Psychologising and Neurologising about Religion: Facts, Fallacies and the Future by Professor Malcolm Jeeves| 1hr : 11mins
Director: Gresham College | Producer: Gresham College
Focus Years: 2008 | Country: United Kingdom
The original Boyle Lectures took place annually between 1692 and 1732. Funded by a bequest in the Will of the Hon Robert Boyle, the lectures featured distinguished preachers who were asked to consider the relationship between the new natural philosophy and the Christian religion. Revived in 2004, the new Boyle Lectures address the same challenges today. What psychologists were doing for religion at the beginning of the 20th century, neuroscientists are doing at the beginning of the 21st century. Then, as now, reactions were varied. Some were alarmed and felt that the very foundations of religion were being undermined, some saw the possibility of new insights into religion, some had no doubt that religion could now be explained away as "nothing but" a set of psychological crutches. Similar reactions are evident today as the neural substrates of different aspects of religious practices and experience are investigated. In both instances, had we learned the lessons from the past, more balanced and constructive evaluations would have emerged. I shall review some of the scientific evidence for new insights into religion from specializations in psychology such as evolutionary psychology where rapid advances are being made, and I shall also review the increasing evidence for what may be called the neuroscience of religion. I shall offer both assessments and anticipations.