Invisible Forces and Powerful Beliefs Gravity, Gods and Minds (paperback)

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-10-04
  • Publisher: Ft Pr
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Can religion and science co-exist? Do they? Is religion hardwired in humans? The book, from the Chicago Social Brain Network, is the result of an extraordinary ongoing conversation among a group of highly respected scientists, physicians, philosophers, and theologians. Together, they share profound insights into the deepest questions humans ask and explore the invisible forces and powerful beliefs that shape our lives. Their insights reflect both humanity's latest science and its most enduring wisdom. Their answers and questions will challenge readers and reward them with a richer understand of who we are, what we share, and what it means.

  • What do we really know about human nature?
  • How do we see what we see, know what we know, feel what we feel?
  • How do people come to believe in God?
  • Where does empathy come from?
  • What are the health benefits of faith?
  • Where do you end, and others begin?
  • What do marriage, family, and friendship mean?
  • How can people repair the broken connections that keep them lonely?

Author Biography

The Chicago Social Brain Network is a network of more than a dozen scholars unbounded by disciplinary precincts or methodological perspectives. The Network’s goal is to set aside the antagonisms that have grown up between science and humanities to explore diverse ways of seeing the world and shed new light on the human mind.


Network scholars hail from disciplines as disparate as psychology, neurology, theology, statistics, philosophy, internal medicine, anthropology, and sociology. Network members interact on a daily or weekly basis, and the entire Network convenes twice annually for a four-day retreat to discuss each others’ research, critique each other, and learn from one another.

Table of Contents

Preface     xi

1          Invisible forces operating on human bodies    1

2          The social nature of humankind    17

3          Science, religion, and a revived religious humanism    35

4          Health by connection: from social brains to resilient bodies    49

5          Psychosomatic relations: from superstition to mortality    61

6          The suspension of individual consciousness and the dissolution of self and other boundaries    73

7          Action at a distance: the invisible force of language    83

8          Hidden forces in understanding others: mirror neurons and neurobiological underpinnings    95

9          Empathy and interpersonal sensitivity    109

10        Seeing invisible minds    121

11        Anthropomorphism: human connection to a universal society    133

12        How does God become real?    145

13        Theological perspectives on God as an invisible force    157

14        Visible efforts to change invisible connections    171

15        Social brain, spiritual medicine?    185

16        Epilogue    197

About the authors    207

Index    209

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