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Sabtu, 12 November 2011

Neurotheology: Brain-based Religious Experience

"Although most people busy with the routine life activities and efforts to meet the daily needs, which therefore they are not too concerned with spiritual issues, in fact within human nature there is encouragement to seek the Supreme Reality. In certain people, encouragement of sleep and woke up this potential in nature and manifests itself openly. This then led them on a series of spiritual refinement process ".Every believer of eternal reality although there is still the opinion of those sophists and skeptics who think that truth and reality is an illusion and delusion. Sometimes, when someone is watching with a bright mind and soul are holy, Eternal Reality that will appear include the universe and all creatures; and at the same time, he will witness the transience and impermanence elements and parts of this nature. He was able to reflect on nature and the phenomenon as a mirror that reveals the shadow of the reality of eternal beauty. Pleasure in understanding this reality defeat the other beauties in the eyes of the beholder, even making everything else becomes unimportant and insignificant.Witnessing is the same as "interest divine" (jadhbah) among the Gnostics who divert the attention of people who concentrate himself to God alone, to turn to the transcendent nature and revive the love of God in his heart. Because of this interest, he forgot everything else. Throughout his desires and wishes of various kinds missing from his mind. This interest has led people in worship and praise God It appears, which in reality is even more brighter and clearer than anything that can be achieved by the sense of sight and hearing. Interest in mind as this is actually carried by the world's religions, ie religions that are based on the worship of God. [1]'Allamah Tabataba'i, a philosopher and influential commentators among the schools of Ahl-ul-stanza, describes in the quote above what we define in academic circles today as a "mystical experience", "spiritual experience", or simply "religious experience". How can we achieve this spiritual happiness?According Tabataba'i, you do not achieve it. You just opened "a new reality of nature 'which previously terhijabi. You wake your heart through the spirit of refinement, purification of the soul, or at least by clarifying your thoughts. You strive to turn your attention from the activities and daily necessities to the encouragement given, namely the urge to seek the Supreme Reality."(But) you do not have to do that", says neuroscientist, a group of people who spend their lives for mempelajadi brain problem, which is technically referred to as the nervous system. "You can come to a mystical experience like that when your brain is damaged!" It happened to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a nerve anatomist, on December 10, 1996. One of the blood vessels in her brain ruptured and he suffered a stroke at that time. He called the incident "an enlightening my stroke" (my stroke of insight).Presentation is only 18 minutes to make the audience was amazed at the TED conference in Monterey, CA, February 27, 2008 when he recounted the incident in a very theatrical - precisely the poetic style. [2]In the morning when the stroke happened, I woke up with excruciating pain behind my left eye. The pain was strange, piercing, just like if you bite the ice cream. The pain gripped then released me. The pain gripped me again, then let me go back.Actually I rarely feel the pain, so I think there is no problem and I will start my regular activities again. Then I got up and jumped onto my cardio glider, a machine for physical exercise as a whole. And then I was trapped in a situation which is really another. I then realized that my hands looked like primitive creatures fingernails gripping the handle bars cardio glider. I think "this is really incredible." I then looked at the bottom of my body and thought, "wow, I was something that seemed odd".That's when my consciousness as if to turn away from my normal perception of reality; I was someone who felt an experience on a machine, was in an esoteric space, which I witnessed myself this experience ...And initially I was surprised to find myself inside a silent mind. But then suddenly I was attracted by the strength of energy all around me. And because I can no longer recognize the characteristics of my own body, I then felt very big and fluffy. I feel all that together with the energy force was, and how beautiful it is on the premises.And all of a sudden my left side back to normal and told me, "hey, we can be a problem, we can be a problem, we must seek help".It was like, yes, yes, I was able to correct the problem, but I immediately drifted back to consciousness, and I call this place beautifully as La La Land. There is really beautiful. Imagine how it feels completely disconnected from your brain and then connected with the external world. And here I am, in room where all the burden of thinking that relates to whatever I do, which is associated with my job, lost it all. I felt my body lighter. And just imagine all the relationships in the external world and what is the source of the burden of dealing with it all, will disappear. I felt a peace. Imagine how it feels to lose the emotional baggage that has been whack for 37 years! I feel happy. It was a beautiful feeling of happiness - and then my left side back to normal and said, "hey, you must be really serious, we need help". And I bepikir, "I have to get help, I need to focus". So I then came out of the shower and then dressed mechanically. Then I walked around my apartment. And I thought, "I have to go to work, I have to go to work, can I drive? Can I drive? "But I realized, "I'm still alive! I am still alive and I reached Nirvana.And if I have attained Nirvana while I am still alive, then that means all people who are still alive could reach Nirvana. "I was describing a world that is filled with people who are beautiful, calm, loving, and love, who know that they get to this place anytime. They can choose as you wish to move to his left and find this peace. I then realized how this experience can be a wonderful gift, how to stroke that brighten this could be the way we choose how to live. And that's what motivates me to be able to recover. "What is presented by Dr. Taylor as "a world filled with beautiful people, calm, loving, and feelings of love", similar to that described by 'Allamah Tabataba'i as "the beauty of eternal realities." You have two realms of reality: physical world of discontinuity, diversity and separateness; and spiritual nature of connectedness, unity and unification. Both are the parts that make you whole. You now live in the nature of the first, but you have within your "inner urge" to find a second nature. Andrew Newberg, a renowned neuroscientist explains, "after full recovery, Dr. Taylor says that he can move easily to and from the scientific side of his brain and the transcendent. Dr. Taylor's experience supports the opinion that we all have an inner ability to achieve the two-part special of ourselves - an opinion supported by our research about the brain at the University of Pennsylvania. [3]

