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7/03/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Is there free will in Christianity?

Posted by aspirin99



The other day, I was trying to recall what it was that started me down the path of free thinking (which ultimately resulted in my leaving Christianity). One thing that did it was my realization that hell could not be real. This video summarizes how I came to this conclusion. It compares the doctrines of free will and eternal punishment, and concludes that they cannot coexist.

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66 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great video. I'm forwarding it to all my christian 'friends' !
Are there any more ?

Kenny said...

It's my first of such videos, but I hope to create more. If you are interested in see future videos, you might consider subscribing to my YouTube video linked here. Otherwise, I will submit all new videos here as well, if the webmaster sees fit to post them. Thanks.

Kenny

Huey said...

I have been amused that Christians think that you have free will but god has a plan for you, and of course, you cannot go against the will of god. My last girlfriend, a Christian, used to argue this with me.

Kenny, I also think it was a great video and I look forward to seeing more!

jfraysse said...

Exactly! Great Video! Amen, Brother!

Anonymous said...

Most fundies believe that god can do as he wishes.He does not need to be worshiped,but wants it for his own pleasure seeking.

He allows us to choose torment over praising him for eternity.As crazy and sadistic as this is,they could care less what true free-will means.(Great video,that's going on my myspace),...freedy.

lynnaelovespete said...

The notion of free will is just as ridiculous as prayer. With prayer, a Christian is supposed to bring their requests unto God, but they are expected to say, "but only if it's in Your will". WTF! Why pray at all? What's the point? Same with the free will. It's nonsensical.

On the otherhand, if you're a Calvinist, the notion of freewill is a moot point, because as far as their concerned, we are all predestined one way or another: one for glory and one for wrath. If I were to ever return to the fold (purely hypothetical), I would be a Calvinist. That way, I could relieve myself of the stress of having to make a choice, and God could just make it for me

Nvrgoingbk said...

The notion of free will is just as pointless to a Christian as prayer.

In prayer, a Christian is encouraged to bring their requests to God. They are promised that anything that they ask for in the name of Christ shall be given to them, but when that doesn't happen, they are told it is because it was not in God's will that they have what they asked for. WTF! Why pray at all?

Calvinists have it the best, I think. They don't worry themselves with such trivial matters. As far as they are concerned, God already chose each one's fate from the beginning. That takes the responsibility off of them. If I were ever to return to the fold, I'd become a Calvinist.

Buddy Ferris said...

Nice job on the video; clever, apropos in our culture. Were you actually told such things, or was that perhaps just a summary observation.

I've heard that such dialog actually happens, but haven't run across it personally. I have heard the issue presented in the form of a father's admonition to his child to stay out of the street. It's more understandable that way, but then it wouldn't make much of a video.

Buddy

Anonymous said...

Good, succint expression of the fallacy of the free-will argument. I think Freedy is correct when he observes that fundies will not care a whit for the logical inconsistencies expressed in this video. Basic human psychology: we want to believe what we want to believe. Also, contrary to the hopeful position of most freethinkers, humans are not inherently logical in their thinking. I hope for a day when the foolishness of religion is seen by all, but I don't think such a day will ever come to pass.

Brian

.:webmaster:. said...

Yes, Buddy.

I've preached that idiotic analogous story too.

Let's see, it goes something like this: "A loving father is standing on the tree lawn, crying, pleading and begging his child to come out of the street before the oncoming semi crushes him or her. The child ignores the loving warnings of the loving father. The father could easily reach out and rescue the child, but wants to preserve the child's free will so does nothing. The child is hit by the semi, thrown 100 feet into the yard, where his or her bruised and broken body lies in a mangled heap. The loving father picks up the ruined child, and roughly hauls the fruit of his body into the basement, where he revives the child to life and tortures the child inhumanly for having spurned the lovingly given advice about playing in the street.

Remember, children, God loves you more than you can ever comprehend, but if you don't love HIM back, he is going to make sure you regret it for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever, without possibility for mercy or parole. And the reason HE has ordained this? Because HE loves you.

Kenny said...

Someone on Digg comments tried to make the analogy that I was drowning, and God had his hand out reached for me. All I had to do was choose to take his hand.

I said, in order for that analogy to be equivalent, it would have to have been God who pushed me in the water and if I didn't take his hand, I would burn forever in a lava pit that he put under me.

boomSLANG said...

Right Kenny. Also, 'ever notice that whenever a Theist attempts to make any kind of analogy that relates their alleged all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, all-benevolent "God" to human experiences, that it falls flat on it's face? There's a good reason for that.

Buddy Ferris said...

Free will within the Christian frame of reference? Of course.

To paraphrase anonymous, people believe what they want to believe. You'll notice it your general inclination to oppose those who hold a different point of view. You are perfectly free to limit debate to your personal interpretation of the evidence. Should I suggest that your depiction is imbalanced, I would be surprised if there weren't more responses of the same type. Although difficult to admit, most of us are honestly aware of their bias affecting both their lives and their words. Dealing with emotion-charged subjects is difficult to do with objectivity and without the implied condescension.

Buddy

boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris: Dealing with emotion-charged subjects is difficult to do with objectivity and without the implied condescension.

Dear Buddy,

Christianity "implies" that it "knows" ALL the answers to life's greatest questions; it claims a monopoly on the absolute Universal "Truth". It doesn't get more "condecending" than that, IMO. Moreover, yes, emotions sure do get "charged"..... possibly, because Christians can't substantiate either the former, or the latter, above claims(?) 'Just a hunch.

Buddy Ferris: You are perfectly free to limit debate to your personal interpretation of the evidence.

Which evidence do you mean?

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear boomslang,

Well stated. Many who profess belief add the suffix, "and the rest of you are just plain wrong and are going to hell!"

That's a bit much for me. I'm sure you've been harangued with 'His way or HELL' conversations, but I hope nothing I've said suggested such a bleak reality.

Quoting us both here for continuity, Buddy Ferris: You are perfectly free to limit debate to your personal interpretation of the evidence.

And your response:
Which evidence do you mean?

Pick whatever topic you like. What do you consider to be science's greatest contribution to the disproof of Christian belief?

Hope your weekend is pleasant,
Buddy

boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris: Pick whatever topic you like. What do you consider to be science's greatest contribution to the disproof of Christian belief?

Buddy? Come on, now....we've been over this umpteen times.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Hi Buddy,

What do you consider to be science's greatest contribution to the disproof of Christian belief?

Science does not have as its purpose the disproof of religion. What it does is gather data and interpret it so as to find the best possible explanation available for whatever phenomena are being studied. That this evidence in a majority of cases happens to conflict with certain doctrines of faith regarding the same or similar phenomena is incidental.

For an extremely simplistic (and perhaps facetious) example, studies of biology (and simple observation) have overwhelmingly demonstrated that humans have a limited lifespan and, as a rule, don't return to life once bodily functions have ceased. Not once in the history of science has there been a confirmed case of an individual having been resurrected. Yet Christianity claims that one individual - Jesus - was. This would be a truly remarkable departure from natural law, and therefore requires at least some reliable, empirical evidence that it has happened before it can be considered to have upset the presently accepted version of how things work in that department. Unfortunately, the extent of the evidence is a book full of similar fancies written during a time well-known for its mysticism and supernaturalism.

To put it more succinctly, the claim that someone defied natural law by returning to life after having unequivocally suffered death is an extraordinary claim. Since extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and there is a dearth of such evidence in support of this claim, we can safely dismiss it as fiction.

In the above example, science hasn't 'disproven' anything, really. All it did was explain the normative cycle of life and death. Similar circumstances can be demonstrated for other areas of study.

The point is then, that science's "greatest contribution" is simply what it has contributed to our body of knowledge. Nothing more, nothing less.

