1/28/2008                                                                                       View Comments

A response to Christians regarding my thoughts on the god delusion

By Bill Jeffreys

As I said in my previous article, it's very difficult to leave the cult of Christianity once you're vested. The shift in thinking that needs to occur is not an off / on switch. It's more like a fluid event driven type of change. Certain things have to fall into place before we are able to look outside the box of Christianity or any other religion.

In my experience, some type of cognitive dissonance needs to occur first. Some type of internal conflict, predicated by an external event, like a child dying or a major conflict at church, or a failed Christian marriage has to happen in the life of the religious person. Some form of "emotion verses belief conflict".

Christianity teaches that with God all things are possible. It makes very clear statements that if you do these things, or ask in Jesus' name it will be done. I could list multiple verses to support this, but why waste my time.

The problem starts when the Christian has to put these "truths" to the test for themselves. They have to have an emotional investment in whatever the issue is. If they don't have an emotional investment in the issue then they will just skim over the problem with more delusional thinking and practices. Usually, the diluted rationalizations that follow, regarding why God didn't answered my prayer, or change my circumstance, don't satisfy the Christian as they probably did in the past.

Once the Christian is in conflict and they can't find peace, then they are usually willing to listen to reason. Until this occurs most Christians or religious people just re-enforce their belief system with more false data (Christian apologetics) to compensate for the conflict.

The ones that can't, or won't see reason, usually alter their beliefs to fit the conflict, or change churches, pastors, doctrines, theology, get filled with the Spirit or whatever. If these methods don't work then they often fall into depression, increase their addiction, start negative self-talk, blame others or blame God. In short, they really blame themselves.

I've worked with people who, after having tried everything, felt or believed that they didn't measure up with what God wants, what the bible teaches or their church SOP (standard operating procedure). They often believe they don't have enough faith, otherwise why wouldn't God heal them, or help them? If they can't let go of the delusion, they keep wallowing in their misery trying to apply some theological formula or Biblical method over and over hoping the results with eventually be different.

Pastors often complicate the process by, drawing out the person's conflict, with Christian platitudes, or well meaning but misplaced Christian counseling. How many times has the pastor or well meaning Christian said, “You are angry at God, have a secret sin, are unforgiving or you are lacking in faith so read the Bible and pray more?” As if these are the reasons your life isn’t getting better or why you have doubts. The truth is, Christian counseling can be beneficial, because it's often based in a secular theory, but when mixed with delusional spiritual beliefs it can prolong the process of leaving the Christian cult.

Of course some people, having never been vested in Christian beliefs, are able to leave when confronted with rational arguments and accurate facts about the Bible's questionable history. These people were never really brainwashed to begin with. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of them; I was the former. I was the one who was vested in his beliefs. At 12 years of age, I had an emotional salvation experience and gave my life to Christ. After high school I went to Bible College, was ordained and licensed as a pastor and then continued my education at a seminary in Portland Oregon. I completed a counseling degree, which was heavily influenced with Christian Theology and Doctrine. It took me about 7-8 years, after my seminary experience, to completely disavow my Christian believes and de-convert for good.

As a side note, the nominal Christian, like many of the Catholics I’ve known or moderate/liberal Christians, don’t really look to deeply into their religion hence they don’t care to question the Bible, the church, or their theological beliefs. They are often happy with the false comfort they derive from believing in a god, heaven after life, and hell for bad people like Hitler. They usually have learned to compartmentalize or adapt their religious thinking so as not to interfere with their daily life.

Since leaving Christianity, I have had to relearn to view the world, relationships, life, work, etc, in a different, and sometimes completely new way. It’s a far more rewarding journey then my latter experience. I wish all those Christian’s, who feel it is necessary to tell me God loves me, or that they are sorry that I had a bad experience with Church or other Christians, well. I mean you no harm other than the destruction of your delusional religious thinking.

Sincerely,
Bill Jeffreys

P.S. I am opening up a new counseling practice here in Portland, Oregon with the goal of assisting people who want to leave their religious dogmas and practice a rational approach to life.

40 comments:

Paul T said...

Bill, Your new counseling service sounds like an excellent idea. I wish you great success.

Paul

no god/no fear said...

I agree with Paul and his wishes for success.

Lately, I've been thinking about how we are part of the dawn of a revolutionary new era of thinking. I'm an optimist by nature and tend to believe that we are ushering in the age of science and reason and witnessing the beginning of the end of civilizations based on superstition. That's not to say that we don't have a long journey ahead of us as human beings. But as the accomplishments of science become harder and harder to deny and decry, it would seem like the inevitable course would be for humans to look to save themselves.

Sophia

pekingjohn said...

Paul,
Kudos to you and your new ministry. I wish you all the best and hope that Christians who are questioning can find answers in your counseling.

Have you ever thought about establishing a church of atheism in Portland? It's my perception that Americans are leaving Christianity in droves. Many people are drawn to Christianity because of the fellowship, and many ex-christians may be still yearning for someplace to go on Sunday mornings. Your experience as a minister would make you uniquely qualified to establish such a church.

You should consider it.

Rich said...

Paul,
Your comments resonate with me even though thanks to my intelligent and broadminded mother, I escaped the clutches of the evangelicals that infested the small Western Colorado town of my childhood. By midlife I was a dues paying Humanist and now I call myself a 9/11 anti-theist. Since that pivotal day in 2001 I have devoted many days of my life searching for an answer to the problems theism leaves in its wake. No god/no fear is correct: we are witnessing the dawn of a new revolution, and the critical part of that revolution will be to create a worldwide movement to end the hereditary nature of religious practice. Minor children can and must be protected from childhood indoctrination. This is the only way to make religion eventually stand or fall based on the objective informed decisions of rational people. There are many good things religion offers people, but all of them can be accomplished without resort to the superstition and dogma that poisons so many minds. The chain of infection from generation must be smashed for good if humanity is to move on to a future sans madmen with horrendous designs. This first goal of the revolution requires that we correct the imbalance between the weight parental authority enjoys over the rights of children to autonomy and self determination. As things stand now, children are treated like property for parents to do with what they wish.

pekingjohn said...

Rich,
It was interesting to read your letter. I would like to ask why 911 was such a pivotal day for you in terms of your religious beliefs and whether you think many other Americans feel the same way.

I am an American, but I have been living outside the US for nearly 20 years. It is difficult for me to understand the impact that 911 has had on American society.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Turn to a rational way of life? I take it you have turned into a fundamentalist atheist and put your blinkers on and cast every believer as deluded or with self-imposed obtuseness?

Anonymous said...

A documentary broadcast in the U.K. on new atheism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aCClfmSsw0

Bill said...

Hey Anonymous,

Try asking clarifying questions of me. It works better than acting offended and fearful of things you may not understand.

Bill said...

I watched the video and it's not bad. Atheism is the absense of a belief in a supernatural being. How a person chooses to live without the belief in a supernatural being is up to them.

You can not more lump all atheists into one description, or all religious people, or Christians into one description, for that matter. I don't view atheism as a belief system. That is a mistake I made as a Christian.

When I was a Christian, I used to view people like myself today as bad, or deceived. I also used to think that they must not have been Christians or else how could they have left an all loving god. I had a hard time seeing their arguements as reasonable or without duplicity. It takes a long time to move from being conditioned to believe in a god to not being conditioned and gaining an open mind.

Either way, I had to love them because God commanded it. "Love they neighbors", right? I'd encourage you to excercise your beliefs and try understand your ex-fellow believers. If you are not a Christian then I welcome you to explain yourself.

dave m said...

Hi Paul

I enjoyed reading your post. I only recently discovered this blog. It seems we have a little something in common, only in reverse. When I was 12 I became an atheist. This took place shortly after my dad passed away and the only explanation the Catholic church, of which I was born into as an Italian-American, could give me was that it was God's will. I just couldn't buy that. And so began my journey to understand my existence and what life is all about. It took me full circle, so to speak. I eventually had an experience when I was 25, when I repented (had a change of mind). There weren't any Christians in my life (thank God). This was my choice, due to self-destructive problems I had at the time. With my life turned around, I sought out like believers. I attended an independent bible-believing church after that, not knowing where else to go with my new-found faith. That's where I met my wife. We were quickly disillusioned by the Christian born again movement, now the fundies, and after two years left. This time, though, I haven't gone back to being an atheist. I realized that it was Christianity (and Judaism) that was the problem for me, not God. The false premises taught by these religions give false conclusions. I can understand now, more than ever, why so many people reject the concept of there being a god, when the only examples are human interpretations that begin with a god who is good and evil (mostly evil, I think). Therein lies the problem. I got my head out of the bible and found freedom. When I have told Christian acquaintances that they need to free themselves and that they can still have faith in God and Jesus without the bible, they go into convulsions and short circuit mentally. They can't conceive of having to reason on their own. Being away from the bible is like not having watched TV for a long time (I've done both): when you do go back to it for a look at something, you're horrified by what you see. Anyway, I find no contradiction in believing in God and reason and science. In fact, I find them inextricably linked, at least for me. There is a mathematical certainty in the universe that speaks of intelligence. I call that intelligence God, the primal scientist and philosopher. The main reason I could never go back to being an atheist is because of the hopelessness of nothing more. When you're dead, you're dead. That doesn't make me want to bother living. Just being altruistic doesn't cut it for me. And if I'm wrong, so what. I'll be as dead as you and no harm done. I hope I will have done good and left someone's life better for me having been here. If I'm right, so what. We'll discuss it together then.

Jon said...

Bill, I just discovered this website and found your article to be well written and thought provoking. I am a Christian with an early background similar to yours, and for several years I have been having quite the cognitive party, bouncing back and forth between belief and disbelief. Most of my problems with Christianity and Religion in general are logic based...(How can a Loving God condemn the vast majority of souls throughout history to everlasting torture, etc)
At this point, the only two things that keep me hanging on are:
1. Fear of God
2. The overwhelming feeling that there is something more than just existance.

At any rate, I consider you a brave person, after having vested so much of your life in Christianity.

Take care,
Jon

dd29 said...

http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html Here

.:webmaster:. said...

dd,

That entire webpage is summed up in one sentence: "When it comes to the possibility of God's existence, the Bible says..."

All the rest is reverse logic. Everything is just perfect on Earth for life! Therefore God exists!

Uhm, how about, life evolved and adapted to survive because of and in spite of the conditions on Earth.

Diseases are life, and they are amazingly adaptive. Go to any hospital on any day and you can see the perfection of bacterias and viruses. Amazing.

Oh, and the "I used to be an atheist" ploy is stupid. Everyone is an atheist until they become religious. The default position of being a human being is having no god belief. It is only after being taught to believe in god by other human beings that we believe in a god. And the god we will believe in , is the god that is believed in by most of the people around us.

Duh.

pekingjohn said...

Anonymous,
Yes, I am a fundamentalist Atheist, and I am proud of it. Atheism is built on the foundation of logic, reason, and critical thinking, which is something religious people can't handle. If religious people started thinking instead of just believing, then they wouldn't be religious. Religion depends on blind faith, which means you believe what you want for no good reason.

Yes, if you believe in a religion, any religion, you are delusional and you need help.

pekingjohn said...

Anonymous,
And one more thing, Atheists, because of their skeptical way of thinking, are the most open minded people in the world. An Atheist/skeptic will believe in anything, anything, anything, ... as long as you provide sufficient evidence.

Religious people, on the other hand, only believe in what they want to believe, and actually deny facts in order to maintain their beliefs. What are some of the most common reasons for belief?

1. "I was raised that way." Being raised in a family tradition is no way to find the truth. This is the reason Muslims are Muslims, Catholics are Catholics, Protestants are Protestants, etc ... It's simply a matter of brainwashing your children while they are young and impressionable. I can't remember how many times I have heard my mother say,"Raise your children with Jesus, and they'll be good Christians all their lives." What hogwash! This is child abuse at it's worst! We should let children find out by education and experience what the meaning of life is.

2. "I'm afraid of going to Hell." What are you anyway, an axe murdurer? Did you open the gas valve at Auschwitz? Did you pull the plug on the Titanic? Did you abscond with the church funds and run off with th minister's wife? What crimes of yours are so heinous that you deserve to spend eternity in the lake of fire, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth? When I was a little boy, I was the best little boy in a ten mile radius, but I was forced by my mother to go to church (Southern Baptist) every Sunday, where they told me I was going to Hell. One Sunday, I told my Sunday school teacher that I had never done any of the sins that she had accused us of, so she said that I was sinful because I was born human and had the nature of sin within me, regardless of what I had done. Wow!!! You just can't win, can you!?! Some frumpish old biddy who couldn't remember the last time her husband paid any attention to her was telling me that I was going to Hell just because I had been born! This is simply beyond ridicule! Humans behave as humans do, and most of us haven't done anything heinous enough to burn for all eternity. And if your are such an evil person, you'll probably wind up in prison or be murdered as an act of retribution someday, not go to Hell.

3. "There is no meaning to life without God." Don't you have a job? Don't you have a family? A mother, father, sister, brother, children? Don't you have any
hobbies? Watching football, playing chess, reading? Don't you have any goals in life? Graduating from university, finding a job, getting married, buying a house, raising children, preparing for retirement? Life is hard enough without having the burden of being "the light of the world" on your shoulders. What's wrong with just being a normal, average, run of the mill joe blow, anyway? Being normal is all the pressure in life I need.

So you can take your silly religious beliefs and go home and pray for my godforsaken soul until you see visions of the Lord or your knees start bleeding or you get tired and decide to go warm up a frozen burrito and watch David Letterman or whatever.

Good luck to you in your wasted delusional life, Mr. Light-of-the-World. Oh, yes. Don't forget to pray for my soul because I'm going to Hell, remember?

Bill said...

Hey Jon,

Thanks for the feedback. It's hard getting past dysfunctional conditioning and beliefs.

Take care,

Bill

Rich said...

Peking John writes:
"It was interesting to read your letter. I would like to ask why 911 was such a pivotal day for you in terms of your religious beliefs and whether you think many other Americans feel the same way."

I can really only answer for myself, but I think it gave a lot of Americans serious pause, and I believe Sam Harris's success with his seminal book "The End of Faith" is an indicator that a lot of people saw the problem as I did. Sam Harris was a catalyst, because he went after the problem in a no holds barred fashion. Religion as it is presently practiced is a grave threat and has to go. While we can all agree that there are many good things religion provides, the myths, dogma, superstition and authoritarianism are detrimental to a healthy mind and healthy society. Only people drugged with the dogma of an eternal life in paradise as a reward for their sacrifice could have performed the suicidal missions 9/11 required. The human instinct for self preservation is probably only second to the desire to procreate (they may be in a tie at times). In any case, the hijackers believed they were getting a twofer, eternal life and willing sexual companions. These sexually repressed and insecure young men were programmed from early childhood to believe the unbelievable and were thus easily manipulated. The disturbing thing is that there may be millions more out there just as programmed and just as inclined towards radicalism and heavenly rewards.

Samantha said...

This one is for Jon...

You mention Fear of God. That's natural. Christianity is a fear-based religion. It's hammered into you constantly that God will get you if you do anything out of line. But this makes no sense even within the Christian definition of God. An all-powerful being doesn't have to "get" anyone--he's already won the game. An all-knowing being would understand why you do what you do; understanding does not lead to vengeance. An all-loving being would never harm you. Fear of God is a lie that is used by the church to keep good little Christians toeing the line.

Then there is your overwhelming feeling that there is something more than just existence. There is. I have had several spontaneous experiences such as contacting the recently dead, contacting the long-dead, remembering one of my past lives, and on and on. Physical existence is not all there is, but Christianity's take on it is far from reality.

My advice is to ponder the nature of true, unconditional love. Then things will start to fall into place. Fear is the opposite of love, so hopefully your fear of a weak, insane god will begin to fall away.

Jim Earl said...

I want some of the stuff Samantha is on.

Samantha,I wonder do you believe that John Edwards can talk to the dead too?

Enjjpt said...

Samantha, your Great-Great-Great Grandfather just conatcted me and told me it is time for your medication...

This is 100% true. You cannot refute this. You cannot tell me it did not happen. You cannot tell me what to believe.

Why dont you believe me Samantha?

Samantha said...

I wonder what it is about my post that threatens Jim Earl and enjjpt so much. Irrational responses like those generally are rooted in fear.

Guys: Calm down, you're going to be OK, really. Nobody's going to make you believe anything you don't want to believe. You're going to have to put a little thought into things if you want any sort of conversation, though.

Enjjpt said...

No Samantha, claiming long-dead people contact you is irrational.

I was quoting your statements from your other posts on this site to make a point. And I am afraid of people like you, because you are completely irrational. Believing dead people talk to you is no different from Christians claiming that 'God' talks to them. What happens when people like you who hear voices that start telling you to do things like kill others?

Samantha said...

"Hearing voices" is a different phenomenon, and if it frightens you so much, you should research it. It's not as uncommon as you might think.

