Presentation on theme: "1 Think About This: There is a debate among scientists. One side says that areas of the brain get activated, and that this electro/chemical action creates."— Presentation transcript:
1 Think About This: There is a debate among scientists. One side says that areas of the brain get activated, and that this electro/chemical action creates thoughts and emotions. Do you think that the reverse could also work? I.E: Think a thought, and that thought causes brain chemistry to change?
2 This Week I. Identify areas of agreement between science and Scripture II. Identify different kinds of religious activities that stimulate brain activity III. Examine some Biblical implications of the battle between Brain VS Mind theorists IV. You choose: Autopilot or Purpose Lesson Plan
4 I. When Science Aligns a. The frontal lobe is activated when we think deeply about spiritual things. Therefore, instead of merely reading a passage of Scripture, we should think deeply about it word for word. Phil 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. KJV
5 I. When Science Aligns b. In order for prayer to have positive effects on the frontal lobe, we must spend at least twelve minutes per day praying. A simple way to accomplish that is to pray-read the Psalms. Ps 119:10-12 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. KJV
7 I. When Science Aligns c. The anterior cingulate is the neurological heart of man, and it is here that compassion for others is experienced. Intercessory prayer for others and compassionate deeds will activate this area of the brain. 1 John 3:17-18 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. KJV
8 I. When Science Aligns d. The parietal lobes are activated during self- centered contemplation and these become inactive when we are being self-sacrificing and compassionate to others. Matt 10:38-39 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. KJV
10 I. When Science Aligns e. The limbic system, which controls anger, hostility, and negative thinking, becomes deactivated during times of prayer. Matt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; KJV
13 II. Different Kinds of Activity a. As a general rule, prayer activates the more “human” ( anterior cingulate) and rational (frontal lobe) parts of the brain, and deactivates the more primitive region (the limbic system). This creates a sense of comfort and reduces stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions. b. Specific spiritual activities have different types of impact. Brain scans show that when individuals speak in tongues, for instance, activity in the frontal lobe decreases.
14 II. Different Kinds of Activity c. Most likely, says Dr. Newburg, this happens because the frontal lobes act as a type of gateway that keeps information organized and attention focused. But the individual's attention at the moment of speaking in tongues is not focused. d. Singing hymns and saying group prayers at a church service have a different effect on the brain because in these activities, members of the congregation become a part of something that is bigger than themselves.
15 II. Different Kinds of Activity e. As individuals participate in these activities, they temporarily lose some of their sense of isolation and individuality. Music which evokes emotion played at a service can intensify this effect. f. In addition to making a person feel closer to God, worship services also increases a sense of unity with the larger group, such as one's countrymen or even all of humanity. Meanwhile, activity in the parietal lobes decreases.
16 II. Different Kinds of Activity g. The degree to which prayer, enhances the brain depends upon how long and how often people pray. While a few minutes of occasional prayer may not bring about significant improvements, more frequent practice for longer periods will produce tangible effects.
18 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind a. As mentioned previously, there is a significant debate between neuroscientists as to the distinction between the brain and the mind. In fact, many doubt that there is even anything that could be considered mind.
19 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind b. From a Biblical perspective, however, there is little room to question the existence of the immaterial mind and or spirit as separate and distinct from the brain because Scripture infers such a distinction in many places. 2 Kings 6:15-17 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. KJV
20 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind c. Fundamentally, the debate revolves around philosophical differences that run deep and continuous between the materialist view and the dualist view, each of which seek to define the very nature of man. d. While scientists and philosophers can argue their respective points of view endlessly, for the Bible- believing Christian, there can be only one conclusion to the matter, and that is that man is both material and immaterial. Eccl 12:7 and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. KJV
21 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind e. For our purposes, spiritual awareness and self-awareness consist of immaterial thoughts formulated in the mind/spirit whereas brain functioning refers to those patterned and automatic electrochemical activities that are physically based. f. Mind activity includes our ability to find meaning and purpose in our lives -- to know and to become transformed spiritually by Christ; to identify oneself with a person of Christ, and to yield to the Holy Spirit. Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. KJV
22 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind g. Activities of the mind/spirit require mindfulness, that is to say, consciously deciding to take control of our life by moment by moment choice. Gal 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. KJV h. If we do not form the mindful actions of reflective thought, or thinking about our thinking, it is natural to devolve into a set of lazy and eternally self-destructive patterns. In such case, we default to mere brain activity.
23 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind i.Defaulting to mere brain activity is a form of being on autopilot. This does not lead one to the enjoyment of a meaningful spiritual life. This is merely a life of mindless, patterned, habit in which mind has submitted to the brain. j.In autopilot mode we mindlessly walk the path of least resistance as we drift farther from the path of a meaningful Christian existence. In essence, we become the slaves of brain. Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? KJV
24 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind k. This happens because our brains are "hard-wired" to seek shortcuts that link patterns to potential rewards, much like a lab rat working through a maze to find a block of cheese. Matt 6:31-32 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. KJV l. The problem with this rat brain mentality is that we work increasingly harder for a reward that is either quickly consumed or is never really obtained and we repeat the cycle endlessly. This is the limitation of the brain.
25 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind m. The battle of mind vs. brain can be won by awakening to our potential in Christ and by replacing natural patterns with godliness. This is achieved through self-awareness, which will have us align who we are in Christ with what we do. n. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the brain.
26 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind o. The neural connections made in the brain, as a result of thinking Christ-like thoughts, become increasingly stronger. Studies have revealed that the conscious act of thinking about one’s thoughts in a particular way rearranged the brain. p. The path to Christ-awareness is, essentially, winning the battle of mind vs. brain and the steps along that path are made by continual practice of the reflective mind. Joshua 1:8 but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:
27 III. The Battle: Brain VS Mind q. This word for meditate (haagaah) does not mean theoretical speculation about the law, but a practical study of the law, for the purpose of observing it in thought and action, or carrying it out with the heart, the mouth, and the hand. r. Winning the battle of mind over brain does not happen without purpose, intention and effort and while there may be many unknowns involving the interaction between the material and immaterial self, we already know enough to enable victory.
a. Do you live your Christian life on purpose? Or, do you live your life on autopilot? b. How will you put these insights into practice in your own life? 28 V. Application