I had a terrific time discussing religious “beliefs”—or religious credences, as I call them—with Josh and Ken recently. One claim I proposed on the show is that religious credence is like make-believe imagining. I want to delve a little deeper into that claim and address something Ken said.
What is it
Many people profess to believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, benevolent God. Yet psychological data shows that people often think and reason about God in ways contrary to their professed religious beliefs. So, are these so-called religious beliefs genuinely held? Or are “believers” just playing an elaborate game of pretense? Is there a difference between ordinary factual belief and religious belief? And what role do people's religious creedences play in shaping their social identities? Josh and Ken get real with Neil van Leeuwen from Georgia State University, author of Religion as Make-Believe (forthcoming).