While religion and science often seem at odds, there’s one thing they can agree on: people who take part in spiritual practices tend to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. The big question is: Why? In the “How God Works” podcast, professor Dave DeSteno takes us on a journey to find out – one that combines cutting edge neuroscience with ancient wisdom.
He’ll speak to leading scientists, spiritual teachers, and religious leaders to explore what we can learn from faith practices ranging from meditation and prayer to psychedelics and fire-walking. He’ll look at how we can adapt and use spiritual practices in our own lives, whatever our beliefs -- including none at all.
By working across boundaries that usually divide people – science versus religion, one faith versus another – we’ll find new ways to make life better for everyone.
We’ve all heard of spiritual experiences – moments of feeling intense awe and deep love and connection. People who’ve had them – and it’s a lot more than you might think – see them as some of the most profound moments of their lives. Moments that change them for the better in enduring ways. But what’s going on in our brains when these experiences happen? Do you even need religious beliefs to have them? And, if you’re so inclined, how might you start?
David Yaden is Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Find out more about his research here.
Robert Forman is a former Professor of Religion and author of many books about spirituality. Find out more about his work here.