This is Your Brain on a Diet

Oh great, not only does our culture find us all too fat, we are also told that our brain/emotions are too “fat” as well, padded with unnecessary and empty calorie type things such as a God concept and religion. Ken Pulliam writes about faith and religion being “cognitive-emotional cheesecake.” I know where this is going. Just because something’s no longer evolutionarily necessary it does not mean that people can’t or won’t use it. We are admonished daily for our so-called lack of discipline with eating and we have a country shrieking at us about the diet-industry backed “obesity myth” (which may also be based on emotion). So now atheists have to admonish us for our propensity toward God and the implied lack of discipline to resist religion? It seems to me that our bodies and brains are designed to protect us, whether that means extra pounds or extra beliefs. So why the trends toward making ourselves, through denial and want, less of the people we should be and more like lean, mean machines which have to be maintained, excised, banded, surger-ied or lobotomized and de-spiritualized at all costs?

Update: Although I sound confrontative, I have no “beef” with Ken (there’s that food analogy again). His blog is great and his ideas make me think. I like that.


7 thoughts on “This is Your Brain on a Diet

  1. I agree with you, and the analogy can be taken too far. But it can work the other way too; cheesecake is awesome, and it can be worth some extra weight to enjoy it, but there is a point where too much cheesecake can be dangerous for our health and we would be better off without it. Would you say there is a good middle-ground for both religion and cheesecake?

    Also, having some fundamentalism in my past, and knowing Pulliam does too, it can be hard to agree with the benefits of cheesecake when someone is telling you it isn’t really cheesecake, it is actually a complete meal, and any other food is simply an imitation of the real thing. Or something like that! :^)

  2. I have the same problem with evangelistic atheism as I do with evangelistic religions. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get your point across if you’re passionate about something, but that doesn’t mean it needs to obsess you and dominate your life. Thinking about religion and discussing it is different than arguing about it and getting your panties in a bunch. In the end, a nice hefty dose of humor goes a long way. After all, when you get right down to it, we’re all wrong in some places, and right in some places. The truth is what YOU believe. But that doesn’t make it the truth to everyone. Accepting that is the first step toward being able to listen to someone else’s opinions on the subject without turning into a raging maniac.

    • That’s what I’ve come to learn in all my years as a non-christian and as a christian and as an agnostic… well, you get the picture. It’s the obsession thing as you pointed out. Some people are obsessed with their religion or “ism.” I like thinking about religion. I like discussing it. I even like wallowing in ritual now and then because it’s the only discipline that gets me centered, focused, whatever. But as atimetorend says, too much of a thing can be bad. Aristotle would be chortling “I told them so” right about now.

    • Don’t know how I missed this post and this comment. We either have to master the difference between discussion in order to explore, and the desire to shred someone, or just shut up until we understand ourselves better. Thank you for expressing this so well.

  3. Funny old world. On the one hand I agree with your point(s), and I truly don’t know who bores me more, the evangelical God-botherers or the evangelical atheists. On the other, I do think that the amount of junk ideologies currently “on offer” out there seems to have multiplied exponentially. Which in a disturbing thought, as I suspect that too many “market forces” are behind a great percentage of them. Is a bit like this tendency to pathologize everything. You’re simply sad (about anything; for very sound reasons, I mean) and in they step the “professionals” with their pills and their funky therapies. Cui bono? Why, the Big Pharma/Therapy rackets, of course. Innit?
    Stay on top!

  4. DoDo, now that you mention it, it does seem that they have multiplied, or is it perhaps the internet shows us more loonies and wackos because we are all more connected now?

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