The Spiritual Brain: Science and Religious Experience

Course No. 1682
Professor Andrew Newberg,
Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
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3.2 out of 5
78 Reviews
51% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 1682
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Course Overview

Does God exist? Do we have a soul? Is it possible to make contact with a spiritual realm? How should we respond to the divine? Will life continue beyond death?

Whether you are a deeply religious person, a spiritual seeker, or one who has come to doubt or disbelieve in a spiritual power, you have probably pondered these questions and at least begun to answer them for yourself. In fact, archaeological and historical records show that even the earliest humans were aware of a spiritual realm and developed religious practices as a result.

One of humanity’s most awesome forces, the spread and practice of religion has exerted a profoundly outsized effect on individuals and entire civilizations, altering the course of history. The religious impulse is so powerfully pervasive that neuroscience has posed a provocative question: Are our brains wired to worship?

In The Spiritual Brain: Science and Religious Experience, award-winning scholar and practicing neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg, Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, offers you 24 riveting lectures that explore the new and exciting field of neurotheology, a discipline aimed at understanding the connections between our brains and different kinds of religious phenomena. Using an academic, experimental approach into what he calls “objective measures of spirituality,” Dr. Newberg attempts to explain what others have previously only guessed at: the neuroscientific basis for why religion and spirituality have played such a prominent role in human life.

Spirituality through a Scientific Lens

How do religious experiences originate? What is their meaning? And why does religion play such a huge role in human experience? In this captivating course, you will peer directly into the seat of all human thought and action as you experience a leading researcher delve into the relationship between brain function and spirituality.

Dr. Newberg grounds The Spiritual Brain in the context of the brain’s neurophysiological structure and religious development from infancy through late adulthood. You’ll discover how the brain and spirituality appear to develop in parallel throughout a person’s life span, tracking through different stages of religious awareness. You’ll also learn

  • how the various parts and systems of the human brain work together to create and sustain different beliefs about the world;
  • the ways in which religious beliefs and practices have measurable, biological effects on the individuals who hold and engage in them; and
  • why the increasing neuroscientific data help us to better understand how God, religion, and spirituality may be inextricably intertwined with ongoing brain development.

Now, after millennia of human devotion to the divine, neuroscience is beginning to disclose the relationship between religion and the brain by providing answers to questions that have long eluded us. Or have they? Could this modern discipline actually be reinforcing some of our most cherished beliefs?

New Insights into That Old Time Religion

A leading researcher in neurotheology, Dr. Newberg offers you innovative approaches to ancient beliefs and practices. Using brain imaging and other cutting-edge physiological studies, he helps you to better understand how the brain controls or responds to religious and spiritual beliefs and behavior. For example, you’ll examine MRI studies showing that long-term practitioners of spiritual practices like meditation have thicker and more active frontal lobes than those who do not practice meditation.

One obvious question that arises: Did their brains naturally develop these attributes, making them more inclined to practice meditation? Or did their brains change over time as a result of practicing meditation? Follow Dr. Newberg as he continually devises new experimental methods designed to answer these apparent scientific stalemates.

You’ll also take a look at “snapshots” he has taken of the brains of cloistered Franciscan nuns engaged in prayer. You will then see what his analysis showed about the neurological changes that took place during prayer, as well as long after.

For many people, religious practice relates to a specific tradition, but that is not always the case. In The Spiritual Brain, you’ll observe what Dr. Newberg’s groundbreaking research tells us about the role the brain plays in mystical states. You’ll study firsthand accounts showing

  • how speaking in tongues may represent a supernormal functioning of certain areas of an otherwise whole and healthy human brain;
  • why near-death experiences and other reports of disembodied consciousness might be more than the activity of a brain on the verge of physical extinction; and
  • what the widespread experiences of divine revelation and spiritual salvation have to do with the brain’s continued progression toward advanced states of development.

