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Christian Belief as a Natural Phenomenon: A Six-Part Series Part 1: Why Cognitive Science is essential to understanding Christianity.

By Valerie Tarico

Belief.Image by Gio JL via Flickr

My father died in a climbing accident when he was 59 and I was in my mid twenties. In one of our last deep conversations before his 300 meter misstep, he expressed his abiding hope that I would “get right with God.” Dad was the son of Italian immigrants, all Catholics, who got converted by door-to-door Pentecostals some years after their arrival in Chicago. His mother lived out her life in the Assemblies of God denomination that had recruited them all, while Dad settled into a closely allied form of Evangelical fundamentalism without the speaking-in-tongues bit. As far as I know, he never questioned his belief that the Bible was the literally perfect word of God and that Jesus died for his sins. And yet of his six children three of us, by Evangelical standards, are now slated for eternal torture. We are on the wrong side of a battle being waged on a spiritual plane, a battle in which those who are not on the side of God are agents of evil. If Dad were alive, our lack of belief would grieve him.

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