Dr. Darrel Ray, who has written a provocative new book titled The God Virus, has been invited to address the Humanist Society of Santa Barbara.

Ray, a psychologist and student of religion and a popular speaker about the psychology and culture of religion, will deliver his lecture at 2:30 p.m. March 20 in the Patio Room of Vista del Monte, 3775 Modoc Road. The event is free and open to the public.

Ray is the founder of Recovering Religionists, a nationwide self-help group for those who have left the confines of religion.

In his presentation, he explains that Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Dennett opened the door to a hard-nosed look at religion in our society, but no one seemed to use their concepts to explain the psychology of religion and its practical effects on people. Ray stepped into this gap to discuss religious infection from the inside out. How does guilt play into religious infection? Why is sexual control so important to so many religions? What causes the anxiety and neuroticism around death and dying? How does religion inject itself into so many areas of life, culture and politics?

Ray’s presentation style is fast paced and interactive. He uses examples that people can relate to and gives real-world guidance in how to deal with and respond to people we who are religious among our families, friends and co-workers.

For more information about the Santa Barbara event or his lecture series, click here or contact Ray at darrelray@thegodvirus.net.

— Jeffrey Sussman is a publicist.