Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Master of Religious Philosophy by Judith Wolf
Master of Religious Philosophy
Dr. Judith Wolf
This is the best course, maybe my favorite. Robert Chamberlain asks interesting and challenging questions and then presents different sides. The course involves you in the discourse by making you think. A real treat.
Of great surprise was the number of different religions there actually are in the world. Our usual Judeo/Christian view limits us in a variety of ways, but most importantly has the potential of limiting our understanding of how much we have in common with others in the world.
Regardless of how the presentation is organized (and the author presents many different ways), the most fascinating question to me is: Why do so many of us believe in a higher power? And how do we explain that this started eons ago. Religion is not a modern phenomenon. It goes back thousands of years. Do we in fact have a God gene? And if there is, how long ago did the gene appear?
Let's consider common ants. In their colonies there is a queen, drones and worker bees. Is the queen a focus of worship. Or birds, as they fly north and south following a leader, is the leader a focus of worship. How about ancient tribal chiefs and medicine men? And how about the concept of any monarch? Does the awe inspired by Kings and Queens fit into this paradigm?
If conclusions reached by Dr. Dean Homer in his research are correct, there is an inverse relationship between the amount of serotonin in a person's brain (determined by the concentration of serotonin receptors in the brain) and that person's degree of religiosity (how religious a person is). The course goes into this in greater detail, but suffice it to say the amount of serotonin is genetically determined. When you think about the fact that some people have a "religious calling," it simply boggles the mind. Incredible food for thought.
In spite of the depth of this course the question of whether or not there is a God cannot be answered definitively by us right now. As some wise person said to me one time, either there is a God or there isn't. If there isn't it doesn't matter, but if there is well….