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Bernard White


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What theological implications does the "Psychology" and "Neuroscience" (and possibly biology) of religion (or "God(s)") have?

I'm very interested in people's opinions on this matter.
I would just like to say, as I have said in the past, this debate is not to make mockery of "God". It is just honesty enquiry.
Yet as I have explored with my other debates in the past, it seems we must first define (or describe to the best of our limits) what we mean by "God(s)" and "Existence". Otherwise the debate "Does God exist?" becomes slightly meaningless.
Now that's done.
I was reading much about the psychology of religion, and found that due to articles like :
“Thinking Style and Belief In God” - Art Markman
Link : http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201208/thinking-style-and-belief-in-god
"We are programmed to believe in a god" by Jesse Bering.
"Is God an Accident" by Paul Bloom :
that had many theological implications!
And made me think :
- There is a strong correlation with a "Theory of mind" and belief in God. Animals don't really have a "theory of mind", does this mean other animals can't experience "God(s)"?
- Psychologists can now artificially create a "God experience", Doesn't this make the "Religious experience" argument rather dubious?. Link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y02UlkYjSi0
And there are probably many more Tedsters could think of!
However I do think it is worth mentioning that :
As Justin L. Barret said, that the psychology and neuroscience of religion (God) doesn't (dis)prove that God isn't real. For it wouldn't make much sense if a God who wanted to be in a relationship with us, didn't give us the ability to conceive such a God.
Another great quote by him :
"Having a scientific explanation for mental phenomena does not mean we should stop believing in them. “Suppose science produces a convincing account for why I think my wife loves me — should I then stop believing that sh

Topics: Church of God

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    May 11 2013: I suggest this type of knowledge is showing us that god beliefs could be leveraging cognitive processes such as agency detection. That the what is perceived as religious experience could be in a product of natural processes.

    Many kids have imaginary friends. We have the cognitive machinery to imagine these, goblins, fairies, spirits and gods etc.

    That it all comes down to interpretation. If I experience seeing Napoleon in the flesh, then culturally it might be judged a hallucination. But a similar experience seen in a cultural religious context gets classified a different way.

    This does not disprove the supernatural, just that it may be all natural processes.

    We see the brain is active when praying. No one can prove whether there is some supernatural connection or not. It is speculation to assume it is, imo.
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      May 11 2013: Your thoughts are very similar to mine on this matter.
      This is one of the reasons I remain agnostic about (almost all forms) of deities.
      However, to me it raises interesting theological questions, as mentioned in the description! :D
      (Nice to see you again Obey No1Kinobe! :D)
      Kind regards,
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        May 12 2013: Hi Don

        1. If you are talking about wireless messages via electromagnetic radiation, no. I understand many modern technologies may be considered magical to those with no understanding. But it is a phenomena in the natural world, light, energy, matter etc. Whereas connecting to some being not part of the natural world and via thought only is supernatural. I'm not sure if you consider our ability to send radio messages evidence that humans can send thoughts to beings outside time, space, matter and energy?

        2. For brevity and because I am aware of reports of scientific testing that shows certain parts of the brain active during prayer. Its also relevant.

        I could have mentioned many other examples e.g. similar tests on Buddhist moks show parts of their brain action during meditation.

        Now they may be making some mystical connection to the universe also. We don't know. That is the bit we can not test. We just know brain activity is part of the prayer and meditation experience.

        Similar for psychoactive substances. I have heard people saying LSD helps them connect to God. It could. We don't know. We only know it does physical and chemical changes on their brain that impacts their perceptions and cognition.

        In ancient times the worship of Bacchus involved imbibing alcohol, that helped establish a mystical connection or perceptions. In the Americas similar with hemp and peyote.

        You lock a human in a completely dark and silent room and they start hearing and seeing things

        The dervish spin around to touch god.

        At most evangelical churches there is music, emotion, and the release of some social inhibitions.

        We enter a mild trance watching TV.

        We reasonably know the brain is involved in all these. We don't know if people are connecting to supernatural spirit realms and being or they are just natural cognitive functions and brain state outcomes given the stimulation or activity.

        I think it most likely all these are natural, not connecting to God, as far as we knw

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