There is a fear that causes Christian legs (the most attractive legs in the universe) to tremble, a fear well-exploited by the New Atheism, and — all things considered – a very stupid fear that needs addressing: The fear of the unmiraculous. Truth be told, The Mighty Atheists of the Internet — may they all stub their toes — have done us a great favor in pointing out how the many experiences we think are miracles on par with the Resurrection are actually pretty boring, classifiable and natural. What doth the blogger blog of? Let’s go.
Religious experience. The Christian runs up to the atheist, silver cross sailing in the wind behind his neck, filled with overenthusiastic joy, saying “I felt the presence of God!” The atheist looks up from his Macbook Pro and says something along the lines of, “Religious experience is just the result of decreased activity in your right parietal lobe. Why don’t you go home and pray that the Broncos win next year.”
To which the Christian has two available responses. He may a) go home, cry, and spend the rest of his life reading Dawkins’ tortured prose or b) do the fundamentalist dance. (This, of course, would involve putting his pinkies in his ears, his thumbs up his nose, shutting his eyes and spinning in circles, singing “This is just a test of my faith, a test my faith, and faith is more important than reeeaaason!” to the tune of Chris Tomlin’s Everlasting God.)
Just kidding. He actually has another option. He may c) copy the following paragraphs and paste them on our said atheist’s MySpace (for they are strange breed, these atheists — all we know about them thus far is that they hate children and use MySpace.)
The fact that religious experience manifests itself in an entirely unmiraculous way does not diminish the reality of religious experience. In fact, it strengthens it. Why? First of all — and this is simply a tedious method of proving that an effect requires a cause — this sort of brain activity is not random. Your amygdala — the part of the brain that controls fear and anxiety — does not randomly ‘turn off’. It turns off in response to the chemical oxytocin released during orgasm (which is why it is impossible to feel fear during that particular event. (In somewhat of a cosmic joke, this also happens during the act of sneezing. (Triple parentheses, alriiigghht…))) But the man who would say, “the good feeling of sex is just the shutting down of your amygdala, and therefore you aren’t really having sex” is on the exact same plane of logic as the atheist who says, “the feeling of religious experience is just the result of decreased activity in your right parietal lobe, therefore you’re not really having a religious experience.”
What? No! If human beings are built with brains that lead them to believe in a Father Who Loves Them, it is Atheism that should be banished to the corner to tremble in fear, not Christianity. For if there is an effect — the decreased activity in the right parietal lobe — there must be a cause. Here the atheist has a few options. He could get evasive, saying something like “it’s just random.” But in doing this he would not only deny the fact that the majority of religious experience is habitual, not random, but also the functionality of the human mind: For if the functions of your parietal lobes are random, then it may be equally true that the functions of the left side of your brain — the part responsible for the logic that led you to believe that there is no God — are entirely random and can be discounted as such.
He could say it’s all coincidental stimulation, but we dismantled that. He could go the Darwinian route and say, “Yes, well this part of the brain was developed in order for us to overcome our fear of death and the unexplained danger in the universe.” This amounts to saying, “Yes, well this part of the brain was created by Magic.” Why? Because Darwinism operates on a few fundamental principles entirely forgotten by Darwinists. Number one is that you can’t just want something into existence. If the universe sucks, you’re not allowed to squint your eyes and reduce the function of your right parietal lobe. Sorry, but as it turns out, that particular part of your brain must be a mutation that is beneficial to your survival and reproduction. And it doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that lessening the fear of death and danger is not going to increase your survival potential:
The unmiraculous facts of religious experience go much further in testifying to the existence of a God than if they were purely undetectable miracles. For as it stands, there exists a part of our brain that seems to respond to God. Either there is a God and our brain is doing its job, or there is no God, and we have an inexplicably misleading part of our brain that distorts reality and makes us stupid with no conceivable benefit. Note that if the atheist were to belligerently affirm the latter proposition, saying, “Well, it simply must be the case,” “evolution isn’t perfect,” or something of the sort, the Christian is obliged to answer, “Then how can we trust our brains at all? If you are quite sure that a certain function of the brain is an unfortunate accident, how are you sure that the functions of your brain that aid in reason, logic, and coherent argument are not?”
What it all comes down to is that jerk Descartes. Since he broke up the human person into a body and a mind (or a body and a soul, it was one in the same to him), we’ve been stupider for the fact. The Christian, erroneously seeing himself as a soul within a body, thinks that for a spiritual event to interact with and affect the body — the brain — somehow devalues it, and is thus frightened of any scientific analysis of religious experience. But it need not be this way. We are not a soul rattling inside a machine. We are human. What affects our soul should invade our body — our brain, our lungs, our guts and our blood. Now go, all of you, and be human.