The Brain and How We Believe

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Nonfiction Analysis

The Brain and How We Believe

Authors Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman set a new scale on defining beliefs and their origins in their book Born to Believe. They take where beliefs come from to the next level with in-depth explanations of where they form in the brain and how most beliefs are even thought of. There are different types of people, different types of believers, and different beliefs in which they explain why we are who we are. While neurologists have been searching to find the spot where beliefs form, Newberg and Waldman simply relate the brain to Hogwarts and “looking for a belief… is like looking for a needle in a haystack” (17). They emphasize that one belief can come from different parts of the mind all at once.

Newberg and Waldman’s book is divided into three parts with the former chapter relating and leading into the latter chapters. The first part is titled “How the Brain Makes Our Reality” and thoroughly yet simply explains the power of belief, the origins, and the different types of believers. Following the main chapters is the second part in which they suggest a few more reasons as to why we believe certain things by relating our beliefs to our memories, past, and childhood. While the first two parts are very readable by anyone who picks the book up, the final part is more on the religious side and how beliefs reflect our religion or moral thoughts of something higher up than us. After I read this, I found that the brain is a wonder to the world itself with all of the sophisticated aspects of it as it forms itself and who we are today.

Newburg and Waldman show that the brain is made up of tons of mazes in a unique way that is only found in humans; our brains are shaped by things that have happened to us and continue to grow around those factors as we do and learn more throughout our lives. Realistically, they state, “From the moment we are born, we depend on others to teach us about the world. As...
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