Do religious experiences come from God, or are they merely the random firing of neurons in the brain? Drawing on his own research with Carmelite nuns, neuroscientist Mario Beauregard shows that genuine, life-changing spiritual events can be documented. He offers compelling evidence that religious experiences have a nonmaterial origin, making a convincing case for what many in scientific fields are loath to consider--that it is God who creates our spiritual experiences, not the brain.
Beauregard and O'Leary explore recent attempts to locate a "God gene" in some of us and claims that our brains are "hardwired" for religion--even the strange case of one neuroscientist who allegedly invented an electromagnetic "God helmet" that could produce a mystical experience in anyone who wore it. The authors argue that these attempts are misguided and narrow-minded, because they reduce spiritual experiences to material phenomena.
Many scientists ignore hard evidence that challenges their materialistic prejudice, clinging to the limited view that our experiences are explainable only by material causes, in the obstinate conviction that the physical world is the only reality. But scientific materialism is at a loss to explain irrefutable accounts of mind over matter, of intuition, willpower, and leaps of faith, of the "placebo effect" in medicine, of near-death experiences on the operating table, and of psychic premonitions of a loved one in crisis, to say nothing of the occasional sense of oneness with nature and mystical experiences in meditation or prayer. Traditional science explains away these and other occurrences as delusions or misunderstandings, but by exploring the latest neurological research on phenomena such as these, The Spiritual Brain gets to their real source.
About the Author
Mario Beauregard, Ph.D., is an associate research professor at the Departments of Psychology and Radiology and the Neuroscience Research Center at the University of Montreal. He is the coauthor of The Spiritual Brain and more than one hundred publications in neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry.
Denyse O'Leary, born in Saskatchewan (1950), is a Toronto-based Canadian journalist and blogger who is the author of two award-winning books, Faith@Science (Winnipeg: J. Gordon Shillingford, 2001) and By Design or by Chance? (Minneapolis: Augsburg 2004, an overview of the intelligent design controversy). She is co-author of Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, on The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper: 2007). She went into freelance journalism shortly after leaving university, having completed a four-year degree in Honors English Language and Literature. In addition, she has taught writing, editing, and business practice for writers and editors for many years. O'Leary has two married daughters. SPANISH BIO: Denyse O'Leary nacio en Saskatchewan en 1950. Ella es una periodista Canadiense que radica en Toronto y ademas mantiene un blog. Es autora de dos libros ganadores de premios, FE@Ciencia (Winnipeg: J. Gordon Shillingford, 2001) y Por diseno o por azar (Minneapolis: Augsburgo 2004, un vistazo general de la controversia del diseno inteligente). Es coautora del libro El cerebro espiritual: El caso de un neuro cientifico por la existencia del espiritu (Harper: 2007). Denyse se convirtio en periodista independiente despues de terminar la universidad y sus estudios para obtener un grado en literatura y lengua inglesa. Ademas, ha ensenado escritura, edicion y practicas de negocios a editores y autores durante varios anos. O'Leary tiene dos hijas casadas.
“A very important book, clearly explaining non-materialist neuroscience in simple terms appropriate for the lay reader.”
-Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD, Research Psychiatrist, UCLA, author of The Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain
“The Spiritual Brain is a wonderful and important book...a necessary read for both the scientist and the religious person.”
-Andrew Newberg, M.D. Associate Professor of Radiology and Director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania.and co-author of Why We Believe What We Believe.
“A refreshing antidote to the arguments offered by some scientists who insist that their minds, and yours, are meaningless illusions.”
-Dean Radin, PhD, Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences and author of The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds
“A sweeping critique of the trend to explain away religious experience as a brain artifact, pathology, or evolutionary quirk.”
In clear, readable prose, avoiding highly technical language, neuroscientist Beauregard argues merely physical explanations for religious experience are insufficient. Recommended.”
Lends scientific credence to the existence of a higher or universal consciousness.
-Booklist (starred review)
Drawing on Beauregard’s own research into religious experiences, a researched case for the nonmaterial—and ultimately spiritual—nature of man.
Beauregard uses evidence to show that the self or soul is not simply locked inside the skull.
I heartily advocate the purchase of this book
-Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary have produced a provocatively titled book covering an equally provocative topic.
-Christian's Scholar Review