Steven Pinker: Stop bashing religion. You’re hurting science.

If you force people to choose between traditional meaning and objective knowledge, they will choose meaning – and I don’t blame them. So, Dr. Pinker, please, get off your smug horse and stop bashing religion, spiritual beliefs, and traditions when advocating science. Our descendants will thank you. Read more

The “Religion vs. Creativity” Debate Rages On

Even in the most integrated, holistic community, where everyone shares the same basic cosmological assumptions, some people are going to be more willing to rock the boat and generate new ideas than others.…In a large-scale, cosmopolitan culture like our own, novelty-seekers don’t necessarily have an intact web of culture to keep them engaged, and they may be more likely to fall victim to the kinds of self-destructive behavior that tightly-knit communities work against: alcoholism, drug abuse, and reading Charles Bukowski. Read more

Social Capital (and Religion?) Helped the Spread of Nazism

Areas of Germany with high social integration and social capital saw a much quicker expansion of the Nazi party. What does this mean for religion? Read more

Why IS liberal Protestantism dying, anyway?

Liberal Protestant churches are losing members left and right, while conservative churches are doing just fine. But why? Connor Wood thinks it’s because liberal churches refuse to be strict, and refuse to demand real, costly investment from their members. Read more

Science and humility

Connor Wood thinks we should always be humble about what we believe – even if we’re experts. The history of science shows why. Read more

Religion: is it always tribal?

New research shows that intense rituals can forge strong tribal identities – but also help people overcome tribal barriers. How does this affect our modern attitude toward religion? Read more

Religion and creativity: A follow-up

Last week, Connor Wood claimed that religion and creativity were often incompatible. In response to dozens of critiques and comments, this post picks apart the argument further and, data in hand, supports the original claim – with some qualifications. Read more

Why aren’t religious people as creative as unbelievers?

Let’s be honest: religion and creativity don’t always mix. The world’s fashion designers, rock musicians, and star artists aren’t exactly a churchgoing lot. But why is this? And how can we receive the benefits of stable, traditional life without leaving behind the burning creativity we need? Read more

Ritual bypasses conscious cognition

Researchers from Denmark and New Zealand claim that ritual allows cultures to transmit knowledge by overloading participants’ executive cognitive networks, leaving participants open to suggestions and influence by cultural authorities. Read more

Five ways religion can influence political beliefs

Wanting instead to see how religion can affect political beliefs at the individual level, Ryan LaMothe (St. Meinrad School of Theology) found five ways in which this can happen. Read more

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