The subject of how we experience God through our brain functioning is a new hot potatoe in the world of thinking through faith issues.

Here are some initial thoughts that we’d like your thoughts and opinions on. To follow up with these we will be hearing from a leading international authority on this subject ( Dr Andrew Newberg), at our 4th November ARF Kgotla.

Dr Andrew Frost has kindly undertaken to contribute to the meeting, of his neurological scientific background. The discussion will be centred around the work of Dr Andrew Newberg, director of research at the Myrna Brind centre of integrative medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He is the professor in the Department of emergency medicine and radiology at the same university. Your circulating our members with this preliminary information would be appreciated. The topic of the mornings deliberations will be “Spirituality and the Brain”

Spirituality and the Brain

Religious Individuals would accept that the brain serves as the way we receive information from and about God.

Philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza have suggested that God reveals himself through creation and that we can therefore learn about religion and God by observing nature using our brain in scientific enquiry; physics, psychiatry, psychology, theology, neurology, biology, palaeontology et cetera. These disciplines, inter alia, form the basis of modern day understanding and even revelation. Thus, our ability to see causality, the interrelationship between things in the world and thus explore this wonderful creative arena is occasioned by the same means that some endeavour to interpret information about God’s active presence in the world.

Neuro theology, as a further discipline, seeks to offer an explanation towards an understanding of unique spiritual experiences e.g. meditation, prayer, speaking in tongues et cetera and how such may be manifest in the results of brain scans (brain imaging studies) during periods where individuals are experiencing the activities correlated with the transcendental.

Thus, we may ask:

How does the brain enable us to exhibit behaviours that are frequently associated with powerful spiritual, or mystical experiences?

Are religious or spiritual experiences normal or pathological?

What is the relationship between religion and mental health?

Does being a religious or spiritual person make you healthier?

What is the brains possible influence on religious ideas and beliefs?

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We look forward to your thoughts and comments, and seeing you at our 4th November meeting.