Like others in this discussion, I’m not sure that recent neurological studies will dramatically change contemporary religious belief or practice, though my reasons are more historical than philosophical or psychological. To put it simply, American Christians and Jews—Brooks‘s embattled Bible believers—have shown themselves remarkably adept at harmonizing new scientific insights with older religious notions and practices. Let me offer three historical examples that illustrate this, and a few final comments concerning the astonishing survival power not of a generic new religion (neural or otherwise) but of an older, doctrinal one: Christianity. […]Read the rest of Mind sciences and religious change in America.
Christopher White is an assistant professor of Religious Studies at Vassar College, where he teaches and writes on religion and culture in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. His forthcoming book is entitled Unsettled Minds: Psychology and the American Search for Spiritual Assurance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).