With every intriguing answer these experiments produce, many more questions are raised as a result, and with this course you have the advantage of Dr. Newberg’s expertise to accompany your quest for their answers every step of the way.

Inside the Body of the Believing Brain

Throughout The Spiritual Brain, Dr. Newberg examines not only the neural activity of the religious brain, but also the effects of various religious beliefs and practices on human mental and physical health. There are literally hundreds of studies that show that religion has a measurable effect on health. What’s more, specific religious beliefs also have specific health advantages. You will see that

  • church attendance is associated with decreased heart disease, blood pressure, emphysema, cirrhosis, and suicide;
  • Mormon males may have decreased rates of cancer and mortality;
  • elderly Christians and Jews are less likely to die in the 30 days before important holidays; and
  • Seventh-Day Adventists live longer than the average population.

If this connection exists, these same studies then raise the question of potentially detrimental effects of religious belief and practice, such as in cases of dangerous cultic activity. Dr. Newberg evaluates fascinating research involving both believers and atheists showing the ways in which your beliefs actually determine how you rationalize—as well as mistake—the world around you.

Your brain is a belief-generating machine that has evolved to realize your beliefs through your behaviors. Join Dr. Newberg as he shares some game-changing discoveries coming out of the field of modern neuroscience, and perhaps on your thrilling voyage through these fascinating discoveries, you may reconsider some of your own beliefs along the way.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    A New Perspective on Ancient Questions
    For many, science and religion address two fundamentally distinct realms of human experience, but scientists and theologians are increasingly discovering that these realms intersect. Learn how neuroscience is tackling some of life’s biggest questions while shedding new light on humanity’s most ancient and enduring beliefs and practices. x
  • 2
    Why Do We Have a Spiritual Brain?
    We humans possess highly evolved brains that enable us to create sophisticated systems of religious beliefs and practices. Examine the theories that seek to explain the development of this astounding organ, showing how and why we have such a powerful inclination to search for a spiritual realm. x
  • 3
    Brain Function and Religion
    The brain is structured in several sections, governs a variety of systems and functions, and is the central processing unit of the human body. Delve into the inner workings of this elusive organ by means of modern neuroscience to determine how various brain processes may be involved in religious and spiritual experiences. x
  • 4
    How Does Science Study Religion?
    Pursuing knowledge by means of science requires a disciplined methodology. This methodology is based in experimental approaches to its subject. Dissect the various ways in which science attempts to investigate religious phenomena, allowing you to better understand these spiritual experiences in an effort to determine their ultimate nature and makeup. x
  • 5
    Believers and Atheists
    Religion has been a fundamental part of human culture for many millennia. If the human brain is hard-wired for religious activity, then why do some people’s brains reject the notion of the divine altogether? Analyze the current neuroscientific evidence for the differences between the brains of believers and nonbelievers. x
  • 6
    Spiritual Development
    Human brains are capable of producing complex spiritual thoughts and states. At what age does this capacity begin? How does this capacity change throughout a lifetime? Trace the development of the brain from infancy into adulthood and see how this physiological transformation corresponds to progressive stages of religious belief. x
  • 7
    The Myth-Making Brain
    From the first campfires of our ancient ancestors, storytelling has been an essential part of our human experience. Stories communicate important ideas meant to illuminate and inspire us. Harness the power of myth to appreciate how it is used by your brain to make sense of an often puzzling universe. x
  • 8
    The Brain and Religious Rituals
    Habitual activity is the key to internalizing behavior, and religious ritual is a clear example of this phenomenon. Observe how the rhythm of repetitive routine changes your neural network by imprinting the precepts of religious worldviews in transformative and visceral ways. x
  • 9
    The Biology of Spiritual Practices
    Two of the most common forms of religious behavior are prayer and meditation. Although these practices seem to be a pathway to another, more spiritual realm, learn how they can also be measured by the physiological changes that the practitioners exhibit, not only while engaged in them but long afterward. x
  • 10
