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

How to Save the World

Could the same nightmares we fear possibly also be the soul-stimuli that we need to grow in compassion and love?

Pressures on Your Therapist Not to Be Psychologically-Minded

A psychologically-minded therapist is to mainstream psychology like a person practicing a forbidden religion.

Problems Monitoring Terrorists/Muslims

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 23, 2015 Fighting Fear
Mr. Trump and Doctor Carson have suggested monitoring Muslims by staking out mosques and following anyone who wears a turban. This will not work. Muslims do not wear turbans.

Politics, Money and Religion: Happy Thanksgiving

Are you stressed about spending the holidays with family? A simple strategy for dealing with 'those' relatives can help.

Why I Am No Longer a Sex-Addiction Therapist

Our evolving understanding of the complexities of human sexuality have revealed an increasing number of cracks in the foundational models of sex-addiction therapy.

The Psychology of Terrorism

By Ray Williams on November 21, 2015 Wired for Success
We need to restrain ourselves from retributive justice and focus on restorative justice, one not fueled by vengeance.

Is Keeping Muslims out of US Un-American?

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on November 20, 2015 Am I Right?
"America First" or "I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door" are competing versions of American history. Both are accurate.

What Does "Agnostic" Mean?

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on November 20, 2015 The Secular Life
There are some things we just may never know. Deal with it.

A Warmer Embrace of Muslims Could Stop Homegrown Terrorism

When people experience a loss to their sense of personal significance—for example, through humiliation or disrespect—they seek out other outlets for creating meaning. Extremists know and exploit these vulnerabilities, targeting Muslims whose sense of significance is low or threatened.

My First Marathon

Want to run a marathon? As with many things in life, the combination of perseverance and luck are often all you need. For me, it was mostly about continuing to put one foot in front of other and hoping for the best.

Fundamentalist Christianity and Child Abuse: A Taboo Topic

How does fundamentalist religion affect our children?

When God Was a Big Old Man in the Sky, Part 2

Sometimes you have to go into the wilderness.

Why Did ISIS Do It?

By Clark McCauley Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 Friction
ISIS has a strategy. Our reaction to Paris is part of it.

Letting Go of Fear of Failure-Part IV

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 The Power of Prime
Fear of failure is about the perceptions that you hold about failure and, for the vast majority of people, those perceptions are entirely disconnected from the reality of their lives. You perceive that bad things will happen if you fail, but the reality is that nothing particularly bad, aside from some disappointment, will likely result from a failure.

The Continuous Nature of Awe

By Andy Tix Ph.D. on November 16, 2015 The Pursuit of Peace
The emotion of awe fascinates as much as it confounds. Usually, awe is presented as an either / or phenomenon. Conceptualizing awe as a continuous variable, with different levels of strength possible, may clarify the concept and provide individuals with different applications to life enrichment.

Gray Must Remain Our Sacred Space

By Tim Leberecht on November 16, 2015 The Romance of Work
Gray is the stance against a bipolar world, with extreme claims and exponential implications. Living in gray means living uncomfortably in the middle, but it also means living in tolerance and peace. It means commuting between two worlds and leading a double, a poetic life. It means being able to love, to feel everything but not know anything at all.

Humanity's In-Humanity

The tragedy of Paris has united us in sorrow, but has filled some of us with hate and a longing to destroy these terrorists. But unless humanity launches a concerted effort towards harmony and tolerance, a "Positive Emotional Footprint," I fear for our very survival.

My Return to Theism

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 One Among Many
Theism – Atheism is a false dichotomy. Setting aside deism as anemic theism, I distinguish between theism with love and theism without love. The former is easy to refute, as has been done many times by children and philosophers. The latter is far more resistant to disproof and psychologically more plausible.

Paris, Religion and Human Evil

What do the tragic events in Paris reveal about human nature? Is religion the cause of all evil?

In Wake of French Terror, Maybe Pastafarians Aren't So Crazy

By David Niose on November 15, 2015 Our Humanity, Naturally
As the world mourns the tragedy in Paris, the relevance and importance of religious criticism become more apparent.

When the World Doesn't Make Sense

What to believe in when many of modern life's activities threaten to get you killed.

Queer Orthodoxies

Queer Orthodoxies: LGBTQ issues, the Orthodox Jewish Community, and psychotherapy. By Alison Feit, Ph.D. and Alan Slomowitz, Ph.D.

Co-opting and Redefining Religious Words by the Nonreligious

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on November 10, 2015 Cui Bono
Philosophical naturalism denies the existence of supernatural entities such as angels, demons, elves, fairies, ghosts, gods, souls, and spirits, except as figments of imagination. How is it possible, then, that some naturalists describe themselves as "spiritual" and describe some aspects of nature as "sacred?"

Starbucks and the Real War on Christmas

Please stop co-opting the Christian faith for your culture war. Most of us want nothing to do with it.

The War on Christmas, Reindeerless Santas and Plain Red Cups

The conservatives might have a point about the "War on Christmas"—it’s just not the point they are trying to make.

What If Your Most Cherished Ideals Collide?

Being true to yourself is all well and good. It certainly sounds crucial. But there are times when doing so is far easier said than done. For one of your most treasured ideals may not always jibe with another. In such instances you can find yourself, almost literally, torn in two—simultaneously trying to honor both these seminal values when they’re mutually exclusive....

The Clergy Sexual Abuse Story Is Revisited In "Spotlight"

The church and the community is safer in 2015 thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of the Boston Globe Spotlight team. While there are always risks of problem cases falling between the cracks when it comes to child safety more and more of these cracks are being sealed shut to ensure that all children are safe in church as well as in other community environments.

The Search For Meaning

The vast majority of humans need some meaning to our lives beyond acquiring, consuming and devouring. The search for meaning might be a belief in a benevolent, omniscient God, but spiritual states and beliefs exist for non-believers as well. That Search for a Sense of Believing (along with Being, Belonging and Benevolence) enables us to fulfill and evaluate our lives.

What's Wrong With Norway?

Conventional religious activities may be on the decline in secularized northern Europe, but many Norwegians appear to be enthralled with ghosts.

The Trouble with Modern Love

By Stephen Snyder M.D. on November 02, 2015 SexualityToday
We have many more choices than our parents and grandparents had, but this hasn’t made it any more likely that couples will find fulfillment. In many ways, it’s made it less likely.