Monday, August 04, 2008

The Atheists who cannot learn

A major philospher and friend of Brut Russell, Loren, makes these comments on the comment section in response to "Meaning and Truth."


Shouting "It's not a hallucination! It's not a hallucination! It's not a hallucination!" is a very bad argument, as is your waving away the serious epistemological problem that Bertrand Russell, Mark Vuletic, and I have tried to consider.

And becoming happy by believing something in no way indicates its truth. You could become very happy by believing that none of your miseries are any of your fault, blaming many of them on various conspiracies, but would your happiness indicate your faultlessness?



This is a hackney tactic of trying to hide the phenomena by re describing in ways the obscure what's important about it. I say RE results in "life transformation" she purposely reduces this to "getting happy" becasue the atheist can't face the facts or the truth that hundreds of studies demonstrate the superior nature of religious life.
What I'm talking about is mystical experience, not getting happy. You can get happy when you have a bowl of soup and good sandwich. I'm talking about something that totally changes your live, removes your fear of death, increases your socio us consciousness, makes you into a totally giving person, can cure you of heroin and other drugs (14%) gives your life meaning so that you feel its totally worthwhile to live. I know many atheists wallow in despair you know I'm right. not all of them, course not. But many do. studies prove that religous people have less mental illness, less depression, better sense of self actualization.

she wants to reduce this "getting happy" because it's the only thing she can say. She does not have one single counter study. not one single study shows different.



Religious experience indicative of good mental health

The “new atheists” put forth the notion that all of religion itself is a form of mental illness. This is the impression many love to cultivate. There is no basis for it in the data whatsoever. The effects are varied but over the entire range of research they spell out a healthy well-adjusted whole person. The qualities mentioned in the research over and over again include: less dogmatic, less authoritarian, more socially conscious, are about people, happy, healthy, successful, self aware, self assured, find life meaningful, enjoy their work, strong ego, strong sense of self, more self actualized. All the studies mentioned to this point back this up. Mathes, Maslow, Wuthnow, Greely, Luckoff and Lue, Noble, Hood and all others mentioned. I will include a list at the end of this chapter, and a select bibliography in the indices cataloguing the studies that find mystical experience to have long-term positive effects. These are the characteristics of self-actualization.
Religious People are More Self Actualized

This is the finding of a vast body of work. Some studies show that “Peakers” (those who experience “mystical experiences” what I’m calling “RE” in this essay) are more self actualized than those who do not have these experiences. But there are also studies that show that any inkling of religious experience carried some degree of the same advantages. Four hundred studies show that participation (as well as the nominal experiences) produces many benefits, among them less depression and better mental health.

Dr. Michael Nielson, Ph.D.

"What makes someone psychologically healthy? This was the question that guided Maslow's work. He saw too much emphasis in psychology on negative behavior and thought, and wanted to supplant it with a psychology of mental health. To this end, he developed a hierarchy of needs, ranging from lower level physiological needs, through love and belonging, to self- actualization. Self-actualized people are those who have reached their potential for self-development. Maslow claimed that mystics are more likely to be self-actualized than are other people. Mystics also are more likely to have had "peak experiences," experiences in which the person feels a sense of ecstasy and oneness with the universe. Although his hierarchy of needs sounds appealing, researchers have had difficulty finding support for his theory."


We turn once again to Jayne Gackenback


In terms of psychological correlates, well-being and happiness has been associated with mystical experiences,(Mathes, Zevon, Roter, Joerger, 1982; Hay & Morisy, 1978; Greeley, 1975; Alexander, Boyer, & Alexander, 1987) as well as self-actualization (Hood, 1977; Alexander, 1992). Regarding the latter, the developer of self-actualization believed that even one spontaneous peak or transcendental experience could promote self-actualization. Correlational research has supported this relationship. In a recent statistical meta-analysis of causal designs with Transcendental Meditation (TM) controlling for length of treatment and strength of study design, it was found that: TM enhances self-actualization on standard inventories significantly more than recent clinically devised relaxation/meditation procedures not explicitly directed toward transcendence [mystical experience] (p. 1; Alexander, 1992)
Believers: less depression, mental illness, Divorce rate, ect.

