Wednesday, April 22, 2009

(2) Neurotheology

Delving slowly into Neurotheology, I realized that it was sometimes
more like a minefield than a bog. Though only around for a few
years, this new theological field was sparking enough controversy
that people were taking different sides of a debate, applying different
interpretations,and even invoking name-calling. "Scientism" was
encroaching on Religion, etc., etc.

Still, it was hard to ignore this emerging field. High technology had
enabled scientists to literally picture the live brain, identifying brain
sectors that were active--or crackling or sparking--when it came to
a person's experience that could be deemed mystical or spiritual in

The majority scientific position was to presume that the brain's
wiring prompted these special experience, whether visions,
locutions, ecstatic states, or peak experiences. It was the brain,
alone, that initiated these noetic states of mind. Of course there
was a minority opinion as well, mainly coming from theologians
and religious authorities. They usually just decided to ignore the
field of Neurotheology altogether.

On the other hand there was this steadily accruing data that
definitely illustrated the brain's involvement when it came to
experiencing a special spiritual state (of mind). I put "mind" in
brackets, because the main question revolving around Neuro-
theology is whether the mind is an altogether different entity than
the brain. If so, how so?

It's at this point we begin wandering into a bog. Different sides of the
issue cling to their specific interpretations. As for my approach, I felt
more belonging to the "both/and" category. I could only venture an
opinion, which was that we are both embodied and mental beings
and thus the brain must work in tandem with the mind.

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