virus: Why People Believe in Religion

Freespeak (
Tue, 23 Feb 1999 13:02:06 -0700

In my opinion, there are three fundamental reasons why people believe in religion.

The first factor is the human predilection for anthropomorphism. See '#TL05AB: ANTHROPOMORPHISM AND RELATED PHENOMENA' <>.

[The above was inspired by the book 'Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion' by Stewart Guthrie -- mentioned on this list some months ago.]

The second factor is what remains in the human brain and psyche from our "bicameral heritage." See 'The Other Side of Religion' <>, with particular emphasis on 'Appendix - The Biological Basis for Religion.'

The third factor can be inferred from Al Siebert's book, 'Peaking Out: How My Mind Broke Free from the Delusions of Psychiatry.' It could be called the "aggrandized-noun" phenomenon. It derives from Melanie Klein's insight she called the "good-mother/bad-mother split": "...each infant experiences two different beings in its life -- a good, powerful, nurturing, comforting, all-knowing being and a bad, hurting, dangerous one." [Look up "Melanie Klein" in the Index.]

These factors may also illuminate why certain memes are more powerful than others.

Frederick Mann

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