The study by Gartner and Allen indicates that religious belief is associated with good mental health, less depression and so on:
"The Reviews identified 10 areas of clinical status in which research has demonstrated benefits of religious commitment: (1) Depression, (2) Suicide, (3) Delinquency, (4) Mortality, (5) Alcohol use (6) Drug use, (7) Well-being, (8) Divorce and marital satisfaction, (9) Physical Health Status, and (10) Mental health outcome studies...The authors underscored the need for additional longitudinal studies featuring health outcomes. Although there were few, such studies tended to show mental health benefit. Similarly, in the case of the few longevity or mortality outcome studies, the benefit was in favor of those who attended church...at least 70% of the time, increased religious commitment was associated with improved coping and protection from problems."


This was based upon a review of social science studies. These were regular projects by social scientists published in the scholarly literature. All the researchers did was to read the literature and report the finds of these studies. In the past psychiatry has tended to assume what Freud assumed, that religion is pathology. This is no longer the case. The basic assumption in the mental health field today is that religion is positive, healthy, and a sign of functionality.
Long-Term Positive Effects of Mystical Experience


Research Summary

From Council on Spiritual Practices Website

"States of Univtive Consciousness"

Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness. Sources:

Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.

Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.
Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184.

Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.

Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Books.

Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. (Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)


Long-Term Positive Effects

Wuthnow:
*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
Meditate more
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style


Noble:

*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*intelligent, relaxed
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*integration, allocentrism,
*psychological maturity,
*self-acceptance, self-worth,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion


Short-Term Effects (usually people who did not previously know of these experiences)

*Experience temporarily disorienting, alarming, disruptive
*Likely changes in self and the world,
*space and time, emotional attitudes, cognitive styles, personalities, doubt sanity and reluctance to communicate, feel ordinary language is inadequate

*Some individuals report psychic capacities and visionary experience destabilizing relationships with family and friends Withdrawal, isolation, confusion, insecurity, self-doubt, depression, anxiety, panic, restlessness, grandiose religious delusions


Links to Maslow's Needs, Mental Health, and Peak Experiences When introducing entheogens to people, I find it's helpful to link them to other ideas people are familiar with. Here are three useful quotations. 1) Maslow - Beyond Self Actualization is Self Transcendence ``I should say that I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still `higher' Fourth Psychology, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest, going beyond humanness, identity, selfactualization and the like.''

Abraham Maslow (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being, Second edition, -- pages iii-iv.

Studies dealing with mystical experience (Peak experience or “RE”) itself also find that this kind of experience is also a major factor in well-being. Greely in 74, Hay and Morisy (1978) “people who reported having intense religious experiences were significantly more likely to report a high level of psychological well being than those who did not experience transcendence. Greely’s ‘mystics’ were also more likely to be optimistic than were his “non mystics” and less likely to be authoritarian or racist.” “Transcendent experience may well lead toward a permanent transformation of the psyche in the direction of wholeness and health, Maslow (1970) Owens (1972) Wapnick (1972).







2) States of consciousness and mystical experiences
The ego has problems:
the ego is a problem.
``Within the Western model we recognize and define psychosis as a suboptimal state of consciousness that views reality in a distorted way and does not recognize that distortion. It is therefore important to note that from the mystical perspective our usual state fits all the criteria of psychosis, being suboptimal, having a distorted view of reality, yet not recognizing that distortion. Indeed from the ultimate mystical perspective, psychosis can be defined as being trapped in, or attached to, any one state of consciousness, each of which by itself is necessarily limited and only relatively real.'' -- page 665


Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.


3) Therapeutic effects of peak experiences
``It is assumed that if, as is often said, one traumatic event can shape a life, one therapeutic event can reshape it. Psychedelic therapy has an analogue in Abraham Maslow's idea of the peak experience. The drug taker feels somehow allied to or merged with a higher power; he becomes convinced the self is part of a much larger pattern, and the sense of cleansing, release, and joy makes old woes seem trivial.'' -- page 132

Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Books.



Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integration. Unpublished paper by Jayne Gackenback, (1992)
http://www.sawka.com/spiritwatch/cehsc/ipure.htm

"These states of being also result in behavioral and health changes. Ludwig (1985) found that 14% of people claiming spontaneous remission from alcoholism was due to mystical experiences while Richards (1978) found with cancer patients treated in a hallucinogenic drug-assisted therapy who reported mystical experiences improved significantly more on a measure of self-actualization than those who also had the drug but did not have a mystical experience. In terms of the Vedic Psychology group they report a wide range of positive behavioral results from the practice of meditation and as outlined above go to great pains to show that it is the transcendence aspect of that practice that is primarily responsible for the changes. Thus improved performance in many areas of society have been reported including education and business as well as personal health states (reviewed and summarized in Alexander et al., 1990). Specifically, the Vedic Psychology group found that mystical experiences were associated with "refined sensory threshold and enhanced mind-body coordination (p. 115; Alexander et al., 1987)."


Studies have shown that religious satisfaction was the most powerful predictor of general happiness and acceptance of life. Prayer was also an important contributing factor. “As a result of their study the authors concluded that it would be important to look at a combination of religious items, including prayer, relationship with God, and other measures of religious experience to begin to adequately clarify the associations of religious commitment with general well-being."




Studies on religious participation



Psychiatrists assume religious experience Normative.

Dr. Jorge W.F. Amaro, Ph.D., Head psychology dept. Sao Paulo says that the unbeliever is the Sick Soul:

"A non spiritualized person is a sick person, even if she doesn't show any symptom described by traditional medicine. The supernatural and the sacredness result from an elaboration on the function of omnipotence by the mind and can be found both in atheist and religious people. It is an existential function in humankind and the uses each one makes of it will be the measure for one's understanding…." "Nowadays there are many who do not agree with the notion that religious behavior a priori implies a neurotic state to be decoded and eliminated by analysis (exorcism). That reductionism based on the first works by Freud is currently under review. The psychotherapist should be limited to observing the uses their clients make of the representations of the image of God in their subjective world, that is, the uses of the function of omnipotence. Among the several authors that subscribe to this position are Odilon de Mello Franco (12).... W. R. Bion (2), one of the most notable contemporary psychoanalysts,"



This relationship is so strong it led to the creation of a whole discipline in psychology; transactional psychology. The Transactional school is based upon the work of Abraham Maslow, who was the first modern researcher (since William James at the turn of the ninetieth into the twentieth century) to subject the outcomes of religious experience to modern social sciences research methods (late 60s to early 80s). Professor Neilson again:

"One outgrowth of Maslow's work is what has become known as Transpersonal Psychology, in which the focus is on the spiritual well-being of individuals, and values are advocated steadfastly. Transpersonal psychologists seek to blend Eastern religion (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) or Western (Christian, Jewish or Moslem) mysticism with a form of modern psychology. Frequently, the transpersonal psychologist rejects psychology's adoption of various scientific methods used in the natural sciences."


"The influence of the transpersonal movement remains small, but there is evidence that it is growing. I suspect that most psychologists would agree with Maslow that much of psychology -- including the psychology of religion -- needs an improved theoretical foundation."



There is a vast array of studies on other areas besides RE, studies that demonstrate the validity and advantage of participation in a religious tradition, or religious belief. This is not best evidence for the arguments because its not so much the trace of the divine as it effects and affects human life, but is a demonstration of the advantages of a belief. Nevertheless, because there is a link between belief, participation, and experience, especially if Maslow et al are right that we all experience God to some degree, we can assume that participation is a response to some degree of experience. So these studies are important for the religious a priori argument, and they serve as secondary back up for the co-determinate and Thomas Reid arguments.

Religion is positive factor in physical health.

Many studies confirm that religion is a powerful force in physical health. This is important because it seems that we are constructed as organisms to be religious. Religion seems good for us on many levels. I resist the urge to make a design argument, tempting though it is. Yet, the point is that religious experience is as trust worth as other forms of experience, in a general sense. One indication of that trustworthy nature is its healthy effect upon our bodies. Much has been said in the popular mainstream press, such as this Knight Ridder news release of 1998.

"Some suspect that the benefits of faith and churchgoing largely boil down to having social support � a factor that, by itself, has been shown to improve health. But the health effects of religion can't wholly be explained by social support. If, for example, you compare people who aren't religious with people who gather regularly for more secular reasons, the religious group is healthier. In Israel, studies comparing religious with secular kibbutzim showed the religious communes were healthier."Is this all a social effect you could get from going to the bridge club? It doesn't seem that way," said Koenig, who directs Duke's Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health.Another popular explanation for the link between religion and health is sin avoidance."

"The religious might be healthier because they are less likely to smoke, drink and engage in risky sex and more likely to wear seat belts. But when studies control for those factors, say by comparing religious nonsmokers with nonreligious nonsmokers, the religious factors still stand out. Compare smokers who are religious with those who are not and the churchgoing smokers have blood pressure as low as nonsmokers. "If you're a smoker, make sure you get your butt in church," said Larson, who conducted the smoking study."

Neilson:
Even when we control for smoking religious belief still comes out ahead.
The most important factor in well-being
Argyle and Hill were studying religious experience. Researchers, who have a large database, deal with a lot of people, tend to use simple one-factor measures to measure happiness. Those with small samples, few people, tend to use multiple measurements. The findings indicate that those who are involved in religion report greater levels of happiness than do those who are not. Neilson sites a study of over 16,000 people in Europe, 85% of weekly churchgoers were “very satisfied” with life, only 77% among those who never went to church. This does not even measure belief among non-churchgoers. Neilson sites studies by Argyle and Hills, Inglehart (1990, just mentioned) and he also sites his own study.




Atheists cannot make this go away by pretending it's just a matter of "getting happy." they can't pretend the facts aren't as they are. the research is there, it's proven. We can argue about the conclusions to be drawn, but to deny the facts is merely sticking your head in the sand. shame shame shame on you "free thinkers!" you can't face the facts.

21 comments:

Loren said...

That is an exceptionally careless approach to research. You don't do science by cherry-picking the literature. In the Beyond Belief 2006 conference, someone toward the end of it reviewed a lot of therapeutic-religiosity studies and found their methodology to be rather defective, like counting meditation as religious practice.

There are studies that suggest a negative correlation between religiosity and social health, comparing several nations. The more affluent and peaceful ones tend to be less religious.

And even within the US itself, the richer areas tend to be less religious than the poorer areas, and the higher the income, the less the religiosity. Low-income people tend to believe in an Authoritarian God, active and judgmental, while high-income people tend to believe in a Distant God who is neither -- when they believe in one at all.

As to "mystical" and "spiritual" experiences, they are an issue separate from most forms of formal religion, and I agree with Sam Harris that such experiences can be a useful form of psychological technology. And my favorite part of Richard Carrier's "From Taoist to Infidel" is where he described a great mystical experience that he had once had.

A Hermit said...

The problem with all of this is that nothing in the definition of "religious" you're using here requires the existence of a God. As I've argued in CADRE comments I have had what I would consider to be religious experiences; I take a view of the natural universe which is profoundly spiritual, moving and meaningful to me but I do not recognize anything in any of that which I would consider to be God (certainly not the Christian God of my youth.) I would like to think that my experience, having been positively life-transforming, is every bit as valid as that of any believer in God(s).

Loren's point is a valid one, whether we're talking about mere "happiness" or life transforming experiences the transformative effect of the experience is not dependant on the truth or existence of the belief or being (or Being, if you prefer)attached to that experience. Even Maslow, whom you like to quote, didn't equate "peak experience" with "experience of God."

And your list of studies is not the definitive, last word on the subject; there's much which is still not understood, and lots of work to do on this subject.

http://www.psych.uiuc.edu/~bhidalgo/litreview.htm

tinythinker said...

Some do. (learn, that is)

J.L. Hinman said...

I know. I'm talking about those who don't seem to be able to. I guess I should have entitled it "that segment of he atheist community which does not seem to learn."

J.L. Hinman said...

what you are talking about does not even apply to the studies I name. you are speaking "therapeutic" that is not the studies. Totally different kind of thing.

You have to have something more specific, you have to name the studies like I did.

the Zuckerman thing, which is what you refer to with the different countries is total bullshit. his entire theoretical approach is stupid and he lies about his data. I have a page on Doxa proving this.

I am going to put up a new post dealing the things you said here in great detail. I will give links to my criticisms of Zuckerman.

J.L. Hinman said...

