In an American Anthropologist article (Metakinesis: How God Becomes Intimate in Contemporary Christianity) (2010) Tanya Luhrmann highlights ways in which the body can play an integral part in creating conviction for modern day Evangelical Christians. In order to experience God in a personal, intimate way, believers may “identify… the presence of God (in) the body’s responses” through “the absorbed state we call “trance”” and general “bodily and emotional experiences.” From comments made during services at an Evangelical church, a study was conducted into whether or not somatic experiences (goose-bumps, tingles/prickling sensations, heat, etc.) could create conviction in the minds of believers. Interviews were conducted with fourteen attendees of Crossroads Christian Church in Elma, NY. It was found that ten out of fourteen individuals described one or more somatic experiences as a personal source of conviction for them. The importance of such things in creating a general sense of conviction varied. For three individuals, a somatic experience was their first evidence of the truth of Christianity. This research extends Lurhmann’s conclusions in showing that even physiological reactions of the human body may play a role in creating a general sense of a higher reality in Evangelical circles.
"Somatic Experiences and the Source of Religious Conviction,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2011, Article 26.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2011/iss1/26