As long time readers know, I have been pushing a group of studies, which I have estimated to be about 200 (ball park) that prove the positive and transformative nature of religious experience. Most of these studies are not on the net. This fact has really drawn the ire of atheist mocking. I've put up with a lot of BS form athesit who are too lazy to look them up. They really talk like there's just no way in the world they can ever see them if I can't link to them, even though I got them and read them; it just take libaryr work which I guess lets them out. These are integral o many of the arguments I make for God, and also in response to charges that religion is bad for you.see list at bottom.
....This is why when one is found on line it's a big deal for me. Two of these studies I have now found on line, so it is a major thing. In fact of these sources is major in terms of my over all set of arguments. the more important of the two is a literature search by David Lukoff and G. Lu. It summarizes several (18-20) studies. It's not a study itself it's a literature search but it's important because it was the only one up to that time. This is an old source, done back in 1988. I'll just briefly look at the less important of he two first. This is an actual study, the point of which was add to the literature on incidence and to see if there was a significant portion of the inexpedience rate for harmful experiences. That's important and I don't mean to minimize the value of the study, and it is a real study. Meaning they did more than just search publications to summarize other people's work.
,,,,The study is "Psychotherapists Attitudes Toward Clients Reporting Mystical Experiences." Loraine S. Allman, et al.,Psychotherapy Volume 29 /Winter1992/ Number 4. Questoinaire mailed to 650 membrs of American Psychological Association, chosen at random, who were in full time practice. It was answered by 280 respondents. 4.5% reported mystical experiences among clients in a 12 month period. Very few of these reported the experiences as pathological. 50% of the therapists themselves had mystical experiences at some point in their lives. 4% doesn't sound like much but it's 4% of those who are going to shrinks. There reasons for going couldn't be rleated to pathology in the experinces becuase so few of them psychologists find the experiences are pathological.
....The second Study, the literature search: "Transpersonal Psychology Research Review Topic, Mystical Experience," by David Lukoff and G. Lu. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1988. Vol. 20. No.2.
...Let's look at a couple of examples:
FINNEY,J.&MALONEY,H. (1985).An empirical study ofcontemplative prayer as an adjunct to psychotherapy.Journal of Psychology and Theology,13(4), 284-90.Methods:The use of contemplative Christian prayer as anadjunct to psychotherapy was investigated ina time series quasi-experimental design in which each subjectserved as his orher own control. Six measures including the HoodMysticism Scale were administered to nine subjects who werein therapy.Findings:Circumstantial support that the use of contempla-tiveprayer is associatedwith an improvement in psycho-
This is so historic for me. We see one of Hood's early papers on the M Scale one of the early studies he conducted. This is done well before his three factor solution:therapy was obtained on one measure, but this research designcould not separate out the effects of psychotherapy alone fromtime alone. No association was found between the useof contemplative prayer and the Hood Mysticism Scale orthe other two measures of religiosity
....There are two major ways these studies back God arguments: (1) they demonstrate that the experiences fit the criteria we habitually use to determine the reality of our experiences: regular, consistent, shared, enable navigation in life. That last one is due to the transformational effects of the experiences; (2) the nature of the experiences themselves involve an understanding of life and the world such that the experience itself is what we should expect from the divine. By that I mean it's an experience of holiness, it often conveys a sense of God's presence such that the experience says "wow that is God." Or if not "God" at least "supreme being, sense of the numinous, sense of transcendent power." Even atheists who refuse to accept the connection to God and who have the experiences describes the same thins and relate to it the same way as believers.HOOD,R.(1977). Eliciting mysticalstates of consciousness with semistructurednature experiences. Journal/or the ScientificStudy of Religion,16(2), 155-63.Method:The author obtained permission to conduct a studyof students engaging in outdoor activities. Following a raft trip,rock climb and solo night in the wilderness (high stresscondition) and a canoe trip (low stresscondition), subjects wereimmediately administered the Hood (1975) Mysticism Scale. A"measure of anticipated stress was also administered just priorto engaging in the activities.Findings:The high stress condition produced significantlyhigher scores on the Mysticism Scale. The author concluded:"any factor which suddenly emerges or is recognized to point tothe 'limits' of everyday reality may suddenly serve as a trigger tomysticism. This is certainly likely in a stressful nature setting,non-stressfully anticipated."
....Skeptics most often argument that we can't prove an external cause. We actually can. (1) The universal nature of the experience. When the specific aspects of a given tradition are removed and the experience is taken on its own terms it is seen that the same experiences are being had all over the world in all times and cultures, they are just being explained differently according to the various traditions. (2) The other causalities can be eliminated and that's the only one left that makes sense. For example it makes no sense that such experiences would all be caused by some accident of brain chemistry yet it's always trans-formative and makes life dramatically better.
The Council on spiritual practices distills the benifits listed in two of the major studies and complies this list:
*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
*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
*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion
I urge the reader to click on the link and read through these studies. There are only about 30 pages (161-184). They are very interesting and this is a good into to the research. Yet from the research that is the case.
list of arguments where I use these studies:
Religious instinct (no 4) argument (especially page 2 where some of them are summarized)
Argument from co-determinate (aka "mystical experience") (no 7 on the list) "old no. 7."
Thomas Reid Argument, or from Epistemic judgement (Old No 8)