Experimental NeuroTheology: Current Concepts and Future Research

The quantification of the velocity of the nerve “impulse” during the late 19th century challenged the ethereal concept that thought was beyond measurement and description. A century later, modern measurements of brain activity have revealed discrete, reliable, and predictable changes in metabolic and electromagnetic activity within cerebral regions during mystical and religious experiences. Their profound personal significance and both their positive and negative impacts upon the survival of our species cannot be denied. The emergence of the discipline of Neurotheology could supply the scholastic and methodological context to examine these phenomena in order to develop every human being’s potential.

In this special issue researchers summarize the historical, clinical, theoretical, and experimental evidence that all religious experiences and their beliefs reflect a continuum of behaviors that are generated by brain function. They occur within predictable regions of the cerebrum and involve chemical pathways that can be accessed by a variety of mechanisms that range from pharmacological to meditative to musical configurations. This commonality implies there are specific patterns induced within neuronal activity regardless of the means by which they were evoked.

Because all behavior is caused or strongly correlated with brain activity and it is determined ultimately by the matter that occupies brain space, cerebral experiences are subject to the principles of neuroquantology. The possibilities for accessing information through these mechanisms and processes could reveal the intrinsic nature of the universe and the ultimate sources of mystical and religious experiences. The subject matter of Science is, after all, the unknown.

You can read Vol 8, No 4 (2010) issue, Experimental NeuroTheology: Current Concepts and Future Research, Table of Content and Articles

Dr. M. A. Persinger
Behavioural Neuroscience and Biomolecular Sciences Programs
Laurentian University
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

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