Baylor > Lariat Archives > News


Brain wired to complement religion

Feb. 6, 2001

I've often wondered why God judges those who have never been exposed to the Gospel.

It's not something I usually talk about. I didn't used to even think about it that much. Who am I to question God's justification? I know that doubt is a part of everyone's faith, but it seemed completely inappropriate of me to question that which I couldn't ever fully understand.

Despite my feelings of inadequacy, I couldn't seem to shake the idea that just maybe all those who were unaware of Christ and his sacrifice were getting a raw deal.

'Why are they held accountable to laws that they have never heard before?' I asked myself.

I had read Romans 1:20, which says 'Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.'

This wasn't enough for me. What invisible qualities? How are they clearly seen?

Of course it is clear to those who allow Christ to work through them.

But why doesn't God ease up on people if it never crosses their minds to search for 'eternal power and divine nature'?

One thing I've learned from my study of the Scriptures is that there is always a different perspective.

And I came across a new perspective for Romans 1:20, unexpectedly from a scientific source.

In a new blending of neuroscience and religion called neuro-theology, scientists are discovering that the 'human brain has been genetically wired to encourage religious beliefs,' according to MSNBC.com.

In the book Why Won't God Go Away?, Dr. Andrew Newburg and Dr. Eugene d' Aquili, both from the University of Pennsylvania, said when people have a spiritual experience, the portion of the brain that decides orientation and 'where self ends and the rest of the world begins' is deprived of sensory input.

'The absorption of the self into something larger [is] not the result of emotional fabrication or wishful thinking,' Newburg and d'Aquili say. Instead, they say that it is a result of reduced input to this specific portion of the brain.

This is a profound discovery. If the human brain is specifically designed to complement and encourage spirituality, then everyone has an inherent instinct to search for God.

Knowing this, I can more clearly see why man is without excuse. God has given us the capacity and desire to discover him. If we ignore these, then we are to blame.

TYLER EMLER

Copy editor