I think you can learn behaviorism or evolutionary psychology. Behaviorism doesn’t even care whether humans can think or not.
So in a sense Mike and John is right. John is right the issue is indeed resources. If we judge by what people choose, the issue is resources. Here resources include prestige, pride, etc.
However, Mike is right too. Many religious leader do believe that they really are doing their sky God’s will. However, that God’s will always coincide with the interest of the religious leader.
1. The mass is religious. The higher up you are the more realistic you are.
2. The decision maker may either be religious or a psychopath. Doesn’t matter, they behave exactly the same way.
3. The conflict is indeed about resources. Resources include women, land, prestige, or simply desire to be ubber alles or power.
4. The way religious come into play is to deceive the mass to support the resources controlling.
5. Humans greed is infinite, especially the male. Maybe it’s not obvious in monogamous western civilization where you only have 1 wife anyway. In most other societies, including in upper class western society, rich greedy males do mate with many women. Kenedy, for example, have many mistresses. In western civilization this aspect is simply less obvious, but it’s there.
Now here is the tricky part. Even though the real issue is resources, people act as if the issue is the sky God. In fact, the actor themselves are often not aware of that they’re just selfishly gathering resources. Yap, they deceive themselves too. Here you need to define what people want based on what actually correctly predict their behavior rather than what they say the believe in or what they actually believe in.
Basically humans have instinctive tendency to believe beliefs that justify his interest irrelevant of truth. The idea is by truly believing his own BS, they may make others believe too and his interests are maintained.
Sample: Bob is a psychopath religious leader.
Ah these muslims are paying me halal certificate. In Indonesia, halal certificate can be expensive with the high rank cleric demanding money for traveling to another country. It’s also used to justify blocking importing chicken leg from US to protect Indonesian’s chicken industry.
Bob will say, if I honestly tell people that I want to protect local chicken industry that put money on my pocket, they wouldn’t support me. So I just say that the sky god did it.
Charlie is truly religious. He behaves exactly like Bob. He too will demand large money from chicken industry and would block import. However, unlike Bob, Charlie “truly” believe that he is doing the sky God’s work. Why shouldn’t he? He lost nothing by believing his sky God’s theory. Truly believing his own justification can help him justify it to others.
To test the theory you only need to see that whatever people say they believe in tend to coincide a lot with their interests. In fact, if you truly know humans real utility function, nothing is surprising anymore.
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