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InnerSpace

Does Our Brain/Environment Create God?

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Sherapy

IS I had my voice hallucination in an area very close to the San andreas Fault in California incidently this is where I live the redondo beach area... that is one heck of an interesting study and you brought in the big brains too I see....

rebel very good find...

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InnerSpace
IS I had my voice hallucination in an area very close to the San andreas Fault in California incidently this is where I live the redondo beach area...

That's wild Sheri. We may have been neighbors. :D

Edited by Inner Space

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Lt_Ripley

I still say it's like a Tootsie Roll Pop . How many licks to the center ? - the world may never know. ( mr . owl says 3 however )

linked-image

Edited by Lt_Ripley

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Dante's Inferno
I would like to explore the possibility that perhaps environmental and biological/neurological factors might play a major role in our belief in God. I hope people (believers) are not offended by what I'm going to share. I do not mean to offend in any way. While it may seem that some of the information I'm about to share belongs in a blog, I'm sharing details and background with you so you can have a better understanding of where I'm coming from with my questions. I apologize for the length of my post.

When I was around 4, I started having experiences that I didn't understand. Neither did the doctors or my parents. I had hallucinations, sort of like night terrors, yet I was wide awake. I use to lived close to fault-line in California. After moving from CA, the hallucinations stopped. I had been experiencing them on a regular basis for 5 or 6 years. I would not experience these type of hallucinations again until I became a young adult.

I had been raised Catholic, however, I wasn't very religious... per se. After the passing of my husband, I started having "spiritual" experiences...seeing angels, demons, etc. As a side note: my late husband experienced a closed-head injury, and afterwards became very religious and started seeing "demons". Becoming very religious is common, neurologically speaking, after head trauma. I didn’t know that at the time, and believed he was having spiritual warfare, because his pastor told him that was the case. Before his head trauma, he was not religious at all, and bordered on being a skeptic.

After his death, I became very involved in church. I wanted to become a Christian counselor. I continued to have "spiritual" experiences, and they seemed to be confirmed by religious (Christian) teachings. I studied the Bible fervently. I knew it from cover to cover, and could quote scripture in my sleep, lol. I ended up with a double major in Theology & Psychology. It seemed that the more I studied the Bible, the more I seemed to be under "demonic" attack. When I shared my experiences with other Christians, they would tell me I was experiencing "spiritual warfare". I believe them. It made sense, and certainly was confirmed by what the Bible taught.

I started having sleep paralysis, but wasn't aware that I was experiencing SP at the time. I shared these experiences with pastors and was again told I was under satanic attack. I was put through 3 horrifying deliverance experiences. There efforts to "deliver" me of these so called demons were fruitless, and unfortunately, I was told that I must have some unforgiven sin in my life. I did a lot of soul searching and spent a lot of time praying and fasting. I began to experience serious depression, and I felt like God was disappointed in me, yet I was determined to draw closer and closer to “him“. The more I drew closer to god, the more I came under “demonic” attack, it seemed.

Believers told me this was common, as did the Scriptures. Several years later, my studies led me out of Christianity. I was in spiritual crisis. Then, I had a vision of “God” and angels. This had a profound effect on me and my depression lifted. I was experiencing shear bliss like I'd never experience before. I had left Christianity, so this seemed strange to me.

Because of my late husbands condition, I became very interested neurology and studied in the neurobehavioral science field. This led me to neurotechnology. I started experimenting with brainwave entrainment, which uses frequencies in the form of binaural beat or isochronic pulses. To my surprise I was able to induce these same "spiritual" type experiences. I had visions of angelic beings and would become completely euphoric. This really amazed me, and I poured myself into more neurological studies with emphasis on environmental effects on the brain. I eventually got a degree in the neuroscience field so I could incorporate this technology in my counseling practice.

I began to use this technology on patients/clients to help them cope with stress, etc., and I noticed that when I gave them certain frequencies between the 5 to 8 Hz range (Theta/Alpha), some would have “spiritual” experiences just like I did. Experienced meditators have learned to slow their brainwaves down to the Theta/Alpha states, and encounter these same type experiences.

Being a member of a neurology forum, I shared my personal childhood experiences with colleagues. What I was to discover would change my life forever. I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. This isn’t the same kind of epilepsy that most are aware of, such as the Tonic Clonic aka Grand Mal, where you have outward signs of seizure activity, i.e., falling to the ground, convulsing, etc. These microseizures were only affecting my temporal lobes, and I learned that my “spiritual” experiences were actually hallucinations caused by scaring on my temporal lobes. Hyper-religiosity is a symptom of TLE as well.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy is a very misunderstood condition, and many go undiagnosed or they are misdiagnosed as having mental illness. The reason I brought up the fact that I use to lived close to a fault-line was because studies have shown that people with TLE or who have a low threshold due to perhaps some type of scaring in the temporal lobe regions, are especially affected by seismic activity. I was living in an area that has some of the highest seismic activity in the world. Isn't it odd that my hallucinations discontinued after I moved away from this seismically active area, and they didn’t start back up until after experiencing trauma in my life.

I can’t honestly tell you if there is a god or not, due to my own personal experiences. How can one ever know if they’ve actually had a “spiritual” encounter, when conditions such as TLE and technology such as brainwave entrainment and magnetic signals placed on the temporal lobes can induce visions of Christ, angels, demons, etc. In other cultures, TLE & technology produce visions of their own version of god.

Studies have shown that during brain surgery, doctors have induced “spiritual” phenomena on patients by stimulating the temporal lobes, (the source of mystic and religious experiences), so how can we ever be certain that what we’ve experienced is actually a true “God” experience, and not something induced by electromagnetic/geomagnetic energies fields, neurotechnology, neurological/biological phenamena. Through my studies, I’ve learned that most everyone has had at least one TL phenomena in their life-time, and for some it changes their personality forever. Many become very religious, which again, can be quite common with TLE. Also, if you look at the Middle East (the hub of 3 major religions), there is a lot of seismic activity in that region. How do we know that those who had so called visions of god, weren’t actually having some form of Temporal Lobe phenamena brought on by neurological/environmental factors. I find it interesting that having these types of microseizures can cause people to become compulsive writers as well. It's called hypergraphia. Since my TLE is now being managed, I no longer have spiritual/visual type experiences, unless I deliberately create them via technology.

It appears to me that the brain, along with the right environmental/neurological factors may create god experiences, and that perhaps one of the reasons mankind created religion was to explain this phenomena. I am not completely discounting the existence of God, but in reality, how can one really be certain of their own beliefs & experiences. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and again, my apologies for the length. What are your thought?