    Religion and Health
    Do prayer and meditation increase your physical well-being? Can regular church attendance contribute to an increased life span? Consider the emerging evidence that shows that increased involvement in a religious lifestyle may offer many additional health benefits. x
  • 11
    Religion and Mental Health
    Explore the complex relationship between religious conviction and disorders like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, and determine what role, if any, religion should play in medical therapy. x
  • 12
    Religion and Brain Dysfunction
    Some scientists have linked religious conversion with a physical pathology, while others have associated intense spiritual practices, such as speaking in tongues, with brain dysfunction, but are these perspectives too reductionist to be accurate? Test these experiences to determine whether they speak to mental disorders or to supernormal brain functioning. x
  • 13
    Transmitters to God
    Messages of the mind are relayed through brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Uncover the mental connections involved in humanity’s religious experiences and follow the hidden pathways through which human beings may be connecting with the divine. x
  • 14
    Stimulated States and Religious Experiences
    Changes in brain activity that occur from natural or internal conditions seem to track closely with artificial methods produced by electrical or chemical stimulation. Grasp how stimulated states give us insight into the nature and meaning of spiritual experiences. x
  • 15
    Near-Death Experiences and the Brain
    Even at the point of death, our cerebral circuitry is quite active. In fact, the neural activity of these extreme states contributes to phenomena that some claim as evidence of life beyond death. Come to appreciate how neuroscience is broadening our perspective on the riveting reports associated with near-death experiences. x
  • 16
    The Believing Brain
    Your brain works hard to interpret your experiences, making sense of your world through creating and adopting belief systems about it. In a manner of speaking, your brain is essentially a belief-generating machine. Master the mechanics by which your brain constructs your beliefs—including those that may prove demonstrably false. x
  • 17
    The Brain’s Influence on Religious Ideas
    Whether you are thinking about the here and now or about the abstract notion of a spiritual realm, your thoughts are governed by the nature and capabilities of your brain. Ponder the ways that the structure and function of your brain shape and limit your religious and theological conceptions. x
  • 18
    Revelation, Salvation, and the Brain
    Your experiences are processed by your brain to determine both their immediate importance and their connection to your life as a whole. While many experiences are dismissed as largely insignificant, others have the ability to profoundly transform us. Test two widely experienced religious experiences with the tools of modern neuroscience. x
  • 19
    The Brain’s Influence on Religious Behavior
    Ethical behavior is close to the heart of all religious traditions. Find how neuroscience is shedding new light on the processes that make possible religiously motivated behavior such as altruism, empathy, and forgiveness. x
  • 20
    How the Brain Changes God
    Given the fact that your brain interprets experience to construct a picture of reality, how does this shape your concept of God? Size up the various ways we tend to envision God as our brains work to formulate ideas of divinity, ranging from the overly humanized to the esoterically abstract. x
  • 21
    How God Changes the Brain
    Your brain is constantly changing in response to your shifting thoughts and experiences. This ongoing neural transformation recreates your brain to adjust to everything from your routine activity to thoughts and experiences of extreme enlightenment. Consider the ways in which these spiritual practices and religious beliefs actually modify your brain. x
  • 22
    Why God Won’t Go Away
    Despite the prophesied death of God and demise of religion, both are alive and well over a decade into the 21st century. Moreover, they are gaining ground in many spheres of modern life. Discover how the two most basic functions of the brain allow for religion’s ongoing durability. x
  • 23
    The Mystical Mind
    Religion and spirituality can be said to be very important aspects of human life, but what about people who take it much further? Transcend the religious ego to experience mystical frames of reference in which distinctions between the self and other, as well as the past, present, and future, simply disappear. x
  • 24
    Reality and Beyond
    Having explored how our brains construct and interpret reality, we have yet to address why we assume our mental constructions are correct. Test the boundaries of your worldview and probe the possibility that spiritual experiences may speak to an underlying reality that is hidden from us in our everyday lives. x

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Your professor

Andrew Newberg

About Your Professor

Andrew Newberg
Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Dr. Andrew Newberg is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Radiology at Thomas Jefferson University, and he teaches undergraduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Newberg received his medical degree in 1993 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He...
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The Spiritual Brain: Science and Religious Experience is rated 3.2 out of 5 by 78.
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Tedious ... Bad Science Taken to Extremes To give a review in a single word, I would pick "tedious." The 24 lectures were much like sitting through a 12 hour sermon. There was very little indeed of science here...only an occasional picture of a brain or a brain scan. As a PhD physicist, I found Andrew Newberg more televangelist than scientist. I had hoped to see specific data relating religious impulse and experience to brain function. There was little of this. Instead, there were many sweeping claims and Newberg's religious speculations. If you are a very religious person, you may find yourself on Newberg's wavelength and feel you found something of value here. This course is religion, not science. If you are interested in brain function, I recommend the Teaching Company's other, excellent courses dealing with the subject.
Date published: 2018-03-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The Spiritual Brain Advertised as what science now has to say about the religious experience, but has hardly any science input, just hours of waffling in speculation and generalities.
Date published: 2017-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Spiritual brain Most interesting. But I somehow feel that it misses an aspect of spirituality. Faith cannot be completely quantifie
Date published: 2017-09-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I haven't finished the course so I can't write a review at this time. So far (Lecture 3) I have more questions than answers
Date published: 2017-09-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Sounded interesting. Speaker very likely an intelligent person. Would have been much better had an individual with a good speaking voice delivered his written and much condensed manuscript - preferably with out the use of the word "actually"
Date published: 2017-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely facinating I've already listened to it twice. He keeps a very open scientific mind, presents a lot of experimental evidence, and asks really probing questions. He approaches the topic of the relationships and interactions between the brain/mind and religion/spirituality in ways I hadn't thought of.
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting The professor was very prepared and passionate about his topic. It is true that sometimes I lost the thread perhaps being too dense but in the end the course was worth it. You will not find the answer of whether there is a God but your knowledge on the topic will be expanded. I also learned some nuggets of information that found very interesting such as how religion may have begun, knowledge about near death experiences, substances that affect the brain. If there is no breakthrough knowledge on the subject it is because this is such an abstract topic as opposed to physics let's say. Overall, I believe my life has been enriched by this course.
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from accurate description I have only listened to the first CD. The lectures so far have been technical and philosophical, e.g. "what is truth?" Frankly, in comparison to pod casts the lectures are like the ones I avoided in college, a little dry and don't move very fast.
Date published: 2017-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Review of the Status of This Research As a physicist I found this course most informative and think the speaker presented a properly balanced approach to this merging of science and spirituality.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I was excited to find out what this meant. Just beginning and am enthralled with the subject matter and the Professor!
Date published: 2017-03-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Actually Awful It may be that only an old fussbudget would pan a whole course due to the professor's verbal tic, but honestly I gave up on this course after hearing "actually" in almost every sentence. Somebody at The Teaching Company should have worked with Dr. Newberg's presentation to rid him of a habit of speech that "actually" drove me batty.
Date published: 2016-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tip of the Spear The spear of scientific research into the human brain that is! This course is incredibly insightful and the data that Dr. Newberg presents, is amazing. This course is certainly important in forming one's understanding of their spiritual beliefs in relation to their physical self. I recommend it.
Date published: 2016-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good biology a religious person ought to know I am finding it insightful. Obviously it seemed that something goes on in the brain of a meditator or pray-er. Now we see the verifiable fact scientifically. And that brings with it even more questions than it answers. Having both biology background and degrees in theology, and deeply involved in the faith community, I have been very interested in this topic for some time, and the course is not disappointing me at all. I would recommend it highly to anyone who was capable of putting the science and religion together,
