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Ah, Looks Like It Was All In Our Heads After All :)


blackpudd1n
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I found this awesome documentary tonight, about research that is being done into religious experience and the mind. it starts off talking about religious experiences as a result of temporal lobe epilepsy, then goes into research on stimulating religious experiences through manipulation of the temporal lobes, the effect electro-magnetic fields have on some people, causing paranormal experiences, and finally a look at the brain imagery of people when in deep meditation and prayer. The founder of the Seventh Day Adventists also gets a mention.

 

The documentary is here: http://www.documentarywire.com/god-on-the-brain

 

While one scientist argues that the research doesn't disprove god in any way, I would have to disagree. For me, it was getting bipolar and gaining an understanding of what my own mind was capable of that set the wheels in motion for my deconversion. On a personal level it also helped me to understand why I am so sensitive to certain sensations as a result of having bipolar. I have recognised the link between bipolar and epilepsy, and I'm not the only one- my friend on a reseah project on the gene that causes schizophrenia tells me that the researchers are also starting to notice the link between the two. I was the first in my family diagnosed bipolar, but my biological mother and a cousin have epilepsy.

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I'm gonna watch this later Pudd. I love this stuff. Thanks for the link hon!

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I hope both of you enjoy it :) I think it's exciting news :)

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Is this about "the God Helmet"? I watched some vids and read some stuff about that a few months ago. It really helped me to understand some of the experiences I had. It is really fascinating! I'm bookmarking this for later, too - oh wait looks like Jblueep has it up on his computer. Guess we will watch it right now! :)

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Is this about "the God Helmet"? I watched some vids and read some stuff about that a few months ago. It really helped me to understand some of the experiences I had. It is really fascinating! I'm bookmarking this for later, too - oh wait looks like Jblueep has it up on his computer. Guess we will watch it right now! smile.png

 

lol yeah, it's got the "god helmet" in it :) Fascinating doco :)

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2honest and I just watched it. Thanks Pudd.

 

This perhaps explains why I had so much difficulty experiencing "god" the same way other people do. I was only "slain in the spirit" once in my life. It was when I was about 12, before my brain was fully developed. There were a few thousand people there, almost all of them caught up in the frenzied experience. I was specifically going after that experience, worked myself up to have it, and it only lasted a few seconds.

 

It never happened again, no matter how much I wanted it. I think my brain (or temporal lobes) are just not wired that way.

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Great video, Pudd!

 

I was never "slain in the spirit" but did have other experiences. Most of the time it was more of an emotional sensation. But a few times I had physical sensations like tingling, giddiness, and a couple of times extreme lethargy (like I was in a stupor or something). I also had the sense of "god's presence" a few times and once felt like I was floating up outside of my body. But these experiences ONLY happened in intense worship or spiritual environments, never by myself. When I was alone I was too aware of myself to recreate any of it.

 

A day or two after having an experience I would feel let down and kind of depressed. Then a few days after that I would begin to question the experience altogether. But that would only make me think it was time to "get back in god's presence" to get another fix. It really is like a drug or something. But then I began to really look objectively at it and realize that those experiences NEVER led to anything tangible or real. In my mind if god was real and I was experiencing him in that way then he should also be impacting the physical world I lived in...he would be helping me in my personal life. Once I thought rationally about it I couldn't "go there" anymore.

 

I couldn't really understand what that was that happened to me until watching vids and reading articles about this very study.

 

Oh and I also disagree w/the idea that this information can still coincide with the idea that god is real. I could buy that if there were ANY tangible evidence to prove god's existence. The "evidence" used most often by people is their experience and now that is being given a scientific explanation. So the conclusion is obvious.

 

Here's a link to a site w/a bunch more stuff about the brain and spiritual experience. The article titled "The Spiritual Personality" is really interesting. http://www.shaktitechnology.com/#articles

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Hey 2H and J,

 

I glad you both liked the doco. It did mention, J, that some people have less temporal lobe sensitivity than others, like Dawkins, so I guess you would fall in that category :)

 

I agree with you, 2H, about the findings not disproving god's existence- for me, I think these findings explain a great deal, and the more we understand about the workings of the brain when having religious experiences, the more likely I think it is that a lot of people will find less reason to believe. I also would dispute the same guy who said that it was like we had a "god antenna" in our brains- I call bullshit on that, because if that were so, then wouldn't we all have the same temporal lobe sensitivity?

 

Thanks for the link, I'm going to check it out :)

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2honest and I just watched it. Thanks Pudd.

 

This perhaps explains why I had so much difficulty experiencing "god" the same way other people do. I was only "slain in the spirit" once in my life. It was when I was about 12, before my brain was fully developed. There were a few thousand people there, almost all of them caught up in the frenzied experience. I was specifically going after that experience, worked myself up to have it, and it only lasted a few seconds.

 

It never happened again, no matter how much I wanted it. I think my brain (or temporal lobes) are just not wired that way.

 

It helps if you smoke pot right before the service. :-)

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2honest and I just watched it. Thanks Pudd.

 

This perhaps explains why I had so much difficulty experiencing "god" the same way other people do. I was only "slain in the spirit" once in my life. It was when I was about 12, before my brain was fully developed. There were a few thousand people there, almost all of them caught up in the frenzied experience. I was specifically going after that experience, worked myself up to have it, and it only lasted a few seconds.

 

It never happened again, no matter how much I wanted it. I think my brain (or temporal lobes) are just not wired that way.

 

It helps if you smoke pot right before the service. :-)

It helps even more if you burn one, then forget about the service and order in pizza instead.

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Here's a link to a site w/a bunch more stuff about the brain and spiritual experience. The article titled "The Spiritual Personality" is really interesting. http://www.shaktitec...y.com/#articles

 

OMG, I found this fascinating article on that link you put up. The article is here, though you've probably already read it: http://www.shaktitechnology.com/traits.htm

 

It talked about the personality traits of those who were religious. I found I matched up with a lot of what they were saying- particularly the need to write. I no-longer write as much as I used to, since I've been medicated (thank you, drug company :P ).

 

I saw the bit that talked about estimates as high as 60% of TL epileptics being misdiagnosed as bipolar or schizophrenic; I wish that were true in my case, but alas, it is not. I've had the brain scans done. Had quite a few done, actually, when I was younger. It would be nice to think that I don't have bipolar. Unfortunately, I am very much bipolar.

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Here's a link to a site w/a bunch more stuff about the brain and spiritual experience. The article titled "The Spiritual Personality" is really interesting. http://www.shaktitec...y.com/#articles

 

OMG, I found this fascinating article on that link you put up. The article is here, though you've probably already read it: http://www.shaktitec....com/traits.htm

 

It talked about the personality traits of those who were religious. I found I matched up with a lot of what they were saying- particularly the need to write. I no-longer write as much as I used to, since I've been medicated (thank you, drug company tongue.png ).

 

I saw the bit that talked about estimates as high as 60% of TL epileptics being misdiagnosed as bipolar or schizophrenic; I wish that were true in my case, but alas, it is not. I've had the brain scans done. Had quite a few done, actually, when I was younger. It would be nice to think that I don't have bipolar. Unfortunately, I am very much bipolar.

Very interesting article, Pudd. It explains a lot about my father, who has been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. His condition manifests in a messianic complex going back to a psychotic breakdown that he feels was a deep mystical experience. He has written many books and published only one, at his own expense... He is very sweet and generous but I think some of the brain stuff described here seems to fit what I've seen in him.

 

Parts of what is said about the feelings of deep joy, etc. also seem to fit things said about near death experiences. It seems believable that such a trauma would cause the brain to behave in ways like what the article describes.

 

When I was Pentecostal, I used to wonder why I didn't seem to experience some of the phenomena that other people did - though I did "get the Baptism." I always assumed a lot of people were faking it. But maybe some of them had more active prefrontal lobes than I.

 

I suppose a religionist could say that God works through the brain structures that He himself designed so that these studies don't disprove any religious claims. You say that above, too. But then, I think the religionist winds up with assertions that are not falsifiable at all, so they certainly don't count as scientific.

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Guest Xtech

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2011/10/07/a-fold-in-the-brain-is-linked-to-keeping-reality-and-imagination-separate-study-finds/

 

"

A Fold in the Brain is Linked to Keeping Reality and Imagination Separate, Study

 

One of memory’s big jobs is to keep straight what actually happened versus what we imagined: whether we said something out loud or to ourselves, whether we locked the door behind us or just thought about locking the door. That ability, a new study found, is linked to the presence of a small fold in the front of the brain, which some people have and others don’t—a finding that could help researchers better understand not only healthy memory, but disorders like schizophrenia in which the line between the real and the imagined is blurred..."

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Pudd, this is a wonderful documentary. I'm glad you posted it. When I first watched this, I had just finished reading some of Michael Shermer's work, and this exploration jump-started my search into neurotheology. I have many personal reasons for chalking up my "experiences with God" to the work of neurotransmitters and temporal lobe action.

 

The whole thing gives new meaning to that song, "God be in my head". smile.png

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I think these findings explain a great deal, and the more we understand about the workings of the brain when having religious experiences, the more likely I think it is that a lot of people will find less reason to believe.

Well this is the tricky part. Less reason to believe what? That the experience was not real and that its profound impact on them was based on a lie or something, or that the mythology surrounding it isn't literal facts, but has a different role or function? I balk at those who say things like "it's all just the brain", for the simply fact alone that everything we experience in life is registered to the mind via the brain. That doesn't make them not real. Can we say that because we can produce feeling of love by poking a part of the brain, that love is not real? Can we legitimately conclude that love is not a reality we enter into through which our mind and lives are informed? "It's just the brain", applies to all experience of reality as a consciously aware human being. It's meaningless towards furthering understanding the internal content of the experience itself.

 

What is to actually be considered through this is to seek an understanding of the different types of experiences we have as humans and the role and impact of those on the experience of life - be that believing an ideal, loving a partner, or experiencing God. The only thing understanding brain function may help to do in regards to this as some sort of philosophical debate is to lessen a belief in some magic entities out there somewhere in the universe sending magic rays into our minds. But to not believe myth as fact does not mean "God" or spiritual experience is not real. What we think about them is of course just a conceptual matter. The experience clearly is, as is demonstrable by using science itself in measuring/repeating that experience, is in fact real. It is measurable. It is not just 'our imagination'. It is demonstrably different than just 'thinking' or believing something. It is categorically a different sort of experience, of course happening within the brain, the body, and the planet itself as well for that matter.

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But to not believe myth as fact does not mean "God" or spiritual experience is not real. What we think about them is of course just a conceptual matter.

So is the itching felt in a phantom limb an indication that the limb is still there, though invisible, or that the brain is creating a perceived scenario that is clearly not real?

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But to not believe myth as fact does not mean "God" or spiritual experience is not real. What we think about them is of course just a conceptual matter.

So is the itching felt in a phantom limb an indication that the limb is still there, though invisible, or that the brain is creating a perceived scenario that is clearly not real?

What do you imagine it is that is experienced? Again, with your analogy, you fall prey to the Christian myth of an external God. You imagine it as an external object. Love is a much better analogy than an arm. When you experience love do you see it a trick of the brain like a phantom arm?

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I think these findings explain a great deal, and the more we understand about the workings of the brain when having religious experiences, the more likely I think it is that a lot of people will find less reason to believe.

Well this is the tricky part. Less reason to believe what? That the experience was not real and that its profound impact on them was based on a lie or something, or that the mythology surrounding it isn't literal facts, but has a different role or function? I balk at those who say things like "it's all just the brain", for the simply fact alone that everything we experience in life is registered to the mind via the brain. That doesn't make them not real. Can we say that because we can produce feeling of love by poking a part of the brain, that love is not real? Can we legitimately conclude that love is not a reality we enter into through which our mind and lives are informed? "It's just the brain", applies to all experience of reality as a consciously aware human being. It's meaningless towards furthering understanding the internal content of the experience itself.