Edited:typos

Thank you so much Inner space for a seriously thought provoking thread. Also thank you Supra Sheri for leading me to this post! Firstly let me just say that I have been fascinated by the psychology behind religion for probably about 10 years now and I must say your post is one of the most concise explanations I have come across. I'm intrigued by the idea you put forward that individual experience slightly different 'hallucinations' due to their cultural and environmental situation. If that is the case how quickly do you think these preconceived ideas begin to form in the brain? What I mean is do you think it depends on the person age before these images become 'spiritual'. For example I have sufferred from sleep paralysis all my life. My first memories of them were when I was about ten years old at that time I was being brought up in a christian home by my parents who although were not deeply religious did try to attend church most sundays. At the time I can clearly remember images of being held down by demon like figures and even of death itself. However as I grew older left home studied and then travelled the world my images during paralysis made a marked difference now I was simply experiencing the physical aspect of the paralysis and I never experienced any fear or trepidation. I haven't experience any now for about 5 years. So what interests me is that at some point in our lives memories and knowledge becomes stored in the areas of the brain that are effected howver as our own experiences or even different spiritual views evolve it seems that those 'memories' are replaced. Something in these areas of the brain must be using 'relevent' images when hallucinating. Could this explain why two people can experience the same thing but walk away from them with very different interpretations?

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Wolf MacCanine

Great read,Inner Space. :tu:

I've been looking at the possibility of differing factors causing visions,paralysis,religious beliefs..etc,for a while now.I thought it was an interesting topic when I first heard of the theory that our environments could cause us to "experience" different phenomena,and still find it interesting after all these years.The first time I heard of the theory was back in the early 80's during a discussion between several College professors that I knew.That discussion lasted quite a number of hours.

From that discussion,we all agreed that there was the probabilty,not just the possibility...that events,environments,and mental states could affect our thought processes...even to the point of causing hallucinations and "visions".Stress,melancholy,dementia,social factors and other mental/physical states are just a few of the things that we looked at...but we also included environments such as home life,work life,and geography...as well as a few other social factors.We did not,however,delve into the possibilities of magnetism or geological factors being involved.I think that if we had,our discussion would've lasted for far too long,with each of us pouring over maps and seeing if there was some correlation between geological factors and mental states/aberrations.

I would love to see more research done on this,as it is highly interesting.Anyone looking into this needs to look at all possible factors though...since there are so many things within our lives that can affect us...in more ways than one.

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Asphodel

Inner Space, I just wanted to thank you for posting this. The topic has fascinated me for some time. :)

I feel a bit left out. I always have a sense of indifference. I have never been able to feel anything religious/spiritual, only indifference. I went on a family vacation this past summer. There were seven of us, and the place had a spiritual effect on everyone but me. I just can't comprehend it.

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Wolf MacCanine
Inner Space, I just wanted to thank you for posting this. The topic has fascinated me for some time. :)

I feel a bit left out. I always have a sense of indifference. I have never been able to feel anything religious/spiritual, only indifference. I went on a family vacation this past summer. There were seven of us, and the place had a spiritual effect on everyone but me. I just can't comprehend it.

I've been through this before as well.It takes the right spot or mental state at times.You may not have been to a place yet that could have an effect upon you.

I've been to places where I could see the natural beauty of the place...but not felt anything.I think it's just a case of different things affecting different people differently. :P

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Asphodel
I've been through this before as well.It takes the right spot or mental state at times.You may not have been to a place yet that could have an effect upon you.

I've been to places where I could see the natural beauty of the place...but not felt anything.I think it's just a case of different things affecting different people differently. :P

Yeah, I know what you mean. It does kind of bother me to always be the odd one out, though. Thanks for relating.

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Belle.
Yeah, I know what you mean. It does kind of bother me to always be the odd one out, though. Thanks for relating.

Ha ha ha - don't worry I have never had a 'spiritual experience' either. Sometimes I feel intense joy when I am in the bush hiking or tramping around some beautiful place (i live in a world heritage area) but that could just be the rush of caffeine from my morning coffee combined with the endorphins of exercise. :lol:

Spiritual no - sublime yes.

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Asphodel
Ha ha ha - don't worry I have never had a 'spiritual experience' either. Sometimes I feel intense joy when I am in the bush hiking or tramping around some beautiful place (i live in a world heritage area) but that could just be the rush of caffeine from my morning coffee combined with the endorphins of exercise. :lol:

Spiritual no - sublime yes.

Lucky you!

I'll feel content doing something, but thats about it. Truthfully, I don't connect with anyone or much anything. I do feel particularly happy and comfortable at the art museum or reading. I have enjoyed reading this thread. Its nice to see people contribute with their personal experiences to something that could be deemed controversial by some.

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Mr Walker
Mr. walker what evidence suggests that yours could of not been subjective experiences...I ask as i myself would like to take a look at it....thank you...

I have outlined these many times but will do so again .Just not right now though, as my wife is complaining (quite rightly) that I am spending too much time on line and not enough with her, so I am going to have a quiet evening with her for a few hours. Did not want you to think that I was avoiding or ignoring your query.

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InnerSpace
Thank you so much Inner space for a seriously thought provoking thread.

Great read,Inner Space. :tu:

Inner Space, I just wanted to thank you for posting this. The topic has fascinated me for some time. :)

Thank you Dante's Inferno, Wolf MacCaine & Asphodel. :)

Dante, you raised an interesting question about SP, which I hope to address soon.

I would love to see more research done on this,as it is highly interesting.Anyone looking into this needs to look at all possible factors though...since there are so many things within our lives that can affect us...in more ways than one.

So would I Wolf MacCanine. There are on-going field studies, but it's expensive and very time-consuming. However, having said that, one doesn't need to research for long before you start to see a correlation between seismic activity and religious/cultural beliefs.

Here is a map of seismic activity in the Middle East between 1990 - 2000.

linked-image

Investigators can point to compelling evidence for ancient, damaging earthquakes in the anthropologically and archaeologically crucial area bordering the Jordan River. The first-century A.D. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, writing of the destructive earthquake of 31 B.C., describes "an earthquake in Judea, such as had not occurred before, which killed many cattle.... And about thirty thousand persons also perished in the ruins of their houses." Characteristically toppled and fractured blocks of limestone that were once columns are evident among the ruins of early Jericho and elsewhere. And the sediments in the Dead Sea basin incorporate evidence of a good deal of seismic upheaval during the past 70,000 years. Source

According to the Israeli Seismic Network's "Galilee" data set, Israel had 28 earthquakes in one three-year period. (1987 to 1991). That's about one every five weeks. Source

Interestingly enough, Sweden (up to 85% non-believer, atheist, agnostic) is considered the least religious. I don't have a graphic to show seismic activity in Sweden, however, records indicate that there is a low to moderately low seismic activity with maximum magnitudes aroundM4, or just above. In the last 5000 years, only nine M 6-7 events have occurred. This seismicity seems also recorded in old place-named and in legends. Source

Edited by Inner Space

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Mr Walker

ok supra, the evidence is spread over many years, and comes in minor and major ways. Im sure you have heard most of my experiences before. What i count as verifiable experiences are ones where they have physical effects or have been witnessed by at least one other human being.

Many of these are not religious, but paranormal experiences. The religious ones resemble paranormal but are different in their intent (always to warn or help me) The paranormal ones are either just "fun" or where i can help other people. Some of the biggies are.

Appearance of an angel in the form of a pillar of light at age approx 21. This being told me it would take away my addiction and symptoms of nicotine addiction. It did this immediately and permanently.

A vivid dream which i related to my wife the next morning because it was so clear and powerful, which predicted i would die from 3 things; by being stabbed in the heart, by burning alive in my house and by falling from a cliff. Over the next 5 years this warning alerted me enough to avoid Death on all three occasions It alerted me enough to notice some very minor symptoms from a blocked artery. I took myself to the local hospital with very miild and indeterminate symptoms. They could find nothing wrong but flew me by air ambulance to the capital where anangiogram confimed a major artery was almost completely blocked. I had a very painful triple by pass and recovered completely. My heart specialist said if i had not come in when i did, i would have dropped dead inside the next 3 months and may never have received any further physical warning signs

While i was in hospital i encountered my second angel. I was alone, 600 ks from anyone i knew, and worried about the op which has a significant mortality rate. I wanted a bible but they were banned from the hospital for reasons of political correctness. That day a young man in a suit walked in and handed me a bible. He walked out through some french doors on the other side of my room. I opened the bible and placed my finger on the first verse it came to

It said, to paraphrase, "Fear not, for I am watching over you, and no harm shall befall you.." Immediately, all my concerns were lifted and i knew i would be ok. I raced (actually i walked carefully monitoring equipment in tow) out the doors, to catch the young man and thank him, only to be brought up short. I was on a small balcony, 5 floors above the botanic gardens. Other balconies were separate and at least 10 metres away. There were no fire ladders/escapes. The young man had gone. This was physically impossible. It was not an hallucination, because the bible remained, and i have kept it till this day.

One year later a terrible bush fire burned through our area, killing 9 peole and destroying 100 homes. My wife and i were home. We had tracked the fire front on a map during the morning and it had gone past us so we thought we were safe. The electricity had gone off several hours before as the fire consumed lines, substations and other infrastructure.

Suddenly a voice that i had by now come to know from other miraculous warnings said "turn on your radio" Even though I knew the radio could not work without power i turned it on. For less than 30 seconds the radio operated without power. It broadcast a warning that the fire front had changed direction and was 10 minutes away from a small hamlet near our house. We grabbed the cat and a few papers, and drove off through blinding smoke and embers. As I left I said " God I put us in your protection. Whatever your will, i accept it. God replied. dont worry you'll both be fine"

And we were, A few minutes after we left, our house exploded before the firefront hit it. If we had stayed we would have died. We lost everything but the clothes we had with us. In the year after, god continued to watch over us and gave us a richer happier and better life in every respect than what we had experienced before.

After the fire we were offered free accomodation including houses and caravans. We never spent a night homeless and within a week had a place to rent. We received gifts from hundreds of people ranging from $ 1000 from a young man (which I returned when our insurance came through) To 50 dollars from a young girl who took all her money out of an account and gave it to us, WE received beautiful hand made quilts from my home class, from locals, and from people thousands of miles aawy.

It changed my opinion of people and humanity completely. I saw the love and compassion for complete strangers which exists in so many people.While many others cried at the loss of our house and gardens, I was brought to tears only by the realisation of how much physical , emotional and compassionate generosity exists. You expect this from friends and family, but it extended out across all of australia and in the end we had over 500 people to thank for actual physical help and more than a thousand who wished us well and offered support.

LIke the insurance agents who took us into their office the day after the fire, made us a cup of coffee and handed over $5000 dollars without any formla authorisation to do so ;so that we had ready cash for essentials. While we woke up for a year or more short of a tooth brush or a manicure set,(It takes a while to realise just what losing every single thing you owned really means) and while we lost over $100.000 of uninsured family treasure. While our old house was paid for and we had to borrow $ 150 000 to buy a new one; our life was far more blessed than harmed. Even though nearing retirement i now have considerable debt, while before we were debt free, we have learned that all that is only things (as i said on national TV), and also that god will provide all we ever really need, so there is no point in worrying and we can just make the most of being alive and well. As i said to my wife the day after. Losing everthing doesnt weally mean anything. Losing you would have meant everything.

For example, we had been tied to that beautiful house and over an acre of garden, looking after animals, parents and other stray people. My wife had not spent one night away from home in 15 years. After the fire we took our first extended holiday together for 20 years and totally revised our priorities and life plans. The fire was a blessing in freeing us from material goods, and greatly reducing work loads and responsibilities . . Its hard to explain in a few enough words.

I avoided the third death too ,thanks to the warning, although I badly tore my shoulder ligaments while doing so, and it took a year to recover. Without the warning i would have over extended my self while rock climbing and fallen over 100 metres to my death. In stead i gave up on the climb, and managed to extricate myself with only that injury.

During that recovery period i knocked my arm in a shop and experienced pain that nearly caused me top black out. a complete stranger standing behind me in the queue walked up and put his palm on my shoulder. Intense heat flooded my shoulder as i heard him praying in english and some other language. Not only was the pain taken away, but i regained movement in the shoulder i had not had for months. The effects wore off partially, but enough improvement remained for my physio to comment on it that week at my session. This was my first and only experience with the form of miracle known as the laying on of hands.

Then there are all the minor miracles and skills which dot my life, finding lost objects through"visions and returning them to people. Seeing small events in the future which occur exactly as i saw them. Some of these warnings have saved my life. others are just fun. I can go on but though i think my other abilities are related in nature .they are not inherently religious. There are hundreds of students and some colleagues and family members who can verify these minor skills which are random and relatively rare, but unmistakeable and real when they occcur I have taken to writing them down now.This does not provide evidence for anyone else, but it does verify to me that these are not just coincidence or wish fulfilment.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Ozi
I would like to explore the possibility that perhaps environmental and biological/neurological factors might play a major role in our belief in God. I hope people (believers) are not offended by what I'm going to share. I do not mean to offend in any way. While it may seem that some of the information I'm about to share belongs in a blog, I'm sharing details and background with you so you can have a better understanding of where I'm coming from with my questions. I apologize for the length of my post.

When I was around 4, I started having experiences that I didn't understand. Neither did the doctors or my parents. I had hallucinations, sort of like night terrors, yet I was wide awake. I use to lived close to fault-line in California. After moving from CA, the hallucinations stopped. I had been experiencing them on a regular basis for 5 or 6 years. I would not experience these type of hallucinations again until I became a young adult.

I had been raised Catholic, however, I wasn't very religious... per se. After the passing of my husband, I started having "spiritual" experiences...seeing angels, demons, etc. As a side note: my late husband experienced a closed-head injury, and afterwards became very religious and started seeing "demons". Becoming very religious is common, neurologically speaking, after head trauma. I didn’t know that at the time, and believed he was having spiritual warfare, because his pastor told him that was the case. Before his head trauma, he was not religious at all, and bordered on being a skeptic.

After his death, I became very involved in church. I wanted to become a Christian counselor. I continued to have "spiritual" experiences, and they seemed to be confirmed by religious (Christian) teachings. I studied the Bible fervently. I knew it from cover to cover, and could quote scripture in my sleep, lol. I ended up with a double major in Theology & Psychology. It seemed that the more I studied the Bible, the more I seemed to be under "demonic" attack. When I shared my experiences with other Christians, they would tell me I was experiencing "spiritual warfare". I believe them. It made sense, and certainly was confirmed by what the Bible taught.