'Allamah Tabataba'i include discussion of religious experience as part of his explanation of the theology of Islam, calling it as one of three methods of religious thought. He called the religious experience as "the third method of intellectual intuition or mystical revelation". Andrew Newberg learn the parts of the brain as the basis for the existence of religious experience and then gave birth to science neurotheology. I will not discuss the issue first and handed it to the reviewer who is familiar with the subject of study of Islamic mysticism. This paper will focus on the second part in the discussion simple, with a view to introducing neurotheology to the thinkers of Islam.Instead of storing the anxiety and suspicion to neurotheology as a desecration of religion that we profess, would be better if we could see it as a supporting argument to our understanding of religious experience. First of all, I will provide brief research on the development of neurotheology, with more focus on issues of religious experience-based brain. In other words, we will see how scientists try to answer the question: does the brain create God?Next, I'll explain the second question: whether God created the brain?Is the Brain the Creator GodHumans in ancient times to find a disease associated with supernatural experiences, possession, or things that are divine.Today we call the disease epilepsy. The people of ancient times believed that the disease was likely caused by two things: being attacked by demons and jinn, or touched by a divine hand.Hippocrates (460-377 BC), father of medicine, rejected this argument and say that the disease is "no more divine, and no more sacred than other diseases". The disease has a natural cause is present in the human brain. In in his famous "On the Sacred Disease", Hippocrates wrote a commentary on the most important neurological psychiatric history [4]:"People should know that from the brain, and only from the brain alone, born of all happiness, pleasure, laughter and jokes; as well as feelings of sadness, pain, sadness, and tears ... and through the same organ, we can be crazy and forget mainland, have a sense of fear and horror that is bothering us. "For centuries, they called epilepsy as a sacred disease, Morbus Divinus, Morbus deificus (created by God), Morbus coalestis (disease of the sky), Morbus Astralis (a disease caused by a star), Morbus lunaticus (a disease caused by the moon) And in the Enlightenment was not associated with epilepsy again with sin and lawlessness, are also not associated with the gift and the gift of God. After this period, the doctor then examined epilepsy as a brain disorder. For this purpose, psychiatry nerve then born as a branch of science that combines neurology (the study of nerves and their diseases) and psychiatry (the study of mind and its problems). They also found an association between epilepsy and religion. Some psychiatrists even go further and make the hypothesis that religious figures such as the Apostle Paul, Joan of Arc, Teresa of Avila (they even called our Prophet Muhammad SAW), has suffered from a disease called temporal-lobe epilepsy (TEL) or temporary lobe epilepsy.Not long after that, in the late 19th century, the researchers identified the religious experience of people who have a divine experience that is not caused by epilepsy or brain damage. More than a hundred years ago, William James explains: "Religion and Neurology" in his first lectures in Glifford, later published as The Varieties of Religious Experience (this book has been translated into Indonesian and published by Mizan in 2004 under the title Encounters With God, Variety of Religious Experience of Man, pent.). James tested the cognitive state of mind of a healthy religious. He indicated that certain areas in the brain have an influence on the religious experience. But it does not mean that the brain was the one who created the religion. Also it does not mean that religious experiences are caused by disruption or damage to the brain. Because the technology to examine the brain at that time still undeveloped, James has not been able to develop neurology related to religious experience. Some aspects of religious experience as described by James, has been further explored in various disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, and sociology. Only, James research in neurology is not very attention until 1970. [5]In 1970, James in the neurology research related to religious experience responded by pulling by a group of psychiatrists who examined the nerves of people who experience a great religious obsession, which again, is derived from a patient with TEL.Beginning in 1980, Michael Persinger wrote and published articles related to religious experience and brain activity. [6] Later, Persinger wrote a book about the psychology of the nerves related to religious beliefs. He suggests that religious experiences are caused by abnormal electrical short in the temporary lobe. Everyone can feel the experience with God because it has developed a temporary lobe own way to achieve that condition. Experience with God is essentially biological artifacts on the brain. Persinger followed the majority of scientists who argue that the brain creates God. Persinger insists that the different stimuli in the setting of religious experience such as music, swing and dance, fragrances are repetitive, can ignite lobe temporary condition which in turn creates the experience of God. Unfortunately, Persinger does not provide scientific evidence for his hypothesis. He also does not provide empirical data that belief in God is "a cognitive virus" and wishful thinking.Rhawn Joseph Persinger hypothesis continues to lay the foundations of religious and spiritual experience on the structure of the limbic system (the brain) - the amygdala, hippocampus, and inferior lobes temporary. These brain structures are also influential on sexuality, anger, and sadistic treatment. Joseph wanted to say that religious people tend to violence, sexual harassment, and murder. However, Joseph admitted a reasonable assumption that the brain may develop because there is a spiritual world where the limbic system may be associated with God, that "the transmitter of God" (referring to the limbic system) may have survived because it has a relationship with a spiritual reality. [7]
Joseph has been criticized for a reductionistic explanation. The idea is quite well known about the localization of the brain - as well as the right brain and left brain, or specialized functions in specific brain parts - denying the fact that the brain works as a whole, not as modules that are free and do not relate to each other. This criticism, as submitted by Carol Albright, has also been used to "correct" the assumption of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.When separating the left brain and right brain, he was telling a metaphorical rather than scientific evidence. Taylor does not explain the science: he was reading poetry. Therefore, according to Albright, the structure of the limbic system is not "God module" is singular, or "transmitter of God". The brain works as a result of a complex interconnection of areas contained in the brain.Therefore, the overall brain involved in religious experience or experience with God. Religious practices may be able to control the reptile brain by giving instructions in sexual attitudes and violence. Mammalian brain gives emotion and memory, as well as helping us to build a meaningful relationship with God. Finally, we arrive at the most important part of the brain: the cerebral cortex. This is part of the brain that has the power of thought [8]:Encompasses two parts of the brain are the cerebral cortex that provides what most people think of as uniquely human traits, including language. The cerebral cortex is also an area where much information is processed in parts of the brain to another, pooled and processed so that we can make decisions and judgments. Religious experience will involve all of these areas: the experience of mystical love and kinship, the limbic system, various kinds of rituals, reptilian brain, as well as sharpness and understanding to the call of God, the cerebral cortex (eg, frontal lobe) ..Persinger, Joseph, Albright, have tried to identify where the location of "Point God" in the brain as a foundation neurotheology. More specifically, they have started the first half neurotheology who reached the conclusion that "the brain created God". Back to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, they have studied the first part of the Taylor enlightenment about stroke. They found that the "address" religious experience found on the right side of your brain. It was also the conclusion of the "endless quest for knowledge about God" from the genuine atheists, such as those represented by Mathew Alper [9]:One thing is now I can say about the empirical certainty of God is that God is just one word; that as all the words, he is born of the human brain. This means that the only facts I have now about the nature of God's existence, does not come from something I understand from above, from "out there". But he is coming from something that is born from within. More specifically, by the labor of my physical organs, the brain - and not just my brain, but from all the brains of nearly all people from every culture until the early days of the birth of my species.Up here is not the end of this search. This section is only half the journey. Indeed, this is a long way since from time immemorial."To evaluate the historical background neurotheology, we must study the history of several thousand years ago to see how religious traditions have considered the relationship between a person's mind and attempt to interact with some higher reality," [10] writes Andrew Newberg, one of a founder of a new scientific discipline called neurotheology. He still writes a new scientific discipline is in quotation marks, as did he say when giving a definition: "'Neurotehology' is a field of study and research that tries to understand the unique relationships, specifically between the brain and theology, and is widely between mind and of religion. "[11]There are two types of relationship: the first is how the brain creates God, and the second part is how God created the brain.In the terms we are now: how the brain forms of religious experience and how religious experience had an influence on the brain. Andrew Newberg reported second part of the study of the brain in the works of his best-seller, How God Changes Your Brain.Did God Create the Brain?Mathew Alper end the search at the terminal "God Invented in the Brain". And Newberg was a moving locomotive neuorologi to get to the second terminal 'Brain Created by God ". Newberg and his friends are no longer studying the religious experience in patients with brain disorders, namely epilepsy, or people who are "not normal". They have been researching the people who are widely known as pious people - the followers of Buddhist and Franciscan nuns. They supported the latest technology for brain research. They have studied how different conceptions of God can affect the human mind. They have a brain scan and describe the neurological changes in the Franciscan nuns as they dissolve in the presence of God, and the Buddhist monks as they contemplate the universe. They have watched what happens in the brain when the Pentecostal invite the Holy Spirit to speak to them through words. Furthermore, they will conduct a broader study to learn the tradition of Sufi mysticism and adherents of other religions and other beliefs.It is impossible to summarize and simplify the results of their study in this short article. To avoid simplification and may also ketakakuratan excessive, I would just write down two important results that they will change our view of religious experience-based brain. First, they reject the model of "pathology" of religious experience. Purely spiritual experience is not caused by damage to the brain, nor the peace of the soul caused due to the influence of drugs.We do not believe that the true mystical experience can be explained as the result of hallucinations epilepsis, or as a result of spontaneous hallucinations due to the influence of drugs, pain, physical fatigue, emotional distress, or interference with the senses. Simply put, hallucination, whatever its source, will not be able to provide experience to the mind as it can be believed on the experience of mystical spirituality. [12]Second, a genuine religious experience strengthens neural networks associated with awareness, empathy, and social consciousness. This experience also gives us the ability to be more compassionate, more tolerant of others, and more accepting of shortcomings and limitations. Consequently, people who feel the experience of religious believers will live happier, more peaceful, healthier and more physical. Also interesting to note, that in the context of neurological, as is written on the front cover of How God Changes Your Brain:• Not just with the ritual and spiritual practices that can reduce stress and anxiety, but 12 minutes of meditation a day will also slow the aging process.• Reflecting on God the Merciful, the Almighty God and not the torturer, will reduce anxiety, depression and stress. At the same time, it will increase feelings of security, affection, and love.• Fundamentalism, in the true sense, is the attitude that is not dangerous and can be of personal benefit. But the anger and prejudice born of extreme beliefs can permanently damage your brain• Worship and intense meditation that will permanently change a lot of structure and function in the brain - also will change the values ​​and your way of understanding reality.We have exceeded the places where neurologists are not godless. Now we have come to the station where we discover that God is the Creator of the brain, not the brain creates God. I thought, this is probably stations intended by God when He said, "(They are) those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. Remember, only with the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. "(Sura 13:28)**************

