New ways of relating religion and science emerge. By Rosemary Joyce, Ph.D....
"... The anthropological study of religion is as old as the field, and has been a rich source of insight into how human life has been organized. Indeed, some anthropologists would argue that religiosity is a core part of what makes us human.S... But there is definitely something new about how anthropologists are approaching this sensitive topic.
Take Stanford University anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann as one example. In her recently released book, When God Talks Back, Luhrmann explores how prayer allows believers in an American evangelical church to hear the voice of god. While she disclaims a position on whether or not God exists, Luhrmann is clear that
"people did hear what they described as God's voice, and they sometimes heard that voice audibly."
Luhrmann, in ethnographic work, explored how believers cultivated the capacity to hear what others could not. Her work combined traditional ethnography with experiments that demonstrate real distinctions between those who used prayer to cultivate inner awareness, and others who did not:"I found that the prayer practice did sharpen people's mental imagery.... It also increased the chance they would report an unusual sensory experience....Some of them reported feeling God touch their shoulder or speak with them or interact with them in a way they actually experienced with their senses..."