The Ayatollahs in Iran, Bishop Tutu in South Africa, the Dalai Lama in Taiwan and Bishop Carols Belo in East Timor all have religion. But no one knows why.
Religion has a persistent and continuing influence on world affairs, yet this fact has been ignored by psychology, a researcher from the Queen's University of Belfast has claimed.
Roddy Cowie told the annual conference of the Northern Ireland branch of the British Psychological Society that psychologists had a pressing duty to develop ways of looking at religion to help make sense of its important position in society.
Their failure to address the problem so far was down to the discipline's strong intellectual origins and its tendency to stick to areas where facts could be established scientifically, he argued.