[extropy-chat] Psychological Roots of Religious Belief

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Sat Apr 23 04:02:11 UTC 2005

I am about four chapters into a book by the above name by M.D. Faber.  
It was just published in November, 2004.


This is one of the most important books in this area that I have ever  
read.  While I have a strong enough love of rationality to have  
remained hooked by religion I have certainly been strongly under its  
sway at some points in my life and have been drown toward it even  
despite my rational objections even to this day.  A large part of what  
kept me fascinated was the very existence of such a strong deep pull  
and that the religious pull seem to have this experiential quality of  
being "truer than true" despite lacking evidence or reasoning  
establishing its validity.   It was enough to make me wonder if I was  
"called" and if their was some means of extra-rational knowing after  
all.   In addition I have had a few very powerful mystical experiences  
that had what I was drawn to deeply and utterly present completely  
fulfilling and seemingly validating that deep yearning.   It has been  
stumping me and bothering me a lot that I didn't have a good  
explanation for the flavor and strength of these incredible affective  
experiences.  The best I came up with is that I had been deeply  
infected as a child with religious memes and had deepened it as an  
adult to such an extent that I would always have a deep groove in my  
brain in that direction.  But that did not satisfactorily explain it to  
say the least.

This book explains very convincingly how the experience of human  
infancy at a depth psychological level plus the fact of infant amnesia  
sets us up for being touched at a profoundly deep affective level by  
religion aka spirituality.   I cannot do justice to the author's  
reasoning here.  But I heartily recommend this book with one warning.    
If you are not willing to let go of whatever of the deep sweet powerful  
religious yearning that may still lurk inside, do not read this book.    
Read this book if you want to complete your understanding of why most  
human beings are deeply drawn to religion and are so powerfully bound  
to it.

- samantha 

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