Sunday, December 6, 2009

Of Course God Agrees With Me

I love it when a study confirms what I already believed:

Religious people tend to use their own beliefs as a guide in thinking about what God believes, but are less constrained when reasoning about other people’s beliefs, according to new study published in the Nov. 30 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nicholas Epley, professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, led the research, which included a series of survey and neuroimaging studies to examine the extent to which people’s own beliefs guide their predictions about God’s beliefs.

The researchers noted that people often set their moral compasses according to what they presume to be God’s standards. “The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing,” they conclude. “This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God’s beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing.”

"And in the beginning, man created God, and saw that it was good."
Added: as Sweaterman reminded me, William James explained this in "The Relative States of Religious Experience" about a hundred years ago. I should've thought of that.

1 comment:

Lockwood said...

"And in the beginning, man created God, and saw that it was good."

Not so much "good" as "convenient."