David Limbaugh

 It's hard not to conclude that such pride is responsible for the above-mentioned bizarre theory of American molecular geneticist Dr. Dean Hamer ("The God Gene: How Faith Is Hard-Wired Into Our Genes"), that a person's capacity for believing in God is genetically determined.

 Those with VMAT2 -- the God gene -- apparently have freer-flowing mood-altering chemicals in their brains, making them more inclined toward spiritual beliefs. Environmental influences, such as growing up in a religious family, supposedly have little effect on our beliefs.

 Uninhibited by humility, Dr. Hamer doesn't limit his conjecturing to his area of expertise. He ventures out into the spiritual and historical realms as well, telling us his findings aren't antithetical to a belief in God because "Religious believers can point to the existence of god genes as one more sign of the creator's ingenuity ? Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus all shared a series of mystical experiences or alterations in consciousness and thus probably carried the gene."

Perhaps Hamer's pride obscures from him the pitfalls in over-generalizing and presuming to lump together believers of different faiths. How could Christ, who claimed to be God in the flesh, have shared any mystical experiences with Buddha and Mohammed, neither of whom asserted their own deity?

Perhaps Dr. Hamer's conceit prevents him from recognizing that a God-gene is hard to square with Biblical Christianity. How could Christians subscribe to the idea of a God gene when the God of the Bible, if nothing else, is a god of accountability and judgment? Surely even Five-Point Calvinists would consider the notion a grotesque twist on the Doctrine of the Elect. But these distinctions are doubtlessly lost on the likes of Hamer, whose theories necessarily elevate the concept of determinism and demote personal responsibility.

Indeed, perhaps it is pride that leads the anti-theistic among us to reduce everything to deterministic molecules and DNA because such things are within their eventual grasp and control. To acknowledge that there may just be certain things beyond their eventual comprehension and, thus, control could be tantamount to recognizing that there is something -- Someone -- greater. Such blasphemy cannot stand.

 Perhaps the good doctor's arrogance precludes him from considering that for many Christians, believing is not a matter of some chemically induced emotional state. It is based on things far less vulnerable to the vicissitudes of our emotions, such as a belief in the Bible as the unchanging, inspired Word of God.

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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