To specific centers of the brain?  Or epileptic stimulation to them?  Or a genetic tendency toward additional stimulation of those brain centers?  What would this mean to religious believers and non-believers if true?


Although it is well established that all behaviors and experiences, spiritual or otherwise, must originate in the brain, true empirical exploration of the neural underpinnings of spirituality has been challenging. However, recent advances in neuroscience have started to make the complex mental processes associated with religion and spirituality more accessible.

"Neuroimaging studies have linked activity within a large network in the brain that connects the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortexes with spiritual experiences, but information on the causative link between such a network and spirituality is lacking," explains lead study author, Dr. Cosimo Urgesi from the University of Udine in Italy.

Dr. Urgesi and colleagues were interested in making a direct link betweenbrain activity and spirituality. They focused specifically on the personality trait called self-transcendence (ST), which is thought to be a measure of spiritual feeling, thinking, and behaviors in humans. ST reflects a decreased sense of self and an ability to identify one's self as an integral part of the universe as a whole...

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Replies to This Discussion

A strong indication that religion is, in part, influenced by our genetics is that it occurs in nearly every culture extant but also, all cultures of the past. Parts of the human population have been separated by 70,000 years or more - cultural traditions do not survive that period of time but our species' genetic makeup can.
I don't believe the genetic trait(s) automatically produce religious individuals - just that the individual is primed to an environmental trigger (the culture). The trait(s) will ultimately produce a brain structure(s) or brain chemical(s) (or a combination) and as with most traits will show a degree of variation in the expression (the higher the number of physical and chemical elements involved - the greater the variation will be). That variation will likely produce anywhere from a very low influence (from which come us heathens) to high degree of influence (a rapture ready fundamentalist), depending on the strength of the environmental influence..
The answer is a definate YES.
Dno where did i heard this,but the thing is that some scientists constructed a special helmet,which stimulates a certain area in the brain thus creating what religious people call godlike/spiritular experience.
This is nothing new. Dr. Michael Persinger, of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario has been researching this for many, many years and has written countless papers on it - indeed, it was he who discovered the frontal, parietal and temporal lobe connections to spiritual experience. He has developed a facility that is able to induce "spiritual experiences" at will in the laboratory settings. And he has induced them in thousands of subjects over the years, giving him the unique ability to study them in a clinical setting.

The result is one of my favorite quotes is from him: "Religion is a phenomenon of the mind, and only the mind, and has nothing to do with reality."
This is nothing new. Dr. Michael Persinger, of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario has been researching this for many, many years and has written countless papers on it - indeed, it was he who discovered the frontal, parietal and temporal lobe connections to spiritual experience. He has developed a facility that is able to induce "spiritual experiences" at will in the laboratory settings. And he has induced them in thousands of subjects over the years, giving him the unique ability to study them in a clinical setting.

The result is one of my favorite quotes is from him: "Religion is a phenomenon of the mind, and only the mind, and has nothing to do with reality."
I don't think it is brain damage, but rather a very specific experience that the brain is capable of creating with the correct receptors being stimulated. Experiences with LSD and psilocybin are able to induce it, but more especially dimethyltryptamine does. And while the ignorant layman will pigeon hole all mind altering substances into the category of brain damage, it could not be farther from the truth. These substances are able to stimulate very specific regions of the brain causing very specific mental states. It is by no means a side effect of damage to the brain, but clearly a demonstration that these states are a part of the human brain's ability to generate our view of reality. There is a vast difference from huffing gasoline to cut off oxygen to the brain and mistaking the euphoria for religious ecstasy, compared to the higher state of being and the beautiful sense of intimate connection with your species and the universe that comes from DMT. Writing these things off as defective side effects of damage is a disservice to the behavior of the brain.
But the question is "Are religious experiences the result of brain damage?"

It's not asking if all religious people are brain-damaged.

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