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1 Burnside Spirituality- Science and Religion

How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist


How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist Cover

ISBN13: 9780345503411
ISBN10: 0345503414
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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God is great-for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Thats the finding of this startling, authoritative, and controversial book by the bestselling authors of Born to Believe.

Based on new evidence culled from their brain-scan studies on memory patients and meditators, their Web-based survey of peoples religious and spiritual experiences, and their analyses of adult drawings of God, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, therapist Mark Robert Waldman, and their research team have concluded that active and positive spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better. Whats more, actual faith isnt always necessary: atheists who meditate on positive imagery can obtain similar neurological benefits. Written in an accessible style-with illustrations highlighting how spiritual experiences affect the mind-How God Changes Your Brain offers the following breakthrough discoveries:

• Not only do prayer and spiritual practice reduce stress and anxiety, but just twelve minutes of meditation per day may slow down the aging process.

• Contemplating a loving God rather than a punitive God reduces anxiety, depression, and stress and increases feelings of security, compassion, and love.

• Fundamentalism, in and of itself, is benign and can be personally beneficial, but the anger and prejudice generated by extreme beliefs can permanently damage your brain.

• Intense prayer and meditation permanently change numerous structures and functions in the brain-altering your values and the way you perceive reality.

How God Changes Your Brain is both a revelatory work of modern science and a practical guide for readers to enhance their physical and emotional health and to avoid mental decline. Newberg and Waldman explain the eight best ways to “exercise” your brain and guide readers through specific routines derived from a wide variety of Eastern and Western spiritual practices that improve personal awareness and empathy. They explain why yawning heightens consciousness and relaxation, and they teach “Compassionate Communication,” a new mediation technique that builds intimacy with family and friends in less than fifteen minutes of practice.

Unique in its conclusions and innovative in its methods, How God Changes Your Brain is a first-of-a-kind book about faith that is as credible as it is inspiring.


Gus was not a "meditation type of guy." He was more of a Joe Sixpack, a Philadelphia mechanic not much interested in religion. He hauled himself into Andrew Newberg's clinic for one reason: His memory was failing.

Newberg, a neuroscientist and memory expert, has a special interest in spirituality; he has scanned the brains of worshipers ranging from Franciscan nuns to Pentecostals... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)


Based on new scientific research, the coauthor of "Why God Won't Go Away" reveals the controversial discovery that God--however the term is defined--is good for people both physically and emotionally.

About the Author

Andrew Newberg, M.D., is the director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania. He is one of the founders of the new interdisciplinary field called neurotheology. He is an associate professor in the department of radiology, with secondary appointments in the departments of psychiatry and religious studies, at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been featured on Good Morning America, Nightline, Discovery Channel, BBC, NPR, and National Geographic Television. He is the co-author of Why God Wont Go Away, Born to Believe, and The Mystical Mind.

Mark Robert Waldman is an associate fellow at the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a therapist, the author or co-author of ten books, including Born to Believe (with Andrew Newberg), and was the founding editor of Transpersonal Review. He lectures throughout the country on neuroscience, religion, and spirituality and conducts research with numerous religious and secular groups. His work has been featured in dozens of newspapers and magazines and on syndicated radio programs.

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Robert7000, April 16, 2009 (view all comments by Robert7000)
Brain Identity

What if we have all been misled by language invented by our predecessors and the simple truth turns out to be that we are not “human beings” or “persons” but rather human brains that are intimately connected to all the organs and other parts of the particular human body in which we reside? What if the word “person” and the “personal pronouns” we commonly use such as “I”, “me”, “we”, “you”, etc. are only linguistic inventions of human brains that for one reason or another were unable to identify themselves correctly as actually being human brains?
It can be shown that a human brain has the ability to create and use spoken and written language through the use of certain areas of cerebral cortex located usually its left hemisphere. Strokes or other damage in these areas cause impairment or loss of a human brain’s ability to produce and understand spoken and written language. Precisely which linguistic abilities are impaired or lost in any given instance and to what degree depends upon the exact location and extent of the brain damage.
We know that every human brain and body has been built by a new combination of parental DNA that resulted from the union of a particular egg and a particular sperm which formed a single new cell; and over about a nine month period the information stored in the DNA inside that first new cell allowed it to divide and grow into trillions of new cells of various types, all of which were organized into what we linguistically describe in just two words: “newborn baby”.
We also know that having been built by DNA, each brain and body – beginning even during the building process and continuing ever after - has been continually modified by an enormous amount of environmental variables and experience up to and including the present moment.
Suppose for the sake of argument that my assumption is correct and I actually am a human brain that is continuous with a spinal cord and connected through nerves to all the organs and other parts of the body in which I reside. If that is true, does that fact automatically mean that it is impossible for anything else to exist that is not made of atoms and molecules like I am? Is it impossible for something to exist that may be orders of magnitude more intelligent and powerful than I am? Something that may in some way be related to the incredible and awesome complexity of what we see in the cosmos and in the living world on our planet? Something human brains might choose to call a “Supreme Being”, or a “Supernatural Force”, or perhaps “God” ?
How does knowing what I am and how I came into existence – however desirable that may be - automatically inform me about everything else that may or may not exist, and what its nature may be?
If I am only linguistically a “human being” or a “person” - a fictional entity invented by my predecessors that exists only in language and that can be thought of as “owning” a brain and a body - but in reality I am actually a particular human brain that is intimately connected to and living within a human body, the brain inside my skull cannot appropriately be called “my brain”, because it is, in fact, “me”.

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Product Details

Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist
Newberg, Andrew
Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman
Waldman, Mark R
Andrew Newberg, M.D.
Newberg, Andrew, M.D.
Waldman, Mark Robert
Ballantine Books
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.5 x 6.4 x 1 in 1.4194 lb

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness
Religion » Christianity » General
Religion » Spirituality » Science and Religion
Religion » Western Religions » Theology

How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist Used Hardcover
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Product details 368 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345503411 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Based on new scientific research, the coauthor of "Why God Won't Go Away" reveals the controversial discovery that God--however the term is defined--is good for people both physically and emotionally.
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