Can Science and Religion Work Together, After All?
It’s time for science and religion to stop shouting at each other and start talking with each other. This book leads the way. It is the result of an extraordinary ongoing conversation among a group of highly respected scientists, physicians, philosophers, and theologians. Together, they share profound insights into the deepest questions humans ask and explore the invisible forces and powerful beliefs that shape our lives. Their insights reflect both humanity’s latest science and its most enduring wisdom. Their answers and questions will challenge you—and reward you with a richer understanding of who we are, what we share, and what it means.
What do we really know about human nature?
How do we see what we see, know what we know, feel what we feel?
How do people come to believe in God?
Where does empathy come from?
What can evolutionary psychology and neuroscience teach us about ethics?
What are the health benefits of faith?
Where do you end, and others begin?
What do marriage, family, and friendship mean?
How can people repair the broken connections that keep them lonely?
Who are we? What connects us to each other and to the universe? What makes human beings believe in their marriages, friends, families, societies, God?
Men and women have long sought to answer questions like these through religion. For centuries, they have been joined by scientists bringing increasingly powerful new methods and worldviews. Whether scientist or theologian, physician or philosopher, they share a quest: to understand the invisible forces and powerful beliefs that shape human life.
Today, these explorers have much to learn from each other. In the Chicago Social Brain Network, an interdisciplinary group of scholars have come together to exchange ideas across the boundaries that have divided science, religion, and philosophy for far too long.
This book invites you into their conversation and journey. Join them as they explore human nature and human connections: Discover what can be learned from evolutionary analyses and Plato, MRIs and the Gospel of Matthew.
- The social brain and the human journey
Is humanity marching towards cooperation and social resilience?
- Why and how we connect
Our invisible relationships with each other--and our search for trust and meaning
- "You and I” as one: mind and body, individual and society
Human language, neuronal substrates, synchrony, and social coordination
- Belief, connection, and learning
How human beings construct their private experiences of God
Table of Contents
1 Invisible forces operating on human bodies 1
2 The social nature of humankind 17
3 Science, religion, and a revived religious humanism 35
4 Health by connection: from social brains to resilient bodies 49
5 Psychosomatic relations: from superstition to mortality 61
6 The suspension of individual consciousness and the dissolution of self and other boundaries 73
7 Action at a distance: the invisible force of language 83
8 Hidden forces in understanding others: mirror neurons and neurobiological underpinnings 95
9 Empathy and interpersonal sensitivity 109
10 Seeing invisible minds 121
11 Anthropomorphism: human connection to a universal society 133
12 How does God become real? 145
13 Theological perspectives on God as an invisible force 157
14 Visible efforts to change invisible connections 171
15 Social brain, spiritual medicine? 185
16 Epilogue 197
About the authors 207