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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental illness arises from complex interactions between the self, the social environment, and our own behaviors and habits. We can’t control others, nor (for good or ill) do we have much control over our broader social world. But to an extent, we can control our habits. And habits matter. Read more

Our idea that mental illness just “happens” is dangerous. It’s not your fault if you’re depressed or need drugs to feel okay. But we’re the world’s most social vertebrate species. Nothing in our lives arises only from the brain outward. Read more

The “no true Scotsman” fallacy is often used to claim that no real, believing Muslim could be a terrorist. But the war in northern Iraq is impossible to separate from fundamentalist Islam. Read more

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