Postmodernism and Neurotheology. Some Current Issues Around the Phenomenon of Religious Experience

Keywords: postmodernism, neurotheology, neuroscience


The human experience of consciousness and the divine has long been a source of fascination and curiosity. In recent decades, two seemingly disparate fields have emerged one after the other to rethink our experiences in new contexts: postmodernism and neurotheology. It was already obvious to Aristotle that logic is a reflection of language. This immanent coherence and the status of "truth" have been well-rethought by the neurosciences. Neurotheology offers a new field of research on key problems related to paralogisms, the aetiology of belief, and social beliefs in the direction of generating a new field of solutions. It attempts a kind of technical revision of why thinking suffers from deficiencies with a rather Cartesian approach. The other line of reasoning also provides interesting perspectives - the consideration of consciousness as a function of the universe. If successfully tested - this thesis would fundamentally change the perspective of psychology in the direction of a complete transformation and fusion with neuroscience. The big winner in the duel of positions is ethics - it would have to rethink its basic definitions, with all the social implications that entails. The advent of brain implants and large language models (which, driven by intellectual inertia, we call "artificial intelligence"), and advances in medicine and pharmacology certainly contribute to the possible realization of some, if not all, of these scenarios.


Newberg, A. B. and Iversen, J. (2003). The neural basis of the complex mental task of meditation: Neurotransmitter and neurochemical considerations. Medical Hypothesis, 61(2), 282-91. DOI: 10.1016/s0306-9877(03)00175-0

Ashbrook, J. B. (1984a). The human mind and the mind of God: theological promise in brain research. Lanham, University Press of America.

Ashbrook, J. B. (1984b) Neurotheology: The working brain and the work of theology. Zygon: Journal of Science and Religion. Wiley Blackwell.

Atran, S. (2002). In gods we trust the evolutionary landscape of religion.Oxford University Press.

Banton, M.(1968). Аssociation of social anthropologists of the commonwealth. & Jesus college (UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE). Anthropological approaches to the study of religion. London, Tavistock Publications.

Blevins, D. G. (2017). When Neuroscientists Speak Religiously Navigating Neuroscientific Metaphysical Claims. In M. N. Hill, & W. C. Holtzen, (Eds.), Connecting Faith and Science. Claremont Press.

Bulbulia, J. A. (2008). The Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, & Critiques. Collins Foundation Press.

C. Von euler, H. F. (1989). Neurobiology of Early Infant Behavior. New York, Stockton.

Cahn, B. R. & Polich, J. (2006). Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies. Psychol Bull, 132(2), 180-211. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.2.180

Caruso, G. D. & Flanagan, O. (2017). Neuroexistentialism: meaning, morals, and purpose in the age of neuroscience. Oxford University Press

Chalmers, D. J. (1996). The conscious mind: in search of a fundamental theory. New York, Oxford University Press.

Churchland, P. S. (1986). Neurophilosophy: toward a unified science of the mind-brain. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.

Churchland, P. S. (2018). Braintrust: what neuroscience tells us about morality. Princeton University Press.

Clark, A. (2023). The experience machine: how our minds predict and shape reality. New York, Pantheon Books.

Coyne, R. (2015). Heidegger's confessions: the remains of Saint Augustine in being and time and beyond. University of Chicago Press.

D'Aquili, e. G. & Newberg, A. B. (1999). The mystical mind: probing the biology of religious experience. Minneapolis, MN, Fortress Press.

Damasio, A. R. (1999). The feeling of what happens: body and emotion in the making of consciousness, New York, Harcourt Brace. DOI10.1353/jsp.2001.0038

Damasio, A. R. (2005). Descartes' error: emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York, Penguin Books.

Damasio, A. R. (2010). Self comes to mind: constructing the conscious brain. New York, Pantheon Books.

DAmasio, A. R. & Damasio, H. 2021. Feeling knowing: making minds conscious. New York, Pantheon Books.

Delosangeles, D., Williams, G., Burston, J., Fitzgibbon, S. P., Lewis, T. W., Grummett, T. S., Clark, C. R., Pope, K. J. & Willoughby, J. O. (2016). Electroencephalographic correlates of states of concentrative meditation. Int J Psychophysiol, 110, 27-39. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2016.09.020

Durkheim, E. (1998). Elementarni formi na religioznia zhivot[Elementary forms of religious life]. Sofia-S.A.

Epstein, S. (1998). Constructive thinking: the key to emotional intelligence. Westport, Conn., Praeger.

Epstein, S. (2014). Cognitive-experiental theory: an integrative theory of personality. Oxford University Press.

Finlay, B. L. & Darlington, R. B. (1995). Linked regularities in the development and evolution of mammalian brains. Science, 268(5278), 1578- 84. DOI: 10.1126/science.7777856

Flanagan, O. J. (2007). The really hard problem: meaning in a material world. Cambridge, Mass.MIT Press.

Fowler, J. W. (1981). Stages of faith: the psychology of human development and the quest for meaning, San Francisco. Harper & Row.

Graves, A. J. (2021). The phenomenology of revelation in Heidegger, Marion, and Ricoeur.

Geertz, C. (1968). Religion as a cultural system. In M. Banton (Ed.), Anthropological approaches to the study of religion (pp. xlii, 176 p.). Tavistock Publications.

Gschwandtner, C. M. (2021). Reading religious ritual with ricoeur: between fragility and hope. Lanham, Lexington Books.

Hill, P. C. & Hood, R. W. (1999). Measures of religiosity. Birmingham, Ala., Religious Education Press.

Huxley, O. (2021). Ostrov [Island]. East-West.

Jung, C. G. (1969). Psychology and religion: West and East. Princeton University Press.

Lau, H. (2022). In consciousness we trust: the cognitive neuroscience of subjective experience. Oxford University Press.

Laughlin, C. D. & D'aquili, E. G. (1974). Biogenetic structuralism. Columbia University Press.

Laughlin, C. D., Mcmanus, J. & D'aquili, E. G. (1992). Brain, symbol & experience: toward a neurophenomenology of human consciousness. Columbia University Press.

Lyotard, J.-F. O. (1984). The postmodern condition: a report on knowledge. University of Minnesota Press.

Maturana, H. R. & Varela, F. J. (2023). The tree of knowledge: the biological roots of human understanding. Boston New York, Shambhala.

Maturana, H. R. & Varela, F. J. (2023). The tree of knowledge: the biological roots of human understanding. Boston New York, Shambhala.

How to Cite
Dochkov, I. A. (2024). Postmodernism and Neurotheology. Some Current Issues Around the Phenomenon of Religious Experience. Postmodernism Problems, 14(1), 37-54.