Sacred Pathways: The Brain's Role in Religious and Mystic Experiences (2nd Edition)
"... nothing short of genius." Google Book review
By Todd Murphy
"Sacred Pathways: The Brain's Role in Religious and Mystic Experiences" is a Royal College of Psychiatrists Pan-American book club Selection.
Most books on the meeting of science and religion have focused on things like Quantum Mechanics, "subtle energies", and attempts to prove that specific religious beliefs have a scientific basis. "Sacred Pathways" is different. It begins by accepting Darwin's theory of evolution, the basis of all scientific thought about the human species.
"If reincarnation is a human behavior, and Darwin was right, then reincarnation is an evolutionary adaptation that helped our species survive."
Todd Murphy proposes that the brain areas that support the death-process (made explicit in Near-Death Experiences) also support religious and mystic experiences during our lives.
Sacred Pathways is:
"...the principia (principle work) of the scientific investigation of spiritual experiences" (From the forward by Dr. Michael Persinger, Director, Laurentian U. Neurosciences laboratory)
" ...interested readers will no doubt find (it) illuminating." - His Holiness, The Dalai Lama
Professor Todd Murphy has been a member of Laurentian University's Behavioral Neuroscience program under the direction of Dr. Michael A. Persinger since 1998. His book, Sacred Pathways, is a major advance in neurotheology, a synthesis of science and religion that discusses spirituality only in the language of science. Most people in this field confine themselves to looking at what the brain is doing when people have otherworldly experiences, epiphanies, and peak experiences. This book goes further than that, seeing these things in the context of anthropology, sociology, human evolution as well as in the human brain. It also discusses how psychic perceptions have been observed in laboratory studies.
Todd Murphy has published in several scientific journals, including the Journal for Near-Death Studies, Psychology Reports, NeuroQuantology, and Activitas Nervosa Superior.
This is a "Must Read" for anyone interested in the meeting of science and religion.
Sacred Pathways: The Brain's Role In Religious and Mystic Experiences (second Edition, corrected and expanded)
By Todd Murphy
Foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama
Foreword by Dr. Michael A. Persinger.
Order Paperback edition on CreateSpace
(450 pages, paperback) ($26.99 USD)
Buy Kindle edition HERE ($6.99 USD)
See lectures by the author HERE
Sacred Pathways is the 21st century synthesis of science and spirituality by Neuroscientist Todd Murphy.
In brief, it proposes that the brain areas that support the death-process (as made explicit in Near-Death Experiences) also support religious and mystic experiences. It also shows how these experiences are more likely following times of real hardship, fear and pain. If you've had spiritual experiences that you want to understand, you'll find that this book offers solid explanations. This book is the first of it's kind in the field of neurotheology, the study of the brain's contributions to spirituality.
Professor Murphy proposes that reincarnation is an evolutionary adaptation that contributed to the survival of our species, and that the self is a hallucination, and God is a manifestation of our own sense of self. He also describes how enlightenment changes your brain, appearing after an avalanche of neural activity in very specific brain areas. He also believes that spirituality is a very positive force in the world, and in the lives of individual people. Spirituality, he argues, is an adaptive force that's crucial to our survival as a species, and so is an integral part of our nature. An atheist who openly encourages prayer, Murphy goes well past the debates between skeptics and believers to see how religion helps us, without regard for the truth or falsehood of anyone's private beliefs.
This easy-to-read tour-de-force work explains the brain's role in religious and mystic experiences including psychic perceptions, enlightenment, prayer, and near-death experiences. It also offers ideas that explain reincarnation, out-of-body experiences and the spiritual nature of romantic love. Although it's written to be as easy to read as possible, it includes scholarly references to the hundreds of rigorous scientific publications its based on. This is real science.
It includes a chapter that summarizes a theory of reincarnation published by a peer-reviewed scientific journal, making it possible for scientists and critics alike to discuss it within the framework of science.
Sacred Pathways is a major advance in neurotheology, a synthesis of science and religion that discusses spirituality only in the language of science. Murphy goes further than other authors, seeing these things in the context of anthropology, sociology, and human evolution as well as in the human brain.
This is a fascinating, accessible, and thought provoking book that will change the way you see spirituality.
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A Children's Book