This post is laced with sarcasm, but it’s (apparently) backed up by research. Brain Shuts Off in Response to Faith Healer’s Prayer.The first paragraph:
WHEN we fall under the spell of a charismatic figure, areas of the brain responsible for scepticism and vigilance become less active. Thats the finding of a study which looked at peoples response to prayers spoken by someone purportedly possessing divine healing powers . . .
Seeing how Jesus himself had to teach and be criticized (despite the fact of all the miracles he did ) you would expect this brain “shut off” to not occur among mere humans.
The supposedly scientific study that is referenced in the article “checking your brain…” is fraught with difficulties, and anyone who has ever taken any courses in scientific methodology should see the potential for a host of extraneous variables and faulty logic in such a study. For instance, in the experimental groups (devout christians -vs- non-christians), what on earth is the operational definition for a “devout” christian? What are the backgrounds of the control group? Are some of them religious but non-christian, etc? Not only that, but the notion that areas of the brain (pre-frontal cortex, etc) claimed to be associated with executive functions, not being active when a certain prayer was read, could have been the result of a multitude of factors. Maybe the neural pathways in question weren’t active in the so-called devout christians during said prayers because the prayers themselves were extremely lame, and using “scepticism” or “scrutiny” would have been a waste of brain energy (wanna-be social scientists aren’t the only ones who can be sarcastic). Maybe the non-christian controls would have more activity occuring in those brain regions as a result of ANY christian prayer, regardless of who reads it.
And finally, how can you relate such results (even if you did buy into the notion that the study had a modicum of validity) to the notion that “devout” christians of a certain ilk are more susceptible to manipulation (intentional or not) by a “charismatic” person, if only “regular” christians (whatever that means) read any of the prayers?
Hey, I might not be a typical Western scholastic type, but that doesn’t mean my critical thinking skills are lying dormant!