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The More We Evolve, The Less We Need God

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  • God of the Gaps?

    In her opening remarks, cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin concedes that science can’t yet answer all of humanities’ questions about the universe. But that doesn’t mean God can.

  • Deepak Chopra: The Meaning of God

    Deepak Chopra, best-selling author and integrative medicine advocate, offers a definition of God not as an “imagined deity” but as the consciousness that makes human experience possible.

  • Religious Belief & Societal Health

    Do nations with higher rates of religiosity and belief in God fare better in terms of health and social outcomes? Debater Michael Shermer, best-selling author and publisher of Skeptic magazine, argues they do not.

  • Considering Consciousness

    Does consciousness exist outside of the brain? Heather Berlin and Anoop Kumar discuss.

  • God & The Future

    Does humanity still need God as represented in Christianity, Islam, or Judiasm? Deepak Chopra responds.

  • Peace & Religion

    Does repressing belief in God lead to violence? Heather Berlin, Michael Shermer, and Anoop Kumar respond.

Debate Details

The More We Evolve, the Less We Need Religion

Does God have a place in 21st century human affairs? For many, the answer is an unapologetic yes. Belief in a higher power, they argue, is the foundation of human consciousness and the soul of all social, political, and scientific progress. Further, some claim, humans are biologically predisposed to embrace religion and require faith to live moral lives. Others are far more skeptical. For them, adherence to faith and religious tradition serves only to fracture communities and prevent humanity from embracing a more enlightened, reasoned, and just social order. As we look to the future in uncertain times, should spirituality and religion play a central role in human evolution, innovation, and discovery? Or has God become obsolete? 

The Debaters

For the motion

Heather Berlin

Heather Berlin

Cognitive Neuroscientist

Heather Berlin, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a cognitive neuroscientist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai... Read More

Michael Shermer

Founder, The Skeptics Society & Best-Selling Author

Michael Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University... Read More

Against the motion

Dr. Deepak Chopra

Dr. Deepak Chopra

Integrative Medicine Advocate & Best Selling Author

Deepak Chopra, M.D., founder of the Chopra Foundation, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is... Read More

Dr. Anoop Kumar

Dr. Anoop Kumar

Emergency Physician & Author, “Michelangelo’s Medicine”

Anoop Kumar, M.D., is a board-certified emergency physician practicing in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where he also leads meditation gatherings... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Humans no longer need God to explain the unknown. Rather than turning to faith or religious tradition, modern society should rely on scientific and reasoned inquiry to address today’s challenges and questions.

  • Morality is independent of God. From the oppression of women and LGBT people to the institution of slavery and genocide, religious groups have used faith to justify society’s worst practices.

  • Belief in God stifles modernization: Studies show that intensely religious countries are less innovative and produce less patents than those that aren’t. It is science, rather, that has been at the heart of innovation and discovery. 

Against The Motion
  • According to NASA, only 4 percent of the universe is known matter; the rest remains largely a mystery. Science alone cannot illuminate or explain this large gap.

  • Scientific progress requires God. The creators of today’s most powerful innovations – from nuclear arms to gene editing technologies – require an awareness of consciousness, and must be guided by a belief in a common good to ensure these technologies don’t destroy society as a whole.

  • The secularization thesis is a myth: A new study by Pew Research Center shows that the world’s Christian and Muslim populations are continuing to grow – even if younger generations don’t attend church. 

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The Research

The Research

The Heady Future of the Human Brain

March 26, 2015

Heather Berlin argues that within the next 50 years, it may be possible for our brains to “control a cursor on a computer or type emails just by using their thoughts.”

Would we be better off without religion?

Reza Aslan and Lawrence Krauss
November 24, 2017

"Religion is both a force of good and evil because religion is a man-made institution, and human beings are both good and evil.”

The Power of Religion

David Leonhardt
February 28, 2018

“Does religious faith lead to these healthy behaviors? Or is something else, independent of faith, causing them?”

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