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Why God Doesn’t Use Biostatistics: Science and the Study of the Mind, the Body, and Spirituality.

While Andrew Newberg sees himself more in the eastern religions than Christianity, his research is very interesting to note the design present that may indicates how we may be designed to love God.

Neuroscientist Dr Andrew Newberg along with therapist Mark Robert Waldman, and their research team have concluded that spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better. Their studies have pointed them towards the acknowledgement that prayer does slow down the aging process, as well intense prayer permanently changes numerous structures and functions in the brain.

Dr. Newberg has published over seventy-five articles, essays and book chapters, and is the co-author of the best selling book, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (Ballantine, 2001) and The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience (Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1999).

Do you agree with those who suggest that there is an actual “God module”?

Religious and spiritual experiences are typically highly complex, involving emotions, thoughts, sensations, and behaviors. These experiences seem far too rich and diverse to derive solely from one part of the brain. It is much more likely that many parts of the brain are involved. Additionally, very different patterns of brain activity may appear, depending upon the particular experience the imdividual is having. For example, a near-death experience might result in different activity patterns from those found in a person who is meditating. Such evidence indicates that more than a single “God nodule” is at work—that, in fact, a number of structures in the brain work together to help us experience spirituality and religion.

Do you agree with the suggestion that the temporal lobes explain religious experiences?

The temporal lobes are clearly important in religious and spiritual experiences. The amygdala and hippocampus have been shown to be particularly involved in the experience of visions, profound experiences, memory, and meditation. However, we feel that the temporal lobe must interact with many other parts of the brain to provide the full range of religious and spiritual experiences.

Why won’t God go away?

The main reason God won’t go away is because our brains won’t allow God to leave. Our brains are set up in such a way that God and religion become among the most powerful tools for helping the brain do its thing —self-maintenance and self-transcendence. Unless there is a fundamental change in how our brain works, God will be around for a very long time. Explain your neuroimaging studies of meditation.

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