"People simply believe because they want to. This applies to all religions. Faith is driven by attraction to certain persons, stories, rituals, and values. It fulfils emotional needs, such as the need for security and authority and the desire to belong. Theology is secondary and evidence tertiary. I agree that what the faithful are asked to believe can be rather preposterous, but atheists surely won't succeed in talking people out of their faith by mocking the veracity of their holy books or by comparing their God with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The specific contents of belief are hardly at issue if the overarching goal is a sense of social and moral communion. To borrow from a title by the novelist Amy Tan, to criticize faith is like trying to save a fish from drowning. There's no point in catching believers out of the lake to tell them what is best for them while putting them out on the bank, where they flop around until they expire. They were in the lake for a reason." (p.96)
13 October 2016
Extract from The Atheist and the Bonobo, by Frans de Waal.