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  1. Life Is God’s Beautiful Gift
  2. Free Best Sellers Ebook Labeled By Humanity Loved By God Chm By Tammy P Stafford
  3. See a Problem?
  4. How children and adults represent God's mind

She is never hesitant about giving God all the honor and glory in her life. The miracles that happened to her, people that came in to her life "at just the right time" were not accidents, but God given appointments. Through her dramatic emotional story, I have a better understanding and can relate to a person that has a handicap. Tammy's story is encouraging, uplifting, transparent, and deeply personal. In the last chapter she shares the reason for writing her story which gives the book a mission task, she felt compelled by God to share her story.

Life Is God’s Beautiful Gift

I found no negative points. The circumstances were grim. The choices were limited and depressing. The feelings were unimaginable. Stafford for my free review copy. Phyllis Hensley rated it it was amazing Dec 01, Sep 14, Tammy P. Donna Furland marked it as to-read Oct 13, Rhonda marked it as to-read Jan 29, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. God is also merciful. He is always willing to forgive a truly repentant sinner and give him or her another chance. Even when we sin, we can be assured that God still loves us and seeks to bring us back into harmony with Him.

However, it is up to us; we can accept or reject God's love. No matter how far our lives have drifted away from God, we must never be discouraged and think we are beyond hope! One day Jesus was speaking with the Pharisee, Nicodemus, who was intrigued by Jesus' teaching but was more than a bit skeptical.

Jesus told Nicodemus that God loved the people He had created so much that He sent Jesus to save them from the forces of evil and their own sinful ways. We perceive these accounts as complementary—in principle, all could contribute to anthropomorphism in adulthood. Nevertheless, these accounts have received varying levels of empirical support, and we highlight relevant experimental findings and directions for future research. Furthermore, these accounts can function at both proximate and ultimate levels. For example, in a given moment, adults may anthropomorphize God because anthropomorphism is a cognitively straightforward heuristic; at the same time, anthropomorphism may serve longstanding adaptive purposes e.

Each account stems primarily from one research area—the heuristic account from cognitive psychology, the early learning account from developmental psychology, and the byproduct account from evolutionary psychology. We bring together insights from each area to provide a more complete picture of why adults anthropomorphize. One promising explanation for anthropomorphism among adults is that anthropomorphism is a heuristic that minimizes cognitive load.

Human life is full of encounters with novel beings people that one is meeting for the first time, animals that one has not previously encountered, fictional characters in stories , and deciphering each being's full set of characteristics would require a great deal of cognitive effort and resources. Using the minds with which humans are most familiar i. God is perceived to have more or less of certain abilities, but God is not perceived to have an entirely unique sort of mind with capacities that are unheard of in human minds.

For example, it appears nonsensical to debate whether God's mind can fly, because that is not the kind of thing that a human mind does. The similarity between concepts of God's extraordinary mind and concepts of ordinary human minds suggests that, to understand God's mind, people may represent human minds and then adjust up e. If people anchor on human minds in general or on their own minds in particular e.

If this heuristic account is correct, children and adults may anthropomorphize any object or agent if their attempts to understand that object or agent begin by consciously or unconsciously representing a human mind. Few experiments have investigated the conditions under which people anchor on human minds, though one promising line of work suggests that people may be especially likely to anchor on human minds when trying to understand aspects of their environment over which they have not yet mastered Waytz, Morewedge, et al.

Future work could investigate other situations that promote or inhibit anchoring on human minds. Additionally, future research could examine the influence of manipulating the initial anchor. Under the heuristic account, people ought to anthropomorphize more when they are led to anchor on human minds and less when they are led to anchor elsewhere. The heuristic account offers a compelling explanation for why anthropomorphism persists into adulthood. Other accounts are needed to explain why adults anchor on human minds in particular.

An early-learning account of anthropomorphism suggests that perceiving God's mind as similar to human minds, as opposed to other phenomena, may come intuitively in part because individuals learn about the two kinds of minds in similar ways—via social interaction. According to this account, people have learned to anthropomorphize God's mind during childhood and, as adults, maintain the same strategy to some extent.

Because all of the minds that children interact with are fallible, it makes sense that children should first come to understand that minds are limited, not omniscient. It is this understanding that will help children navigate their social world.

