The dangers of being too religious
by: Dr. M.A Persinger
The following is a Letter to the Editor originally published in the National Post, Tuesday February 21 2006. It is republished with the permission of the author. Publication here does not necessarily indicate Dr. Persinger's agreement with the views expressed elsewhere on the site.
Dr. Persinger is professor of behavioural neuroscience, Laurentian University.
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In Robert Buckman's book, Can We be Good Without God, he refers to a questionnaire that found 7% of Canadian university students say they would kill on God's name if God told them to do so. The number approached 20% if the person was male, attended a religious setting frequently and showed enhanced activity in the areas of the brain coupled with beliefs. If these proportions are generalizable across our modern world, then the risks of violence from believers who argue their god was offended by another group who believe in another god will never end. After all, impugning the validity of one's religious beliefs also threatens the believer's guarantee for immortality. The danger is not if the person is Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or whatever. The danger is unfettered religious belief.