Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Monday, July 9, 2012

a gene mutation may be a good thing

On Friday, July 6, ABC aired an episode of 20/20 about Heaven.

Barbara Walters spoke about what people believe it is, what people believe it looks like, and what are the perspectives of those we may tend to listen to?

She speaks with everyone from the Dalai Lama, to scientists, to people who have flat-lined and been brought back, and many other people in between. She also discusses the findings of many doctors and scientists, and what they believe.

During an interview with a former geneticist for the National Institute of Health, the doctor explained how they conducted a study to learn whether or not spirituality is something we are possibly genetically predisposed to. 

They asked study participants questions such as, "Do you feel some connection to other parts of the universe?"
And, "Do you believe in miracles?"

They found that everybody has some level of spirituality, but some people are simply higher on that scale. So Barbara Walters dug a little further, to explore how spirituality might actually be a personality trait encoded in our genes.

The geneticist tested the DNA from study participants, and those who scored highest had a mutation of at least one gene that seemed to affect their level of spirituality.

In his words, "This particular gene controls certain chemicals in the brain, and those chemicals affect how consciousness works. They affect the way that our feelings react to events around us."

Barbara Walters also spoke with a scientist from the Thomas Jefferson University, who studied people while they were deep in prayer. By referring to brain imaging, this man was able to prove that people can go to a place with less of a sense of space and time, and more of a nirvana.

The scientist formerly from NIH also added, "Nature has given us the capacity to be spiritual otherwise the gene would not have survived evolution. It also tells us that spirituality may be simpler, or more difficult, for some people."
He said it’s a ‘belief-that-there’s-something-else-out-there’ gene.

Barbara Walters concluded, whether or not you believe in a G-d or a heaven we still need spirituality to make our experiences complete.

I know this was not a discussion about the FMR1 gene. But I also know that, technically, it could be...

If a gene mutation can be a good thing, then I'll take it. The idea makes more sense to me to consider the likelihood that a difference can be a strength, vs a weakness. 

And I am happier at the mere thought, that just maybe, me and my son are genetically predisposed to be more spiritual than I give us credit for... more reason to be at peace than I've allowed myself to realize... and more reason to hope there is something else out there in his future. 

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