Fingerprints of God, The Search for the Science of Spirituality

Barbara Bradley Hagerty
Riverhead Books, 2009

home_fingerprintsFingerprints of God came to my attention when I listened to parts of an interview of Hagerty on Doug Fabrizio’s Radio West show. I ran into the book at a sale and decided I’d let synchronicity play its dubious part.

The book is a modern day journalistic/memoir exploration of how science and religion or spirituality intersect. Hagerty gives a brief description of her childhood as a Christian Scientist, her adult relationship to it, and a spiritual experience that was an inspiration for writing the book. After years of interviewing religious people and scientists (who occasionally are the same) she concludes “science cannot prove God–but science is entirely consistent with God.”

She spends time on the many definitions of God and experiences or “doorways” into belief and mysticism. Hagerty tells us of interviews with mystics who claim sudden insight from a single experience that they claim changed them on a cellular level, she examines the stories of monks who spend years in quiet meditative lives away from society, and a variety of people in many fields.

Her issues include how prayer works, the effect of surrendering in defeat, and where seemingly simple, everyday desire to improve oneself fits. I enjoyed the description of similarities between ceremonies of the Catholic Church and the Diné people in the Southwest United States who use peyote. Throughout the book Hagerty finds similarities in experience and structure though church affiliation and religious history seem worlds apart.

The early part of the book is a chicken soup look at spirituality and its ever-continuing part of human life. Once that appears to be out of the way, she begins introducing more scientific history, methods, studies and questions. What are similarities between Moses seeing a burning bush and temporal lobe seizure? Is God a master electrician who has wired humans to feel spirituality and tossed in a few genes that predispose religious experience and belief? How is the brain changed from meditation? What is the mystery of similar near-death experiences world-wide?

The description that was most intriguing to me was of Dean Radin’s hypothesis of “entangled minds,” that he developed as a scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Hagerty explains how that idea has evolved in science, seemingly from Albert Einstein’s ideas in quantum theory that he called “spooky action at a distance.” The question is asked, “Could this be a start toward proving the existence of God?”

Science has not come to any solid conclusion, but it also is not completely disregarding the idea of God as it has in the past. There is turmoil in the ranks of scientists which makes the future of this subject all the more interesting.

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11 Responses to Fingerprints of God, The Search for the Science of Spirituality

  1. Kathy says:

    Thanks for stopping by one of my blogs today and commenting. Had to come back and visit! I totally believe in “entangled minds”. In fact, I believe that there is one Mind and that is God manifesting the world. And that God is what Is. However, just typing these few sentences reminds me how challenging it is to put any of this in words. In fact, I think I failed. Hopefully, God is smiling.

  2. very interesting – must see if I can find this book – I blogged about something similar today

  3. Yes, it was interesting. Thanks for visiting and I’ll go see what you wrote.

  4. Saw you peek at my blog, so here I am. Good post. I think that the more science looks honestly at things, the more it will realize that there is no reason for God to not exist. It doesn’t disprove science; it enhances the ideas.
    Scott

  5. aFrankAngle says:

    Because the intersection of science and religion is a personal interest of mine, I’ve read my share on this subject. Compared to the others I read, I had a hard time with this book, thus didn’t finish it. Not sure why, maybe it wasn’t what I suspected (but not agree/disagree).

  6. Sometimes a book, for whatever reason, just doesn’t charm us. I’m curious why though, if you want to say. I know there are a lot of books I’ve felt that way about in every genre I’ve read. And hey, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  7. Thanks for writing about this book. Looks like something I should check out. Her spiritual journey sounds a lot like mine. I’d like to find out more about the “entangled mind” theory. I too believe that “God” infuses the universe, but defining God is so difficult, and sometimes, it’s better to talk about it as Dickinson urged: tell the truth, but tell it slant.

  8. Thank you for visiting Deborah, I appreciate the input. Hagerty worked to give many sides to her research. She introduces a lot that then requires further reading, like “entangled minds.” I need to look that that up and read more about it because it seems to touch close to what I’ve been thinking, too. I’ll be visiting your website, so thanks again.

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