Reddit Reddit reviews Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief

We found 12 Reddit comments about Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief
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12 Reddit comments about Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief:

u/Jesstastik · 26 pointsr/TrueAtheism

A book about the science and biology behind 'religious experiences' opened my eyes. Being a biology major, and now a nurse it really hit home.

Why God Won't Go Away- Andrew Newberg

u/TooManyInLitter · 16 pointsr/DebateReligion

> I believe in God because I have felt his presence and cannot live without surrendering my life to Him in prayer

But can you take this personal highly-subjective mind-dependent emotional state, this feeling and qualia experience, and use this as evidence to support a mind-independent fact (to a level of significance [level of reliability and confidence] better than an appeal to emotion) for others (that do not have the same confirmation/cognitive biases)?

And which God (or version of YHWH)? Would this be the God of which you were raised to believe in? Or the God construct that you know the most about? How much of your personal feelings may be the result of a type 1 error (a false positive) based upon confirmation bias, wishful thinking, and an unsupportable level of significance threashold?

While I accept that you believe you had this (these) experiences, why should I place any credibility to your testimony?

> I believe in God because I have felt his presence

> I find great value in the Buddhist meditation tradition which provides me with the stability to feel Him

This phenomena has been recognized and studied - in one group where non-Theist Buddhist Monks have claimed that, through meditation, they could reach a state called satori in which they experienced a sense of transcendent bliss along with a feeling of timelessness and infinity, as if they were a deeply interwoven part of all of reality, and another group comprised of theists (Franciscan nuns) in deep prayer/contemplation which reported the same experience but added a Theistic Religious attribution (confirmation bias?) to the experience. In these studies a procedure SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) was used to map the active vs. inactive parts of the brain. What was found was that a particular region of the brain, the superior parietal lobe, showed a sharp reduction in activity against non-meditative states. (Newberg, Andrew and D’Aquili, Eugene, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. Ballantine, 2001.) The superior parietal lobe is associated with the brain's “where” system, which helps us form spatial coordinates of objects and navigate in our environment. (Heilman, Kenneth. Matter of Mind: A Neurologist’s View of Brain-Behavior Relationships, Oxford University Press, 2002.)

The function of the superior parietal lobe is to orient a person in three-dimensional space and help them move through the world; as part of this task, it must draw a clear distinction between “self” and “not-self.” Inhibition, either through one of many damage states or by deep meditation/contemplation, of the nominal superior parietal lobe function results in a "loss of boundary" (Holmes, Bob, “In Search of God,” New Scientist, 21 April 2001), with this loss of boundary, the brain would have no choice but to perceive that the self is endless and intimately interwoven with everyone and everything the mind senses. And this perception would feel utterly and unquestionably real” (Newberg and D’Aquili 2001) and results in what many refer to as the "God experience." Previously, such sensations were attributed to the effects of communion with God or The Divine, but recent studies have demonstrated the neurological basis of these experiences/sensations- these sensations can be fully and parsimoniously explained without reference to God as a causal agency.

While these studies do not prove that "God," or The Divine, is not the cause of these experiences, it does show that these experiences can be obtained and explained by non-Divine naturalistic mechanisms with the result that a claim that "It was God" (and the implicit claim that "God is/was necessary for this experience") is reduced to the very low level of significance of an appeal to emotion, or potential false attributed to "God".

> I believe an evolution of mainstream faith

As I understand Theistic Religious Faith based upon claims of revelation from a "God" - Why would the absolute (and perfect?) Word of God evolve? Or the tenets/doctrine/dogma based upon this Word evolve? OP, are you making a revisionist argument?

> This is because society and individuals need stability that cannot be achieved without a connection to the permanent divine

Wow, that is quite the claim. Can you make that claim up?

> a connection to the permanent divine (i.e. above the transient material world).

I am sorry. I do not understand "above the transient material world." Will you provide some addition detail as to a coherent description of this phrase so that I may better understand your claim?

Every1sFriend, if I am to even to begin to accept the narrative and claims made in your argument, you will first have to show that the common prerequisite clause of 'God exists and intervenes' is credible by your presentation of the burden of proof that "God exists" (please also provide a coherent description or definition of "God"), via credible evidence, and/or supportable argument that is free from logical fallacies and which can be shown to actually be linkable to this reality, to a level of significance (or level of reliability and confidence) above some acceptable threshold. [Let's use a level of significance above that of an appeal to emotion as a threshold for consideration - even though the consequences of the actualization of God(s), or proof that God does exist, and associated claims, is extraordinary]

If you cannot make a credible burden of proof presentation, then I can only accept your post/argument as unacceptable (and annoying) evangelizing and proselytizing.

> Abrahamic religions + Buddhist meditation > Atheist Rationalism

Atheism is non-belief/lack of belief/<null belief> in the existence of supernatural Deities/Gods. This position is often based upon the lack, by Theistic claimants, of a credible presentation of the burden of proof (as described above) to show that "God" exists. Unless such a burden of proof is presented to negate or falsify the atheist position, then the left side of the above equation (i.e., Abrahamic religions + Buddhist meditation) is non-supportable (Abrahamic Theistic Religions) and non-coherent, and an outcome that the presented identity fails.

u/khaosworks · 4 pointsr/DaystromInstitute

While the idea that the Great Link can create a planetary scale warp field is undeniably a cool one, I'm not sure that it's supported by on-screen evidence. That being said, there's nothing that explicitly says they can't do something like that, but like the other commenters in this thread, I think that if they had the ability they would have used it at some point during the Dominion War.

I don't think, however, that the Founders rest on any delusion that they are gods. Unlike say, Apollo from TOS or the Ori from Stargate, they don't present themselves as gods to those they encounter. They certainly take advantage of the perception that they are gods to the Jem'hadar and the Vorta, but those are species which they have had a direct hand in genetically manipulating.

The question then becomes, where does the perception that they are gods from those species come from? Sure, there could have been a grand demonstration of their divinity as OP posits, but the problem which such grand displays that they need re-enacting every generation or couple of generations or else they just vanish into myth and eventually somebody is going to start questioning.

So it comes back to the inference that if they had this grand power of planetary scale warp travel, they would have used it. Or even if they had some kind of epic god-like power, they would have used it.

So how do they maintain that iron-clad grip of certainty on the part of the Jem'hadar and the Vorta that they are gods? Maybe the answer lies in the fact that both the Jem'hadar and the Vorta are genetically engineered. Can it be that the belief in the Founders' divinity is hard-wired into the genetic code of their servitor species?

Odo suggests this to the defecting Weyoun 6 in "Treachery, Faith and the Great River":

> ODO: Has it ever occurred to you that the reason you believe the Founders are gods is because that's what they want you to believe? That they built that into your genetic code?

> WEYOUN: Of course they did. That's what gods do. After all, why be a god if there's no one to worship you?

Did Odo know this for a fact from his contact with the Great Link or was this just a dig? And was Weyoun 6 being snarky back?

But even if Odo was guessing, perhaps Weyoun 6 wasn't being facetious in his retort. In a 2002 book, Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief, Andrew Newberg and Eugene d'Aquili talk about studies on brain activity during moments of religious experience. The studies used single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to image regions of the brains of Tibetan Buddhists and Franciscan nuns which responded to altered states of consciousness during prayer and deep meditation.

They found that the human brain is genetically wired to encourage religious beliefs and to have spiritual and mystical experiences. During deep meditation, there is an increased activity in the frontal lobe area of the brain — it lights up at the peak of meditation. This was seen in an image of the brain taken during a transcendent experience.

The idea that there is a region of the human brain devoted to spirituality is not new. A few years before that, neuroscientists at UCSD identified such a "God Spot". The question is, I suppose, did God create our brains or did our brains create God? Is evolution predisposed to the idea of spiritual realms as an advantage or is the development of such a center pure chance?

