Over the last week I have discussed the “God Gene” and the “God Particle”; two newsworthy topics that have been hitting the headlines lately and causing a clash between proponents of science and religion. What about learned behavior as it relates to religion? Is faith in God taught? Of, course it is! We are not born having knowledge of God – At a young age we learn and establish a belief system based on our environment and surroundings.

I recently read a psychology study published in Science Magazine. Researchers, Will Gervais and Ara Norenzayan from the University of British Columbia recently published some new data about why people are more religious than others. Now, this is completely different research as compared to the “God Gene” VMAT2 that is capturing headlines. The God Gene is a DNA predisposition that theorizes that certain people based on their genetic makeup will be more likely to believe in God unlike those that possess little or no VMAT2. In a classic “Nature vs. Nurture argument, VMAT2 theorizes the nature of humans. This new study out of Canada focuses more on a quality of nurture – or what we learn from our mentors and environment.

According to new research, studies showed that encouraging people to think more analytically reduced their tendency to believe in God. Conversely, research showed that encouraging people to think more intuitively increased people’s belief in God. Taken together, these findings suggest belief may stem from how humans think – intuitively or analytically – and how our learning environment and surrounding social influences effect our belief systems.

In the Seventh Mandala (chapter) of the Responsive Universe – Meditations and Daily Life Practices I talk about this classic rift in our being – The quality of the mind or analytical thinking vs. our heart or intuitive thinking. Instead of living with divided interests, we must strive to merge our heart and mind as one. Humans tend to have the capability to be intuitive and also analytical. Depending on the person, one quality tends to dominate the other creating a rift or imbalance in energy. We need to be mindful of this rift and find common ground between the two worlds. When merged as one, the sum of the two is authentic empowerment; centered and self-actualized. When we are centered in life, our heart and mind rift is mended with both entities working together. Gone will be the rift; gone will be two voices; united will be your heart and mind working mutually toward self-evolution.

With the mind and heart merged as one you will find that new doors of perception will open up and a new and complete shift in perspective will take shape. Once you are centered your inner voice will speak wisdom about such musings of God and the Universe – These realizations can be considered part of our awakening, or self-evolution that connects us to our True Nature. Then our ego driven social environment and the influences of others will not matter.

That my friends is living in a Responsive Universe.

John C. Bader