If people are getting their morals from their conception of God, you’d think that contemplating God’s opinion might be more like thinking about someone else’s beliefs than thinking about your own. The same study also found that when you think about God’s beliefs, the part of your brain active when thinking about your own beliefs is more active than the part of your brain that is active when thinking about other people’s beliefs.
In other words, when thinking about God’s beliefs, you’re (subconsciously) accessing your own beliefs.
Why might someone convert to Christianity from Buddhism, or become a Muslim?
Often it’s because the new religion speaks to them in a way that the old one didn’t.
If convinced, their moral opinion should then be different from God’s, right? When respondents were asked again what God thought, people reported that God agreed with their new opinion!
Therefore, people didn’t come to believe that God is wrong, they just updated their opinion on what God thinks.
But the causal link is not as clear as it first appears.
The Bible is complex, with many beliefs, pieces of advice and moral implications. Different branches of Christianity, and indeed every different person, take some things from it and leave others. They ignore that part of the moral teachings of the Bible.
Clergy interprets scripture, and cultural practices and beliefs are passed down, many of which have little or nothing to do with the Bible, like the Catholic idea of having fish instead of meat on Friday a cultural tradition never mentioned in the Bible at all.
Basically, people take or leave religious morality according to some internal moral compass they already have.