07-01-2012, 11:48 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
| | A critique of “neurotheology” and an examination of spatial perception in mystical experience
A CRITIQUE OF “NEUROTHEOLOGY” AND AN EXAMINATION OF SPATIAL PERCEPTION IN MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE
David T. Bradford
The “neurotheology” developed by d’Aquili and Newberg is critiqued, beginning with its modular conception of mental process and its understanding of the contribution of language, deafferentation, and autonomic and limbic arousal in mystical experience. Neurotheology makes claims about ultimate reality and the neuropsychological means of its realization. A spatial perception that conveys the sense of “unified undifferentiated oneness” reveals Absolute Unitary Being (AUB). The neurotheology of AUB is analyzed and compared with texts from the Buddhist and Vedantic traditions, leading to the phenomenological description and neuropsychological interpretation of a distinctly mystical form of spatial perception represented in three religious traditions. The conclusion illustrates neurotheology’s overinclusiveness in equating all mystical experiences with AUB.
Key words: mysticism, spirituality, Vedanta, meditation