A debut treatise about finding greater mental health through spiritual renewal.
Psychologist Matheson uniquely ties one’s faith in God to the health of one’s brain. Rather than compartmentalizing faith and neurological functions as separate concepts, he connects the two inextricably, noting that “[e]very choice you make changes your brain.” Therefore, he says, “sinful” actions degrade it, and positive actions assist it. He asserts that because God designed the brain, one’s faith in him, and how well one follows his precepts, improves its functionality. He goes on to say that Jesus, as a perfect, sinless man, would have had the perfect human brain, so he should be the prime example for others to follow; believers, he says, should study Scripture to get a fuller understanding of Jesus’ psychological health. Matheson structures his work around the idea of “the faithful brain,” which he defines as “one fully integrated with God, within itself, and with others, optimizing its design.” He backs up his work with a wide variety of case studies featuring patients suffering from such maladies as post-traumatic stress disorder and seizures. In addition, he draws upon a full array of neurological concepts—neuroplasticity, epigenesis, and many others—and discusses each in a nonthreatening manner that’s easy to comprehend. Overall, this work is compassionate and uplifting, and any reader may be moved by the author’s sincere desire to better the lives of those who suffer. It wouldn’t be surprising if other experts disagree with his conclusions, however, and certainly there’s room for debate regarding the science behind this study. That aside, Matheson’s book is successful as a self-help work: he offers laypeople meaningful food for thought, direction for spiritual and mental health, and encouragement that one can overcome even the most entrenched mental and psychological problems.
A well-presented religious study of the brain.