Abstract
Neurotheology is a fast-growing field of research. Combining philosophy of mind, neuroscience, and religious studies, it takes a new approach to old questions on religion. What is religion and why do we have it? Neurotheologists focus on the search for the neural correlate of religious experiences. If we can trace religious experiences to specific parts of the brain, chances are we can reduce religion as such to that grey soggy matter as well. This article predicts neurotheology will not be able to locate the neural correlate of religious experiences. As we cannot decide phenomenally what makes an experience religious, neurologically we cannot find its correlate either. That is, if there are fixed neural correlates to begin with, because their existence is still a matter of debate. In addition, religious experiences seem to be a kind of experience, like emotional or relational experiences, making them indistinguishable from similar nonreligious experiences. Even if one manages to trace the neural correlate of religious experiences, neurotheology will still not be able to account for the rise of religion without resorting to theories from other disciplines. In the end, we do not know enough about consciousness and the way it relates to the brain to make conclusive claims about the search for religious states of consciousness. It seems, however, that even though neurotheology could provide fascinating insights in the workings of the religious brain, on its own, it will prove unable to explain religion fully
Keywords neural correlates of consciousness   neurotheology   consciousness   religion   religious experience
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/157361211x577284
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,079
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Consciousness Explained.William G. Lycan - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (3):424.
Consciousness Explained.Daniel C. Dennett - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):905-910.

View all 63 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Towards a Theory of Spiritual and Religious Experiences.Chris A. M. Hermans - 2015 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 37 (2):141-167.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Why the Neural Correlates of Consciousness Cannot Be Found.Bernard Molyneux - 2010 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (9-10):168-188.
Are There Neural Correlates of Consciousness?Alva Noë & Evan Thompson - 2004 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):3-28.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-12-01

Total views
36 ( #315,791 of 2,506,037 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,828 of 2,506,037 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes