Why We Believe in God(s)
Whilst I will never understand the need for Americans to add titles such as “Jr.” or “the 3rd” after their names, the author has provided a fascinating read. "Why We Believe in God(s) is a well-researched addition to the atheist library. The foreword is by Richard Dawkins, which says all you need to know about the book's conclusions! It journeys through our evolution and the inner workings of our brains to compile and understanding of man’s need to believe in god(s).
Thompson (Jr) breaks the problem up into many different contributing causes. Each concept with its own chapter, cleverly named after various lines from the bible. For example:
The chapter “Our Daily Bread” deals with our need for attachment. We are programmed to depend on a “caretaker” in times of need. This aids in our survival, especially when we are small children. This need never fades.
And then there's the chapter “And Deliver Us From Evil”. This chapter discusses the way in which we humans anthropomorphize god(s). The author sums it up perfectly by saying “Humans are strongly biased to interpret unclear evidence as being caused consciously by an agent”. This ability which helps us negotiate social and environmental situations, has the downside of attributing many chance-based interactions to thoughtful intent.
Each chapter succeeds in providing compelling explanations for our need to believe in something greater than ourselves. The answer is clear. We have evolved and developed to believe in god(s). This would provide a good explanation why, in so many societies, religions have developed independently of each other.