Books by Brights
Theological Incorrectness: Why Religious People Believe What They Shouldn't
Ask two religious people one question, and you'll get three answers! Why do religious people believe what they shouldn't--not what others think they shouldn't believe, but things that don't accord with their own avowed religious beliefs? My book explores this puzzling feature of human behavior. I term this phenomenon 'theological incorrectness.' I demonstrate that it exists because the mind is built it such a way that it's natural for us to think divergent thoughts simultaneously. Human minds are great at coming up with innovative ideas that help us make sense of the world, but those ideas do not always jibe with official religious beliefs. From this fact we derive the important lesson that what we learn from our environment--religion, for example--does not necessarily cause us to behave in ways consistent with that knowledge. I present the latest discoveries from the cognitive science of religion and show how they help us to understand exactly why it is that religious people do and think things that they shouldn't. In seeking answers to profound questions about why people behave the way they do, this book helps to shed new light on the workings of the human mind and on the complex relationship between cognition and culture.
About the Author
Jason Slone is a cognitive scientist of religion at the University of Findlay, Ohio. He is interested in the ways in which ordinary cognitive reasoning errors are implicated in religious belief and behavior. He is also the editor of Religion and Cognition: A Reader (Forthcoming. London: Equinox Press).