The Spiritual Brain: Science and Religious Experience : The Great Courses: Psychology

  • by The Great Courses, Andrew Newberg
  • Narrated by Professor Andrew Newberg
  • Series: The Great Courses: Psychology
  • 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Does God exist? Do we have a soul? Is it possible to make contact with a spiritual realm? How should we respond to the divine? Will life continue beyond death?Most people, whether deeply religious or outright doubters of any spiritual power, have probably pondered these questions for themselves. In fact, the religious impulse is so powerfully pervasive that neuroscience has posed a provocative question: Are our brains wired to worship?
Now, in a series of 24 riveting lectures from an award-winning scholar and practicing neuroscientist, you can explore the exciting field of neurotheology - the new discipline aimed at understanding the connections between our brains and different kinds of religious phenomena. Using an academic, experimental approach into what he calls "objective measures of spirituality," Professor Newberg attempts to explain what others have previously only guessed at: the neuroscientific basis for why religion and spirituality have played such a prominent role in human life.
In these captivating lectures, you'll learn how religious experiences originate, their meaning, and the reasons why religion plays such a huge role in human experience - peering directly into the seat of all human thought and action as you delve into the relationship between brain function and spirituality.
A leading researcher in neurotheology, Professor Newberg offers you innovative approaches to ancient beliefs and practices. Using brain imaging and other cutting-edge physiological studies, he helps you to better understand how the brain controls or responds to religious and spiritual beliefs and behavior.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A interesting course

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes quite a light and interesting series, although some of the later lectures I found less interesting


Any additional comments?

Good but not great

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- Kev Nw1

Neurotheology from an Eminent Leader in the Field

Prof. Newberg is one of the great names in the research of brain states and religion. His seminal work with D'Aquila on brain changes during meditation is fascinating and original and he starts the course describing his work and findings.

The course of 24 lectures goes on to examine the various functions, such as the holistic function, spacial and temporal orientation, identity functions, morality functions etc. and the brain areas responsible, which contribute to our human religious and mystical experiences, beliefs and concepts.

Whether religion can be reduced explanatorily to these brain states, or whether they point to the perception of a transcendent reality is an enjoyable philosophical thread that runs through the whole course, without ever being resolved.

The course was recorded some time ago, and advances have been made since. I would have liked more specifics eg. names for the brain areas concerned with the various functions, many of which tended to be around the parietal and temporal lobes. Specifics on the mode of action of drugs which mimic mystical states like DMT or LSD, and more illustrative cases from brain injury and neurological patients, as well as reference to the various psychological biases we have as humans, and which play a role in religious belief, would have made this a truly fantastic lecture course.

However, if you are interested in religion, whether as an atheist, agnostic or believer, and wish to understand better the neuronal correlates of the experiences, practices and beliefs of religion, taught by one of the most eminent researchers in the field, I thoroughly recommend this course.
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- Jim Vaughan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses