The Crucified Scientific Brain

I’ve finally taken the time to read an article in Friday, January 26, 2007’s Telegraph Journal called, “The Science Behind Spirituality” that I found interesting. There’s not a lot of information there and it basically just whetted my appetite for more. I’m interested in mind and brain studies and science as it relates to spirituality, faith and religion. It begins by posing some questions:

Does God exist outside the human mind, or is God a creation of our brains? Why do we have faith in things that we cannot prove, whether it’s the afterlife or UFOs?

It admits that,

Very few are looking at spirituality from a neurological side, from the brain-mind side, said Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of the centre.

The “centre” is not a literal building, but a

multidisciplinary team of Penn researchers exploring the relationship between the brain and spirituality from biological, psychological, social and ideological viewpoints. Founded last April, it is bringing together some 20 experts from fields including medicine, pastoral care, religious studies, social work and bioethics.

Newberg continues:

The brain is a believing machine because it has to be… Beliefs affect every part of our lives. They make us who we are. They are the essence of our being… Atheists have belief systems, too.

Interesting material that deserves my ongoing study. Expect more of it on my blog.

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  • Your photo intrigues me. Is that a brain nailed to the cross? If so, it seems a good place to start an intellectual enquiry.
    I also like the statement “Atheists have belief systems, too”. I keep saying that, and I haven’t yet met an atheist that believes me.
    I will be interested to read more about research in this field.
    On a related subject, I recently stumbled across a blog entry on glossolalia – not among Christians but among linguists (my scene, ‘cos I’m a translator). Apparently, one neurologist found that when people speak in tongues, the section of the brain that normally exercises control functions seems to become largely inactive. Another researcher came to a slightly different conclusion – it seems that the speech sounds made when speaking in tongues hardly ever deviate from the sounds that we normally use in the languages that we speak naturally, which would suggest that perhaps we do exercise some degree of control after all.
    Fascinating stuff. But even being a linguist myself, I am unable to speak in tongues and analyse the output at the same time. It’s like a two way switch – either one or the other, they just don’t mix.

  • I quickly composed the picture of a brain on a cross. Just came to my mind. Interesting stuff on glossalalia. More to come!