Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature

Article excerpt

NEUROSCIENCE, PSYCHOLOGY, AND RELIGION: ILLUSIONS, DELUSIONS, AND REALITIES ABOUT HUMAN NATURE. By Malcolm Jeeves and Warren S. Brown. (2009)· West Consho hocken, PA: Templeton Foundation Press. Pp. l60, pb. $17.95. Reviewed by Bryan Auday (Gordon College/Wenham, MA).

This book is part of the Science and Religion series supported by the Templeton Foundation who commissioned two stellar, seasoned authors to write a brief book that would extend the dialogue between developments within the scientific enterprise and religion. Jeeves and Brown, both neuropsychologists, have written a solid - albeit brief - book that explores questions about the role brain activity plays in human behavior and experience. The book is clearly written for the non-specialist (e.g., the term psychology is defined) and appears to be best suited for the general educated public who wants to learn more about the historical developments that undergird several contemporary areas of research within brain science that have implications for religious belief. JPC readers who are academics might want to consider requiring this book for undergraduate freshmen in psychology or neuroscience programs as a conversation starter that could then be supplemented with more in-depth scholarly writings on selected issues such as the biological correlates of moral behavior or the neurological foundation of religious beliefs.

The book contains nine chapters and includes a bibliography for further reading, along with a name and subject index. With a central goal of placing historical, philosophical, and theological perspectives in a broader context for understanding human nature, chapter one addresses the rapid growth of neuroscience as a discipline and its relationship with the field of psychology. I concur with the authors' observation that advancements within contemporary brain imaging technologies (e.g., fMRI, PET, TMS) have fueled interest and research, Chapter two addresses the nature of the debate between science and religion by placing it within the context of a two-fold typology of "warfare" or "partnership. …

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