Bristol – What can Neuroscience tell us about faith?


7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Tyndale Baptist Church
Whiteladies Rd , Bristol, BS8 2QG
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The Bristol group welcomes Prof Alasdair Coles for the first in their 2016 ‘Mind’ series. Prof Coles will be asking ‘what can neuroscience tell us about faith?’

Friday 22 Jan 2016, 7.30pm-9.30pm

Tyndale Baptist Church, BS8 2QG
The church is directly opposite Clifton Down Station (CFN)Alasdair Coles photo

Rev Professor Alasdair Coles is a Professor of neuroimmunology (study of the nervous and immune system together) at the University of Cambridge and is an honorary consultant neurologist to Addenbrooke’s and Peterborough Hospitals in the UK. He is involved in research in new treatments for multiple sclerosis (a disease that causes damage to the nerves) and in the neurological basis for religious experience. He was ordained in the Church of England in 2008 and is chaplain to the staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in addition to his medical and scientific work.

Rev Prof Coles writes: One of the most powerful techniques for understanding the neurological basis of any behaviour is to see how patients are affected by neurological diseases. For instance, most of what we know about the pathways of speech and language in humans comes from studying people who have had strokes or brain tumours affecting particular parts of the brain. This has allowed us to identify the components of language, so that we can now say that understanding language takes place in a different part of the brain from the area that assembles language into speech. In the same way, we can study the effects of different neurological diseases on religious belief, experience and practice. In a small group of people with temporal lobe epilepsy, seizures are experienced as “mystical seizures”, which consist of many of the features of a normal numinous experience. From such work and studies of other diseases, it is clear that the brain is naturally disposed to experience the divine and to process religious beliefs and worship. Of course, the reality of the Christian faith cannot be found by neurological study; that depends on external truth of whether or not Christ lived, died and resurrected. But it is interesting to see from these insights from neuroscience that people may have different capacities to experience God and understand belief and worship, although all are equally loved and valued by God

No need to book – just turn up. Refreshments provided including homemade cake and tea.
No entrance charge, but opportunity to give donation, suggested £4, to cover costs. You can email Christina Biggs, CiS Bristol local group leader,, to register interest.


Bristol -Mind 2016 jpg year card