What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Prayer?

August 4, 2013, 4:20 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Studies have repeatedly shown that people who set aside time to pray are generally healthier and recover from illness more quickly than those who don't. Even atheists who pray experience an uptick in health, according to Stanford anthropology professor T.M. Luhrmann. "But it's also true that while [Luhrmann] was doing research on evangelical spirituality, there were times when people got so engrossed with prayer that they seemed almost addicted — so compelled to pray that they could not stop." Some of the faithful referred to their behavior as "puking" prayer, making Luhrmann wonder whether there was such a thing as too much prayer. 

What's the Big Idea?

According to sociological research on the effects of too much prayer, the condition resembles that of becoming addicted to video games. In both cases, individuals are able to imagine alternate realities which they then inhabit, instead of living in the real world. "When people use prayer to enhance their real-word selves, they feel good. When it disconnects them from the everyday, they feel bad. The imagination is a double-edged sword. ...[T]he capacity to make something real is not the same as the capacity to make it good or useful. That’s a caveat to bear in mind for any kind of prayerful life."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at the New York Times


Is There Such a Thing as To...

Newsletter: Share: