This semester I registered for a lot of highly scientific classes: physiological psychology, human learning and memory, and “honors scientific issues”, which is on evolutionary biology. The classes are AMAZING. I am learning so much in the first week of class about the mechanics of the human brain and the way the world came to be. The problem is that in one of these classes, the professor treats belief in the Divine and even in a human consciousness as somewhat… immature. He makes a very convincing argument for his case, too. In that class, I doubt my faith strongly. After all, studies have shown that the human brain is highly skilled at self-deception– that is, at tricking itself into believing a falsehood. This professor is focusing his research on the biological underpinnings of theory of mind and the concept of self, in an attempt to understand exactly what chemical processes or physiological structures create the ‘illusion’ of a soul.
This is one of the hardest things I’ve been wrestling with lately. It is impossibly daunting to try and cling to faith while your professor continuously talks about how the entirety of human experience boils down to something that fits into a paint bucket (that is to say, the brain). Don’t get me wrong – I love the brain. I want to know how the brain works. I want to understand why music feels good, what chemicals create ‘love’ – but I can do without the lecture that this wiggly blob of neurons and glial cells is All There Is. It hurts, because it feels like an almost personal attack. He scoffs at religion and about a third of the class laughs with him. How silly to think there’s an invisible man in the sky influencing our environment at all. How silly to think there are invisible people inside every person, creating our knowledge and our thoughts.
It goes against all my belief to say that. It goes against my knowledge of the Unseen world, of my experiences of the netjeri and Netjeru and Akhu and other unnamed spirits around me. Then again, maybe it’s all self-deception. Maybe we’re making all this up. I’ve always said that I’m only a believer in God as long as science hasn’t proven me wrong. That’s still my plan: so until suddenly my professor comes in and says he’s found God in the brain, I’ll be posting here.