top of page
  • Writer's pictureDale V Wayman, PhD

God on the Brain: What Cognitive Science Does (and Does Not) Tell Us about Faith, Human Nature, and the Divine

This is a book review that I wrote. It has been edited and published here:


Wayman, D.V. (2021, Sept).  God on the Brain. [Review of the book God on the Brain: What Cognitive Science Does (and Does Not) Tell Us about Faith, Human Nature, and the Divine].  Religious Studies Review, 47(3), 370


GOD ON THE BRAIN: WHAT COGNITIVE SCIENCE DOES (and DOES NOT) TELL US ABOUT FAITH, HUMAN NATURE AND THE DIVINE. By Bradley L Sickler. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020. Pp. 208. Paper, $15.99.

The newly burgeoning field of study, the cognitive science of religion (CSR), has been seeing scholarly advancement.  This text by Sickler is adding to what we know about CSR. Sickler notes that the field is bound by two premises: 1) if one maintains a dualistic framework (there is a body and a mind), then the ability to note that God created this framework does not speak to the other camp, 2) if one maintains a naturalistic (the other camp) framework that there is just a body, then one can find a unity between theology and science.

            Sickler maintains that dualism speaks to the idea that God created the way we think and make decisions. God made the brain to be able to trusted in its decisions because there is a Designer. This idea does not comport well with scientists, who see the brain as having evolved without a designer. This has led to a schism between theology and science.

If one considers the naturalistic perspective, then there can be a “compatibilist” view of God determining through natural means the “free will” of human thought. In this view, where Sickler attempts to reconcile theology and science, he ends up bifurcating theology: compatibilism vs libertarianism.  He states that it comes down to the term “freedom.” If one espouses libertarianism, then the divide between theology and science remain. If one espouses compatibilism, then that version of freedom is consistent with the deterministic framework set forth by science.

Sickler concludes that theists, atheists, agnostics, and scientists all experience the same dilemma as all of these individuals use the same developed brain. However, Sickler believes that CSR can be integrated so there is a modicum of agreement between theistic scientists and atheistic scientists. This agreement will hopefully lead to more positive dialogue between these two camps.

            Dale V Wayman

            Capella University

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Daddy Issues: Love And Hate In The Time Of Patriarchy

This is a book review that I have submitted (by request) for publication in the journal Religious Studies Review. Once published, I will put the URL to the final edited version; DADDY ISSUES: LOVE AN

The Person in Psychology and Christianity

This is a book review that I wrote. It is edited and published here: Wayman, D.V. (2023). The Person in Psychology and Christianity. [Review of the book, The Person in Psychology and Christianity: A F

Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice

This is a book review that I wrote. It has been edited and published: Wayman, D.V. (2022). Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice. [Review of the book, Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice: A

Comentarios


bottom of page