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Why do people go to church?

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 5, 2007 | 7:23 am

In an unusually themed post for his science blog, Jonah Lehrer says it is because people want to be part of a larger community, to have a social network and feel like they are in life together. Is he right? How significant a role does social cohesion play in where we choose to worship?

From the Frontal Lobe:

PZ attacks religious beliefs with his usual angry panache:

Religion is a bad thing. It encourages people to believe in things that are not true. It really is as simple as that; we’d be better off if people valued truth over comfortable delusions.

  Unlike most Americans, I don’t believe in angels, the devil or the possibility of eternal salvation. I think Armageddon has more to do with nuclear proliferation than the Book of Revelations. But attacking the ideas of religion fails to address the real value of religion. People don’t go to church because they want to read the same old fantastical stories again and again. Even the Sermon on the Mount gets old after a few recitations. They go to church (or temple or the mosque or whatever) because they want to be part of a community.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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