You also don't have enough information to justify using the phrase "people like you". Try to deal with individuals instead of group labels.

Enjjpt said...

"Hearing voices" is a different phenomenon, and if it frightens you so much, you should research it. It's not as uncommon as you might think.

Neither is mental instability apparently...You have traded one irrational belief, xtianity, for another, spiritualism.

I hate to break it to you, dead people dont communicate with the living. Talking requires a voice, which is composed of sound waves produced when air from the lungs resonates the vocal chords. Dead people cannot breathe, therefore cannot talk. To believe anything else is no different than believing in Santa or the Tooth Fairy.

pekingjohn said...

Concerning Samantha,
When people die, they are dead, and they don't talk to people.

I lived in Taiwan for 7 years, and keeping with traditional Chinese beliefs, the people there are quite superstitious. They quite literally believe in ghosts. In fact, a number of people I met there claimed to see ghosts on a regular basis. I have heard numerous first-hand ghost stories, and they were quite serious about it.

However, in Mainland China, where the communist government educates people against religion and superstition, the only place you find these traditional Chinese ghost believers is out in the countryside, where people often don't get a good education.

The people on Taiwan and the people in Mainland China are equally Chinese, so why is it that there is a much higher rate of ghost incidence on Taiwan? Of course, it's beliefs based on culture and education.

In Catholic countries, when people have visions, they tend to see the Virgin Mary. In Protestant countries, they see Jesus. In America, a number of people claim to have been abducted by aliens.

Why doesn't the Virgin Mary go to Protestant countries? Why don't Europeans get abducted by aliens?

A certain number of people within a population are going to have visions, or see apparitions, or have some sort of paranormal experience. It's due to that person's individual psychological constitution. But the kind of paranormal experience is based on what the individual believes, which strongly suggests that the experience is entirely in that persons mind.
(See Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World")

In fact, I often find myself talking to my father, who passed away 5 years ago. I have a picture of him sitting on my desk in my bedroom. I'll actually sit down and talk with him and imagine what he would say in return. But I know that I am only talking to the memory of my father, not my father, he's dead. I am able to distinguish what is imagined from reality.

What a person like Samantha needs to do is examine where these ideas of speaking to the dead first came from and analyze it in terms of a psychological phenomenon. Getting professional help might be a good idea.

Samantha said...
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Samantha said...

PekingJohn put a little thought into his post, so he deserves to be addressed.

What you're talking about is indoctrination, a subject that should be familiar to any ex-christian. However, it is not evidence for your desired conclusion.

As you say, "paranormal" experiences are common. But because most people are not used to such experiences, the interpretation of the experience depends on the person's indoctrination. You can see that in the posts here. In Western "scientific" indoctrination, such experiences are not permitted, and so people immediately, and without any knowledge of specifics, slap the label "hallucination" on them. If you're permitted to believe in life on other planets, you get alien abductions. If you're permitted to believe in the virgin Mary, that's who you perceive. And in a society where you're freer to discuss such things, you get a richer description of the experience.

If you had been told all your life that blue doesn't exist, or that it is evil, you would have all sorts of defenses against the reality of blue. A person without similar indoctrination would be free to enjoy blue.

I appreciate the reference to your holy text, but I am trying to detox myself from all sorts of indoctrination.

Yes, there is a definite difference between imagination and reality. I only ask that someday you check the dimensions of the box you have labeled "reality".

And I appreciate the suggestion for professional help for what it is, coming from a non-professional.

Enjjpt said...

Samantha said--
"In Western "scientific" indoctrination, such experiences are not permitted, and so people immediately, and without any knowledge of specifics, slap the label "hallucination" on them."

Yes it is the same "western scientific" mindest that has used the scientific method to split the atom, develop cures for diseases, harnesed electricity, made the microchip, telephone, sent man to the Moon, etc...

Reality and science are testable, repeatable, and predictable and have produced the modern world. If superstition was allowed to rule the world again, people wold go to witch doctors for cures to diseases and sacrifice animals to the 'gods' to ensure good fortune.Rational minds have given us the modern world, irrational beliefs gave us the dark ages.

