Has a major branch of history been determined by one man's bout with epilepsy? I think so!

Epilepsy Toronto has, on its web page, a list of famous people who have had epilepsy. The idea of the list is that epilepsy doesn't need to stand in the way of achievement. On that list - along with such luminaries as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Joan of Arc, Napoleon and Newton - was Muhammad. Well, you guessed it . . . the incendiary email this organization received from indignant Muslims, prompted them to quickly remove Muhammad from its on-line list. By now, we all know that nothing gets results like Muslim threats.

This article reminded me of the connection between epilepsy and the "God Module". If you're not familiar with the God Module or "God Spot", here's a quick summary . . . It was discovered when scientists explored the association between epilepsy and intense spiritual experiences. It seems that some forms of epilepsy create electrical storms in the brain that stimulates an adjacent area (now identified as the God Module). Many of these epileptics are hyper-religious.

Anyway, I did a Google search for "Muhammad and epilepsy" and hit pay-dirt. There appears to be a strong correlation between the symptoms of epilepsy and the witness descriptions of Muhammad's condition while in his "trances". Epilepsy (the "sacred disease", also known as the "falling sickness") is what the ancients thought were demon possessions. Muhammad was known to have had epileptic symptoms from at least the age of 5. His guardians were (allegedly) afraid he was demon possessed and pawned him off on other relatives.

Epilepsy would explain Muhammad's visions and preoccupation with spirituality and his solitary retreats to the mountains for contemplative meditation. Many epileptics describe the spiritual sensations surrounding seizures as so exquisite that they actually look forward to these fits. Fyodor Dostoevsky claimed that he would not trade 10 years of life for a single epilepsy-induced spiritual experience.

Ignorant and superstitious people, especially in Muhammad's day, were easily impressed by these seizures. They seemed real, because they were. However, they weren't demon possessions or contact with God; they were epileptic fits. These fits are reported to have scared Muhammad until his wife (the first, ever, Muslim) convinced him that they were divine communiqués. That's right . . . Muhammad's wife was the first Muslim - Muhammad was the second to believe.

There is only anecdotal evidence that Muhammad was an epileptic. It's just a theory. But, due to the preponderance of evidence, many historians and researchers believe it. The first to suggest it was the Greek monk, Theophanes. Theophanes (752-817) wrote, in his "Chronography", that Muhammad suffered from epilepsy. In 1869, Sir William Muir, made the same connection in his book, "The Life of Mahomet". More recently, Clifford Pickover writes:
Dostoevsky, another famous epileptic whose works are filled with ecstatic visions of universal love (and terrible nightmares of uncanny fear and radical evil), thought it was obvious that Mohammad's visions of God were triggered by epilepsy. "Mohammad assures us in this Koran that he had seen Paradise," Dostoevsky notes. "He did not lie. He had indeed been in Paradise - during an attack of epilepsy, from which he suffered, as I do."
I guess it takes one to know one.

Tags: God Module, Pickford, Sir William Muir, dostoevsky, epilepsy, muhammad, toronto

Views: 337

Replies to This Discussion

Discovering I had TLE was the first step I took on the road to shedding my belief. The visions and feelings are amazing, and I was always searching for that elusive contact which was so rapturous. When I found out what TLE causes, I started to wonder about all the proofs I had for the existence of gods. Everything I based my belief upon rested on either things that could be traced back to my temporal lobe epilepsy, or on things that could be debunked (ouija boards, psychic readings, etc).
Hi Kristine,

Thanks for sharing your personal experiences related to TLE and religiosity.

From my readings on the subject, it appears to take a strong will to treat TLE-based religious experiences objectively. Congratulations on weathering the (electrical) storms of TLE and retaining your objectivity.

I've become infatuated with the correlation between TLE and transcendence. You must have some interesting stories to tell.

So . . . what do you make of the God Module? Do you think it's for real?
I don't know about a strong will, I think it was more that I've been raised to think critically, and Paganism only served to enforce that criticality (the "occult law" that states that you should question any manifestations to distinguish those that are true from those that are products of the mind).
Interestingly, the hallucinations seem to have changed since I've decided there is no basis to them. Rather than seeing mythological creatures now, the visual hallucinations have become lights and the auditory hallucinations, rather than being the voices I once heard, have become ringing phones, sirens, and flocks of loud birds.

I think any stimulation of the temporal lobe can cause hallucinations. I read the initial New Scientist article with enthusiasm (LOL I do everything with enthusiasm, it's one of the personality markers of TLE to be grandiose...) but they hadn't been able to simulate a religious experience at that stage, and I'm unsure if they've managed it yet. Perhaps they aren't introducing the right variables. The ways I always accessed it at will was through chanting and music. Anything rhythmic.
The best example was the time that I got dragged along to an AOG "crusade" where you would sit for hours singing songs and listening to a guy on stage speaking in a low, soft voice about the wonders of Jesus, then they "touched" you at the end of the night. The songs and the monotonous voice allowed a trance like state to form, imbued with a suggestion that Jesus would be appearing to you. And I was touched, I fell down, and I had a vision of Jesus. Ironically I also had a vision of Ceridwen at the same time, they were arguing over who got to keep me.
Hi Kristine,

Let's see . . . which god(dess) should keep you? The one-dimensional Abrahamic god or the multifaceted Ceridwen? I guess it's a matter of taste. But why ANY god(dess) at all? If you have to have one, then at least Ceridwen lets your light shine through :-)

Seriously . . .

. . . You seem to acknowledge some sort of neurophysical influence for spirituality. From what I've read, I think spiritual experiences are an epiphenomenal, emergent property, of the complex system known as the human brain. This is significant because, personal, private, experience is one of the most difficult justifications for Jesus/God/Allah to argue against. One could say that mental institutions are filled with people who talk to God, but doing so won't help your argument against a non-institutionalized "believer". They'll just write you (or anybody else) off as a heretic.

I think, because of your condition, that you must recognize how convincing spiritual experience can be. I, personally, was only convinced until the affects of the drugs wore off. I don't experience the transcendent (other than star-gazing) without drugs.

Maybe born-again Christians simply have a more reactive God module. I need drugs to stimulate my God module but others might be more prone to spiritual experience. For the record, I haven't done ANY drugs for 30 years. However, I'd surely love a joint or a tab of acid right now.

The memories still haunt me.
Hi Lee,

LoL . . . I'm sorry, but there's a reason my name, here, is Free Thinker: identifying information is not something I want to release on the Internet . . . you never know when some fanatic might track you down and do something "Qur'anic".

Having read the Qur'an and the writings of several ex-Muslims, I have a major problem with Islam. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Islam is a rabid dogma. As far as I know, I'm the originator of that slogan. I'd love to hear the infidel masses repeat it often.
At the Psychiatric Times website, there's an article called:

    Neurotheology: Are We Hardwired for God?

It can be found at:

    http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/neurology/article/10168/1158688

This article updates the current ideas about "God in the brain".
funny reading this really funny.

in the military i was injured and got TLE (i did not know at the time) while i had plain weird stuff happen and ignored it thinking i was going mad and did not want to give in to the high weridness and after i got out i started to have religious stuff happen. i was always agnostic. i can not really remember accepting anything about religion at real. i always thought religion was part brain washing and part delusions and part cultural traditions. well when i had these werid religious experiances i did not know what they were beyond what i thought was madness but they had themes and content to them that was pretty much the same stuff about them. well after one episode i looked up something from the experiance and when google came up with the results they all pointed to islam and the other dreams were all pretty much islamicly themed. i did not know a dang thing about islam beyond , common knowlage it's age, the founder, area and it was arab monotheism and was the same and christianity and judaism.
why would i have so many experiances that only are to do with islam and islamic theology and mystyical stuff. being ignorent of it and then learning about it and having so much knowlage about it was strange for me.
just on a moral social political level i think islam is a better religion then all the others. so seeing this anti-semitism on these posts is kinda weird. i do understand that most the people that said stuff against islam are talking about salafi/wahabi/deobandi cults of islam not actual islam. those cults are like the jehovas wittnesses or morons of islam and the historical true islam has it's political issues but beyond that isalm is a sane and good religion for the most part and i can not understand why people hate it so much if you understand islam is a actually the sanist of all the religions out there. if i was to belive in all the god stuff i would be a muslim just for the simple fat that islam is peaceful,scientific and a very tollerant religion, dispite the sicko cult s in it that have highjacked it and now the world thinks they are what real muslim are . sad really.. i would perfer real muslims over xians pagan or judaism any time. most muslim i have met are moral and good sane people compared to other religions..
@jimmycrackcorn,

Islam is peaceful, scientific and tolerant? That cracks me up. You REALLY crack my corn, Jimmy.

I've studied the Quran for years now. I read it, cover to cover. I lead a critical study of the Quran on my website. The Quran is the complete opposite of your portrayal. It's hateful, not peaceful. It's ignorant, not scientific. It's intolerant in the extreme. Let's take your 3 assertions one by one.

Muhammad used revelation to condemn his enemies and keep his wives in line. When he wanted more than the 4 wives permitted at the time, he had a revelation that granted him an exemption. When his fellow Meccans scoffed at his new religion, he had revelations that condemned them and supported himself. The Quran is a diary of Muhammad's madness -- NOT Allah's divine will.

