Essays in neurotheology.  God in the brain.  Out of body experiences.  More.


Applying ideas developed by Dr. M.A. Persinger to the spiritual process. ©TR Murphy, 2005


Spiritual Aptitude Test

 Neurotheology Definition

Sacred Pathways: The Brain's Role In Religious and Mystic Experiences
By Todd Murphy

Foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama

Foreword by Dr. Michael A. Persinger.

506 pages, paperback

Order HERE

Sacred Pathways is the Principia ('book of basic principles' or 'first work') of the scientific investigation of spiritual experiences. ... Individuals who appoint themselves protectors of 'true knowledge' may find this book disquieting.' - Dr. M.A. Persinger

In this book, Professor Todd Murphy recounts what he has discovered about the brain's role in religious and mystic experience; findings that interested readers will no doubt find illuminating - H.H. The Dalai Lama


Dr. Persinger's work is primarily published in peer-reviewed academic journals devoted to neuroscience and cognitive studies. Persinger does not reject the validity of spiritual and psychic experiences. His many papers and experiments offer specific mechanisms for how the brain can create them subjectively. Proof that God is in the brain means that the power of prayer lies in the human mind. Meditation works by making changes in the brain. The kingdom of heaven lies within the complexities of the brain, the most complex object known to science. This field of inquiry has been called neurotheology by several authors and journalists, though it's members usually have other names for themselves.

Dr. Persinger uses concepts like "vectorial hemisphericity", "interhemispheric intrusions", "linguistic sense of self", "neural intercalation", and several others that are difficult to understand without serious study. These pages should make it easier to understand Dr. Persinger's most important concept, that spiritual and religious experience, as well as spiritual personalities can be understood by looking at the brains function. Many of the ideas explored in these pages are not those of Dr. Persinger, but those of the author. In any event, The articles on these pages provide an easy to read introduction to neurotheology; Thinking about spirituality and spiritual experiences in terms of brain activity.






The Origins of Spirituality in Human Evolution. When Humans acquired language, we began to think about death in some very new ways. This created a new feeling of being threatened whose source lay in our own thoughts. People responded to this new threat by finding a sense of spirituality that allowed us to come to terms with our mortality. 'Read me first.'

The 'Sensed Presence.' Understanding the feeling that there is someone behind you when you're actually alone is an important starting point in this approach to neurotheology. 'Read me second.'

God The experience of God is one of the highest mystical states. There is a God to be experienced, but that God appears through our brains. This article owes a debt to Michael Persinger's "Neuropsychological Bases of God-Beliefs".

Evolution of God An article based on a lecture given in March 2005 at the Winchester "Art & Mind" festival. Easier reading.

Shakti Dr. Persinger's famous magnetic brain stimulation technology that induces spiritual experiences in the laboratory is available in a PC-based version.

Out of Body Experiences A recent study by Dr. Olaf Blanke has implicated the Angular Gyrus, (an area on the surface of the brain) in out of body experiences. This article replies to that study to the effect that there are other areas in the brain that may be involved. If researchers take Dr. Blanke's interpretation of his results at face value, they may miss other avenues of inquiry.

 This essay discusses what may have happened to the Buddha's brain the night of his enlightenment.

Guided Spiritual Exercises from Brain Science Simple guided imaginative exercises that have immediate results for many people.

Darwinian Reincarnation The idea of rebirth takes an important step towards science when it is integrated with Darwin's Theory. Learning from past lives confers an important advantage in complex cultures, and the human death-process reflects this process.

Spiritual Personality. Doing spiritual practice (or having a spiritual awakening), has an impact on the brain, the mind, and personality. These changes happen are pretty easy to predict. The altered states of consciousness experienced through spirituality create some interesting 'traits'.

Deja Vu The experience of deja vu is one of the most common spiritual experiences known. That is, if you enjoy it. If you don't, its more a matter for the right kind of doctor than a temple. Deja vu is a change in the perception of the present moment, and it can be used to enhance some kinds of meditation practices, such as Zen.

The Neurology of Romantic Love. In many ways, romantic love looks similar to devotional religious feelings, and its disappointments look very much like 'The Dark Night of the Soul'. Neuroscience for the hopeless romantic.

Stimulating My Brain As a Spiritual Path Here's my story, more or less. When its finished, you'll find that I accept many of the things that psychics, gurus, and religions teach, but in very different forms.

Archetypes We might be more likely to see the archetypes in others than in ourselves. Evolution may have provided us with some hard-wiring that allows us to see them in others, giving us an almost instinctive feeling for how to relate with different types of people.

Sacred Lands A look at Harbin Hot Springs, a spiritual resort and retreat center in Northern California, that's also in one of the most geologically active places in the world. Geomagnetic changes interact with magnetic processes in the brain, producing 'power spots' where it takes extra awareness just to get by.

Consciousness. Where does the phenomena of conscious awareness come from? This hypothesis suggests that consciousness functions to mediate states of consciousness. Simple answer for a vexing question. Not easy reading.

Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) in Thailand. The experience of dying is different in different cultures, and Thai NDEs provide one of the best examples of culture-specific 'altered state' experiences uncovered so far.

Thai Near-Death Experiences in Context. This article discusses how Thai NDEs make sense when looked at in terms of their cultural and religious context. An article accepted for publication by the Journal of Near-Death studies was edited from this study.

Glasses for Enhanced Visual Acuity. About a pair of glasses that induces a stunning enhancement in vision. If you have ever had moments where you were seeing as though your eyes had been polished from the inside, and wondered if it was possible to re-capture those moments, you should read this.





Links to pages about Michael A. Persinger

Persinger Answers Critics | Publications by Persinger | Studies on Paranormal Phenomena |

Searchable archive of research publications






Media Articles:

| "The God Helmet" | "Your Brain on God" | "God on the Brain" |  "Ghosts in a machine" | Interview (w/ TR Murphy) 







Shakti - Magnetic Brain Stimulation

Deja Vu

Darwinian Reincarnation



Romantic Love and the Brain

Origins of spirituality in Human Evolution

Sacred Lands

"The Sensed Presence"

Glasses For Enhanced Visual Acuity

God in the Brain

Spiritual Aptitude Test

Stimulating My BrainAs A Spiritual Path

Inventing Shakti

Sex_and States of Consciousness

The Gay Male Brain - Evolutionary Speculations


The Spiritual Personality

Enlightenment And the Brain


A Diet For Epileptics?

Odd Experiences - Online Poll Results


Out-Of-Body Experiences

Near-Death Experiences - Thai Case histories

The Big Bang

Meditations from Brain Science

Near-Death Experiences in Thailand - Discussion


The Terrorist Brain

Publications by Dr. M.A. Persinger

Hippocrates on Epilepsy







Blogs by Dr. Michael A. Persinger on the God Helmet (and other subjects.


The God Helmet's Weak Fields are Sufficient to Influence Brain Activity.

We Do Not Allow Suggestion or Suggestibility to Influence our Lab Results.

Our results can't be attributed to suggestion.

God Helmet and many other of our results have been replicated.

God Helmet Experiments use Blind Protocols and Placebo Controls.

Replications of our work on Geomagnetism and Paranormal Phenomena.

The Tectonic Strain Theory and French's 'Haunted Room' Experiment. ..

Richard Dawkins ' Alcohol and the God Helmet don't mix.

My theories are not based on religiousness in epileptics.

Religious belief is not an epileptic phenomena.



©, 2005, Todd Murphy