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 the “How God Works” podcast, professor Dave DeSteno takes us on a journey to find out – one that combines cutting edge neuroscience with ancient wisdom.
He’ll speak to leading scientists, spiritual teachers, and religious leaders to explore what we can learn from faith practices ranging from meditation and prayer to psychedelics and fire-walking. He’ll look at how we can adapt and use spiritual practices in our own lives, whatever our beliefs -- including none at all.
By working across boundaries that usually divide people – science versus religion, one faith versus another – we’ll find new ways to make life better for everyone.
If you ask people what they think about religion, you often get one of two answers: Religion is the source of war, violence, abuse, and hypocrisy OR a route to love, kindness, tolerance, and mercy. Put another way, it’s either what divides us or it’s the thing that can actually bring us together. In a country deeply divided over social, political, and moral issues that seems to be moving further apart by the day, the answer’s not likely to be a simple one.
How God Works held its first live event in December to explore just that. Why does something that has the potential to connect us so deeply also have the ability to divide us so profoundly? And, regardless of what we believe, is there something we can learn from what religion gets right to find a way to come together?
In a wide-ranging and often moving discussion, Dave spoke to a panel of leading spiritual thinkers and social scientists who have experienced both sides of the issue, including Central Synagogue Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, award-winning author and Christian Historian Diana Butler Bass, The University of North Carolina’s Deepest Beliefs Lab director Kurt Gray, and The Aspen Institute’s Religion and Society Program’s executive director Simran Jeet Singh.
This podcast episode is an audio recording of the event in its entirety. If you’d rather watch than listen, a video of the event is available here.