I came across the following by Derren Brown, and it is in fact part two of his “Fear and Faith” event that was broadcast in the UK last year. This is the part where he explores the biggest placebo there is … god.
It is interesting stuff, he starts out with a satanic rite and then builds up giving an atheist a religious experience, but takes us there slowly and explains the psychology that he is applying.
The Atheist in question is the most skeptical atheist that he can find, and so this illustrates how easy it is for people to be fooled and manipulated. Often when chatting with those that truly believe, they will exclaim, “Ah, but I know, I’ve had a deep religious experience“. The problem is that such subjective experiences simply cannot be trusted to be reliable, and this illustrates that point ever so well.
It is truly fascinating to watch how easily he can manipulate an atheist into a fake religious conversion … but worry not, he lets her down gently at the end and assures her that it was all psychology, and that nothing supernatural was going on.