The age of extreme opinions

Agreeable, conscientious people are more likely to obey orders to harm other people. What does this mean for religion and tradition? Read more

The great divide: Why activism needs tradition to work

Activism and tradition need each other. Lacking any prophets, the comfortable establishment just sinks deeper into self-satisfaction. Lacking any tradition or deep commitments to history, revolutionaries become caught in rabid individualism and toxic addiction to the present. Read more

A new theory for why Buddhist meditation makes us feel good

Our brains build up stable patterns of activity over time, and these patterns may inhibit dopamine release – leading to depression and melancholy. Can samatha Buddhist meditation free us from our engrained mental habits? Read more

Want to understand religion? You’ve gotta have a body.

Religious experience is something that comes from what bodies do. What goes on in our muscles, our guts, and on the surface of our skin actually matters. If you want to understand religion, or culture, or London, you need to understand humans — and if you want to understand humans, you need to understand bodies. Read more

Theology: It matters.

Theological conflict is already everywhere. We’re just not calling it theology. And we don’t have any experts to guide us. A return of articulate, impassioned public theology would allow us all to drag our theological agendas into the daylight, and to fight about them honorably where everyone can see. This, in turn, could increase the quality of people’s thinking about the big questions Read more

Religion surrounds us

There is real good and real bad to be found in religious culture. It crafts meaning and it alienates the outsider. It builds comfortable rapport within its boundaries and sets limits on who’s in and who’s out. This paradox is not neatly resolvable. It;s a genuine incompatibility. Read more

Sex, the cuddle chemical, and religion

Kate Stockly-Myerdirk Last week, Connor wrote about sex differences here. I happen to research one specific instance of sex difference: the fact that women tend to be more religious than men. Social scientists have come up with all sorts of unsatisfying theories for why this could be. Is it because women are socialized to be more submissive, gentle, and expressive, which are (apparently) religious values? Is it because church life is an extension of home and family life, in which… Read more

The Sam Harris backlash: is sex real?

We should be suspicious of sweeping claims about sex differences. But for there to be no differences at all, our minds would have to be independent of our bodies. This argument might be a kind of imperialism in its own right – an assault against the legitimacy of the body. Read more

Want a meaningful life? Stay away from rich countries

Countries with higher gross domestic products have higher suicide rates and less self-reported meaning in life than their poorer counterparts. Religion may be the reason why. Read more

Entheogens may expand possible brain interconnections

By releasing the everyday patterns of stable, internal coherence between different regions of the brain, psilocybin increases entropy in the brain. But as these stable patterns weaken, new patterns are allowed to emerge. Read more

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