Do humans have a ‘religion instinct’?

Source: BBC

By Brandon Ambrosino

When I was in grade school, there was an anti-drug commercial that regularly came on television. There were a few different versions of it but the gist was, an egg would be shown to the camera as a voice said, “This is your brain.” And then the egg would be smashed by a frying pan and the voice would say, “This is your brain on drugs.” We all got the point: drugs did something to your brain.

At my Pentecostal Church, drugs were talked about somewhat differently. We didn’t need them, we were told, because we could get high from God. God could do the same thing to our brain – give us a rush, a sense of euphoria – but our brains wouldn’t end up scrambled. God provided all the “positive benefits” of heroin with none of the damaging side effects. (Of course, when we consider the amount of religious violence throughout history, it’s impossible to claim that there are no damaging side effects to some beliefs in God. More on that later.)

I long ago left my childhood church and often feel embarrassed about the “God as a drug” theology. But the more I think about religion as an emerging phenomenon, the more I wonder if, for all their sloppy Pentecostal vocabulary, my youth leaders were onto something: God does something to your brain.

“This is your brain. This is your brain on God.”

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Categories: The Muslim Times

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