Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Brain and Spirit

I have listened to the debate between Iain McGilchrist and Sharon Dirckx on Premier Radio a couple of times. I am not going to summarise it, so you should listen if you are interested in this topic.

I found the debate very informative, but I think the left brain/right brain discussion is a bit of a distraction. It can help us understand ourselves. I realise that I am far more right-brained than I had assumed, because I tend to focus on the big picture, rather than the detail, but I do not think it is that helpful for apologetics.

Neuro-science is just getting started, so neuro-scientists still know very little about how the brain really works. I hear Christians who have jumped on the band wagon saying, “The brain does..”, or “The brain works in this way but I think it is much more complicated than they realise and that simplistic explanations might prove to be wrong once more is know.

Christians need to be careful that they do not get into a “God of the Gaps” position, as they did with evolution, by saying that God (or their spirit) is the explanation of the phenomena that the neuro-scientists have not yet explained. As the latter learn more and more, they will explain more and more human behaviour, and the role God and the spiritual will shrink into insignificance, just as science has squeezed God out of the modern understanding of the created world.

We must be really careful about positing a soul that is something distinct from the body. This would play into the hands of the “trans” people want to claim that a woman can been born with a man’s body, or vice versa. People are born with soul and body integrated in a unity. If there is a disconnect between what a person feels and their body, that is the consequence of the fall and the work of the spiritual powers of evil.

The immortality of the soul is a Greek idea. They believed that a pre-existent soul gets trapped in a physical body at birth, and at death goes back to its ideal state. It is not the Christian view.

The most important thing to understand is that we live in a universe that has spiritual and physical dimensions. We tend to forget that because we have becomes locked in the physical. More on this in my next post.

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