Why God Won’t Go Away – Brain Science and the Biology of Belief, by Andrew Newberg M.D., Eugene D’Aquill M.D.,PH.D., and Vince Rause - Ballantine Books, New York. For more details click HERE
Why God Won’t Go Away is a book that explores the neurobiological processes that accompany the subjective experience of that which many define as God, Godlike, divine or Transcendent.
For those who are partial to science and its discoveries, discoveries that are helpful to persons in so many ways, this text may be useful. It presents a current scientific research-based view concerning possible neurological elements and biological processes occurring within the brain, which may support and be involved in the experience of a transcendent, otherworldly and divine encounter. Although many descriptive aspects of such an encounter may be similar, people of different cultures and times may and have interpreted this experience in different ways. Some of the reasons for this are included in this work.
The text begins by examining the central neurological processes that appear to be involved in the experience of the transcendent. Indeed, for the researchers, spiritual experience was found to be more and more an integral part of, and deeply woven into the biology of our humanity.
To help understand such biology, there are sections of the work which explain basic organizational aspects and functionality of the brain. It speaks on connections amongst and throughout various areas of the brain, and the relations they have, with the body, through the spinal processes. An integrated view of how this all works together, under certain conditions, is then presented. It shows how genuine mystical experiences occur, that profoundly alter the views and beliefs of the one undergoing the experience, such that the awe-some feeling of transcendence and importance, overwhelm the limited state of egoic being.
As part of the conditions to prepare one for such an encounter, an understanding of ritual and myth making, and the contributory role they play are examined. Mysticism is then defined and examined, with examples given of mystics and some of their experiences. The often-common idea of mainstream science, that mysticism is a result of a diseased brain, or related to mental health concerns is entertained alongside an examination of “genuine mystical states.” There then follows an integrated view of the neurobiology of mystical experience and the elements involved, as well as some thoughts concerning how this experience may be related to the wider subject of human evolution.
The work winds down with some ideas concerning the nature of the real, reality, the idea and experience of the self. It considers, in light of the research, its findings, and the experiences of those having transcendent encounters, “Why God Won’t Go Away”.
For those having curiosity concerning some of the neurobiology supporting mystical and transcendent experiences, as well as the experience itself, this is an informative and clear work that lays a foundation for understanding how our neurobiology serves as an upadhi or vehicle for higher Transcendent awareness.
This edition of Notable Books was compiled by Eugene Jennings.