To me, the social sciences make the best case religion is a phenomenon of the mind. Were that not the case, we would see consistent religious behavior across the world.
Instead, we see religious behavior changing as society changes. For evidence, I’d suggest this week’s Time magazine.
Time’s article traces carefully a demographic change and the religious change that follows it. The change is Hispanic people moving from areas where they were in the majority, Mexico and southwestern U. S., to other areas where they are a minority.
In their religious life, they leave behind the Catholic version of Christianity and adopt Pentecostalism at their new location. Hispanic pentecostal mega churches are thriving across the U. S.
While both of these branches are called Christian, their theology and worship practices are as different as night and day. To move from one to the other is like changing religions.
The article suggests these migrating Hispanic people need to feel they are in circumstances where they “belong”. For a variety of reasons, Hispanic pentecostal churches provide fill this need better than Catholic churches.
If theology had powerful substance, this change would not be happening. People would feel they knew “the truth” and would stay in the Church that provided it.
But, they don’t do this. Hispanic people are finding a different version of worship and a different perspective of the god as their socio-economic circumstances change.
It is illustrative of a god of the mind.