Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?

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Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
<table><tbody><tr><td>Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji Ki Fateh!!

Featured Topic This week's fascinating topic is shared by Tejwant Singh Ji...

Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?

Jesse Bering's mother died of cancer on a Sunday, in her own bed, at 9 o'clock at night. Bering and his siblings closed her door and went downstairs, hoping they might somehow get some sleep.

It was a long, hard night, but around 7 a.m., something happened: The wind chimes outside his mother's window started to chime. Bering remembers waking to the tinkle of these bells, a small but distinct sound in an otherwise silent house. And he remembers thinking that those bells carried a very specific message.

"It seemed to me ... that she was somehow telling us that she had made it to the other side. You know, cleared customs in heaven," Bering says. The thought surprised him. Bering was a confirmed atheist. He did not believe in any kind of supernatural anything. He prided himself on being a scientist, a psychologist who believed only in the measurable material world. But, he says, he simply couldn't help himself.

"My mind went there. It leapt there," Bering says. "And from a psychological perspective, this was really interesting to me. Because I didn't believe it on the one hand, but on the other hand I experienced it." Why is it, Bering wondered, that even a determined skeptic could not stop himself from perceiving the supernatural? It really bothered him.

For decades, the intellectual descendants of Darwin have pored over ancient bones and bits of fossils, trying to piece together how fish evolved into man, theorizing about the evolutionary advantage conferred by each physical change. And over the past 10 years, a small group of academics have begun to look at religion in the same way: they've started to look at God and the supernatural through the lens of evolution.

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