Image: Alex Grey
David Brooks has a very interesting Op-Ed in today’s New York Times, called “The Neural Buddhists.” The piece posits a near future where advances in neuroscience lead to a new understanding of the transcendental experience. This means a major challenge to Judeo-Christian religious hegemony.
Instead of science reaffirming a trend towards materialism, it will
present a broader view of mental processes and their
mystical/ethical implications.”The cognitive revolution is not going to end up undermining faith in God, it’s going end up challenging faith in the Bible,” Brooks writes.
Scientists have more respect for elevated spiritual states. . . the mind seems to have the ability to transcend
itself and merge with a larger presence that feels more real.
This new wave of research will not seep into the public realm in the
form of militant atheism. Instead it will lead to what you might call
First, the self is not a fixed entity but a dynamic process of
relationships. Second, underneath the patina of different religions,
people around the world have common moral intuitions. Third, people are
equipped to experience the sacred, to have moments of elevated
experience when they transcend boundaries and overflow with love.
Fourth, God can best be conceived as the nature one experiences at
those moments, the unknowable total of all there is. . .
. . .the
real challenge is going to come from people who feel the existence of
the sacred, but who think that particular religions are just cultural
artifacts built on top of universal human traits. It’s going to come
from scientists whose beliefs overlap a bit with Buddhism.
I say right on. Read the full piece here.