Opening @ivpacademic’s The God-Shaped Brain

Timothy Jennings… Dr. Timothy Jennings, I mean, and not phd, but MD. Shoot, I almost said a real doctor…

The reason I am introducing this book like this is because people will assume it is written by someone who is going to position that the brain is better if one believes in God. That’s not really the premise. Rather, the book goes for this:

Brain research has found that our thoughts and beliefs affect our physical, mental and spiritual health. Mind and body are interrelated, and we are designed for healthy relationships of love and trust. When we understand God as good and loving, we flourish. Unfortunately, many of us have distorted images of God and mostly think of him in fearful, punitive ways. This leads us into unhealthy patterns of self-defeating behaviors and toxic relationships.

But, there is more… Jennings writes with a view towards God’s laws in science and nature (11). Yes, the doctor is a theist, but if we discount where we receive information based on their position on this single question, we will lose a great deal of human progress. So, let’s give it a chance. Let’s see what facts Jennings presents.

You and I both know already they amount of damage fundamentalism does to the brain… he starts here, with a story or two of the evidence of this.

Fine, he’s right thus far.

Let’s continue, shall we?

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

2 thoughts on “Opening @ivpacademic’s The God-Shaped Brain

  1. A mistaken directive to name and subjugate (dominate) has lead to over-compartmentalization, deconstruction, and dichotomous thinking patterns among fundamentalists (and everyone else). It is therefore not surprising that the psychospiritual and psychophysiological aspects miss a combined term in our culture.

    Psychosomatic effects derived from the perception of reality are probably best presented to the public in sci-fi (The Matrix); otherwise, we in the West typically lack a sufficient symbolic lexicon to synthesize these concepts into a phenomenology. Where some Eastern religious experiences embrace whole-sale communion with the natural world and its emergence from the transcendent energies (including the human body), the Western accent is individualized, separated, and still concerned with controlling nature and evoking tribalism.

    James Allen posits, “The aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,” not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts”

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