Buddy Ferris said...

Good morning, J. C.,

Well stated, and calmly, thank you very much.

As a rule, we do die permanently.

If someone were to return to life after having been dead, we call it a near-death (never dead) experience. Near-death experiences are generally not tabulated on the resurrection list since function returns before deterioration advances significantly. We dismiss the accounts of things experienced as imaginary, even when the account includes description of events unavailable to the body in question. There is no shortage of such accounts, documented, attested by doctors. Inadequate for the scientist, of course. We refer to the occasional out-of-body experience as unexplained psychic phenomena. Another way to account for the soul without sounding like we're endorsing long-held religious beliefs.

There are few adequately supported accounts of resurrection after a number of days. The pastor in Nigeria, the young girl in Africa (Ghana?) dead four days who smelled of decay for some time after she was raised. More such, but never enough science for the skeptics.

When doctors move past the current limitations to resuscitation, we will restate our definition of near-death to accommodate the change. We'll not credit that such things happened in the past in response to specific prayer.

You've said well that science does not have the purpose of disproving religion. Science observes, theorizes, describes, tests, and concludes, and we all usually benefit. Not counting, of course, artificial sweeteners, Thalidomide, and Semtex.

It might be said that a scientist's great difficulty with resurrection is that the scientist can't duplicate the event to their satisfaction and has a certain amount of difficulty examining the event when it happens.

So, I'll agree. As a rule, we die permanently as a function of biology and the observed finite lifespan. Allow me to disagree with your reservations on resurrection from the dead. It happens all the time. Perhaps science will give us the ability to bring back life after longer periods and after more deterioration. Then it won't be a miracle any more. Will that make what was done in the past without the help of science less miraculous? Or will it make it more understandable?

The blind see, the lame walk, the dead are raised. Big deal. That's how the world will handle the issue.

Forgive me for quoting the bible on this forum, but Jesus said pretty emphatically that even when someone returned from the dead to tell them about heaven and hell, they wouldn't believe.

If I've inadequately address the issue, I apologize. I make no intellectual claims. I'm a boring engineer by profession, not an apologist.

Again, thanks for the reasoned response. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to talk with reasonable people who hold a perspective other than my own.

A convention would be enjoyable; I'd attend.

Buddy Ferris

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy said: "There are few adequately supported accounts of resurrection after a number of days. The pastor in Nigeria, the young girl in Africa (Ghana?) dead four days who smelled of decay for some time after she was raised. More such, but never enough science for the "

Buddy, let's not forget the story of Lazarus, the kid Peter raised from the dead, the kid Jesus raised from the dead, and all those zombies that got up and walked aroudn Jerusalem for a day or two about the time of the crucification.

And what about the urban legend about the guy in China who was beat to death and raised from the dead? Didn't know about that one? That was one floating about pulpits about 15 years ago. It really got the faithful going and praising God. Unfortunately, there was never any real details to the story or any way to actually verify the story. Funny how that works.

Oh, and the guy who rose from the dead when his dead body was thrown on the bones of Elisha? (Or was it Elijah?)

Seems like people are popping up out of the ground all over the place, if you just look for it.

Serliously Buddy, if you can't tell the difference between a much embellished legendary story from actual facts, how can your employer trust you with making sound decisions rooted in reality? I highly suggest you get some help.

David Hume showed "that people have a tendency to want to believe fantastic and interesting stories of miracles whether they have good evidence or not, that stories often get exaggerated, that claims about miracles are often made by people who have much to gain, and - the most powerful point of all - that you would expect miracles to occur in this day and age as well as in earlier times, accounts of miracles come disproportionately from primitive, old, distant and pre-scientific societies. Finally, he points out that all the different religions - Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and so on - have miracles to back them up, and that these miracles contradict each other, effectively canceling out. All these points show how much more likely it is that any account of a miracle is mistaken or a lie." -- LINK

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,
It does make you wonder doesn't it.

My reference was more specifically to modern near-death experiences (NDE) as a class of events (1) involving individuals and their recounting of the event, (2) the medical death and resuscitation events, and (3) the language that we use to talk about them.

In modern language use, people aren't raised from the dead, they're resuscitated. They didn't die, they were near death. They were fortunate that deterioration of brain cells was minimized due to ..... and so on. As our insight into the phenomenon increases and as our medical ability improves, we'll adapt our language to accommodate the facts as though they were new. We'll not suggest such things were seen and reported in antiquity.

Buddy

Dave8 said...

Wow, Buddy, you sure get around, and chalking up frequent flyer miles...

So, about these NDE things, what do you consider in this sequence of biological events to be "almost" dead... I mean, I started dying the day I was born...

I am nearer to death, than I was when I started this post...

Surely, you have some axiom to work from, no? Buddy, you seem to have more time than I to throw out verbiage, but at least mine is founded in logic... can you frame a boundary for truth for us, thanks.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dave8,
It's probably just an old fashioned attempt at manners. Someone politely continues a conversation and leaves you with a question, well there you are.

Boundaries for the truth about death? I wasn't attempting to define a standard or threshold so much as noting our advances in medicine and the subsequent rethinking required.

Consider the first drowning victim whose heart and breathing had stopped, and who was later resuscitated; they were dead by the definition available at the time. CPR interrupted the process, and they were alive again. After awhile, we modified our definition and verbiage.

Coma patients artificially supported after cessation of brain activity may be declared brain-dead following a series of several tests. Earlier cases had surprising recoveries before the criteria was established at it's current standard.

Have we finally understood the process of death with certainty? Have we established the total biological process? Is there more yet to discover? We'll have to ask the doctors. Meanwhile, our casual dismissal of historical accounts is a bit cavalier. We prefer to ascribe to myth what we can't explain to our satisfaction.

What if the account of Jesus raising the young girl were possible on the grounds of near-death? Did such things happen? Doubters prefer not. Thus the assertion that no one has ever been restored to life, having been dead.

The thought line isn't intended to prove the point so much as to point to the intellectually questionable dismissal out of hand on the basis of preference rather than science. I've never seen it, therefore I don't believe it; it doesn't work every time; that sort of thing.

Does an historical narrative describe events adequately for a scientist? frequently not; the scientist is required to duplicate the event, and if unable to do so will dismiss the account.

I notice that I'm well off subject for the thread. I'll leave it at that.

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy said: "There are few adequately supported accounts of resurrection after a number of days. The pastor in Nigeria, the young girl in Africa (Ghana?) dead four days who smelled of decay for some time after she was raised. More such, but never enough science for the skeptics."

Buddy, these stories are urban legends. That is, unless you have some corroborating facts, figures, documentation... you know, evidence that clearly supports these interesting stories?

Unless I've misread you, you are saying THESE stories are adequately supported stories. And that skeptics will doubt them even with loads of "scientific evidence."

I'd love to review the scientific evidence for these two events: documentation, dates, figures, doctor reports, something... Please give the benefit of the doubt on this. Surely just dismissing out of hand anyone's ability to reasonably analyze your evidence is impolite, is it not?

How about this reworking of your statements:

The thought line is to point to the intellectually questionable dismissal out of hand on the basis of preference rather than science. I've never seen it, but because it fits my religious belief structure, therefore I believe it . Science has little meaning for the religious believer.

Buddy Ferris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Buddy Ferris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Buddy Ferris said...

I keep having problems inserting a usable link. I'll get it figured out eventually.

Meanwhile,
Can we begin by agreeing with a sliding definition of death over the last century?

Buddy

boomSLANG said...


Can we begin by agreeing with a sliding definition of death over the last century?


Huh? won't a "sliding" definiton just leave room for equivocation, and/or, ambiguity?

