I just got done listening to a fascinating piece
on NPR's "Morning Edition," which dealt with two major processes within the brain and the internal conflict which can occur between them. This was demonstrated by an intriguing experiment described in the story involving memorization of a number which could be from two to seven digits in length, followed by a distraction in the form of a choice between something good for you and something not-so-good (read the article, please; they describe it so much better than I can!). In summary, though, the experimenters concluded that:
the part of our brain that is most reasonable, rational and do-the-right-thing is easily toppled by the pull of raw sensual appetite, the lure of sweet. Knowing something is the right thing to do takes work — brain work — and our brains aren't always up to that.
This made me wonder: is this yet one more thing we're up against in terms of getting people to realize the folly of religion? I have said multiple times that belief is easy and discipline is hard, but now it appears we're up against the tendencies of the brain itself and its capacity for managing the conflict between reason and emotion! Clearly, we do it, and it makes me wonder what a study of only atheists would show ... and for that matter, a study of only theists!
So ... would you choose the chocolate cake ... or the fruit salad?