GLIMPSE Archives: “I Feel God”

There’s no question. It’s a part of human nature to be awed by that which we perceive to be beyond the threshold of common understanding. Instances of “supernatural” experiences mystify long past the time of their occurrence, and seem to gain new layers of mythos and spiritual reverence with time.

But what if this type of human experience could be replicated in a lab environment? This hypothesis was tested by Dr. Michael A. Persinger, using his Koren helmet, also known as the “God Helmet,” for the effects it produced in the participants of Dr. Persinger’s studies.

The “God Helmet” works by isolating specific patterns of brain activity using weak magnetic fields that stimulate the hemispheres of the human brain in atypical ways. The results of Dr. Persinger’s studies yielded fascinating results. He notes:

The specific type of sensed presence varied with the person’s expectancies, beliefs, and of course, the patterns of the electromagnetic fields that were applied. The characteristics of the experiences were dominated by intense personal meaningfulness and altered perceptions of space and time, classic properties of right hemispheric processing. We have suggested that  the sensed presence is the transient left hemispheric awareness of the right hemisphere’s equivalence to the sense of self.

So the suggestion is: awareness of God, on a neurological level, could actually be an enhanced awareness of self. It’s a provocative thought, and one worth chewing on. Readers, we’d love to hear your take.

The article, “The Simulation of the God Experience” by M. A. Persinger, was published in GLIMPSE’s “Visions” issue and can be accessed here.

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2 thoughts on “GLIMPSE Archives: “I Feel God”

  1. Thanks for your thoughts, Connie.

    We realize that this is a research area that inspires much controversy, but we find that Dr. Persinger’s study can have significant implications for both believers and non-believers alike. While the “God experience,” as the article suggests, can indeed be simulated in a laboratory, some have interpreted this to mean that the human brain is “hardwired” for a belief in God. Although this is a stance that Dr. Persinger does not touch on in GLIMPSE’s “Visions” issue, we invite you to read the article, which is no doubt a springboard for interesting discussion and debate!

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