National Geographic Channel opens its seventh season of Brain Games exploring whether our brains are hardwired to believe in God. Host Jason Silva travels to Israel, England and other parts of the world to test the brains of both people of faith and self-described atheists and agnostics. You get the opportunity to participate and the responses are surprising.
The human brain receives information from our senses and acts or reacts based upon that information. But scientists, using empirical measurable evidence, find that there is influence on the thought pattern that goes beyond what would be expected simply on the basis of the observable information provided to the subject. The question is why? Why do we see illusions in certain geometric objects? Why does the knowledge that we are being watched make us more careful to be honest? What if the one watching us is a spirit? While there are physical reasons for some of those responses, other responses remain unexplained.
As scientists dig deeper into the operation of the brain a much greater understanding has developed. However, the complexities of our ethical decision making are yet to be revealed. While Christians have an articulable knowledge that moral information comes from God, atheists also seem to have many of the same reactions and make many of the same moral choices. It reminded me of Jeremiah 31:34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
We are introduced to technology under development that extends the ability of the brain to control an artificial environment. Does that make us the god of the artificial environment? Ultimately, that technology is expected to give us some ability to control the environment around us. Will this make us more like God?
As a series, Brain Games has always served to educate and entertain with information about the functioning of the human brain. This particular episode may prompt younger people to discuss questions about human behavior. I must also mention that the scenery from Jerusalem gives a great glimpse of the old City of David. This episode is light and fun to watch, especially for parents with their children. You may find yourself becoming a fan of the series.
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