By Matthew Hutson
In most religions and arguably anything worth being called a religion, God is not just an impersonal force or creator. He has a mind that humans can relate to. Maybe you're not gossiping on the phone with him late at night, but he has personality traits, thoughts, moods, and ways of communicating with you. If you didn't know what a mind was or how it worked, not only would you not understand people, but you would not understand God, and you would not be religious.
That's the theory, anyway. Scientists who study religion have come to agree that belief in God (or gods) relies on everyday social cognition: our ability, and propensity, to think about the minds of others (see chapters 6 and 7 of my book, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking). This means that if you are autistic and unable to "mentalize," you would be an atheist. New research published this week in PLoS ONE provides fresh evidence for this claim.
But first, the existing evidence.
Read this article at:
Hutson is a science writer; author of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking