Originally Posted by rufuspaul
Valid points. It's a personal thing. The point of the thread is that atheists can be some of the most "preachy" people out there. Believe what you believe. No need to belittle others who have different views.
I sympathize with both sides actually. I get why some atheists can get frustrated with the idea of faith but it doesn't excuse some of the behavior, though there's plenty stupidity on both sides to go around. I must say it's easier to ignore some asshole on the internet than some asshole ringing your doorbell.
There are studies that suggest religious belief is a secondary effect of basic social cognition mechanisms.
This study is really fascinating. It really changed my view of religious belief:
Basically, they set out to find out how
believers think when they think about god's will and god's own beliefs.
The most interesting part for me were the questions they asked while the subjects were in MRI machines.
The three images below show the differences in brain region activity (yellow/orange spots) when comparing:
a) your own attitudes vs. estimation of the "average American" attitude
b) estimation of God's attitude vs. the "average American" attitude
c) and most interestingly for me, your own attitude vs. estimation of god's attitude.
My jaw dropped when I saw that third MRI image.
Thinking about god's beliefs appears to be statistically indistinguishable from thinking about your own beliefs, whatever your beliefs may be.
People like to think of religion as providing a moral compass. More and more studies are suggesting that, because religious belief appears to be egocentrically biased, unlike an actual compass which always points north, thoughts and beliefs about gods just point people further in the direction they're already facing.