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 : 9781633880740
Genre : Biology
File Size : 49. 3 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.

The Illusion Of God S Presence

Author : John C. Wathey
ISBN : 9781633880757
Genre : Religion
File Size : 31. 45 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.

Wired For God

Author : Charles Foster
ISBN : 9781444722055
Genre : Religion
File Size : 33. 63 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.

Out Of Eden

Author : David P. Barash
ISBN : 9780190275525
Genre : Science
File Size : 87. 33 MB
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In this changing world of what is socially and politically "correct," polygamy is perhaps the last great taboo. Over the last thousand years, monogamy - at least in name - has been the default setting for coupledom and procreation in the Western world. And yet, throughout history, there have been inklings that "one-man, one-woman" is an uncomfortable institution for human beings. The consistently high rate of marital "cheating" by both sexes, plus the persistent interest in a variety of sexual partners - on the part of women as well as men - suggest strongly that monogamy isn't easy, and certainly isn't "natural," for either sex. Esteemed writer and evolutionary biologist David P. Barash tackles this uncomfortable finding: that humans are actually biologically and anthropologically inclined toward polygamy. Drawing on decades of research, Barash presents a remarkable array of scientific evidence from evolutionary biology and cross-cultural studies that guide the reader through the hidden impacts of polygamy on such crucial behavior as violence, parenting, sexual preferences, adultery and efforts at monogamy itself, along with mind-bending speculation about the possible role of our polygamous predisposition when it comes to human genius, homosexuality and even monotheism. But take heart, monogamists! Although our species has long been "out of Eden," this fascinating read is ultimately reassuring that "biology is not destiny."

Foundational Falsehoods Of Creationism

Author : Aron Ra
ISBN : 9781634310796
Genre : Science
File Size : 82. 79 MB
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Religious fundamentalists and biblical literalists present any number of arguments that attempt to disprove evolution. Those with a sympathetic ear often fail to critically examine these creationist claims, leading to an ill-informed public and, perhaps more troubling, ill-advised public policy. As Aron Ra makes clear, however, every single argument deployed by creationists in their attacks on evolution is founded on fundamental scientific, religious, and historical falsehoods–all of them. Among their most popular claims is that evolution is a religion, that there are no transitional species, that there are no beneficial mutations, and that supposedly sacred scripture is the infallible word of God. Yet, as the evidence and data plainly show, each of these claims is demonstrably and unequivocally false. There is simply no truth to creationism whatsoever, and the entire enterprise rests on a foundation of falsehoods. This book explains and exposes the worst of these lies, and should be read by all who honestly care about following the evidence no matter where it might lead in pursuit of the truth.

Science And Providence

Author : John C. Polkinghorne
ISBN : 9781599470849
Genre : Religion
File Size : 35. 87 MB
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Internationally renowned priest-scientist Dr. John C. Polkinghorne examines whether a personal, interacting God is a credible concept in today's scientific age. Encouraging the belief that there is a compatibility between the insights of science and the insights of religion, this book, previously published in the United Kingdom, focuses on the viewpoint that the world is one in which both human beings and God have the freedom to act. A modern understanding of the physical world is applied to questions of prayer and providence, such as: Do miracles happen? Can prayer change anything? Why does evil exist? Why does God allow suffering? Why does God need us to ask him? God's involvement in time is considered, from both a temporal and an eternal perspective. The roles of incarnation and sacrament are discussed in terms of whether or not they have a credible place in today's worldview. And the Final Anthropic Principle (FAP) is presented, with its attempt at a physical eschatology, showing it to be an inadequate basis for hope. Real hope can reside only with God, Polkinghorne concludes.

Recognizing The Non Religious

Author : Lois Lee
ISBN : 9780191056659
Genre : Religion
File Size : 38. 58 MB
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In recent years, the extent to which contemporary societies are secular has come under scrutiny. At the same time, many countries, especially in Europe, have increasingly large nonaffiliate, 'subjectively secular' populations, whilst nonreligious cultural movements like the New Atheism and the Sunday Assembly have come to prominence. Making sense of secularity, irreligion, and the relationship between them has therefore emerged as a crucial task for those seeking to understand contemporary societies and the nature of modern life. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in southeast England, Recognizing the Non-religious develops a new vocabulary, theory and methodology for thinking about the secular. It distinguishes between separate and incommensurable aspects of so-called secularity as insubstantial - involving merely the absence of religion - and substantial - involving beliefs, ritual practice, and identities that are alternative to religious ones. Recognizing the cultural forms that present themselves as non-religious therefore opens up new, more egalitarian and more theoretically coherent ways of thinking about people who are 'not religious'. It is also argued that recognizing the nonreligious allows us to reimagine the secular itself in new and productive ways. This book is part of a fast-growing area of research that builds upon and contributes to theoretical debates concerning secularization, 'desecularization', religious change, postsecularity and postcolonial approaches to religion and secularism. As well as presenting new research, this book gathers insights from the wider studies of nonreligion, atheism, and secularism in order to consolidate a theoretical framework, conceptual foundation and agenda for future research.

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