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Author Topic: Neuroscience Of Religion  (Read 768 times)

Donal2018

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Neuroscience Of Religion
« on: March 02, 2019, 03:36:26 pm »
I was wondering what people think of Neurotheology, or the study of Religion through Neuroscience.

It seems to me that different states of consciousness associated with various aspects of religious and spiritual experiences might have neurological co-relates in the structure and function of the brain.

It also brings me to the idea that maybe a skeptical or atheistic frame of mind might also have correlation to other types of neural states and brain functions.

I don't know if there is a spectrum between neurology of spirituality and skepticism/atheism, or if they are different things.

Anyway, as an armchair enthusiast of science, I find this stuff to be interesting.

Here is a link to the relevant Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_of_religion
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 03:38:15 pm by Donal2018 »

arete

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2019, 10:46:05 am »
I was wondering what people think of Neurotheology, or the study of Religion through Neuroscience.
Religion has it's rightful place in the human brain for the better of humans, in my opinion. Religion makes the best from people.  :)

RandallS

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2019, 11:09:11 am »
Religion makes the best from people.  :)

Unfortunately, for some people it brings out the worst. :(
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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2019, 06:40:08 pm »

It seems to me that different states of consciousness associated with various aspects of religious and spiritual experiences might have neurological co-relates in the structure and function of the brain.


Well, on the most literal level, of course they do; everything we do or experience has a neurological correlation because that is what brains are for. The question I would be wondering about is whether the said states of consciousness are caused by structures in the brain, or are responses to outside stimuli. If the outside stimuli are non-physical, it would be difficult to tell the difference.

arete

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2019, 10:37:17 am »
Unfortunately, for some people it brings out the worst. :(
Religion is the best when there is enlightenment. Without enlightenment, it's a cult, in my opinion. For me a ''cult'' is pseudoreligion.

Donal2018

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2019, 01:48:31 pm »
Well, on the most literal level, of course they do; everything we do or experience has a neurological correlation because that is what brains are for. The question I would be wondering about is whether the said states of consciousness are caused by structures in the brain, or are responses to outside stimuli. If the outside stimuli are non-physical, it would be difficult to tell the difference.

Yes, agreed. The question is not really "does it correlate?', but "how" and "why"? I am also interested in entheogens and what they might reveal about how the brain functions (or doesn't) during the use of certain substances and in certain states.

I think you make a good point about whether certain mental/spiritual states result from something internal to the brain, or external. This might lend credence to a scientific view of spirituality.

If we could somehow show or prove that certain mental/spiritual states correspond to some sort of external force or entity, that might "prove" something like spirits, which would be an incredible accomplishment.

Sefiru

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2019, 07:12:12 pm »
I think you make a good point about whether certain mental/spiritual states result from something internal to the brain, or external. This might lend credence to a scientific view of spirituality.

If we could somehow show or prove that certain mental/spiritual states correspond to some sort of external force or entity, that might "prove" something like spirits, which would be an incredible accomplishment.

I guess I'm not sure why scientific proof would be important or relevant to spirituality. I mean, there are folks who place higher value on things that materially 'exist' than things that don't, but I'm not one of them. (Actually I'd be the person in the corner going, 'what even is existing?' But that is a whole other can of worms.)

Also, if you're looking for academic study of the subjective side of human experience, there is a vast body of knowledge in the Humanities fields: Philosophy, Literature, History, Theology, Anthropology, the various Fine Arts and so on. I can't help the impression that any form of 'science of spirituality' is going to end up reinventing the Humanities wheel.

Donal2018

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2019, 01:22:24 pm »
I guess I'm not sure why scientific proof would be important or relevant to spirituality. I mean, there are folks who place higher value on things that materially 'exist' than things that don't, but I'm not one of them. (Actually I'd be the person in the corner going, 'what even is existing?' But that is a whole other can of worms.)

Also, if you're looking for academic study of the subjective side of human experience, there is a vast body of knowledge in the Humanities fields: Philosophy, Literature, History, Theology, Anthropology, the various Fine Arts and so on. I can't help the impression that any form of 'science of spirituality' is going to end up reinventing the Humanities wheel.

Well, I think part of what I am driving at is that some people consider spirituality to be imaginary, and that a physical proof of spirits, etc. might contradict that position.

For me, I am not a believer in dualism, ie, that matter and spirit are two separate realms with different laws, etc. I think that consciousness arises out of matter and is embedded in the physical world. As such, certain aspects of spirit might be accessible to scientific study.

I don't think that this sort of study is necessary for spirituality, just that it might make an interesting complement to religion.

Also, I am in agreement about the humanities- they are about the subjective search for meaning, not hard science. Anyway, scientific facts might complement such disciplines, but they are not necessary to them, I think.


Khep

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2019, 01:56:58 pm »
Yes, agreed. The question is not really "does it correlate?', but "how" and "why"? I am also interested in entheogens and what they might reveal about how the brain functions (or doesn't) during the use of certain substances and in certain states.

I think you make a good point about whether certain mental/spiritual states result from something internal to the brain, or external. This might lend credence to a scientific view of spirituality.

If we could somehow show or prove that certain mental/spiritual states correspond to some sort of external force or entity, that might "prove" something like spirits, which would be an incredible accomplishment.

I found lots of interesting ideas in this two-part article I came across today that deals (in a general way) with several questions about the possible origins and evolutionary drivers of human religion. ( The second part begins with, and has somewhat more to do with neuroscience. )

Part 1: How and Why Did Religion Evolve
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190418-how-and-why-did-religion-evolve

Part 2: Do Humans Have a Religion Instinct?
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190529-do-humans-have-a-religion-instinct

« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 02:04:30 pm by Khep »
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EclecticWheel

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2019, 02:21:52 am »
I was wondering what people think of Neurotheology, or the study of Religion through Neuroscience.

It seems to me that different states of consciousness associated with various aspects of religious and spiritual experiences might have neurological co-relates in the structure and function of the brain.

It also brings me to the idea that maybe a skeptical or atheistic frame of mind might also have correlation to other types of neural states and brain functions.

I don't know if there is a spectrum between neurology of spirituality and skepticism/atheism, or if they are different things.

Anyway, as an armchair enthusiast of science, I find this stuff to be interesting.

Here is a link to the relevant Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_of_religion

You may enjoy a book I am reading.  It is called The Neurobiology of the Gods: How Brain Physiology Shapes the Recurrent Image of Myth and Dreams, by Erik D. Goodwyn.  I am about half way through it.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Donal2018

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2019, 01:32:09 pm »
I found lots of interesting ideas in this two-part article I came across today that deals (in a general way) with several questions about the possible origins and evolutionary drivers of human religion. ( The second part begins with, and has somewhat more to do with neuroscience. )

Part 1: How and Why Did Religion Evolve
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190418-how-and-why-did-religion-evolve

Part 2: Do Humans Have a Religion Instinct?
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190529-do-humans-have-a-religion-instinct

Good links. I skimmed them and I will read them more thoroughly when I have more Internet time. This is just the sort of stuff I was looking for. Thanks for posting it.

Donal2018

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Re: Neuroscience Of Religion
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2019, 01:34:07 pm »
You may enjoy a book I am reading.  It is called The Neurobiology of the Gods: How Brain Physiology Shapes the Recurrent Image of Myth and Dreams, by Erik D. Goodwyn.  I am about half way through it.

Thanks for the book reference. I will look into it.

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