Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jesus and the brain

Jesus means using a part of your brain devoted to relationships withother people, including representing others in hour mind. As the Buddha correctly pointed out there are no selves so all of these represntations are false, there are no "others" but these fictions can be useful because we use them to predict cause and effect, which is what we normally call peoples behavior. However, as buddhists know, these convenient fictions also lead to beliefs that are false about others and our relationships with them. Buddhism has no self and avoids personification (so Nirvana rather than God). Christianity does the opposite going beyond personifying God to having a relationship with Jesus, who is a human. As noted there is a big danger that thinking this way can lead to serious confusion. But there is also a potential advantage in that it brings the considerable cognitive resources we have for understanding human relationships into the experience. This can help a lot in meditation and for some people ( me included) bring about states that were too hard to achieve otherwise. The trick is to use it but not be confused about it. There is no Jesus just as there is no me and no you. Buddhist belief about the existence of selves makes the metaphysical problem of the existence of Jesus much less problematic. Jesus is as real as you or me.


The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the SoulBuddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom



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