Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A different reason to decline

kw: book reviews, nonfiction, evolution, spirituality

I read only the opening chapters of Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith by George E. Vaillant. The opening chapter has this to say:
Positive emotions—not only compassion, forgiveness, love, and hope but also joy, faith/trust, awe and gratitude—arise from our inborn mammalian capacity for unselfish parental love.
Biologically, this is probably true. However, there seems to be something about the human spirit that is either unique or anomalous. As some preachers say, "You will never see a dog or cat setting up an idol to worship." If worship is no more than a trusting reaction to awe, why is it not found in apes?

Since I agree with most of his premise, I considered it unlikely that I'd gain much from the following 200 preachy pages, and went on to the next book. Stay tuned.

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