I have moved the first part of this post to the next post — when reading it later, I felt it best if they were split.
By the title of this post, you should realize that it will probably take you places you may not want to go.
So stop reading now! You’ve been warned.
Recent MRI studies show that when god-sensing believers pray to their god, their brains show very similar patterns to those when they are talking to their friends. See a review of the studies at Epiphenom. These studies confirming that a believers’ perception that they are really talking to Jesus are honest.
Are there other empirical tests we could do to further confirm whether a believer’s perceived relationship with Jesus may not be exaggerated? Well, a recent study made me see that there very well may be one that could be done. Read on and see if you are interested in investing.
We know that some mammal brains use a hormone called “oxytocin” which, among other things, socially bonds one animal to another. Oxytocin does the same in humans: for example, it is activated by smelling your newborn child – linking parent and child. So, maybe oxytocin levels rise in believers when they pray to their Jesus.
Well, it seems that oxytocin is excreted through the kidneys which explains this article in “Improbable Research” which reviews a study of the urine of pet owners after they gaze in the eyes of their dogs compared to owners who haven’t. [Unfortunately, anus-staring was not tested]. Well, sure enough, the urine of the dog gazers has higher oxytocin than non-gazers, revealing that relationship-bonding oxytocin is released when a dog owner stares at its pet. And all of us dog and cat owners know how deep and real our personal connections are with our animals.
So I wondered: What if we checked the urine of a believer after a few minutes of fervent prayer? Would they have an elevated oxytocin level similar to human friends or lovers after 10 minutes of intimate embrace, cuddling or conversation? Heck, urine oxytocin levels may be a good way to screen for “real” Christians. Likewise, I imagine a pee test could help screen for “real” Vaishnavites, Muslims and Elvis devotees too. Gee, I wonder if a “real” Atheist would have raised oxytocin levels after watching Dawkins on YouTube!
Why this post? Because I feel that sacrilegious perspectives can offer us insights unavailable to polite thought — consider the Zen saying, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” My proposition here was innocent and scientific enough but putting together “urine” and “Jesus” in the same post triggers taboo parts of the brain that makes many people uncomfortable. Triggering the taboo part of the mind can sometimes wake us up for a brief minute or two.
Photo Credit: I worked in urology for 4 years — I took that urine picture.