Genetics Can Impact Your Religion

October 8, 2013

Dr. Robert Fuller, Caterpillar Professor of Religions Studies at Bradley University, has released a book that tackles the topic of how your genetic make-up affects your religious beliefs.  The book is called The Body of Faith.   

Dr. Fuller provides the first account of American religious history to highlight the biological body. This new perspective shows that the body's genetically evolved systems - pain responses, sexual passion, and emotions - have persistently shaped the ways that Americans forge relationships with nature, society and God.  His book offers a truly interdisciplinary framework for explaining the richness, diversity, and endless creativity of American religious life.

Dr. Fuller says timing was a key factor in his decision to write this book.  "I wrote the book because I think we live in an exciting time intellectually.  We live in the age of the mapping of the human genome.  Historians and social scientists used to labor under the impression that we are born into the world as blank slates, waiting the environment to etch in our ideas/beliefs/customs," which he believes isn't true, based on newly emerging information about the biological body.  "New evidence shows us that many of our genetically evolved bodily systems have a profound impact on how/why we think or act or feel the way we do.  I write this book to show how attention to this information enriches how we understand why people have the religious thoughts, actions, feelings that they do."

Listen to Dr.Fuller's interview on "The Greg and Dan" show on 1470 WMBD radio.