Sunday, March 28, 2010

IS GOD IN OUR GENES?,9171,995465,00.html
From 2004 - Oct. 25th By Jeffrey Kluger Jeff Chu, London; Broward Liston, Orlando; Maggie Sieger, Chicago; Daniel Williams

It's not hard to see the divinity behind the water temples that dot the rice terraces of Bali. It's there in the white-clad high priest presiding in the temple at the summit of a dormant volcano. It's there in the 23 priests serving along with him, selected for their jobs when they were still children by a bevy of virgin priestesses. It's there in the rituals the priests perform to protect the island's water, which in turn is needed to nurture the island's rice.

If the divine is easy to spot, what's harder to make out is the banal. But it's there too--in the meetings the priests convene to schedule their planting dates and combat the problem of crop pests; in the plans they draw up to maintain aqueducts and police conduits; in the irrigation proposals they consider and approve, the dam proposals they reject or amend. "The religion has a temple at every node in the irrigation system," says David Sloan Wilson, professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. "The priests make decisions and enforce the code of both religion and irrigation."

Ask true believers of any faith to describe the most important thing that drives their devotion, and they'll tell you it's not a thing at all but a sense--a feeling of a higher power far beyond us. Western religions can get a bit more doctrinaire: God has handed us laws and lore, and it's for us to learn and practice what they teach. For a hell-raising species like ours, however--with too much intelligence for our own good and too little discipline to know what to do with it--there have always been other, more utilitarian reasons to get religion. Chief among them is survival. Across the eons, the structure that religion provides our lives helps preserve both mind and body. But that, in turn, has raised a provocative question, one that's increasingly debated in the worlds of science and religion: Which came first, God or the need for God?
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Time Magazine Online

Response to the TIME Article @ By Debbie Mandel

Once again spirituality is validated by the media! The cover of Time Magazine depicts a woman in prayer; in the middle of her forehead, where the mystical third eye is believed to exist, is an embedded DNA ladder held in place by two golden hands. The accompanying article presents a lively debate about our genetic predisposition towards the Divine. The assertion is that we are all programmed with a God gene. Scientists claim that we have this spiritual gene to help take away the sting of our mortality through belief in the upbeat story of a higher power and an afterlife. They say that God is a neuro-chemical byproduct of the brain. Theologians smile knowingly and respond that this explanation is limited, for spiritual genes are part of the Divine scheme of things - our individual journey to unite with God.

I say, “Good! Both are right!” Either way spirituality generates health and happiness. Why debate the tangible benefits to our immune system, relaxation response and creative inspiration?

However, we need to distinguish between organized religion and spirituality. Organized religion has positives and negatives. Great cruelty, divisiveness and individual suppression have been perpetrated in the name of organized religion. Spirituality, on the other hand, triggers unity, flashes of insight, serenity, passion, creativity, positivism and hope. So let’s get spiritual!
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