A spiritual 'gene'?

The Christian Science Monitor

Is THERE A GENE THAT DETERMINES how spiritual we are—how close we can feel to the divine? Molecular biologist Dean Hamer would say yes. In his book The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes, Mr. Hamer outlines that he has scientifically shown that individuals who are able to consistently reach a transcendent spiritual mental state have a specific gene in common. And he believes there could be other gene combinations that bring about the same effect.

Time magazine concluded in an October 25 story on this new finding that "Our most profound feelings of spirituality, according to a literal reading of Hamer's work, may be due to little more than an occasional shot of intoxicating brain chemicals governed by our DNA." And Hamer agrees that he actually sees every thought and feeling human beings experience as a result of the activity of the brain. Another study in the same article concluded that whether or not we're drawn to God at all is "hardwired into our genes."

Of course religious philosophers and clergy in some quarters are a bit put off by these conclusions. They fly in the face of many church teachings and, if true, have far-reaching implications for who is able to really find redemption and communion with God.

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