I read arguments Here against the existence of god and I reached the exact same conclusions on my own - Should have just read this a long time ago -- would have saved me so much thinking - I take the evolutionary psychology approach towards religion and believe this is what actually happened.
My question to you guys here is. Sexuality is in-built part of the human system and is expressed felt and dealt with by the individual in their own way. There is stimulus and response to the stimulus - very straight forward system.
I came across the concept of the God Helmet. This got me thinking and led to this question.
What I want to know your responses on, is :
Wouldn't this make religious experience equivalent to (as a comparison) a sexual experience.
Common between both :
I know society in general looks down on porn as a disgusting thing and religious content and text as sacred but ignoring those biases for the sake of this question.
Is it possible that just as porn triggers a certain consistent reaction(at least for guys) across people --- religious text and spiritually uplifting music does the exact same thing. Its a stimulus for the inbuilt evolved spiritual systems in your brain and results in a natural response.
Everybody knows porn has the most asinine plot lines ever recorded on film -- but it works. If you study religious text just as a piece of literature you'll think its equally pathetic. I know if I talk of the bible everyone's going to get worked up and they'll miss the point completely -- look at Scientology -- its stupid stuff. But there are people out there who think is the only truth.
I am beginning to think spiritual experience is just like watching porn or watching sports -- stimulus -> experience --- The high and low of the experience does not say anything about the outside world -- it tells you more about human beings and just as you are hard-wired for sex you are also hard-wired for god -- gives you a deeper insight about the human animal and its belief in god ---
One other thing I've noticed is natural systems like human pair-bonding(commonly know as love) have the extreme effect of causing you to feel your partner is the most beautiful person on earth or the most important person on earth. Similarly a person in depression may think his life has zero value - he truly believes it ---
In these situations you can and even the person involved are faintly aware of their biases and how its possibly irrational but this awareness does not do anything to change their situation - they will still hold the same beliefs and feel the same way. But the marked difference is -- in these situations you do not for example demand that the current reigning miss world be changed to your love or extrapolate the fact that because your love feels the most important person to you, he/she is actually and universally the most important person in the world for everyone -- my point is -- if we can keep our perspective in these situations -- why then, when we have a spiritual experience we extrapolate the individual subjective experience as objective universal truth and not have the maturity to just get over it and say, It was good, but don't take it too seriously.
You can "simulate" spiritual experiences, using meditation, drugs, sports, sensory deprivation and a number of other techniques. In fact, any time you are in a state of ecstasy or flow, you are having a spiritual experience. But the ability to simulate such experiences doesn't necessarily mean that there is no metaphysical basis for them.
Imagine, if you will, that your physical self is a projection of your metaphysical self into this physical universe. What would the requirements and characteristics of such a projection be? Well, for one thing, it should obey whatever set of physical laws are present in the universe into which it is projecting. Otherwise, it would be an unreliable projection, would it not?
But more importantly, your physical projection should model your metaphysical self. It would make no sense, for example, to use the blueprints of a car to build a model of a truck. This model, within the framework of physical laws, would serve to mirror those qualities that make up your metaphysical being. Those qualities include the ability to reason and think, and yes, the ability to have religious experiences.
What does this mean? It means that every spiritual quality you have has a physical component to it. There are brain structures and patterns of activity that correspond to all possible experiences, both physical and spiritual. When you are having a religious experience, there is activity in the brain that corresponds to that experience.
Consider Ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic. Ketamine can be used to produce out of body experiences and near-death experiences. Which means that OOBE's can be induced by simply changing brain chemistry. The real question becomes, what does this mean from a metaphysical perspective? Are all religious experiences merely changes to brain chemistry?
Well, maybe. But quantum physics offers a different perspective, a perspective that things are not always what they seem.
The double-slit experiment tells us that light behaves like waves. When a light source is passed through two slits in a box, it produces an interference pattern of light and dark bands along the back of the box. This result is consistent with two wave patterns interfering with each other, much like the waves from two stones thrown into a pond interfere with each other.
But light can also behave like particles called photons; a photon can knock an electron out of its orbital, and a photon is released when the electron drops back into its normal orbital. These interactions occur in discrete quantities called quanta. To put it another way, there's no such thing as 1/2 of a photon.
What happens when the double-slit experiment is run using individual photons, shot through the double slits one at a time? Common sense would dictate that each individual photon would pass through one of the two slits, and hit the back wall, producing two light bands. But that is not what happens. There is still an interference pattern (captured with a photographic plate) produced on the back wall. What does this mean? It means that the photon you just shot towards the box has knowledge of the photons preceding it. Otherwise, how could it interfere with those other photons?
My point is this: In this physical universe, religious experience is a point of view (based on how our bodies are constructed), but this point of view does not preclude the existence of the metaphysical (a different point of view).
In other words, even if science can show that these spiritual experiences are created by chemical changes in our brain, God might still exist anyway.
I read a book about philosophy recently:
The conclusion was that the New Age stuff works just like pornography. It turns us on. It is obvious how pornography works, it agitates a sexual need that is implemented in every human. Similarly the New Age books agitates our dreams. Not having a purpose in living, having a dull life, people are attracted by the unknown and supernatural. Fantasy on the reach of a hand.
