Faith, Psychology, and the Origins of God: Why do people believe?

From the Veritas Forum.

Faith, Psychology, and the Origins of God: Why do people believe?

Justin Barrett, Gordon Burghardt
University of Tennessee
21 September 2011

Justin L. Barrett is senior researcher of the Centre for Anthropology and Mind and The Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University.

Gordon Burghardt is Distinguished Service Professor Department of Psychology University of Tennessee.

Are there psychological reasons for belief in God? Doesn’t this prove that faith is a convenient lie? Why would anyone believe in God anymore, when science proves so much about our world and ourselves? Join Dr. Justin Barrett and Dr. Gordon Burghardt for a discussion on two of the hottest topics of conversation today: God and the brain.

Watch the video here.

Recommend related reading:

Why Would Anyone Believe in God?

Justin L. Barrett
Paperback, 152 pages
Published May 28th 2004 by AltaMira Press
ISBN0759106673 (ISBN13: 9780759106673)

Because of the design of our minds. That is Justin Barrett’s simple answer to the question of his title. With rich evidence from cognitive science but without technical language, psychologist Barrett shows that belief in God is an almost inevitable consequence of the kind of minds we have. Most of what we believe comes from mental tools working below our conscious awareness. And what we believe consciously is in large part driven by these unconscious beliefs.

Barrett demonstrates that beliefs in gods match up well with these automatic assumptions; beliefs in an all-knowing, all-powerful God match up even better. Barrett goes on to explain why beliefs like religious beliefs are so widespread and why it is very difficult for our minds to think without them. Anyone who wants a concise, clear, and scientific explanation of why anyone would believe in God should pick up Barrett’s book.