The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief Sam Harris, Jonas T. Kaplan, Ashley Curiel, Susan Y. Bookheimer, Marco Iacoboni, Mark S. Cohen Conclusions/Significance While religious and nonreligious thinking differentially engage broad regions of the frontal, parietal, and medial temporal lobes, the difference between belief and disbelief appears to be content-independent.
The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during glossolalia: A preliminary SPECT study Andrew B. Newberg, Nancy A. Wintering, Donna Morgan, Mark R. Waldman Glossolalia (or “speaking in tongues”) is an unusual mental state that has great personal and religious meaning. Glossolalia is experienced as a normal and expected behavior in religious prayer groups in which the individual appears to be speaking in an incomprehensible language. This is the first functional neuroimaging study to demonstrate changes in cerebral activity during glossolalia. The frontal lobes, parietal lobes, and left caudate were most affected.
1 – Religious cognitive and experiential phenomena are not unique brain events, but involve patterns of brain activation found in other forms of human cognition and subjective experience 2 – Religious cognitive and experiential phenomena do not engage a single brain area, but activate a network of areas 3 – Different religious activities activate different brain networks Conclusions
1 – Can religious life be reduced to nothing but the physical? 2 – Is religion a product of biological or cultural evolution? 3 – What about those humans who do not have or have lost their biological framework for religious faith? 4 – Is it possible scientifically to explain some religious practices? 5 – Is it right to subject transcendental experiences to scientific scrutiny? Further Questions
Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But, while joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth the other is not easy to discern. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion I.I.I John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion I.I.I