What is religious experience for? Why is it a part of our human evolution and biology? The religious scholar and author of the book God: A Human History, Reza Aslan, says in the video below:
“The truth of the matter is we just don’t know. But what is a fact is that there is something in the way that our brains work that compel us to believe that we are more than just the sum of our material parts. That thing is either an echo or an accident or it’s deliberate and purposeful and which you decide is purely a matter of choice because there is no proof either way.”
I perceive that Aslan is correct in many ways, that we don’t know (in our rational, intellectual, logical minds) why religious experience exists. There is no proof for it that we can know of rationally speaking, no tests we can do that will explain it fully.
Aslan gives many good “either-or” ideas for why it exists, which I think are more likely “both-and” ideas.
But ultimately I think the only way of truly knowing why it exists is to experience that way of knowing for one’s self, in the deepest and most direct sense of coming to know God directly. Those who engage in directly knowing God (pick your school of mysticism) come to know in the experiential intuitive sense these whys. It becomes quite clear.
The best way I can describe it is that one comes to know their very own Self at the deepest, most profound, and most foundational level, the very bottom ground of one’s very own Being, and this has Cosmic significance and implications in one’s life and for life in general.
Here’s the video of Reza Aslan: