One of The Daily Dish readers posed an exceptionally provocative hypothesis:
An interesting angle you haven’t mentioned concerns how belief systems concretely affect the development of the brain. People raised in cultures with distinct words for certain color tones see them more clearly than those in which just one word suffices (the most well-known example is Russian, which has one word for marine blue and another for sky blue — but there are many others). So believers, having been raised in a cognitive environment in which this mystical experience was ritualistically repeated presumably have brain architecture that differs in significant ways from those raised outside the Church. This could explain the special pain of being a lapsed-believer. Your brain is structured to believe, but your intellect won’t let you. In any case, my point is that this is why I try to cut believers a break. If they were raised in that world, they can’t help but carry it within them.
Anyone know anything more about this? In particular, any psychologists?