How about this, how 'bout once the patient has flat-lined; is clinically pronounced "dead"; whose body is sent to pathology; whose chest cavity is cracked open; whose cranium is SAWED off; whose vital organs are weighed, and stuffed back in; whose body is sewn back up, and shipped to the morgue?....i.e.."DEATH"

Will that work for everyone? If everyone agrees, then when someone is "resusitated" or "resurrected", or whatever the %$#@ you'd like to call it---when they "show up at dinner" after having been through ALL of the above, AND it's documented? Call me...we'll talk.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Hi Buddy,

As for NDE, I'm not familiar enough with the phenomenon to write intelligently about it, but I suspect that it might be explained through psychological or neurophysiological means. Experiences having similar characteristics, for example, can be reproduced artificially. Out-of-body Experiences (OBE) and mystical or spiritual experiences have been reproduced by artificially stimulating certain parts of the brain. More importantly, all of the primary characteristics identified as those associated with NDE can be artificially reproduced by the use of ketamine to block receptors in the brain. This seems to suggest a neurophysiological origin. But I'm now venturing beyond my depth as I haven't read enough of the available materials. You can read more about the reproduction of NDEs here. Besides, as you've said an NDE is not in the same category as resurrection.

There are few adequately supported accounts of resurrection after a number of days. The pastor in Nigeria, the young girl in Africa (Ghana?) dead four days who smelled of decay for some time after she was raised. More such, but never enough science for the skeptics.

I assume that the Nigerian case to which you are referring is that of Daniel Ekechukwu. Without getting further off-topic, the circumstances of this case are questionable enough to give anyone pause. I'm not familiar with the other case you mention, but I suspect that the circumstances surrounding that case are similarly dubious. In any event, we agree that there is "never enough science," though I suggest there could be. In fact, if there were just a bit more (as opposed to anecdotes), some of us skeptical thinkers might be forced to rethink our position. The point being that it is not a question of dismissing such accounts out-of-hand, as your remark seems to suggest. Rather, it is a question of insufficient corroboration. My question for you is, can you give a reason why accounts like these should be accepted solely on the basis of witness testimony? Don't remarkable events call for something more than this?

Meanwhile, our casual dismissal of historical accounts is a bit cavalier. We prefer to ascribe to myth what we can't explain to our satisfaction.

You really think so? We're talking about the difference between stories that originated during a time when supernatural explanations constituted the bulk of our knowledge store vs. modern times in which most of that knowledge store has been superceded and replaced by superior information. By that I mean higher quality evidence. Are you perhaps suggesting that we should provisionally accept such stories as factual in all their supernatural particulars without considering how they square with conventional scientific wisdom? If so, we must first assume that such stories describe actual events, in which case we have to deal with the fact that there are, in many instances, sufficient grounds for skepticism purely on the basis of their origin. This is not to say that they're worthy of dismissal out-of-hand. Only that it's worth considering the source as well as the content.

You ask "What if the account of Jesus raising the young girl were possible on the grounds of near-death?" I submit that, even if I were to accept such an explanation (and I have no reason to reject it), this does not make the account less of a myth. This is because there could very well be a naturalistic explanation for the event (based on a possible natural explanation for NDE), assuming it transpired more-or-less as described. It follows that if there is a naturalistic explanation, then the account is mythic because of its supernatural elements. Without these elements, what then? We are left with the story of an itinerant Rabbi who was perhaps more perceptive than others, who was by turns both compassionate yet unyielding in his self-righteousness - and who was only human. Would this be acceptable to most believers? I suspect not. The meme of Christianity is far too ingrained in our cultural consciousness to succumb that easily.

From another angle, we may find out that these events happen all the time, as you seem to have implied. However, I personally feel that if such things are commonplace, then they are not the result of supernatural forces. By definition, a miracle is something that breaks natural law, and is exceedingly rare. As soon as something allegedly supernatural is found to be a part of the natural - that is, it breaks no natural laws - by definition it ceases to be supernatural.

The blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk on visibly changed legs and feet. Deformities undone. You can lump all that stuff into delusion and wishful thinking or the power of suggestion as I did until I witnessed it personally.

This is really remarkable! Why is it that these things always happen (successfully) when there is no one around with the tools and/or know-how to study them properly? Equally stunning to me is your remark that follows: "I don't know that it forms a large part of my personal belief system..." You've claimed to have witnessed miraculous healings, yet you don't count miracles as a major part of your personal belief system!? Please help me here, because I've got a major case of cognitive dissonance over your apparently contradictory statements. That you qualified the latter statement with "...since I've not yet been the one raised from the dead" isn't really very helpful (though it is revealing in other ways). Perhaps it's just my subjective recall of my own Christian experience that fuels my incredulity over your statement that miracles aren't a major part of your belief system. Such a thing would've been unthinkable to me back then.

To the author of the original post:

I forgot to mention that I do like the video. The free will argument is always fun. :)

boomSLANG said...

The blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk on visibly changed legs and feet.

Call me when the amputee walks on visibly regenerated legs and feet.

Please include before and after shots(respectively, of course. lol)

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy, you are, I hope, kidding.

For those who don't know, Mahesh Chavda is part of the Modern Apostles and Prophets movement, viewed by many as one of the modern Apostles. Chavda is active in the Toronto Blessing movement and other manifestations of the so-called Third Wave of the Charismatic renewal. Originally from India, he is now an American citizen.

Even when I called myself a Christian, I considered these guys to be clowns. God is doing a new thing? God is raining showers of gold? Really? I thought Zeus was the golden shower guy?! Golden showers might get some people all excited, but that kind of thing turns me off completely.

Seriously, you do realize it's all chicanery, don't you?

When dead are raised and lame walk and all that, why don't doctors ever testify to it? Why is it only Charis-magick nut-jobs that are telling the stories? Your friend published his own book telling his own story and sold to his own followers. That, Buddy, is not documentation of any weight. Where are the doctor's reports? Where are the medical confirmations? And as was asked above, where are the amputees with regrown limbs?

There are a lot of maimed soldiers coming back from Iraq. Why won't god heal ANY of them? Why is it your god only heals ignorant peasants in obscure locations, or only heals invisible ailments?

As I said, Buddy, even when I was a die-hard Christian, evangelizing in Japan, I thought these guys were shysters. And, I was in the homes of these guys too. It's all smoke and mirrors, Buddy. You'll find out, if you look a little closer.

However, this does help me understand why you so easily came to the conclusion you'd seen an angel or two.

You and Marc, who has ceased posting lately, have more in common than you realize. He was overwhelming convinced that Mary was magically appearing to various people at various times and his faith was greatly confirmed by those mystical events.

Maybe if I get taken up into heaven like your rajah, or Mahesh, or whatever, I'll have a different opinion. But since I don't do hashish, or heroin, or any other drugs, I don't think I'll be having and visions any time soon.

.:webmaster:. said...

For those interested in getting a little more of an idea of where Buddy's thought processes are coming from, CLICK HERE.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Boomslang, et al.,

Of course a sliding definition of death leaves room for equivocation. That's my point.

I watched a fellow drown. The several of us took a few minutes to find him; it was a deep natural pool. When we got him to shore, he was cold, no pulse, no respiration. We began CPR immediately. At that point, was he dead?

When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, we'd of said yes, the poor fellow is dead. Then, forty years ago, rescue and resuscitation techniques changed. So did our definition of death.

The fellow didn't recover, in spite of our best efforts. The ambulance team took over our efforts and took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. If he had recovered anywhere along the way, he'd have been labeled as not having died.

If such a recovery had happened as recently as 300 years ago, someone unfamiliar with the science would have labeled the event a resurrection.

The fact that you can describe a physiological process provides help in understanding, but it isn't comprehensive.

I offered the NDE discussion to illustrate our adaptive language. We prefer not to have people die and return to life without good explanation. In examining the event, we discover the physiological elements of the process and determine that science can reproduce those elements. At that point, we're satisfied we know everything we need. What insufferable arrogance! (OK, you get to throw a fit now and then; that was mine.)

To stop when science is satisfied is to stop short of reasonableness. When science approaches the unknown, it often is satisfied to say, "I don't know, it's a bit of a mystery, but I'm sure it wasn't a miracle."

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,
Clever diversion. Care to add some context to it?
Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

Diversion? What diversion?
Context? I even added a video link to the rajah's "testimony." You can't get much more context than that.

boomSLANG said...

B.F.: Of course a sliding definition of death leaves room for equivocation. That's my point.

That's your point, is it? Oh, okay, so then you're essentially asking, "can we begin" by "equivocating"?

No, thanks.

Buddy, I noticed that for some reason you didn't address the rest of my post, which offered some non-"sliding" criteria for "dead". I asked if we could use the person who, once they are clinically pronounced "dead", are then sent to pathology for all the standard operating procedures..i.e.. chest cavity cracked open, cranium sawed off, vital organs weighed and stuffed back in, etc., etc., for the criteria of what it means to be "dead". Well?

B.F.: I watched a fellow drown. The several of us took a few minutes to find him; it was a deep natural pool. When we got him to shore, he was cold, no pulse, no respiration. We began CPR immediately. At that point, was he dead?

'Sounds like it. Poor guy. Although, he likely suffered irreparable brain damage even if you and your friends could've managed to "resurrect" him. His "soul" may have been damaged, irreparably, so it's maybe better that he passed. Right? Wait..what am I saying? It was God's will that he die. Of course.

B.F.: When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, we'd of said yes, the poor fellow is dead. Then, forty years ago, rescue and resuscitation techniques changed. So did our definition of death.

Yes, yes, Buddy....you're harping on "definitions" again. Okay, let's really convolute the issue---why is it then, that the word "dead" is even in your vocabulary, if no one ever really dies? When you're at Sunday "school" and someone says that so-and-so died, do they say, "Hey Buddy, did you hear old-man Crabapple is physiologically dead???"

See?..does this help the discussion? No. So again, can "dead" be the conditions/processes I've offered above? "Yes", or "no"..and if not, why not? If "yes", then why is it that there has never been one single documented case of a human being having been "resurrected", or "resuscitated", who has had their vital organs removed, weighed, stuffed back in? See...THAT would be a "miracle". I'll concede to you that a "resuscitation" may have appeared to be a "miracle" back in the Bronze ages, but new information says otherwise. New information..i.e science.

B.F.: The fact that you can describe a physiological process provides help in understanding, but it isn't comprehensive.

Take a look at the criteria I put forth. Is that comprehensive enough, at least for the sake of this discussion? I think so.

B.F: I offered the NDE discussion to illustrate our adaptive language. We prefer not to have people die and return to life without good explanation.

Good grief, do you hear how ridiculously nonchalant you sound about this?..like it's an every-day occurrence. Nonetheless, should we accept "bad" explanations? How about when a Muslim claims Allah brought their child back to life after a near-drowning incident? I'll bet Buddy Ferris calls that a "baaaaad" explanation, doesn't he? Well?

B.F: At that point, we're satisfied we know everything we need. What insufferable arrogance

Again, strangely, science is "bad" when it limits the fantastic superstitious claims of Christianity, but science is "good" when it supports Christianity. Anyone besides me see the blatant double-standard?

B.F: When science approaches the unknown, it often is satisfied to say, "I don't know, it's a bit of a mystery, but I'm sure it wasn't a miracle."

When religion approaches the unknown, it's always satisfied to say, "I DO know, it's NOT a mystery, I'm SURE it was a 'miracle'!!!.....GOD DID IT!!!"

Amen!

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

As I've pointed out, I have real difficulty with spectacular presentations as are common with television religionists. My predisposition is much like yours, I suspect. I find them both irritating and lacking credibility.

I had a full blown reaction of disbelief to the stories I was told about Mahesh Chavda. They were just too bizarre for my mind to assimilate or accept.

Then I met the man, and through a mutual acquaintance, became a friend of the family. We've spent time together over the years and I've heard some of the fantastic accounts first hand. Early on, I discounted the majority of the tales on grounds you would find familiar. Laughing crowds, gold colored specks drifting in the air, prophetic commentary, and the like.

Eventually, I had occasion to be around for a few unreasonable events. Having witnessed the unreasonable first-hand, I'm inclined to make room for an explanation that science has yet to reach.

I still wince at the showy stuff associated with Mahesh's ministry. Perhaps my upbringing was formal and dignified to the point that it puts me off when things become too informal, too casual. Perhaps it's a matter of taste. I am, however, unable to find fault with the man or his ministry beyond the matter of our different tastes. He is honest, straight-forward, and credible. I've been close enough to look for and note the absence of deception, gimmick, or mass hysteria.

For example, in one meeting, Mahesh approached a lady in the crowd and said, "God says, I saw you plucking that duck." She was astounded, and through tears explained that on a recent day, discouraged, alone, and plucking a duck, she had asked God in frustration if he could see her anymore.

Mahesh explained later that he had felt foolish when he approached the lady, to the point that he had asked God if He was sure that's what he wanted him to say.

Now I know you have no reasonable category for such things. Chicanery or unexplained psychic phenomenon, perhaps. As I have explained elsewhere, I don't base anything on such occurrences, nor should anyone else.

The above isn't intended to persuade, but rather to point out the difficulties a reasonable person has with an exclusively rationalist ideology.

Buddy

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "At that point, we're satisfied we know everything we need. What insufferable arrogance! (OK, you get to throw a fit now and then; that was mine.)"

Science is the search into the mysteries of life and The Universe... I suppose when mystery no longer compels a person to be curious or wondrous, will they no longer need a method for discovery...

I suppose the alternative, while living in a transformative (Heraclitus, flux of matter - transformative) Universe (singular), is to not be driven to grow more knowledgeable about a mystery one may encounter.

I surely have no compelling need to research your mental abstractions, or experiences that are mysterious to you... you have nothing to work from... other than "yourself" as the source of inquiry... and the "study" of you buddy, is a biological or psychological endeavor.

Science can as well, tell "you" what you "don't have", it isn't isolated to just telling you what you "do have". For instance Buddy, "you" have nothing to work from, except "you"... either from a causal beginning based on known natural laws, etc, or backwards from a physical piece of evidence that can be researched to find cause - regarding your mystery experience with what you abstractly label - angel.

Impermanence of matterial form at varying rates, and evolving language to more properly identify objects, events, things does not remove natural laws, force(s), etc.

Notice Buddy, that with evidence, one can lable there entity, in the "past" and "present"... if we must wait until the future to see a new mystery by which to give an abstract label to; then was it "ever" really what was suggested in the "past" or "present"? No.

So, if you are holding out for more knowledge in the future to better acquaint yourself with those mysteries, etc... how do you plan to "search"? Science or some other form of discovery method, I mean, your method would have to be consistently utilized with some rigor in order to ensure you are not missing things, right?

If you are planning on just sitting around waiting for something to present itself, that's fine... but you must admit, you have nothing to truthfully say to anyone else about "what" you are waiting for; nor any "details" of what you are waiting for... I mean, if your expectation is to truly be a mystery that reveals itself.

It would be "arrogant" to suggest one knows what they are looking for, if in the context of pure mystery, right?

Dave8

freethinker05 said...

Dear Buddy, I'm at a lost, as in when this guy mahesh?, ask the lady was she "plucking a duck". Does than mean she was preparing it to cook, or as in having sex with it? Up until now your post have been somewhat in the most of understanding to me,(even as having a low education), so could you help me out and clarify the meaning of the lady and the duck?, Thanks, Roger......p.s. sorry, but i'm LMAO

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "The above isn't intended to persuade, but rather to point out the difficulties a reasonable person has with an exclusively rationalist ideology."

