We all know that religion plays a pretty large part in our government. From having to swear on a bible when testifying in court, to the words “In God We Trust” sprawled across our money, and even to the daily pledge of “one nation under God” to our country’s flag that our children recite in school every day. But just how much of an influence does the government actually have on us when it comes to our personal beliefs? Is there government programs set up specifically to sway our religious thoughts?
While doing some research, I came across an interview on Benswann.com in which Swann and an anonymous whistleblower discuss some of the research projects that are happening at Arizona State University involving narrative theory and its impact on religious thought.
During the interview, the whistleblower, who worked on the ASU research team for several years, talks about how the project attempts to map the brain in order to try to see what parts of the brain allow us to accept narratives that we are presented with, aka, narrative theory. Through this, researchers are able to gain a better understanding of the influence that narrative theory has on factors such as our emotions, memory, persuasion, etc. The whistleblower tells Swann that “the project is focused on the belief that the reason Muslims in the Middle East are swayed to religious violence is not because of the reality that is going on around them, but because they are believing a local or regional narrative”. In other words, our brains essentially assume things that we have been taught since childhood, such as the “rags to riches” narrative in the US and the “Pharaoh who is a corrupt leader” narrative in the Middle East. Is it possible that these narratives that we’ve been taught since childhood are responsible for what we believe, instead of what is actually happening around us?