oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - Mindfulness and the brain : a Christian critique of some aspects of neuroscience
The aim in this paper is to critique some aspects of neuro-scientific studies on mindfulness and mindful practices. Firstly, because of the often mistaken assumption that it is something totally new; its roots in fact lie in religious and philosophical views which are the antithesis of a Christian worldview. Secondly, because of opposing views of what the mind is, and how the mind relates to the brain, Christians have come under pressure to show how their claims about God are different from those of epileptics and atheists. In order to deal with these issues, this study commences with a brief introduction to the concept of mindfulness, its historical roots and the scientific claims in support of mindful practices. A philosophical critique of physicalism and panpsychism is then offered from a biblical perspective, followed by a discussion of some of the dangers lurking in the neighbourhood of mindful practices. The conclusion is that the philosophical and religious assumptions that underlie scientific views of ourselves and spiritual growth matter enormously; they deserve continual scrutiny.
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