So... the implication, that rationalists can't experience mystery in their lives? Bzzzz, wrong, been there, done that, still continue to have bizarre moments in life...

However, I will not accept anything less than I am linked to this "One" Universe, rationally, and naturally, and that I have a central role in all actions as one who can influence and one who can be influenced.

Rationalism: "2. Philosophy. a. the doctrine that reason alone is a source of knowledge and is independent of experience."

Experience lends to collection of information, neural processing of information lends to abstraction of thought... and "reason" alone, is the ability to logically place the abstraction of thought, into proper context within "reality", lending a manner by which it can be expressed or "communicable" to others.

Rationalism "doesn't" limit experience as an independent factor in the learning process of life... it suggests that "knowledge" isn't "reasoned" to the point that its meaningful to others, and to oneself, until it has be "rationalized".

Rationalists don't necessarily "require" all experiences to be reasoned, it makes a distionction between experience and knowledge... and some just conclude there is no need to express an experience "until" it can be rationalized in a form that can logically expressed in unconflicted terms.

Dave8

boomSLANG said...

B.F: At that point, we're satisfied we know everything we need. What insufferable arrogance

Again, strangely, science is "bad" when it limits the fantastic superstitious claims of Christianity, but science is "good" when it "supports" Christianity.

'Got double-standards?

.:webmaster:. said...

BF, you said, "He is honest, straight-forward, and credible. I've been close enough to look for and note the absence of deception, gimmick, or mass hysteria.

Or, perhaps he's just very charismatic, persuasive, and genuine sounding. There are people like that you know. Some become president. I've probably voted for one or two myself.

BF, you said, "I'm inclined to make room for an explanation that science has yet to reach."

Then you followed up with, "I don't base anything on such occurrences, nor should anyone else."

So which is it? Have you "made room for other explanations" (which seems to mean, I've changed my thinking a bit and based at least a little bit of my thinking on these magical episodes) or not? I hear there are some freaky things going on in Astrology these days too! LINK. And let's not forget SPIRITUAL SURGERY. Of course there is the much maligned Pyschic Surgery to seriously consider, too.

I'm sorry Buddy. The stuff you are so enamored with is suspiciously superstitious and wacky sounding. You admit your extreme discomfort with much of the goofy nonsense in this charis-magick movement. You do realize that in order to believe ANY of it, you have to accept ALL of it. I mean, did you watch the little program linked above?

In case you glossed over it, here it is again: "IT'S SUPERNATURAL!"

Dave8 said...

Ted Keer: "Making people say what they mean is not just half the battle, it is victory."

Right, if Buddy can express an experience in concrete terms that can be shared or/and empathized with.

Ludwig Wittgenstein's
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: "7 What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."

Even if we are "touched" by an angel thought.

Ayn Rand: "There is a stage of worship which makes the worshiper himself - an object of reverence."

I wonder, the longer one worships, does that increase their reverence status - maybe even to sainthood...

Ayn Rand: "Man's consciousness is his least known and most abused vital organ. Most people believe that consciousness as such is some sort of indeterminate faculty which has no nature, no specific identity and therefore no requirements, no needs, no rules for being properly or improperly used.... Men abuse, subvert and starve their consciousness in a manner they would not dream of applying to their hair, toenails or stomachs. They know that these things have a specific identity and specific requirements, and, if one whishes to preserve them, one must comb one's hair, trim one's toenails and refrain from swallowing rat poison."

Well... that one speaks for itself.

Dave8

J. C. Samuelson said...

Buddy,

If such a recovery had happened as recently as 300 years ago, someone unfamiliar with the science would have labeled the event a resurrection.

Maybe so, but with this statement, you've helped illustrate my point. Here's the thing: if an individual is dead, that individual is just dead. No amount of linguistic gerrymandering can change this. If any of the victims in those first-century stories were actually alive, however weakly, whoever said they were dead was simply wrong. That the people of the day may have been ignorant of that fact is irrelevant. And, it follows that if people incorrectly assumed to be dead actually weren't, there wouldn't have been anything necessarily supernatural about their recovery. Thus, Jesus need not have performed miracles, being only human.

What this means, at the very least, is that the biblical accounts of people being raised from the dead are still safely dismissed as fictions - myths constructed by an ignorant, first-century author (or derived from equally ignorant, first-century sources). Even if those stories were based on actual events, they would still be fictitious accounts of the events they described.

I do hope you understand. Phenomena are independent of the variables we use to describe them. Only the terms and methods we've used to detect and describe death have changed, not death itself.

The fact that you can describe a physiological process provides help in understanding, but it isn't comprehensive.

Science is as comprehensive as it needs to be. A scientific theory is simply the best possible explanation available to the tools and techniques at the time. Nothing is ever 100% certain. This has the effect of rendering previous incomplete and inaccurate theories obsolete. Of course, this also means that previous religious ideas about the nature of the world that have since been proven inaccurate or incomplete are obsolete. The theory that even common illnesses were caused by demons, for example, was superceded by germ theory, yet this does not mean that germs ceased to be demons only with a change in terms. They had always been germs, but the limited ability of earlier humans to examine them effectively simply prevented a more accurate and complete understanding.

You might argue equivocally, of course - that "germ" and "demon" are equally adequate placeholders. I would disagree solely on the grounds that "demon" and "germ" have unique definitions and subsets of properties that do not correspond with each other. That illness had always been caused by germs is not sufficient reason for a substitution. Not if we're to understand each other in the proper context, anyway.

Similarly, the state of being dead has always been the same. Only human understanding of it has changed. Thus, if there were anyone who ever appeared to have risen from the dead, what this means is that the individual in question needn't have been dead to begin with. I wonder how many people in a coma were buried in the days when comas were unknown? Or, less specifically, how many people had vital signs so weak as to escape notice in a less technologically advanced age, and who were subsequently judged deceased? I don't know the answers, but what I do know is that neither of these conditions meet the prerequisites necessary for a person to be correctly labeled as dead.

I offered the NDE discussion to illustrate our adaptive language. We prefer not to have people die and return to life without good explanation. In examining the event, we discover the physiological elements of the process and determine that science can reproduce those elements. At that point, we're satisfied we know everything we need. What insufferable arrogance! (OK, you get to throw a fit now and then; that was mine.)

Regarding NDE, I personally would like to see more evidence that it does, in fact, occur and involve a person's death. Without knowing more, it seems to me that if the phenomenon does occur, it might not be a case of a person actually experiencing death. Instead, perhaps the state of being in which an NDE occurs would be more akin to the hypnopompic state - the period of transition between sleeping and waking. If so, the NDE could represent another facet of the human experience, distinct but related to death, occurring when a person enters the transition state between life and death but does not complete it, still retaining some small "spark" that prevents a full transition. Perhaps this "spark" is so imperceptible that even the most sensitive pieces of modern medical equipment can't detect it. If so, then we may someday develop a means of detection, at least in principle. But I'm out of my depth again, so I'll move on.

Whatever the case, I don't agree that this possible alternative explanation of stories involving the dead rising indicate a change in definitions either took place or should take place. Death and life are two distinct states of existence. Being in a state of transition between life and death - being very nearly, but not quite dead - would not be the same as being dead. Nor would it be quite the same as being alive either, but in the immortal words of Miracle Max (from the Princess Bride movie), "mostly dead is still alive."

What would require an overhaul of conventional wisdom on the topic of death would be a person who has been dead for, say, a week, who hasn't been buried, whose entire body underwent all the initial stages of decay, yet at the end of that time got up and resumed living again with no apparent external influence. What would be even better is if that individual suffered no adverse effects. That, my friend, would be truly remarkable.

Oh, and for my "fit" I offer the following: Insufferable arrogance is the belief that there is a divine entity uniquely interested in the doings and well-being of man, that occasionally suspends the laws of nature or harms itself for man's benefit, and that has a plan that promises eternal bliss or eternal torment based solely on an individual's belief system. Equally insufferable is the belief that some humans have a direct line to said divinity. Arrogance, you say? The alleged arrogance of science is nothing compared to the confirmed arrogance of religion.

I'm not saying you hold any of those beliefs, mind you, but many believers do.

To stop when science is satisfied is to stop short of reasonableness. When science approaches the unknown, it often is satisfied to say, "I don't know, it's a bit of a mystery, but I'm sure it wasn't a miracle."

If that were the case, the ongoing process of scientific discovery would have ended long ago. Fortunately, science is not content with "miracle" as an explanation. Otherwise, there would be no such thing as cancer treatments, antibiotics, or any other attempts to manufacture effects that we formerly hoped to acquire through - or thought were restricted to - divine providence.

Having witnessed the unreasonable first-hand, I'm inclined to make room for an explanation that science has yet to reach.

Have you heard of Peter Popoff? He had thousands fooled into believing he had a direct line to God, and had many of the same "gifts" that your Mahesh Chavda seems to have. It wasn't until someone - James Randi and a team of researchers sponsored by the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER) - decided to look into it that Popoff's deception was exposed. It turns out that God's Frequency is 39.17 MHz. Read that, and ask yourself if maybe - just maybe - science already has an explanation for Chavda's apparent success. You'll notice that Popoff's followers were at least as impressed with him as you are with Chavda, so perhaps - and I realize this might be difficult - he has managed to fool an otherwise intelligent, reasonable engineer into believing he's the real thing.

Of course, perhaps Chavda is the real thing. But should you really rely on only your impression of his character or senses that may be easily fooled? I don't know.

Have a nice day!

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Freethinker05,

Thanks for the question, pal. It goes like this. A lady was pulling the feathers out of a duck she was going to cook. Pulling the feathers out is called plucking, at least down South. She was poor, tired, sad, and wondered out loud if God could see her. It was kind of a complaint along the lines of, "God, can't you see the place I'm in?"

So some time later, she meets Mahesh Chavda who tells her, "GOD SAYS, I SAW YOU PLUCKING THAT DUCK." The lady was deeply thankful. The way she figured it, God had heard her prayer and had been paying attention all along.

Hope that clears it up. Let me know if it doesn't.

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear J.C.,
Thorough as usual; a cogent analysis. You illuminate my labor more eloquently than I.

Yes I've heard the Popoff story. He's a great example of what I thoroughly dislike. There have been many such in the past, and apparently the willing masses will insist that we have more in the future. How disappointing.

Mahesh has no radio in his ear nor any prompters in the wings.

My hope isn't built on men or their ministries, but I do require of myself a carefully formed opinion about such things. I have an uncomfortably long list of events which qualify for consideration.

As you say, perhaps Chavda is the real thing. The fact that I know the guy well enough to credit his honesty doesn't relieve me of the responsibility to test everything and hold on the good stuff.

I'll try to keep the brain inside.

Buddy

freethinker05 said...

Dear Buddy, thanks so much for clearing things up for me.Sounds as tho your an honest person, but the worry that is crossing my mind now are, my wife came into the bathroom the other day while i was urinating, and it startled me, and she said,"GOD KNOWS",I SAW YOU CHOCKING YOUR CHICKEN. I said to her, WTF,... are you talking about? I just hope i can clear things up with her. Again thanks, Your pal.....Roger

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

If you watched the video you linked, you will have noted that the fellow is neither charismatic nor particularly persuasive. He does sound genuine.

Perhaps as you say, you have to accept all if you accept any. I don't know if that's true. I haven't done so yet, and doubt if I will.

Buddy

Dave8 said...

If God had a need to confer with the woman, why did God need to have a miracle mediator like Chavda...

If God needed to confirm his/her presence to any single person, why not confirm "directly" to the person without the profitting middle man...

If God needed to confirm his/her presence to a group of people, why would he need a mediator or a profitting middle man...

Is the thought of a persons' God, so tawdry, that they feel God gravitates to "special" people only as his/her voice - tacky.

Oscar Wilde: "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."

Notwithstanding, that Oscar Wilde's quote is not my passion, he is eloquently suggesting that there "are" some who hold a passion for quoting from someone elses' experience(s), as if they are receiving a proxy miracle vicariously.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "Few people have the imagination for reality."

Dave8

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy,

Charismatic is not necessarily "exciting" or wild or loud or boisterous or energetic or whatever it is you think the word might mean.

American Heritage Dictionary -
char·is·mat·ic (kār'ĭz-māt'ĭk) adj.

1. Of, relating to, or characterized by charisma: "the warmth of a naturally charismatic leader" (Joyce Carol Oates).

WordNet - charismatic

adjective

Possessing an extraordinary ability to attract; "a charismatic leader"; "a magnetic personality."


I'd say, based on your being drawn in so effectively and the emotional effect his soft-spoken approach might have on many, he is definitely in possession of a healthy dose of charismatic appeal.

If you don't currently accept "it all," then you are doubting your rajah in some measure. It appears fairly obvious that he does accept "it all." Cherry picking, however, is a typical behavior among Christians, whether it be ignoring contradictory Bible verses, sniffing at conflicting authoritative interpretations, or choosing among outrageous claims of magick. I admit, I was guilty of doing a bit of cherry picking myself, so I understand the temptation. Finally admitting to myself that I was cherry picking and blindly ignoring the the things that made me uncomfortable eventually brought my cognitive dissonance to an oppressively resounding volume. Although the mental noise was initially uncomfortable (Hell, it was painful.), it provided me the tools to begin reclaiming my reasoning abilities. I wish the same experience of mental healing for you.

And, something to consider: I'll wager this rajah is presently suffering no economic challenges -- people just love magick. How much do you think Harry Potter will gross this week? (Rhetorical)

freethinker05 said...

On a serious note, pertaining to the question of,"is there freewill in christianity?", I was just thinking about,"the book of life", and the,"another book was opened",(book of remembrence) I think, in the book of revelations. If god gives everyone freewill, well, why bother with those books at all? If he is all knowing and everything, Hell, He supposedly knows where every person on earth who ever lived will wind up. I mean, why would god have to write everything down that every person has done or threaten to "blot out" names, when he is supposed to know the begining from the end?Personally, it sounds to me as, god "does'nt know his ass from a hole in the ground". Just curious about a seemingly contradiction. Any thoughts from anyone? Peace Roger....p.s. god did'nt write the bible so, i guess he has his angels doing it for him.

boomSLANG said...

B. Ferris: A lady was pulling the feathers out of a duck she was going to cook. Pulling the feathers out is called plucking, at least down South. She was poor, tired, sad, and wondered out loud if God could see her. It was kind of a complaint along the lines of, "God, can't you see the place I'm in?"

So some time later, she meets Mahesh Chavda who tells her, "GOD SAYS, I SAW YOU PLUCKING THAT DUCK." The lady was deeply thankful. The way she figured it, God had heard her prayer and had been paying attention all along.


Let me see if I've got this straight. Some poor ol' lady was plucking her duck, and happened to wonder aloud if "God" could "see her", this, I take it, because of her "adverse" living/eating conditions, and all.

So, later that week, or whatever, "God" chose to speak through a medium, just to let the little ol' lady know that He saw her......?

Let me tell ya.... Sylvia Browne could've done ALL that, AND set up a "chat" with her deceased mother. And that's a helluva bargain...two-for-one?

I guess the good news is that "God" restored faith in the poor little ol' lady, huh? Meanwhile, I'll bet a few HUNDRED THOUSAND children would LOVE to have their "faith" restored....or least, eat duck instead dirt for a night.

