Go hear it on the mountain
"Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus all experienced revelations on mountains, but they were probably just suffering a form of altitude sickness, say a group of Swiss and Israeli neurologists, casting doubt in the process on the very existence of God," writes Julie Robotham.
Yes, until these scientists came along there was very little doubt about the existence of an unseen deity or deities whose qualities, gender(s) and influence on mankind vary from culture to culture.
"... acute and chronic hypoxia significantly affect the temporo-parietal junction and the prefrontal cortex and both areas have also been linked to altered own body perceptions and mystical experiences."
Especially if the prophets went yomping through the hills alone, they might be vulnerable to such mind-bending experiences and be uninhibited about expressing them.Ironically, studies like this take the bible literally, assuming that these prophets actually went up mountains and experienced G-d in the way they were subsequently written of. Many theologists, like Father Daniel Berrigan, see the mountain as a metaphor for being in a space of ethical awareness: "to be on top of a mountain," he said, "is to be morally aware of the world and one's place in it."
My reservations about using the language of science to apprehend mystical experience aside, a little language tweak and you come up with this: when the temporo-parietal junction and the prefrontal cortex are affected a person has access to a separate but equally valid reality unaccessible to the conventionally prefrontal cortexed...
It's an endless argument...
That said, I don't think science should butt out, and these particular scientists don't seem to have any "debunking" on their agenda, but atheists with bottomless faith in the fact that they're right and that the 99.9% of the world that believe in G-d are wrong need to give it a rest and realize that revelations about the body's chemistry that seem to "explain" mystical events serve more as feel-good findings than anything else... Fire away. (Dissection)
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