Neuroscience of Religion, Interpersonal Neurobiology, or Neurotheology?

The Correlation of Faith and Neuroscience

There are many different ways of correlating neuroscience with faith.   Some more popular terms people use are interpersonal neurobiology, neuroscience of religion, or neurotheology.  

Neuroscience involves physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, psychology, and many other disciplines. Theology generally relates to the study of the nature of God, Absolute Reality, religious faith, practice, and experience.  One of the strongest advocates for the term “neurotheology” is Dr. Andrew Newberg.  Put simply, neurotheology is the intersection of belief and neuroscience. 

The widely used term “interpersonal neurobiology” provides another perspective to correlate faith and neuroscience.  The term has gained wide acceptance partly because of Dr. Daniel Siegel, the founding editor of the Norton Interpersonal Neurobiology series.  Another term, “neuroscience of religion” is used by Dr. Justin Barrett, who has also been highly influential in the field, most recently editing the Oxford Handbook of the Cognitive Science of Religion.

Neuroscience shows that when we live by love, joy, peace, and kindness we are richly rewarded in our bodies.  To show you how we are richly rewarded, this site draws together scientific discoveries from many sources including secular, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist neuroscientists. Even in our disagreement there is much we can learn from one another.

Most of the material on this website is presented from a Christian perspective.  Christian scripture affirms that God is love (1 John 4:8) and that we are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27).

If you are not Christian, feel free to click here for resources that offer different perspectives on the correlation between spirituality and neuroscience from scholarly, research, and diverse faith backgrounds.

No matter what our religious or spiritual background, we can learn from one another.  If we can accept the best from those who are different from us, they will be more drawn to us.

What is Spirituality?

Spirituality is not synonymous with religion.  Each person’s understanding of spirituality is unique, shaped by life-experience, and practiced outside the domain of formal religious doctrine.  Spirituality is the way people experience, express, and/or seek meaning, purpose, and transcendence.  It is the way people connect to the moment, self, others, nature, the significant, and/or the sacred.  We all yearn for the meaning of life and death.  Religion is a set of specific creeds, rituals, and traditions that creates a unified understanding of the nature of God or Ultimate Reality.