By Sara Sidner, CNN
Jerusalem (CNN)–Tania Treiger pulls on her tight blue gloves and picks up her tweezers, preparing for the extraordinary job she has been hired to do. She is one of only five conservators in the entire world allowed to handle one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century. Treiger’s job is to help conserve and record the more than 2,000-year-old pieces of parchment that make up Dead Sea Scrolls.
Many of the fragments are smaller than a bottle cap, and Treiger is taking painstaking measures to preserve the tiny pieces of history by laying each one under a camera to be photographed. The work she and many others are doing now is making it possible for anyone around the world with access to the Internet to see and study the scrolls.
The scrolls were found by Muhammad Ahmed al-Hamed, a Bedouin shepherd, in Khirbet Qumran in caves near the Dead Sea 65 years ago in what was then the British Mandate Palestine, now the West Bank. When pieced together, the scrolls reveal some of the holiest and well-known texts of the world. In the delicate pieces of ancient parchment you can see the text of the Ten Commandments, the first chapter of Genesis, Psalms and many of the writings that make up the Bible as well as other non-biblical books. Nearly 900 manuscripts are now online because of a partnership between the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google.
Pnina Shor, who heads the Dead Sea Scrolls project, says she hatched the idea five years ago.
“These are manuscripts written 2,000 years ago, at the time when both Judaism and Christianity were formalizing as we know them today,” Shor said.
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It has taken five years to get 5,000 scroll fragments online, which includes an exciting development due to modern technology. A thousand of the fragments have been photographed using NASA technology to reveal text previously impossible to see.
“For me, this is a dream come true," Shor said. "I have been working on this five years, and it is now like a dream come true because now not only the scholarly world is going to care for this but the public as well."
The process of revealing even more detail in the scrolls and digitizing them includes photographing each fragment 28 times front and back, using 12 colors of the spectrum and NASA technology.
Once Treiger puts the scroll fragment on the table to be photographed, photographer Shai Halevi sets the computer, and it snaps away using filters that are blue, green, red and many colors undetectable to the eye.
Halevi explains how it works: “We took the pictures over there with all the colors, different light length, then we're getting all the exposures on the screen, and I'm combining them all into one multispectral image. And now secret writings are going to be revealed with the infrared image.”
The Dead Sea Scrolls website offers all kinds of information, even details about each fragment. The search engine will tell you what cave the fragment was found in (the scroll fragments were found in several caves that came to be known as the Qumran caves); what language is written on the fragment; and what it says, translated into English or Hebrew and, very soon, Arabic. You can zoom in to see the finest detail.
At a press conference in Jerusalem, the head of Google’s Research and Development in Israel, Yossi Matias, explained the company’s role in making these ancient scrolls available to the masses.
“Google's mission is to organize the world's information to make it universally accessible and useful. And it's hard to think about more important content than the scrolls that have such significance to so many people worldwide.”
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In the 1950s, some of the scrolls were photographed, and last year, the Israel Museum teamed up with Google and put five of the 900 manuscripts on the Internet. But, for this project, all the photos taken in the 1950s are now online. The team is continuing to photograph and preparing to put another thousand of the enhanced photos online this month.
Controversy has followed these scrolls from the day they were discovered. Arguments abound over who actually wrote them and who owns them. Now that they are available to the entire world for crowdsourcing, who knows what new controversies or perhaps answers can be uncovered in the ancient writings?
CNN's Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.
Every time something about religion comes up, I see the same conversation.
"How can anybody believe in god? It is a myth and a fairy tale. Where's your proof god exists?"
"How come you you don't believe in God? There are many who believe in God? Where's your proof that God doesn't exist?"
So what if somebody came along, a completely sane, and responsible person, and said that they had seen God and talked to him? People who don't believe in god would call that person a liar. Many who do believe in God would say that God doesn't work that way anymore, and would call that person a liar.
The thing is, you can't have any proof one way or the other. Both sides are relying on their own personal faith in one thing or another. Some put their faith in science, which, let's be honest, if you were looking at a 1000 piece puzzle, only has about 100 pieces in place when it comes to the mysteries of the universe. Some put their faith in God, and scripture but discredit God in saying that in our day, we don't need any more miracles, and that He doesn't talk to mankind the way he used to up until about 1800 years ago.
All this is to say that belief is a very personal thing, and that whether you believe being good to one another is inherently human, or that it is a moral light placed within us by a loving God, we do each other much discredit when we bring so much contention and bickering and down-right nasty rudeness to each other when discussing religion and belief.
Have some respect for each other, and each others' beliefs, and THAT will make the world a much better place.
I need no proof that GOD is or is not. He is irrelevant. I do not need him, I have access to reams of evidence for how the world works from Science and from rational thinkers.
So, Micheal S., what if those reams of evidence of natural laws of how the world woks are god's laws? What if they just scratch the surface? What if god is the ultimate scientist? Is he still irrelevant?
What's funny is that this allegedly omnipotent god entrusted its "word" to get passed down on the most rudimentary and fallible forms of communication. Its followers can't even agree on the interpretation or ways to worship it.
totally stupid, a fairy tale for adults
Looking for excuses to justify your lifestyle?
Tim wrote that those with the highest IQ's don't believe in God. I guess 168 is no longer considered "high" as that is my IQ and I believe in God. What IS high Tim?
Delusional beliefs and intelligence can co-exist. Talibangelicals are almost always simpletons. Just curious, do you accept evolution and do you accept that the Earth is over 4 billion years old?
Religion is based soundly in the emotional response, "Faith" and "Belief" have no concrete reality that can be assessed. IQ measures mental processes that CAN be measured. Emotional functions are not a factor in IQ.
I just spoke to God. She said she wished people would just wise up and tap the God within.
I just spoke to God. She says the whole the whole dead sea scroll thing is so passe.
God is the adult's version of Santa Claus.
And God says, "Oh, oh, oh!!"
And Ed's opnion on God is a childish view.
Hard to accept. Santa has never been said to kill children as an example to others as to his Omnipotence.
Save your excuses to the end, you only fool yourself.
i think the work is fantastic. i think all ancient docu ments should be treated so well.
in what universe would the dead sea scrolls be considered one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century?
Smugville. Population: you.
an educated citizenry. outstanding.
The significance is that the accuracy of the bible was disputed before they were found and compared to existing doc.uments.
the bible is a compilation of occasionally noble myths.
There are some stories in there that some call myths, but there is also prophecy, songs, proverbs, genealogies, history, and most importantly some tremendous spiritual truth.
You all should really read up on the roots of the calculations of the Mayan calendar. If you want truth, then just search how it was miscalculated and therefore has yet to happen. Instead of blindly following myths of yore, try using your brains and the actual mathematics left behind by real cultures with real reasoning.
Robert, you must have missed the memo, The Babble is still very much open to debate. As to its contents, those genealogies and histories are chock full of errors and inconsistencies and in any case, were slanted and biased to start with.
People are just looking for loopholes not to follow the Bible because they don't want to change their lifestyle.
When I first started posting on here I made a statement about the consequences of not believing and was immediately presented with Pascal’s wager. Well, I had never heard of it, but was led to believe I had committed some philosophical atrocity. I got curious, as I usually do, and went and did a little reading. Come to find out the argument continues. Several philosophers have weighed in over the years and the validity of the argument is still disputed. The wager is criticized for several reasons and they all have their points to which there are counterpoints and so on.
I think it is fair to say that the only ones who admit the argument is valid are the ones who believe that God is at the very least a theoretical possibility. That being said, I think the only ones who have a leg to stand on in complaining against the wager are those who are convinced that God is not a possibility.
Now I know why I received the complaint originally and why the debate continues.
the debate will always continue while people threaten the wrath of a mythical deity.
I am going to climb out on a limb and say that since you used the word mythical you are convinced that God is not a possibility. By the way, have you ever read Pascal’s stuff or discussions of it?
"When I first started posting on here I made a statement about the consequences of not believing and was immediately presented with Pascal’s wager. Well, I had never heard of it,..........."
Kudos to you. You educated yourself when challenged whereas most of the flock would have just kept on quoting their bible.
rob, are you asking if there is a force in the universe, which gave it a beginning? possibly. unfortunately the doctrines of the major abrahamic religions are patently absurd, so i find it incredibly unlikely that any of those gods exist. it astounds me in this age of information, that people can be fooled into such nonsense. i guess it is a testament to religious indoctrination and groupthink.
No, Robert, the debate hasn't continued on Pascal's Wager because it is so easily refuted.
Or should I say Bill Deacon? You are certainly as dishonest as Bill and in the same ways. Hm.
Pascal's wager doesn't work. It is illogical and ridiculous. Pascal's Wager is for those who despise their "souls", and thus the "wager" part of it becomes contradictory. You are not very bright, are you?
Thank you. I read some Mesopotamian epics this afternoon because some dude claimed the bible copied them. I see some similarities in the flood story but that is it so far. Their creation story was nowhere near the biblical account.
Fair enough. I think believing in a force is better than nothing for a start. Your major complaint is on my to do list, in that if there is a God it is not the God of Abraham. There are several on here who have stated even if he was God they wouldn’t worship him because he is too mean, the stories in the bible are impossible, and so on. I won’t try to convince you otherwise today because I have to study the problem and I am a slow study. Not that I would be able to convince you, but I enjoy thinking about the why’s of what people believe. Thanks.
It seems to me that Pascal's wager is like watching Fox News. It's all from one side that he considers the things to be gained, etc. But not to say that it is not worth thinking about. The other thing I notice, both in the wager and in the discussion here, is how one might be discussing possible deity and then the other leaps to the generalization of God – where perhaps all involved understand that means specifically the God of Abraham.
That is one criticism of it, but just one of many. Here is a some interesting stuff you can read on the internet if you care.
Hájek, Alan, "Pascal's Wager", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
By the way, I have seen a poster using the handle Bill Deacon and I can assure you I am not him. You know it is funny I have been accused of being several other believers on here. I am starting to think that what makes you guys think that, is that we must be posting some consistent themes.
So, do you believe in the possibility of a deity, but not the God of Abraham?
Absolutely, Robert. And the keyword, there is possibility. Which not only means yay or nay, but also means that I think its exciting to ponder the different forms that such an being be both across space and time.
And I say being, but, of course, I also don't presume a singular being. In fact, that's the thing – I don't want to presume anything since, in my view, there has been no evidence or understanding – yet.
I think that is good. I plan to do a little study on the objections to the God of Abraham, not that I have, or will find any answers that would be satisfactory. I just think it is interesting that those who think something is possible have rejected him.
I understand the evidence problem, in that most anything could be rejected. Also, Pascal decided that you couldn’t decide by use of reason, not that I agree, but he thought you had to lay it aside.
Yes, Robert. And some would say laying the reason aside is inviting emotion in, and in that point of view, things like pride, comfort, tradition, etc. enter the picture; but since we are, by nature, emotional beings, we can't just pretend that side of us doesn't exist. Many a minister will say that God is within you, of course referring to the God of Abraham, but even if not that particular "version" described by ancient man, I wouldn't refute that possibility. Of course I also don't refute the possibility of a force that once was that is no longer – a "life-starter" that kicked things off, then headed down many black holes to kick-start other things.
To say that one needs merely to "put aside reason" in order to make Pascal's Wager work, is to say that you must deliberately choose the path of insanity vs that of reason in order to "understand" how to make the best "choice" in this case.
You are openly espousing to people that they should become unreasonable, irrational, illogical, or insane.
You really are twisted up inside your head, Robert. With healthcare you could get some nice pills to fix that.
