The Science of Spirituality
NPR recently ran a week long feature titled “The Science of Spirituality.” The subtopic presented on May 20, 2009 “Prayer may Reshape your Brain and your Reality” was especially intriguing.
A neuroscientist Andrew Newberg has been scanning the brains of religious people for more than a decade. He is part of a new field called “neurotheology.” Scientists are finding that the brains of people who spend many hours in prayer and meditation are different.
Are we wired for spirituality? Using a SPECT brain scanner, portions of the brain lit up and darken while people pray. The frontal lobe of the brain become more active during prayer and chanting and the parietal lobes grow dim. Newburg has observed this phenomenon with monks, nuns, Buddhists and Sikhs.
Of course, this research is just beginning and could mean many things, much of which is speculative at this time, but isn’t it interesting that actual changes in the brain is noted during prayer?
This whole arena of research may make some people uncomfortable on their faith journey. Some non-believers will make premature conclusions about what the scientists are studying.
As a nurse I have always been fascinated on how the brain works and once again research is showing how much we don’t know and understand about the human body. I say “Come on. Let them study people who prayer.” I know deep down we will never fully figure out how God uses our brain, hears our prayers and communicates with us, his children. God is so much more than we can even begin to comprehend. What a Creator we serve!
This research reminds me of the quote by Soren Kierkegaard “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” More truth than we realized in this saying.
Didn’t God create something wonderful when He created us? Look how long it took us to find this out! Do you think the Holy Spirit works in our tiny brains when we pray-uttering words we can’t know and calming our frantic thoughts? Great topic.
Now this is interesting!! Thanks. I have always felt this, but glad to know scientists are beginning to look into it.
OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!
Thanks Jean. As usual a neat post. Clella
Jean Wise says
Thanks for all the comments. I do believe God works within science, not science without God. I worry though, some will take the God factor completely out of this research. He will prevail though
Very interesting, Jeanie.
God is in the business of making internal changes, isn’t He? He’s so amazing.
Thanks for reminding me once again of even more tangible evidence of God’s ability to change. A good reminder right now as I’m waiting for Him to make changes in various areas of my life!
God Bless You! Melinda
Julie Gillies says
I saw your tweet and agree with Lynn…this is fascinating. I love when science begins to prove anything about God…including how we are supernaturally touched through prayer.
Kathy Collard Miller says
Yes, this is fascinating. We’ll see where it leads.
Jean, This is very interesting. Great post! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m so glad I got to read it. Blessings…Lynn