Why We Believe What We Believe

Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth

This month’s Great Read delves into beliefs — why we have them, how they work, and what purpose they play.

Andrew Newberg is a professor of Radiology and Psychiatry who studied the brain scans of people as they prayed, meditated, and spoke in tongues. Why We Believe What We Believe is a fascinating journey into the cognitive distortions and perceptions that help our brains construct their own version of reality.

In one of his final chapters, after explaining perceptual distortions, cultural reasons for belief, the placebo effect, and neurobiological research on consciousness, Newberg writes:

“An important dimension of the human spirit that is sometimes overlooked by science: our brain does not need absolute proof about anything. Instead, it seeks solutions for problems in a variety of creative ways. And this is an important point to keep in mind when we examine our deepest beliefs; they don’t necessarily have to be accurate; they only have to help us survive.”

In a time when propaganda, conspiracy theories, and seemingly bizarre beliefs are spreading like wildfire, this book can help us understand what’s happening, and why these beliefs are so important to people facing an increasingly chaotic world.

Fascinating and essential reading.

You can learn more or purchase Why We Believe What We Believe here.

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