In his post ‘Is it all in the mind?’ on the Iona Institute blog David Quinn discusses a scientific paper that claims scientists can switch on and off our moral sense, and the implication that morality is ‘all in the mind’. Check it out.
I’ve always wondered by why humanists, atheists and others feel that finding areas of the brain that relate to emotions, moral sense, religious experience etc is a sign that we are entirely physical beings and hence that there is no soul, and no God.
I think it comes from a misunderstanding of the relationship between body and soul. We are not ‘souls’ being carried around in ‘bodies’ – like water being carried around in a bucket or even like a hand in a glove, fitting very well together but actually two separate things. Each of us is a single unified being with both physical and spiritual aspects: a physical body animated by a spiritual soul. And we express our spirituality through our physicality.
So what’s my point? My point is that since both physical and spiritual aspects of our nature are completely integrated with each other, we should expect that every expression of our nature has both a physical and a spiritual aspect. So we should expect to find a part of our brain that relates to love, reason, spirituality, choice etc, just as parts of our brain relate to physical powers such as speech, motion, smell etc.
If a part of our brain that relates to one of these spiritual aspects is damaged, we no longer have a way to express that aspect of our being, just as if the part of the brain that controls, for example speech, is damaged, we still have the capacity for speech but no means of expressing it. Finding a part of our brain that relates to moral reasoning, and that if damaged, limits or stops our ability to make moral decisions, is simply another illustration of the unity of body and soul in our nature.
Did that make sense? Well – if it didn’t, at least go and read David’s post which definitely does! 😀