Greg’s Review of Changing Your Mind by Victor Copan
Several months ago Victor Copan introduced himself to me at the end of a Woodland Hills Church service. He told me about his recently published book, Changing Your Mind. “I know you’re into spiritual disciplines and neuroscience,” he said, “so I suspect you might enjoy my book. It’s about the interface of these two topics.” Well, he suspected correctly, to say the least!
In this book, Victor shows how recent neuroscience confirms everything the New Testament teaches about how we are to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. In the first section of Changing Your Mind, Victor lays out everything the New Testament says about the need for spiritual transformation and about how we are called to cooperate with the Spirit to bring this transformation about. While this may sound like standard fare, Victor draws out profound (and profoundly convicting) insights from this material, some of which I had never seen before.
But Changing Your Mind begins to get really exciting in the second section in which he covers cutting edge insights from neuroscience about the nature and power of the human brain. Among other things, he gives a number of fascinating accounts from scientific journals that illustrate the power of our beliefs to heal, kill or transform us. For example, he discusses a man in Latin America who believed he’d been cursed by a Witch Doctor with a lethal “lizard curse” and began to slowly die. Six weeks later this man was on the verge of death, though doctors could find absolutely nothing wrong with him.
Fortunately, a medical doctor who had treated a number of victims of curses like this heard about this man’s affliction. He told the family he knew how to break “the lizard curse” and then performed a made up exorcism. This ritual culminated when this doctor made it look like he pulled a lizard (which he had brought with him) out of this man’s stomach, shouting “we’ve defeated the lizard curse!”). The man immediately began to recover and was restored to full health within three weeks. This illustrates the power of our beliefs to kill or to heal us. When Jesus said; “According to your faith be it unto you,” he wasn’t kidding! Copan reviews a number of such episodes.
In the third and final section of this informative and insightful book, Copan integrates the Bible and neuroscience while offering very practical advice on how to apply this integrated model to our lives. All I can say about this third section is that I felt like it was something I felt I could have written (thought probably not as succinctly). Among many other things, Copan understands the supremely important role that imagination plays in exercising faith, and the exercises he suggests on how to exercise imagination to bring about spiritual transformation and liberation is spot on!
So, as you by now could probably have guessed, I couldn’t recommend a book more strongly than this one! If I had my way, I’d make it required reading for all followers of Jesus.
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