Monday, July 18, 2011

Religion is like a Relationship, figuratively as well as physiologically

Dear god, I've been saying this ever since I realized how similar my relationship with people I loved was similar to how I "loved" God. Sure, there's no real "give and take" like a true human relationship, but I easily believed there was. I mean, God gave his one and only son to die for me!


Turns out there's scientific backing to this little musing:
"Scientists have so far identified about 20 hard-wired, evolved "adaptations" as the building blocks of religion. Like attachment, they are mechanisms that underlie human interactions: Brain-imaging studies at the National Institutes of Health showed that when test subjects were read statements about religion and asked to agree or disagree, the same brain networks that process human social behavior — our ability to negotiate relationships with others — were engaged."

This and other ways that science has shown how belief is embedded in the brain can be read at this link:,0,5682260.story.

The article has a fun title, too: "Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods"


Edit: another fun snippet--"Among the psychological adaptations related to religion are our need for reciprocity, our tendency to attribute unknown events to human agency, our capacity for romantic love, our fierce "out-group" hatreds and just as fierce loyalties to the in groups of kin and allies. Religion hijacks these traits. The rivalry between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, for example, or the doctrinal battles between Protestant and Catholic reflect our "groupish" tendencies."

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