How God Works: The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion

David DeSteno. Simon & Schuster, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-1-982142-31-5
DeSteno (Emotional Success), a psychology professor at Northeastern University, delivers an exceptional and expertly researched study of the science of believing in the divine. He dissects the brain functions involved in the practice of faith and how they help individuals develop senses of morality and ethics, as well as assist in forming a foundational sense of family. DeSteno contends that “centuries before psychologists ever studied [religion], almost every tradition had adopted it as a way to bind people together—to nudge them to support one another and to reduce the toll loneliness can take on the body and mind.” DeSteno also explains the separation between practicing religion and subscribing to a theology, suggesting the benefits of religion come in the form of everyday work more than in the proclamation of belief. He backs up his points with numerous studies and argues that the bonding benefits of religious acts—whether Japanese birthing rituals, Native American coming-of-age ceremonies, or Buddhist compassion meditations—are consistent across many different faith traditions: “The upshot here is clear. Belief soothes worry. Avoiding the impulse to assess every possible outcome—many of which we can’t control—eases stress, making us calmer and healthier.” This thorough, insightful study will convince readers that worship itself is a boon for mental and physical health. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/23/2021
Release date: 09/01/2021
Genre: Religion
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-3129-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-3131-3
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