Lie #1: "Islam is a religion of peace"

The Quran envisions peace as something that comes AFTER THE ENTIRE WORLD PROSTRATES ITSELF TO ALLAH. If that's your idea of peace, then Islam is a religion of peace.

If you define Islam as the religion founded on the Quran and Muhammad, then Islam is definitely NOT a religion of peace. The Quran makes no secret of that! Sure, there are a couple of lines in the Quran that say violence should be reserved for self-defense. But otherwise, the Quran is dedicated to threats of, and exhortations to, violence against infidels.

Like the Old Testament, the Quran prescribes death for all sorts of "sins". But most importantly, and most telling of all, is that death is mandatory for apostasy. It's kind of like the mafia: once you're in, you can't get out. If you try, they'll kill you.

Muhammad bragged about the cities he sacked and caravans he raided. A favorite, often-repeated, phrase of his is, "we bring you glad tidings of grievous woe". LoL, he liked nothing better than converting infidels at the edge of his sword. The Quran repeatedly recommends that the vanquished should have an opportunity to accept Allah . . . otherwise, off with their heads!

A religion of peace? Ridiculous. It's a death cult that empowers bloodlust. Modern-day terrorists will gladly tell you all about it.

Lie #2: "Islam is scientific"

Excuse me . . . I'm still laughing . . .

Okay, I think I've got it under control now.

No . . . wait . . .

Alright. Here I go. The Islamic propaganda machine spews out these ridiculous claims that Muhammad knew about (or the Quran supports) subatomic particles, evolution, the Big Bang, tectonic plates, holograms, the heliocentric solar system, and other nonsense. The pretzel logic contortions of fact used to arrive at these laughable claims are excruciating to read . . . one feels so embarrassed for the authors of these tracts.

No amount of fact-twisting can lead an informed, intelligent, person to believe there's ANYTHING scientific about Muhammad or the Quran. Period.

Lie #3: "Islam is tolerant"

This myth, along with lie #1, is often repeated by western apologists for Islam. It's the complete opposite of the message of the Quran and of history.

Yes, the Quran does say, several times, to let unbelievers believe what they will. But that sentiment is an exception to the rule. What's the rule? Convert or die. The Quran is neurotically obsessed with disbelievers, misbelievers, unbelievers, nonbelievers and, especially, ex-believers. If you remove all the text praising believers and threatening or condemning nonbelievers, there would be almost nothing left. That's truly not a joke or figurative statement. I mean it literally. This Quranic obsession is truly unrelenting.

Muslims and their apologists like to cite the "tolerance" of Islam in the old Muslim Empire. That's pure bunk. At minimum, stiff jizya tax was always levied on infidels. Is that your idea of tolerance? "We'll let you live if you can pay for the privilege?" I wonder how tolerant that would seem if you were the one under such a discriminatory burden. But even the "progressive" rulers who allowed infidels (with jizya tax, of course) couldn't vouchsafe their safety. Any excuse was enough to inflame Muslims to terrorize and kill the infidels. Infidels lived under constant threat of violence.

If you think this is too harsh a perspective, I disagree. I tell you what, you seek out and quote all the "peaceful", "scientific" or "tolerant" verses from the Quran. For every legitimate one you quote, I will quote between 5 and 50 that say the opposite.
all religions are political, compared to other religions i still maintain my position on islam. here is an example the 2 bible pre-islam based religions have 10 lbs of crap on them and becasue islam accepts the bible to a point islam has perhaps 13 lbs. of crap to it.
have you ever seen the conan films? i personally find conan to be a gentleman barbarian and like him as presented in the films. maybe that is why i see islam that way.
4 wifes i have no moral issue with that. it's view of science is more productive then other religions more muslims are scientist and doctors then the other religions. most doctors that are non-muslim religionists are crackpots i have met them and would not like to deal with them, my wife once had a doctor tell her to give it up to the almighty and pray and then showed her out the door. mind you she drank broken glass from a pre-manufactured ice tea out of a gas station. you can imagine her pain and no meds. my father taught me about christians as did my mother, do not trust them especially the ones that announce it. i was forced to church by my folks to americanize and understand christians so i could blend in to the usa and not be such a jewboy. LOL no goy/jinn can notice my jewisms but jews sure know it. LOL

i wonder if you have studied sufi/Tasawwuf ? they are the traditional muslims and are nothing like your talking about. islam is in the faze of the protestant era, with the shia is the eastern western church split and now the deobani/wahabia/salafi are starting a protestant reformation. what your talking about is the protestants of islam not orthodox islam. AKA Meccan nationalism of the Saud family and its finacial domination of texts and islamic prayer centers.

