Kresta in the Afternoon – November 7, 2016 – Hour 1

  • Description: This week, Al is helping lead a pilgrimage following in the footsteps of St. Paul. While he's gone, we're sharing some of our favorite interviews from the past few years.

+  Born Believers (full hour)

  • Description: Infants have a lot to make sense of in the world: Why does the sun shine and night fall; why do some objects move in response to words, while others won’t budge; who is it that looks over them and cares for them? How the developing brain grapples with these and other questions leads children, across cultures, to naturally develop a belief in a divine power of remarkably consistent traits––a god that is a powerful creator, knowing, immortal, and good—explains noted developmental psychologist and anthropologist Justin Barrett. In short, we are all born believers. For believers and nonbelievers alike, Barrett offers a compelling argument for the human instinct for religion, as he guides all parents in how to effectively encourage children in developing a healthy constellation of beliefs about the world around them.
  • Segment Guests:
    • Justin Barrett
      Justin L. Barrett joined the School of Psychology in 2011 as Thrive Professor of Developmental Science and served as director of the Thrive Center for Human Development from 2011 to 2014. An experimental psychologist, Barrett taught for five years in Oxford University’s School of Anthropology, and is best known for his research on religion. While at Oxford, Professor Barrett helped establish and became the director of the Centre for Anthropology and Mind, and the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. Early in his academic career, Professor Barrett served as an assistant professor of psychology at Calvin College and was a research investigator and visiting professor at the Institute of Social Research and the Culture and Cognition Program at the University of Michigan. Professor Barrett is regarded as one of the founders of the cognitive science of religion field; a recent project in this area extended cognitive science of religion to China, for which he was awarded a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation (2011–2015). Barrett’s main focus at Fuller is to develop faith and science initiatives.
  • + Resources Mentioned Available in Our Store:

    • Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief

      From a noted developmental psychologist and anthropologist at Oxford University, this fascinating theory about the value of religious faith finds that we are all predisposed to believe in God from birth. Infants have a lot to make sense of in the world: Why does the sun shine and night fall; why do some objects move in response to words, while others won’t budge; who is it that looks over them and cares for them? How the developing brain grapples with these and other questions leads children, across cultures, to naturally develop a belief in a divine power of remarkably consistent traits––a god that is a powerful creator, knowing, immortal, and good—explains noted developmental psychologist and anthropologist Justin L. Barrett in this enlightening and provocative book. In short, we are all born believers. Belief begins in the brain. Under the sway of powerful internal and external influences, children understand their environments by imagining at least one creative and intelligent agent, a grand creator and controller that brings order and purpose to the world. Further, these beliefs in unseen super beings help organize children’s intuitions about morality and surprising life events, making life meaningful. Summarizing scientific experiments conducted with children across the globe, Professor Barrett illustrates the ways human beings have come to develop complex belief systems about God’s omniscience, the afterlife, and the immortality of deities. He shows how the science of childhood religiosity reveals, across humanity, a “natural religion,” the organization of those beliefs that humans gravitate to organically, and how it underlies all of the world’s major religions, uniting them under one common source. For believers and nonbelievers alike, Barrett offers a compelling argument for the human instinct for religion, as he guides all parents in how to effectively encourage children in developing a healthy constellation of beliefs about the world around them. (learn more)

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