the illusion of gods presence the biological origins of spiritual longing

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The Illusion Of God S Presence

Author : John C. Wathey
ISBN : 9781633880757
Genre : Religion
File Size : 74. 5 MB
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An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion. Starting with a vivid narrative account of the life-threatening hike that triggered his own mystical experience, biologist John Wathey takes the reader on a scientific journey to find the sources of religious feeling and the illusion of God's presence. His book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond. Dr. Wathey, a veteran neuroscientist, argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy. These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like the popular belief in a god who is judgmental and punishing, yet also unconditionally loving; the extraordinary tenacity of faith; the greater religiosity of women relative to men; religious obsessions with sex; the mysterious compulsion to pray; the seemingly irrepressible feminine attributes of God, even in traditionally patriarchal religions; and the strange allure of cults. Finally, Dr. Wathey considers the hypothesis that religion evolved to foster reproductive success, arguing that, in an age of potentially ruinous overpopulation, magical thinking has become a luxury we can no longer afford, one that distracts us from urgent threats to our planet. Deeply researched yet elegantly written in a jargon-free and accessible style, this book presents a compelling interpretation of the evolutionary origins of spirituality and religion. From the Hardcover edition.

The Illusion Of God S Presence

Author : John C. Wathey
ISBN : 9781633880740
Genre : Biology
File Size : 87. 89 MB
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An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion. Biologist John Wathey takes the reader on a scientific journey to find the sources of religious feeling and the illusion of God's presence. His book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond. Dr. Wathey, a veteran neuroscientist, argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy.

Wired For God

Author : Charles Foster
ISBN : 9781444722055
Genre : Religion
File Size : 64. 36 MB
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Human religious experiences are remarkably uniform; many can be pharmacologically induced. Recent research into the neurology of religious experience has shown that, when worshipping or praying, a certain part of the brain, apparently dormant during other activities, becomes active. What does all this mean for those of faith and those with none? In this fascinating book barrister Charles Foster takes a survey of the evidence - from shamans to medieval mystics, to out-of-body experiences and epilepsy, via Jerusalem and middle-class Christianity - and assesses its significance. Written in short, accessible chapters, this is a fascinating tour of religious and mystical experiences and their relation to human physiology.

Did Man Create God

Author : David E. Comings
ISBN : 9781878267733
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
File Size : 58. 83 MB
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Dr. David Comings, an internationally renowned physician, human geneticist and neuroscientist, proposes that spirituality is genetically hardwired into a specific part of the brain, is pleasurable, is critical to the evolution and survival of man, and will never go away. It strives to allow readers to develop a rational spirituality in which the fact-based rational brain and the faith-based spiritual brain can live in peace. In an era when politicians are judged on the basis of the strength of their belief in God, when schools are urged to teach Intelligent Design, and when religious terrorists threaten the existence of Western civilization it is critical to dispassionately examine the question - Did man create God? A wide range of issues are examined including intelligent answers to intelligent design; the relevance of modern cosmology to the existence or non-existence of god; the role of genes in spirituality; innate morality, the problem of evil, and many others. Michael Shermer called this the most detailed and up-to-date science ever generated on the subject of religion and suggested it will be the definitive scientific reference on religion for some time to come. This book is for those who have also questioned any part of their faith but treasure their spirituality and want answers that are not hostile to spirituality or religion.

Psychology Religion And Spirituality

Author : Fraser Watts
ISBN : 9781107044449
Genre : Religion
File Size : 53. 30 MB
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Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality provides readers with a critical overview of what psychology tells us about religion and spirituality. It is concise without being simplistic, and the first such broad overview to be published for some years. Fraser Watts recognizes that 'religion' is complex and multi-faceted, taking different forms in different people and contexts. The book presents a broad view of psychology; whatever kind of psychology you are interested in, you will find it covered here, from biological to social, and from experimental to psychoanalytic. It focuses particularly on the varied concepts that psychologists have employed to make sense of religion and subjects them to critical examination. The book is also concerned with practical applications, helping those engaged in religious ministry. It will be of interest to undergraduates and general readers, as well as specialists in religious studies, psychology, and philosophy of religion.

