Wayne Rossiter, author of Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God, responds at his blog to a claim by Paul Thagard at Psychology Today that science and philosophy offer more for grief than religion does:
Thagard’s view is that religion is false comfort, and that science (and philosophy) can do better. He begins by outlining four major problems with Asma’s view [NYT article “which advanced the utility of religion in personal and societal spheres, even for the secular,” irrespective of the fact base]:
– “It depends on a view of how emotion works in the brain that has been rendered obsolete by advances in neuroscience.”
– It underestimates how much science can help to understand the nature of grief and to point to ways of overcoming it.
– It overestimates the consoling power of religion.
– Finally, it neglects how science can collaborate with philosophy to suggest ways of dealing with grief.
The third claim is never actually supported in Thagard’s article (nor have I seen it elsewhere). To the contrary, I’ve not seen a study in which anything has been shown to be more effective than religion (faith) in dealing with the trials of life. I offer some scientific literature to this effect below. So, the third concern is simply an unsupported charge. It’s not that religion fails to rescue believers, but that Thagard feels the rescue is false hope. I also discuss below just how false the hope from secularism is.
See also: Do science and philosophy offer more relief from grief than religion does?
Wayne Rossiter: Revolving the evolving God at BioLogos