Sex, Humanity, Mind, Body

 I’ve mentioned this book before: Hooked by Joe McIlhaney and Freda Bush.  While it’s not specifically a Christian book, it is a wisdom resource for thinking about sex, our minds, our bodies, our emotions, and our lives.  Below are two paragraphs from the last chapter of the book.  These paragraphs are helpful in and of themselves and they give a good summary of what this book is about:

As we have shown with the most current science available today, over and over again, sex cannot be dismissed as an activity with little or no impact on the person as a whole. We know sex involves the entire individual. Perhaps the most damaging philosophy about sex in recent years has been the attempt to separate sex from the whole person. Neuroscientific evidence has revealed this approach to be not only false but also dangerous.  Popular culture would have you believe that young people should become sexually active when they feel “ready” and that not to become involved sexually at that point in their lives will cause them to be sexually naive and repressed. As we’ve seen, the facts tell a very different story.

Current neuroscience research shows us that the human mind is an astounding organ, one we will never totally comprehend. But beyond that, just as the brain is remarkably complex, it is even more difficult to fully grasp what it means to be fully human. There is far more to human experience than we can ever explain. Life is not just a collection of choices. Nor are we robots or mechanical beings who hopelessly get hooked on certain behaviors. And to think that we are nothing more than a group of “brain cells” or neurochemicals moved about by our environment is ridiculous. We cannot be explained by quantity, matter, or motion. However, we do know and understand some things about ourselves. This information, properly interpreted and utilized, gives us direction toward the most beneficial behavior choices. It gives us so much new insight into how to live in harmony with our innate nature and, therefore, to be more fully human.  Living in accordance with this information gives us the greatest possible chance to enjoy our lives to the fullest.

Hooked, p. 141-142.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

The Biological Basis For Religion?

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, Douglas Groothuis’ Christian Apologetics has many strong points.  One part I appreciated was his section on neurotheology, which is the study of the biological basis for religious beliefs.  Some scientists today believe that religious beliefs (e.g. belief in God) can be explained “on the basis of certain functions in the brain.”  In other words, the only reason people have religious beliefs is because of the way our brains work – there is no external or objective basis for religion and faith.  Religion is a figment of our biological and neuro makeup – so they say.

The first thing Groothuis mentions about this is that it is begging the question since these scientists start with a materialistic presupposition: “Since we know there is no God and no sacred realm (all is material), we need to explain (and explain away) why so many have religious experiences.”  This presupposition seriously flaws their thesis.

Another thing Groothuis says is that this is no threat to the faith since we are material as well as spiritual beings.  The mind interacts with the body – Scripture confirms that.  We shouldn’t be surprised to find that brain states correlate with religious beliefs and experiences.

Groothuis continues:

“There is another problem for this reductive view: it works as a boomerang against itself.  If religious beliefs can be explained away as illusory simply because their neurological components (physical states) are identified, we must, by the force of the same argument, explain away as illusory the belief that religious beliefs are illusory (there is no God) because they too are merely neurological states.  This kind of reduction and refutation would extend to all beliefs that can be identified with brain activity.  But this conclusion results in an epistemological nihilism that is unsupportable logically and existentially.”

“It speaks volumes to note that while millions of dollars in grant money goes to explaining the neurological basis of religion, nothing goes to explain the neurological basis of atheism or skepticism.  Apparently, atheism and skepticism are innocent until proven guilty, whereas religious beliefs are just plain guilty.”

Well said!  These are great things to remember the next time you run across an article or person who says religion is a figment of the mind.  It may at first glance sound like a decent thesis, but there are huge flaws in this reasoning, and it comes not from bias free scientific studies, but a materialistic and anti-Christian point of view.

Scripture’s teaching makes much more sense – that because there is a God, and because he created us in his image, we have a “sense of the divine,” as Calvin called it.  Sadly, many people suppress this truth in unrighteousness.

The above quote was taken from Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, p.384.

shane lems