Serotonin linked to religiosity?


I found this blog on an atheist site. It reads:

“In a recent study, researchers have found that people with higher concentrations of serotonin receptors were more likely to be religious or the nebulous “spiritual.” This is interesting because it would explain the connection between transcendent experiences and the use of psychotropic drugs and also the inverse correlation between religiosity and depression. Check it out for yourself”

(THE QUOTE) “Serotonin, the brain chemical crucial to mood and motivation, also shapes personality to make you susceptible to spiritual experiences. A team of Swedish researchers has found that the presence of a receptor that regulates general serotonin activity in the brain correlates with people’s capacity for transcendence, the ability to apprehend phenomena that cannot be explained objectively. Scientists have long suspected that serotonin influences spirituality because drugs known to alter serotonin such as LSD also induce mystical experiences. But now they have proof from brain scans linking the capacity for spirituality with a major biological element.
The concentration of serotonin receptors normally varies markedly among individuals. Those whose brain scans showed the most receptor activity proved on personality tests to have the strongest proclivity to spiritual acceptance.
Reporting in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers see the evidence as contradicting the common belief that religious behavior is determined strictly by environmental and cultural factors. They see a biological underpinning for religiosity, and it is related to the neurotransmitter serotonin.”

I agree that this happens, but I can’t see this disproving God or the Spiritual. I mean, when we feel rejoiced, it iS because of our serotonin, that’s the chemical which makes us happy. We’re not feeling happy by magic.

Any comments?


Considering that I came back to my faith at a time when I was technically clinically depressed (and not because it gave me any real relief from my depression and severe anxiety), and before I was prescribed an SSRI(which helped me greatly), this theory at least does not hold true in my case.


Can God, if he so wills, increase or decrease the amount of serotonin? Yes or no? Obviously, yes.

Materialism fails again.

Science tells us how something happens; religion tells us who is doing it.


That’s interesting


Why would God increase our serotonin? That would be interfering with our thought/feelings, He’d be pulling our strings. That makes us robots. Not free creatures to love Him.

Just as people see visions and it’s all in their mind (hallucination, brain disorder), I’m sure it’s possible those with more serotonin would be prone to accept God. Though that doesn’t mean those with liitle would not accept Him, cause many do.


I see this going along, in a way, with the fact that many human beings believe in a religion. Why is that? Cause we have a soul? Perhaps, though I think it relates more to a scientific point of view. And just because more people who have higher amounts of serotonin accept God compared to those with little, doesn’t mean ther eis no God. It’s just the way we are, the way we evolved. God comes to us by grace, and that’s when true faith arrives.


The article isn’t saying that God increases our serotonin levels so that we might be greater able to accept Him, it says that the researchers believe that increased serotonin levels might render a person more subceptible to religious experiences and therefore more open to belief in God- which is the opposite of my own personal experience.


The first thing a college freshman learns in statistics is that “correlation does not imply causation”. That is, it is just as likely that religious faith increases seratonin (and feelings of well-being) as it is that seratonin increases religious faith.

My Catholic faith certainly increases my sense of well-being. If that is seratonin then hooray for seratonin!



I was answeing Kawaii.


“hooray for serotonin” is a motto I can get behind lol


I’m with you on this one. I suffered a severe clinical depression in my mid-forties and became much closer to God before the SSRI was prescribed. Plus, the SSRI had the effect of blunting my feelings and emotions, although it relieved the symptoms and made me functional again. Once I was weaned off of the drug, my emotional state became normal again. I have read that this is a common side effect of these drugs.


So researchers found that a mild serotonin deficiency can contribute to difficulties perceiving spiritual reality.:yawn: Maybe medication can help them be more aware of such matters.


God offers us grace. If he knows that a given soul requires seratonin to be able to embrace the grace, then he may stimulate seratonin in that person’s body.




This is absolutely true. Seotonin activity is very high in those believers who experience God. Neuroscientists have also found a correlation using Psychoactive substances like LSD. So, using these observations, the athesits are claiming that there is no actual religious experience through God. All the emotional responses are as a result of neurotransmitter function.

Dr. Candace Pert, a Neuroscientist who discovered the opiate receptors in brain strongly believes that for any emotional response, there must be elsctrochemical activity mediated by neorotransmitters. Serotonin has been implicated. The fact of the matter is the religious experience is real and is mediated by the neurotransmitter activity. Any process connected with thought processes and emotional responses are mediated through the limbic system. As such, serotonin activity must be high. The basic mechanisms underlying religious experiences and psychedelic experiences are the same. The atheists cannot score any point over here. :shrug:


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