The philosopher René Descartes postulated that the pineal gland was the “seat of the soul.” Today this assumption is thought almost unanimously as untrue. Many neuroscientists agree today that there is no single part of the brain that is responsible for spirituality, religion, or connection to God. How all the parts of the brain and body work together is vastly important to our faith and spirituality.
The attempt to connect religiosity or spirituality to a specific brain area has taken many forms. In the last several decades there has been speculation of a God gene, God neuron, or God module in the brain. The researcher Michael Persinger even believed he could create a God Helmet to simulate a religious experience by stimulating the temporal lobes with a weak electromagnetic wave.
While there are many specific areas of the brain that help us relate to a sense of ultimate reality that you can learn more about on this webpage, it is a misconception to isolate religiosity and spirituality to one brain area. Rather than a single spot, some authors, such as Kelly James Clark or Justin Barrett talk more about a God Faculty that allows us to contemplate and relate with ultimate reality.
It is also important to remember that the faculty to make sense of the universe as well as our relationship to it involves more than our individual brains. Our collective knowledge of science and language also help us all better understand ultimate reality. Like 1 Corinthians 12:23 says of our community of faith: “those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect.” This website honors and showcases how the various parts of our brains and bodies affect our faith, wellness, and overall health.
The neuroscience link provides short overviews of the spiritual dimensions of the various parts of the brain and body. They are not meant to be seen as isolated in their function. The better each of our systems works the better our overall health and wholeness.