 

What is to actually be considered through this is to seek an understanding of the different types of experiences we have as humans and the role and impact of those on the experience of life - be that believing an ideal, loving a partner, or experiencing God. The only thing understanding brain function may help to do in regards to this as some sort of philosophical debate is to lessen a belief in some magic entities out there somewhere in the universe sending magic rays into our minds. But to not believe myth as fact does not mean "God" or spiritual experience is not real. What we think about them is of course just a conceptual matter. The experience clearly is, as is demonstrable by using science itself in measuring/repeating that experience, is in fact real. It is measurable. It is not just 'our imagination'. It is demonstrably different than just 'thinking' or believing something. It is categorically a different sort of experience, of course happening within the brain, the body, and the planet itself as well for that matter.

 

Did you actually watch the documentary?

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Stuffing this in my "Documentaries" folder in my Favorites! Will watch this when I get a chance though.

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But to not believe myth as fact does not mean "God" or spiritual experience is not real. What we think about them is of course just a conceptual matter.

So is the itching felt in a phantom limb an indication that the limb is still there, though invisible, or that the brain is creating a perceived scenario that is clearly not real?

What do you imagine it is that is experienced? Again, with your analogy, you fall prey to the Christian myth of an external God. You imagine it as an external object. Love is a much better analogy than an arm. When you experience love do you see it a trick of the brain like a phantom arm?

And I believe you realize gods are not to be found anywhere, yet you still insist that they must exist. Therefore, the gods exist in brain chemicals and impulses.

 

Love seems a better analogy to you only because it shifts the argument from spontaneous or induced (anomalous) brain functions/experiences to something else - emotions brought about by the perception of external reality and/or past conditioning. I think if one assigns profound and mystical meaning to some brain activities, then one must demonstrate that the phantom limb is somehow exempt from the interpretations one might give to other anomalies. When a stopped heart doesn't deliver oxygen to a living (not dead) brain and an NDE gets interpreted (incorrectly, as no one has died) as a glimpse of the 'other side' with Jesus, dead relatives, etc. that is supposed to prove the existence of another reality. The 'spiritual experience' is real, but the phantom limb is just a faulty interpretation of brain signals. You can't have it both ways. A brain fart that feels mystical/spiritual is still a brain fart just like the phantom limb or other hallucination.

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Love seems a better analogy to you only because it shifts the argument from spontaneous or induced (anomalous) brain functions/experiences to something else - emotions brought about by the perception of external reality and/or past conditioning. [snip]

Blah blah blah.

 

That's all well and good but are you saying *love* ain't real man? You don't wanna be known as the guy who doesn't really love...do you? You know...looooooooove? Love's real. Don't deny it. Therefore it can be said "Whatever you feel...is real."

 

mwc

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Love seems a better analogy to you only because it shifts the argument from spontaneous or induced (anomalous) brain functions/experiences to something else - emotions brought about by the perception of external reality and/or past conditioning. [snip]

Blah blah blah.

 

That's all well and good but are you saying *love* ain't real man? You don't wanna be known as the guy who doesn't really love...do you? You know...looooooooove? Love's real. Don't deny it. Therefore it can be said "Whatever you feel...is real." ™

 

mwc

I love you, man.

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But to not believe myth as fact does not mean "God" or spiritual experience is not real.

 

And this would be the reason for all the arguments that show up here on EX-c with the christians....because to them, in their mind.......the whole experience is still real? It was with me at one time...very much so.

 

I do understand that Antlerman, but what if the 'experience of the mind' is not good for the world... could actually cause danger, like some of the religious doctrines do?

 

I would say that the new age spirituallity, is at least on the safe side and dosen't cause anyone harm.

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