5/30/2003 | Share this article: View CommentsWhy do people experience religious visions? BBC Two's Horizon suggests that in some cases the cause may be a strange brain disorder. from BBC News
Controversial new research suggests that whether we believe in a God may not just be a matter of free will. Scientists now believe there may be physical differences in the brains of ardent believers.
Inspiration for this work has come from a group of patients who have a brain disorder called temporal lobe epilepsy. In a minority of patients, this condition induces bizarre religious hallucinations - something that patient Rudi Affolter has experienced vividly.
Despite the fact that he is a confirmed atheist, when he was 43, Rudi had a powerful religious vision which convinced him he had gone to hell.
"I was told that I had gone there because I had not been a devout Christian, a believer in God. I was very depressed at the thought that I was going to remain there forever."
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