One last week, two more in this: the doddering oldies, pushing off. How often they die in the approach to winter. Ich habe genug , as the Bach cantata says: an expression that may be taken wryly. Both my parents left, about this time of year. The youngest of that generation, ahead of mine, are now passing ninety. Few will last another decade. In my childhood veterans of the Great War were common enough; some had yet to retire. Then suddenly there were none; none at all. And so now with the graduates of the Second Great War, with their lovers and companions, gone where?
An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion.
"... [Dr. Wathey's] book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond...[He] argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy.
These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like: