In his new book, The Mind of God: Neuroscience, Faith and the Search for the Soul, neurologist Jay Lombard, and his coauthor Patrick Kennedy, presents a commitment to the reality of an expansive faith that is strengthened and illuminated by science rather than being at odds with science. He points to the significance of his trusting faith that is above and beyond any particular human religion in human history. All of these religions, including Christianity and Quakerism, in the big picture, come and go. He seeks to recognize the physical brain as fundamental for the reality of human consciousness, the mind, and the basis for whatever form of faith a person experiences. With the brain, he seeks to make spirituality concrete. Within our brain, there is part that connects us to our deeper spiritual identity: our soul.
He stumbles with his language, as we all stumble with our language. He poses important questions. His answers are notably vague to this reader. But, he demonstrates a willingness to seek. He is willing to recognize the relationship of consciousness, mind, and thinking with the physical brain, which is not easy for understanding the reality of the history and scope of the universe we inhabit.
Quakers: Quakers have had little to say so far about the relationship of the spiritual life to the brain. It is worth the effort.
- Can Quakers say something unique to the nexus of the brain and spiritual experience?
- J. Lombard and P. Kennedy, The Mind of God: Neuroscience, Faith and the Search for the Soul(2017)
- “Who Says Religion and Science Don’t Mix?” in New York Times June 26, 2017 p. C5