Date published: 2016-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Answers -- and Raises -- Fascinating Questions It is not uncommon to hear someone opine that "science" and "religion" have little in common or, more radically, are simply incompatible. The greatest merit of this course is that Dr. Newberg avoids such simple assertions by focusing on "why" humans seem wired to speculate on, or have beliefs concerning, spiritual -- that is, non-material -- things as well as on "how" our brains behave in pondering and experiencing spiritual questions, rituals, and states. As a good scientist, he focuses on what research has been able to reveal about the brain's workings, but he also -- as an intelligent open-minded person -- admits that there are things that science cannot answer because they are not subject to measurement or testing. As he discussed -- with the aid of very helpful visuals -- the composition and working of the various components of our brains, I better understood how our capacity to "make sense" of our surroundings, indeed, of the world itself, was related to our speculation about those things we could not see or measure. Dr. Newberg explained that the brain is oriented towards seeing patterns, to understanding relationships between things and events in order to maximize our chance of survival. For, for example, if early humans were not able to connect the swaying of tall grass with the later emergence of a dangerous predator, our species would not have lasted long. However, it is this very ability that causes our brains to constantly seek patterns and explanations for everything, including that which "may" be. Several of his information rich and well ordered lectures discuss the remarkable findings science has made about the brain when it is engaged in spiritual or religious ritual or practice: the stress-reducing calm that comes with meditation or deep prayer, the experience of "oneness with all things" that mystics report, and even the interesting fact that spiritually engaged persons are likely to live longer than those who are not so oriented. I deeply appreciated the fact that although Dr. Newberg kept the focus on what tests and data revealed, he also was clear about what such studies could not "know" and, equally important, that he urged his colleagues to be more inclusive in their own work in order to allow their patients' spiritual orientation to play an appropriately inclusive part of their treatment, whether it be for emotional, psychological, or physical illness. Several times during this course, the lecturer also invited us to reflect upon our own experiences, questions, and even doubts in order to better connect with his subject matter, offering each listener/viewer an opportunity to reexamine our personal narratives of who and why we are, and what we now affirm or believe to be "true" about spiritual or religious questions. An informative and stimulating course that I think has much to offer both those who resent science's "intrusion" into spiritual questions and, alternatively, those who reject spiritual or religious claims. We have much to learn from each other; we are more complex packages than we often give ourselves credit for.
Date published: 2016-10-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Strongly interesting to only a few. Dr. Newberg, deserves much respect as an accomplished doctor and researcher. Also, in “The Spiritual Brain”, he is an excellent speaker, who presents well-organized and clear lectures in a very pleasant way. In addition, I have the highest admiration for his lifelong determination and persistence in pursuing his interest of exploring religious experiences, but by using a scientific approach. Also, frankly, I think his efforts required much personal courage. Of course, there is no doubt that religion has been a widespread and powerful force throughout history, as it continues to be in society today. However, to appreciate this course one has to have an inquisitive, but very open mind about it. For the very religious listeners, the course might seem irrelevant, or even disrespectful to their faith. For the less religious, the concept that most of it is just in the mind, is quickly and easily accepted, so that most of the remaining course might seem fairly redundant. So the question becomes, “Who would benefit from, and enjoy this course?”, and I suspect the answer is that there are very few who would be strongly interested, in spite of the excellent presentation by Dr. Newberg.
