Sunday, May 3, 2009

Post No. 112b: Program of Interest on C-Span2 Book TV Right Now

"How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist"

As we type this, two authors are discussing how their studies of brain scans of memory patients, and surveys of people with various religious and spiritual experiences, has led them to believe that certain practices can ultimately change portions of the human brain and thus human behavior.

To view the summary of the program, simply click here.

1 comment:

  1. I read "Born to Believe" a couple of years ago and found it interesting but not (for me)much of a surprise. As a small child I was not taught about God by my parents or my maternal grandmother who lived was us. Yes, we celebrated holidays as a family but that is not the same thing as communicating your belief in God or lack thereof to a youngster. I was sent to an all girls Orthodox Yeshiva called Bais Miriam not because of my family's religious beliefs but because I was not being taught how to read and write in Public school. Teachers were too busy teaching newly arrived Puerto Rican children that "this is a hat" and "that is a spoon" etc to have time to teach phonics to those of us who did not need to be taught how to communicate in English. It was the same reason my friend Carol whose family were African Methodists sent her to Catholic school though they were certainly not Roman Cathoic.
    Bottom line, as a child in that school we davined (prayed) out of a siddur (prayer book) before our school day began, said blessings before and after each meal and generaly had a prayer to say for evrything including lightning and thunder. What my childish brain made of this was that these were things God required in order to be right in his eyes. I never thought of those prayers as communication with God, simply obediance. There was another part of my life, one very private and shared with no one where I did talk to God. Not that I thought of that as prayer. Prayer to me were perscribed words said at certain times and circumstances and in a certain way. But...if I got lost by accidently getting off at the wrong bus stop I would talk to God and he would guide me home. Or if my heart was filled with the joy of a day of play or discovery and filled to bursting I would thank Him. I would never,never,never have thought to tell my folks about this. I don't know why. They certainly wouldn't have punished me for talking to God and I didn't think they would make fun of me either. It was just that this was an intensly personal part of my life and even a child needs to have a personal part to their life. So why am I dithering on about the faith of my childhood? Simply because it was there from as far back as I can remember. I never knew a time that God had not listened to me or spoke to my heart. And a part of me understood enough of the world to hide that lest this special thing somehow be lost. I did lose that faith as well as the faith I had been taught in Yeshiva once I entered a secular humanist school after primary school. I denied what I knew to be true on an emotional level because I was being taught that in the rational world this personal God was a fairy tale like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. All those childhood memories were pushed aside. At one point I became a bit of a Pantheist and I suspect that was because there was a hunger inside of me for that connection I had stripped away from myself. Much, much later when I became a Christian I would speak to God in the same way I did as a child. The difference now is I ask why is it everything in creation besides humans seem to know how to rejoice in their part of that creation. Humans alone are out of place. He whispered the answer to me and now I am content. I agree that we are hardwired to know the Divine from birth in some measure and some degeree. To turn your back on this you must be taught from an early age, before you a 6 or 7 or 8 to reject that impulse to reach for the Divine.

    PS I don't mind if people refer to God as "She" or "Her". God is neither male nor female but we males and females each have Divine traits-not neccesarily all the same ones:) God is spirit, and those that worship God must do so in spirit and truth.


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