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Q: born again ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: born again
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: qpet-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 09 Feb 2003 15:56 PST
Expires: 11 Mar 2003 15:56 PST
Question ID: 159216
What are the sientific explanations for the expirience of being "born again"?

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 09 Feb 2003 16:15 PST
I assume your reference to being "born again" is a reference to a
prescribed level of christian spirituality.

By "scientific explanations" do you mean what personal physiological,
psychological, sociological, (etc.) impact this level of spirituality
is known to have on a person, supported by research, etc.? Or mere
observations of these effects by members of the scientific community?
Or were you perhaps expecting something different than all of these?


Clarification of Question by qpet-ga on 09 Feb 2003 16:52 PST
You are on the right track, tutuzdad, I am interested in the
explanation from a psychological, physiological and other scientific
viewpoints. Is it like a spiritual orgasm? A brakeout from the
personal identity? Are there neurological explanations? And yes, I am
refering to "born again" in the christian context.
See what you can dig up.
Subject: Re: born again
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 09 Feb 2003 19:46 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi Qpet~

You ask an interesting question :)  First, it's probably prudent to
define "born again." To be "born again" simply means to become a
Christian. (For more information on what is considered "born again,"
visit "What Is A Real Christian?" , "How To Be Born
Again" , and "Are You Born
Again?" )

Although each person who calls themselves "born again" would probably
describe the experience a bit differently, there are some general
things that can be said about the "conversion." Generally, those who
are born again feel enveloped by love (and have a desire to "spread
love around"), have a sense of peace, a feeling of joy, and suddenly
feel there's a purpose to their life. (For an interesting article
about individual reactions to being born again, visit )

What Psychology Says About Being Born Again:

Typically, the psychological stance on "born againism" is the same
stance that most atheists have about Christianity. It's argued that
born-again Christians are individuals who have an inherent need to
take a specific (some say "easy") path to dealing with life. Those who
call themselves born again, then, are said to be sensitive, weak, in
need of a crutch, and/or immature.

An example of this line of thought: "...among Born Again Christians
...there is a very distinctive model for relating to and coping with
the world...Here all answers to life's puzzles are strictly religious
or spiritual in nature and are directly derivable from personal
commitment to Christ and accompanying devotional disciplines.
Furthermore, all necessary information for this is in the Bible. The
result is a purely religious view of the world and the self which does
full justice to neither. This, I will contend, is unhealthy and
immature." (Beyond Born Again, by  Robert Price; Section I-- The Born
Again Experience: A Brave New World?, Chapter 1: A Might Fortress Is
Our Mentality,

(Interestingly, most born again Christians will reply to the idea that
their faith is a "crutch" or an "easy way out" by saying something
along these lines:  "In my experience, my faith has often made my life
more challenging and difficult than it would have otherwise."[ ] Or, "Being a
committed Christian often results in ridicule and persecution, even
from one's own friends and's not easy in any society to
say that Christ is the only way to God, or to adhere to a different
standard of morality than the surrounding culture." [ ] )

Freud characterized religion as "an attempt to get control over the
sensory world in which we are placed by igmund means of the wish world
which we have developed inside us." (Sigmund Freud, New Introductory
Lectures on Psychoanalysis, quoted in James D. Mallory, The Kink and
I, Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1975, p. 67.) This general comment
applies to how most psychologists feel about "born againism:" Those
who are born again Christians must have a deep need for order and
control in the world.

(Again, interestingly, born again Christians will tell you that they
have no control over their lives, and that it can be exceedingly
difficult to give control of everything over to God. [As an example,
visit: ]. Another fascinating
fact is that some Christians find parallels between psychology and a
new sort of "born againism;" see )

Physiology and "Born Againism":

Physiologically, some compare "born againism" to brainwashing. One
site argues that fasting, one of the long held traditions of
Christianity and Judaism (as well as other noted religions), modifies
"normal brain function" and therefore makes born again Christians
unable to rationalize or think clearly. (THE BATTLE FOR YOUR MIND, by
Dick Sutphen, ). Other possible
brain washing techniques that might be associated with born again
Christians include "physical discomfort...regulation of
breathing...[and] programmed response to incense..."

On a more positive note, widely publicized scientific studies have
taken groups of born again Christians and "tested" their prayer. These
studies have shown it to be healing and to produce "a physiological
state opposite to stress." (

Neurology and Being Born Again:

Scientists have been studying Buddhist monks (as well as some
Christians) to decipher what may be happening in the religious brain.
"A part of the brain near the core, understood to govern both arousal
and quiescence, is thought to play a role in experiences of active
bliss akin to mystical trances or the act of speaking in tongues
described by born-again Pentecostal Christians." (untitled article by
Edward Helmore in the Observer News Service, ) This
neurological state is said to lead to calmness and alertness.

Scientist V. S. Rarnachandran has been testing patients who suffer
from seizures and thinks that certain "dedicated neural machinery" may
affect "how intensely someone may respond to spiritual or mystical
experiences." Rarnachandran has found some of his patients have had
something happen "in their temporal lobes that heightened their
response to religious terms and icons."

Other links you might find interesting include this one, from The
Center For The Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health:

and "The Social Benefits of Being Born Again:"

Keywords Used:
"born again" psychological

"born again" physiological

"born again" neurological 

"born again" definition

"born again" sociological

"born again" "scientific explanation"

Hope this helps, 

Request for Answer Clarification by qpet-ga on 10 Feb 2003 14:35 PST
Hi kriswrite, thank you for your answer. You covered a lot of ground,
however I would be interested in the impact of the experience on
individuals lives.(are there any studies or research on the effect of
the "born again" experience on peoples lives? How long does the effect

Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 10 Feb 2003 16:27 PST
Let me make sure I understand your clarification before I proceed:

You are asking how long the affects (as described) last?
And how being born again affects someone's life?

Am I right? Also, are you only interested in scientific studies (which
I suspect may be very difficult, if not impossible, to uncover), or
would you accept anecdotal evidence?

qpet-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: born again
From: pinkfreud-ga on 09 Feb 2003 20:03 PST
As a person who has been "born again," I would like to say that this
state of being, very much like the experience of falling in love, may
be summed up by materialists in physiological, scientific terms; yet
such descriptions always fall short, since the experience itself (from
the standpoint of those who have undergone it) transcends flesh and
blood and bone, and is thus ineffable and not fully describable.

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