The Psychology of "Finding God"

Discussion in 'Science and the Universe' started by Tao_Equus, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Hi Sally :)

    First off I would like to make it quite clear that I think everyone is insane, I am not biased in that regard. And I am relatively more insane than many!! It is not about sanity and this is one of the reasons I started this thread. In a sense my belief is that we are all fumbling in the dark and some of us choose the candle of faith and some the torch or reason to help light the way.

    As some might recall I came to CR searching for some deeply personal answers to my own sense of spirituality. Like Ruby doing his degree what I found is a bunch of committed theists with lots of huff and puff...but not one answer. Ruby puts it so well about Christianity I will quote him : "A deity that promised two millenia ago "I will return before this generation passes away" and has not returned yet, and who says "I will never leave nor forsake thee" and has never been present in times of need, and who promises, "Ask and it shall be given thee" but has yet to answer a prayer, probably does not exist. That is just one little part of it, but it's a start." And the same is true for all faiths. They are heavy on rules and promises but non-existant when it comes to delivery. The only good that ever came out of religion is in the acts of living people who did good because that was their nature. Religion had nothing to do with it. That they claimed to be guided by their faith I believe to be an error, they were simply following their own inate nature. If there were no religions these people would not cease to exist. And I for one prefer to have faith in the real and obsevable aspect of human spirit rather than some amorphous ethereal deity and "its" promises delivered by the power hungry. Further I think religions hinder this aspect of the human spirit. Putting the big things in "the hands of God" is an abdication of personal responsibility. Judgement in the afterlife is the biggest cop-out of all. Lets do nothing as God will do it for us after he's dead gives impunity to every tin-pot dictator that ever lived. There is no afterlife. Post mortem judgement is one of the most obvious lies of religion and its purpose is absolutely crystal clear to me. But it is such a powerful soma to those that fear death, which is very naturally most of us. We need a fix of hope and its delivered, but we ignore the price it comes at. If we all truly accepted death meant death we would, in my opinion, do a lot more to make our short lives a lot better.

    Religions are very old lies that have evolved into monsters of ill reason. Cynical atheists, like me, that are power hungry, unlike me, have filled the cloisters and corriders of the churches for millenia. A short unbiased look at the lives of so many individuals that rose to the top shows a noble lineage of psychopaths and greedy hypocrits. There is no doubt in my mind that most who rise to the top in any religion do not believe a word of it. It is a career and nothing else. So we have a bunch of non-believers leading the flock, milking them for all they are worth. All the real power of the flock is subverted and diverted into thinking crap when they could be doing something about changing their and everybodies lives for the better. The cash robbery is vast, but it pales into insignificance compared to the robbery of dignity and reason.

    I am not an atheist because I cannot see what theists say they see. I am an atheist because I can see and I can see it for what it really is. We do have a "Godspot", we are prone to believing in irrational notions. Yes me too. But I know it is irrational because if it was anything but irrational then we would have by now seen more than the ZERO evidence we have. Its that simple. Individual stories cannot and never will count as evidence and without exception every claim that someone can prove something has been debunked. From deliberate fake bleeding madonas to appiritions of Vishnu, all are frauds. And if we are honest, we knew already they would be.


    This is not my response to my own OP by the way. Just a little reply.


    Good to see you posting Sally :)


    tao
     
  2. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Ruby,

    superb post on the Dawkins site. I especially loved this and would like to say that it is my own thought too:

    Even so, I tend to say--mostly for the sake of religious bystanders and doubters--that the peace, liberty, and joy of atheism allows me to live in such a way that if God exists and if there is an afterlife, God can't deny me admittance to heaven.

    tao
     
  3. earl

    earl ?

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    Hi Ruby. the materialist reductionism is, of course, to reduce all phenomena occuring in the mind and the mind itself to simple biology. The more typical reductionism is to reduce consciousness to brain function only, (too much data from the NDE literature to suggest consciousness is limited only to brain function). So, while it might be scientific "fun" to figure out what areas of the brain are involved in mystical experiences, I'm afraid it will in and of itself never definitively resolve once and forever great (meta) physical questions. More interesting to me is the commonality of experiences across religious belief systems at times, suggestive of a greater reality that the various religions are individually groping toward from their own idiosyncratic perspectives. Of course, those prediposed to believe will continue to believe and those predisposed to disbelieve will likewise do so. earl
    Neurotheology: Are We Hardwired for God? - Psychiatric Times

    Tao, you do "religiously" hold to your atheism.:D
     
  4. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Again, good points all. But what does that leave us with? The crux of the matter comes down to...an opinion. Or perhaps more accurately, "multiple opinions" based on multiple people expressing them.

    God, can not be proven nor disproven, because there is no tangilble evidence either way. To those who have never seen God, he doesn't exist. To those who have seen God, he can't but exist.

    And no amount of debate for or against can sway either party either way, other than as they see things.

    That is the puzzle that has to be solved. :eek:
     
  5. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin Well-Known Member

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    That statement could be made only by a person who has chosen to disregard the evidence. In my opinion, the hard sciences are the worst possible approach to the topic of god because "god" is not a substance. In my experience, the social sciences hold the key--cultural anthropology and social and behavioural psychology have produced much important information. I would call it evidence. Why do you disregard the evidence I produce in my several posts on the RDF thread? There are three or four posts in all.

    Tao, thank you.
     
  6. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin Well-Known Member

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    Earl, I don't know what materialist reductionism is but it sounds sinister. However, if you think I am reducing the mystical feeling or numinous to something materialistic you must have failed to understand what you were reading. Feel free to ask for clarification.

    However, I am thinking just because we understand the details of how the tongue or eye allow us to have marvelous experiences of taste or sight, the experiences themselves are in no way reduced to mere materialism. Likewise, we have this organ in the brain that allows us to have marvelous experiences of the human spirit, and understanding how it works hardly forces us to reduce it to materialism.

    I personally find it just as easy to disconnect myself from the scientific analysis to just enjoy it in the moment as I do the contributions to my life of the eye and tongue. I would expect others to be much the same, given that all of us are (I presume) human.
     
  7. earl

    earl ?

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    Ruby, perhaps I misunderstood your exact intent with that-if so pardon me, (I think it was Tao's responding to your post with predictable poo-pooing of anything remotely resembling "spirituality" that threw me off the mark;):D). earl
     
  8. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    And if you think I poo poo anything remotely spiritual then you fail to get me. Maybe my writing is terrible? I absolutely believe in the spiritual experience. Its just that I am pretty confident it is a trick of the brain and that it developed as a combined function of our social evolution and our ability to "think outside of personal experience", which is key to mans success as a species.

    tao
     
  9. earl

    earl ?

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    The "trick of the brain" bit is of course what I was referring to in my response to Ruby about materialistic reductionism when it comes to explaining the experiences. earl
     
  10. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    And materialistic reductionism is the "trick of words" that theists attempt to "invoke" to dodge "hard" truths.

    tao
     
  11. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin Well-Known Member

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    The "trick of the brain" vs the "trick of words." Hmmm. Both can be interesting. Earl, I think Tao said very nice things about my posts in this thread and on the other forum. I appreciated it. Maybe you missed where I said so in Post 65. I'm not trying to be tricky; just simple and straightforward.
     
  12. earl

    earl ?

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    Ruby, I'm glad Tao said nice things about your post. Tao, my point is we'll never be able to ultimately prove anything with brain research other that how the brain functions, however fascinating that is.:) earl
     
  13. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    I absolutely disagree with the implication if not the specifics of that statement as you present it. Clever but deceptive. Study of brain function has already proven God to be a figment of mans imagination. But like children we are reluctant to face some truths. Others have a vested interest in denying such truths. Such interests do not have to be 'corporate' but can also be highly stylised self belief systems. And I am getting tired of people thinking I do not know what belief is or means. The irony of me being the one called blinkered is not lost on me.


    tao
     
  14. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin Well-Known Member

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    Depends what you mean by "prove." I think the very fact that this organ or whatever exists and that it functions to produce exactly what humans have since the beginning of recorded history described as god suggests to a very large extent that it may be the link between "god" and humans. The fact that there are more religious people among epileptic patients than in the population at large also figures large into the equation.

    People who don't want to believe always find reasons for their unbelief.
     
  15. earl

    earl ?

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    Tao, scientific research of any kind including brain research will never prove or disprove any metaphysical claims. I could of course link you to all kinds of evidence relative to a similar discussion as to whether consciosness/mind is simply and only a matter of neurons firing-i.e. brain creates mind vs. mind as quasi-independent of brain. But, as I said earlier, no evidence will affect those who are heavily predisposed to a certain view. earl
     
  16. earl

    earl ?

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    Those who choose to believe that the capacity of the brain to respond "spiritually" indicates there is a corresponding "reality" to which they are responding do make that leap. But as Tao's reaction suggests, those on either side of the "belief" equation will attempt to use the same research findings to establish their conclusions. earl
     
  17. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Yup....you said it!!

    tao
     
  18. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin Well-Known Member

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    I see you found reason for your unbelief, as I predicted.

    You couldn't see were it not for the eye. You couldn't taste were it not for the tongue. You couldn't smell were it not for the nose. Nor could you have spiritual experiences were it not for the god spot on your brain.

    That you try to push the responsibility for your own spiritual feelings off into the universe only shows the extent to which you have chosen to reject the evidence.

    I don't know about Tao. I know about myself. I had this wierd intuitive hunch one day a few years ago that it would make sense that god began and ended in the human psyche but I really hadn't a clue how it was supposed to work. Then I came across an article that supported my view. However, the article was ten years old. It was terribly exciting and I believed it tentatively. But was it true???

    You, earl, seem to reject it out of hand because it does not jibe with your previously-held beliefs and for no other reason. That's childish. Finally, a year after finding the article, I heard others talking about it. That's when I found out that the research was on-going. I also understand that it has not been repeated successfully by anyone else, and therefore it does not yet have the status of scientific fact.

    You, however, reject it just because, and won't reconsider for those same reasons. As stated, with slight adaptation: People who don't want to believe can always find justification for their unbelief.
     
  19. earl

    earl ?

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    Ruby, what is my "disbelief?" I think it's pretty obvious to most here what side of the belief equation I'd come down on.:) earl
     
  20. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin Well-Known Member

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    "Belief equation." If you mean "religious belief," then you seem to be right up there with the best of them. But when it comes to believing the evidence of certain new scientific investigation you seem to be very skeptical and an unbeliever in the real sense of the word.

    For your information, I very seldom use the term "unbeliever" with reference to atheists and agnostics because most of us believe in a lot of very important things. The only thing we don't believe in is supernatural beings and events. I think you are atheist, too, with regard to most gods. I just go one god further--or three, depending on whether or not the Christian Trinity is considered one or three gods.

    Hope that clears up the confusion.
     

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