Free Best Sellers Ebook Labeled By Humanity Loved By God Chm By Tammy P Stafford

Whereas children can learn about other people through these sorts of social interactions, they lack the ability to directly interact with God this way. Children may infer that the beings about whom they receive testimony are similar to one another. Because adults' explicit representations of God's mind distinguish it from human minds e. However, children may notice more subtle testimony that paints a more anthropomorphic picture.

The early learning account explains the process of social transmission by which children learn about God's mind.

Does God Really Love You?

It takes as its starting point the beginning of a human life—once children are born, how do they come to reason about God's mind? Other accounts provide hypotheses concerning the historical origins of this representation. To teach children about God's mind, parents would need to have a representation to transmit, which they would have learned from their own parents, and so on. In this chain, how did anthropomorphic representations of God's mind originate? Drawing on evolutionary theory, some scholars have argued that anthropomorphism may initially arise as a byproduct of other, evolutionarily adaptive processes.

1. Introduction

For example, drawing on the work of Guthrie , Barrett argued that concepts of intentional supernatural beings are a byproduct of what he calls a hypersensitive agency detection device. The argument goes like this. Imagine that you are walking in the woods at nighttime.

Suddenly, you hear a twig snap. It could have snapped due to an agent e. If you assume that a bear snapped the twig, you might run and save your life. If you are mistaken, the cost is relatively minimal. However, if you mistakenly assume that the wind snapped the twig when in fact a bear is coming after you, you are likely to become bear food. Barrett argued that perceiving agents is evolutionarily adaptive for this reason—mistakenly perceiving an agent is less costly than failing to perceive an agent.

In this framework, humans may represent God as agentic because it is evolutionarily adaptive to perceive agents even when no agents are present. Currently, empirical evidence for the byproduct account is limited; however, future studies could investigate the extent to which this account explains the earliest origins of anthropomorphism. Of the three accounts presented here, the heuristic account and the social learning account are supported by the greatest amount of empirical evidence.

The heuristic account offers a strong explanation of the usefulness of anthropomorphism in adulthood, and the social learning account provides a compelling explanation of anthropomorphism's childhood origins. Though the byproduct account has limited empirical support at this time, future studies could provide additional evidence in its favor. Thus far, we have highlighted several distinct lines of research that lead to the conclusion that anthropomorphism is intuitive.

Children perceive God's mind as predominantly human-like, and this perception is maintained at an implicit level in adulthood. These data suggest that distinguishing God's mind from human minds requires both cognitive development and deliberate reasoning. The development of religious cognition is a burgeoning literature, and many interesting questions remain ripe for future investigation. One area for future research is the extent to which individual differences account for anthropomorphism.

Such individual differences could influence the extent to which heuristic use accounts for anthropomorphism in individual adults. For example, because heuristics are intuitive, adults who prefer to engage in intuitive, pre-potent thinking may be more likely to rely on this heuristic than adults who prefer to engage in cognitive reflection.

Relatedly, individual differences among parents could contribute to differences in their children's anthropomorphism. For example, children of parents who avoid using gendered pronouns for God and avoid referring to God's perceptual abilities may be less likely to anthropomorphize God's mind in adulthood, compared to individuals who receive much early testimony about God's anthropomorphic properties. Individual differences could also contribute to individuals' propensity to perceive agents.

Therefore, the byproduct account may apply especially strongly to individuals who are already religious. In addition to investigating the types of people who anthropomorphize, future research can also examine domains where anthropomorphism is especially likely to occur. One promising possibility is that anthropomorphism is more likely to occur in non-moral domains. The heuristic account argues that if people anchor on human minds, they should attribute human characteristics such as caring about morality to God. Though empirical support for the presence of a hypersensitive agency detection device is limited, the byproduct account—as well as related research in evolutionary and social psychology—also argues that God is perceived as a specific kind of agent: At the same time, if people attribute complete knowledge of morally relevant actions to God, they would be demonstrating non-anthropomorphic representations because people do not have access to all morally relevant information.

They judge that God, like humans, cares about morality. In one line of work Purzycki, in press , American Christian adults and Tyvan Buddhist adults attributed more knowledge of morally relevant rather than non-moral behaviors to God. Furthermore, though American adults attributed some knowledge of non-moral behaviors to God, they also reported that God cared more about morally relevant information. This research may shed light on the paradox introduced at the start of this paper. Why was Schmitt deemed crazy for arguing that God commanded him to commit a crime despite the fact that in many other circumstances, adults readily accept that God communicates with humans?

