Religious belief and experience fascinate me. Much of how we experience God is based on where we live and how we are brought up, but there are many common threads across the world of spirituality. I am also deeply interested in psychology and neuroscience, and in particular, the intersection in the new field of neuro-theology.
We know so little about the brain and consciousness, let alone what exists beyond the physical. All of this leads to my interest in the God Helmet, whose technology I modified to become the headsets in Prophecy. The crude device from Persinger's experiment is shown right but nevertheless, stimulation of the temporal lobe using a low magnetic field has resulted in some people experiencing religious visions.
As the character of Dr Maria Van Garre explains in my novel Prophecy, both sides of the religious debate claim a victory from the results. Atheists claim God is just a neuro-chemical response, and believers claim God put that area of the brain there so we can experience Him. I leave your own interpretation up to you.
You can read an article on Wired: This is your brain on God
This slightly sensational video [6:58 mins] is quite crude but you can get the basic sense of the experiment. I used some of the experiences in Prophecy.
If you want to explore this further, you might like these books (affiliate links to Amazon):
Fingerprints of God: What science is learning about the brain and spiritual experience – Barbara Hegarty (2009)
The God Gene: How faith is hardwired into our genes – Dean Hamer (2005)