That aside, maybe Odo's remark to Weyoun 6 really is correct: that the Founders, in creating the Jem'hadar and uplifting the Vorta into humanoids, inserted code that made them view the Founders as gods - they would literally have no choice in the matter, even in the face of contradictory thoughts or evidence (unless a chance mutation or defect took away or muted that genetic predisposition, like it did for Weyoun 6 in "Treachery"). This would also explain Weyoun 5's certainty about the divinity of the Founders even when, at the same time, he scoffed at the Prophets and Pagh-wraiths ("Tears of the Prophets"), and Weyoun 6's reaction to the suggestion of genetic manipulation as above.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

For those interested in this subject, I recommend the book Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief
by Andrew Newburg, Eugene D'Aquili, and Vincent Rause. Lots of info on biology and spiritual climax.

u/eve418 · 2 pointsr/exmormon

I was born into the church, and stayed for 35 years. I always thought of myself as christian, though many other christian sects have differing views. I served a mission, and got married in the temple. I had very deep, fulfilling spiritual experiences, visions, and prophetic dreams. The only problem? The mormon church not only no longer practices what they used to say is mandatory, they often deny it was ever said.

A good friend of mine was never in any church, so it was quite easy for him to identify as an atheist from the beginning. I did not go immediately for atheism because of all the spiritual experiences I have had. There is something almost tangible to all this spirit stuff. There is a reason that religions get formed and followed. There is a real power there.

I joined a Kriya meditation group, and learned a lot about the Bhagavad Gita and hindu spiritual beliefs. The meditation was quite useful, and it also charged my spiritual feelings and gave me visions at times. cool stuff!

I continued my studies of everything I could get my hands on. What is this stuff I am feeling? Why does the spirit feel like a sexual release? Here is one of the books that was very interesting:

I don't need to pursue organized religion now, or meditation. Life is experienced within my brain, and can manifest as the many things that people claim are "true." The simplest explanation is that there is no god, but that does not stop people from interpreting their feelings and experiences to believe so.

Are christians any better than the mormons that think they are christian? Are followers of Jesus better than those that read the Koran, or buddhists? I think we are all simply human, with feelings that easily lightup with spiritual drives, and that has created a religion industry for tens of thousands of years.

TLDR; I gave up on God completely, but not right away. You don't have to leave your Christianity now or ever... but I challenge you to consider why you believe and what evidence holds you to your own personal beliefs. You can be as good as you wish to be with or without god.

u/defaultuser0 · 1 pointr/SuicideWatch

I just reread my last post to you, and I apologize for any of the stuff that doesn't make sense. 3 hours of sleep + nightshift/dayshift + not proofing = pwnmyownface

Knowing (not believing) that all things happen because of some causality is the only way the natural universe makes sense. And I'm not trying to make an argument that what you experienced was not genuine. And while I have had a couple of mystical/spiritual experiences, I know that those experiences are only possible due to natural processes, such as the "neurocircuitry" we have in our heads. We have the neural machinery to experience spiritual type feelings, of all kinds. I'm taking this from books like Why God Won't Go Away.

Now, while I don't believe in all of the opinions of the authors, I do believe in the neuroscience of it all. Other creatures whose brains are relatively simple like lizards or flies probably are unable to experience something as nuanced as that. Fear, and anger though, probably (not sure about the fly actually, didn't study those in school)).

I've had a couple of different kinds of experiences, and I also know there are a couple that I haven't had before. For example, I've had friends say they actually felt god, or a godlike entity. I don't think he was religious, so that was very interesting and I wonder how I would react to the same experience.

If you are comfortable with telling me, what were those experiences? Mine were pretty benign, like say one of my friends who thinks he is going to die in another year or so. I don't think it'll happen, and I hope it doesn't. It just "can't".

I'd say there are a lot of different types of heroes. I don't have a book of classification on them. The hero in that book is a non hero type of hero. He's not an anti-hero, but the author seems to intentionally make him the least hero hero that could've heroed. Other than the fact he's somewhat of a decent guy, he's a waste of life (at least to those who don't care about him).

The kind of hero you're talking about is a kind of transformative hero. It sounds like it might be the kind of hero you'd like to or are working to be.

I do have a question about a concept, though. Why is it if something exists, that it shouldn't suffer pain?

