Study: Brains of Praying Nuns are Like Brains of Magic Mushroom Users

Study: Brains of Praying Nuns are Like Brains of Magic Mushroom Users

Praying may have more to do with a “higher power” than you think — but it’s probably not a god.

Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, M.D., just completed a study of the brain scans of a group of Catholic nuns before and after they performed a deep type of prayer called “centering.” The nuns say centering brings them closer to their god.

It turns out those brain scans are very much like ones of people who take psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms or LSD, long known to induce experiences described as “religious.” Many cultures even describe marijuana and other natural mind-altering substances as sacred.

In both nuns and drug users, brain scans showed decreased activity in the parietal lobe, which establishes one’s sense of self. That may be the reason for the mystical feelings.

And honestly, who’s to say one experience is more valid than the other? They both have a profound and long-lasting effect on the way the brain works, says Dr. Newberg.

“It’s possible these kinds of experiences [with drugs] are not artificial or false, but really enable a person and a person’s brain to experience the world in a much more fundamental way,” he said.

Dr. Newberg has led other studies on brain activity and religiosity, examining the brain scans of Pentecostals as they spoke in tongues and Buddhist monks as they meditated. Similar studies have been performed on the altered-state feelings that come from sensory deprivation and overload.

If we look at all of these practices as ways to help your brain reach a higher state – one that helps you feel more peaceful and connected to the universe – it makes sense of the mystical, and takes the stigma off of some drugs.

So does this mean the war on drugs is like a war on prayer?

Note: Please keep comments peaceful and family friendly.

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  3. Infidel753

    War on prayer? I’ll settle for making them keep it away from minors.

    Woody, good job on Ag Gag.

    Reply Report comment
    • Lady Freethinker

      Carding at churches; I’d like to see that 😉

      Reply Report comment
  4. Woody

    Oh no!
    This means that any experimentation with drugs that I may have indulged in, when young and foolish, was a waste of money! I could have simply become a nun and had a deep prayer to feel that … connection with the universe!

    Hi Nina,
    While I’m here I must report that I received notification today that, “thanks to me and everyone else who signed LCA’s petition and spoke out against Ag Gag, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has vetoed HB 405, the bill that would have punished whistleblowers for exposing factory farm cruelty.”

    Although I live in a land far, far away, I entered my vote anyway and it has inspired me to research the state of such political crap that may have effect closer to me.

    All the best,

    Reply Report comment
    • Lady Freethinker

      Hi Woody,

      Thank you for the ag gag help!

      It’s so, so wrong that the agriculture industry wants to keep everything hidden from the public. They’re torturing animals and destroying the environment, and instead of responding to investigations by cleaning up their act, they just want to pass laws to stop the investigations in the first place.

      Sadly, the NC house and senate overrode the veto, so the victory here was fleeting. But to get a conservative governor to veto a conservative bill in the first place is a very big step, and tells you that the tides could be shifting.

      Reply Report comment
  5. Paulo A Franke

    Yay! Will god look like a huge octopus, or seahorse, made of white powder, when we are done with the brain research?
    Those nuns knew it all, since day one!

    Reply Report comment
    • Lady Freethinker

      I could live with a seahorse god. Better than a vengeful old white guy!

      Reply Report comment
    • Lady Freethinker

      Agreed 100%. Every revelation in my “experimentation” phase had worth.

      Reply Report comment

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