People often look at the religious question in terms of a person's ability to do logic.
Thing is, logic is overriden by other considerations. One of these might be in the chemistry of human group intereaction. I'm not a biochemist and don't know all the drugs involved in our brain. Oxytocerin and dopamine are ones of some interest. You may know others.
A book called the Political Brain
, described how people, when faced with a critical attack on their political party, seemed to face some kind of internal delimna and then their brains came up with a "escape clause" producing a huge shot of dopamine in the process. That is, the claim was, the term political junkie was real.
Now, humans are a social species
and we've evolved to co-operate
in cliches and clans. During warfare with other humans, or even other species, this sort of behavior was useful
. Fitting in to the "clan" was essential for effective survival both within the clan and against the opponents of the clan.
Belonging to a religion, may be, from a biochemical, neuropsychology point of view, similar to being part of a clan. A really huge clan. Our need for "meaning" and "belonging" may well just be social grouping instincts
Anyway, that is my hypothesis
but I don't really have enough evidence to go beyond suggesting. I do think evidence exists to support said suggestions but I've not digested them well enough.http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/102107/How_are_the_Brain_and_Religion_Connected_http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/102107/How_are_the_Brain_and_Religion_Connected_#ixzz1ZucB74um
For me, the most intriguing line of this whole article was, "Prayer and meditation also increase levels of dopamine, often referred to as the brain’s pleasure hormone."
My interest in this? Other than the obvious, I have ADHD which comes with a natural addiction to dopamine production. I suspect people with ADHD are, unlike autistics
, probably more likely to be "religious" or "spirtual". I don't have papers to prove this tho.
I did a bit of googling but its inclonclusive so far. If religion is a way to increase dopamine production, I would definitely expect people with ADHD to be more likely to be into religious pursuits.
In this thread discuss the psychology of religion. Posts proving/disproving God's existence will be smited
. This thread basically assumes God doesn't exist but I suppose if God did exist, one could argue he "designed us" to be religious using dopamine and other chemicals. Every religious experience is explanable using neurochemistry