A new theory of religion, neuroscience, chicken crossings, etc. (Links & Quotes)

With agonizing sympathy and prayers for those in Myanmar and China.

Given the number of people still checking out my posts on the sad situation at Westminster Theological Seminary, it strikes me that maybe some of us (including me) are clinging to some faint hope that someone in the know will post a new thread of hope to cling to.

Disclaimer (for those of you who may be new to this site): many links I make are for intellectual engagement; they do not necessarily reflect my own opinions. (Just in case you are wondering.)

A somewhat random very nice collection of Christian posts from this week at Evangelical Ecologist. Includes:

Spirituality and work over at Daily Awareness.

Our spiritual life is reflected in all we do. There is no separation. Everything we do either moves us closer to our spiritual core or further away. Building a business is most certainly an aspect of spiritual discipline. Yet, many people make a very definite separation of work and spirit. As with your spiritual practices, when you stick with your business journey, are not dissuaded, you are more likely to achieve your desired outcome. Often what can happen is when someone doesn’t see obvious results they tend to give up on whatever it is they are trying to achieve.

Alan Lenzi has just finished reading Stewart Guthrie’s Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion.

. . If you’re interested in understanding the origin of religion, Guthrie is a good place to start. He won’t tell you a lot about why religion persists. He won’t tell you the social function of religion. He won’t give you great insight into the contemporary American religious scene. But he will open the hood of your head and help you peer in to understand why humans like you and me posit gods, ghosts, demons, and powerful ancestors.

. . . We anthropomorphize because “perception is interpretation, interpretation is the provisioning of meaning, and the form with the greatest meaning is that of humans” (140). . .

. . . The first chapter shows why a new theory of religion is needed. The last chapter shows that religion is a product of the same anthropomorphizing perceptual strategy that he has discussed throughout the first 176 pages.

. . . Guthrie’s cognitive explanation for the origins of religion isn’t going to prove or disprove the existence of god for many people any more than biological evolution does. Theists may even take comfort in the fact that we are hard-wired to posit gods–a theological move that I am sure puts a big ironic smile on Guthries’ face! . . .

From James McGrath’s roundup: Chuck Blanchard blogs about neuroscience and religion. Ancient Hebrew Poetry also touches on that same article.

Brad Wright – Christian use of Typologies:

Typologies are inherently arbitrary. Two very competent researchers could look at the same data and create two very different groupings of Christians. As such, presentations of typologies miss the mark when they present the types as the “true” types or the “real” types found in the data. In reality, there are hundreds of possible different groupings of Christians, and so any presentation of typologies should emphasize the usefulness of those types but not claim any unique reality of it.

Wal-mart & Muslim Americans (Everyday Sociology blog)

Obama’s beckoning by the spirit. (Thanks: John Hobbins.)

Why the chicken crossed the road – updated:

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken
wanted CHANGE!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure — right from Day One! — that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn’t about me…….

DR. PHIL: . . . and many, many more.

4 thoughts on “A new theory of religion, neuroscience, chicken crossings, etc. (Links & Quotes)

  1. don says:

    “somewhat random collection ” –
    it’s a blog carnival, bro. come join us next week.
    posting instructions here:



  2. Ben says:

    Sorry, Don. I know; I’ve just never gotten into this “carnival” word and I couldn’t find a good substitute. I meant to be positive, but you are way right. “somewhat random” – has the totally opposite feel. As the Liberians say, “Hurry, Hurry busts trousers.”

    Keep it up! (or whoever is next.) I know these things take a LOT of work.

  3. David Ker says:

    I like the Jumbo Dumbos. Nice look.

  4. Ben says:

    Thanks, I don’t think I’ll ever get as sophisticated as you and the chameleon hippo, but I was ready for a little change.

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