Various investigations have analyzed religious beliefs in relation to all kinds of parameters.

We are in a time of processions, a very religious moment.

Perhaps these days, when you see the processions, you wonder who are those people who go there, under the hood, if they will return to the office on Monday, if they think and feel the same as the others or have some characteristic that makes them especially devoted.

Since science studies almost everything, we have investigated a bit until we found a few research on religion and we have made a list, as if it were the ten commandments, the seven deadly sins or the seven sacraments. We have also come up with seven, but don’t worry, as it is about science we do not believe that they are absolute truths and we are also sure that you will not go to hell if you do not learn them.

Sex, food and religion are alike in the brain

A study from the University of Utah has found that religious experiences activate the brain’s reward circuitry, that is, the system that makes us feel good when faced with certain stimuli. What it does is release neurotransmitters such as dopamine and oxytocin, responsible for the pleasure we feel when having sex or tasting our favorite foods.

The experiment was carried out with a Mormon community and tried to find the networks of the brain that are activated by religious feelings. Through magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers found that reading the Book of Mormon, the canonical reading of Mormons, activates the pleasure-related neurons, but also the prefrontal cortex, related to social behavior.

Believers ask for less proof

The truth is that if we take a closer look at the study, it has some elements that should make us doubt before generalizing your conclusions, for example, that only 19 Mormons participated who pressed a button when they claimed to experience a religious feeling while reading. A bit subjective everything.

The critical minds they usually ask solid evidence to accept some facts. However, recent research from the University of Rochester states that religious and non-religious people have different standards in this regard. The believers they need a scientific result to be consistent to accept it, but they ask less teststo affirm that a fact is the result of praying. In contrast, non-believers behave the same in both situations. For the authors of the research, this means that religious people are less strict when evaluating unscientific claims.

Religion does not influence abortion

Anyway, being a religious person does not determine our whole lifeNot even the most momentous decisions. A City University of New York study of more than 1,500 unmarried women between the ages of 14 and 26 who had unintentionally gotten pregnant found that religious beliefs were not very influential when deciding whether or not to abort.

Social, economic and health factors were much more decisive for them. Furthermore, those who had received or were receiving a private religious education were more prone to termination of pregnancy than those in public schools.

Religious education makes us less altruistic

We do not know if this data will disappoint those who defend the permanence of religion in teaching, but here is another, perhaps even more disturbing: children who receive a religious education and live in believing family settings are less altruistic.

The research, published in Current Biology, analyzed the cases of 1,170 young people between the ages of 5 and 12 in six countries (Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey, the United States and South Africa). Despite cultural differences, in all cases the religious children were less generous than those from atheistic or agnostic families.

Religious experiences shrink the hippocampus

A study conducted with older people in 2011 showed brain differences between individuals who had lived very strong religious experiences, that somehow they had changed their lives. Specifically, they had ahsmaller hippocampus than other people who lived their religion in a less intense way. Curiously, the phenomenon was also found among those who were not ascribed to any religious belief, that is, quite the opposite.

The authors hypothesis is that actually it’s all due to stress. Some religious minority people and those who have to fight for their faith have more stressful lives. Hormones are released as a result of stress, which over time can reduce the volume of the hippocampus over time.

The great religions come out of welfare

Scientific research also explains why we are celebrating Holy Week. Well it actually explains why the great religions triumphedsuch as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Scientists from France and the United States have concluded that the improvement of living standards in Europe and Asia it was a determining factor.

The authors developed a statistical model based on history and psychology to explain how some 2,500 years ago in different parts of the planet began to emerge and almost at the same time the changes that would lead to the majority religions of today.

Hunter-gatherer societies expressed their beliefs in the form of rituals, offerings, and sacrifices to ward off evil and meet their basic material needs. But nevertheless, when societies begin to have a certain well-being, to eat a good number of calories a day and to have safe houses, they began to have concerns about significance personal, with purposes beyond the material. Thus appears a new morality that attacks excesses in matters as earthly as food and sex.

Your mobile knows what your religion is

Perhaps there is someone interested in knowing which of those great religions we profess. Well if you can access the metadata of our mobile, you probably won’t have a hard time finding out. That is what a Stanford University study concludes in which the authors installed an application on the device of more than 800 volunteers with which they could collect information about their conversations and their social networks.

The objective of the researchers was to show that obtaining sensitive data from the population, as Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA did, is very easy. Among other things, the results showed how simple it is predict what a person’s religious affiliation is.