The Mind of God: Neuroscience, Faith, and a Search for the Soul

With cutting-edge research and provocative case studies, renowned behavioral neurologist provides insights to some of the most curious spiritual questions of mortality. For fans of When Breath Becomes Air and the work of Oliver Sacks.

This was no ordinary ‘religious’ book, it was more heartfelt than you would expect for something covering such weighty topics as science and religion. The author writes with a poetic beauty that betrays the complex concepts he examines through brain scans and multi-syllable medical jargon. His meticulous attention to detail and the notes afterwards show how well-researched and structured he planned this book.

 Within his book he attempts to answer questions you normally think would only be posed to religious scholars such as examining the existence of God, souls, importance of humanity, free will, meaning of life, good versus evil and the all-consuming one,  is there life after death. Of course because you have a scientist answering these questions in lieu of a priest the answers have a much more logical rather than metaphorical foundation. But he doesn’t discount the importance of using fields outside the scientific to help fill in the gaps where science can’t quite cover that gaping black hole.

 I love how he mixed philosophical elements amongst his scientific statements such as pointing out the various avenues to finding out what is truth. For a hardcore scientist to admit science can be melded with other forms of learning, including using the arts, is exquisite.

 He writes his book not from a particular religious viewpoint, which I found refreshing, but he also provides the varying points of view and beliefs systems from a multitude of faiths to ensure a well-rounded argument. His set-up brings logic to an often illogical field. He’s not setting out to convert anyone but instead simply lay the groundwork that we might find common ground and compassion with one another, something that is extremely needed in America right now.

 What drew me in and kept me glued is his writing reminded me a bit of How I Met Your Mother in that you have this guy who is just sitting back, relaxing and telling a story. The way he writes I could actually picture him sitting on the couch with a glass of Irish whisky (hello! Irish girl here, what’d you think I would picture?) just telling his story; the journey he took to these discoveries and the lessons he picked up along the way to the big picture. His writing is eloquent but easy to understand. I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and only took one semester of Neurobehavioral Psychology and was easily able to grasp his concepts, arguments, and foundational work. The personal stories he included were heartbreaking at time, emotionally poignant but most importantly created a visually expressive picture of the point he was trying to make. They added this incredible depth you wouldn’t expect from a science book.

 This is definitely one of those books you can read time and again and keep learning something new every time you open the pages. I think it’d make for some great eye opening discussions if people are willing to concede that truth can be found in multiple places.

 Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for allowing me to review this book.

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*synopsis and pic from

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