Use your brain; lose your religionFri April 27 2012 by Christopher Aedo
Those who know me well will not be surprised to see me share a few articles on this topic. I've said for years that the most dangerous thing about leading a "faith based" life is that it dulls critical thinking. In order to live that way, you need to actively train your brain to NOT think about some things. These two articles reference a related study, finding that analytic thinking leads to a a loss of faith (who would be surprised by that?)
"Analytic thinking undermines belief because, as cognitive psychologists have shown, it can override intuition. And we know from past research that religious beliefs—such as the idea that objects and events don't simply exist but have a purpose—are rooted in intuition. "Analytic processing inhibits these intuitions, which in turn discourages religious belief," Norenzayan explains." (from Scientific American)
"Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein famously did not believe in a supernatural God, and neither do some scientists today. It now appears there may be a good reason for this: thinking analytically dims supernatural beliefs, apparently by opposing the intuitive thought processes that underpin them." (from New Scientist)
In a very related series "Confessions of an Ex-Priest" and "Dismantling the Vatican", a man who spent eight years being trained for his position only to leave the church after a single year as an ordained priest reflects on religion and the power structure the church relies on. In part 2 he talks about an exciting moment in the catholic church, when a feeling of openness and empowerment almost swept through the organization. Luckily the bishops and priests managed to shut it down, lest their followers be encouraged to actually read the book their faith is based on.
"That the Catholic Church, or, rather, those who lead it and exercise power within it, prefer a message dominated by pessimism, fear, and control, rather than one inspired by openness, trust, and hope seems to me to show a weakness of faith in the life and message of the man/God they claim as their foundation and inspiration."