As to the "consistent themes" between you and Bill Deacon, it is that you are both disgusting liars who refuse to give a straight answer to anything or to run away when a hard question arises.
And your arguments are very similar as well. But you could be two different people simply because there are millions of mentally ill people in this country on the internet just like you and Bill, so it has little enough significance as far as your methods and deep-seated dishonesty are concerned.
All very interesting and thanks for sharing. Things that happen sometimes make me question the Omni’s of God and I know that is more a doctrinal thing than a basis for belief or no. However, there are several things in the bible that bring this to my mind. Why would God create humans (ever how you think that happened) knowing that they would rebel, could it be he created knowing what they were capable of, but not necessarily what they would do? All the stories in the bible make more sense to me in that context rather than the idea that God knew all along what was going to happen. Maybe he did, I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around that. It seems more likely that he interfered at opportune moments to make sure that things would work out how he wanted them too. Don’t get me wrong, a being that would be capable of creating everything that we currently think we can perceive could pretty much do anything, even if you limit that being to starting the ball rolling, so to speak. But I don’t think that the God I believe exists is absentee, just because of personal experiences. Oh, he could definitely be off creating, but he still has helpers. I relate very well to the spirit versus the flesh from Paul’s writings. That also explains a lot of things; you will notice that God used agents in the bible, angels, burning bush, pillar of fire, or cloud. The prophets said stuff like the spirit of the Lord came to me or upon me, dreams, and visions. God being a spirit, an invisible power or ent.ity makes sense in that he doesn’t reveal himself in a fixed form. Like an invisible gr.ape vine intertwined in the branches of tree could be God’s spirit intertwined in everything in the universe both internally and externally, or like invisible water flowing through all living things.
I see now that you are more interested in criticism than discussion and that is ok if that is your thing. However, I will challenge you to point out specifically anything that I have posted that is dishonest.
NASA is not just about space and their funding should be increased. Unless of course they are still required to reach out to Islam.
I just love the ignorance that gets spewed every time anything near God or religion is published here. Science has disproven evolution. There's no way to start, no advancement and no way for us to still exist 10,000 years from now, because of decay (Hence no way to move forward). Given that there is no other explanation, what are you going to believe, if not in God?
Why is believing in a driving force (God) any more unreasonable than believing that everything arrived from absolutely nothing for no reason (Big Bang) and that life organized itself despite the fact that all observations point to constant decay?
Certainly there have been many made-up Gods. There is a lot written in the Bible about this. However, the Judeo-Christian God is unique in too many ways to begin to explain here.
Atheists/Evolutionists love to criticize theists, but have not provided any credible evidence (Really. They haven't if you study all the information) to refute the existence of a creator.
Christians love to criticize Atheists/Evolutionists, but have not provided any credible evidence that proves the existence of a creator.
There are a lot of people on here that are victims of religion...
...well not really victims. but they have read about these victims.
And they have adopted their mentality. It is delusions. You can't reason with them.
"There is a lot written in the Bible about this. However, the Judeo-Christian God is unique in too many ways to begin to explain here."
The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).
It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.
You really should swallow the nice pills. They will help you. Stop hiding them under your pillow.
those with the highest IQs believe in evolution and not god. Why believe in a religion whose symbol is two boards slapped together? You're quite rediculous. But, you knew that, right?
I believe in evolution and God. Of course my IQ is super, super high.
"Science has disproven evolution". No it has PROVEN evolution. And there are tons and terabytes of evidence about evolution. Well DNA can tell who is our brother, who is our first cousin and so on, and it shows clearly that chimps are our cousins. Chimps have even human blood types ! Which means your blood type gene is closer to chimp with same blood type than to other human with a different type. For that particular gene, you have more recent common ancestor with the monkey than with another human ! It is a provable fact.
There is no God. There never has been a God. There never will be a God. It's the blind simple minded reasoning like this that is causing many of the problems in the world. Instead of working in the direction of cure and benefit you pull away many resources to spend them on imagination and delusion.