The judge in Schmitt's case may have perceived Schmitt's claim that God commanded him to commit a crime as crazy because she did not believe that God would command an act that she herself considered immoral. Separate lines of work show that adults also represent God non-anthropomorphically by attributing a special knowledge of morally relevant information to God. In one study Purzycki et al.

Does God know that John cheats on his taxes? Furthermore, participants responded to questions concerning morally blameworthy behavior more quickly than questions concerning morally praiseworthy behavior. These findings indicate that adults are particularly likely to distinguish God's mind from a human mind in morally relevant contexts, where adults find it especially intuitive to represent God as having special knowledge.

On both an explicit and an implicit level, adults represent God as knowing morally relevant information Purzycki, in press ; Purzycki et al. In this domain, adults' implicit and explicit representations converge, leading to the societal benefits that result from people's perception that God knows all morally relevant behaviors. In other words, adults are more capable of representing God as an omniscient agent—both explicitly and implicitly—when reasoning about moral knowledge rather than other knowledge domains.

Why do adults anthropomorphize less in moral domains than in non-moral contexts? Anthropomorphism—particularly the perception that God, like humans, cares about morality—may play an important role in fostering such cooperation. This research showed that the more these devout Christians anthropomorphized God, the more morally wrong they perceived violations of the Ten Commandments to be. Thus, it may also be the case that the more Christians anthropomorphize God's mind, the less likely they are to violate the Ten Commandments themselves.

Interdisciplinary work is necessary to address the questions laid out here—how individual differences influence anthropomorphism and how anthropomorphism varies across domains. Work investigating evolutionary origins, developmental origins, and the adult end state of anthropomorphism forms an invaluable component of scientific understanding of how people represent God's mind. Such interdisciplinary endeavors will shed more light on religious cognition than is possible from any single disciplinary approach and will greatly enhance scholars' understanding of human cognition.

The authors would like to thank Tanya Luhrmann for her helpful comments and feedback. These funding sources played no direct role in the writing of this report and the decision to submit this article for publication. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Author manuscript; available in PMC Jan 1. Larisa Heiphetz , a Jonathan D. Lane , b Adam Waytz , c and Liane L.

Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Cogn Sci.


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See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract For centuries, humans have contemplated the minds of gods. Introduction On January 16, , Gary Schmitt stabbed a former high school classmate and his classmate's daughter a total of 20 times. Adults' explicit representations of God's mind Theologians and religious studies scholars have long argued that God's mind is quite different from that of a person see Armstrong, , for a review.

Adults' implicit representations of God's mind People perceive God, like humans, to have a mind Waytz, Epley, et al. Participants heard stories such as the one below: Children's representations of God's mind What role do social learning and cognitive development play in the emergence of adult-like concepts of supernatural minds? What do developmental data reveal about adults? Why adults anthropomorphize God Why do adults anthropomorphize God?

Future research directions Thus far, we have highlighted several distinct lines of research that lead to the conclusion that anthropomorphism is intuitive. Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Tanya Luhrmann for her helpful comments and feedback. Ritual, emotion, and sacred symbols: The evolution of religion as an adaptive complex. A rejection of the by-product hypothesis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Tom Sawyer and the construction of value. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. A history of God: The 4,year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

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Blaming, praising, and protecting our humanity: The implications of everyday dehumanization for judgments of moral status. British Journal of Social Psychology. Religious beliefs as reflective elaborations on intuitions: A modified dual-process model. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Intuitive conceptions of dead agents' minds: The natural foundations of afterlife beliefs as phenomenological boundary. Recursiveness and the evolution of supernatural agency. The naturalness of religious ideas: A cognitive theory of religion.

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The role of prior knowledge and culture in trust and testimony. The ontogenesis of trust. Ethnographic and experimental evidence. The Journal of Neuroscience. Mechanisms underlying the malleability of implicit prejudice and stereotypes: The role of automaticity and cognitive control. Handbook of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Infra-humanizing others, suprahumanizing gods: Their automatic and controlled components. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Matched false-belief performance during verbal and nonverbal interference. Creating social connection through inferential reproduction: Loneliness and perceived agency in gadgets, gods, and greyhounds.

Believers' estimates of God's beliefs are more egocentric than estimates of other people'sbeliefs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. When effortful thinking influences judgmental anchoring: Differential effects of forewarning and incentives on self-generated and externally provided anchors.

How children and adults represent God's mind

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. A three-factor theory of anthropomorphism. Perceiving minds and gods: