Wired for God?: The Biology of Spiritual Experience

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9780340964422: Wired for God?: The Biology of Spiritual Experience

Human religious experiences are remarkably uniform; many can be pharmacologically induced. Recent research into the neurology of religious experience has shown that, when worshipping or praying, a certain part of the brain, apparently dormant during other activities, becomes active. What does all this mean for those of faith and those with none? In this fascinating book barrister Charles Foster takes a survey of the evidence - from shamans to medieval mystics, to out-of-body experiences and epilepsy, via Jerusalem and middle-class Christianity - and assesses its significance. Written in short, accessible chapters, this is a fascinating tour of religious and mystical experiences and their relation to human physiology.

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About the Author:

Charles Foster is a writer, barrister and tutor in Medical Law and Ethics at the University of Oxford and sits as a part-time judge in the criminal and civil courts. He read veterinary medicine and law at the University of Cambridge and has written, edited or contributed to thirty books. His most recent book is THE SELFLESS GENE, which explores the creationism/evolution debate. He writes regularly for many publications.

Review:

I have enjoyed an extended argument with this book. Foster's passion and clarity help focus on the key issues concerning the nature of religious feeling in human life, demanding a quality of response from the reader that matches his own high standard of thought and exposition. Professor Chris Gosden, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford 'A look at the ultimately important questions of life that is itself wonderfully alive: you may not agree, but you will never be bored'. Iain McGilchrist 'In this tour of the weird and wacky in religion and spirituality, Charles Foster displays his gift for making science accessible and philosophy entertaining. He will amuse and irritate religious believers and non-believers in turn but won't let either group stray too far from the evidence. You may not agree with all of Foster's answers, but he is certainly asking good questions.' Justin Barrett 'Foster takes us on a most enjoyable journey through the drugs, dreams and profound experiences that lead people to believe in the existence of souls. Although I disagree profoundly with his conclusions Foster's exploration of why we are so incurably religious is both serious and entertaining.' Professor Susan Blackmore, author of Consciousness: An introduction Thoroughly researched and very well written...interesting, stimulating and challenging. Third Way

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Foster, Charles
Published by Hodder & Stoughton (2010)
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