I reject your "theory".
No, I don't believe in a Creator but watch this.
The KORAN was written by a bunch of child molestors and mysogonistic liars. It is filth and all copies should be burned.
See, religion and devoutly religious people will be motivated to kill and maim innocents.
These scrolls are written in the same language and same letters that is the Israeli national language today, Hebrew. This should give everyone an idea who the indigenous people of the land are. Yes, it's the Jews (once called Judeans, after the land of Judea, the ancient name of the "West Bank."
"Palestine" was a name the Romans gave to Judea to try and repress the Jewish rebellion against them. It was named after the Phillistines, who had no connection to Arabs and existed, like the Jews, many centuries before Islam.
But the DNA of the people who wrote these scrolls may be closer to the DNA of palestinians. German "jews" are white. People who wrote scrolls were not.
wow... people who don't believe in God are really threatened by the idea of God... and that is something I don't understand
If you don't believe in something, why feel so threatened by it that you must criticize and put down people who do believe in it? Don't tell me it is because "they" push it in your face. You are pushing it in our faces every time there is an article about God or anytime someone mentions God.
Your cult is not welcomed in our society.
Yes, believer. Some people seek out articles on God. They seek out conversations about God. They may not have a good understanding or any belief, but they sure are thinking about him a lot.
Karen, I don't like people named Karen, but I don't call all Karens ugly or act like they are a cult. You have no society. You wish you did, and that is probably why you are so bitter.
"They may not have a good understanding or any belief, but they sure are thinking about him a lot."
How do you think people were able to gain their civil rights? They had to go out and educate the ignorant people about the real facts about morality and equal rights. Look back on the history of Christianity in American you will will find a great deal of bigotry and repression of others. Atheists are here to educated the ignorant brainwashed people of your religion.
Martin Luther King, JR was a Christian who fought for civil rights.
There have been a lot of misuses of the Scriptures that supported temperance, slavery, segregation and the subjugation of women.
"We must look for the things that make for peace. As a Christian, one must take very, very seriously the example of Jesus and the summary of the law: that you love your God with your whole heart, your whole soul and your whole mind and love your neighbor as yourself." – Peter Gomes
Robert, you prove believer's point... you feel threatened somewhat by the belief of God. So you feel like a down-trodden minority? That's cute.
"Robert, you prove believer's point... you feel threatened somewhat by the belief of God. So you feel like a down-trodden minority? That's cute."
This is a great example of what is wrong with the mentality of Christian thinking. Thanks for proving my point. Lying is a sin according to your religion, yet that doesn't stop you now does it?
believer – guilty as charged (of dumbphuckedness).
Fear of a person who is acting out delusions is justified.
So true, thanks.
The wonderful thing about this is that eventually a physical hologram will be possible – one in which the pieces can be moved and re-arranged all in a three dimensional space. I assume it will be possible to superimpose the English, Hebrew or Arabic on the digital fragments. I think too the ability to make inline comments and to be able to exchange information "real time" will be valuable for historians those interested in history. Also there can be spirited real time debate about what the fragments mean. I assume too that it will be possible to physically separate layers in three dimensional digital space that's not possible right now. That would mean that if information is buried as it is in painted portraits we will be able to see that three-dimensionally. Sadly this type of thing won't congeal for a good many years. In the interim we can look at the images using the technologies we have.
So, if someone found one of Stephen King's books in a cave in 2000 years, it would be classed as 100% TRUTH? These Dead Sea writings may have been works of fiction, the master copies, put away for safety, so to speak.
bwahahaha... ! omg so funny... why does everyone believe in a god is beyond me ! lmfao ! It is totally YOUR delusion to believe in things that do not exist. Go for it yeah. I hope in 10,000 years someone finds a copy of all of HARRY POTTER scribed in ALUMINUM in a cave! omg. so funny... thanks for the laugh. Oh yeah, here's a quote for you believers: "Religion keep the poor from killing the rich." N. Bonaparte (that's about all it's good for imo... and too bad at that !)
