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

The neurology of spirit writing

Are spirit mediums for real? Who knows? But researchers in the US and Brazil have found that, real or not, certain mediums’ brains act in some very interesting ways. Read more

Over generations, religion shapes genetics

Research from a multinational team shows that religion has affected the ways that genes are transmitted in the Near East – for more than 2,000 years. Read more

How criminals use religion to justify their crimes

Research by criminologists Volkan Topalli, Timothy Brezina, and Mindy Bernhardt (all Georgetown State University) suggests that criminals take advantage of religious beliefs in order to justify their ongoing criminal behavior. Read more

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