I have used the expression “Religious Mind” in many of my posts. It is a bad choice. Type ‘religious mind’ in my search widget will yield many such posts. After listening to a Thinking Atheist interview of Michael Shermer (a skeptic I greatly enjoy), I heard Shermer use the expression “The Believing Mind” and realized that such an expression captures my intent behind my use of “Religious Mind” far better without all the other wrong implications. For all of us have a “Believing Mind” — and we have it for adaptive reasons.
Believing without evidence is our default mode. Well, I shouldn’t call it “without evidence” because believing something because someone in authority said it or because it intuitively makes sense to us, is indeed a sort of evidence — though it is a very low level of evidence.
Acquiring lots of evidence and striving for higher-level evidence is resource consuming: require much time, effort and expense. And for most decisions in life, we don’t have such luxuries. So rightfully so, our brains have built cheaper heuristics.
The problem sometimes comes when our brains compromise efficiency for accuracy and harm us. It is at such times, and hopefully before, that disciplined evidence gathering, testing and weighing are essential. Such methods developed well before we had the word “science” and they continue to improve despite the limits of institutionalized science.
From here on, I will try to use the phrase “believing mind” instead of “religious mind” to focus on ecumenical efforts to exposing convenient self-deception.