I would take the Bibles opinion on life & lifestyle over yours Dazza, you or I are not going to be around in a few short years.
In a life without meaning it doesnt matter how the pyramids where built or even if our planet survives to see another day. Everything important to a person who doesnt believe in God is just a lie that you must tell your self. Without God, life is meaningless and it would not matter if all of us died today. I cannot stand people who search for meaning in life but do no search for God. Without God there is no meaning. THATS IT. Intelligent designer or fail. eternal consciousness or nothing. there is nothing else to research that matters at all. God is the only thing that can give our lives meaning. please believe.
Santa gives my life meaning. Everyone believe in Santa!!! Presents for all.
Which god would you prefer everyone believe in? Yours? Someone from China? A Hindu god? Muslim god? Zeus?
Kris...I believe in God, but not in a "humanized" God created for our limited brains...Firstly let me tell you God is not somebody but Something....GoItd is not HIM ....It's IT.... IT is energy.....nothing to do with our human feelings.....The Bible was created by Hebrew ancestors calling themselves as "the chosen people".. For me, this is not truth....God is a permanent creator and evolutionist.....but IT doesn talk, doesn't ear; moreover, God can't control even the destinity or the time......Of course, I respect your viewpoint.....
False. Apparently, god is the only thing that give YOUR life meaning. And since god probably isnt real, it is true, that YOUR life has no meaning. I dont beleive in god, which gives me more time to appreciate my kids, wife, parents, love ones, art, literature, the mystery of the cosmos, nature, sports, entertainment, and generally having a good time. Have fun with that horrible life you described.
Which God again Kris? I assume it must be the one you believe in that has given your life meaning.
But beyond that, basically you are claiming that unless we have an eternal deity and ever living souls then nothing matters. So tell me, why does it matter if you have those things? Why is the hug from my daughter any more important or should make me feel any better than without an eternal soul I have to worry about or whether or not this deity or that deity will want something in return for our happiness. Why would anything you experience in this life matter any less? The fact that we cannot prove anything lives on after death and have zero evidence for an eternal deity watching over our shoulders makes it impossible to test your theory, but you just want to take it on "faith". I say your logic has been judged and found wanting, IQ below average, below average comprehension levels.
The Truth: Everyone is searching for the truth. It is difficult to convince anyone of anything in such a cynical world. That said, unless you give something a genuine, honest chance, you can't really make an educated comment on it. If you haven't read Jesus Christ's ministry and actually tried to open your heart to it and let him in, then you simply won't get it. Sure, I agree, it cannot be "proven". But neither can you prove that you love your mom or someone very close to you. Because you say so? Because you help her mow the lawn? Because you tell her you love her? So what. That means nothing because I can say it's all BS. However, what I don't know is what you feel inside and that is The Truth. The truth is that if you give Christ a genuine, honest chance in your life you will gain peace, joy, and true love that will change you forever. Weird things will happen in your life and sooner or later you won't be able to brush them off as "coincidence". God is good. Man is not. We are told in the Bible that if we don't accept Christ as being the son of God we cannot possibly know God himself. I believe that, and I pray one day you will just give a genuine look into it and decide for yourself. In my opinion, it does have more meaning when you take Christ as your personal savior. You become (without trying, really) someone different...a light for good in the world. Further, if you don't know God and he does exist, what will be your excuse? Are you willing to take a chance of being separated from God forever just because you were a cynic? I don't do the Bible justice. Read Christ's words and let go brotha. Remember: Don't put your faith in man. Man fails all the time and you will become even more cynical when you see some folks in church professing to be Christians that don't act like it. Put your faith in Christ and God. He will give you eyes to see what he does. God Bless.
"Without God, life is meaningless"
Why? I'd be interested in your logic.
Personally, I find that life has MORE meaning with the absence of god. Those who don't believe in god cherish life since it is a fleeting time that we have. Those who believe in their god can tend to waste their life because they believe there is something better after.
