How People Become Atheists

Testing three theories of religious non-belief. by David Ludden Ph.D. Reviewed by Lybi Ma Religious belief appears to be nearly universal in humans. If religion is universal, the challenge is explaining why about a quarter of people are atheists. Some people reject their religious beliefs in adulthood, but most atheists were raised that way. Religion is a human universal. Every society that has ever existed has had some form of organized religion that has dominated its culture and often its government as well. For this reason, many psychologists believe we have an innate tendency toward religious belief. And yet, in … Continue reading How People Become Atheists

Can the laws of physics disprove God?

Author Monica Grady Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences, The Open University I still believed in God (I am now an atheist) when I heard the following question at a seminar, first posed by Einstein, and was stunned by its elegance and depth: ‘If there is a God who created the entire universe and ALL of its laws of physics, does God follow God’s own laws? Or can God supersede his own laws, such as travelling faster than the speed of light and thus being able to be in two different places at the same time?’ Could the answer help … Continue reading Can the laws of physics disprove God?

Are the brains of atheists different to those of religious people? Scientists are trying to find out

AuthorMiguel Farias – Associate Professor in Experimental Psychology, Coventry University The cognitive study of religion has recently reached a new, unknown land: the minds of unbelievers. Do atheists think differently from religious people? Is there something special about how their brains work? To illustrate what they’ve found, I will focus on three key snapshots. The first one, from 2003, is probably the most photogenic moment of “neuro-atheism”. Biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins travelled to the lab of Canadian neuroscientist Michael Persinger in the hope of having a religious experience. In this BBC Horizon film, God on the Brain, a retro science-fiction helmet was … Continue reading Are the brains of atheists different to those of religious people? Scientists are trying to find out

Hope and religion in a time of crisis: evidence from Colombia and South Africa

Authors Victor CountedResearch Fellow, Western Sydney University Kenneth PargamentBowling Green State University Richard G. CowdenResearch Associate, Harvard University Disclosure statement The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Strict lock-down regulations, that have been implemented during the COVID-19, pandemic have broad implications for well-being. In many countries, businesses and other kinds of operations had to adjust or close. Unemployment rates rose and economic activity slowed dramatically. Alongside concerns about financial security, stay-at-home orders have disrupted daily routines … Continue reading Hope and religion in a time of crisis: evidence from Colombia and South Africa

AM I CRAZY IF I HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD IN MY HEAD?

Is it really God? My inner dialogue? Aliens? WHO’S IN MY BRAIN?! by Ian Lecklitner  Just over a week after four planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in rural Pennsylvania, President George W. Bush initiated what would become a deadly, expensive and unrelenting “War on Terror.” He later revealed that God told him to make that decision. “I’m driven with a mission from God,” he claimed. “God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,’ and I did.” God would have to be … Continue reading AM I CRAZY IF I HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD IN MY HEAD?

Picturing God as a White Man Is Linked to Racial Stereotypes about Leaders

Pervasive racial images associated with the Almighty shape who people see as worthy of being in charge By Daisy Grewal  Nationwide protests against racial injustice have shone a spotlight on U.S. corporations’ lack of diversity.Despite decades of initiatives to increase the number of Black executives, only 1 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are Black. While there are many reasons for this disparity—including systemic racism and discrimination and a lack of economic opportunity—psychologists have recently uncovered a startling potential factor: the tendency to view God as white. Christianity, the dominant religion in the U.S., conceptualizes the deity as the ultimate leader. And the … Continue reading Picturing God as a White Man Is Linked to Racial Stereotypes about Leaders

How Jesus came to resemble a white man

No one knows exactly what Jesus looked like. So why is he almost always portrayed as a white European? BY ANNA SWARTWOOD HOUSE The portrayal of Jesus as a white, European man has come under renewed scrutiny during this period of introspection over the legacy of racism in society. As protesters called for the removal of Confederate statues in the U.S., activist Shaun King went further, suggesting that murals and artwork depicting “white Jesus” should “come down.” His concerns about the depiction of Christ and how it is used to uphold notions of white supremacy are not isolated. Prominent scholars and the archbishop of Canterbury have called to … Continue reading How Jesus came to resemble a white man

Honk Twice for Hallelujah: What Church Looks Like in the Parking Lot

By Casey Cep Honk once for “Amen,” twice for “Glory hallelujah”: those are the newest liturgical instructions for the Rock Church, an evangelical congregation in Virginia Beach. The megachurch normally gathers in an enormous auditorium that seats more than five thousand, but, as the coronavirus has limited the ability of congregations to come together physically, members began meeting instead in the parking lot, where drive-in services are taking the place of regular worship. The praise band and the pastor took to a temporary stage erected outside the building, while a local FM station offered the church airtime, so that congregants could tune in to the … Continue reading Honk Twice for Hallelujah: What Church Looks Like in the Parking Lot

How an exorcist priest came face-to-face with the devil himself

By Larry Getlen In 1997, when a young, slim peasant man was escorted into the small room where Father Gabriele Amorth conducted his exorcisms in Rome, the priest felt immediately confronted by evil. Amorth said he asked for the help of Jesus, and the young man began to curse and spit, using English instead of his native Italian. “His curses and threats were aimed solely at the exorcist; then he began spitting at him and preparing to attack him physically,” writes Marcello Stanzione in “The Devil is Afraid Of Me: The Life and Work of the World’s Most Famous Exorcist” (Sophia … Continue reading How an exorcist priest came face-to-face with the devil himself

People Who See God As A White Man Tend To Prefer White Men For Leadership Positions

By Matthew Warren When you picture God, who do you see: a young black woman, or an old white man? Chances are it’s the latter — and a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that that image has its consequences. Across a series of seven studies, at team led by Steven O Roberts at Stanford University found that the way that we perceive God — and in particular our beliefs about God’s race — may influence our decisions about who should be in positions of leadership more generally. First, the team examined how 444 American Christians — a mixture of … Continue reading People Who See God As A White Man Tend To Prefer White Men For Leadership Positions