Can the Brain Decide Whether God Exists?

John Shook


Science studies nature, and our brains are part of nature. Brains naturally produce beliefs—lots of them. Some of those beliefs are about nature, and others are about God. God is unnatural, yet beliefs about God are natural. It’s a curious situation: why do natural brains produce beliefs about the supernatural?

Brain scientists are working on the explanations for just such beliefs. Inspired by neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychology, religious believers are then jumping to further conclusions about God by constructing “neuro-theology.” Because the human brain naturally produces religion, it is quite reasonable to believe in God, they claim. Old-fashioned theology involves complicated arguments defending elaborate creeds. But a new “scientific” theology, based on brain science, could be a great shortcut to God. If human brains normally make people have religious beliefs, then it must be that people are supposed to be religious!

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