December 14, 2016
"The Psychological Origins of Religious Ideas" with Dr. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi
Why are religious ideas, i.e. ideas of souls and spirits, so eminently attractive and plausible to humans? Defenders of any of the thousands of religions on earth will assert that religions appear when humans respond to some transcendent reality, or to unique and dramatic personal experiences.
This presentation will survey an undeclared theoretical competition among those seeking to explain religion by relating it to the most elementary, early, and universal psychological processes. It will touch on ideas proposed in the 1960s by those promoting the notion of psychedelic experiences, as well as ideas proposed by Freud, Piaget, Bowlby, Winnicott, and the modern cognitive-anthropological school. Modern theorizing about supernaturalism as a consequence of universal cognitive mechanisms follows a long tradition of locating the sacred not "out there", but inside the psyche. It also emphasizes the normality and ubiquity of the mental processes leading to religious beliefs.
No CME/CE credits offered
New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute
247 East 82nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
The Marianne & Nicholas Young Auditorium