The Neurological Roots of Experience

I am fascinated by the neurological dimension of our lives. For years I have read about the neurological “god spot” which some have posited as an explanation for our religiosity. And more recently I have shared re the neurological components of our political belief systems. Very recently I have met NeuroNotes  in the blog-o-sphere who has whetted my appetite for this subject and also a local neurologist who suggested some interesting reading material for me.

As I delve into this world of science I am also delving more deeply into the spiritual realm and in the recesses of my mind I am teased with the notion that religion and such scientific speculation cannot co-exist. “Why these scientists are trying to tell me that God does not exist, that God is just some result of neurological wizardry, and that I should grow up and just forget about all of that “God stuff.”

But, I find that my faith deepens the more that I read and study. For, I discover that “God” is much more than a rational construction, that ultimately He is a mystery that lies beyond the grasp of my rational, conscious mind but is nevertheless present in some inexplicable fashion in even in this very intellectual/spiritual curiosity of mine. Even the Bible teaches us that God is “the author and the finisher of our faith” and that He is in us, “both to will and to do his good pleasure”. Though we struggle we discover that ultimately is God at work in our heart all along the way. And I quote Leonard Cohen so often, “O bless this continual struggle of the Word being made flesh.”

In some sense we are all merely a blob of protoplasm, a mere animal, a “poor, bare forked creature” (King Lear) but one who is blessed with an intentionality, a spiritual intentionality to achieve some purpose beyond himself. That intentionality is the breath of God’s Spirit seeking to lead us in the direction of “peace on earth and good will toward all men.”

Let me share a verse from the Bible that I feel is relevant and then close with a note from Shakespeare.

Jeremiah noted:

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

And Hamlet said:

What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.

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