TIME Cover: THE GOD GENE. Does our DNA compel us to seek a higher power? Believe it or not, some scientists say yes. PLUS: A quiz—How spiritual are you

  • Share
  • Read Later

COVER STORY: Is God In Our Genes? (p. 62)

A highly provocative question is being debated in the worlds of science and religion, writes TIME’s Jeff Kluger. “Did humans create religion from cues sent from above, or did evolution instill in us the sense of the divine so that we would gather into the communities essential to keeping the species going?” In the new book, The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired Into Our Genes, molecular biologist Dean Hamer, chief of gene structure at the National Cancer Institute, claims he has located one gene responsible. “Our most profound feelings of spirituality, according to a literal reading of Hamer’s work, may be due to little more than an occasional shot of intoxicating brain chemicals governed by our DNA. ‘I’m a believer that every thought we think and every feeling we feel is the result of activity in the brain,’ Hamer says. ‘I think we follow the basic law of nature, which is that we’re a bunch of chemical reactions running around in a bag.’” Hamer is clearly the heir of a millenniums-long search for the wellsprings of spirituality, writes Kluger, who is TIME’s lead science writer.

-- Quiz: How Spiritual Are You (p. 70)

Find out if you are highly skeptical – or highly spiritual – by taking a 20-question quiz, adapted from a personality inventory devised by Washington University psychiatrist Robert Cloninger, author of Feeling Good: The Science of Well-Being.

10 QUESTIONS for THE DALAI LAMA: ‘If I die today, I think they will want another Dalai Lama; (p. 8) Tibet’s supreme religious and political leader, 69, tells TIME’s Alex Perry “If you look at the Tibet situation locally, then it’s hopeless. But from a wider perspective, it’s hopeful.”