In All Those Camps For every particle of dust there was a name Not only when the sunlight reveals their properties floating in air that it is a phase through which they energize It is in the pulse of non-perceived awareness that their power utters every word in the primeval language once spoken in time. There are those I love dearly who do not believe there is any gift created by suffering loss. It is only when they are ready to let their arms brush against minute mouldered remains settled on cot posts, door jambs hospital beds and barbed-wire fences; when they journey to places wherein loved ones embrace them they can know joy from severed attachment I have watched them in their sleep When they dream, I believe tortured relatives sprinkle symbolice speech in pantomimes denied any sense in mornings Like ash, feelings well up from any past time as dead loved ones create moments the way a cat quietly arrives on what you’re reading to claim you for their own. I know when I awake on nights wherein I see no moon that stars will always shine from bones pulverized in all those camps I know now I can sing Kaddish only when charoset has once stuck in my throat.
by Diane Schmolka. first published in “The Ottawa Unitarian” Summer,1995
An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion.
"... [Dr. Wathey's] book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond...[He] argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy.
These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like: