Logo for How God Works: The Science Behind Spirituality

How God Works: The Science Behind Spirituality

PRX

While religion and science often seem at odds, there’s one thing they can agree on: people who take part in spiritual practices tend to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. The big question is: Why? In How God Works, professor Dave DeSteno takes us on a journey to find out how spirituality impacts our minds and bodies, as well as the world in which we live.

He speaks to leading scientists and philosophers, religious thinkers, and thought leaders to explore what we can learn from the world’s faith traditions to help us meet some of life’s biggest challenges. Along the way, he’ll look at how we can adapt and use spiritual practices in our own lives, whatever our beliefs, including none at all.

It’s by working across the boundaries that usually divide us – science versus religion, one faith versus another – that we’ll find new ways to make life better for everyone.

David DeSteno

While religion and science often seem at odds, there’s one thing they can agree on: people who take part in spiritual practices tend to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. The big question is: Why? In How God Works, professor Dave DeSteno takes us on a journey to find out how spirituality impacts our minds and bodies, as well as the world in which we live.

He speaks to leading scientists and philosophers, religious thinkers, and thought leaders to explore what we can learn from the world’s faith traditions to help us meet some of life’s biggest challenges. Along the way, he’ll look at how we can adapt and use spiritual practices in our own lives, whatever our beliefs, including none at all.

It’s by working across the boundaries that usually divide us – science versus religion, one faith versus another – that we’ll find new ways to make life better for everyone.

David DeSteno

How to be a Great Ancestor

Thumbnail for "How to be a Great Ancestor".
February 5, 202335min 46sec

What do we owe future humans? In principle, it seems obvious that we should do what we can to make life better for the generations that follow, just as our ancestors did for us. But while most of us agree that doing this is the right thing, it can be hard to put into practice while also avoiding some of the pitfalls that often afflict growing philosophies like effective altruism and longtermism.

Join Dave as he speaks to Harvard psychologist and philosopher Joshua Greene about what drives our moral instincts, and to futurist Ari Wallach about how tapping into spirituality and emotion can help us become better ancestors to those yet to be born.

Find out more about Joshua Greene’s work, including how to buy his book Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them, on his website. Also, check out Giving Multiplier, a donation system Josh co-created based on research about how to improve charitable giving decisions.

Ari Wallach is the author of Longpath: Becoming the Great Ancestors Our Future Needs. Find out about the book and Longpath in general here. You can also read Ari’s article for Wired about addressing short-termism, or watch his TED talk.


Other interesting readings on the topic for this episode: The Big Thing Effective Altruism (Still) Gets Right, by Ezra Klein for the New York Times, and Effective altruism gave rise to Sam Bankman-Fried. Now it’s facing a moral reckoning, by Sigal Samuel for Vox.