Dr. Andrew Newberg on God of the Fundamentalist Atheist

Industry: Science

Neurotheology researcher, physician and author, Andy Newburg explains how fundamentalists Christians and Atheists share a minority view of God.

San Diego, CA (PRUnderground) April 27th, 2011

Join Skeptiko guest host Steve Volk for an interview with Dr. Andy Newberg. A distinguished researcher at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College, and professor in Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Newberg discusses his latest book Principles of Neurotheology:

Steve Volk: One thing that’s disappointing to me in these debates between believers and atheists is there’s usually a very narrow conception of God that’s on the table for discussion. It’s the Fundamentalist conception.

Dr. Andrew Newberg: I’d second your opinion. So often we say, “I believe in God,” or “I don’t believe in God,” and we assume that everybody knows what we’re talking about. Usually just the opposite is true. Oftentimes people who do feel very strongly one way or another do wind up with a very limited view about God.

A lot of times the Atheists look at God in a very anthropomorphic way, kind of mimicking the very doctrinal, Biblical kind of perspective on God. As you mentioned a few minutes ago, that sometimes is the problem in the debates between Atheists and religious individuals. Atheists have this very defined and very limited view about what God is or what they think other people think God is. If you have a religious person and an Atheist and both are arguing about the existence of God, you’ve got to figure out exactly what that means in the first place, because if our definition of God is that God is the universe, then everybody may say, “Yeah, sure, God exists.” If God is a being that created the universe, people are going to have different views. If God is a man in the clouds, you’ll have even more different views.

So it’s really important for a lot of these things. God, belief, religion, faith, soul, mind, brain, all of these things are things that we need to try and determine and define, at least within the context of whatever conversation we’re having. Even though another point that I try to make in my work is that whatever definitions we have today are most likely going to be dynamic and changeable and are going to evolve as our information changes, as our scholarship changes, as our research data grows, and we going to have to realize that none of these concepts are really very static.

The Skeptiko interviews with Dr. Andrew Newberg (audio and transcript) are available at:

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Skeptiko.com is the first scientifically oriented Podcast exploring new research in controversial areas of science such as telepathy, psi, parapsychology, near-death-experience, psychic detectives, medium communication, reincarnation, and after-life encounters. Each episode features open, honest debate on new scientific discoveries. The show includes interviews with top research scientists and their critics.

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