Don't you just love a god with priorities?

dano said...

freethinker05 wrote:
"On a serious note, pertaining to the question of,"is there freewill in christianity?", I was just thinking about,"the book of life", and the,"another book was opened",(book of remembrence) I think, in the book of revelations. If god gives everyone freewill, well, why bother with those books at all? If he is all knowing and everything, Hell, He supposedly knows where every person on earth who ever lived will wind up. I mean, why would god have to write everything down that every person has done or threaten to "blot out" names, when he is supposed to know the begining from the end?".....

Roger!
If you cant play by the rules you will find that religious people will simply ignore you. As if that hasn't been demonstrated perfectly on this thread.

Questions about the lack of common sense, pertaining to what they believe is a no, no.

Me not being religious will tell you, "I feel your pain" about being caught choking your duck. I have been in that particular circumstance many times, and have even exclaimed "OH God" out loud.

The only thing I can tell you is that you should be grateful that you still have a duck that works, and a nice warm oven to put it in. Not everyone has that!

To get back to the reason for this post to you. It is to remind you that the most basic common sense, is a quality that religious fundamentalists cannot ever understand.

Not because they can't, but because they don't want to, and their handbook warns them over and over, that if they even attempt to make sense of the writing therein, that is inspired by God, he will not only remember them, he will toss them in a lake of fire, and cook them just like a good rib eye steak. FOREVER!!
Dan, Agnostic

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

Our perception of public figures in the religious world is that they live lavishly on the gifts of the faithful. That's been true of some we know, at least from the news stories. The specific financial circumstances to which you refer would disappoint you; they live modestly.

Is your predisposition to evaluate and categorize according to bias showing?

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy, what the heck in your mind is "living modestly?" Based on what standard, in what country, by people in what profession? "Living modestly" is a completely meaningless phrase without some frame of reference. You and I may have strikingly different ideas about what living modestly means.

However, I really don't care how they live, but as religious peddlers, they live off the generosity of others. And people are stirred to generosity by outrageous promises of everlasting reward, health, happiness, and prosperity, especially if it is seasoned with a spicy dash of magick.

And, you have no idea what "OUR" (that is, my) perceptions are about anything, beyond what you think you've gleaned from the few postings on this site.

Buddy, is your predisposition to evaluate and categorize according to YOUR bias showing?

Now, back to the points of my entire previous comment, which, by the way, you ignored.

Your holy rajah is charismatic. That's point one.

Here's point two:

Picking and choosing which parts of the fish you find tasty and then winking at the rest as if it never existed is inconsistent, wouldn't you agree?

Is your predisposition at diversion and equivocation showing? Or, better yet, is your predisposition toward complete and total trust in your rajah and your religion stunting your willingness or your ability to closely scrutinize and scientifically analyze all the circumstances and influences that might have led to your mystical experiences? Could it be that there is a little more to the story that you've purposefully chosen to wink at or ignore?

Anyone up for magic teeth and golden showers?

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

Specifically to your point then of part or all; I find spontaneous creation incomplete. Our current understanding from the last 50+ years refining the history of the universe leads us back to the instant of spontaneous creation, the 'instanton' object the size of a pea which was not in existence in any preceeding instant. In the subsequent instant, it had suddenly enlarged into our universe.

If candid, most will say that there must be a cause or source which preceded that first instant. Science, however has reached its' end for the moment.

If I accept some, must I accept all. I don't yet. Nor do many who look at the evidence. Theories will emerge, new insights, new understanding.

I find myself in a similar realm with the overabundance of supposed supernatural events. There are adequate theories that account for many in a manner consistent with science. There is no adequate scientific explanation for a few events which I have personally witnessed and examined.

You easily dismiss such things. For me to do so would be intellectually dishonest, requiring that I ignore the evidence.

I'll grant you your use of the word charismatic.

I've done my best to be objective regarding the events which you refer to as mystical. Tracing their origin to previous influence or suggestion hasn't yielded any clues. My education and background experience are primarily secular and science related. My exposure to the issue of supernatural events has been primarily critical. My emotional makeup doesn't lend itself to vivid imaginings. Other suggestions?

Yes, there's much more to the story, and no, I don't think I'm winking any of it away.

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy, please don't divert my "accept some but not all" idea into the realm of science. I'm talking about your religious mania, nothing else. You accept that the rajah is raising the dead, but you don't like the gold teeth he's materializing, so you accept his magical powers when it appeals to you and ignore it when it starts to smell. As I've stated previously, that sort of cherry-picking thinking is consistent with Christians, but it gives one a headache.

Next comment:

It is OK to say "I don't know." When it comes to the Big Bang, and nuclear fission, and invisible little imps called electrons who run at amazing speeds across miles through solid copper wires to power my MAC Book, well, how it all works is quite honestly a mystery to me. Some claim to understand these things, and although I've taken the required courses, and passed with high marks, I still don't genuinely comprehend many things. So, from the ordinary to the mundane, I frequently have to admit: "I don't know." But don't you find it a long stretch to go from "I don't know" to "My flying, un-dead, man-god did it?"

Let's face it Buddy, science seeks out answers and boldly goes where no man has gone before, but it's a big f'ing universe out there. We're going to have to live with a few "I don't knows" if we are going to be honest with ourselves. Sheesh, we don't even really understand more than the basics about how are brains work! We're not all that far away from the primitives who danced for rain, prayed to the volcanoes, and thought a god was throwing those lightning bolts. A little bit further back, and we're just climbing down out of the trees!

But before you twist this around into, "SEE, you should have an open mind about my shadow dancing angels and my flecks of gold dust," positing that there is a god out there is as a reasonable possibility as any, but once you submit your god hypothesis, you're going to have to take a few more steps before it becomes a god theory?

You believe you saw something. You, a life-long Christian with strong tendencies toward rational thought, but deeply involved (for some reason) in Charismania, saw something you couldn't explain. You weren't looking for magic, but you were in a church where magic is regularly practiced, but you weren't looking for that, you were just there, uhm, well...

Whatever you were there for, or whatever you saw, or imagined you saw, was filtered through your life-long religious preconceptions, perhaps your own yearnings for something undefined, perhaps a stronger realization of personal mortality, maybe the desire to recapture some youthful mystery and awe of life, perhaps more reasons or none, and you concluded, unsurprisingly, that your life-long devotion to your particular brand of your favorite religion, into which you were conveniently born, was the right thing to do.

"Other suggestions?"

MRI?

Laughing revival, anyone?

freethinker05 said...

Dano, that's a good explanation, about my duck and all. Sorry to hear about your duck though. Well, I know someday that my duck will finally take its last quake also, hell, at the age of 51, my little duck don't want to get up and get out of the barn as much. Oh well, we all know it's just part of living and dying, but I must say that I've had alot of fun with mine, although it's had it's downfalls,(for example), when I was a kid, if I couldn't find an oven to place it in, shit, I would just dig a hole in the ground and put it there, or,(this is the really bad part),knowing of all the starving children in the world that "god" refuses to feed, and like I said, I was only a kid, and didn't think about less fortunate people, is that back then I wasted alot of food, pertically bacon that I used to sneek from the fridge and warm up, and put my little duckie into, well, you know what I mean. Boy, my dad would get so pissed off if he only had eggs for breakfast the next morning, saying something like,(goddamnit audrey,= my mom), why in the hell don't you make sure we have enough bacon to eat? Made me feel a little guilty while setting across the table, with a bowl of (snap,crackle and pop). Well enough said about all that. About all the rules of chritianty, Dano, I totally agree that all christians can do is, answer only the simple questions presented to them. goddangit, with as little of an education that I have, I feel as though I am smart as them. You know at least if I'm ask a question about what the bible has to say on a certian topic, such as the one,(book of life and remembrence), that I referred to in my last post, well, I would tell the person, that, that's a damn good question there, I never thought about that before. My response would be, that is a condradictory question, and the only answer I could give that person is, it sounds like a lot of bullshit don't it? Well Dano, until the next time we comment to each other again, I can only say (may your duck rise again). Your Friend, Roger.......peace

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

I have the same difficulty you might have with gold teeth and golden specks in the air. While I haven't asked him directly, I suspect Mahesh is more curious than finally conclusive about such things.

I'm inclined to reserve judgment on phenomena which have neither obvious purpose nor foundation in history; the 'new thing' doesn't excite any religious fervor in me. My specific interest is in those things which are not easily discounted.

Leaving the duck story aside lest we again provoke the prurient humor of others, I offered the story as an illustration of an unnatural event without natural explanation.

As boomslang has pointed out, there are popular equivalents who do, or claim to do similarly. Granted, there are those claiming a gift of prophecy both inside and outside the traditional church. I've seen them around all my life beginning with the tarot card reader's shop. Let's discard from consideration the frauds and the ones offering ambiguous drivel beyond useful analysis. What remains is difficult to discard. Assuming any legitimacy to the psychic phenomenon, how might that fit into the natural world? Or is your position that it is all fraud, or wishful thinking?

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

"Assuming any legitimacy to the psychic phenomenon, how might that fit into the natural world? Or is your position that it is all fraud, or wishful thinking?"

How might what fit into the natural world? Once you've discarded "from consideration the frauds and the ones offering ambiguous drivel beyond useful analysis" there isn't anything left.

Let's talk about the thing that supposedly happened in Garabandal, shall we? Where would you classify this little episode? Fraud? Wishful thinking? Supernatural visitation? Magic? I'd sincerely like to know what you think.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Buddy,

I've been doing a scan of websites concerning Dr. Chavda. The claims made concerning his ministry - some of which you have repeated here - are disturbing, to say the least. According to his own website, "[t]housands have received healing from critical diseases like AIDS and cancer," or "blind eyes opening, AIDS healed, the lame walking, cancers disappearing." Another website has the claim that a six-year-old was raised from the dead!

The similarities between Dr. Chavda and other evangelists aside, do you not find it a matter for concern that not one of these "thousands" of cases has been substantiated by medical science? I have no doubt that medical researchers would jump at the chance to confirm even one such ase, as it would fling open the doors to research grants, among other things - Nobel Prize, anyone? But seemingly not one case has found its way into any available medical journal. Not even one! The apparent silence of the medical doctors responsible for these "thousands" of individuals is also telling.

How easy would it be for someone you do not know to claim, "I have AIDS," or "I have cancer," and subsequently claim to have been healed by Dr. Chavda? How easy is it for someone to sit in a wheelchair, claim they can't walk, and subsequently testify that Dr. Chavda's healing has allowed them to walk again? As has been said many times, if an amputee were to have a limb miraculously restored - if Buddy Ferris were to watch as the limb regrew itself - it would be an undeniable sign of supernatural intervention.

You've stated that "Mahesh has no radio in his ear nor any prompters in the wings," but can you really know what goes into the production without being a part of it? An earbud radio can be so small as to be virtually undetectable, even from a distance as short as a meter or two. "Ringers" can be planted in the audience, those who claim to have illnesses that the evangelist then chooses for "healing." These "ringers" can even be the same people from event to event and still fool others who have attended every one! And with your attention on Dr. Chavda, how can you possibly know with certainty that there is not someone, somewhere "in the wings" passing information to him?

Dr. Chavda's ministry strikes me as the same kind of callous, irresponsible evangelist as the Benny Hinns and Peter Popoffs of the world. How many who actually have ailments have abandoned treatment - or have been prompted to abandon treatment - as the result of Dr. Chavda and his teachings? How many may have died as a result of abandoning treatment? I shudder to think of how much harm may be done by the likes of him.

Here's the real point - if miracles are a reliable source of healing, there should be reams of empirical evidence to that effect by now. There is not. You've said that there is "never enough science" for the skeptics. All I'm asking for is one article in one reputable journal of medicine that passes the process of peer review that supports the assertions of these so-called "faith healers." Just one, that's all. Is that really too much to ask?

boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris: Let's discard from consideration the frauds and the ones offering ambiguous drivel beyond useful analysis.

Oh good grief!....okay, wHO will decide what's "useful", or not? Surely, people who are convinced that a particular medium is talking to their deceased relatives find the information "useful", no? Is that a fair assessment? Furthermore, this type of thing IS "supported" by "history", after all, people die and go to a "place" called heaven, right? So how is what Sylvia claims to do NOT supported by religious belief, as it's been understood throughout "history"???

How is it, Buddy, that you cannot see the subjectiveness of this issue? How? You cannot really measure "convinced"--one is either convinced(a believer), or is not convinced(a skeptic). This is where evidence comes into play, yet, you'll sit there and tell us that science, as a methodology, is "lacking" or limited. Yet, how is it you would determine that those "other people" are "deceived"? What method(s) would you employ if you were to set out to find out whether or not there is information that is "useful" and worthy of "analysis", concerning other people's experiences????

So far, concerning Buddy Ferris' experiences, we've got: "I believe it, because I know what I saw, and because it supports the history of my religious convictions"[paraphrased]....and, "check out the faith-healer at this website."[paraphrased]

Um, so whAT!?!?!?! We see and hear it practically DAILY. Like J.C. said---of the gazillions of cases of these supposed "supernatural healings", etc.,..where is just ONE case that is backed by peer-review scientific journals? If your personal favorite Dr. is reversing PHYSICAL deformities, it would make national headlines; plastic surgeons from around the world would be flocking to "see" how it's done. Geesh.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear boomslang,
It's been quiet on the thread in my absence; shall we leave well enough alone or re-engage?


Africa photo at http://bfuf.blogspot.com/

Buddy

boomSLANG said...

Well, Buddy, it all depends on what you mean by "well enough". If, by "well enough", you mean that we're both okay with the fact that I remain thoroughly unconvinced that your subjective beliefs/experiences have a referent in Universal "Truth"...then yes, I'm okay with it..i.e., we can leave "well enough" alone.

Also, this might be a good time to point out that you've gone on record to say that even "True Christians" can be "deceived".

All considered, and while I can't speak for every former Christian/non-theist here, I fail to see why you'd continue posting here on this particular website at this point....that is, at least until you can provide convincing evidence that ALL similar personal religious experiences besides those experienced by "Christians" are bogus. And then we ask: what "flawed" methodology was it that you use to determine this, again?

In other words, what we see is that science is "flawed", "lacking", and "limited" when used against Christian Theists' personal experiences(yours)..... yet, mysteriously, it works just fine when used against those other Theists' personal experiences.

If you can't or won't see the double-standard, Buddy, then I think I'm done.

PS: I couldn't get the link to work.

Best regards, boom'.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Boomslang,
Try clicking on my name here; if I do it right, that will take you to my profile; the blog link will take you to the picture.

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

My apologies for missing the question on Garabandal. I've been a little busy and have neglected my correspondence.

A quick scan of your linked reference raises more questions than it answers. While I've not followed Catholic history on such things, I'm told there are accounts of similar sightings along with other signs. I truly don't know what to do with them. I've been inclined to dismiss them, at least from my personal considerations, lacking any direct contact with the folks involved.

It would be easy to dismiss all such accounts as silliness. The Catholic church, a conservative bunch, takes the accounts seriously enough to investigate and withhold judgment pending further evidence.

What's your thought on the event?

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

My account on the event that it is asinine to even consider, much like your ridiculous account of angels and gold falling from the sky.