Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief

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9780345440341: Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief

Why have we humans always longed to connect with something larger than ourselves? Even today in our technologically advanced age, more than seventy percent of Americans claim to believe in God. Why, in short, won’t God go away? In this groundbreaking new book, researchers Andrew Newberg and Eugene d’Aquili offer an explanation that is at once profoundly simple and scientifically precise: The religious impulse is rooted in the biology of the brain.

In Why God Won’t Go Away, Newberg and d’Aquili document their pioneering explorations in the field of neurotheology, an emerging discipline dedicated to understanding the complex relationship between spirituality and the brain. Blending cutting-edge science with illuminating insights into the nature of consciousness and spirituality, they bridge faith and reason, mysticism and empirical data. The neurological basis of how the brain identifies the “real” is nothing short of miraculous. This fascinating, eye-opening book dares to explore both the miracle and the biology of our enduring relationship with God.

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Over the centuries, theories have abounded as to why human beings have a seemingly irrational attraction to God and religious experiences. In Why God Won't Go Away authors Andrew Newberg, M.D., Eugene D'Aquili, M.D., and Vince Rause offer a startlingly simple, yet scientifically plausible opinion: humans seek God because our brains are biologically programmed to do so.

Researchers Newberg and D'Aquili used high-tech imaging devices to peer into the brains of meditating Buddhists and Franciscan nuns. As the data and brain photographs flowed in, the researchers began to find solid evidence that the mystical experiences of the subjects "were not the result of some fabrication, or simple wishful thinking, but were associated instead with a series of observable neurological events," explains Newberg. "In other words, mystical experience is biologically, observably, and scientifically real.... Gradually, we shaped a hypothesis that suggests that spiritual experience, at its very root, is intimately interwoven with human biology." Lay readers should be warned that although the topic is fascinating, the writing is geared toward scientific documentation that defends the authors' hypothesis. For a more palatable discussion, seek out Deepak Chopra's How to Know God, in which he also explores this fascinating evidence of spiritual hard-wiring. --Gail Hudson

From the Back Cover:

“A wonderful assessment of the brain and its activity when God is experienced.”
–HERBERT BENSON, M.D.,
President, Mind/Body Medical Institute and
Author of The Relaxation Response
“A THRILLING EXPLORATION . . . Newberg’s reverential attitude toward the great unknowns is reminiscent of Einstein’s.”
–LARRY DOSSEY, M.D.
Author of Reinventing Medicine and Healing Words

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