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That was weird – are you a mind reader? Thinking style affects how we interpret weird experiences.

Psychologists have identified that all of us have two kinds of thinking styles. There’s the slow, deep thinking style where you ponder things for a while before making a decision. And then there’s gut instinct – where you make a decision based on intuition. Some people tend to prefer one kind of thinking style over [Read More...]

A new opinion poll has some bad news for atheists. Some 40% of the US population would not consider voting for an atheist presidential candidate, regardless of their policies. That’s fewer than would vote for a gay or lesbian – or even (gasp!) a Muslim! It’s pretty much in accordance with a previous poll which [Read More...]

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Next Thursday, the Vatican is going to release its latest encyclical – a 192 page document entitled “Laudato Si: On the care of the common home” (source: BBC News). The text just got leaked, and it confirms that Pope Francis is going to call for “swift action to protect the Earth and fight global warming”. [Read More...]

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It’s a fact that, in the West at least, fewer people are going to religious services than they used to a few decades ago. Countries do follow different trajectories – secularization happened first in the Protestant countries of Northern Europe and Australia, and more recently the Catholic countries of Europe. The Americas have fought the [Read More...]

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From time to time, we see surveys from the USA that suggest an increasing tide of non-affiliation to religion, especially among the young. Taken in isolation, it’s really hard to know what to make of them. Maybe, for example, what we are seeing reflects religious apathy among the young. Maybe it’s simply that people believe [Read More...]

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I’ve set up a new Reddit sub for articles on the psychology of religion and non-belief. For those of you who don’t use Reddit (why not???), this will mean nothing to you, so you can safely move along. But if you do use Reddit, well then you can subscribe to this sub and get notifications [Read More...]

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One of the seminal pieces of research on religion and society was done in the early 20th century by a guy named Max Weber, who concluded that what he called the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ helped explain why the countries of Northern Europe and America were so prosperous. It’s a provocative conclusion that later research has shown was [Read More...]

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One of the seminal pieces of research on religion and society was done in the early 20th century by a guy named Max Weber, who concluded that what he called the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ helped explain why the countries of Northern Europe and America were so prosperous. It’s a provocative conclusion that later research has shown was [Read More...]

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Many years ago, a guy called Michael Persinger achieved a certain amount of fame with a claim that stimulating the right part of the brain with a magnetic field could give people a religious experience. Although others weren’t able to get the same results, studies since then have found that brain damage to parts of [Read More...]

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One of the characteristics of the modern world is the emergence of the secular state. In many nations there was an almost symbiotic relationship between the state and religion., but over the centuries we’ve seen a gradual disentanglement of religious authority from state authority and the emergence of the secular state. A fascinating new 1000-year [Read More...]

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