Faith v. Reason – the battle rages on in our brains

The role of religion in an increasingly secular world continues to be a hotly debated topic. There are other articles on my website discussing the effects of religion and spirituality on human behaviour and on the human condition, but a new scientific study suggests that children raised in religious societies perform less well in maths…MORE

The addictive drug of religion

Religious experience exerts the same effect on the brain as sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll! Religious and spiritual experiences excite the brain’s pleasure and reward circuits in exactly the same way as more down to earth pleasures, such as food, tobacco, alcohol or listening to music, but this is especially true when the individual…MORE

The Mystic Connection

Why are some people able to ‘connect’ with the mystical? Is mysticism a special gift, or is it just the way our brains are wired? Meditation is widely recognized as a valuable therapeutic exercise – the focus and relaxation of meditation is undoubtedly of benefit to those who practice it and for many, a way…MORE

Close Encounters of the Temporal Kind

Whether you are a believer or non-believer, having a sudden and unexpected religious experience can be life changing. But encountering God for the first time may be due to causes more earthly than supernatural. Scans taken during religious experience reveal how neurons in the temporal lobes light up in the brains of those who claim…MORE

God’s bothering me again!

Most psychologists believe and even some theologians at least consider the possibility that religious belief has been part of the human survival strategy for millennia. Religion, and along with it belief in a deity or deities, has served to codify laws and exhort populations to order and obedience. God sits at the apex of any…MORE

Why Religion is Mainly Pointless

Just a quickie… A recent study has found ‘no significant difference’ in the number or quality of moral and immoral deeds done by religious and non-religious people. What that means is that both religious and non-religious people do an equal amount of good things as well as an equal amount of naughty things. “To our knowledge,…MORE

Mass Hysteria in Religion – Two Case Studies

Mass Hysteria in Religion: Two Case Studies For those readers who are unfamiliar with the Toronto Blessing, it is a religious craze that swept the world about fifteen years ago. During the ‘blessing’ people would inexplicably be reduced to hysterical rambling, ‘speaking in tongues,’ behaving like wild animals, and often collapse in a heap on…MORE

Why our brains are hard-wired for belief

Why Our Brains are Hard-Wired for Belief.   After three million years of trial and error, of accidental and random mutation, the human brain has evolved to learn to fill in the gaps. If you do crosswords, or ‘join the dots’ puzzles, or jigsaws, you’ll already know what I mean. For instance, is this a…MORE

Hypnosis in Religion Part 2

In Matthew 17:14-20 there are other examples of mental illnesses being cured but strangely no examples of severed limbs growing back. Even the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead is held in suspicion by many Biblical scholars and churchmen. And it’s also safe to assume that Jesus’ failures were not so highly publicised. Neither…MORE

Hypnosis in Religion – Part 1

“Let us pray” said the minister and the whole congregation, observing the traditional social convention, bowed their heads as one, performing the same simple action in unison, and thus relinquished their individualities and for a few brief moments became part of the larger organism of the group. The simple act of bowing heads and closing…MORE