Category Archives: Psychology
My last two posts have discussed why people have faith: lack of scientific understanding, and lack of reasoning skills. Today’s reason, however, is probably the most common reason people have faith: fear.
Fear is one of the most powerful motivators humans experience. Fear is supposed to protect us physically – we will do almost anything to avoid pain, because pain means death, and death means no gene replication. Fear also acts as a social constraint. Most of us fear being ostracized, because humans have evolved to live in social groups. Social groups increase our odds of survival and procreation, so ostracization is interpreted as a physical threat.
Religion makes excellent use of fear to replicate itself in two ways: explicit fear of hell, and implicit fear of being ostracized if you renounce your beliefs. Read the rest of this entry