A Cognitive Capacity For God, Ctd

by Zoe Pollock

Josh Rothman challenges Jesse Bering's theory of mind and God:

If belief in God is instinctual, then how do atheists overcome that instinct? I don't believe in God - but I don't find myself fighting some built-in tendency to personify the universe. ... His idea is that all people are religious the way children are religious - that is, in a literal, animist way. ... Being religious, though, isn't about having an imaginary friend; it's about understanding the meaning of life. Victor Frankl called his book Man's Search for Meaning, not Man's Search for a Personality Up There in the Clouds. If there's an instinct at work, it's the instinct to make sense of things. That's why it's a mistake for Bering to dismiss theology: Systematic theology is about making sense of the universe, and it's at the heart what makes religion useful.

My guess? It's the search for meaning, not the search for personality, that makes religion part of the fabric of human life. Aristotle called it "the desire to understand." That's a desire we all share - atheist and religious alike.