From the dawn of our species, every culture has maintained a belief in some form of a spiritual reality. Wouldn’t this imply that human spirituality must represent an inherent characteristic of our species, that is, a genetically inherited trait? Are Humans “wired” to believe in the universal concepts of a god, a soul, and an afterlife? Are what we call spiritual/religious experiences strictly physiological in nature, the effects of our brain’s chemistry? Does God really exist “out there,” beyond and ondependent of us? Or is God merely the product of an inherited human perception, the manifestation of an evolutionary adaptation – a coping mechanism – one that emerged in our species to enable us to survive our unique and otherwise debilitating awareness of death?

Ever since he was a child—when he first realized he was one day going to die—Matthew Alper set himself upon a life journey—a spiritual quest, if you will—to ascertain whether or not there exists a spiritual reality, a God. Was he merely a flesh and bone mortal or something more, something that perhaps transcended his purely physical self? After receiving a BA in Philosophy, Matthew continued his unconventional journey working as everything from a photographer’s assistant in NYC, an electrician in England, a 5th grade and High School history teacher in the projects of Brooklyn, a truck smuggler in Central Africa, a [produced] screenwriter in Germany—all the while independently studying the breadth of science from genetics, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, cultural anthropology, sociobiology and more.

Once his research yielded what he felt constituted a scientific explanation of spirituality and God, he returned to NYC where he wrote what he considers his life’s work, “The ‘God’ Part of the Brain.” Since its initial publication in 1996, Matthew has lectured all over the United States, appeared on NBC tv, been written up in the Washington Post, appeared on numerous radio shows and is a contributor to the anthology “Neurotheology,” an emergent new science of which he is considered one of its founders. He is an outspoken member of both the atheist and secular humanist movements. He presently lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his cat, Sucio.


Art Bell & Alper: The God Part of The Brain

Art Bell interviews Matthew Alper, author of The God Part of The Brain.
Matthew Alper:

As we became consciously aware of ourselves and our surroundings, life. We also became aware of death, and how fragile life can be. So in order for our brains to be able to cope as consciously aware, it developed an area in the temporal lobes, that gives everyone born (unless they have a brain defect) a sense of a spirit/soul, god, part of whole, an afterlife, a continuation somehow….and so on. This area in the brain responsible for these beliefs is key to our survival as a species. We probably wouldn’t have made it this far without it. It helps to remove the fear of death so that we are able to take risk without to much of a fear of dying. This area in the brain also helps us to not be over stricken with grief from the loss of a loved one, to the point of being unable to function/survive. So all people have these beliefs for the very same reason “all cats meow”, our brain developed/evolved that way for survival reasons. This is why every culture has words for a soul, god, and so forth. Having the beliefs is perfectly normal, in fact it’s abnormal not to have them. A disbelief is something that one must learn. Which is usually done after childhood using logic and critical thinking skills. So blaming or attacking someone for having the core beliefs, is equal to attacking someone for being born with two hands. When in fact it’s perfectly normal.
By focusing electromagnetic waves on the temporal lobes, this causes one to feel the presence of God, and or see God, often other spirits as well. It causes a type of mystical religious experience.-Tommy Decentralized

God in the Brain,- Atheist Vs Spirituality

Matthew Alper:

Matthew Alper was born and raised in New York City. He was educated at Vasser and North London University where he acquired a degree in Philosophy of Science. After teaching High School History, Matthew went on to become a screenwriter and then to write to his seminal work “The God Part of the Brain,” now in its 5th edition. Since then Matthew has lectured at various universities on the topics of Cognitive Science and philosophy. He has been written up in the Washington Post and appeared on NBC.


Neurotheology: This Is You Brain On Religion…