The problem with all of this is that nothing in the definition of "religious" you're using here requires the existence of a God.

why is that a problem?

Is atheism a reilgion? If religion is jsutified atheism is nto justified even if God is not in the picture. Atheism is anti-religion.

But moreover the way I define God God is in the picture.





As I've argued in CADRE comments I have had what I would consider to be religious experiences; I take a view of the natural universe which is profoundly spiritual, moving and meaningful to me but I do not recognize anything in any of that which I would consider to be God (certainly not the Christian God of my youth.)


But I think you are deluded about the nature of God. I am sure you are deluded about the nature of spirit, but then in view most Chrsitians are as well.

Really in my book you are religious. You not an atheist.



I would like to think that my experience, having been positively life-transforming, is every bit as valid as that of any believer in God(s).

that's because it's really an experience of God.

Loren's point is a valid one, whether we're talking about mere "happiness" or life transforming experiences the transformative effect of the experience is not dependant on the truth or existence of the belief or being (or Being, if you prefer)attached to that experience.

Yes it is. What you said above indicates that you do reverse being itself, you just choose not to regard it as connected to the God of any religious tradition. That's fine. your refusal of religious tradition is your religious tradition.

What you said does not indicate any kid of detachment from nonrecognition of the special nature of Being itself.


Even Maslow, whom you like to quote, didn't equate "peak experience" with "experience of God."


Yes he did. But he equated experience of God with something more broad than belief in God. He went at it form the other end, (compared to me) but he did say we meet in the middle. The quote about "religious believer and atheist can go a long way together down the path."

I am not saying that it is not logically permissible for someone to plug these experinces into a framework that doesn't recognize God or an established religious tradition. But if you don't then I have to think that you are misunderstanding something somewhere, but that doesn't mean I'm invalidating your experince.

I am sure you will say the same for me, and that is totally fine.


And your list of studies is not the definitive, last word on the subject; there's much which is still not understood, and lots of work to do on this subject.

http://www.psych.uiuc.edu/~bhidalgo/litreview.htm


Of course! As with all good studies everyone of them ends with a call for further research.

A Hermit said...

"Really in my book you are religious. You not an atheist."

Yes Metacrock, I am an atheist. I think that theistic ideas actually demean and diminish reality; I don't accept your equation of "Being" with "God."

I'm just not the kind of atheist YOU were. But then I don't think most of us are...;-)

J.L. Hinman said...

theistic ideas actually demean and diminish reality;

that's a ground of Beingless claim.

I don't accept your equation of "Being" with "God."

demean? I've elevated being to the status of God, what more do you want? How am I demaning it?

A Hermit said...

"demean? I've elevated being to the status of God, what more do you want? How am I demaning it?"

From my point of view using the word "God", with all its attendant baggage and the way the term is understood by most people, creates a separation between us and our human experience of "being." The word itself suggests whole categories of attributes (consciouness, sentience, intention, direction, purposefulness, etc) which I haven't found any reason to believe exist outside of our naturally evolved humanity.

J.L. Hinman said...

From my point of view using the word "God", with all its attendant baggage and the way the term is understood by most people, creates a separation between us and our human experience of "being." The word itself suggests whole categories of attributes (consciouness, sentience, intention, direction, purposefulness, etc) which I haven't found any reason to believe exist outside of our naturally evolved humanity.

1:14 PM
Delete


we are not being itself. We are "the beings" like the forms and the particulars. Think of the ground of being as the forms, and the beings as the particulars. We do not create ourselves. you just have to face that fact.

You can face that you didn't give birth to yourself, why can't you face the fact you are a creature of somehting bigger than you?

we are not being itself, we are the beings, which are grounding in being.

A Hermit said...

"You can face that you didn't give birth to yourself, why can't you face the fact you are a creature of somehting bigger than you?"

I do; this is what I mean when I say we are little bits of the Universe looking back at itself. I just feel that calling that greater whole from which we emerge "God" diminishes the idea by attaching a whole lot of linguistic preconceptions to it. As soon as I start thinking of it as "God" I find myself beginning to attach certain attributes to it; attributes which I don't feel are actually warranted by my experience of of it.

