Your God In A Brain

The neuroscience behind the experience of God has been a fascination of mine the last few years.  When I was a young Christian I believed experience was always reality.   If I experienced something and that experience felt so real to me, then it must have been real.  When I felt an angelic presence in my room at night I really believed an angel must be there.  There was no other way to explain my experience.  I didn’t have any real education on how complex the brain and it’s consciousness is.

My supernatural experiences were never too crazy.  I never saw an angel, but would sometimes feel them around me.  But I had friends that would swear that they have seen angels or that during worship they entered God’s thrown room and sat on Jesus’ lap.

As I matured as a Christian and started thinking and questioning why it is that God lets some have mystical experiences and not others.  I’d wonder if it was because some were called to have more supernatural happenings because their experiences and stories could reach people and bring them into the Kingdom of God. And those who don’t have supernatural encounters were called to have a more Earthly and relatable influence on those who are more skeptical of the supernatural.  I’d wonder if those who are more prone to have supernatural experiences needed those experiences for themselves to help keep their faith, while believers who never had an experience were strong enough in their faith to not need one.  I wondered if the mystically-inclined Christians had a more child-like faith believing anything is possible had these experiences cause a skeptical mind didn’t hinder them from seeing the supernatural.

I saw a pattern in personality traits between the more hyper-spiritual Christians and those who were more thoughtful in their faith.  It always seemed the more extroverted in the church were inclined to have these crazy encounters with angels or demons and go into trances and ecstasies, while the more introverted in the church were more likely to only have a feeling of a presence around them or none at all.  I got into reading websites on psychology about different personality theories which then led me to look into more secular explanations of supernatural encounters while still trying to hold on to the idea that all truth is God’s truth.

I was shaken to find that the brain is a lot more complex than I thought.  I read about the controversial Koren helmet (God Helmet).  The helmet was developed by neuroscientist, Michael Pensinger.  Putting the helmet on supposedly stimulates the temporal lobes with a weak fluctuating magnetic field which then gives a feeling of a presence around the person wearing the helmet.  Some of those who have worn the helmet during an experiment have experienced visions, hallucinations, angelic presence, demons, dead relatives and even the feeling of oneness with the universe.  Others have felt nothing.  This brings to question if the helmet is actually causing these feelings and experiences, or if it’s the power of suggestion or the placebo effect.  Either way, it still shows that there seems to be an on and off switch in the brain that doesn’t need prayer or worship to have a supernatural experience.

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Below are a few links and a video about this spiritual phenomenon:

Are Spiritual Encounters All In Your Head?

Finding God In A Seizure: the link between temporal lobe epilepsy and mysticism

God Helmet

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Christian Necromancy: Grave Sucking

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Grave sucking is a Christian necromantic trend coming out of some of the more hyper-spiritual Charismatic and Pentecostal churches.  Grave sucking (also known as grave soaking or mantle grabbing) is when a person goes to the resting place of a dead revivalist, faith healer, apostle or prophet and begins to pray or call up the spiritual anointing of the dead so that they may be filled with the same power.

Even with all the contradictions and strange miraculous stories in the Bible I don’t know where this fringe-ritual within Charismatic culture gets this idea.  The only story in the scripture I can think of is when a dead guy was thrown into Elisha’s tomb and he was immediately resurrected (2 Kings 13:21).  But that had nothing to do with an anointing or prophetic call being passed on.  I assume this ritual comes from this story mixed with other stories and scriptures about one character in the Bible anointing another with their spiritual gift or prophetic promise  (2 Kings 2:9-10) (Numbers 11:24) (Acts 8:17). And New Mystic evangelists like John Crowder and New Apostolic revivalists like Todd Bentley have been open about their grave sucking experiences, thus influencing the more hyper-spiritual Christians looking to have supernatural experiences.

One of my friends I use to do street ministry with told me about his grave sucking experience.  He and a few others from his Vineyard church drove to Fort Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California where Aimee Semple McPherson is buried and “soaked” over her grave and felt the anointed power go through his body.