But that applies to the false spirituality. Ways of true spiritual development were always there, long before XXI century. However, I don't look superficially. Why that outburst in XXI century? Is there a rational answer to this question? I believe we are entering the new stage in history, and the energies are influencing people. Maybe not every of them are right, maybe there are impostors that only want to earn. But there is more and more truth. Believe it or not, you don't have to take it a priori. Take the Law of Attraction for example. You can empirically experience that it works, unless you subjectively want to prove it wrong. That is how Law of Attraction works - you have to believe to get results.
What would people think if a God Helmet was invented? They could really be discouraged and start to disbelieve. There would be one thing blocking them from the bigger truth, though. They would have to understand that science (even the science that denies God's existence) is a part of the system. Science is spirituality. As the science develops, we get to know more and more things. If you told someone back in history about the concepts of magnetism and electricity, nay, if you even had proved it, you would be treated no more like a magician. When the knowledge is unknown, it remains spiritual. When it is discovered, it becomes scientific.
First thing. Even if we have something called a "spiritual need", I would still consciously choose it over other needs. The primary purpose of christianity was to love each other, that is what Jesus said. Which is better: watching pornography and masturbating in an utter mindless indulgence with no practical result or developing the virtues of your character alongside with the spiritual development, being good and kind to other people?
Third thing. The sexual experience is a part of a human just like a spiritual experience. But superficial spiritual experience is only a blink of something much more amazing. The main goal of spiritual development in Yoga system is to become united with God. This is the only way to stop incarnating. You can have sex in 20 incarnations as much as you want and it won't get you anywhere. Complete spiritual development in one of those and you will be free from incarnating forever.
From a Biblical perspective, laboratory experiments will NEVER be able to simulate spiritual experiences. The reason for this is because the Bible describes man as being much more than just a collection of elements or a stimulus-response machine.
Briefly, man is composed of  parts:
(1) The BODY
Man has a body made from the dust of the ground. This is man’s link to the earth through the 5 senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch.
(2) The SPIRIT
The Biblical GOD breathed the Spirit of Life into the nostrils of man. This is different than the spirit of life of the beasts of the field. The spirit of life of the beast is of the earth. The Biblical GOD never breathed into the nostrils of any beast of the field. Thus, through His Spirit of Life, the Biblical GOD gave man Intuition, Conscience, and Spiritual Communion with Him. At the Fall, man’s spiritual communion with the Biblical GOD was severed because of SIN. This is why the Biblical GOD is calling for all of mankind to choose to be BORN-AGAIN through the blood-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Becoming BORN-AGAIN will re-animate the DEAD spirit that a natural man possesses and will allow him to re-establish spiritual communion with the Biblical GOD for eternity.
(3) The SOUL
The Biblical GOD’s Spirit of Life, breathed into man’s Body through the nostrils, created a LIVING SOUL. The SOUL of a man is the seat of his Mind (Knowledge), Personality (Emotions), and Free Will (Decision-Making / Choice). The SOUL is the personal identity of each individual which gives him uniqueness in creation. Ultimately, the Biblical GOD judges the SOUL of a man.
Therefore, a spiritual experience would have an effect on each of man’s  aspects. For this reason, a biological reproduction of such a 3-layered experience will NEVER be able to be produced in a laboratory because the totality of the experience is not only NATURAL. Concurrently, it is also SPIRITUAL. For example, every BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN can experience the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance [Galatians 5:22,23]. Do you honestly believe that a chemical formula or stimulus exists for the representation of these SPIRITUAL experiences? Of course, a spiritual experience will have some effect on the Body. However, the Body’s reaction is NOT THE CAUSE of the spiritual experience. The Body’s reaction is the END-RESULT of the spiritual experience. For example, if I am feeling Spiritual peace, then my Body will display lower blood pressure. Conversely, if I am feeling Spiritual anxiety, then my Body will display some form of stress. The Body is the external display of an existing, internal Spiritual condition or choice of the Soul.
Since pornography was used as an example of stimulus, I will also use it as my final example of a possible spiritual experience. In reference to pornography and as a BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN, this is what would happen to me in relation to my  parts:
(1) Through my Body (sight and sound), the pornographic scene enters my Soul.
(2) From my Soul, I observe the lust of my Body craving to watch the pornographic scene and to actively engage.
(3) From my Soul, I simultaneously observe my BORN-AGAIN Spirit convicting and directing me to the reality of the Biblical GOD’s judgments and blessings.
(4) From my Soul, I must now CHOOSE: Do I submit to the lust of my Body? Or do I obey the conviction of my BORN-AGAIN Spirit?
(5) From my Soul: If I choose the lust of my Body, then I commit SIN, displease my GOD, and bring chastisement on myself. If I choose to obey my BORN-AGAIN Spirit, then I please my GOD and obtain future blessings and rewards. At this crucial point, the choice of my Soul will determine if I will be judged or rewarded.
How on earth can any scientist attempt to simulate this spiritual experience in a laboratory with all these internal interactions and variations? This is why evolutionary theories will continuously fail when describing human nature. Concerning human nature, evolutionary theory is SINGLE-FACETED (only biological), removes or negates man’s capability of CHOICE, and reduces man to the level of the “ANIMAL”. In contrast, the Biblical GOD declares that man is MULTI-FACETED (Body, Spirit, and Soul), possesses the capability of CHOICE, and is a distinct creation above the “ANIMAL”. Therefore, due to these glaring distinctions, the Biblical perspective is that science will NEVER be able to simulate spiritual experiences in a laboratory.
Thanks for reading.
answered 08 Jul '10, 19:08
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