Scientists have often wondered if the brain has a specific area for dealing with the spiritual or with “god”. Well, a Danish neurologist, Uffe Schjodt, and his team have found that talking to god (or praying), as far as our brain activity is concerned, is no different than talking to our friends and family.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) Schjodt found that the areas of the brain that activate during prayer were the same ones that activate while talking to other humans.
A couple things from Schjodt’s article stood out to me:
The brain did not evolve to communicate with invisible supernatural beings.
Praying, it seems, is subserved by the basic processing of our biologically evolved dispositions like other complex cultural phenomena, in this case the evolved human capacity for social cognition.
Schjodt’s article is a good read and written in a way that even us with no brain for science can understand. I find the idea that our brain processes talking to God as it does talking to other humans pretty logical and I believe it supports the belief that God is a human creation.
CBC journalist Richard Handler has a good article on Schjodt’s findings.