One of the most important questions known to man is one that is perhaps best not conclusively answered – the question of whether or not God exists. I’m sure the debate will continue and intensify as scientists gain more and more knowledge about the world, but what would be the effect of the definite answer to that question? Neuroscientist Michael Persinger believes that people who have had what we can call a spiritual experience were actually being stimulated by a variety of factors, none of them divine. To prove his point, Persinger created the God Helmet.
Persinger believes that man’s best way of coping with the fear of death is to imagine something infinite, omnipresent and everlasting, which is quite predictable really considering the problem is that we’re afraid of our finite existence. Persinger further believes that the efforts of our brain’s right temporal lobe to allay our anxiety about death can lead us to have spiritual experiences. So he made a helmet that specifically targets the right temporal lobe, stimulating it with magnetic fields. Here’s the soothing voice of Morgan Freeman with more info, in an excerpt from the Science Channel’s Through The Wormhole:
As far as I’m concerned, we can interpret Persinger’s experiment in a variety of ways. It could be proof that deities are indeed safety nets, in which case announcing to billions of people that their safety net is illusory would probably lead them to either get depressed, or just create another illusory safety net. Or, it could be that Persinger is partly right – maybe we normally don’t think or dream of such things unless we’re blasted with magnetic fields or take part in rituals, but that could just be a way to help us heighten our senses. Think of it this way: if you enter a darkened room you obviously wouldn’t be able to see what else is inside. But if the room is illuminated, even if it is by artificial means, then you’ll be able to see.
Or it could be that magnetic fields just give a freaky good time.