What Your Vision of God Says About Your Brain

Our ability to understand, practice, and accept religion is all thanks to our believing brain. While our faith in God may be something our heart and soul decides, the tendency to look for a greater meaning and purpose could actually be something that is hardwired in our brains.

This week on Brain Games, we search for the source of spiritualism with one of our favorite brain teasers. We asked volunteers of all ages to draw their idea of the divine. See what their vision of God says about the brain.

According to research, across ages there are certain general categories that people view God as–whether it is as a person, symbol, or abstraction. However, as we grow and develop, so does our understanding of a supreme being.

Some people will often view God as an actual person. This is because it’s easier for us as humans to relate to something in a personal way. According to Dr. Newberg, the vision of God as a human figure often comes with a more authoritarian view of God. This view is more common in younger age groups.

The older we get, the easier it is to start seeing God as a symbol, whether it is the light or even clouds. Finally, we start to see people moving into a more abstract way of thinking, representing the divine with colors or spirals. Changing your picture of God to something more abstract may in fact cause you to be more optimistic and faithful.

So ultimately, when humans think about God, seeing may really be believing. Vision and the brain combined make one of the most powerful senses that we use to understand our world and our ideals.

How does your brain believe? Find out in this Brain Games challenge!

Explore more ways the brain shapes our faith in Brain Games: The God Brain, Sunday at 9/8 c on NGC!


  1. Leo Danielson
    February 22, 2016, 12:26 pm

    Does theveryone mind or memory survive the death of the brain

  2. Nazneen
    April 18, 2016, 11:12 pm

    Dissapointed and saddened that the first few episodes have not mentioned the first monotheistic God, Ahura Mazda from the Zoroastrian religion. In academic circles, Zoroaster (the pre-Islamic prophet of the Persian empire) is believed to have given the world the concept of Ahura Mazda, the All-knowing Lord, and Zoroastrianism has profoundly influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam.