Into to Religious Studies
Upon reading the book, Why Would Anyone Believe in God? Written by Justin L. Barrett, my mind had become expanded with new information about the origins and spread of belief in gods and God. Many factors are the cause of this belief, such as the ideas of agents and intuitions, that God-concepts are minimally counter intuitive, the detecting of supernatural agents by agency and theory of mind, circumstances that we give a religious notion such as social interactions, fortune and misfortune, and life after death, as well as the how with think of the supreme God from childhood, into adulthood. All of these circumstances give notion that a God or gods exist, whom which we seek to obey to the best of our ability. In my opinion, Barrett’s account of the causes of theistic belief implies belief in God is rational. I came to this conclusion because not only do we have an innate sense of a supreme being in childhood, but also many circumstances are humanly impossible, for example certain types of agents.
One of the first main claims Barrett mentions in his book is that God concepts are minimally counter-intuitive and have inferential potential. According to Barrett, what qualifies a concept as MCI is determined by the nonreflective beliefs of categorizers and describers and because categorizers and describers operate essentially the same way in all people everywhere, what is MCI in one culture is also MCI in any other culture. MCI can include but is not limited to gods, ghosts, and spirits. This idea is rational because those who believe religion is a by-product claim that religious belief finds its origin as the result of the side-effects of a number of different cognitive faculties that we deploy non-consciously, individually, or if we combine these together, it should be clear how they might naturally lead to belief in God or gods. Another way in which MCIs are rational is because it requires belief, and when it is mixed with nonreflective belief the idea is more likely to be believable because it now has a foundation. In the book Barrett states, “The more mental tools with which an idea fits, the more likely it is to become a belief.” (26) Some MCIs can be believable by first opening up a broad range of mental tools which if deemed plausible become beliefs. In some cases it starts out as a reflective belief, then depending on situation could become a non-reflective belief. “These non-reflective beliefs often become the basis for the creation of reflective beliefs. The credibility of reflective beliefs is (non-reflectively) enhanced by close matches with the output of many different mental tools. The more mental tools (including those that store memories of experiences and communications) agree with the possibility that something is true, the more likely that idea becomes a reflectively embraced belief.” (30) This statement also explains why God concepts have inferential potential. Inferential potential ultimately backs the MCIs up. Anther rational statement Barrett used in his book was, “Being MCI doesn’t necessarily (though often does) mean the concept is non-natural or untrue. Arguably, plants that eat animals are MCI, yet several species of plants (such as Venus’s-flytraps) do so…A plant that eats animals is MCI but may not necessarily be unusual or bizarre. What amounts to a bizarre concept varies by individual experiences and cultural factors, whereas whether a concept is MCI does not.” (22) The rational idea of MCI is that because it is typically an intuitive assumption, it can in return be believable, remember able, and understandable. According to the notes “MCIs are captivating and memorable and so more likely to be passed on from one person to another and so become widespread.” (Ch.2) The next account Barrett presents is that the hyperactive agency detection device and theory of mind is easily detected and describe supernatural agents. HADD