The Biology of Belief

I can’t decide whether I love or hate this article by Jeffrey Kluger. I think his final thought epitomizes my feelings. After acknowledging that prayer will not replace sutures in the emergency room, he closes with

Still, if the U.S.’s expanding health-care emergency has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t afford to be choosy about where we look for answers. Doctors, patients and pastors battling disease already know that help comes in a whole lot of forms. It’s the result, not the source, that counts the most.

There are components of our lives that are not treated by medical doctors. True. And, it is likely that addressing those aspects will lead to better health, in the same way that staying healthy allows me to grow spiritually. It is hard to be peaceful and reflective if I am exhausted from a hacking cough. Likewise, surely my faith will give me a peace that will make me less inclined to seek satisfaction from alcohol, or drugs, or eating, or shopping. But I don’t know if I would say that faith and financial planning can work together to get my financial house in order.

The other thing I love and hate about the article is that it addresses very real benefits of faithfulness. It suggests that meditation may have a measurable positive impact on your brain. I would imagine that practicing yoga positions would likewise have a positive impact on your body. I think the article sort of mushes things together though. It doesn’t distinguish spiritual practices from spirituality.

Anyway, I’d be interested to hear what others think. It is pretty short.

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