Belief in God = Bigger Brain?

According to a CNN article from a couple of years ago, (“Are humans hard-wired for faith?”), this just may be the case.

Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg discovered from studying brain scans that the parietal lobe, which processes our sensory information, is also responsible for  “that feeling of becoming part of something greater than oneself.” Newberg believes that his findings may be evidence that faith is a natural function of the brain inherent in all human beings.

If human beings are indeed “hard-wired for faith,” then what can we conclude from this finding? Does that mean that those who believe are more “fit” in the struggle for life than others, and as a result, were the ones that survived and evolved? Of course not. A more logical explanation would be that people’s brains were designed this way to serve a real, tangible function. If belief in God is “delusional/harmful/mind-numbing” as many atheist assert, then why do human beings universally share this neurological trait? How would human beings with this trait be able to flourish with a trait that that is “detrimental?” The obvious answer is that this belief and faith is not detrimental and is likely to be innate. And if our brains were designed for such a purpose… well, you can draw the obvious and logical conclusion.

What about those who lack faith and any spiritual connection when participating in prayer? Could this possibly be indicative a neurological disorder or deficiency? Some Christians insist that atheists actually know that there is a God–they just don’t want to have to play by the rules set by Him. I disagree. I think that most atheists genuinely cannot fathom God’s existence and that Dr. Newberg’s findings might explain why.

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10 comments

  1. myatheistlife

    Seriously? Neuroscience news that is several years old is so out of date as to probably no longer be relevant. Since that 2007 story, there is this from 2009 http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/08/12/un-wired-for-god.html
    “I’ll leave to braver souls the question of whether religiosity leads to social dysfunction, as the new breed of public atheists contends. More interesting is the fact that if social progress can snuff out religious belief in millions of people, as Paul notes, then one must question “the idea that religiosity and belief in the supernatural is the default mode of the brain,” he told me. As he wrote in his new paper, “The ease with which large populations abandon serious theism when conditions are sufficiently benign . . . refute[s] hypotheses that religious belief and practice are the normal, deeply set human mental state.” He posits that, rather than being wired into the brain, religion is a way to cope with stress in a dysfunctional society—the opium-of-the-people argument.”

    And then finally this year, the HuffPost http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/intuitive-thinking-religious-belief-analytical-research_n_1457396.html put up an article that more likely explains the situation. Relating it backwards, all that the articles seem to say is that there are fewer analytical and critical thinkers in the world – but that is changing.

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