THERE HAVE BEEN DEBATES ABOUT THE AFTERLIFE SINCE THE DAWN OF MAN! Below are some of the hotly debated subjects. Please comment in the blogs Better yet ...please contribute an Article on your own spicy viewpoints! Some important questions are, Is there an AfterLife? Where is the AfterLife? What form do we take in the AfterLife? Does religion matter in the AfterLife? Is the AfterLife a short term transition between earth and somewhere else?

The “God Helmet” Experiment

The “God Helmet” Experiment

Dubbed the “God Helmet”, the “Koren Helmet” was an experiment originally developed by Stanley Koren and Neurotheology researcher and Laurentian University Professor Michael Persinger to study Persinger’s hypothesis about the brain being the basis of all experience through the effects of temporal lobe electro-magnetic stimulation.  What Persinger found is that over 80% of the participants reported “supernatural or spiritual sensations: an out-of-body experience, a sense of the divine”.  (Read More)

Scientific research into consciousness is still in its infancy, yet the temporal lobes, also known as the “God Spot”, have long been implicated in religious experiences consistent with every culture and faith, across time and across the globe.  But Persinger’s spiritual neuroscience studies suggest the sense of self, the boundary between you and the rest of the world, is located in the right temporal lobe.  When that boundary is stimulated and released, you feel a sense of oneness or openness with the universe as a whole.

The “God Helmet” is made out of a modified snowmobile helmet that incorporates a number of solenoids positioned over the temporal lobes.  The experiment begins with a brief true or false personality questionnaire to weed out the off kilter tenancies that would leave one disqualified from the experiment, the participants are seated in an EMF shielded sound proof room, the helmet is placed on their head and their eyes are covered to isolate them from all stimuli.   During the course of the experiment the “God Helmet” generates a “weak but complex” magnetic field to trigger bursts of electrical activity into the temporal lobes for up to one hour.

The results have been described as “sensed presence – the feeling that someone’s standing near you, the feeling there must be something greater, the feeling of infinite possibilities”.  Out of over 900 participants, Persinger claims about 20 or so people have reported feeling the presence of Christ or God, one male reported a head and shoulder apparition of Christ staring right at him and most others reported the presence of “dead relatives, the Great Forces, a spirit, or something equivalent”.  Jack Hitt from Wired Magazine noted from his go at the experiment, “Occasionally, I surface to an alpha state where I sort of know where I am, but not quite. This feeling is cool – like being reinserted into my body. Then there’s a separation again, of body and soul, and – almost by my will – I happily allow myself to drift back to the surprisingly bearable lightness of oblivion”.

Dr. Persinger’s research is derived from the basic premise that all experience is generated by brain activity, which is determined by the structure of the brain.  He suggests that brain structure dictates function, that all experience, specifically our experience of love, memories or having a mystical experience is generated by specific patterns of brain activity, but that the experience itself is unique to the individual.  Persinger is known to argue that other types of environmental disturbances in the otherwise stable magnetic fields around us may have something to do with everything from visionary claims of apparitions, religious figures, deceased relatives, haunted houses, and UFO sightings, to the creation of mass religious conversions, and why certain areas of the planet become sacred ground.  He says that “many of the great religious thinkers have had an electrical ability in the temporal lobe”.

So is God really in our minds?  Neurotheologist Dr. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania insists otherwise,  “The fact that spiritual experiences can be associated with distinct neural activity does not necessarily mean that such experiences are mere neurological illusions”.  “It’s no safer to say that spiritual urges and sensations are caused by brain activity than it is to say that the neurological changes through which we experience the pleasure of eating an apple cause the apple to exist.”  In Newberg’s view the bottom line is that “there is no way to determine whether the neurological changes associated with spiritual experience mean that the brain is causing those experiences … or is instead perceiving a spiritual reality.”

For now, it appears the success of the “God Helmet” experiment lies in tracing the sense or feeling of transcendence, but whether you believe it actually creates the presence of God comes down to a matter of faith.  Perhaps a little experimentation on your own might help you come to a conclusion.  You can order the “Koren Helmet” here,—index.htm, and try it yourself.  Not that eager but simply curious to get a visual, you can watch a documentary segment about the “God Helmet” here,—watch.

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