This is in response to the previous post, where I discuss mystical experience and its effects upon those who experince it.Hermit makes the comment:
A Hermit said...
Thing is these effects aren't just confined to "thinking about God" but are present in all kinds of transcendent experience. I have real problem with the generalization of all such experiences as traces of something called "God". It seems to me that these kinds of experience (and I believe I've had them myself) are the result of our being able, however briefly, to drop the filters that usually keep us focused on our everyday existence perceive our actual position in the universe; to sense the infinite, or near infinite, nature of the universe in which we live. But that is not same as "God".
It's a bit veg as to which experinces he's talking about. Does he mean the initial experince that makes one consider "I have had a mystical experince?" Or does he mean the long term effects of having had a mystical experince? I am doubting the latter the trace of God and not the former. It's problematic as to whether or not to include the former as part of the "trace." Certainly when I first used the term "trace" I was thinking of Derrida and Derridian usage, and in that regard surely the immediate sensations would be part of the trace at least. The content is God oriented and that ties the experince to a sense that is an experience of God. But the real aspect that stands out as not naturalistic is the long term effects. There are ways to answer the physiology and chemical arguments concerning the immediate sensations, but in the long run they are not where the real proof lies. The real proof is in the long term effects, because none of them proposed alternatives (serotonin, other brain chemicals, mushrooms and the lot) can be demonstrated to produce the long term effects, that is apart from the context of RE. Now the Good Friday follow up makes it clear that there is a relationship between mushrooms and long term effects, but not apart from the context of RE. Those who did the mushrooms and had the long term effects were already mystics. That means it supports the theory of opening the receptors to God.
But that's not what I want to talk about. I have to use that to into the context of the comments I am concerned with. That's the context of the discussion and in that context there arose a mini discussion about the distinction between a view of God that is not based upon anthropomorphism vs. just observation of the natural world.If you don't have a view of God as "personal" but as a principle or impersonal force, how do you know the difference between the world as it is naturally without God and God?
they are actually talking about two different sets of experiences. The mystical doesn't come from just thinking about God at all. I have real problem with the generalization of all such experiences as traces of something called "God". It seems to me that these kinds of experience (and I believe I've had them myself) are the result of our being able, however briefly, to drop the filters that usually keep us focused on our everyday existence perceive our actual position in the universe; to sense the infinite, or near infinite, nature of the universe in which we live. But that is not same as "God".
In response I said:
Yes, it is exactly the same as God. you know my view includes much more than the idea of the big man in the sky or the big kign on the throne right?
those qualities are inherently what I mean when I say the word "God." that's what I'm talking about: eternal, necessary, ground of being.
read my TS argument again. you actually believe in God by my terms.
By "those qualities" I am referring to the sense of pervasive presence in RE, the sesne of eternal being, the basic realization of necessary eternal being.AS Hemrit put it:
to sense the infinite, or near infinite, nature of the universe in which we live.
He follows up by saying "that's not god." It's my contention that it is. Especially true of sensation of the infinite. That is the basis of understanding God as being itself. you sense some spacial quality in being that transcends the mundane, that's the sense of the numinous, that's the basic religious experince. What is going on there is my contention about the eternal and the infinite evoking the basis of religious experince, that means there is somewhere in that experince the trace of a valid object of religious concern. Tillich calls God "the object of ultimate concern." That's what is revealed in the sense of the numinous, and that's exactly what Hermit is describing. He is actually as much as stating that he believes in God, if by God one understands Tillich's concept that I defend. Of course Hermit can't have that and repudiates it. Now to be clear, I am saying that since the religious instinct is evoked (sense of the numinous) in the infinite then this gives us a valid object of religious devotion; ie God. This leads to further discussion that Hermit doesn't want to call it God. That strikes me as merely semantic becasue it fits my concept of God. That is to say, this talk of transcending the fetters of the mundane and sensing the infinite, as well the association of mystical experince with qualities that make up the sense of the numinous evokes my concept of God. Thus how can I refrain from thinking of it as God? Well Hermit doesn't accept the same concept. We are talking things we both apparently sense, he just wants to label it differently than I and to approach it and respond to it differently. So even though that may be a huge chasm, that "difference" in our approaches, but it's still a unified sense that we are not that far apart. Thus, I told Hermit "you actually believe in God by my terms." I think that may have been an exaggeration, but he is nearing the prospect. In response he said:
"No, I believe in a natural, impersonal universe. I believe that's completely awe inspiring, and calling it "God" it's the first step in an anthropomorphizing process which, for me, actually diminishes it."
right there is where I said:
that's just semantics. How can the term "God" be anthropomorphic when it can applied to the Hegelian dialectic or the Platonic forms or a billion "incidents" of process?
That last bit is a reference to the deep dark secret of process theology,that God is really defined as "a society of occasions."
you have merely limited your view of God as a matter of semantics.
J.L. Hinman said...
I think that such experiences of oneness are pure hallucination.
and your bigoted opinion is empirically disproved. do you hear me? science has disproved that. 350 studies show it is not hallucination. you see? it's disproved. science disproves it.However, I think that such hallucinations can permanently rewire some parts of our brains, thus producing "transformative effects".
that's a contradiction in terms if that's ture that proves God is doing it because is no otehr example in anyting anywhere where that happens. transformative effects do not resul form metnal deterioration. Hallucinaiton is usualy caused by pathology.
pathology can't produce good psotive long term effects. It does not. it never does. no other case. There are lots of aspects of our psyches that are falling to the onslaughts of brain research, and it will be interesting to see how that turns out.
the brain research guys don't study religious experince. that was the whole point of my post.
why don't atheists ever read? What A Hermit was experiencing seems rather close to Plotinus's One, which is beyond all description -- and which lacks personality and is eternally fixed. That entity "creates" timelessly; the Universe is emanations from it.
"personality" is a blind alley. no verse in the Bilbe says God has "personality." that is beside the point.
God = Planto's one! All aseity is assiety. It also seems like Richard Carrier's "Vulcan mind meld with God", a doozy of a mystical experience, in http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/testimonials/carrier.html
Carrier is a pretencious idiot. that doesn't make the studies go away. you are just flying in the face of scientific evidence.
Athiests love science until it disproves their hate, then they ignore it.
Metacrock, you ought to try to look past your pet theological beliefs and stop reading them into others' beliefs. I try to do that myself; I recognize that Democritus's atoms are far from quantum-field-theory particles.
That is certainly an unfair and not well thought out statement. I am clearly moving beyond the limitations of a purely Christian view point and including all religions and all traditions, but that is not enough! It wont be enough until I totally throw all belief. Clearly that is just ideology talking. One who is more conversant with the conversation of Western thought, especially theology, would see this.
A Hermit said...
"that' jut semantics. How can the term "God" be anthropomorphic when it can applie to the Hegelian dialectic or the Plantoinc forms or a billion "incidents" of process?
you have merely limited your view of God as a matter of semantics."Aren't you the one who says you have a "personal relationship" with a God who takes an active and interventionist interest in your affairs? Do you not identify this God with the person of Jesus Christ?
Hermit and/or Loren:
Explain to me how you aren't anthropomorphizing when you do that.
It should be obvious that it's not anthropomorphic, unless you don't know what the words means.I am constantly saying "not a guy in the sky." I say "not A being." God is not a being. I say God is not possessed of personality. How is any of that anthropomorphic? you think the slightest trace of consciousness and will is anthropomorphic but I have constantly said that we can't recogizne God's conscoiusness as such becuase it would be such a higher form.
I think it's absurdly absurd for you to charge that linking Plato's one with the Christian God and Brahman and all the other God concepts in the world is anthropomorphizing or imposing the Christian God on everyone. That's just stupid. Sorry to be blunt bu that's one of the dumber moves I've seen. I think that shows how neither of you ever really think about what I say. I find that typical of atheism.
Anyone who has followed my blog as long as Hermit has should know that my view is that of Paul Tillich God is not a being but being itself. Not a bit anthropomorphic. God is the basis of reality and the aspect of being that grounds reality. "He" is an aspect of being, the ground of being, the basis of it. We only say "He" as an convention in the first place. That's the very opposite of your criticisms. Jesus is a different deal. Jesus is the incorporation of God into the form of a man, not the coming to earth of a man-like God or his he God in a man suit. He's the unique transmogrification of God into the nature of human being.