How God becomes real.
People don’t worship because they believe in God. They believe in God because they worship. So claims Tanya Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back, the subject of my previous post. In the current post I discuss her anthropology of religion—all religion, not just Christianity.* Ideally, these two posts should be read together.
One reason practice precedes belief is that because on the face of it belief in God is preposterous.
The idea that there is an invisible other who takes an active, loving interest in your life is in many ways preposterous and takes effort to maintain, even in a community that has never been secular. (2020, p 17)
For humans to sustain their belief in invisible entities who care about us requires that God must be made real again and again in the face of a stubborn world that rarely cooperates. It takes groups of people to do that.