Some scientists have come up with an idea that religious beliefs may be related to a defect in our brains, and more specifically, to temporal lobe epilepsy. This actually creates a new branch of science called, self-contradictorily termed, “neurotheology”.
The temporal lobe controls, inter alia, hearing, speech and memory. Its mulfunction will give us a feeling of non-being.
They’ve found that the effect of praying or meditation is to lower the blood flow to the temporal lobe and creates the sensation of an existential detachment, not dissimilar to a religious enlightenment, or as the scientists have called it, religious hallucinations.
What interests me is actually the remark the lead scientist made at the end of the study. He said this research in no way undermines religious beliefs, it could well be that God has planted this “antenna” into certain people so they are more likely to discover and communicate to God.
This reminds me of the scientists’ and jurists’ struggle to break free of religious domination in the 16th century while submitted themselves to the church.
Corpernicus did not dare to publish his sun-centred thesis in all his life.
His supporter Galileo’s helicendric model was banned by the church and was tried on heresy, who was house-arrested for the rest of his life.
While Grotius appeared to be building his natural law theory on God’s laws, he sneaked in at the end of his thesis “And what we have said would still have great weight, even if we were to grant … that there is no God”
Similarly, Jesuit Bellarmine added a bit more boldly that “even if per impossible man were not God’s creation”, we would still be able to interpret natural law since we “would still be a rational creature”
After so many centuries, these so-called neurotheologists, still have to be safe not to upset the church.