Or maybe crushes hijack the religion module. It all depends on which you view as more essential to the human mind. But in either case, they use the same brain functions. For example, one of the main features of both religion and crushes is a desire for approval – from a person in one case, and from God in the other. Often, people are inspired to do good deeds to secure said approval, and continue to make efforts to impress even when their labors are met with apparent indifference. Elaborate fantasy conversations are central to both religion and primary-stage affection, and may reflect a desire for telepathic communion or simple proximity. We tend to cling to any utterance that the object of our admiration lets drop, seeing great significance where perhaps none was intended. Cognitive dissonance reduction plays a major role, too, since it allows us to see what we want to see and makes less pleasant details easy to ignore.
So religious belief and crushes use a lot of the same thought processes and patterns. What’s the point? Really, I’m drawing this parallel because I just thought of it and want to know what other people think about it. It’s also partly for the benefit of the subset of atheists who see religion as a blind rejection of reality in favor of fantasy.
Which it very well may be. But my point is: atheists do it too. No one is perfectly realistic and logical; our irrational quirks are often the most dear to us, and trying to argue anyone out of their irrationality is likely to make them defensive. Because – let’s face it – it’s the subjective, personal, unprovable things in life that keep us getting up in the morning. Perfectly rational people just know that eventually everyone will be dead.
I’m not trying to trivialize religion, or say that atheists are hypocrites. I’m just saying… we all use the religion/crush module of our brains. We should embrace it, whichever purpose we use it for. It makes life good.