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To rule out god, first get to know him

This is a symbol intended to encompass polyamo...‘ “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man.” This Jesuit maxim epitomises how many of us perceive religion: as something that must be imprinted on young minds.

The new science of religion begs to differ. Children are born primed to see god at work all around them and don’t need to be indoctrinated to believe in him (see “The God issue: We are all born believers”).

This is just one of many recent findings that are challenging standard critiques of religious belief. As we learn more about religion’s biological roots, it is becoming clear that secularists are often tilting at windmills and need to rethink.

Another such finding is that belief in a god or gods does appear to encourage people to be nice to one another. Humans clearly don’t need religion to be moral, but it helps (see “The God issue: Religion is the key to civilisation”).

An interesting corollary of this is a deeply held mistrust of atheists (see “In atheists we distrust”). In fact, atheists might consider themselves as unrecognised victims of discrimination. In a recent opinion poll, Americans identified atheists as the group they would most disapprove of their children marrying and the one least likely to share their own vision of American society. Self-declared atheists are now the only sizeable minority group considered unelectable as president.

Such antipathy poses a dilemma for opponents of religion, and may explain why “militant atheism” has failed to make headway.’ (via New Scientist).

 

The new issue of New Scientist, of which the piece linked above is the foreword, is “the God issue,” and is worth your time if you ever think about religion and its impact, or grip, on us, whether you believe or not.

3 thoughts on “To rule out god, first get to know him

  1. I’d like very much to read this material but in order to do so, following your link, I’d have to pay $99. That would mean, this month, no gas for the car, no treats for the dogs, no money put aside for the dentist visit I need to track the source of pain, and a few other things. With pay walls that steep, I find it frustrating, if not down right annoying, to be teased with posts from bloggers I follow, with inaccessible material.

    Maybe you could tell us what it says.

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  2. Alas, in East Overshoe, NC one can read People, Sports Illustrated, and Time but not New Scientist. Glad you can afford to subscribe. But my point remains: linking to pay wall publications is a cruel joke. You’re not the only one.

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