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!"
Well you might be aware that Cardiac Arrest patient's EEG usually flatlines around 10-20 seconds after cardiac arrest. No electrical pulses means flat EEG, so in that 10-20 second space a patient may still have brain function without a pulse, so they would be "clinically" dead and still retain brain function, that I will concede, but the EEG flatlines within seconds. This is proven by the fact that they do not even retain a gag reflex which is among the most basic of brain functions. Also the patients pupils are fixed and dilated.If there is no brain activity you cannot retain or create any memories. Once a person's brainwaves have ceased, indicating that all mental activity has stopped - perceiving, thinking, and remembering - how do we explain their accurate perception of events going on around their 'deceased' body (both sight and sound), and their accurate reporting of events taking place even at significant distances from their clinically-dead body? The dying brain theory has been very much debunked by cold hard medical facts. The reason Penrose would throw his weight behind such a phony quantum based theory is because this is a genuine mystery. If the debate was so simple then millions would't be spent on so much research. I personally am an undergraduate planning on going into the medical field and one of my professors, an agnostic by the way, has had access to some of the files of the massive forthcoming University of Florida study on NDE's and he says that from what they have discovered so far there is no correlation between religious belief and experience of NDE's. Of course the study isn't published yet so I cannot give you a link, sorry.
"Our most striking finding was that Near-Death Experiences do not have a physical or medical root. After all, 100 per cent of the patients suffered a shortage of oxygen, 100 per cent were given morphine-like medications, 100 per cent were victims of severe stress, so those are plainly not the reasons why 18 per cent had Near-Death Experiences and 82 per cent didn't. If they had been triggered by any one of those things, everyone would have had Near-Death Experiences." (Van Lommel 1995)
Plus Tracey, Dr. Parnia is still a skeptic and he is really trying hard to find a medical explanationhttp://www.skeptiko.com/sam-parnia-claims-near-death-experience-probably-an-illusion/
I think if you read the entire piece you will realize that that the title is a bit optimistic, anyway he also makes a slight mistake, he said that aristotle and plato and different views on the soul, they did not really, the greek philosopher and pseudoscientist Epicurus was the one who said that the soul was a product of bodily functions and it died along with the body. CPR in a way does restart the brain. The brain cannot function without a steady stream of oxygenated blood, the CPR provides that blood and restores brain function when there previously was none.
NDE is a bit of a misnomer, if their EEG is flat and they have no pulse, the're dead.
The DMT theory is being thrown around, as it the CO2 theory, but neither of them are really being taken that seriously. I am not saying that there is no possible way a natural process can account for these NDE's but as of today there is none.
Check out Dr. Kenneth RIng's study with people who are born blind having NDE where they can see.
Also read up on John Eccles, a nobel prize winning neurophysiologist and devout theist, catholic by the way.
Strict Materialism and Religious Fundamentalism are two sides of the same coin guys, at least keep an open mind.
Hi John Baptiste,
I have read the original paper as reported in the Lancet and it seems that Dr Parnia is doing nothing short of quote-mining....to serve their own purpose...
Seriously, ANYONE who says...." I started out as a sceptic"...is much like the beginnings of near EVERY Penthouse Forum story...starting with ..." I never believed these stories were true until.... MY experience...."
Again, cardiac arrest is NOT BRAINDEAD. CPR does NOT jumpstart the brain again, but the HEART.
As well as Dr Parnia stated, there are "key" features in those who've had NDE (THE NEAR is "key" here...they AIN'T DEAD).... is that over 72% of those claiming to have had NDE either have religious affiliation OR have heard of what an "NDE is "like" prior to having one themselves.
As such, all this really "proves" is the unconscious mind has the capacity to bring forth stored information. It related ZERO to any afterlife scenario. If the "findings showed that EVERYONE having been through the trauma and associated clinical death and subsequent CPR... then there WOULD be conclusive evidence. In the Study though he originally cited FROM the Lancet, there were 344 cardiac patients involved and of those.. only 62 actually had this "nde" experience...whether in assumed" core form or more superficial.Less than 20% had NDE.. as I said shows more about information they have stored, due to religious beliefs and indoctrination.
So...yeah.. cheers to you too.