Beyond belief essays on religion in a post-traditional world

It should also be underscored that the deontic appearance of ordinary epistemic discourse seems to have a distinctively categorical flavor; that is, the phenomenology of our everyday talk and thought about duties, obligations, oughts, seems to imply the existence of categorical duties and obligations such as duties that are in some sense unconditional, that is independent of our psychology (desires, dispositions, beliefs,) and constrain what we ought to believe insofar as we are rational. For example, if a speaker utters, “You should believe that p” in an ordinary conversational context her statement would, typically, conversationally implicate that it is an (epistemic) fact of sorts that “You should believe that p.” A fortiori, the conversational implication is that anyone epistemically rational would be obliged to believe that p because it constitutes a categorical epistemic obligation (derivative of a corresponding epistemic fact).

An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion.

"... [Dr. Wathey's] book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond...[He] argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy. 

These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like:

Beyond belief essays on religion in a post-traditional world

beyond belief essays on religion in a post-traditional world

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