2020-11-14: Evolutionary Neurotheology and Jungian Psychology




Evolutionary Neurotheology and Jungian Psychology
Bruce MacLennan
University of Tennessee, Knoxville


My goal is to outline an evolutionary neuropsychological and neurophenomenological foundation for spiritual and religious experiences. Central to this account are concepts from archetypal psychology, which, on the one hand, explain the structure of common religious experiences, but, on the other, are grounded in ethology and evolutionary biology.From this it follows that certain religious phenomena are objective, in that they are empirical, stable, and public. As a consequence, certain theological claims can be objectively confirmed or refuted. However, it would be a mistake to assume that this approach reduces religious experiences to the “merely psychological” or considers them inessential epiphenomena in a materialist universe. On the contrary, I will show that it demonstrates the compatibility and even inevitability of transcendental religious experience—and its crucial importance—to biological beings such as ourselves. (Appendices further address the neuropsychology of religious experience, the spiritual dimensions of science and mathematics, and ancient Greek spiritual practices.).



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