I agree with you that I don't want to be defined by my pain, though what demons I do have, I'd rather get them on my side, and laugh together. There would be no demons after that. psych guy I just see once a month. So I've seen him 3 times now, and he's screwed up a few times in that short time (one time put me in the E.R). I don't know if its the meds, but there are some things I feel like he could be doing better as a doc. I don't know what he goes through to provide service for me, but I really don't see it.

I'm not on anything that could do that, I'm starting out on new meds.

u/PocketBuckle · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

I did my senior seminar project on a similar subject: neurotheology. Based largely on the findings of this book, the conclusion was that the human brain is basically hard-wired to have some communal experiences and a belief in something larger than the individual.

u/weathercrafter · 1 pointr/depressionregimens

Most religions have developed to explain why we live and to deal with the problem that we are eventually going to die. I just finished a fascinating book called "Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief." Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief

It explains the functions of the brain in layman's terms and shows that we have an evolved physical process for experiencing the "mystical" world. Basically, our brains have the ability to get a taste of dimensions beyond what we know as space and time. Most who have experienced this believe that it points to a higher being/unity/God/realm.

Personally, having a belief in something greater than myself has driven me to care more about my life on Earth. We may never understand why we live while we're living, but I have hope that after death I will.

u/slabbb- · 1 pointr/bahai

>I used to hear God's voice speaking to me, but it said things that were based in my childhood mistaken understanding of the teachings, so I think that's pretty good evidence that it was all in my head.

That sounds like something else though, perhaps more related to aspects of the psyche currently pathologised? (not saying this is what was happening to you), not the kinds of mysticism or mystical experience and insight I'm referring to. Distinctions can be made, even if they all exist in a spectrum of 'altered states' say or the 'parapsychological'. There appears to be considerable overlap, albeit highly distorted in some cases, between states of the brain-mind-body interface called 'mental illness' or 'creativity' and those states designated 'spiritual' or 'mystical'.

Yes, to all you said. But Products of the brain are not necessarily reducible to the brain. Similarly as mind or consciousness not being able to be reduced to mere physical correlates or processes, though inclusive of them. There is equally other kinds of evidence in this domain as referenced in texts such as Why God Won't Go Away or Dimensions of Mystical Experience: Empirical Studies and Pyshcological Links. Perhaps then it is more related to how ones own mind interprets such evidence or assessment? Its a qualitative distinction, and that is relative, as well as nuanced.

>The claims of religious founders that people accept and the claims of those they dismiss as cult leaders are pretty similar, though.

Similarly, its qualitative, but also able to be discerned by 'fruits' of actions and the effect on the people who embrace such teachings.
I've read writings by so-called 'cult' leaders, gurus, other kinds of spiritual teachers, and the writings of Baha'u'llah. They don't compare. But that is a personal assessment and distinction.

In Baha'i Abdu'l Baha says it is the 'Holy Spirit', designated as an actual force, that activates, that 'touches' and interacts with the human consciousness that lends authenticity to these possible states and stages, in terms of an envisaged evolutionary process, as also being that which aligns human consciousness with a greater alleged 'objective' reality, beyond the subtleties of the 'confirmation bias' of the senses and the limits of reason (not that this is seen as an irrational operation, but something that is transpersonal, transrational, inclusive of it).

u/ubergeek404 · -3 pointsr/politics

> there is nothing we've ever learned that requires a god,

That's a pretty broad statement, especially considering that in Europe, the Church maintained literacy for hundreds of years. When the rest of the population could not read, the Church kept learning alive, so you may want to revise your ideas.

I think that even the ancient Egyptians would disagree. Their priestly class kept their knowledge going too.

Even in America. Harvard, and Yale started as seminaries, which required a god. Princeton was started by Presbyterians. Brown was founded by Baptists. The Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregational minister from Connecticut, founded Dartmouth College in 1769. Penn, of course, was founded by Quakers.

I'm not a bible-thumper, but I will allow people to hold their beliefs and not make fun of them for it. That's the difference between us, I suppose.

Here's a book for you