The "God" Part
of The Brain

The Premise

For every physical characteristic that is universal to a species, there must exist specific genes responsible for the emergence of that particular trait. The fact, for instance, that all cats have whiskers means that somewhere within a cat's DNA, there must exist what we can informally refer to as "whisker" genes.

This same principle not only applies to just universal physical traits but to universal behaviors as well. The fact, for example, that all cats meow would suggest that somewhere within a cat's brain there must exist a specific series of neural connections that generates this specific instinct—or what we might refer to as the "meow" part of a cat's brain. This would further imply that there must exist specific genes that are responsible for the emergence of that same site within the cat's brain. As further evidence of the instinctual nature of a cat's capacity to meow, were we to take a newborn kitten away from its mother at birth and raise it by humans, it will still grow up to meow thus proving that meowing is not a learned behavior but one that is inherited, a built -in reflex.

This principle applies to all universal behaviors: from the fact that all beavers build dams, honeybees erect hexagonal shaped honeycombs, dogs bark and, more generally, to the universal grooming, mating, nurturing, scavenging and feeding behaviors of all species.

Within our own species, for instance, that every human culture—no matter how isolated—has communicated through a spoken language suggests that our species' linguistic abilities constitute a genetically inherited trait. Being that language represents a cognitive trait means there must exist very specific regions within our brains from which our linguistic abilities are generated. As we know such linguistic sites do exist in the human brain and include the Wernicke's area, Broca's area and angular gyrus. Damage incurred to any one of these language specific sites will interfere with some very specific part of one's ability to comprehend language or to communicate linguistically. This clearly demonstrates that our language abilities are directly related to our inherent neuroph ysiological make-ups.

What if we were to now apply this same principle to the fact that every known culture from the dawn of our species has believed in some form of a spiritual reality? Wouldn't this suggest that spirituality must represent an inherent characteristic of our species, that is, a genetically inherited trait? Furthermore, wouldn't this then also suggest that our "spiritual" instincts, just like our linguistic ones, must be generated from some very specific region within the human brain? I informally refer to this site as the "God" part of the brain, a series of neural connections from which our spiritual beliefs are generated.

How else are we to explain the fact that all human cultures have maintained a belief in some form of a spiritual/transcendental realm; in a god or gods; the concept of a soul as well as an afterlife? How else are we to explain the fact that every human culture has built houses of worship through which to pray to these unseen forces? Or that every known culture has disposed of its dead with a rite that anticipates sending the deceased person's "spirit" or "soul" on to some next plane of existence, what we generally refer to as an afterlife? Wouldn't the universality with which such perceptions and behaviors are exhibited among our species suggest that we might be genetically "hard-wired" this way? Just as all honeybees are compelled to construct hexagonally shaped hives, perhaps humans are compelled to believe in a spiritual a reflex, an instinct.

Essentially, what I'm suggesting is that humans are genetically predisposed to believe in some form of a spiritual reality as well as to create religions with their myths and rituals through which to bolster these beliefs. This is why every human culture has maintained a belief in everything from a host of superstitions, the paranormal, the supernatural and all forms of mysticism.

If what I'm suggesting is true, it would imply that God—along with all things spiritual—is not something that exists "out there," beyond and independent of us, but rather as the product of an inherited instinct, the manifestation of an evolutionary adaptation that exists within the human brain. And why would our species have evolved such a seemingly abstract cognitive trait? I suggest that we evolved such an adaptation in order to help our species to cope with the otherwise debilitating anxiety that came with our unique awareness of inevitable death. Here lies the origin of humankind's spiritual function, an evolutionary adaptation—a coping mechanism—that compels our species to believe that though our physical bodies will one day perish, our "spirits" or "souls" will persist for all eternity.

"The 'God' Part of the Brain" offers a secular humanistic [albeit atheistic] alternative to our old religious paradigms. Herein lies a new way of perceiving ourselves, our place in the universe and ultimately what it means to be human—flawed and mortal—but with the hope of living meaningful and fulfilling existences despite that there is no God, no soul nor any afterlife.

Now that you understand the underlying premise of "THE 'GOD PART OF THE BRAIN": I hope you will be inspired to read on...