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How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough…
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How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading…

by Andrew Newberg

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142484,396 (3.79)4
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  1. 00
    Born to Believe: God, Science, and the Origin of Ordinary and Extraordinary Beliefs by Andrew Newberg (researchfellow)
    researchfellow: Both of these books are incredible: well researched, thought provoking, and, at least for me disturbing because it made me question many of my deepest beliefs about God, religion, and human morality. The "How God" book offers lots of practical exercises for improving physical, mental, and spiritual health. Highly recommended to believers and nonbelievers alike.… (more)
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This book is chock-full of interesting findings about our brain's chemistry and "wiring", interesting survey results, and in two final chapters, a basket of techniques for improving one's mood, dealing with anger, increasing empathy, and other good goals. The title is provocative, and so is the content. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Fascinating. I felt the title a bit inaccurate because the book does not really focus on how belief in God changes the brain. Instead, the majority of the book discusses how meditation changes the brain in beneficial ways, regardless of a person's spiritual or religious orientation.
The book does discuss God, but more how people perceive God, and how that perception can change based on changes in the brain from aging, religious upbringing, education, exposure to varying belief systems, meditation, anger, physical trauma, and a host of other factors.
I found the book very interesting, as it examined empirically the effects of meditation and religious beliefs on the brain and then expanded on how those then affect other aspects of life and health. ( )
  srsstringham | Jul 15, 2011 |
I see this as two books in one: first, a basic look at the malleability of our brain and how it can be trained--specifically, how spiritual practices rebuild neural paths within our brain--and second, a practical guide to basic meditation.

I give the first half five stars. I didn't read all of the second half. Guess that means I should drop my rating one star. It's not that I'm not interested in meditation, because I'm thoroughly convinced of its spiritual and mental value; it's that, like 95% of the rest of you, I ignore what's good for me in favor of what I enjoy. And I enjoy learning about the brain.

This isn't an evangelical book. It won't direct you to Christianity or Eastern religions or any other belief system. Nor is it ragging on the evils of religion, as the title might make you think. It's a very positive-minded book about the value of prayer, meditation, and belief. "God" does change your brain, because repeated mental exercise and directed thinking rebuilds neural paths for a healthier, happier life. If--as is my observation--Christians in general live happier, healthier lives than non-believers, there is a solid, scientific reason for that. The Christian brain is wired for spiritual well-being.

I emphasize Christians only because Christianity is my heritage. This book is written for skeptics and believers alike, and definitely worth reading. ( )
  DubiousDisciple | Apr 2, 2011 |
didn't finish; didn't hold my interest ( )
  txorig | Jan 26, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345503414, Hardcover)

God is great–for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. That’s the finding of this startling, authoritative, and controversial book by the bestselling authors of Born to Believe.

Based on new evidence culled from their brain-scan studies on memory patients and meditators, their Web-based survey of people’s religious and spiritual experiences, and their analyses of adult drawings of God, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, therapist Mark Robert Waldman, and their research team have concluded that active and positive spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better. What’s more, actual faith isn’t always necessary: atheists who meditate on positive imagery can obtain similar neurological benefits. Written in an accessible style–with illustrations highlighting how spiritual experiences affect the mind–How God Changes Your Brain offers the following breakthrough discoveries:

• Not only do prayer and spiritual practice reduce stress and anxiety, but just twelve minutes of meditation per day may slow down the aging process.
• Contemplating a loving God rather than a punitive God reduces anxiety, depression, and stress and increases feelings of security, compassion, and love.
• Fundamentalism, in and of itself, is benign and can be personally beneficial, but the anger and prejudice generated by extreme beliefs can permanently damage your brain.
• Intense prayer and meditation permanently change numerous structures and functions in the brain–altering your values and the way you perceive reality.

How God Changes Your Brain is both a revelatory work of modern science and a practical guide for readers to enhance their physical and emotional health and to avoid mental decline. Newberg and Waldman explain the eight best ways to “exercise” your brain and guide readers through specific routines derived from a wide variety of Eastern and Western spiritual practices that improve personal awareness and empathy. They explain why yawning heightens consciousness and relaxation, and they teach “Compassionate Communication,” a new mediation technique that builds intimacy with family and friends in less than fifteen minutes of practice.

Unique in its conclusions and innovative in its methods, How God Changes Your Brain is a first-of-a-kind book about faith that is as credible as it is inspiring.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:48 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

God is great--for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. That's the finding of this startling, authoritative, and controversial book. Based on new evidence culled from their brain-scan studies on memory patients and meditators, their Web-based survey of people's religious and spiritual experiences, and their analyses of adult drawings of God, this research team has concluded that active and positive spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better. What's more, actual faith isn't always necessary: atheists who meditate on positive imagery can obtain similar neurological benefits. This is both a revelatory work of modern science and a practical guide for readers to enhance their physical and emotional health and to avoid mental decline. Newberg and Waldman explain the eight best ways to "exercise" your brain and guide readers through specific routines derived from a wide variety of Eastern and Western spiritual practices that improve personal awareness and empathy.--From publisher description.… (more)

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