I have a single, simple question for you. It may at first seem frivolous, but I assure you that I am dead serious and consider its implications profound and its answers revelatory of the Christian mindset.
If I believed in a compassionate, all-powerful God who answers prayers, I would pray every day for Him to eradicate all human disease.
My question is predicated on the a priori assumption that you do not do this.
My only question for you is: WHY NOT?
Just remember the head is always right.
I have to say this and it comes from a place of no condition on my part. Whether you have changed your status as to what you identify, is irrelevant to me. The only one it really should be relevant to is you. I am not out to convert to you "my" way of thinking. I am however showing you a perspective that you before did not realise WAS there. Unlike KOrsan to whom you replied, I do not agree that the "mind" IS the right thing, as the thoughts as to Gods and things like gods, are developed in the mind. As such, for me at least, the mind is NOT always "right". All it is is a shit load of conflicting information, you are obviously trying to juggle to find a "place" where you will be accepted.
All the things that we as humans, or ANY species for that matter just automatically DO are not dependent on thought. All these things that we DON'T have to think about are the only things we ALL really have in common.
As such, I have learned to trust my core "being" rather than my mind or my "heart". Others opinions of who I am, are now irrelevant to me. I appreciate I am at a different place to others in my life and that is something I understand completely... hey ...even the atheist "sub-set" I deal with tell me that they think I am weird. *shrug*.. I just say you think to much and listen little. lol
What ever you choose to trust of yourself though...mind, heart...whatever...again...is your journey and I hope that my comments did not come off as any "in your face" critique of you personally. It was not my intention at all.:)
Here's how things would be if god wasn't invisible...
Just to recap a point from an earlier post:
I am an agnostic because I have no Knowledge as to whether or not a specific god exists.
I am an Atheist because I my lack belief in any god.
I am an Agnostic Atheist because I do not believe in any gods because I have no knowledge or evidence for their existence. No faith is required to hold this position.
Quick thought: If we say – as most believers do – that their god has a plan for them and that everything that happens to us is part of this plan. Whether we understand Gods mind is not important as He alone knows the reason why things happen. Therefore why pray? Surely prayer is asking your god to change his plans? Should Theists not desist from constantly imploring him to change his mind?
As a former member of your ranks I retain a certain affection for your persistant inquiry. That is something that is lost among the majority of believers. Anyway as to our imperfect world I think it can be justified in two ways. The first is absolute total freedom. The world we live in permits us to fend for ourselves, disease can be eradicated without explicit divine intervention. Smallpox, once the scourge of europe and the americas, now exists only in laboratories. Many other diseases have been eradicated any many will soon follow suit. As horrid as a world is with malignant microbes is, I feel hope in the fact that we, really only 450 years or so practicing science, have gone to great lengths in combatting them. The human race is thus free to stand on its own. I think that the idea of mankind living perpetually in a sort of garden of eden may seem appealing, but upon further consideration it really is not. Man, fallen as the Christian knows, is not suited to live in such an environment. A once read a study on a tribe in africa, the efe that subsides entirely off the land, they do not have agriculture, or science, or written language,their extent of technology is a bow and arrow, they also have few predators and disease is not as much of a problem there as it is in the rift valley. They are unable to discover the great truths of our universe or reap the benefits of modern technology because they were never forced to survive in spite of their environment. In a way disease led us to discover microbes and from that discovery microbiology was born. I think a proper prayer for a christian to utter in this regard is thus, Lord, please facilitate new discoveries and help us to improve our lives upon the wondrous planet you have given us. Unfortunately, many people see prayer as a celestial ATM. This is most likely do to the trash culture that we have.
The second part of the answer is the afterlife. Obviously I am aware that almost everyone on this site will see it has simply "the great fiction" But the persistence of similar NDE's at least sow a seed of doubt. Also the difficulty in explaining the origin of Christianity without the resurrection seems to suggest that there could be a life after death. Nietzsche in his work, the antichrist, postulated that St.Paul was the architect of Christianity as a whole, and he invented the resurrection and promised the afterlife to gullible low class citizens of the empire. Apart from the latter part of the statement being untrue, Christianity was embraced by the educated greeks after much effort by St.Paul, Nietzsche fails to adress the obvious, why would St. Paul bother? He knew that death would come and gained little materially, especially considering that he was a roman citizen and therefore a member of the privileged elite in Jerusalem. So if there is an afterlife then the imperfect nature of our world is totally justified. The only thing that matters in this life is our charitable works towards our less privileged brothers and sisters and our reaction to the many trail, tribulations, and injustices that torment our existence. The Christian can hope in a final justice. The trilemma of Epicurus(and Hume) is justified in the next life, not this one.
I think it is pretty strange to jump to a conclusion of an "afterlife" based on similarity of NDE's. What tends to be a common denominator IN NDE's is the patients all having hallucination, which is NOT possible if one is actually BRAIN DEAD.
Just wanted to point that out.
I did not say that one should jump to a conclusion, I merely said that it was something to consider, furthermore the NDE's that have been entered into the many studies published all must be in patients who had absolutely no brain function, they were in effect brain dead. This may arise from the fact that we do not yet fully understand consciousness. A study recently published suggests that consciousness may be a product of quantum mechanics,therefore it could be assumed that some residual consciousness remains after all brain activity ceases, but that was repudiated by fellow scientists, albiet not totally. So the question remains. Some MD on nbc said that his experience with NDE's led him to believe a couple of years ago.
It lacks a certain intellectual rigor to cite "some MD" and "numerous studies" and "a study recently published" but fail to specify which ones you mean.
Brain death is the irreversible cessation of all brain activity due to tissue necrosis. If these people woke up, they weren't brain dead. Besides, even if they truly did have "absolutely no brain function", there's no verifiable evidence that the NDE occurred at that moment, rather than before or after it.
We now have the technology and scientific knowledge to begin exploring the ultimate question,” says Dr Sam Parnia, leader of the research team at London’s Hammersmith Hospital. “To be honest, I started off as a sceptic but having weighed up all the evidence I now think that there is something going on.
Several scientific studies have suggested that the mind – or ‘soul’ - lives on after the body has died and the brain ceased to function. One study published in the prestigious Lancet medical journal found that one in ten cardiac arrest survivors experienced emotions, visions or lucid thoughts while they were clinically dead. In medical terms they were “flatliners” or unconscious with no signs of brain activity, pulse or breathing.
About one in four people who have a near-death experience also have a much more profound – and sometimes disturbing – experience such as watching doctors try and resuscitate their bodies. These ‘out-of-body experiences’ often include seeing a bright light, traveling down a tunnel, seeing their dead body from above, and meeting deceased relatives.
Dr Parnia has previously studied near-death experiences. Two years ago his work was published in the prestigious medical journal Resuscitation. Dr Parnia’s team rigorously interviewed 63 cardiac arrest patients and discovered that seven had memories of their brief period of ‘death’, although only four passed the Grayson scale, the strict medical criteria for assessing near-death experiences. These four recounted feelings of peace and joy, they lost awareness of their own bodies, time speeded up, they saw a bright light and entered another world, encountered a mystical being and faced a “point of no return”.
According to modern medicine all of these patients were effectively dead. Their brains had shut down and no thoughts or feelings were possible. There was certainly no possibility of the complex brain activity required for dreaming or hallucinating.
Dr Parnia’s initial trial was especially rigorous - he wanted to confound his critics before they could muster their arguments. To rule out the possibility that near-death experiences resulted from hallucinations after the brain had collapsed through lack of oxygen, he rigorously monitored the concentrations of the vital gas in the patients’ blood. Crucially, none of those who underwent the experiences had low levels of oxygen.
He was also able to rule out claims that unusual combinations of drugs were to blame because the resuscitation procedure was the same in every case, regardless of whether they had a near-death experience or not.
“Arch sceptics will always attack our work,” says Dr Parnia. “I’m content with that. That’s how science progresses. What is clear is that something profound is happening. The mind – the thing that is ‘you’ – your ‘soul’ if you will - carries on after conventional science says it should have drifted into nothingness.”
Dr Parnia says that every near-death experience is subtly different but that they all share eight or nine key features, whatever the nationality, culture or religion of the patient. These include intense feelings of calmness, traveling down a long dark tunnel, being drawn into an intense loving light, seeing your dead body from above, and meeting long-deceased relatives or friends. A few experience a brief form of ‘hell’ where they are drawn, petrified, into a dark swirling well of bitterness, hatred and fear.
Look it up, even if the tissue is viable, if there are no electrical pulses or synapsis, then there can be no consciousness.
As for the Quantum Mechanics theory here is a good article if you have any interest.
Still no links to your sources of information on NDE: not for the quoted text above and not for any of NDE studies. You'd think that would be easy, since they are so numerous.
Note that you've switched premises, backpedaling from 'brain death', to 'clinical death', to 'no electrical pulses'.
Clinical death means the heart and lungs stop. That's not brain death, and neither is a temporary cessation of brain function. The living brain tissue, normal oxygen levels, and return to consciousness ends the "debate" right there: none of the four people died.
Patient: "Doctor, I feel a little drowsy."
Quack: "Sweet Jesus! His brain is DEAD!!! Check his oxygen level, STAT!"