Essay about The Material Nature of Spirituality

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The Material Nature of Spirituality It was observed from the 'time to think' experiments done in Biology 103 lab, that thinking is material. Thinking was associated with material changes and activities in the brain and the connected nervous system. This promulgates the brain=behavior notion. According to this notion, all aspects of human behavior and experiences are functions of a material structure, the brain. Who one is, is determined by his or her brain. Nevertheless, many people continue to believe in a 'higher power' that guides and controls human action and behavior. In a sense, religion and spirituality was developed to understand and explore questions about 'who we are' and 'what is the purpose of life'.…show more content…
Anxiety and depression are lowered. Regular meditation and prayer decreases the stress hormone, 'plasma cortisol' (2). Transcendental meditation and yoga also increase EEG coherence and blood flow to the brain, induce muscle relaxation and lowers blood pressure (2). Could all these benefits of increased spiritual behavior be associated with biology and the workings of the brain? Could science enable us to understand and explore religious and spiritual experiences? For many years, neurobiology has avoided to explore spirituality and religion. Until recently, religion and spirituality were deemed as 'cultural, a product of social conditioning, and not biological' (1). Religious beliefs and spirituality was the 'playing field' for theologists and philosophers, not biologists and scientists. Many scientists were skeptical and unwilling to consider the spiritual as science. "For most wearers of white coats, philosophy is to science as pornography is to sex" (a quote by science writer, Steven Jones) (1). Nevertheless, quite a few scientists have taken the bold step to conduct research and observations to explore the biological basis of spirituality and religion. Neurobiologists Andrew Newberg and Eugene d'Aquili have conducted research in the specialized field of 'neurotheology' (1) which suggest that 'religion is intimately interwoven with human biology' (1). Their extensive
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