Why do religions tell impossible tales? A testable hypothesis

Impossible imagery in religious narratives and folktales might, in part, serve as a solution to a uniquely human problem: believing too sincerely in the cause-and-effect stories we tell ourselves, such that we become stuck in self-fulfilling rumination. Read more

Awesome theories of religion, Part 2

This week, I’m focusing on four thinkers who have advanced our understanding of how ritual and beliefs intertwine, and how religion both creates and destroys metaphorical boundaries or “walls” in human societies. Read more

4 neat theories of religion

Here’s Part 1 of a list of very smart and interesting people with profound theories about religion. The point is to spread some actual knowledge and ideas about religion, as opposed to trendy nonsense from people who couldn’t tell religion from Ramen noodles. Read more

Religion influences ethics more in low-religiosity countries

Two researchers argue that religious believers are more likely to internalize their faiths’ values in countries where being religious is their own, free choice. Read more

What happens when inequality grows? Ecstatic religion flowers.

Ecstatic, music-driven religions and spirit possession movements are often found in rigidly hierarchical cultures, where many people are stuck permanently in the lower ranks of society – cultures such as the one the United States is becoming Read more

Internet comments: the poisoned well

Highly negative comments inspire readers to react in polarized ways to news articles, forcing splits along partisan lines. This means the actual issues get lost in the fray. Read more

Cosmic tribalism, Internet ego, and the future of humanity

Here’s one thing you can do to stop ecological catastrophe: stop turning your ideological opponents into mortal enemies. Every time you make a sweeping generalization about conservatives or religious believers in a blog comment, you’re making the Koch brothers very, very happy. Read more

How religion will save the world

Cultures that hold nothing to be sacred, like our global marketplace, have little chance of surviving in the long term. But cultures that hold some things to be sacred and inviolable have a shot at preserving their ecologies for the future, because for them not everything is for sale. Read more

Awe increases religious belief

Two researchers from California have found that awe-inspiring images make people believe more in God. But there’s more – awe also makes people more likely to falsely perceive human agents, and increases intolerance for uncertainty. What does this mean for religious belief? Read more

Where religion pervades, prejudice reigns

A team of researchers has found that cultures with high levels of everyday religiosity are more violent and prejudiced against outgroups. Read more

Follow Us!