Your brain on God

The NPR has a yummy summary of current research on the relation between brain activity and various instances of spiritual experience. There is a bunch of podcasts thrown in as well.
More than half of adult Americans report they have had a spiritual experience that changed their lives. Now, scientists from universities like Harvard, Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins are using new technologies to analyze the brains of people who claim they have touched the spiritual — from Christians who speak in tongues to Buddhist monks to people who claim to have had near-death experiences. Hear what they have discovered in this controversial field, as the science of spirituality continues to evolve.
via Is This Your Brain On God? : NPR.

I believe much of what passes for religious experience can be traced back to the brain. But to say that it originated there doesn’t seem convincing to me. That is like opening up a radio, pointing at the speaker and saying this is where the sound comes from. Of course the sound comes from the radio. But that isn’t the source, is it?

Human beings are animals, but that is not all they are. I think spiritual experiences are a sign of something much larger (God, for lack of a better word) channeling itself through the human animal. Our interpretations of it are feeble and weak of course, but that is why research like this makes me happy. We are getting there.