I started having sleep paralysis, but wasn't aware that I was experiencing SP at the time. I shared these experiences with pastors and was again told I was under satanic attack. I was put through 3 horrifying deliverance experiences. There efforts to "deliver" me of these so called demons were fruitless, and unfortunately, I was told that I must have some unforgiven sin in my life. I did a lot of soul searching and spent a lot of time praying and fasting. I began to experience serious depression, and I felt like God was disappointed in me, yet I was determined to draw closer and closer to “him“. The more I drew closer to god, the more I came under “demonic” attack, it seemed.

Believers told me this was common, as did the Scriptures. Several years later, my studies led me out of Christianity. I was in spiritual crisis. Then, I had a vision of “God” and angels. This had a profound effect on me and my depression lifted. I was experiencing shear bliss like I'd never experience before. I had left Christianity, so this seemed strange to me.

Because of my late husbands condition, I became very interested neurology and studied in the neurobehavioral science field. This led me to neurotechnology. I started experimenting with brainwave entrainment, which uses frequencies in the form of binaural beat or isochronic pulses. To my surprise I was able to induce these same "spiritual" type experiences. I had visions of angelic beings and would become completely euphoric. This really amazed me, and I poured myself into more neurological studies with emphasis on environmental effects on the brain. I eventually got a degree in the neuroscience field so I could incorporate this technology in my counseling practice.

I began to use this technology on patients/clients to help them cope with stress, etc., and I noticed that when I gave them certain frequencies between the 5 to 8 Hz range (Theta/Alpha), some would have “spiritual” experiences just like I did. Experienced meditators have learned to slow their brainwaves down to the Theta/Alpha states, and encounter these same type experiences.

Being a member of a neurology forum, I shared my personal childhood experiences with colleagues. What I was to discover would change my life forever. I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. This isn’t the same kind of epilepsy that most are aware of, such as the Tonic Clonic aka Grand Mal, where you have outward signs of seizure activity, i.e., falling to the ground, convulsing, etc. These microseizures were only affecting my temporal lobes, and I learned that my “spiritual” experiences were actually hallucinations caused by scaring on my temporal lobes. Hyper-religiosity is a symptom of TLE as well.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy is a very misunderstood condition, and many go undiagnosed or they are misdiagnosed as having mental illness. The reason I brought up the fact that I use to lived close to a fault-line was because studies have shown that people with TLE or who have a low threshold due to perhaps some type of scaring in the temporal lobe regions, are especially affected by seismic activity. I was living in an area that has some of the highest seismic activity in the world. Isn't it odd that my hallucinations discontinued after I moved away from this seismically active area, and they didn’t start back up until after experiencing trauma in my life.

I can’t honestly tell you if there is a god or not, due to my own personal experiences. How can one ever know if they’ve actually had a “spiritual” encounter, when conditions such as TLE and technology such as brainwave entrainment and magnetic signals placed on the temporal lobes can induce visions of Christ, angels, demons, etc. In other cultures, TLE & technology produce visions of their own version of god.

Studies have shown that during brain surgery, doctors have induced “spiritual” phenomena on patients by stimulating the temporal lobes, (the source of mystic and religious experiences), so how can we ever be certain that what we’ve experienced is actually a true “God” experience, and not something induced by electromagnetic/geomagnetic energies fields, neurotechnology, neurological/biological phenamena. Through my studies, I’ve learned that most everyone has had at least one TL phenomena in their life-time, and for some it changes their personality forever. Many become very religious, which again, can be quite common with TLE. Also, if you look at the Middle East (the hub of 3 major religions), there is a lot of seismic activity in that region. How do we know that those who had so called visions of god, weren’t actually having some form of Temporal Lobe phenamena brought on by neurological/environmental factors. I find it interesting that having these types of microseizures can cause people to become compulsive writers as well. It's called hypergraphia. Since my TLE is now being managed, I no longer have spiritual/visual type experiences, unless I deliberately create them via technology.

It appears to me that the brain, along with the right environmental/neurological factors may create god experiences, and that perhaps one of the reasons mankind created religion was to explain this phenomena. I am not completely discounting the existence of God, but in reality, how can one really be certain of their own beliefs & experiences. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and again, my apologies for the length. What are your thought?

Edited:typos

Let me put in to perspective for you since you know about the brain too. Everything we see, touch smell, hear etc is a perception. Electrical signals along our nervous system , interpreted by our brain, which in turn tells us what we see, hear, smell and touch. Yet it is totally isolated from the external physical world. This means, the true nature of our physical world is acutally unknown to us, as it is simply the brain intrepeting electrical signals. Thus everything around us is a form of perception. The latter by it nature, must have somethign which is subject to the perception, Us! and by its nature it must also have something projecting the perception, i,e God.

Pretty simple really, its not in your head, the brain is also apart of the unkown physical world, it is a lump of meat, yet its show us everything, we experience, who is actually seeing this perception, why of course its your soul, this body is a tool for it to interact with the world, yet it never actually see's the true nature of its world, only what the brain projects to it, via an elobarate and amazing universal perception. This also means, matter has no real value, as we can determine its true nature, what we see is simply a perception. Hence why dreams seem just as real as reality, actually which one is the reality.

Edited by Ozi

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Bluefinger
I would like to explore the possibility that perhaps environmental and biological/neurological factors might play a major role in our belief in God. I hope people (believers) are not offended by what I'm going to share. I do not mean to offend in any way. While it may seem that some of the information I'm about to share belongs in a blog, I'm sharing details and background with you so you can have a better understanding of where I'm coming from with my questions. I apologize for the length of my post.

When I was around 4, I started having experiences that I didn't understand. Neither did the doctors or my parents. I had hallucinations, sort of like night terrors, yet I was wide awake. I use to lived close to fault-line in California. After moving from CA, the hallucinations stopped. I had been experiencing them on a regular basis for 5 or 6 years. I would not experience these type of hallucinations again until I became a young adult.

I had been raised Catholic, however, I wasn't very religious... per se. After the passing of my husband, I started having "spiritual" experiences...seeing angels, demons, etc. As a side note: my late husband experienced a closed-head injury, and afterwards became very religious and started seeing "demons". Becoming very religious is common, neurologically speaking, after head trauma. I didn’t know that at the time, and believed he was having spiritual warfare, because his pastor told him that was the case. Before his head trauma, he was not religious at all, and bordered on being a skeptic.

After his death, I became very involved in church. I wanted to become a Christian counselor. I continued to have "spiritual" experiences, and they seemed to be confirmed by religious (Christian) teachings. I studied the Bible fervently. I knew it from cover to cover, and could quote scripture in my sleep, lol. I ended up with a double major in Theology & Psychology. It seemed that the more I studied the Bible, the more I seemed to be under "demonic" attack. When I shared my experiences with other Christians, they would tell me I was experiencing "spiritual warfare". I believe them. It made sense, and certainly was confirmed by what the Bible taught.

I started having sleep paralysis, but wasn't aware that I was experiencing SP at the time. I shared these experiences with pastors and was again told I was under satanic attack. I was put through 3 horrifying deliverance experiences. There efforts to "deliver" me of these so called demons were fruitless, and unfortunately, I was told that I must have some unforgiven sin in my life. I did a lot of soul searching and spent a lot of time praying and fasting. I began to experience serious depression, and I felt like God was disappointed in me, yet I was determined to draw closer and closer to “him“. The more I drew closer to god, the more I came under “demonic” attack, it seemed.

Believers told me this was common, as did the Scriptures. Several years later, my studies led me out of Christianity. I was in spiritual crisis. Then, I had a vision of “God” and angels. This had a profound effect on me and my depression lifted. I was experiencing shear bliss like I'd never experience before. I had left Christianity, so this seemed strange to me.

Because of my late husbands condition, I became very interested neurology and studied in the neurobehavioral science field. This led me to neurotechnology. I started experimenting with brainwave entrainment, which uses frequencies in the form of binaural beat or isochronic pulses. To my surprise I was able to induce these same "spiritual" type experiences. I had visions of angelic beings and would become completely euphoric. This really amazed me, and I poured myself into more neurological studies with emphasis on environmental effects on the brain. I eventually got a degree in the neuroscience field so I could incorporate this technology in my counseling practice.

I began to use this technology on patients/clients to help them cope with stress, etc., and I noticed that when I gave them certain frequencies between the 5 to 8 Hz range (Theta/Alpha), some would have “spiritual” experiences just like I did. Experienced meditators have learned to slow their brainwaves down to the Theta/Alpha states, and encounter these same type experiences.

Being a member of a neurology forum, I shared my personal childhood experiences with colleagues. What I was to discover would change my life forever. I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. This isn’t the same kind of epilepsy that most are aware of, such as the Tonic Clonic aka Grand Mal, where you have outward signs of seizure activity, i.e., falling to the ground, convulsing, etc. These microseizures were only affecting my temporal lobes, and I learned that my “spiritual” experiences were actually hallucinations caused by scaring on my temporal lobes. Hyper-religiosity is a symptom of TLE as well.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy is a very misunderstood condition, and many go undiagnosed or they are misdiagnosed as having mental illness. The reason I brought up the fact that I use to lived close to a fault-line was because studies have shown that people with TLE or who have a low threshold due to perhaps some type of scaring in the temporal lobe regions, are especially affected by seismic activity. I was living in an area that has some of the highest seismic activity in the world. Isn't it odd that my hallucinations discontinued after I moved away from this seismically active area, and they didn’t start back up until after experiencing trauma in my life.

I can’t honestly tell you if there is a god or not, due to my own personal experiences. How can one ever know if they’ve actually had a “spiritual” encounter, when conditions such as TLE and technology such as brainwave entrainment and magnetic signals placed on the temporal lobes can induce visions of Christ, angels, demons, etc. In other cultures, TLE & technology produce visions of their own version of god.

Studies have shown that during brain surgery, doctors have induced “spiritual” phenomena on patients by stimulating the temporal lobes, (the source of mystic and religious experiences), so how can we ever be certain that what we’ve experienced is actually a true “God” experience, and not something induced by electromagnetic/geomagnetic energies fields, neurotechnology, neurological/biological phenamena. Through my studies, I’ve learned that most everyone has had at least one TL phenomena in their life-time, and for some it changes their personality forever. Many become very religious, which again, can be quite common with TLE. Also, if you look at the Middle East (the hub of 3 major religions), there is a lot of seismic activity in that region. How do we know that those who had so called visions of god, weren’t actually having some form of Temporal Lobe phenamena brought on by neurological/environmental factors. I find it interesting that having these types of microseizures can cause people to become compulsive writers as well. It's called hypergraphia. Since my TLE is now being managed, I no longer have spiritual/visual type experiences, unless I deliberately create them via technology.

It appears to me that the brain, along with the right environmental/neurological factors may create god experiences, and that perhaps one of the reasons mankind created religion was to explain this phenomena. I am not completely discounting the existence of God, but in reality, how can one really be certain of their own beliefs & experiences. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and again, my apologies for the length. What are your thought?

Edited:typos

Because the brain alone does not affect the reality of such things. Whether I believe something or not, it doesn't mean that it exists or doesn't exist. I simply believe that it does or does not. I am currently wearing a red sweater. I am also not color blind. I can convince myself that this sweater is blue, but it is and always was red. Therefore if there is a God, and we choose not to believe it, there is still a God. And thus the existence, or reality, of God is not subject to our minds. Vice versa, God sends His Spirit to us to convict our minds of the reality of His existence and of our fallen state. Now, one could say the vice versa. But that is why it is written: "....so that those that BELIEVE in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Its a belief. It is not the Christian way to force a man to believe. Christians may have done it, but it is not Christ's teaching. When Christ asked Peter, "Who do you say I am?", Peter responded from something he truly believed, it was his own response that was not forced at all. However, he was not alone in His response as Jesus responded, "This has not been revealed to you by men, but by my Father." Thus the Holy Spirit was active in revealing Christ as who He was in Himself to Peter. Therefore, the mind does not create God.

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Ozi
Because the brain alone does not affect the reality of such things. Whether I believe something or not, it doesn't mean that it exists or doesn't exist. I simply believe that it does or does not. I am currently wearing a red sweater. I am also not color blind. I can convince myself that this sweater is blue, but it is and always was red. Therefore if there is a God, and we choose not to believe it, there is still a God. And thus the existence, or reality, of God is not subject to our minds. Vice versa, God sends His Spirit to us to convict our minds of the reality of His existence and of our fallen state. Now, one could say the vice versa. But that is why it is written: "....so that those that BELIEVE in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Its a belief. It is not the Christian way to force a man to believe. Christians may have done it, but it is not Christ's teaching. When Christ asked Peter, "Who do you say I am?", Peter responded from something he truly believed, it was his own response that was not forced at all. However, he was not alone in His response as Jesus responded, "This has not been revealed to you by men, but by my Father." Thus the Holy Spirit was active in revealing Christ as who He was in Himself to Peter. Therefore, the mind does not create God.

i agree the mind does not create god, the mind what is it really. Like i said in an earlier post, that everything is perception, thus reality of the true physical world is unknown, meaning the only absolute thing is god, who is projecting this perception and we are subject to it. Its our souls, who are subject to the perception, our bodies are simply tools to interact with this world.

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InnerSpace
I'm intrigued by the idea you put forward that individual experience slightly different 'hallucinations' due to their cultural and environmental situation. If that is the case how quickly do you think these preconceived ideas begin to form in the brain? What I mean is do you think it depends on the person age before these images become 'spiritual'.

Hi Dante, thanks again for your comments. I found this information to be interesting concerning our cultural beliefs in relation to SP:

"Historically, cases of nocturnal assault by demons (succubi and incubi), vampires, ghosts and witches can all be seen to be derived from sleep paralysis. Some psychologists call sleep paralysis ‘the Old Hag’ after the medieval and Newfoundland traditions of a witch who would paralyse people and sit on their chest during the night. The modern term ‘nightmare’ is derived from the old Germanic word mare meaning incubus.

In the modern world the supernatural entity said to assault the sleep paralysis victim is derived directly from their cultural traditions.

Americans get assaulted by aliens , Africans by demons , Europeans by ghosts , South-East Asians by spirits and Newfoundlanders by the Old Hag itself. Source

In St. Lucia, West Indies, an attack of kokma comes at a time that the individual is just falling asleep or just waking up. The sensations include pressure on the chest, inability to move, and anxiety. The kokma is the spirit of a dead baby that haunts an area, attacking people in their beds. In a familiar pattern, they jump on the victim’s chest and clutch at the throat. The victim attempts to cry out, or in some other way to get another’s attention, someone that might scare off the kokma. Informants described the babies clutching at their throats. The notion that the attacks are thought to be initiated by dead, unbaptized babies is also found in Ireland. "The kokma cannot be controlled, they grab people just for the hell of it" (Dressler, 1977, cited in Ness, 1978).

In Thailand experiences referred to as Phi um (ghost covered) and phi kau (ghost possessed) involve pressure, immobility, and something black covering the body. In Japan kanashibara ("to tie with an iron rope") is a common and widely known experience (Fukuda, 1993). In Korea, people are afflicted by ka wi nulita ("scissors pressed"), an experience felt to be brought on by fear. In the Far North one speaks of agumangia (Inupik) or ukomiarik (Yupik) in which "a soul" tries to take possession of the paralyzed victim. In Laos, (Lemoine & Mounge, 1983) da chor is described as follows: "You want to listen, you can’t hear; you want to speak, you are dumb; you want to call out, you cannot; you feel you are dying, dying; you want to run away. You p*** with fear in your sleep" (cited in Firestone, 1985, p. 61). In the Philippines people are afflicted with urum, ngarat (Simons & Hughes, 1985). Among the Hmong of Laos the nightmare spirit is referred to as dab (nightmare) tsog (evil spirit) or tsog tsuam (evil spirit who crushes, smothers, or presses upon) (Adler, 1994). Source

Sleep paralysis was first identified at the end of the last century and has since been induced and studied numerous times under laboratory conditions. Between 15 and 18% of the population have had an attack of sleep paralysis (myself included), normally in their teenage years or in periods of stress, although not always with the associated ‘presence in the room’.

The condition is caused by disruptions to the normal sleep patterns, most particularly the shortening of dream sleep cycles. During dream cycles the body’s muscles are paralysed by the brain to stop people from damaging themselves by acting out their dreams in bed. In the case of sleep paralysis the brain becomes conscious but the paralysis mechanism has not been turned off. The associated feelings of a presence in the room stem from the intrusion of dream sleep into waking consciousness." Source

Geomagnetism & SP

Research suggest that Geomagnetism is one of the main causes of sleep paralysis, along with Infrasound and Electromagnetic fields. I will be addressing Infrasound and Electromagnetic fields, and their effects on the brain, in another post.

"This preliminary report, of a longitudinal study, looks at the relationship between geomagnetic activity and the incidence of isolated sleep paralysis over a 23.5-mo. period. The author, who has frequently and for the last 24 years experienced isolated sleep paralysis was the subject. In addition, incidence of lucid dreaming, vivid dreams, and total dream frequency were looked at with respect to geomagnetic activity. The data were in the form of dream-recall frequency recorded in a diary. These frequency data were correlated with geomagnetic activity k-index values obtained from two observatories. A significant correlation was obtained between periods of local geomagnetic activity and the incidence of isolated sleep paralysis. Specifically, periods of relatively quiet geomagnetic activity were significantly associated with an increased incidence of episodes." Source

"It would seem that some researchers in the field of sleep paralysis also believe that geomagnetism has something to do with the condition. The Social Science Department of the Everett Community College in Washington has speculated that people living in geologically active areas of the Pacific Ocean (the so-called 'Ring of Fire') experienced a higher incidence of sleeping paralysis, based on a study of SP frequency and its correlation with geomagnetic activity k-index values, along with research into folklore references to these experiences." Source

"Paralysis legends are more common in geographical hotspots such as Mexico City and all through-out the Pacific Ring of Fire, even the Hawaiian Islands are crawling with legends of Choking Ghosts. What most of these Sleep Paralysis hot spots have in common is geophysical activity, volcanoes, fault lines and the like. Evidence is becoming more and more convincing that Sleep Paralysis and some other paranormal activity seems to coincide with the geophysical conditions of an area. In fact, alot of research has been suggesting that certain geomagnetic conditions most often created in places with irregular geophysical conditions, directly correlate with reports of paranormal occurences including Sleep Paralysis." Source

Could this explain why two people can experience the same thing but walk away from them with very different interpretations?

Based on my own research, I believe so.

Let me put in to perspective for you since you know about the brain too.

Because the brain alone does not affect the reality of such things. Whether I believe something or not, it doesn't mean that it exists or doesn't exist.

Hi Ozi & Bluefinger :) Thank you for your comments. It does seem to boil down to perception and interpretation, based on your culture for the most part. At least that's what most of the research is suggesting. This certainly would explain why we have so many versions of "God/gods" and religions in the world. Like I mentioned in the OP, I'm not discounting the existence of God, but I do question how our cultures have interpreted "God", thus creating belief systems based on individual perception and interpretations.

~Mr. Walker

It changed my opinion of people and humanity completely. I saw the love and compassion for complete strangers which exists in so many people.

Mr. Walker, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I'm so sorry to read about all the trauma you and your family have experienced. You are right in that much good can come out of tragedy. :)

Edited by Inner Space

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Bella-Angelique

One of my very favorite ghost hunting episodes was done at an island hospital.

The cameras were showing bright heat in infra red, that energy was there, but the two people holding the cameras were talking about the fire they were seeing, unaware that their recording was not showing any flames.

Their brains did an interpretation that the cameras did not.

I think sentient energy forms are not that far away from being recognized by many scientists.

Too much evidence over too long a period a time will force them into accepting it, sort of as when they were forced into accepting that sharks do eat people.

Edited by Bella-Angelique

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Sherapy

Little sister ((HUGS)) I was thinking the same thing, I thought how amazing that would be if you still lived here or are ever here again for research.......

Dante, as always great questions, I find V's work to be incredible and exciting..thanks for reading I just knew you would love it, based on your interests........

I look forward to the dream stuff ....

I am in the back of the class now with the rest learning....

I did share this with my hubby he found it interesting also.....

MW, As always you are such a gracious poster and I love to read, so more is always better for me.....

My gosh have you had trauma.... I agree it is always functional to find a way to use our exoperinces for the value they hold or the points they lead us too....Not unlike fabulations we color the point with perspective and often they can be a vehicle for change.....

This is so fun the way this thread is taking off....

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Mr Walker
MW, As always you are such a gracious poster and I love to read, so more is always better for me..

Supra, im pleased to hear that, because when i looked up and saw what i had written/ redrafted, and that 2 hours had passed, I thought, "Youve done it agan." And yet i can't see how i could have exlained/expressed things in less words. So, glad that you didnt mind such a long post

Edited by Mr Walker

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hairston630

Very well written post I must add. I believe that what you have presented thus far could very well be the answer to the MAJORITY of experiences. As you already know (of course UM members probably do not), I used to have these experiences on a daily basis. I lived in an area of my town that was directly on a fault line. These experiences were the most terrible events that I have ever experienced and at that time I just KNEW they were from God. As I moved out of the little town a couple years ago they immediately ceased...no more "demons". Personally, this seems to confirm just WHY these events took place to begin with. I agree with Leonardo's comment earlier that this isnt necessarily something that causes the God theory to fall apart but it does put major emphasis on some of the experiences that many have had and also some of the experiences that are recorded in the bible itself. I also agree with you (IS) in regards to this NOT necessarily being a method of ruling out the supernatural as we dont KNOW the causal "agent" of such experiences at all times (whether this be via seismic activity, being in an area near fault line, a spirit, or even the very hand of God [though the last 2 are more philisophical/theological]) though the naturalistic idea seems to be the more plausible (especially when there is no cooberative data present). I hope that this thread can be used as a means of updates and discoveries that you may find on your journey IS?.

Kindly,

Hairston

Edited by hairston630

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War Eagle

Agreed, hope you can keep us updated with your research on all this IS. :tu:

The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven. ~John Milton

Peace is not achieved by controlling nations, but mastering our thoughts. ~John Harricharan

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InnerSpace
I am actually going to mention this to someone close to me who suffered from a hallucination in her early twenties and had corresponded it with the Devil. Even though it was one occurrence it had a profound impact. (I have spend many years 'therapizing' her about it lol). I look forward to hearing more of your insights :)

Hi Belqis, :) I've had your friend on my mind. She's very fortunate to have a friend like you. I plan to share more information that perhaps may ease her mind. I shared this info in another forum a while back, but thought I'd post it here, for your friends sake, and for others as well. Since I work with frequencies, I'm always researching their effects on humans. I will share more later on how frequencies can cause hallucinations/visions, physical illness, and/or psychotic type manifestations that would lead one to believe (if they believe) they are being tormented by an "evil" entity, or the "Devil", himself.

The story begins at a medical manufacturing facility in the midlands of Great Britain. Vic Tandy, an engineer from Coventry University, was doing research in a laboratory at the company. Workers at the lab told Tandy that the building was haunted, but he didn't believe them. At least, not at first.

Late one night, Tandy was burning the midnight oil all alone at the laboratory, when he had a face-to-face encounter with the unexplained. As he sat at his desk working in the silent, empty building, a gnawing unease began to overtake him. Although he couldn't put his finger on anything out of the ordinary, something was not right.

"I was sweating but cold and the feeling of depression was noticeable -- but there was also something else. It was as though something was in the room with me," Tandy said. "Then I became aware that I was being watched, and a figure slowly emerged to my left. It was indistinct and on the periphery of my vision, but it moved just as I would expect a person to. It was gray, and made no sound. The hair was standing up on the back of my neck -- I was terrified."

Tandy turned to face the entity, but he said it immediately faded and completely disappeared. Concerned that his mind must be playing tricks on him, he packed up and went home. The morning after his weird sighting, Tandy took a break at the lab to spend some time on a hobby of his, namely the sport of fencing. He clamped a fencing foil in a vise so that he could make some adjustments on it. Tandy briefly left the room, and then returned to see a phenomenal sight. The tip of the foil was vibrating intensely and continuously, for no apparent reason.

The average person might have freaked out, but he didn't. Tandy's first thought was that there might be low frequency sound waves coming from somewhere in the laboratory...subsonic sounds that can be seen (in the form of surrounding vibrations) but not heard...infrasound. He discovered this effect when he traced feelings of dread to a faulty fan in his lab. Once this fan was repaired, the feeling vanished. Infrasound (at around 19 Hz) causes the human eye to vibrate almost imperceptibly, and can give one the feeling of "being watched" as it creates a distortion in the peripheral vision. You wouldn't feel the vibration (it is so subtle) but it would cause unease, not just in the eye, but in the stomach too. Source

It's interesting to note again, that because Tandy didn't believe in ghosts, demons, etc...he used logic in determining the source of his experience. Infrasound sometimes results naturally from severe weather, surf, lee waves, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanoes, bolides (very large impact or bright fireball), waterfalls, calving of icebergs, auroras, electromagnetic waves, lightning, as well as faulty electrical equipment, etc. Infrasound can cause feelings of awe or fear in humans. Source

Sometimes our beliefs can get the best of us. :D

Very well written post I must add. I believe that what you have presented thus far could very well be the answer to the MAJORITY of experiences. I hope that this thread can be used as a means of updates and discoveries that you may find on your journey IS?.

Kindly, Hairston

Hairston, I really appreciate you sharing your experience. Isn't it amazing how our environment can affect us?

I'm so glad you posted this. :yes: Thank you!!!

Agreed, hope you can keep us updated with your research on all this IS. :tu:

The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven. ~John Milton

Peace is not achieved by controlling nations, but mastering our thoughts. ~John Harricharan

REBEL...love the quotes!!! :tsu:

Edited:dang typos

Edited by Inner Space

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Belle.
Hi Belqis, :) I've had your friend on my mind. She's very fortunate to have a friend like you. I plan to share more information that perhaps may ease her mind. I shared this info in another forum a while back, but thought I'd post it here, for your friends sake, and for others as well. Since I work with frequencies, I'm always researching their effects on humans. I will share more later on how frequencies can cause hallucinations/visions, physical illness, and/or psychotic type manifestations that would lead one to believe (if they believe) they are being tormented by an "evil" entity, or the "Devil", himself.

Thanks so much Inner Space - you really are an absolute gem! :wub: I believe it will be very healing for her.

It reminds me of when I had a few 'demonic' SP attacks when I was a teen (which I have recounted ad nauseum to the poor Ghost forum people upstairs). I know I felt much better when a few years later I found out about sleep paralysis.

P.S hopefully you will be right about the fortunate bit lol.

Edited by Belqis

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InnerSpace
*Snip* I feel that beliefs help us to cope with life and death anxiety and religion can contain a lot of beauty...

"A desire to be observed, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as one of the keenest dispositions of man." ~John Adams

A while back, Leonardo and I were chatting about our beliefs or lack thereof, and the subject of the afterlife came up. Even though my journey had led me out of religion, I realized I was still holding on to the hope of an afterlife. This was really a revelation to me, because it made me realize how much "death anxiety" had formed my way of thinking. There had aways been a sense of hope and wonder with this mind-set, and this belief was very important to me. The reality that "this might be it", caused me to feel a sense of grief, and I began to cry, poor Leo...lol. Through my studies in neurology and psychology, I'm aware that certain thoughts can bring reward, as it has both a physiological and psychological effect by releasing neurochemicals. These neurochemicals can bring both pleasure, and a sense of well being. Realizing that the life I'm living now just might be it, has given me a greater appreciation and respect for life. It's become much more precious to me. :) I found this article, and thought it really seemed to summarize what I've discovered in my own research about our nature, our beliefs and the motives behind some of those beliefs.