how is the US gov any different then islam the way your explaining islam.
you studied islam so long but your views are selective. as a whole islam in light of judaism and paulism is a better alternative. i am not really that open minded about things like rights and civil liberties as you perhaps. the people that islam dislike i have the same issues with, alternative life styles, thieves, murders, rapists ect. so what? that the muslims are a little brutal and heavy handed with "sinners". i do not care about people like that at all. if they purge the place of sickos and perverts i personally am not opposed to that. i am a "might is right" type of person i guess.
your vision of islam is one sided i guess. i think religion is great for controling people and keeping them in line. the old athiest maxin religiosity and morality not being one and the same is true i have no doubt but in the same sence that that majority of people are so average intellect that if they were athiest they would be hedonists. i personally do not want to see 95-100 iq morons with hedoistic values runing around. why do your think that the gov of the US promotes religion and gives it an audiance? the whole state athiest seems spookie as sharia law in my book. ya i know i am going to get attack for that but i do not want the great unwashed thinking there is not some form of besides the state.
am i a shill for the religionists or the usgov? i do not know. enlighten me.. i just find racist religious national socialist states like isreal very spookey and meccan nationalists/wahabis are the same as zionists.
your dislike for the quran i have for paganism and the bible and find the quran and islam as a better alternative. if it was not for islam like it or not modern science got it's start with islam.from what i understand traditionalist muslim athiests have been part of islam since day one. many muslims are atheists too. islam is not a theological religion and atheism is easly gafted into it.
i guess the easyest thing to say to you so you can get what i am saying. i am not anti-religion and i am not a darwinist. i do not really thing darwins ideas are more then a fancy ideas and i just do not consider them to have much evidance dispite their popularity infact i think that is a lot of crap and should be tossed in the incinerator with intelligent design and creationism and i do not accept it as fact or worthy of conversation or importance.

the anti-religion stance is pretty intollerant. if people want to be rock worshipers great.. even in athiesm people become religious after foxhole experiances dispite athiests claiming otherwise. i have known lot of ex-atheists. LOL they may have had a TLE experiance. i have known athiests that thought up the idea of a super being that defies logic and physics that created the human race ect and still claimed to be athiests. buddhists are a prime example of that type. buddhism is theistic with socalled athiests that follow it just like in islam. LOL
@jimmycrackcorn,

And I don't care . . .

LoL . . . couldn't resist. Are you familiar with the "Blue Tail Fly" song that the phrase "Jimmy crack corn" comes from?

Anyway, I see now what I'm up against. I wish I had read this post first: I could have saved myself some time and effort. I'm done.
@jimmycrackcorn,

I've addressed your 3 key claims directly and made very specific points that you're sidestepping. I read your assertions and feel like I'm reading rehashed propaganda.

That Islam is represented by various branches/schools/movements is irrelevant: especially when Sunni and Shiite Muslims represent almost ALL of Islam. Ahmadiyya represents about 10 million Muslims. All the minor branches, combined, amount to about 1% of the worlds 1.5 billion Muslims.

There's only 3 major branches of Islam that claim at least 1 million adherents: Sunni (80 - 85%), Shiite (15%), Ahmadiyya (<1%). Sufism isn't a branch or division at all. It's a mystical approach to Islam that is approved as orthodox by nearly all Muslims.

But I am not addressing adherents. They're just people like the rest of us. I'm addressing Islam, as represented by the Quran and, to a lesser extent, ahadith. The people aren't the real problem: doctrine and dogma are. Extremists have NOT hijacked Islam: Islam has hijacked extremists!

Islam is both a religious and political doctrine. Whereas church and state might merge to varying degrees in (historical) Christianity, that merger is politically derived. With Islam, the union of mosque and state is a doctrinal merger considered essential for jihad. Jihad is a personal, social and political struggle to advance the ideal and scope of Allah. A fundamentalist faith in Islam brings pressure for Sharia law in Muslim states.

With all the examples we read and see in the news, of the complete disconnect between the West and Islam, I'm always perplexed by how Western apologists for Islam square these obvious incompatibilities. Specifically, what drives you to defend a religious and political doctrine that: subjugates women; sexually mutilates female genitalia; stones people (usually females) to death for infidelity; lops off hands for theft; whips you for drinking a beer; kills you for apostasy; imprisons or kills you for heresy; riots worldwide because of a cartoon; issues fatwas for works of fiction; threatens violence to enforce "tolerance"; and arrests you for naming a teddy bear "Muhammad"?

It appears to me that your neurological epiphany predisposes you to Islam. You see what you want to see. For instance: you end by saying "Islam is not a theological religion and atheism is easily grafted into it." What more proof do I need to demonstrate your denial?

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