'Why We Believe in God/s'
(a 50 minute DVD lecture) by J. Anderson Thomas Jr
In this groundbreaking work, J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., MD, with Clare Aukofer, offers a succinct yet comprehensive study of how and why the human mind generates religious belief.
Dr. Thomson, a highly regarded psychiatrist known for his studies of suicide terrorism, investigates the components and causes of religious belief in the same way any scientist would investigate the movement of astronomical bodies or the evolution of life over time, that is, as a purely natural phenomenon.
Providing compelling evidence from cognitive psychology and the neurosciences, he presents an easily accessible and exceptionally convincing case that god(s) were created by man, not vice versa. With this volume, Dr. Thomson establishes himself as a must-read thinker and leading voice on the primacy of reason and science over superstition and religion.
As Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, states in his foreword, "One by one, the other components of religion-community worship, obedience to priestly authority, ritual-receive the Thompson treatment. Every point he makes has the ring of truth, abetted by a crisp style and vivid imagery. Andy Thomson is an outstandingly persuasive lecturer."
J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., MD, is a Trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and a staff psychiatrist for Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia Student Health Center, as well as the University of Virginia's Institute for Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy. Thomson also has his own private practice, and is a forensic psychiatrist for Region Ten Community Services. Thomson acquired his B.A. from Duke University in 1970, he acquired his M.D. from the University of Virginia in 1974, and he did his adult psychiatry training at the University of Virginia from 1974 to 1977
By Barb Nehr
“Letters from the Earth” is one of the many shorter works produced by Mark Twain during his forty-odd year literary career. The story presents a satirical look at man and his relationship with God. Twain presents his ideas through the archangel Satan, who, banished from heaven for remarks that were not pleasing to the deity, decides to spend his period of banishment exploring the earth and learning what he could about the experiment of the Human Race. Satan reports his findings back to his friends, the archangels Michael and Gabriel, through a series of eleven letters. The preamble and the first letter were presented in my initial reading.
In the first letter Satan describes how man views God and how he perceives he is viewed by God. Satan marvels that man believes himself to be the “noblest work of God” and even styles himself as the Creator’s pet. He further relates man’s incomprehensible penchant for prayer, even though evidence of any prayer being answered is lacking. Almost beyond belief, Satan says, is man’s conviction that he is going to heaven. His salaried teachers reinforce this belief and assure him that a hell of ceaseless torment and fire awaits him if he does not keep the Commandments.