Neurotheology: Are We Hardwired for God?

Scientific challenges to the beliefs promoted by the Brahma Kumaris so called "World Spiritual University"
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ex-l

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Neurotheology: Are We Hardwired for God?

Post04 Mar 2017

To graps what is, we also have to explore and remove from any possibility what is not and accept the most simple or provable explanations.

Neurotheology attempts to explain religious experience and behaviour in neuroscientific terms. It correlate neural phenomena in the brain with subjective experiences of spirituality and offers hypotheses to explain these phenomena. Proponents of neurotheology suggest that there are neurological and evolutionary bases for subjective experiences traditionally categorized as spiritual or religious.

See also; 'Neurotheology: This Is Your Brain On Religion and 'Principles of Neurotheology' by Andrew B. Newberg

From: Neurotheology: Are We Hardwired for God? by René J. Muller, PhD
Considering that the brain is increasingly being credited with having a role in everything we think, feel, and do, it was probably just a matter of time before it was postulated that religious belief has a neural substrate. The question of how the brain might be "hardwired" for spirituality has captured the interest of many investigators who have established careers in fields as different as neurology, theology, and neuroscience and spawned the new discipline of neurotheology.

Neurotheology, neurons, and neurotransmitters

Neurotheologians argue that the structure and function of the human brain predispose us to believe in God. They claim that the site of God's biological substrate is the limbic system deep within the brain, which has long been considered to be the biological center for emotion. Rhawn Joseph, a prominent neurotheologian, goes a step further to suggest that the limbic system is dotted with "God neurons" and "God neurotransmitters."
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Re: Neurotheology: Are We Hardwired for God?

Post05 Mar 2017

Of course there is neuroplasticity to consider as well. Whole treatise have been written about the human trait of creating gods, coming up with ‘ideas' then believing them as having actual own-being; wishing them into existence? Wanting them to be true?

Evolutionary biologists and psychologists have looked at the ability of humans to separate themselves from their immediate impulses - to delay gratification is not only a sign of adulthood of the individual but as powerful trait for a species and society to develop so it can work towards improving the lot of the whole. Those who achieve it survive and prosper, hence it becomes a genetic trait

This separation is also the beginning of dualistic thinking - now versus then, premeditated plan versus rash action, ideal versus pragmatic, better versus satisfactory, best versus better, the good versus the bad, good luck versus bad luck. The 'god neurones” are surely the same neurones as these other ones? ‘God’, gods, spirits, daemons and devas' are reifications of such things.
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Re: Neurotheology: Are We Hardwired for God?

Post05 Mar 2017

Looking at Newberg's impressive CV (part below), it's hard not to wonder why the Brahma Kumaris, with all their multi-millions and, say, 1,000s of graduates and professionals, have not produce any such work whatsoever, or even sponsored it. Or even kept up with scientific developments over the decades of their existence.

What he did find is that there are difference to different practises.

Knowing what we know now about the early days of the Brahma Kumaris/Om Mandli, I am still interested in looking at the cross over between "religiousity" and Lekhraj Kirpalani's potential mental illness ... remember, there was no god Shiva in the BKWSU until after 1955 prior to which he and they believed Lekhraj Kirpalani was basically all of them. Or at least all of the major male deitied in Hinduism.

What state of mind ... what degree of egotism or narcissism does it require to sustain such an exaggerated self-importance of being "higher than god" (quote-unquote) for two decades? And what state of minds does it require to then expend energy for decades cover it all up and hiding from new encultees?

From another source ...
bipolar hyperreligiosity typically relates to people thinking they are Jesus, GOD, or a prophet. An unswerving conviction that they have a connection to some mystical source of knowledge, this almost always results from or in ecstasy or elevated mood. It seems like your friend is missing the elevated mood part, but might be suffering from some kind of psychosis.
Mania may also include . . . delusions of grandeur. Delusions associated with mania frequently center around an expansive sense of self that goes well beyond narcissism, eg, believing oneself to have special (eg, supernatural) powers or to be the chosen leader of the world or universe.

For example, a witness account from someone else 'cured' of such delusions is, here.

Here's also a bachelor's thesis on 'The neurobiological basis of hyper-religiosity' which points to the main areas involved in hyper-religiosity, which are the frontal lobes, the temporal lobes, and the limbic system.

The limbic system including the pea sized hypothalamus that that BKs were going "woo" over, as the "seat of the soul" in my time.

Whatever happened to the BKs' pseudo-scientific musings ... did they give it up as such "research" only used up resources, made them vulnerable to ridicule from professionals, and engaged them in unwinnable debates, whilst it was corporate public relations efforts which brought in the money and powerful figures?

The BKs still have their "Spiritual Application and Research Centre (SPARC)" wing but it does not appeared to have produced any science. But, on the other hand, they did win a World Record for 21" high Shiva Lingum made of 11,111 coconuts in Latur and another 21 Feet Shivling made of Ber berries in Bahadurgarh.

What exactly a 1200kg phallic erection made out of nuts proves ... I have no idea. But it is interesting how their spin it was "London" as if that proved something, like their leaning on the word "Oxford" (after Oxford University) to grant importance to their twaddle.

Note to BKs, the Wonder Book of Records International, is a vanity business registered in Mumbai. It looks like they are in the same game as the BKs ... of handing out framed certificates to whoever pays them.

Still convinced it's "God's work"?
About the Andrew Newberg, MD

Dr. Andrew Newberg is Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College. He is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board- certified in Internal Medicine and Nuclear Medicine. He is considered a pioneer in the neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual experiences, a field frequently referred to as – neurotheology. His work attempts to better understand the nature of religious and spiritual practices and experiences. This has been compiled into his latest book, Principles of Neurotheology, which reviews the important principles and foundations of neurotheology.

Believing that it is important to keep science rigorous and religion religious, he has engaged the topic like few others. He has been fascinated by the implications of this research for the study of the mind, brain, consciousness, morality, theology, and philosophy. He has also been particularly interested in the relationship between the brain, religion, and health.

His research has included brain scans of people in prayer, meditation, rituals, and various trance states. He has also performed surveys of people's spiritual experiences and attitudes. Finally, he has evaluated the relationship between religious and spiritual phenomena and health. This includes a recent study on the effect of meditation on memory.

In his career, he has also actively pursued neuroimaging research projects on the study of aging and dementia, Parkinson's disease, depression, and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. He has also researched the neurophysiological correlates of acupuncture, meditation, and alternative therapies, and how brain function is associated with mystical and religious experiences. Dr. Newberg helped develop stress-management programs for the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems and received a Science and Religion Course Award from the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences for his program entitled "The Biology of Spirituality" in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania. He is currently teaching a course in the Department of Religious Studies entitled, “Science and the Sacred: An Introduction to Neurotheology.”

Dr. Newberg has published over 100 research articles, essays and book chapters, and is the co-author of the bestselling books, Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (Ballantine, 2001) and How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist (Ballantine, 2009).

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