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View Diary: When God is Least Expected (160 comments)

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  •  I'm very familiar with a huge amount of research (1+ / 0-)
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    regarding the development of beliefs systems (including religious ones), as a cognitive-behavior therapist and a neuropsychologist.  My grad school mentor was a specialist in belief systems, and  I was also greatly educated about the psychology of religious belief by a close colleague for whom it was his primary research area.  I know of no results from that research that suggests that the metaphysical referents of religious beliefs exist anywhere outside believer's brains or the social communications among believers.  

           Indeed, there are a great many consistencies across religious traditions, especially in their more mystical components.  I was a fan of Thomas Merton, Watts, & Suzuki before becoming a psychologist, so the commonalities in that research hardly came as a revelation to me; and I see nothing in them that suggests anything more than the possible fruitfulness of a structuralist approach to the psychology of religious experience.  I believe, partly from experience, that prayer and/or meditation of many kinds can lead to a transformative experience.  But I see no reason to believe that that experience is in any way connected with anything outside the material world or, especially, that there is any evidence that there is such a connection.

    "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

    by Oliver St John Gogarty on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 02:12:19 PM PDT

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