Going through Google, I have identified the following unique cases from the first five pages of results returned:
12 - 7 with God in the lead, and I’ll note that Satanic Cults in Russia sounds pretty likely to be made up, so I’d really put it at 12 - 6.
But so in either case you’ll notice that schizophrenia is a word that pops up fairly regularly in these articles. Schizophrenia has an epidemiology of about 0.55%.
We also know that at least 99% of people do not naturally feel any sort of naturally occurring “spiritual oneness”. People who are raised in religion or out of religion, 99% of the time, go with the flow of the culture that they were brought up in. So, say 1% of people actually feel that they feel something spiritual. But so what percentage of people have such a minor case of schizophrenia that it doesn’t really affect their day to day life (i.e. would go entirely undiagnosed) beyond feelings of being touched or the vague sense of being talked to? I would say that it’s a given that there is going to be a sliding scale of levels of schizophrenia and you would generally expect that only a minority would have the most extreme kind, a larger percent medium strength, an even larger percent low strength, and so on. The idea that 1% of everyone has a level of schizophrenia too mild to diagnose by today’s standard when 0.55% are diagnosed strikes me as being fairly possible.
And of course it’s shown that schizophrenia can manifest itself as the word of God, Satan, Buddha and others.
And then of course there’s the God Helmet, the God Gene (which improperly regulates body chemistry such as dopamine), and then of course sometimes people just want to believe stuff and use attribute any vague feeling they had to some cosmic force.
In a world like this, how is one to separate between these and true religious experiences? I think everybody would agree that the murderers linked to above were simply insane, but how can you trust your own experience knowing that your own brain could just as easily have been as wacked out as that? Why, in a world where it can be shown that hearing the voice of God can perfectly equate to smashing your own child’s head in with a rock, would anyone trust their personal experience over what can be demonstrated rationally to impartial observers?