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Something There: The Biology of the Human Spirit [Paperback]

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Item Number 366485  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   316
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2007
Publisher   Templeton Foundation Press
ISBN  1599471140  
EAN  9781599471143  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
In recent years, a considerable body of evidence has been accumulating in both the physical and social sciences suggesting that our spiritual nature is real and not illusory, or that "there is something there." This book provides an accessible interdisciplinary study of recent scholarly work in human spirituality.

Zoologist David Hay analyzes extensive research on contemporary attitudes drawn from surveys and polls; his investigative work with the late Oxford zoologist Alister Hardy, founder of the Religious Experience Research Unit; and more than thirty years of his own research experience. Evidence is presented in the context of Western cultural history, beginning with tracing a repression of spiritual awareness arising from the European Enlightenment view of God as the most remotely theoretical of all intellectual fantasies.

Like Hardy, Hay believes spirituality is "prior to religion and is a built-in, biologically structured dimension of the lives of all members of the human species." Spirituality has a biological context, Hay contends, through which religion can rise, but does not necessarily do so. To evaluate this hypothesis, he examines a lengthy research procedure in the 1990s and excerpts from a poll in which ordinary people talk about how they try to make sense of their spiritual lives.

The findings conclusively show that, regardless of cultural influences and variations in beliefs about traditional religion, the most common phenomenon is an all-pervasive sense of "something there." He points to evidence that spiritual awareness is rooted in our physiological make-up. He argues that this awareness is the underpinning of ethics, thus ignoring or repressing spirituality has damaging effects on Western society. He notes the current upsurge of interest in spirituality which he sees as "both a symptom of the malaise and an opportunity to begin the reconstruction of a humane moral commonwealth."


Book Description

In recent years, a considerable body of evidence has been accumulating in both the physical and social sciences suggesting that our spiritual nature is real and not illusory, or that “there is something there.” This book provides an accessible interdisciplinary study of recent scholarly work in human spirituality. Zoologist David Hay analyzes extensive research on contemporary attitudes drawn from surveys and polls; his investigative work with the late Oxford zoologist Alister Hardy, founder of the Religious Experience Research Unit; and more than thirty years of his own research experience. Evidence is presented in thecontext of Western cultural history, beginning with tracing a repression of spiritual awareness arising from the European Enlightenment view of God as the most remotely theoretical of all intellectual fantasies.
Like Hardy, Hay believes spirituality is “prior to religion and is a built-in, biologically structured dimension of the lives of all members of the human species.” Spirituality has a

biological context, Hay contends, through which religion can rise, but does not necessarily do so. To evaluate this hypothesis, he examines a lengthy research procedure in the 1990s and excerpts from a poll in which ordinary people talk about how they try to make sense of their spiritual lives.
The findings conclusively show that, regardless of cultural influences and variations in beliefs about traditional religion, the most common phenomenon is an all-pervasive sense of “something there.” He points to evidence that spiritual awareness is rooted in our physiological make-up. He argues that this awareness is the underpinning of ethics, thus ignoring or repressing spirituality has damaging effects on Western society. He notes the current upsurge of interest in spirituality which he sees as “both a symptom of the malaise and an opportunity to begin the reconstruction of a humane moral commonwealth.”
Hay uses the results of his research to consider ways of overcoming the negative image of the institution of religion. He sees recovery of contemplative prayer as one of the most important tasks of the church. He concludes that most people are already deeply interested in the search for ultimate meaning and long “to repudiate our alienation from our human essence and to rebuild a relationship with the Creator. . . . This amounts to the prying open of a cultural valve long choked up, but never quite closed, because at some level people have always known that there is 'something there.’”




Buy Something There: The Biology of the Human Spirit by David Hay, Nick Wolfe, Robert J. Schwalb, Shawan Lewis, Don Lepan, Marian Simms & Jon Buller from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781599471143 & 1599471140

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More About David Hay, Nick Wolfe, Robert J. Schwalb, Shawan Lewis, Don Lepan, Marian Simms & Jon Buller

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! David Hay is a zoologist and Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen. For the past 11 years he has also been a visiting professor at the Institute for the Study of Religion at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. David was formerly Reader in Spiritual Education at the University of Nottingham, where he directed the Children's Spirituality Project. He is also a former director of the Alister Hardy Research Centre in Oxford. Rebecca Nye is a child psychologist and a member of staff in the faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University.

David Hay was born in 1935.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > General   [3047  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Science & Religion   [997  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General   [11744  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Leaves one a bit sad, frankly  Aug 29, 2008
The book is well described both by the editorial reviewers above and by the (so far) two readers who offered comments. I like the book and intend to use it for my classes in the problem of belief as a counter to Sam Harris's END OF FAITH. So why does it leave me sad? Because while I agree with the premise of the book that we are "naturally" spiritual beings and, further, that the individualistic and skeptical trend of Western civilization since the 17th century (or so) has left us without grounding and without a reason for treating each other with love, he offers no real solution. Yes, the great religious traditions are letting us down, and yes, the traditions that are actually growing (in the US, though this book focuses on the UK) are fundamentalist and, for Hay, really part of the problem, where does that leave us? It's hard to believe that mainstream Christianity will reform itself along the lines he proposes. Catholicism had a chance to do that 40 years ago after Vatican II, but it didn't really work. We now have a conservative reactionary regime that doesn't seem to be attracting too much enthusiasm outside of the "usual suspects" in Europe or the USA. There is plenty of spirituality here in the USA, but as Hay might point out, it's fairly individualistic and politically powerless. One of the ironies of the book is that the individualism that Hay blames as the cause of our woes and the enemy of religion is precisely what fundamentalist Christians regard as God-ordained. An economic system which regards greed as a kind of virtue is so ingrained that after 9/11 all a deeply Christian President could recommend to Americans was to go out shopping and spur the economy. That Christians should regard this as compatible with the teachings of Jesus is unfortunate, and hard to understand ("Woe to you rich," as Jesus put it in Luke), but it seems not likely to go away any time soon. So: I'm still sad.
 
A unique, inviting and authoritative approach.  May 12, 2007
The human spiritual side is real and not an illusion: this is often a contention of spirituality titles but here the idea comes from a trained zoologist who uses his research and background to blend modern attitudes drawn from surveys and polls with results from his investigative work with a late zoologist Alister Hardy - and over thirty years of personal research. The idea is that spirituality is a built-in, biologically structured dimension of all humans: any serious spirituality holding will appreciate the reasoned, logical arguments which support his contention, and many a college-level collection in social science and psychology will also find this a unique, inviting and authoritative approach.
 
Something There: The Biology of the Human Spirit  Feb 21, 2007
This is a monumental work by David Hay, bringing together over 30 years of his research and scholarship in the reality of human spirituality.

Hay guides us along historical pathways to understand just why expressing their spirituality can be so difficult for westerners and suggests how this apparent sickness of the spirit might be addressed.

While a significant scholarly work, the book is a very easy read interspersed as it is throughout with conversations from the many, many interviews with ordinary people, most of whom do not attend church, about their hidden spirituality.

A scholar could well buy it simply for the references. All would enjoy it with interest, gaining an expanded self knowledge in the process.

Dr Paul McQuillan
Honorary Reseach Fellow
Australian Catholic University
 
Human spirituality and biology  Sep 7, 2006
The biology of spirituality--is such a subject possible? David Hay is uniquely qualified to speak on human spirituality from a biological perspective. Having served as the director of the Religious Experience Research Unit at Oxford, he is well acquainted with the classic studies of spirituality conducted by zooligist Alister Hardy, founder of the research unit. In this book Hay surveys several key classic studies in the study of religion and spirituality, providing depth of coverage rarely seen in books of this nature. Hay also summarizes his own research work, which can be characterized by both having breadth and variety. As a complement to both the classic studies and his own work, Hay summarizes some of the best research conducted in recent years related to the spiritual experiences of humanity--including a variety of religions and, perhaps just as important, the spiritual experiences of non-religious people. The latter are important because as the influence of religion has significantly declined in much of the world, the interest in spirituality simultaneously has mushroomed. His conclusions point to not only a biological basis for spiritual experience, but also that spirituality is an important part of what makes us human, as the many first-hand accounts clearly underscore (although the possibility is admitted that some higher animals may have similar experiences). This book is poetry and science, historical and contemporary, subjective and objective, thoroughly human yet pointing beyond to the Other. A major addition to the literature on spirituality, it draws widely upon many sources--and perhaps The Source--to make a distinctive contribution to that literature.
 

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