Fingerprints of God :The Search for the Science of Spirituality by Barbara Hagerty [Updated Sept 22, 2015]


Description
From the award-winning NPR religion correspondent comes a fascinating investigation of how science is seeking to answer the question that has puzzled humanity for generations: Can science explain God?

Is spiritual experience real or a delusion? Are there realities that we can experience but not easily measure? Does your consciousness depend entirely on your brain, or does it extend beyond? In Fingerprints of God, award-winning journalist Barbara Bradley Hagerty delves into the discoveries science is making about how faith and spirituality affect us physically and emotionally as it attempts to understand whether the ineffable place beyond this world can be rationally —even scientifically—explained.

Hagerty interviews some of the world’s top scientists to describe what their groundbreaking research reveals about our human spiritual experience. From analyses of the brain functions of Buddhist monks and Carmelite nuns, to the possibilities of healing the sick through directed prayer, to what near-death experiences illuminate about the brain and consciousness, Bradley Hagerty reaches beyond what we think we know to understand what happens to us when we believe in a higher power.

Paralleling the discoveries of science is Bradley Hagerty’s own account of her spiritual evolution. Raised a Christian Scientist, she was a scrupulous adherent until a small moment as an adult triggered a revaluation of her beliefs, which in turn led her to a new way of thinking about God and faith.

An insightful examination of what science is learning about how and why we believe, Fingerprints of God is also a moving story of one person’s search for a communion with a higher power and what she discovered on that journey.

Bio

The first sign that Barbara Bradley Hagerty had a future as a writer appeared in her kindergarten report card.

“Barbie always listens very carefully to the stories we read, and asks questions about why people do the things they do,” the teacher wrote, adding, “She’s very dexterous with the scissors.” Bradley allowed her scissoring skills to go fallow, but her curiosity about stories and her desire to tell others what she had found out led her into journalism.

After graduating from Williams College with an economics degree, she shunned investment banking for the lowest-paying job she was offered: as a copy kid at The Christian Science Monitor. When Bradley informed the managing editor that she wanted to be a foreign correspondent, she found herself at age 23 working on the foreign desk, editing all coverage from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union just as President Reagan was demanding that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall. Three years later, Bradley became the Monitor’s economics correspondent in Washington, soon moving on to cover the Iran-contra scandal as the Justice Department correspondent.

At 29, she was posted in Japan as Asia correspondent for the Monitor’s nightly television news program, World Monitor. She traveled throughout Asia for three years, covering, among other events, the rise of Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi and that country’s first “free and fair” elections in a quarter-century, which the military junta marked by imprisoning all of the democracy party winners. Bradley’s coverage prompted her quick exit from the country, to the relief of the Burmese military intelligence officer assigned to her, who had staggered behind her each morning as she did her eight-mile run.

It was while on a fellowship at Yale Law School in 1994 that Bradley, suffering from a bad case of stomach flu, first experienced the wonders of Tylenol – an event that was instrumental in leaving the faith of her childhood, Christian Science, and launching an intense spiritual search. She joined National Public Radio in 1995. Among her most memorable moments there was her first day covering the Justice Department, when Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr delivered his salacious report about President Bill Clinton to Congress. While at the Justice Department, Bradley reported on an array of national and international stories, ranging from the Clinton impeachment to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Her coverage earned her, along with other NPR reporters, the Peabody and Foreign Press Club awards.

In 2003, the (newly married) Bradley Hagerty moved to the religion beat at NPR as the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and the culture wars under George W. Bush were unfolding. The awards for her religion reporting include the Religion Newswriters Award and the 2009 Gracie Award for Women in Radio and Television. She was one of 10 journalists selected for a Templeton-Cambridge fellowship in science and religion in 2005, where she and her colleagues spent weeks questioning world-class scientists and theologians at Cambridge University. At Cambridge she realized she must finally address her recurring question: Is there more than this? Fingerprints of God is her attempt to answer that question by diving into the emerging science of spirituality.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Devin Hagerty, professor and international security expert, and her yellow Labrador retriever, Sandra Day.

BROWSE HERE

Barbara Bradley Hagerty: Fingerprints of God

Bethanne Patrick talks to Barbara Bradley Hagerty about her new book, Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality.

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