People who have experienced deeply spiritual moments or encounters with God went on to feel a greater sense of happiness and contentment decades later. The experience also led to thousands of atheists shedding that label, a new study found.
These profound religious experiences occurred either spontaneously or were induced by certain psychedelic substances. In both instances, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University noted lasting positive changes in the mental and psychological wellbeing of the individuals.
These findings are from a survey of thousands of people who reported having experienced personal encounters with God or the "ultimate reality."
Respondents were asked to complete one of two 50-minute online surveys about their most memorable encounter experience with the "God of their understanding," a "higher power," "ultimate reality" or "an aspect or representative of God, such as an angel." They were then asked how the experience changed their lives.
Based on these results, researchers found that about 75 percent of respondents rated their spiritual experience as the most meaningful and significant in their life time. This led to positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose and meaning.
Furthermore, at least two-thirds of self-proclaimed atheists said that they no longer identified with the label following their experience.
Researchers said these findings give weight to growing evidence that deeply meaningful experiences may have healing properties.
"Experiences that people describe as encounters with God or a representative of God have been reported for thousands of years, and they likely form the basis of many of the world's religions," said lead researcher Roland Griffiths.
"And although modern Western medicine doesn't typically consider 'spiritual' or 'religious' experiences as one of the tools in the arsenal against sickness, our findings suggest that these encounters often lead to improvements in mental health."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.