Below is a video example of grave sucking by members of the Bethel Church in Redding, California

Gold Dust Miracle At A Global Awakening Meeting

One of the leaders I know from Randy Clark‘s Global Awakening  just posted these gold dust miracle photos on his Facebook page.  I’m not sure where exactly these were taken, but I’m assuming it was in Nashville cause Global Awakening just had a week long series of meetings there.  They were taken a few days ago.

I have seen gold dust miracles before. It was usually a small amount of gold flakes on somebodies hand that most likely flaked off of the gilded golden edges of a Bible while flipping through the pages. This over excited person thinking God gave them a miracle during worship at church only fooled themselves.  I also remember seeing gold flakes on church chairs and feeling excitement that I have found gold, but a couple chairs down I’d see a woman wearing a gold flaked dress.

These three pictures have a lot of golden flakes.  I have serious doubts its a real miracle.  Maybe somebody accidentally dropped a plastic canister of glitter and it happened to fall on an open Bible.  Maybe somebody thought it would be amusing to trick the True Believers in the congregation with a fake gold miracle.  Maybe even the person who found the gold planted it there themselves.  People are attention seeking; especially within an emotionally driven worship meeting with a miracle believing culture like the Charismatics and Pentecostals

It would be nice to see someone in the miracle believing Christian community collected the gold dust and taken to someone who can analyze it and prove it’s gold not of this Earth.  Seeing and assuming it’s real doesn’t mean it is.

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Bullshitting My Way Through A Last Minute Testimony On Past Sexual Sins

Several years ago I gave a testimony to my church about my past sexual sins.  I just graduated from the School of Supernatural Ministries that I enrolled into earlier that year and had to give a short sermon to the church on a Sunday as part of the graduation ceremony.  Although I had a month to prepare, I ended up procrastinating.  I stayed up all night the night before the scheduled sermon trying to think up something to preach on, but instead of finding a story or verse in the Bible I somehow decided it would be a good idea to publicly talk about my sex life before I became an on-fire disciple of Christ.

So let me now tell you about my sex life before I gave my life to the Charismania side of Christianity…  I honestly really didn’t have much of a sex life.  My cognitive dissonance concerning sex left me with little experience and a lot of guilt about what little I had.   I remember being on stage speaking while thinking in the back of my head that I may be exaggerating my past sexual sins and making it out to be a bigger problem than it really was.  As I was speaking I began feeling like I was digging myself into a hole that I’d later regret when people start talking to me after I shared my testimony.  But I continued to preach about how God forgave me for my sins and how I was healed from my sexual past.  I got a standing ovation.

After my testimony I was surrounded by people in the congregation asking me for prayer over their sexual addictions.  I laid hands and prayed that the Lord would do for them what He had done for me.  Some even prayed for me that God would break any unhealthy lingering spiritual connection I had with any of the girls I had sex with in the past.  One woman came up to me and told me about how she use to work in the porn industry and has since repented and started her own ministry for people with sex addiction.  She wanted to get in touch with me so I can share my testimony with her ministry.  I got her cell number but never called cause I didn’t want to bring myself into a bigger mess with my already exaggerated testimony.

The worst thing that came out of this was when a friend of mine was inspired by my testimony and confided to me that she had a secret lesbian relationship with another girl in the congregation a year earlier and she still had feelings for her.  She was tortured by regret and her romantic feelings for this woman and wanted prayer that God would take away her “homosexual lust” for this woman.  At the time I was still on the fence about homosexuality. I had a lot of gay friends and knew it wasn’t just lust and didn’t yet have a fully developed opinion on whether homosexuality is a sin or not.  So I just prayed asking God to heal her from regret and to help her get over the relationship.  She put a lot of trust in a person who bullshitted his testimony.  I felt bad for not being completely honest.

There’s a lot of guilt over sex within the Christian culture.  Christians are afraid of sex.  There’s so much cognitive dissonance that it causes when you’re feeling a natural human desire but have grown up believing in the sinfulness of this nature and genuinely want to live a good Christian lifestyle.  There are a lot of tortured Christians in the world lying to themselves and living a life of regret.  The forgiving grace of God isn’t enough when they’re confronted with real natural sexual desire.  Repressing sexual feelings and romantic emotions isn’t gonna stop it from emerging again.  And when you lie to yourself you are also lying to others.

