In the last decades, spirituality/religiosity has attracted a huge body of research and neurotheology
or spiritual neuroscience is emerging as a modern multidisciplinary field aimed at understanding religious experiences and practices, as well its impact on wellbeing, with a focus on mental health, and its potential therapeutic implications in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.
There is an entire new field of science devoted to understanding what changes happen in our brains when we engage in religious experiences or practices, called neurotheology
, or the neuroscience of religion.
While McHargue draws upon physics, he leans most heavily on Andrew Newberg's work in neurotheology
and Tanya Luhrmann's anthropological work with evangelicals.
Although concerns have been expressed about what Tallis (2011) has termed "neuromania"--the view that the complexity of human consciousness can be reduced to neural activity--neuroscience research methods are nevertheless being applied to an array of new fields, such as neuroaesthetics, neurotheology
, neurolaw, neuroeconomics, and neuroeducation, to name a few.
The following chapter, "Neurotheology
and the Ethical Brain," discusses the emerging field of neurotheology
, where neuroscience end philosophy are entwined.
Principles of neurotheology
. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Science and Religion Series.
By the 1990s, some thinkers who were interested in the intersection between brain science and spirituality were beginning to use the term "neurotheology
" to describe this kind of work.
Introducing "the emerging field" of "neurotheology
," she declares that, "Evidence has been mounting for some time that an extreme form of materialism is true." (88) The dramatic tone of this announcement sorts oddly with the pedestrian discussion that follows, in which fMRI readings are said to correlate with a "whole range of religious experiences." These findings, after all, signify merely that psychological states coincide with neural activity, and there needs no Tech come from Medical Imaging to tell us this.
Shamanism as Neurotheology
and Evolutionary Psychology.
It seems as if new neuro-versions of traditional disciplines are popping up all the time, such as "neuroethics," "neurotheology
," "neuroaesthetics," etc.
Other studies in the burgeoning field of neurotheology
rely on cuttingedge technology to make connections between religion, genes and the brain.