"The truth is that if you give Christ a genuine, honest chance in your life you will gain peace, joy, and true love that will change you forever."
Many of the atheists posting on this site are former Christians, some are former ministers. What people like you can't handle is that we have peace, joy and true love in our lives. You don't need a god for that.
"a light for good in the world"
Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.
For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.
Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.
It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.
Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.
Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.
Thanks Barney. I liked that.
I agree with you Kris. Some people think that having God in their life would inconvience them. Yet they don't understand that God wants them to enjoy their life and praise Him for all the blessings. He does not demand anything from people just promises that so ever belive in Him shall not perish in the spirit. Many people that don't believe lack the comprehension, so they dispute with it is not true and so forth. I
In essence they are conspiracy theorists that believe in only themselves which is sinful. This world belongs to people because God gave us that control. Satan is alive and well, yet people blame all those things that others do on psychosis. None understand spirituallity to the fullest. BTW to those that question which God, hinduism believes in a man, same with Buddha who became a God. Islam believes in God the same one as Christians do, ideology is different. If many that question believers and poke fun at the existence of God took the time to understand what He is then I'm sure they would find themselves apologizing for their actions. God Bless
"He does not demand anything from people just promises that so ever belive in Him shall not perish in the spirit. "
The bible is God's rule book on how you are to love him. He tells you what you must do in order to get into heaven. God does put demands on us. Stop trying to sugar coat God. Read his word and follow his rules or perish in hell. It's that simple. There are too many weak Christians.
That is not my experience, Bob.
"hinduism believes in a man,". No they don't. What man?
"same with Buddha who became a God." Buddhists do not believe that.
There is not a shred of verified evidence that The Bible is the "words" of any god.
I would rather life has no meaning than a false one. It gives one the ultimate freedom, the freedom to give his own life meaning, without others telling you what it is. I find that many religious people seem to have this notion, that there's no such thing as meaning or morality without religion. For the weak minded, that's probably true. For those who search for meaning beyond myths told to them by their parents and priests, there's a great deal of beauty, and meaning, in the world and in life.
My parents were not religious. I'm not believing myths they told me. I don't believe everything my pastor told me. He said nobody has got it all right.
After accepting Jesus Christ, I feel free.
@Truth, you make no sense at all, but then you belive unicorns. Tell the world the difference in RA verse YAHWEH and please use something else other than the bible,i it is so riddle with myth, legends, but then that is what your trying to sell. Please go ahead and use it..
kris, that is just meaningless dribble.
God is no meaning God is madness.
I still can't fathom why people still believe old text as 100% fact.
Do you not an a mind of your own?
Is it inertia?
Is it because it was your parents religion?
Or is it because you are afraid of death?
It must be something to cause a human being to believe in such childish fantasy.
A thousand years from now I bet people will believe Santa Claus was real, that is if they find the "right" book.
In any case....
OH, NAD GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!
it is not childish to believe in God. You dont have to be religious to be spiritual. God is real. There is nothing but God, nothing else.
I don't think most ppl think that the Dead Sea Scrolls are 100% fact.
"There is nothing but God, nothing else."
So im god? You're god? This sentence is god? My lamp is god? Nice logic.
Kris, And the evidence is?
So true, thanks.
I can't still can't understand why some people think gossip mags are true. I can't still understand why some people think politicans are honest 100%. See where this going. Instead of questioning ones belief, which is similar to questioning why people love, hate and so on try reading the Bible and finding a reputable pastor to answer your queations.
the bible is horse shit and pastors are lying leeches.
Uncouth. The bible is also (obviously) that old, yet some people believe it was dictated by a god and thus 100% true.
Doni, Why do you feel that people can only have morals if they believe in your god? A pastor may offer useful advice in times of need but a religion is not a prerequisite when seeking counsel.
Dead Sea Scrolls are another example that the Bible hasn't changed over time. People are just looking for excuses not to follow it.
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.