Date published: 2016-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Extraordinarily Complex Topic: Pros and Cons The Spiritual Brain is an extraordinarily complex topic and any approach to it via science is risky. Read carefully, this course frequently points to rational alternative views of phenomena where science often stumbles. After all, what we call science today, we often call erroneous tomorrow. Newberg helps avoid stereotyping scientific approach by providing alternative ideas and resurrecting forgotten brain models. For example, in Lecture 14 the Shaman's view of hallucinogenic substances is at odds with, but not disproved by the Western-based approach. PROS: 1. Fowler’s Model of Spiritual Development 2. The discussion of ritual certainly reminded me that for many persons rituals (secular or religious) have deep comforting benefits. Intellectually “proving them wrong” unless the ritual is harmful, may be counterproductive. 3. The God gene is well covered and I believe Hamer is correct in saying that it “does not imply that it is the only factor” nor is the God gene incompatible with religious belief. Most religious persons feel that their bodies were built with a purpose in mind and contain the necessary tools. 4. The “Near Death Experience” was well differentiated from drug hallucination and seizure disorder. What it all means depends on the viewpoint of the listener. 5. For those who have ventured into complexity science, the section on ritual synchronization of "emotional, perceptual-cognitive, and motor processes within the CNS" was intensely reminiscent of what is known as "entrainment" or "mode-locking" in non-linearity. CONS: 1. Material does seem overly repetitious. Unfortunately, the prolongation & multiplicity of approaches to certain topics seem to dilute the effectiveness. There is enough content here for at most 12 lectures. 2. Neurotransmitter levels do sometimes have strong association with linear illness. Parkinsonism is an example. However, summarizing complex events by levels of neurotransmitters is a “chicken and the egg” conundrum and clouds this course and much of medical literature. There are a few neurotransmitters and 100 trillion brain connections. Complexity on this level involves nonlinear mathematics, not linear transmitter levels.
Date published: 2016-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting This is a very interesting series of lectures. The professor explains this in a clear manner and he cites relevant research. I learned a lot that I did not know before. Some of the lectures like Near Death Experiences were fascinating! I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2016-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I have purchased another copy of this course for a gift to a dear friend. That may be the highest recommendation I can give a course.
Date published: 2016-01-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating topic with limited research The Spiritual Brain might have been better packaged as an introduction to an emerging science. The topic fascinates me, but there is so little research in this field that Professor Newberg referred to the same few studies throughout the entire course. I felt the same way about Newberg's descriptions of each topic and the parts of the brain affected. By lecture 22, it felt very repetitious. Overall, I think I would have been happier if the course had been condensed to 14 lectures. Newberg was engaging and easy to listen to. He spent a great deal of time explaining the problems with researching many of the topics, such as near death experiences, but he was always optimistic that there will be great research breakthroughs in the future. After many of his lectures I wondered how much the field of neurotheology will change in the next 10 years and how basic the information in this course will seem after more research. All in all, I found the course enjoyable and I would listen to the lectures again.
Date published: 2016-01-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I struggled to the end of this course with some difficulty, in contrast to most other courses I have bought across a wide range of subject areas. I think too little material has been stretched out over the 24 lectures. It is not that there were no interesting insights, but it felt quite slow, repetitive and often too speculative. As a Christian believer with a background in science I found the approach disappointing. The use of terms like 'God' was loose and ill defined. At times it irked me as a scientist and at others as a Christian believer. Dr Newberg clearly has interesting things to say and there is clearly some interesting scientific research in this area. However, he has not managed to produce a well-paced, engaging lecture course.
Date published: 2015-04-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hoped for Better I usually love the courses I buy, but this was an exception. There were two main problems for me: First, the instructor seemed to have to stretch out relatively few basic insights. It was basically a two lecture course. Second, the instructor at times, although not always, lumped together religion and spirituality. It seemed like he was talking at times about religionandspirituality (one word) But the two seem to me to be often different, as he acknowledged at times. There are religious wars but not spiritual wars. He also lumps together prayer and meditation, sometimes talking about them as though they were the same.
Date published: 2015-03-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Boring I believe this course could have been condensed; the lectures are too redundant. The presenter talks about the nuns used as an experiment at the first sessions and goes on with them forever in subsequent sessions. It gives you the impression that the science was way too thin. The lecturer is personable but his repetition from one session to another puts me off. For previous courses I have gone through a session almost daily. This one sits around for weeks before I venture on the computer again. The subject looked really interesting but the presentation is a real let down.
