Does Religion Exploit Human Emotional Needs? Find out Sunday at NYC Atheists Brunch

For Immediate Release
New York City Atheists
Press Contact: 212-879-2687
 
 
 
How Religion Exploits Human Emotional Needs
 To Lure Us Into the Church
 
Psychiatrist Explains Mankind’s Vulnerability to Supernatural Beliefs
 
 
New York, Nov.4, 2009—Have you ever wondered why catholic priests are called “Father,” nuns are “sister” or “mother” and the Pope is allegedly the “Holy Father” of us all?
 
It’s called “kin psychology,” says psychiatrist J. Anderson Thomson Jr. of the University of Virginia, and it’s one way the church implicitly (or explicitly) generates the emotional attachment of its flock.
 
Since time immemorial, humankind has favored kin over strangers. In fact, kin psychology may represent one of our deepest, most primordial survival mechanisms. It begins with the attachment of the newborn to its mother and harks back to primitive folk living in caves where the kinship attachment was the difference between survival and being killed by a warring tribe.
 
So is it an accident that the church represents itself as kinfolk? Dr. Thomson thinks not. It is one of the many ways that religion has appealed to deep human emotional needs to lure people into the church.
 
Analyzed Suicide Terrorism
 
Dr. Thomson has a private practice of general psychiatry and forensic psychiatry in Charlottesville VA, as well as serving as a staff psychiatrist at the University of Virginia’s Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy and the Counseling and Psychological Services of the University of Virginia Student Health Services.
 
Dr. Thomson is also known for his dynamic speech on suicide terrorism at the 2007 Atheist Alliance International convention in Washington, DC—now dubbed “the Woodstock of Atheism”—where he gave a cutting-edge talk on how religion convinces people to become suicide bombers.
 
At the NYC Atheists brunch on Sunday, November 8, Dr. Thomson will discuss why human minds generate and accept religious beliefs.
 
Church Exploits Emotional Needs
 
Humans, he notes, are vulnerable to the generation of religious beliefs “because these beliefs arise from normal cognitive mechanisms that are in our brain but which were originally designed for other purposes.”  The kinship mechanism, for example, which originally evolved for survival purposes, has been hijacked by religion to enhance the church’s appeal and control its flock.
 
Come on Sunday and hear Dr. Thomson’s fascinating dissection of what draws people into the influence and protection  of the church. Find out how to avoid the emotional traps that religion uses to pull in its needy and vulnerable followers. With knowledge, analysis and inner strength, humans can resist the pull of the promises and seductions of religion, says Dr Thomson.
 
EVENT SUMMARY
 
WHAT:                “The Psychology of Religion: Why We Believe in god,” a talk by
                                Dr. J. Anderson Thomson, well-known psychiatrist and analyst
                                on how religion creates suicide terrorists.
 
WHEN:                 Sunday, November 8, at 12 noon.
 
WHERE:              Press Box Restaurant and Pub
                               932 Second Ave. (bet. 49th & 50th Streets)
 
COST:                  Brunch, $20.( Includes selection of Buffet entrees and salad,
                               One soft drink, coffee, tax, tip.)  We highly recommend going
                               back for seconds of the delicious Eggs Benedict.
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
 
Kenneth Bronstein, president
New York City Atheists
212-535-7425
 
Jane Everhart
Director of Communications
New York City Atheists
212-879-2687
 
New York City Atheists Inc. is a 501C not-for-profit association dedicated to the separation of church and state and to the promotion of the atheist lifestyle and values. All are welcome, including agnostics, atheists, skeptics, humanist, freethinkers and those who are questioning and seeking.