I had heard through the grapevines that Joop Beenakker, a Dutch retired science professor, had put out his third book on Jesus and his study thereof on the internet. This time it was about the Gospel of Marc. For those that can read Dutch, I can definitely recommend the books  and articles of Joop Beenakker which can be downloaded at That however is not necessarily the thrust of what this post is about were it not that on the site an article was found about the presence and non-presence of God in the world, discussed on the basis of evolution theory. It was probably the notion of the presence or non-presence of God in the world or in our lives that got me to think about this subject again if only because I have been known to discuss the question whether or not one needs to believe in God or better yet the theist God as envisaged in Christian and other religions.

There is probably a lot that can be said about this subject from a theological and or religious perspective but I stumbled upon this article in the Wired Science that actually gave a complete new perspective on this matter. From the article was understood that religious belief may have been quite useful in shaping the evolution of the human mind. The article reports that:

“People who reported an intimate experience of God, engaged in religious behavior or feared God, tended to have larger-than-average brain regions devoted to empathy, symbolic communication and emotional regulation. The research wasn’t trying to measure some kind of small “God-spot,” but looked instead at broader patterns within the brains of self-reported religious people.”

Whilst there are a number of caveats, the research appears to corroborate with earlier findings which could suggest that the capacity for religious thought may have lead to the development of the human brain in its current socially sophisticated form. It is further suspected that divine beliefs may reside in mechanisms that helped to understand family members similar to how divine beliefs were used to explain phenomena in the natural world for which we had no explanation.

In short: religious or divine thoughts may have been helpful in our human evolution.

Source: Wired Science
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  1. Pingback: Religion actually good for you « John Dierckx

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