Monday, April 9, 2007

Maybe You Know (God and Neurology)

For the longest time I've been wrestling with a question that I can find no adequate answer to. It deals with science and religion, and no mater how hard I've looked (perhaps insufficiently in the wrong places) the explanation that some believers already posses continues to elude me. A few years ago a Canadian neuropsychologist named Michael Persinger, trying to understand the nature of religious experiences, stimulated certain regions in the brain of a test subject. This stimulation - which was done non-surgically (I believe it's called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) - induced a mystical experience in the test subject, with characteristics that were described as "mystical" and Divine. Plainly put, the subject felt that he had encountered God. Now comes the next question: does this not imply that God is the product of neurological impulses in the human brain, and exists nowhere but there? It has been hypothesized by Carl Jung (and by others) that human beings, as they evolved, needed this Creator as a way of keeping things psychologically balanced in the mind (I don't think Jung meant this pejoratively). I, however, was always led to believe that yes, God does live inside you (Holy Spirit), but he is also a separate entity outside of you. He was, is, and will be even if there is no human being to detect His presence. In spite of this conditioning, the untraceable soul continues to elude me and the scientists who study hominal neuro-activity. Is Richard Dawkins right? Is God, the soul, and continuation after death nothing more than a delusion?

Andy Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili published a book called Why God Won't Go Away. I read through some of it, but my questions weren't directly answered there. Perhaps I should give it a second look. Anyway, I have to go. I just bought Stevie Wonder's Innervisions CD and I've got an iPod that I'm going to feed it to.

If you have anything to say, I'm all yours.


No comments: