Many want to attribute a belief in God to a distinct pattern in the brain

For a long time psychologists, philosophers and scientists have contemplated the great leap of faith we each endeavor.  It is said that faith and belief in a celestial being or God is an emotional reaction. But now, we have a thorough research study to prove this may not be the case.

 

 

Behavioral Science and University study

Academics from Coventry University Centre for Advances in Behavioral Science and neuroscientists from Oxford University agree that people with strong beliefs in god are no more or less intuitive or analytical than individuals that don’t believe. Scientists say those who believe in god generate the parts of their brain that employ empathy and compassion. Meanwhile, those who do not believe stimulate more analytical cognitive ability.

According to Science Reports, there is evidence to suggest celestial beliefs synchronize with logical and scientific forms of knowledge. In fact, MRI scans detect logical, analytical thinking from the right frontal cortex of the brain.

 

 

 

The intuitive belief based rational came from the ventral medial prefrontal cortex

Crusaders who trek the Camina de Santiago participated in a brain stimulation experiment to test these two opposing conclusions. The academics who studied this group found no link in cognitive intuition or analytical thinking. However, they did find that socio-economic, cultural beliefs and upbringing played an even greater role in religious conviction.

Santiago of Compostela is a pilgrimage that crosses the north of Spain. The walk takes approximately 30 days. This particular pilgrimage allows a reasonable measure of interaction with spiritual focus, encounters and development. Despite the fact the walk can be done alone or with a group, most trekkers experience a spiritual awareness or awakening of some kind.

 

This is what Camina de Santiago is known for

The beautiful pilgrimage routes the Camino Frances from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port in France to Santiago. The Voie de Tours, Voie de Vezelay and the Voie du Puy all cross the Pyrenees.

The eighty nine pilgrims in the research study ranged in age from 16 to 67. Most of them had been walking between 10 -12 days previously. The diversity of nationalities included 34% Spanish, 12% German, 12% American, 8% Brazilian, 3% Polish, 4% Korean and another 3% which included Italian, Irish and French. 71% of the participants were Christian, 20% were not religious but had strong spiritual beliefs, 8% declared themselves atheist and only 1% were Buddhist.

The study exhibits faith and belief in things supernatural, is something that happens naturally. Although, the paths are mainly flat, trekking for 30 days straight will take a toll on your feet and legs. Likewise, the physical experience enhances the spiritual. All participants reported spiritual gain from the trek.

 

The walk itself is not difficult

Results from the study concluded no identifying factors inspiring intuitive responses more in individuals who had a faith of some kind. Each person studied showed analytical abilities as well as intuitive. Beliefs from this study were more in response to the experiences people had during their pilgrimage. In other words, there is no scientific evidence to prove intuition is stronger than logic in individuals who express spiritual or religious connection.

 

 

That says nothing about the difference between religious beliefs and spiritual convictions

The difference between these two are smoldering chasms and worlds beyond the imagination. There are so many qualifying factors that the existence of a higher intelligence is the only reasonable explanation for them.

Many people point to nature as qualifying evidence that a higher intelligence exists. The fact that the earth is the exact distance that it is from the sun can be proven mathematically. Any closer and we would all burn up. Move the earth a slight distance away from where it is now and we would all freeze.

The human body and brain are another example of the complex nature that couldn’t have just evolved. The intricate network wiring of our nervous system resembles the vastness of the solar system and galaxy. These patterns don’t develop randomly.

 

Most importantly, belief in God inspires people

Most individuals who believe are more positive in nature. Emotional satisfaction is a compelling reason to believe. It compels the brain to absorb a dopamine kick much the same as a drug. Feelings of euphoria result, Positive outlook and life experiences result. This could only be a good thing.

 

References: Scientific Report, Live Science, Every Student, Science Daily
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mage credit:Pedro Albuquerque via flickr.com