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Does Our Brain Create God?

Religion has always been a staple of society, often linking people of various backgrounds together that share a common belief. Much of the religious ideas that are currently upheld most likely have stemmed from past generations. However, unlike in the early centuries, science is now being used to affirm the existence of God. Although it is still not possible to factually prove or disprove God, scientists have introduced the brain as possibly being a tool that forms the ideas associated to religion. Science aids the idea that a person’s brain plays a factor in creating the idea of God.

Michael Brooks’ argument in the article “Born Believers,? that the current state of the person influences their level of belief, is valid. Whenever someone is in a position of adversity, for example, when an athlete suffers a potential career ending injury, that athlete might resort to prayer in hopes that the situation will be alleviated. “When we feel a lack of control we fall back on superstitious ways of thinking. That would explain why religions enjoy a revival during hard time,? notes Jennifer Whitson of The University of Texas at Austin. To reinforce this notion, Brooks mentions that during the Great Depression, “the strictest, most authoritarian churches saw a surge in attendance.? Experiencing a time of fear and uncertainty on the future stability of their lives, people turned to faith in God for assistance. According to Matthew Alper (who was referenced by Iona Miller in her article “How the Brain ‘Creates’ God), “The brain is hard-wired for mystical experiences to modify the threat of our hostile existential reality.?

Common-Sense Dualism is a term coined by Paul Bloom, a psychologist at Yale University. This refers to the idea that our body carries out our physical processes while our mind carries out our conscience processes, or in other words the idea of matter and mind. Therefore it is natural for our mind to think about things that are not visibly apparent. For example, Brooks notes how children often create an imaginary friend that bares resemblance to an actual being but in reality does not exist. Even adults tend to create similar situations, such as when they imagine a significant other that they have yet to meet. As a result, our minds naturally tend to help us create images of things we cannot physically recognize with our own eyes. This relates to religion and God because the notion of matter and mind “appears to prime the brain for supernatural concepts such as life after death.? (Brooks). The afterlife (commonly deemed heaven and hell) is a major component of many religions.

It is a natural tendency to attempt to understand the causes of the world around us. According to Brooks, “the mind has another attribute: an overdeveloped sense of cause and effect.? People tend to refer to God as a cause or answer to the complexities of life. Basic questions such as why does the wind blow, or why does the Earth revolve the way it does is often answered by the belief God made it to be that way. We understand the basic scientific principles of nature but the question of why still tends to be ambiguosus. People will always try to answer questions, both complex and miniscule, because of their animosity towards uncertainty.

Although uncommon, some people encounter a condition known as Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). This condition often provokes seizures originating from the medial or lateral temporal lobe. According to an online blogger who has this case, it is known that seismic activity stimulates the lobe and “can induce visions of Christ, angels, demons, etc.? If a scientific condition can induce these hallucinations, one of her ideas is that people developed religion to put this TLE into context and make it more realistic to interpret. The Middle East centers on the three religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Historically, that area has been an active seismic area. It is plausible to conclude that perhaps some of those who had religious visions or visions of God were actually affected by TLE, especially for those who encountered it before it was defined in 1985.

In recent years, science has been the main tool used to determine the significance of the role that the brain plays in formulating ideas dealing with God and religion. Brooks explains the idea of personal situation playing a role in how one perceives God. If a person is in a situation of uncertainty or doubt, they will tend to find an answer with religion. It is also customary for people to try and explain the world, in many cases, with God. Although a finite answer may not be readily available, science is being used to formulate an answer to the ambiguous question of “why do we believe in God??

Works Cited

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126941.700-born-believers-how-your-brain-creates-god.html?full=true

http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/magick/createsgod.htm

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=120688

Comments

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