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hardwired spiritual feelings

2001-01-24 12:41:49+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Via Rebecca's Pocket, Searching for the God Within, a quick intro to neuro-theology, people researching the measurable physiological effects of prayer and meditation. Be interesting to read further, it seems to me that many atheists have tried to believe because of cultural pressures, and failed, and I wonder if we respond differently.

[ related topics: Religion Interactive Drama ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:59+00 by: ebradway

Hmmm... A physical predisposition to disbelief... I understand the cultural pressures and I also understand some of the neurological benefits of meditation. But I hope they are separating meditation from general belief in a higher power since it is my opinion that general belief in a higher power (the God is my co-pilot/pilot/auto-pilot/Pilate) reduces emotional stress levels and the resulting health benefits of the reduced stress are what would be measured. It would be interesting to see an epidemelogical study comparing the health of Atheist meditation practitioners to strong theists (e.g., Southern Baptists). Unfortunately it would be hard to find groups of each with comparable dietary and exercise habits. Maybe if you compared Zen Buddhists to Seventh Day Adventists...

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:59+00 by: ebradway

OK. Maybe I should have read the article first. I am now enlightened. The article surmises that feelins of closeness to God or transcendence are merely side effects of mucking with the region of the brain that determines where self ends and the world begins. That leads me to another question, is there a correlation between people with strong spatial reasoning abilities and non-theism? Simple reasoning would suggest that people in professions like computer programming, architecture, and mathematics would have a higher rate of Atheism and non-theism. Personally, I spent alot of time in my early 20s trying to attain a stronger sense of transcendence through meditation, prayer, fasting and other methods. I didn't find anything particularly effective and ended up just going back to programming and non-theism. I did find fasting + communal prayer to be the most effective but I still kept returning to disbelief every time I would return to my work and exercise my spatial reasoning abilities.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:00+00 by: Larry Burton

I think it would suggest that people with strong spatial reasoning abilities would merely be able to acheive a transcendental state, or a religious experience, easier than people with weaker spatial reasoning. It might also suggest that those easily able to achieve this state might find less of a need to accept the state as being related to something supernatural.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:00+00 by: anser

Now if they can just find a piece of the brain responsible for religious INTOLERANCE, maybe we can make a pill or something so that people can live their lives adjusting their parietal lobe self/world boundaries in peace without having the organ in question chopped off their shoulders.