It seems to me that our emergence as conscious beings is a natural process, not a designed or intentional one, but it is no less wondrous for being so. And I can feel that connection to the greater whole without needing to believe that it feels a connection to me, if that makes any sense.

J.L. Hinman said...

The universe did not create itself. If it did you still have find sone central concept to sum up the crative aspects. You are just using different terms for God. You don't like he term "God" because it conjures up images of oppression and legalism and what not, so you just call it "life," "nature," "the universe," "laws of psychics" or what have you.

It's still the Transcendental signifier. A Rose is a Rose is a Rose. God by another name is still just as divine.

Loren said...

I think that our Universe is uncreated. But even if was (say) created as someone's lab experiment, there is no good reason to believe that the creator(s) would have any special interest in us. In fact, I think that such entities are likely to be inaccessible to us.

J.L. Hinman said...

I think that our Universe is uncreated. But even if was (say) created as someone's lab experiment, there is no good reason to believe that the creator(s) would have any special interest in us. In fact, I think that such entities are likely to be inaccessible to us.

8:21 PM

sure as hell is. the pimrary core of all religous expeirnce is the overshealming sense of love of God. When you epxierce God's love as a palpable force you know is outside yourself and coming down into your heart, you know there's a God beyond question and you know he cares about you. That sort of thing is at the core of all RE.

there are also other reasons

(1) Lourdes miracles

(2) evdience for resurrection

(3) revelatory statments

(4) the commandmetns (the greatest is love)

and I can do more but that's enough for now.

Loren said...

You wrote:
the pimrary core of all religous expeirnce is the overshealming sense of love of God.

Me:
Except that most mystics don't experience any such thing. As Bertrand Russell pointed out, when they agree, they tend to conclude that Real Reality is One, Timeless, and Good, and that anything contrary is illusory. That, to me, suggests some sort of hallucination.

As to Lourdes, that place hasn't exactly made a lot of amputated limbs regrow, let alone put the medical profession out of business. Think of how car makers have put horse breeders out of business to see what I mean.

As to evidence for Jesus Christ's resurrection, is that something that you could watch and photograph from a time machine? I don't think that time machines are feasible, but time machines do make for good thought experiments.

And what "revelatory statements" and "commandments"?

Carl Sagan had been written to by many people claiming to be in contact with ET's, and he'd send them various messages to pass on.

Questions like "What's your simplest proof of Fermat's Last Theorem?" didn't get any answers, while questions like "Shall we be good?" did.

All the "religious revelations" I've ever heard of fall in the second category rather than the first one, "revelations" that could easily have come out of the "receivers'" imaginations.

J.L. Hinman said...

You wrote:
the pimrary core of all religous expeirnce is the overshealming sense of love of God.

Me:
Except that most mystics don't experience any such thing. As Bertrand Russell pointed out, when they agree, they tend to conclude that Real Reality is One, Timeless, and Good, and that anything contrary is illusory. That, to me, suggests some sort of hallucination.


I have a hundred studies that say he's wrong. Ruseell wrote that before any empirical studies had been done on religious experince. But notice the contradiction. he says they find reality to be "one, timeless and good." "good" might coincide with love, and in the actual data of the studies it does.

why do you find it illusory? because you haven't experienced and like a good little imperialist you think your experinces are the standard because you are "Objective." which you obviously are not.


As to Lourdes, that place hasn't exactly made a lot of amputated limbs regrow,

why is that the only miralce? when 4000 thousands cases of disease that could not be cured, go away overnight and medical experts cant' say why, but that doesnt' count cause they didn't grow a limb back.1 stupid! sutpid stupid!

I have given several exampels of limbs growing back, not from Lourds. but it's just idiotic to cease on that one thing.

(1) a book on resurrections in Africa (see my site my miracles page under protestant)the whole body grew back after the person was dead five years.

(2) two saints in middle ages are said to resort limbs, one was Saint Anthony the other I can't pronounce.



In real research terms that's called pre determined conclusion. you are just manipulating the standard so the get bar too high to pass.



let alone put the medical profession out of business. Think of how car makers have put horse breeders out of business to see what I mean.


why would you think God would want to put medical people out of business? typical atheist thining. you get your head out of your ass and start learning.

Christianity is totally other than you think.l you don't know jack shit what its' about. start learning.


