Let's tread into controversial territory, shall we? If you believe a recent study from the National Institutes of Health, then your belief in God isn't all that special -- at least from a neurological standpoint.
Researchers recently hooked 40 test subjects up to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) equipment and quizzed them about their beliefs, doubts and quandaries over the existence of a higher power, according to a story from NPR. This is the same technology that allows us to see what sections of the brain light up when we, say, contemplate the idea of beauty.
The results? The 40 brains in question reacted the same as if their owners were thinking about regular, everyday people. Negative and positive emotional responses varied, but researchers argue that the human brain doesn't handle religion in any particularly special way. According to neuroscientist Jordan Grafman, religious beliefs probably light up the same sections of the brain as normal water cooler talk because we developed these beliefs some 60,000 years ago to handle difficult social situations.
So what do you think? Does a test based around statements and questions accurately gauge the entire spectrum of religious experience? Would one exemplify the same mundane readings speaking in tongues or engaged in deep, meditative prayer?
Oh science and religion, will you two ever stop squabbling?