Date published: 2014-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Gentlemen : I take this opportunity. to inform you I have been Unable to download the course because I lack the technical skill with computers. My intención was to buy the DVD versión ( as in all my previos purchases). Is there posible that you quote me for a substitution ?.
Date published: 2014-10-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Shockingly inferior Save your money! The "professor" has fair enthusiasm, but the content is so poorly organized that it is difficult to follow. He appears to have little knowledge of neuroscience or of spirituality. As others have pointed out, he fails to deliver adequate references to the centuries of ostracism, discrimination, and even murder of scientists and those who deign to differ from established religions. This is a shockingly inferior course and one to avoid.
Date published: 2014-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best of the Best This lecture give as not only the information about The Spiritual Brain, but shows new directions for studying this very controversial topic. Dr. Andrew Newberg showed as that the new science, neurotheology, is very important part of the studying neurophysiology of the human brain. It is understandable, because religion and spirituality have played such a big part in human life. This new science can help as to find out relations between divine and humankind and answer the most vital question if divine is the product of our brain or our brain is the device which divine can manipulate with the humankind. Thanks
Date published: 2014-10-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from i would buy it again Some of the reviews are clearly written by physicians, who argue this course is not scientifically rigorous -- that is NOT the point of a TC course I too am a physician, and I found the course to be interesting, enlightening, and well worth my time (and money) it is impossible to have a course rigorous enough for physicians, and at the same time, understandable for the public I think Dr. Newberg did as fine a job as one could have expected -- an almost impossible task, yet he kept me listening, learning and intrigued. a fascinating topic
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hard to recommend Much in the opening two lectures really revolves around semantics, e.g. defining "spirituality", "adaptive" and the ugly word "religiousness" (religiosity?). By lecture 3 we start on the compelling topic of how science studies religion... neurotheology. This is a formidable challenge indeed, which the professor -- a medical doctor who frequently avers "I am a scientist" -- tackles by maintaining a neutral position while presenting the facts, theories and studies done; the dopamine study and the God gene study were fascinating. I found the lectures overall rather repetitive, and somewhat light on substance, probably because not much progress has been made on this topic. Dr Newberg, btw, is the author of the book Principles of Neurotheology. Several times I had to backtrack to listen again to Dr Newberg; he has a habit of sliding over or swallowing words. I had to refer to the guidebook to find out what he meant by what sounded like "sennering prayer"...... he was in fact saying "centering prayer", an expression I had not heard before, though I have studied religions, especially Christianity, quite deeply for many years! Dr Newberg's pronunciation "cro-ma-YON" for "Cro-Magnon" was alien to my poor ears which had always previously heard "cro-MAG-nun"! Well, you learn something every day while eating your filet mignon! But I don't know what kind of food "exoterm-filkoo" (phonetic spelling) is! Dr Newberg said the brain has the colour and consistency of it. On balance, I find it difficult to recommend this course, though it does provide an introduction to a very difficult and even contentious subject.
Date published: 2014-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent for what is This is a new field and a scientific evaluation of religious experience is only going to yield so much. I think he approaches it very much as a scientist. He neither tries to debunk religious experience as natural, nor to confirm it as a experience that provides proof for doctrinal claims. He simply examines the various ways in which people experience spirituality and talks about what happening in the brain during the experience. The presentation is excellent and (the upside of the new field) very thorough. I would think everything TC customer would realize that learning is not the sole reserve of the academy.
Date published: 2014-06-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good info for Non-Believers As a person who believes in the Lord, and having meditated for over 30 years, most of the stuff in this course is not surprising. It was good to see some of my beliefs confirmed by science, but certainly not a “prerequisite” to my beliefs. The course had its moments, but somewhat repetitive, and not too much new if you have been reading the good stuff about spirituality out there like Depok’s stuff, A Course in Miracles, The New Testament, etc. Good course for those out there not believing in spirituality yet. It might help.
Date published: 2014-04-27
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  • loc_en_US, sid_1682, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 53.37ms

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