The Psychological Roots Of Religious Belief

Author : Mel D. Faber
ISBN : 9781615925049
Genre : Religion
File Size : 87. 39 MB
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M.D. Faber continues his career of psychology-of-religion work by providing a comprehensive and naturalistic explanation of religious experience. -Science & Theology News...an intriguing, entertaining, hard-hitting read, a thought-provoking book that will make a fine companion to Freud''s work on religion and to the literature on attachment theory.... Essential. - ChoiceUtterly indispensable reading for anyone seriously interested in the psychological underpinnings of religious belief; a timely and lucid integration and synthesis of contemporary cognitive neuroscience and psychodynamic developmental psychology - eloquently written and generously seasoned with lovely literary allusions. - Sheldon Solomon, Professor of Psychology, Skidmore College, Coauthor of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of TerrorM.D. Faber is a naturalist of religion in the great tradition of Sigmund Freud and Weston LaBarre. He is our Darwin at the Galapagos of faith and rite. He proposes a distinctively human biology of religion. ... In mapping the developmental foundation of religious experience, he both explains and demystifies religion. He brings the light of reason to a realm enshrouded in mystique and mystification. In this time of the triumph of the irrational, Faber''s voice is urgently needed. - Dr. Howard Stein, University of OklahomaIn this insightful new study, M.D. Faber, whose previous work on the psychology of religion has won widespread critical acclaim, offers a comprehensive, naturalistic explanation of religious experience from the intertwining perspectives of neuroscience and developmental psychology. Faber here argues that belief in God, the powerful sensation of his presence, and the heartfelt assent to the reality of the supernatural are all produced by the mind/brain''s inherent tendency to discover in religious narrative a striking, memorial echo of its own biological development. Although Faber maintains that we are not wired specifically for God (as many contend), our brain is so constructed as to make us profoundly susceptible to religious myths. These myths encourage us to map our early, internalized experience onto a variety of supernatural narratives with the figure of the Parent-God and his angelic assistants at the center.A key point of Faber''s analysis is the connection between the onset of infantile amnesia during childhood''s later years and the evocative power of religious mythology. Although we cannot explicitly recall our earliest interactions with our parents or other caregivers, religious narratives can and do jog these implicit emotional memories in an uncanny way, which prompts us to accede to religion''s central tenet, namely, that we are in the care of an omnipotent parental provider who watches over us and ministers to our needs. This is the unconscious emotional powerhouse, says Faber, which ultimately engenders and sustains religious belief. In the final analysis, religious experience attempts to recapture, and to reinstate in an idealized form, the symbiotic union of the early parent-child relation.In an age of religious turmoil and international terrorism linked to religious passion, it is more important than ever to gain a rational, scientific understanding of religious motivations. Faber''s insights help us realize why religious conflicts often spill over into violence. When a believer''s religion is challenged, the challenge resounds at deep, unconscious levels where primal parental attachment resides.Sure to be controversial, this pioneering, highly original work takes the reader to the neurological-psychological bedrock of religious experience.M. D. Faber is professor emeritus of English Language and Literature, specializing in literature and psychology, at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; former Special Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, DC; and the author of nine books, including The Magic of Prayer: An Introduction to the Psychology of Faith; Synchroni

Inventing God

Author : Jon Mills
ISBN : 9781317218432
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 37. 82 MB
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In this controversial book, philosopher and psychoanalyst Jon Mills argues that God does not exist; and more provocatively, that God cannot exist as anything but an idea. Put concisely, God is a psychological creation signifying ultimate ideality. Mills argues that the idea or conception of God is the manifestation of humanity’s denial and response to natural deprivation; a self-relation to an internalized idealized object, the idealization of imagined value. After demonstrating the lack of any empirical evidence and the logical impossibility of God, Mills explains the psychological motivations underlying humanity’s need to invent a supreme being. In a highly nuanced analysis of unconscious processes informing the psychology of belief and institutionalized social ideology, he concludes that belief in God is the failure to accept our impending death and mourn natural absence for the delusion of divine presence. As an alternative to theistic faith, he offers a secular spirituality that emphasizes the quality of lived experience, the primacy of feeling and value inquiry, ethical self-consciousness, aesthetic and ecological sensibility, and authentic relationality toward self, other, and world as the pursuit of a beautiful soul in search of the numinous. Inventing God will be of interest to academics, scholars, lay audiences and students of religious studies, the humanities, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, among other disciplines. It will also appeal to psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and mental health professionals focusing on the integration of humanities and psychoanalysis.

Man And His Gods

Author : Homer Smith
ISBN : 9781329584952
Genre : Religion
File Size : 35. 11 MB
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Dr Homer William Smith (January 2, 1895 – March 25, 1962) was an American physiologist and an advocate for science, who spent most of his career at New York University School of Medicine.Dr. Smith authored several books including From Fish to Philosopher, Man and His Gods,

The Evolution Of Atheism

Author : Stephen LeDrew
ISBN : 9780190225186
Genre : Religion
File Size : 54. 25 MB
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The concept of evolution is widely considered to be a foundational building block in atheist thought. Leaders of the New Atheist movement have taken Darwin's work and used it to diminish the authority of religious institutions and belief systems. But they have also embraced it as a metaphor for the gradual replacement of religious faith with secular reason. They have posed as harbingers of human progress, claiming the moral high ground, and rejecting with intolerance any message that challenges the hegemony of science and reason. Religion, according to the New Atheists, should be relegated to the Dark Ages of superstition and senseless violence. Yet Darwin did not see evolution as a linear progression to an improved state of being. The more antagonistic members of the New Atheist movement who embrace this idea are not only employing bad history, but also the kind of rigid, black-and-white thinking they excoriate in their religious opponents. Indeed, Stephen LeDrew argues, militant atheists have more in common with religious fundamentalists than they would care to admit, advancing what LeDrew calls secular fundamentalism. In reaction to fundamentalist Christianity and Islamism, this strain of atheism has become an offshoot of the religion it tries so hard to malign. The Evolution of Atheism outlines the essential political tension at the heart of the atheist movement. The New Atheism, LeDrew shows, is part of a tradition of atheist thought and activism that promotes individualism and scientific authority, which puts it at odds with atheist groups that are motivated by humanistic ethics and social justice. LeDrew draws on public relations campaigns, publications, podcasts, and in-depth interviews to explore the belief systems, internal logics, and self-contradictions of the people who consider themselves to be atheists. He argues that evolving understandings of what atheism means, and how it should be put into action, are threatening to irrevocably fragment the movement.

The Christian Delusion

Author : John W. Loftus
ISBN : 9781616143183
Genre : Religion
File Size : 61. 32 MB
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In this anthology of recent criticisms aimed at the reasonableness of Christian belief, a former evangelical minister and apologist, author of the critically acclaimed Why I Became an Atheist, has assembled fifteen outstanding articles by leading skeptics, expanding on themes introduced in his first book. Central is a defense of his "outsider test of faith," arguing that believers should test their faith with the same skeptical standards they use to evaluate the other faiths they reject, as if they were outsiders. Experts in medicine, psychology, and anthropology join Loftus to show why, when this test is applied to Christianity, it becomes very difficult to rationally defend. Collectively, these articles reveal that popular Christian beliefs tend to rely on ignorance of the facts. Drawing together experts in diverse fields, including Hector Avalos, Richard Carrier, David Eller, and Robert Price, this book deals a powerful blow against Christian faith. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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