ERIC Number: EJ928078
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 0
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Brain
Hogue, David A.
Religious Education, v106 n3 p257-261 2011
Twenty-five years ago the author was taking a required class in neuropsychology in which students were introduced to the amazing structure and functions of the brain. During the very last class session, exams completed, students were relaxed, and by then had enough basic information to ask interesting questions. The author ventured a question about religion. "What happens to the brain during a religious experience?" There was a pause while the professor considered his response, and one student muttered under his breath, "That one's easy. The brain shuts down." His implication was clear: religion requires the short-circuiting of rational thought, and intelligent people do not engage in that sort of thing. In the years since the author first asked that question, a cascade of discoveries from the neurosciences has touched on virtually every facet of human life, including religion. In hindsight, that course prompted a kind of conversion experience for him. In some deep way, the psychology and theology he had been studying for years found an embodied ground, what former colleague and pastoral theologian Jim Ashbrook called an "anchoring metaphor." This research trajectory has shaped not only the author's work, but his understandings of people (including himself), relationships, and spirituality. Here, the author discusses four clusters of thought that have particularly influenced him: (1) embodiment; (2) memory and imagination; (3) a theory of change; and (4) the social nature of brains and bodies.
Descriptors: Figurative Language, Religion, Brain, Neuropsychology, Philosophy, Religious Factors, Neurology, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Memory, Imagination, Social Influences, Theories
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A