Lecture from : KH DR Jalaluddin Rakhmat, M.Sc

[1] 'Allamah Sayyid M.H. Tabatabai, Shiite. Translated into English by Sayyid Husayn Nasr. Qum: Ansariyan Publication.,2005, p. 131.

[2] You can access the text of his speech at the following link, accessed on 15 January 2011. He wrote the best seller My Stroke ofInsight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey. Viking, 2008

[3] Andrew Newberg and M.R. Waldman, How God ChangesYour Brain. New York: Ballantine Books, 2009, p. 59

[4] Michael R Trimble, The Soul in the Brain. Baltimore: The JohnHopkins University Press, 2007, p. 134

[5] Patrick McNamara. The Neuroscience of ReligiousExperience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, p.81

[6] Michael Persinger. Neuropsychological Bases of God Beliefs.New York: Praeger, 1987.

[7] In addition to writing The Transmitter to God: The limbicsystem, the Soul, and Spirituality. California: University Press, 2002, Rhawn Joseph also edit Neurotheology: Brain, Science,Spirituality, Religious Experience. California: University Press,2003.

[8] Kevin S. Seybold. Explorations in Neuroscience, Psychology,and Religion. Hampshire: Ashgate, 2007, p. 82

[9] Mathew Alper. The "God" Part of the Brain: A ScientificInterpretation of Human Spirituality and God. Naperville, Ill.:Sourcebooks, 2008, p. 60

[10] Andrew Newberg. Principles of Neurotheology. Burlington:Ashgate, 2010, p. 3

[11] Ibid, 1

[12] Andrew Newberg et al. Why God Will not Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. New York: Ballantine Books, 2001, p. 174

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