We have an engine in our anterior cingulate cortex – a belief engine. We are hardwired to believe. Believing we might just be right, believing in the existence of a beneficent God. Some find the pattern recognition associated with belief systems much easier than others, perhaps they have more L-dopamine, or something, so people who win Nobel prizes or swear that UFO’s exist are responding in different ways to pattern recognition. Belief is the natural state of things – it’s the default option. We believe all kinds of things, science isn’t natural to us, belief is. Personally, I’m quite grateful for that, since I’d rather be a believer than not. I wonder why we believe in God? Perhaps because we look for and associate Grace, the ultimate Divine pattern, obviously – but finding science in grace ain’t as easy as it appears.
As pattern-seeking primates, we join the dots associatively and are programmed to find meaningful ways where if A connects to B and B to C then A must connect to C. It needn’t of course, but we’d like to pretend that it always does, or provide ourselves with meaningful reasons why it doesn’t. Without the red outline, we might not recognise this…
Having seen it once, however, the next time these blobs are shown to us, we say unhesitatingly “Oh! Its’ a cow!” When we feel out of control, our patternicity or the propensity to find patterns increases. Put another way, faith (feeling afraid I trust him) is an inevitable biochemical consequence of our genetics; indeed it conferred genetic advantage in the first place. God as Divine Patternmaker. What a comforting thought.