Fingerprints of God

Fingerprints of God

What Science Is Learning About the Brain and Spiritual Experience

Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101052600
  • 336 Pages
  • Riverhead Books
  • Adult


From the award-winning NPR religion correspondent and author of Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife comes a fascinating investigation of how science is seeking to answer the question that has puzzled humanity for generations: Can science explain God?

Is spiritual experience real or a delusion? Are there realities that we can experience but not easily measure? Does your consciousness depend entirely on your brain, or does it extend beyond? In Fingerprints of God, award-winning journalist Barbara Bradley Hagerty delves into the discoveries science is making about how faith and spirituality affect us physically and emotionally as it attempts to understand whether the ineffable place beyond this world can be rationally -even scientifically-explained.

Hagerty interviews some of the world’s top scientists to describe what their groundbreaking research reveals about our human spiritual experience. From analyses of the brain functions of Buddhist monks and Carmelite nuns, to the possibilities of healing the sick through directed prayer, to what near-death experiences illuminate about the afterlife, Hagerty reaches beyond what we think we know to understand what happens to us when we believe in a higher power.

Paralleling the discoveries of science is Hagerty’s own account of her spiritual evolution. Raised a Christian Scientist, she was a scrupulous adherent until a small moment as an adult triggered a revaluation of her beliefs, which in turn led her to a new way of thinking about God and faith.

An insightful examination of what science is learning about how and why we believe, Fingerprints of God is also a moving story of one person’s search for a communion with a higher power and what she discovered on that journey.

From the Hardcover edition.


“With honesty, discernment, humor, grace— and an enormous amount of reporting—Barbara Bradley Hagerty takes on one of the fiercest controversies of the last 500 years: Can we measure faith? Fingerprints of God reads like an elegant mystery story as Bradley Hagerty launches a search for evidence of God within us and the universe as a whole. People of faith and science will be grateful for the chance to join her on her quest.”—E. J. Dionne Jr., author of Souled Out and syndicated columnist

“Barbara Bradley Hagerty has done something truly remarkable here. She has brought her considerable reporting skills and wonderfully wry writing to the question of who or what is God. By meticulously documenting scientific studies and interspersing them with the experiences of a number of individuals, including herself, she opens doors to those answers. Fingerprints of God is its own scientific and spiritual journey, one well worth taking.”—Cokie Roberts, author of Ladies of Liberty and news analyst

Fingerprints of God is a courageous and immensely enjoyable book. In Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s investigation of the science of spirituality, I found answers for questions I’ve pondered for years. Many people will find themselves in these pages.”—Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz

“What a book! The pages crackle with fresh insights into the nexus of faith and science. Striking just the right balance between skepticism and open-mindedness, Bradley makes for the perfect guide on this journey of discovery. Read this book. It’ll inform and entertain – and just might change the way you view the world.”—Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss

“You can find God in many places, from the condemned on death row to the deepest folds of the human brain. In this groundbreaking book on the emerging science of faith, Barbara Bradley Hagerty discovers the links between science and spiritual experience. Fingerprints of God will provoke you, intrigue you, and inspire you.”—Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking
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