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June 3rd, 2010
10:26 AM ET

Are we set up to believe in a higher power?

Deepak Chopra asks: "Are human beings set up to believe in a higher power? Some scientists say yes, based on either a 'faith gene' or certain areas of the brain that light up on an MRI when people pray or think about God.

"But this is a highly destructive "yes," because it reduces spirituality to a mechanical function like heart rate or the secretion of growth hormone."

Read the full story by Deepak Chopra from Oprah.com

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Culture & Science • Opinion

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. ybs

    If you believe in something that can't be proven (yeah, in your hallucination), keep it to yourself – kinda like reading horoscopes! Imposing on others (in god we trust) is rude. How would religious cool-aid (cheap wine) drinkers feel if we have "In Atheism we trust" instead? The subjugation of others is not humble. It's rude!

    June 14, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • W0lfman

      Sorry man, atheists are just a minority.

      June 30, 2010 at 12:53 am |
  2. jeff

    @ Julie, You believe because you fear death, It doesn't make your belief true.

    June 6, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  3. Tony Leyton

    Adults teach young children while they are still at a suggestible age, to believe completely in Father Christmas and the tooth fairy and god. Then later they tell them that the tooth fairy and Father Christmas don't exist, so they happily stop believing in them. Exactly the same thing would happen with belief in god if the adults were equally honest and not brain washed themselves.

    June 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  4. Cathy

    to jonathan: the only reason you believe is because you've been CONvinced of it and that doesn't make it real.

    June 4, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
    • gomezbaby

      Nor does it make it not real...

      June 5, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • ybs

      If you believe in something that can't be proven (yeah, in your hallucination), keep it to yourself - kinda like reading horoscopes! Imposing on others (in god we trust) is rude. How would religious cool-aid (cheap wine) drinkers feel if we have "In Atheism we trust" instead? The subjugation of others is not humble. It's rude!

      June 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  5. Cathy

    riverrunner said: we/some only believe in a higher power because our ancestors could not explain much without making one up. at one time it had an evolutionary advantage. some day we will shed the shackles of belief in magical beings that aren't there. I completely agree!

    June 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  6. jeff

    More "wOo WoO" from Chopra.

    June 4, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  7. Glenn Baker

    Call it "higher power" if you want...but I'm a higher power than a rat but that doesn't make me to be a god, or God. But the intelligence and the love that it took to put your own stamp [so to speak] on the human race so their minds recognize your existence...that's the One I will magnify any day.

    June 4, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  8. Reality

    Chopra in critical review:

    "Chopra was sued for plagiarism by Robert Sapolsky for copying a stress endocrine chart, after the publication of Chopra’s book, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. An out of court settlement resulted in Chopra attributing material that was researched by Sapolsky.[33] Chopra acknowledges that his thought has been inspired by Jiddu Krishnamurti and others.[5][34"

    "Chopra has been criticized for his frequent references to the relationship of quantum mechanics to healing processes, a connection that has drawn skepticism from physicists who say it can be considered as contributing to the general confusion in the popular press regarding quantum measurement, decoherence and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.[36] In 1998, Chopra was awarded the satirical Ig Nobel Prize in physics for "his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness".[37] According to the book, Skeptics Dictionary, Chopra's "mind-body claims get even murkier as he tries to connect Ayurveda with quantum physics.”[5]

    In August 2005, Chopra wrote a series of articles on the creation-evolution controversy and Intelligent design which were criticized by science writer Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society.[38][39][40]

    In March 2010, Chopra and Jean Houston debated Sam Harris and Michael Shermer at Caltech on the question "Does God Have a Future?" Shermer and Harris criticized Chopra's use of scientific terminology to expound unrelated spiritual concepts.[41]

    In April 2010, Hindu American Foundation co-founder Aseem Shukla, on a Washington Post-sponsored blog on faith and religion, criticized Chopra for suggesting that yoga did not have origins in Hinduism but merely is an Indian spiritual tradition which predated Hinduism.[42] Later on, Chopra conceded that yoga originated in Sanātana Dharma, which Aseem Shukla agreed, is a term synonymous with Hinduism.[43]" – Wikipedia

    According to a 2010 article, Chopra was largely responsible for popularizing Transcendental Meditation and has "been dubbed 'McMeditation'" by some critics because of the "multimillion-dollar profits" he has generated from the publication of his books and DVDs as well as the six-day, $2,500 wellness programs at his Chopra Center for Well Being. In the same article he apologizes for causing the 2010 Baja California earthquake by meditating on Shiva.[44

    June 4, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • jonathan

      I want to personally apoligize for the BP Explosion here in TC in 05 and the current oil spill in the gulf....they made me mad when they had their taxes reduced in the early 00's ...here in Galveston County...forcing the rest of us to pay more ...my indignation and wrath was kindled against them, ....just imagine what's going to happen to the Muslims...

      June 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  9. jeff

    Some of us can't be made to believe.

    June 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Julie

      Oh, you'll be made to believe someday as you lay on your deathbed......I've been present at enough deaths to know that heaven does exist.......

      June 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  10. riverrunner

    we/some only believe in a higher power because our ancestors could not explain much without making one up. at one time it had an evolutionary advantage. some day we will shed the shackles of belief in magical beings that aren't there.

    June 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • jonathan

      you already have....but as long as there is a God, we will continue to believe...and since he is real and does respond to us the chances of there ever being a day in which man does not turn to God are nil

      June 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.