The Human Brain: Hardwired for God?

Posted: June 7, 2012 in Behaviour, Biology, Consciousness, Inter-faith, Neurotheology, Philosophy, Psychology
Tags: , ,

The question as to whether or not we are hardwired for religion and spirituality is an important one from a range of different perspectives says pioneering neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg. The philosophical, theological and biological implications of the answer to this question are profound.

When we look at how the brain works, we see it’s able to very easily engage in religious and spiritual practices, ideas and experiences“, says Newberg.  So the brain does indeed appear to be hardwired to facilitate a spiritual dimension to our lives. Not only that, it is demonstrably possible to develop the spiritual ‘areas’ of the brain; the saying that ‘neurons that fire together wire together’ points to an important process in this respect, namely that of neuronal plasticity. So we shouldn’t be surprised then that regular and repetitive meditation practices and prayer alter and improve certain aspects of brain functioning.

You can watch a short ‘Big Think’ clip of Andrew Newberg explaining his thoughts on hardwiring for religion here:

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Comments
  1. Jnana Hodson says:

    So what happens when we deny or reject this aspect of our mindfulness?
    Or just how, in our materialistic/consumer society, do we break through with a call to this alternative?

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    • That’s a good point! I guess if we choose to ignore this aspect of our mindfulness, it will remain under-developed, but still present.

      As to how we break through to people living in a society too preoccupied with materialism at the expense of spirituality – that’s a difficult one! It’s hard to engage with people who don’t want to engage!

      Like

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