The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
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SamBee
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by SamBee » 04 Dec 2016, 15:25

I have seen this elsewhere but the fact they used RMs is a point against it!!! As LDS I think we are encouraged to rope in any and all positive things and feelings as evidence of testimony from an early stage. In fact, I would say LDS are probably one of the worst groups to investigate this phenomenon.

Mormons feel happy. It's the spirit.
Mormons feel affection. It's the spirit.
Mormons feel confident etc
Mormons feel energetic etc
Mormons feel personal affirmation etc...

In other churches these would be seen merely as forms of happiness... which while deriving from God ultimately would not be seen as manifestations of the Holy Ghost.

Even as we are invited to pray over the truth of the BoM, so many ideas are used as personal vindication by missionaries.

And let's be frank... many young missionaries are NOT out there due to spiritual experiences. Try peer pressure, family tradition or the promise of marriage (with legal sex!)

While I think spiritual manifestations happen in the church, I do not think they are as common as some would have it, and don't just appear on demand.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Shawn
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by Shawn » 05 Dec 2016, 12:09

I think science will eventually show that all "spiritual" feelings are nothing more than the effects of brain chemicals. This will explain why depression and/or anti-depressants seem to mitigate the "Spirit" for some people.

I believe the same reward centers would light up if people from all sorts of religions were put in that MRI machine - not by watching a First Vision, but by being exposed to material from their respective religion.

I believe science will eventually show that "spiritual" feelings are not significantly different from feelings I experienced when watching "Gladiator" and "Braveheart."

This is sad to me.

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Heber13
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by Heber13 » 05 Dec 2016, 13:11

SamBee wrote:Mormons feel happy. It's the spirit.
Mormons feel affection. It's the spirit.
Mormons feel confident etc
Mormons feel energetic etc
Mormons feel personal affirmation etc...
Those sound like fruits of the spirit to me.
Shawn wrote:all "spiritual" feelings are nothing more than the effects of brain chemicals.
If the brain chemicals are helping me find goodness, wisdom, joy and love for myself and others...I'm all for it. Get me some more of it.

For me, the trick is to manage my expectations where I think there is a mathematical formula with fool-proof probabilities for predicting it and the outcomes of spiritual impressions. I need to let go, and go with the flow of things...looking for the good where ever and however I can find it.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Roy
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by Roy » 05 Dec 2016, 16:04

Shawn wrote: I think science will eventually show that all "spiritual" feelings are nothing more than the effects of brain chemicals. This will explain why depression and/or anti-depressants seem to mitigate the "Spirit" for some people.
Maybe feeling the spirit has much more to do with humanity than divinity. There is still plenty that is wondrous, awe inspiring, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy about the human condition. Shall we not still seek after these things?
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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LookingHard
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by LookingHard » 05 Dec 2016, 20:43

I have not had a chance to listen to it, but Radio West just did segment on this very topic labeled "Religion and the Brain" http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/religion-and-brain

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Shawn
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by Shawn » 05 Dec 2016, 22:16

Roy wrote:Maybe feeling the spirit has much more to do with humanity than divinity. There is still plenty that is wondrous, awe inspiring, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy about the human condition. Shall we not still seek after these things?
Yes, definitely.

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LookingHard
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by LookingHard » 06 Dec 2016, 15:39

LookingHard wrote:I have not had a chance to listen to it, but Radio West just did segment on this very topic labeled "Religion and the Brain" http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/religion-and-brain
I have listened to this and it is good and one of the people on the project is being interviewed and he mentions some of what we have said - comments like, "does the same part of the brain light up when someone is planning a terrorist attack?" I don't think all TBM's thought about that question.

There is a second guest that came on and one quote that stands out to me. It is something I keep hearing over and over about how our brain works. The quote was (minus a few "umm's" and "and's")
Erik Vance @ about 29:22: Smarter people than me have said this … your brain is a prediction machine. People who, the founders of artificial intelligence and people who have really thought deep about this, they all say the same thing. If you boil down your brain to just one thing, it is making predictions. These are small predictions like when I drop a rock that it will hit the ground to bigger predictions like the the hunting will be good on the plains this summer. Your brain makes predictions all day long all over the place. And these predictions could be described as creating expectations. And what happens is when these predictions are made and expectations are created and they are reinforced [refers to classical conditioning talked about with the previous guest in the interview] there are lots of different ways to reinforce an expectation. We can do it through storytelling and conditioning. Once it gets reinforced, it doesn’t want to be wrong. Your brain does not want to be wrong and so it will bend the rules to make its expectation meet reality. And that’s really where what I studied in the book really comes out. That is what placebo’s are that’s what a lot of these things are. It’s your brain not wanting to be wrong so it bends the rules in order to make what believes should happen to happen.
And I would assume this is as true for TBM's as it is for angry ex-mo's. I have to remember that I too have a brain (shocking isn't it!) and I suppose even though I can see this pattern in others, I probably - actually "surely" - have the same pattern in my brain.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Dec 2016, 11:36

One of my favorite quotes is simple but profound:
We don't believe what we see; we see what we believe (until something shatters what we believe, and then we reconstruct what we believe and we see that).
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SamBee
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by SamBee » 09 Dec 2016, 18:03

Shawn wrote: I believe science will eventually show that "spiritual" feelings are not significantly different from feelings I experienced when watching "Gladiator" and "Braveheart."

This is sad to me.
In the words of Oscar Wilde, "the cost of everything and the value of nothing".... some people will take us to a sterile world. They already are - they piss on art and culture.

The excluded middle is that there may be some neurological basis for these things but with a genuine spiritual basis.

Like I say RMs are a bad group to choose. As Mormons we are conditioned to think all positive feelings are the spirit. It's an overextension of the concept.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Heber13
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Re: The Neurology of Feeling the Spirit

Post by Heber13 » 14 Dec 2016, 16:50

science might help us understand the brain more. It might be exactly the thing that helps us realize some things are pure emotion and some things are spiritual.

That might be a great addition to religion...so we can stop making some mistakes at conflating things, and clarify what the spirit really is.

Scientific progress does not necessitate the elimination of art and religion. It is not black and white. As humans, we are complex. Religion has it's place in finding truth.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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