As to evidence for Jesus Christ's resurrection, is that something that you could watch and photograph from a time machine?

Yea. the Dorctor and I went back and watched it. He kept the dalacks at bay while the angels moved the stone.


I don't think that time machines are feasible, but time machines do make for good thought experiments.


you don't know the Doctor. this was the old Tom Baker hetero Doctor who.

And what "revelatory statements" and "commandments"?

they are all damned instructive. that is such a cheesy criticism. God is not like father knows best, he's not like Andy Grifith so therefore he can't exist!

If heaven isn't like the Waltons I don't want to go there.

"good night Peter." "good night Jesus" "good night St. Teresa of Avila..."


Carl Sagan had been written to by many people claiming to be in contact with ET's, and he'd send them various messages to pass on.

Questions like "What's your simplest proof of Fermat's Last Theorem?" didn't get any answers, while questions like "Shall we be good?" did.


so what? I didn't' make any claims about ET! man that is classic straw man.

why can't atheists study logic? why can't you avoid making these elementary informal fallacies?


All the "religious revelations" I've ever heard of fall in the second category rather than the first one, "revelations" that could easily have come out of the "receivers'" imaginations.


the opporative term there is that they are the one's YOU have heard of. But then you don't read theology and you don't read the mystics, you don't read history, so what you know about it? nothing. your view is based upon attacking the atheist straw man that the sec web has set up.

Loren said...

Limbs regrowing is a sort of miracle that can easily be distinguished from a non-miracle.

Also, those accounts of modern-day resurrections have a strange shyness effect. Why don't they occur in the hospitals of First World countries? And why doesn't someone whose body had gotten dismembered get miraculously reassembled again?

J.L. Hinman said...

Limbs regrowing is a sort of miracle that can easily be distinguished from a non-miracle.

so can the healing of diseases that have no cure and do not remit, which happens a lot at Lourdes.

Also, those accounts of modern-day resurrections have a strange shyness effect. Why don't they occur in the hospitals of First World countries? And why doesn't someone whose body had gotten dismembered get miraculously reassembled again?


I don't know. but the little atheist claim "this never happens" is clearly wrong, because it is claimed to happen, maybe it does.

why doesn't it happen in the first world? Well if it did you wouldn't accept it. People in the 3d world have more faith becasue they are not jaded by skepticism.

Loren said...

You had earlier asked

why would you think God would want to put medical people out of business?

Why not? That's a very lame excuse for laziness.

And if there is a Heaven, then the medical profession will be out of business in it anyway.

Also, as to those numerous alleged Lourdes cures, where are the numerous controlled studies of them? And has the local medical profession gone out of business?

J.L. Hinman said...

You had earlier asked

why would you think God would want to put medical people out of business?

Why not? That's a very lame excuse for laziness.


what do you mean by "laziness?" You are assuming God is a big man. You think that healing is a direct intention of God to sure all sickness. right? But God is not a man in the sky. God doesn't sit round thinking so he doesn't have an intentionality like we do. So he doesn't say "O let me help all the sick people everywhere in the world." God is being itself. God is the basis of existence.

people are healed miraculously by faith, that's because fatih activates a healing process that is "written into" the fabric of what is.


And if there is a Heaven, then the medical profession will be out of business in it anyway.


Heaven is not a place like a big city in the sky with streets of Gold. Its' a state of being, you have to be dead to be in that state. So there's not much chance of getting sick, you are already dead so they don't need doctors. But we can really do that on earth because we are not dead, see?

Also, as to those numerous alleged Lourdes cures, where are the numerous controlled studies of them?

they are in the files of the committee. they also have an academic journal. But committee uses a strict standard of rules and medical experts. The evidence is tight, it's the best in the world concerning miracles.

you can't prove that God "works" like a drug in a field trail because it's not naturalistic medicine. It's not a drug field trail.


And has the local medical profession gone out of business?

they are not competing with them. why would they be? The purpose is not to heal all sick people, it's a sign. It's a sign like in the ancient world. It's a kind of thinking people use to have when they read books and stuff and thought for themselves instead of just letting scientists tell them what to think.

J.L. Hinman said...

I am going to re publish my piece on miracles so watch for it.