divide

In which religious psychologist Josh Gressel tries to see the religious/secular divide from both sides of the fence.

God, Satan, and Our Moral Bias

By Hector A Garcia Psy.D. on August 02, 2015 in Alpha God
Monuments to God or Satan? Exposing our moral biases.

There Is Grandeur in This View of Life

Some people think that evolution somehow diminishes what it means to be human and strips us of any spirituality. As I see it, this does not need to be the case at all. And here is why.

The Paradox at the Heart of Psychology

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on July 30, 2015 in Excellent Beauty
Human minds are pattern-hungry. This fact destroys any blithe confidence we have that our sciences are unearthing deeper knowledge. Yet, we cannot live our lives without this so-called knowledge. Certainly we cannot do science without it, and we cannot live our lives without science. Yet, are we doing science, or are we merely mapping the insides of our minds?

Affects, Language, and Cognition

For many months, we have been exploring the three pillars of human development: Affects (Feelings), Language, and Cognition. We have tried to make the case that there is a revolution in our understanding of human development. I have suggested that this revolution has tremendous potential for enhancing development.

An Unexpected Chord

Disagreement don't need to poison relationships

Resolving the “Conscientiousness Paradox”

Conscientious individuals generally have good outcomes, but countries with high national levels of conscientiousness generally have poorer levels of human development. What does this apparent "conscientiousness paradox" mean?

The Excellent Beauty of Scientific Mysteries

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on July 26, 2015 in Excellent Beauty
Science finally reveals that though we are a part of the universe, it definitely does not revolve around us. It does this by unearthing mysteries that are completely resistant to resolution. These "excellent beauties," far from showing us where science has failed, show us instead what the universe -- with intelligent African apes in it -- is really like.

Spiritual Power to Redirect the Impact of Divorce

Children often experience divorce as the death of the family. Parents may draw upon spiritual insight to redefine the family, demonstrating how authentic faith models healthy relating, among other critical qualities to support the child's development of healthy relationships.

Republicans, Rape, God, and Evolution

By Hector A Garcia Psy.D. on July 23, 2015 in Alpha God
What is the ultimate relationship between our evolved psychology and conservative views on female sexuality?

Should We Talk About Religion in Therapy?

Although therapists recognize the importance of talking about religion, they're still uncomfortable inviting spirituality into the room.

How Society Could Accommodate Multi-Partner Marriages

Legalizing same-sex marriage has started people talking more seriously about the possibility of multiple-partner marriage. For some that means a slide down a slippery slop to absolute chaos, but it does not have to be that way. This blog looks at two alternative ways to structure multiple-partner marriage and explores some of the possible social impacts.

The Spirituality of Comedian Jim Breuer

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on July 16, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Many people know Jim Breuer as one of the greatest standup comedian of all time. What many people do not know is that he uses comedy as well as spirituality to help cope with difficult situations. He shares how both comedy and faith have helped him get through hard times.

The Psychology of Sports Fandom

Sports fan allegiances illustrate basic properties of the self, including bolstering our self-esteem, improving our belongingness with others, and justifying our belief systems. These processes reflect broader human motives that can explain a considerable amount of behavior, ranging from nationalism to vigorously defending economic and religious systems.

Do Babies Come Naturally Equipped with a Moral Compass?

Research on infants indicates that they are sensitive to others' distress, have an aversion to bad guys, and have a primordial sense of justice.

Does Religion Have an Image Problem?

By Russ Gerber on July 09, 2015 in Our Health
What's going on in hearts and minds? Will it go public?

Why Some People See Ghosts and Other Apparitions

Have you ever had the eerie feeling that you were being watched? Ever seen a ghost? It appears that “spirits” visit humans at predictable times and places.

The World Needs a Secular Community Revolution

The decline of religious community has made people less happy and less healthy. The solution is to create more naturalistic, secular, quasi-religious communities.

On Being a Religious Psychologist

How a religious psychologist can work with secular people.

Religious Individuality

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on July 07, 2015 in Cui Bono
Eric Dietrich posted "It is not that there are no gods or goddesses, but rather that there are no [true] religions." I agree, but not just because no religion is true. I go a step further. Because each individual's religious experience is unique, there are as many versions of a religion as there are members. Ultimately, there are no Christians, Buddhists, etc.

Must We Forgive?

By Jeanne Safer Ph.D. on July 06, 2015 in The Last Taboos
Forgiving can bring peace, if not always equilibrium, after violent crimes as well as crimes of the heart. But I question the imperative to grant it, especially the automatic, instantaneous kind that is so often idealized.

Rejecting Islam

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on July 06, 2015 in The Secular Life
Muslims who reject their religion face serious consequences

The Unveiling

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 06, 2015 in How To Do Life
A Jewish tradition with lessons for us all.

Bisexuality, Not Addiction

By David J Ley Ph.D. on July 02, 2015 in Women Who Stray
Men who struggle with bisexual attractions are often called sex addicts. Unfortunately, this label doesn't help, and often perpetuates homophobia and religious bias against homosexuality.

Reflections on the Soul of Washington, D.C.

By Pythia Peay on July 02, 2015 in America On The Couch
"In my view, Washington is the spiritual center of the country. I don't mean that in terms of a church or beliefs. I mean that in the very real sense of a religious way of being." Thomas Moore

Self-Faith

By Christa Smith Psy.D. on June 30, 2015 in Shift
Learning how to trust yourself

Fighting Back Against Anti-intellectualism

By David Niose on June 28, 2015 in Our Humanity, Naturally
Anti-intellectualism is rampant in America, but we shouldn't rely on intellectuals to eradicate it.

The Avatar Theory of Consciousness

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on June 27, 2015 in Memory Medic
Evolution made us smart enough to be effective killers and hopefully wise enough to be more humane.

Born in the USA

When the 4th of July comes around, do you find yourself getting all patriotic? That’s OK – it’s part of our evolved coalitional psychology. Read on to find out why!

How to Talk About Religious Beliefs Without Sounding Silly

By Guy P. Harrison on June 25, 2015 in About Thinking
We are a god-creating species. We should recognize this in our discussions and debates about religion. It is inaccurate, confusing, and dishonest to frame general belief issues in the context of one god.