Recent research by Nicholas Epley explains why it’s not a good idea to have religious discussions with someone who believes something notably different than you. In a recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Epley concludes that religious people tend to use their own beliefs as a guide when thinking about what God believes. In other words, if they believe it, it must be because God told them to believe it. This explains a lot of the conversations I’ve had over the years with people hellbent on proving that they are on a mission from God when really they are just using God to rationalize something they already wanted to do. It turns out they can be one and the same in many instances.