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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    8,551

    Neurology and religion

    I am curious as to whether any scientists have examined religion and religious belief, and I came across Matthew Alper’s explanation that religion has a neurological basis. I have not read the book, and I wonder if anyone here is familiar with his work.

    In his book The God Part of the Brain (1996), Alper apparently attempts to show how genes influence our religious experiences. He also gives accounts of many scientific studies which suggest that activities such as meditation, yoga, or prayer evoke sensations, which, although perceived as evidence of the divine or sacred, are actually the ways in which our brain interprets neurochemical processes.

    Alper therefore attempts to show the influence that genes have on religious behavior. For example, in one study at the Virginia Commonwealth University involving 30,000 sets of twins, researchers concluded, “Although the transmission of religiousness has been assumed to be purely cultural, genetic behavior studies have demonstrated that genetic factors play a role in the individual differences in some religious traits.”

    Alper suggests that there is a bell curve where the majority of people are spiritual/religious. On one of the tapering edges of the curve, there are people who are extremely religious, many of whom are martyrs, spiritual leaders, or prophets. The other extreme has people who are “spiritually/religiously deficient, those born with an unusually underdeveloped spiritual/religious function.”


    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/has-s...-rel_b_2552380

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    8,551
    If a genetic basis for religious inclination is accurate (and it is not an unreasonable take given what we know about genes) then from a Christian perspective, god made me this way and subsequently condemns me to hell for being this way.

    Wow.

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