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Spook n’ awe

According to a recent study,

Based on these preliminary findings, Valdesolo and Graham are now looking at factors that modulate the effect of awe on belief in the supernatural.

For example, they are testing whether adopting submissive body postures, which make us feel less powerful, might dispose us to experiences of awe. Such a link could perhaps explain the presence of such postures in religious practice, such as kneeling, bowing, and gazing up.
“The more submissive we act, the more awe we might feel, and perhaps the stronger our beliefs become,” says Valdesolo.

Cart. Horse.

Some research is valuable principally for what it tells us about the persons doing and consuming it rather than about its subjects.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

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One Response to Spook n’ awe

  1. Should not the adoption of a physical attitude of submissiveness towards God be propitious to a spiritual attitude of worshipfulness, its being no more than condign, given the disparity between Creator and creature?

    To atheist researchers, of course, such awe would be vacuous, and would not ensue from the receipt of divine grace, but would be psychosomatic. Their loss.

    In reality, it can be overdone, in the sense that Christ’s Incarnation was hardly an indication of God’s desiring to stand on his dignity, and us to realise our quite real nothingness in our own right. As an eastern sage commented, ‘As an ant is in God, it is higher than we are in ourselves.’

    Catholic right-wingers want to kneel at the altar rail and receive the Sacred Host on their tongue – as though literal sheep. For me, it’s much simpler. At the time when communicants are to receive the Sacred Host, nobody, nothing, not the priest, not the Tabernacle, not the altar nor the altar rail should insert itself in any shape or form between Jesus and his children.

    If this is not the time in this life on earth when the ‘first-born sons’ of God must be made to feel the uniqueness of God’s love for each one of us, when ever can it be? I am sure God doesn’t wish us to abase ourselves before him all the time, in order to receive his love. A reverential posture is always a gift of grace, nevertheless.

    On the contrary, our God wishes to adopt us into the divine family of the Holy Trinity – family members, as ‘other Christs’ by adoption, first-born sons, members of the Mystical Body of Christ.

    Intellectually, I still retained something of the agnostics’ and atheists’ puzzlement at the idea of glorifying, praising and blessing God until quite recently, when I realised that they were all ways whereby we can express our love for God, and He for us via the originating supernatural grace from Him, and that love returned to Him; only to be returned back to us as love again! I find the doxology, and just addressing the Holy Trinity, so much easier to pray mindfully now. Three Persons in one God isn’t easy for the analytical intelligence to grasp, but the unitive intelligence manages it, when we focus on love as we pray.

    If prayer is said to be ‘the raising of the mind and heart to God’, praise would clearly be the most characteristically heart-felt of the different types of prayer. Indeed, prayers of praise are held by the Church to be the highest form of prayer – ideally sung, as well.

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