I widely read that evolutionary psychologists and anthropologists get confused by the enigma that religion poses. They often cite "fitness costs" such as burial goods, celibacy and other forms of resource allocation that do not give back in practical ways. As a leading academic paper on the subject concludes, "...these costs are not outweighed by any obvious benefits". In other words, religious people offer their time, money and resources into a system that does not provide an obvious adaptive advantage. Except in one way: satisfaction from a necessary delusion. That means dopamine activation. Dopamine is our evolved natural reward. To feel ascendant through reward dopamine means to feel more assertive, confident and even dominant over obstacles. All animal life is reward-based...from yeast to humans. We are basically dopamine machines. It even explains consciousness. Most professors and researchers who examine the issue of consciousness rely of the principle of neural rewards to explain its evolution. The smoking gun for the evolution of religion is that it rewards believers. And nature rewards adaptive behavior for a reason.

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs psychologist Tom Pyszcynski advocates in his "terror management theory" that we need to delude ourselves to survive. Delusion is adaptive. Psychologist Cordelia Fine in her A Mind of its Own: How Your Mind Distorts and Deceives is another case in point: her term for this behavior is our "deluded brain." Thus magical thinking is a necessary delusion. Children display this tendency more so than adults. They talk to their toys and animate them, for example. Talking to an invisible deity is no different. Would a doll be so interesting to a child if he or she realized it was only stuffed cloth sewn together? In the wider perspective, to face an otherwise difficult and cruel life is just too real for most to face. Yet such magical thinking is also a impetus for creative - as well as superstitious - behavior. Religion is therefore satisfying. To not know is less gratifying than to know about something...even if the knowledge is wrong.

Religion is therefore dopaminergic. It seems to be an extended evolved ability using our dopamine neural pathway. Interestingly enough, schizophrenia with its audio and visual hallucinations (positive symptoms) is linked to excessive dopamine in the brain's striatum. Novelty generates dopamine in us, too, just like intoxicants do. The "mysterious revelations" of religion have novel implications and manifestations. We prefer novelty over the expected when given the choice. Yet we enjoy predictability too because we can feel comfortable and in control. Religion provides both of these two variables. Furthermore, combine the need for delusion with our need to worship the dominant/heroes.

A study published in Current Biology describes how primates will "pay" a cherry juice reward in order to view female specie members' behinds (primate pornography). They will also pay to view images of dominant specie members, too. This appears to be a form of hero worship. The satisfaction of reward is clearly evident simply through the viewing of these images of the dominant members. This study helps us to understand humans' propensity to worship celebrities like religious figures. It also strengthens the concept that hero worship is rewarding... therefore dopaminergic.

Added to this is our psychological drive to be acknowledged. For example, to feel well acknowledged activates reward dopamine. A study out of Wake Forest University that was widely published in media reports demonstrates how dominant monkeys have more dopamine that subordinates. We live for the thrill of positive recognition. We are acknowledgment machines. Living cells are as well. The only thing is, cells do non-stop is seek feedback from their environment through their lipid bi-layer membrane. Even the molecules that form those cells, too, are feedback machines. "Bigger," "faster," and "heavier" are all terms to explain the complexity of atomic development. These are all comparative adjectives. Only by getting feedback from markers in an environment does an atomic structure "know" or sense that a change has taken place. Not surprisingly, even our future will be dictated by this principle of recognition: Norbert Weiner, the founder of cybernetics, stated that artificial intelligence is based on feedback. So whether it concerns real or fake intelligence, feedback/acknowledgment is the key to understanding it.

Consequently, since we are so imbued with desire to be recognized and need to receive feedback, then nature overly emphasizes that ability in us. Just as an elk can grow its antlers to excess and create a "fitness cost" due to decreased mobility, so too the peacock and other species can get too much of a good thing. So can humans, as well. As a Nature article reports, this overly equipping with ability is even found in dinosaurs. Guanlong Wucaii, a fossil from China, sports a disk appendage rising from its snout. That "would have surely hampered the beast in its quest for food." Yet this sacrifice most likely evolved because it made the dinosaur more dominant.

A more extreme case is the female hyena. This is the most dominant of female mammals in existence. Yet its fake phallus birthing channel causes harm and death to both mother and cubs often. Nature emphasizes acknowledgment through dominance even at the expense of health! Such feedback from being recognized in a positive way controls us. For example, isolated children regularly have brain atrophy as their brains decay from a lack of feedback. Dopamine from dominance often reigns supreme. And nature accentuates its quest for complexity by overly equipping existing abilities and thus forming new ones as a result. Religion seems to be just one more heightened behavior.

Furthermore, how ironic is it that we humans view other species' adaptations as being strange yet we regard our own behavior as normal?! Still, people often regard foreign religions as being strange, yet not their own. The truth is, religious/superstitious behavior is simply one more odd adaptation like the elk's antlers, or how a female hyena is more male than her male counterparts are. Yet all these adaptations allow for more dopamine through feeling dominant. Combining all the above into a relatively neat package, humans' need to escape reality developed as higher-order consciousness and awareness evolved. The mechanism for this relief from reality derived from people's most used psychological function: the need to influence others and be recognized. Thus these needs evolved into an expanded survival instinct: the necessary delusion of religion. After all, religion is simply acknowledging/influencing an assumed Something or Someone in the expectation of being recognized/influenced by this Force in return.

Research demonstrates that expectation is more dopaminergic than actually receiving the thing desired. As Tom Pyszcynski stated, to realize that "we humans are merely transient animals groping to survive in a meaningless universe, destined only to decay and die,"is far too negative for most of us. Therefore, the mesolimbic/striatal dopamine pathways evolved a solution.Thus one of the the mechanism for religion that I propose is simply this: life is tough. To be rewarded through a delusion of grandeur is beneficial. Our heightened acknowledgment capacity provides that ability to happen. To feel confident is to activate serotonin and dopamine. Basically, people get rewarded to be deluded.

Of course, these delusions vary profoundly between groups of people the world over. Nature has only one modus operandi: cause and effect. This global village we all live in can only be united by that one general principle of nature. Belief in a supernatural might unite small groups, but overall it divides as it is based solely on conjecture. And as Socrates' Euthyphro dilemma reveals, a thing is good because of causal sense making it so. Revelation is merely an opinion. And opinions can vary constantly.

Accordingly, the solution to overcoming this vestigial evolved ability of religious delusion involves dopamine. Through making believers feel cheated by their irrational beliefs (these beliefs do not conform to causal reality) then they will be less dopaminergic and rewarding. Evolutionary psychology suggests we have an innate way of measuring things: through our mental "cheater detection mechanism". In other words, people feel cheated about generally the same things anywhere in the world. This is our strongest weapon against non-causal beliefs. People do not want to believe in things that can be demonstrated to be false. Holding wrong opinions makes a person subordinate to those who are more correct in theirs. It is embarrassing to be proven wrong. As was stated previous, the subordinate are not rewarded: they are scientifically demonstrated to have less dopamine than the more dominant have.

In summary, the necessary delusion of religion is dopaminergic. This corresponds with terror management theory and magical thinking. Novelty dopamine and dopamine through feeling dominant create gratification in us. Primal "hero worship" in animals and humans is dopaminergic. The role of personal recognition is our most common avenue to gratification and serotonin. This gets expanded through evolution as a newer ability: acknowledging the unseen and the imagined (magical thinking). The solution to end this vestigial ability of non-causal religious thinking involves activating the "cheater detection mechanisms" of believers. Source

Edited by Inner Space

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