05w27:1 Ideas about God

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 27 number 1 (ideas about God)


On Evolution of God-Seeking Mind | Conrad Montell
“The earliest known products of human imagination appear to express a primordial concern and struggle with thoughts of dying and of death and mortality. I argue that the structures and processes of imagination evolved in that struggle, in response to debilitating anxieties and fearful states that would accompany an incipient awareness of mortality. Imagination evolved to find that which would make the nascent apprehension of death more bearable, to engage in a search for alternative perceptions of death: a search that was beyond the capability of the external senses. I argue that imagination evolved as flight and fight adaptations in response to debilitating fears that paralleled an emerging foreknowledge of death. Imagination, and symbolic language to express its perceptions, would eventually lead to religious behavior and the development of cultural supports. Although highly speculative, my argument draws on recent brain studies, and on anthropology, psychology, and linguistics.”

The Origin of Consciousness … | Wikipedia
“The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976) is a controversial work of popular psychology by Julian Jaynes in which he proposes that consciousness emerged relatively recently in human history. Jaynes asserts that until the times written about in Homer’s Iliad, humans did not have the ‘interior monologue’ that is characteristic of consciousness as most people experience it today. Instead, he argues that something like schizophrenia was the typical human mental state as recently as 3000 years ago. […] Jaynes argues that preconscious humans effectively had a ‘split brain’ which allowed one part of the brain to appear to be ‘speaking’ to another part that listened and obeyed, and that commands that at some point were believed to be issued by ‘gods’–so often recorded in ancient myths, legends and historical accounts–were in fact emanating from individuals’ own minds. Specifically, he hypothesizes that these commands were being issued by a now usually dormant area in the right hemisphere of the brain that corresponds to the location of Wernicke’s area in the left which is believed to be involved in understanding speech. He says, with neurosurgery, these commands can be recreated with electrical stimulation of the area.”

Consciousness and the Voices of the Mind | Julian Jaynes
“But if you take the generally accepted oldest parts of the Iliad and ask, ?Is there evidence of consciousness?? the answer, I think, is no. People are not sitting down and making decisions. No one is. No one is introspecting. No one is even reminiscing. It is a very different kind of world. Then, who makes the decisions? Whenever a significant choice is to be made, a voice comes in telling people what to do. These voices are always and immediately obeyed. These voices are called gods. To me this is the origin of gods. I regard them as auditory hallucinations similar to, although not precisely the same as, the voices heard by Joan of Arc or William Blake. Or similar to the voices that modern schizophrenics hear. Similar perhaps to the voices that some of you may have heard. While it is regarded as a very significant symptom in the diagnosis of schizophrenia, auditory hallucinations also occur in some form at some time in about half the general population (Posey & Losch, 1983). I have also corresponded with or interviewed people who are completely normal in function but who suddenly have a period of hearing extensive verbal hallucinations, usually of a religious sort. Verbal hallucinations are common today, but in early civilization I suggest that they were universal. “PDF File 139 K

E.T. and God | Paul Davies
“The world’s main faiths were all founded in the pre-scientific era, when Earth was widely believed to be at the center of the universe and humankind at the pinnacle of creation. As scientific discoveries have piled up over the past 500 years, our status has been incrementally diminished. First Earth was shown to be just one planet of several orbiting the Sun. Then the solar system itself was relegated to the outer suburbs of the galaxy, and the Sun classified as an insignificant dwarf star among billions. The theory of evolution proposed that human beings occupied just a small branch on a complex evolutionary tree. […] Theologians are used to putting a brave face on such developments. […]Only recently, for example, did the Pope acknowledge that Darwinian evolution is more than just a theory. If SETI succeeds, theologians will not have the luxury of decades of careful deliberation to assess the significance of the discovery. The impact will be instant. […] Suppose, then, that E.T. is far ahead of us not only scientifically and technologically but spiritually, too. Where does that leave mankind’s presumed special relationship with God? This conundrum poses a particular difficulty for Christians, because of the unique nature of the Incarnation. Of all the world’s major religions, Christianity is the most species-specific. Jesus Christ was humanity’s savior and redeemer. He did not die for the dolphins or the gorillas, and certainly not for the proverbial little green men. But what of deeply spiritual aliens? Are they not to be saved? Can we contemplate a universe that contains perhaps a trillion worlds of saintly beings, but in which the only beings eligible for salvation inhabit a planet where murder, rape, and other evils remain rife?”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 05 July 2005 @ 10:33 PM

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