The great social science theorists of religion take the fact of belief for granted. Moreover, the cognitive science of religion and of evolutionary psychology have demonstrated that evolved, "natural" qualities of our minds readily generate intuitions about supernatural agency. Yet Christians also report that faith is hard: it takes effort.
In many ways, this effortful attention to the mind and to mental events; different practices of attending to mental events shape mental experience; different cultures and different theologies emphasize mind and mental process in distinctive ways; and all this has consequences for the way people experience God. This first lecture lays out the general frame and makes a claim that factual beliefs are different from religious beliefs.
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