Is Our Brain Chemistry the Difference Between Religious Saint and Violent Monster?
Patrick McNamara, the director of the Evolutionary Neurobehavior Laboratory at the Boston University School of Medicine, has an interesting theory about brain chemistry and religion. It’s dopamine, McNamara says – the neurotransmitter known for exciting the reward center in our brain – that “drives the switch” between an extraordinary religious person becoming either a benevolent saint or a fanatical killer.In an essay published over at Aeon (hat tip Dan Fincke), McNamara notes that
[B]ountiful dopamine has given rise to gifted leaders and peacemakers (Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Catherine of Siena), innovators (Zoroaster), seers (the Buddha), warriors (Napoleon, Joan of Arc), teachers of whole civilizations (Confucius) and visionaries (Laozi). Some of them founded not only enduring religious traditions but also profoundly influenced the cultures and civilisations associated with those traditions.
Sin is a False and Morally and Biologically Backward Concept
Marc at Bad Catholic
got the impression that atheists think being a Christian is only about
hating gay people and being irrational and so set out to explain why he
is a Christian. His post started out with a discussion of suffering as
useless pain that supposedly can have no worthwhile secular answers. I
challenged his views of suffering and the potential for atheist
responses to it on Wednesday.
next few paragraphs moved on to the topic of sin and its relationship
to suffering. In this post, I am going to dissect what he says on these
topics for their falsity and moral and biological backwardness.
Earlier this month I announced two new classes I’m launching. One on the Ethics of War and the other on Stoic Ethics. Now, based on interested prospective students’ feedback on convenient times to run the classes, I have scheduled them for the following times. You will be able to study Ethics of War on Thursdays at either 2pm-4pm Eastern or 8:30pm-1o:30pm Eastern, or 11pm-1am Eastern. Class…