After my on-fire life for Jesus started fading my sexual desires emerged again.   I’d pray for God to help me through it but it never went away.  My lesbian friend still continues to struggle with her homosexual nature.  I later told her that I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin and a couple years later I lost my faith in Christianity. We lost contact when she went on to do missionary work believing God has called her to live a single life married to Jesus.  I wish she would accept herself and live in freedom without guilt and shame as a sexual being not trying to live above human nature.

Absence of Christ Facebook Page

I just created a Facebook page for this blog.  I’ll be posting articles, sharing my blog posts as well as other things relating to the Charismatic and Pentecostal experience. Like if you will….

The Absence of Christ Facebook

My Ouija Board Experiences

I was always told that the Ouija Board is a dangerous tool for speaking with the dead and it was a gateway into the demonic realm.  I remember hearing stories from my cousin about how he played with an Ouija Board and started having visions during his sessions of his room on fire and furniture moving on its own. I heard stories in youth group about how people would throw their boards in a fire after having demonic experiences and the boards would start hissing and spitting out flames in an unnatural way. I’d listen to Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM show late at night on the radio and hear callers talk about their scary experiences with the Ouija Board.  Even some of my non-Christian friends had bad stories.  Hearing all these stories from different people it always seemed like the Ouija Board may actually have some power to it.

The first experience I personally had with an Ouija Board was really late at night at a friend’s house with a couple other friends a decade ago.  We were all in our early-20s.  My friend pulled out an Ouija Board, turned out the lights and put on a Robert Johnson record just for atmosphere.  My friend’s were skeptical and were only trying it out for fun.  I was a little more superstitious and decided to stand back and observe.  They put their fingers over the planchette and started asking questions.  The planchette seemed to move on its own as the spirit answered.  Within 10 mins of their conversation with the spirit a cat started screaming outside the bedroom window and it freaked all of us out.  They put the board back in its box and laughed.  My friends took it as a funny coincidence but I thought a spirit spooked the cat.  It was too much for me to blame on a coincidence.  During my Charismatic Christian phase I would use this story as personal proof that there is a realm outside the experience of our own senses.

When I started questioning my Christian faith, I began looking into what Christians believed to be the darker sides of spirituality.  I wanted to know if there were any other spiritual reality outside of the Christian belief in demons and angels.  Inside and outside of Christianity it always seemed people had more experiences with evil spirits and ghosts than they did with angels and God.  I suppose it’s because fear is a strong emotion that can make people exaggerate what they see and believe anything. I went through a short period looking more into occult practices and spirituality to see if I could learn something about the spiritual realm outside of Christianity.

It didn’t take long to see through the occult and New Age.  I’ve experimented with the Ouija Board  and most of the time it would answer with random letters and numbers.  It wasn’t enough to convince me that there was actually a ghost or demon moving the planchette.  By this time I was looking into a more psychological answer to my wonder about these Oujia Board experiences and found the ideomotor phenomenon.  Like my spiritual Christian experience I found that there was a more natural answer to my questions than supernatural.

My last attempt at looking for a supernatural explanation of the Ouija Board I went to a seance in a supposedly haunted bar a few blocks from my house. Even with a medium on site asking the questions the answers were always still random letters leaving us to guess what the spirit may be saying.  It wasn’t until she supposedly went into a trance and started conjuring up the spirits through her body and changing her voice that we started getting answers from whatever spirit was there.  And I still wasn’t convinced.  I couldn’t help but feel that everyone around me was being tricked into thinking something supernatural was really happening just like what I experienced in church.  I gave the medium a $20 tip for the entertainment anyway.

Interesting article explaining the psychology behind Ouija Boards:
Science Explains Ouija Boards, Retroactively Ruins 1,000 Sleepovers

What Happens When You Blindfold Ouija Believers?