Tricia McKean's Reviews > How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist

How God Changes Your Brain by Andrew B. Newberg
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Feb 06, 12

bookshelves: 2012, family-bookclub, favorites, non-fiction, religion-spirituality, 2011, psychology
Read from May 31, 2011 to February 06, 2012 — I own a copy

I finished it!
This book took me a very long time to read because of three factors:
1. I started it during graduate school (what was I thinking?)
2. It was shelved during the Dark Tower extravaganza, which took me a lot longer to get through than I had anticipated.
3. I wanted to absorb EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL. so I intentionally set a very slow pace.

This book was extraordinary. Since I started it in 2011, I'd go ahead and classify it in my top 3 favorite books I read during 2011. While the topic of God is the primary focus of this book, I loved so much more than that about it. The authors were extremely adept at choosing a viewpoint (obviously, they are Pro-God, as opposed to many recent books such as The God Delusion and God is Not Great) and then they cited every single one of their statements with SCIENTIFIC, PEER-REVIEW, PUBLISHED RESEARCH STUDIES. Perhaps this may not be a big selling point for many readers, but ever since I finished graduate school I have become very picky about non-fiction writers claiming a certain statement as 'truth' with no scientific evidence to back it up. So, just the fact that there were an average of 30-40 citations per chapter was my version of foreplay.

As for content, I think they made a great case for themselves. It began by outlining what actually happens in a person's brain as think think about God. Sometimes the scientific jargon was actually a bit much for me, causing me to slacken my reading pace even further as I attempted to research some concepts they referred to. However, I do not think that the writing ever became indiscernible (like authors who include big words just because they can and want everyone to know how smart they are). Then from the neurological perspective they moved on to discuss religions, and how particular religious views of God influence our brain functioning. This chapter was fascinating. I don't think it was offensive in any way; it certainly didn't bash or preference any religion-- they only referenced scientific studies that had observed certain results/correlations among a broad range of religious beliefs.

And lastly, given the authors' particular backgrounds, an entire chapter focused on meditation techniques-- as meditation is a well-studied and successful practice to increase one's spiritual connection to God (or if a person is athiest/agnostic, they provide many citations on how non-religious meditations can improve an armada of brain functions).

I would recommend this book to anyone I know-- religious zealot or athiest, alike. I feel like God may be an over-charged word for some people and that could turn them off of this book, just from the title. But despite one's predilections, I think ANYONE could take something meaningful away from this book.

I can't say enough good things about it.
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