The brain has a God zone?


#1

An atheist friend of mine at work said that ‘they’ have found an area of the brain that everyone has that when stimulated in some way produces a belief in God.

I have a few of my own thoughts about it but would like to read what other’s think who may know more about it.


#2

I believe I read an article in US News this past summer. There was a study done on people who were speaking in tongues. They found that unlike any other form of prayer, when people spoke in tongues a completely different part of the brain was activated. Some scientists referred to this as that God area you refer to.

Sorry I don’t have any links to it, but I really don’t remember when I read it – just sometime between May and July. But I’m pretty sure it was in US News.

Gertie


#3

Very interesting and it does sound like the same part of the brain may be being referenced.
I should offer more about what my friend said.

I quote roughly " any person no matter how firm an atheist or whatever, if this part of the brain is stimulated they will believe in God, that there is a God, the ‘whole’ God thing"

Thank you Gertabelle for your input.


#4

Whether your friend is correct or not has no bearing on the actual existence of God.

He is probably anticipating an argument from you along the lines of, “people in different parts of the world have been worshipping God without knowledge of each other’s existence since the dawn of time, providing objective proof of His existence.”

He would be able to counter with his cerebral God factory argument. However, I doubt any Chrisitian would make this initial argument, as it is a poor one.

Frankly, I think that your friend misconstrued what he had read about the cerebral preception of God. If God were manufactured by our sub-conscious, then we would all be delusional!

It is known that there are parts of the brain that aid in spirituality, and even produce religious ecstacy at times, but to call this the fabrication of God is a bit of a stretch.


#5

I think you are exactly right. Even if the God zone were true it really can’t even implicate that God doesn’t exist.

My only response to my friend so far has been that the belief in the existence of God has intellectual foundations that are independent of any ‘sense’ that God exists.

I would like to know more about those parts of the brain that aid in spirituality and can produce religious ecstacy. It seems that if that’s the part of the brain referenced then that has nothing to do with belief in God but a belief or mental bridge even into the existence of the spiritual realm.

Thank you Pious Mat


#6

On the other hand no part of the brain is involved in atheism, except the stem.

Zing!:smiley:


#7

See God in his wisdom wanted all men to know him - so he made it natural for them to believe in a God.

Catholig


#8

If we are simply creatures of Godless evolution, why would evolution give each human brain a “God zone”? Somebody explain how that would give humans a survival advantage while we were evolving.


#9

“Speaking in Tongues” has little bearing on whether God exists. One could argue that such experiences are usually purely emotional responses, making the idea of a physical base entirely consistent with belief in God. I find it hard to believe that everyone who starts to speak mumbo jumbo is being guided by God.

As for the evolution question, athiests usually believe that religion evolved to bind human communities together. It would also give early humans mental relief from stress and anxiety. Of course, this doesn’t explain how humans got their concious brains in the first place.

Ultimately, the idea that religion benefited humans and was thus passed down dosen’t say anything about God. This scenario could be correct, but it is just as logical to believe that God actually exists and created this desire for God. We have to look at the evidence to decide which is correct.


#10

exactly. the kind of reasoning in which your friend seems to be involved is actually an example of what’s called the genetic fallacy, which involves reasoning from the cause of an individual’s belief in some proposition, to the falsity (or truth) of that proposition.

why one believes in some proposition P has got nothing at all to do with whether or not P is true or false; that must be judged independently.


#11

That one cracked me up!


#12

That makes alot of sense. The old God is a crutch argument is weakened if there is a biological support mechanism for spiritual awareness.


#13

The book you might be referring to is called “The God Gene.”

The title has little to do with the contents (other than grab your attention) and Pious Matt’s above referenced quotation is more of what the gist of the book is about.

Psalms has many references to God ‘giving’ us knowledge of him in our hearts and minds. Remember, the ‘heart’ image was used by the ancient Jews (and many other cultures) as the ‘seat’ of the soul.

Robert


#14

unfortunately my coworker friend can’t seem to cross that threshold of truth. For him a biological cause is sufficient to prove the belief is biological only. No thinking outside the biological box for my friend… :rolleyes:


#15

Thank you Robert. I will find that book.

it does make sense that a biological resourse to aid man’s union with his creator just adds to the belief that it is natural to man to worship God.


#16

I think what your is being discussed is the area of the brain which produces a spiritual or religious feeling when stimulated and is associated with things like out of body experiences, visions etc. This is the Wikipedia article on the topic en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotheology


#17

allaussie, thank you very much for that link. I read the article and it is just what I was looking for. I will explore the many references it offers as well.


#18

Thank you all for the many thoughts and ideas that I needed to narrow this discussion with my friend down to it’s real nuts and bolts. I used them and they forced him to admit that " it isn’t really a God zone in the brain but a medical explanation for something he learned in college about the tendency for people to abstract traumatic or difficult experiences to a source external to their perception before the experience. He admitted that it is only his opinion that that is how belief in God developed.

So, thanks to all of you my co-worker friends claim to the factual existence of a 'God zone" has been dissolved into the conjecture it really is. :thumbsup:


#19

well this would make some amount of sense … God needed to give us the mental capacity to believe in Him, not just spiritual capacity, obviously … well, this is how He did it (if this is true … lol)


#20

A long time ago when I was in college, a friend of mine majoring in philosophy was doing a paper on the subject that one can define an individual in many way, physical, psychological, etc, but cannot do it 100%. This is because there is a spiritual dimension that cannot be determined by analytical means. If your friend want to call this the God Zone it might apply.

Anyhow, as humans think, we know our thoughts are not just physical although some may believe they are only electrical impulses through pathways. Our thoughts often times seem apart from our bodies in the sense they are not a part of our body like a foot or lung is. Therefore many of us conclude that our thoughts are separate from our physical bodies which has implications of the belief in the afterlife. All societies in the past have different words for body and mind. This seems to indicate they are separate. If something is separate from our bodies, then God or a supernatural can be the answer.

Ask your friend to think of the implications.

mdcpensive1


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.