In Hebrews 11:1 in the Bible, faith is described as the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Now, according to a new study by Georgetown University neuroscientists, the strength of one’s faith in God is likely linked to the brain.
In their study, Implicit pattern learning predicts individual differences in belief in God in the United States and Afghanistan, published this month in the journal Nature Communications, the neuroscientists found that an individual’s ability to unconsciously predict complex patterns, through an ability known as implicit pattern learning, had a strong correlation with the strength of their belief in a god who creates patterns of events in the universe.
“This is not a study about whether God exists, this is a study about why and how brains come to believe in gods. Our hypothesis is that people whose brains are good at subconsciously discerning patterns in their environment may ascribe those patterns to the hand of a higher power,” the study’s senior investigator, Adam Green, an associate professor in the department of psychology and interdisciplinary program in neuroscience at Georgetown, said in a release.
The Georgetown study, which involved a predominantly Christian group of 199 participants from Washington, D.C., and a group of 149 Muslim participants in Kabul, Afghanistan, is the first of its kind to explore religious belief through implicit pattern learning.
Adam Weinberger, a postdoctoral researcher in Green’s lab at Georgetown and at the University of Pennsylvania, was the study’s lead author. Co-authors Zachery Warren and Fathali Moghaddam led a team of Afghan researchers who collected data in Kabul.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair