Can anyone point me toward some Catholic and/or Christian sources addressing the field of Neurotheology and scientist’s findings that it’s our brain which causes us to have spiritual experiences rather that God, Himself?

I don’t, but I would like to point out that it would be impossible to prove that, as if we feel something spiritually, then, being intelligent and rational beings, our brains would pick up in it. :slight_smile:

One would wonder just how the brain generates information not yet known regarding things that have not yet taken place.

I wish I could help you; by all means, let me know what you find…


I don’t know if this will be any help to you, but it’s written by my Catholic psychiatrist. It deals with psychiatry and spirituality.

The business of neurotheology is a load of rubbish. I had the experience of my father turning up in my room the night he died. He materialised near the door, started with an apology, we argued and conversed, and at the end he disappeared with one terrifying almighty scream.

Now I didn’t know he’d died, had no reason to expect a “visit” and didn’t even want to believe it as I was an atheist at the time. The very last thing I was expecting was a uncomfortable visit from a deceased father. As it was his body wasn’t found for another four days, which is when I got told by the more usual method.

All these psychiatrists are trying to do is not know about God. When it’s all boiled down, that will be their sole justification.

I also had the experience of a wise, if discouraging, pastor tell me certain things that he thought would happen. And they did, although I’m still waiting for a few things to occur. There is no way he could have known these things through his own natural intelligence, so Somebody who could see the future was telling him.

I’d like to see these clowns explain people floating around the ceiling during exorcisms with their “neurotheology”. In fact, levitation occurs sometimes without overt demonic activity being involved -

You’ll note St. Teresa of Avila and St. Joseph of Cupertino in the footnotes.

Maybe these tame psychiatrists can explain this as part of their “neurotheology”.

Sorry, can’t recommend a link here. Though I can sorta summarize what I’ve read. Basically, that the feelings of transcendent bliss a Christian claims to feel during prayer are observable in the brain (through fMRI technology). And that those feelings are also observable in the brains of Muslims while praying in their mosque’s in Pakistan, and by Buddhists meditating in their Tibetan caves.

I’m not sure to what extent (if any) it’s our brains causing us to have these spritual experiences. I think we need to actively direct our attention towards having them to achieve that kind of effect. (Which, I guess would be another way that our brains cause them, so I dunno).

Here are a couple articles I’ve been curious about. The articles state studies showing that our belief in God and our spiritual experiences are a product of the brain simply being “hardwired” for religion.

Is science getting close to disproving God? Are they close to proving that our spiritual experiences aren’t really a genuine connection to God?

I had a look at the quotes. One item indicates Paul might have had a temporal lobe seizure or something. Meanwhile it completely ignores the fact the other men

traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.

They heard the sound just as much as he did.

At Fatima in 1917 70,000 witnesses saw the dancing sun without hurting their eyes, and most of them experienced the sudden drying of clothes and ground.

At Akita circa 1970, the statue wept 101 times, and the tears (and blood) were assayed by a university level laboratory, and found to be human tears and human blood.

Mary was seen by over a million people at Zeitoun in Egypt.

No doubt a spiritual experience has an effect on the brain. But that doesn’t explain the origins of the spiritual event, which originates externally to the person.

No, science is nowhere near explaining God away. I’m still waiting for science to account for the origin of the laws of physics which tie everything together so neatly.

‘God’ is not a scientific concept, and cannot be ‘disproved’. To be scientific a concept must be capable of being ‘falsified’. You have to be able to imagine a fact that would make the concept untrue. For example, the idea that sparrows eggs are always hatched by mice sitting on them is a scientific concept. It can be falsified by observation. The concept that the world was created yesterday by a gof with a strange sense of humour who infused us with our memories and made the world look old is not scientific. You cannot think of a fact that would disprove it. So too, the Christian concept of God. Nothing you can think of would disprove it. But scientific study may produce explanations for everything that Christians attribute to God. You can find ou more about these ideas of science in the works of Karl Popper.

Anyone else? There are some posters here with many posts under their belts, who really seem to know their stuff. Can you help me, please?

Also, where have some of the regular, long time posters gone? There are many I haven’t seen posting in a while.

Did you have a look at Susan Blackmore?



She’s a bit out there.

Not sure if it helps, but I think there was a scientist studying this interviewed on Through the Wormhole (the one hosted by Morgan Freeman on the Science Channel). I can’t remember which episode.

Of course, I hold the attitude that, if we have a sensory organ or region of the brain built for receiving certain stimuli, the stimuli must exist.

If a tree falls in the forest and so on…

We have ears, does that mean we imagine sound to please our need for the experience? :wink:

I think the fellow referred to his device as a “God helmet”…

Oy gevaldt.

Why would be hardwired for behaviors that have no purpose and provide the ability to experience things that don’t exist? I would think that would be an evolutionary handicap.

This ranks right up there with their claims that philosophy is dead :rolleyes:

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