As a free-thinker I am open to believe in anything, providing there is evidence to suppor the claim. Am I inclined to believe that somewhere out there in the universe so type of life exists, yes and no. We have no evidence of it yet, so I am say no. If we have indisputable evidence of life somewhere else then I say yes. I dont make an assumption either way. It is plasuable that some type of life exists somewhere out there. What is not probable is that Pink Unicorns from the planet Zorgmorn III fly in convertible VW Bugs powered by rainbows that leave magical pixie dust in their wake visit us on a regular basis.

You make supernatural claims, for me to believe one bit of it will require you to produce EVIDENCE that is testable. Otherwise I will hold my position that you are suffering from some type of mental disorder, which is much more likely than you actually haveing supernatural powers.

Samantha said...

Enjjpt... Calm down and try to think clearly.

First you want me to believe that success at some endeavors (splitting the atom, etc.) precludes failure at another. I'd like to see the logical path to that conclusion.

It is obvious that your brand of free thinking is limited by fear and yet makes extraordinary sidetrips. If pink unicorns are improbable, why did you introduce them into the discussion?

The biggest point that you fail to grasp is that I DON'T CARE what you believe. And yet, while demonstrating a complete lack of logical thinking, you desperately want me to believe what you believe.

I thought I had left that sort of thing back with the churchfolk.

boomSLANG said...
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boomSLANG said...

Samantha, to Peking'...What you're talking about is indoctrination, a subject that should be familiar to any ex-christian. However, it is not evidence for your desired conclusion[bold added]

I'm curious about something---I'd like to know how you've concluded that Pekingjohn - or any proponent of naturalism - "desires" the resulting conclusions at the end of their search for truth. Notice, that the whole point of searching objectively..i.e..to put emotions and desires, etc., aside, is to accept the results, regardless of whether said "conclusion" is desirable, or not. To put it another way---what makes you so cock-sure that those who've concluded that we have a finite, 60, 70, 80, year-long existence, find that notion preferable to dancing around in the clouds with our deceased loved ones for eternity? Listening.

Samantha...In Western "scientific" indoctrination, such experiences are not permitted, and so people immediately, and without any knowledge of specifics, slap the label "hallucination" on them.

Perhaps you'd like to elaborate further on the quotations around "scientific", but until then, "scientific indoctrination" is an oxymoron, where the word "indoctrinate" has a negative connotation.

~ "Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology. It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned." ~ ref: Wikipedia

The point is, the goal of science is precisely to ask questions. Conversely, typical religious indoctrination - with it's built-in supernatural trimmings and it's over-riding "Faith" - shuns honest inquiry; it is "taboo" to question.

Furthermore, when you assert that certain results are "not permitted" where scientific methodology is concerned, you errect a strawman...and your attack on it is implicit. If science were to "permit" any given hypothesis as "truth"---one that isn't testable, or falsifiable, then literally, ANYTHING conceivable with the human mind then becomes "possible". For the life of me, I don't understand why people don't get that point. In other words, the minute that science accepts things on "Faith", is the minute that anything the human mind can muster up - however absurd - then becomes a reality. To take this position, would seriously complicate the world we live in.

Samantha...If you're permitted to believe in life on other planets, you get alien abductions. If you're permitted to believe in the virgin Mary, that's who you perceive.

Honestly, what's all this with the word "permitted"? Good grief, anyone is "permitted" to have whatever personal belief they choose, provided it does no unnecessary harm to others, and as long as it doesn't infringe upon people's personal livelihoods.

Samantha...If you had been told all your life that blue doesn't exist, or that it is evil, you would have all sorts of defenses against the reality of blue.

Yes!...the reality of blue. So?..what is the reality of blue, then? Or what happens if I tell you that I have "Faith" that staring at "blue" for too long causes warts? And that I know this to be true, because of a vision I received, in which the Great Red Ferret God, "Chipper", told me so? He HATES blue, I tell you!!

Well? "Western science", as you say, wouldn't "permit" my conclusion, would they? No, hell no, because my premise isn't testable/falsifiable. So? Should we, thus, accept my hypothesis as plausible?..even though we cannot rule it out with absolute certainty? No, of course not...and hopefully you will agree to that much.

Samantha...Yes, there is a definite difference between imagination and reality. I only ask that someday you check the dimensions of the box you have labeled "reality".

For a brief summary of what happens when "reality" has no limits, start at the beginning of my post, and re-read.

Best regards.

Enjjpt said...

Calm down? Think clearly? My free-thinking is limited by "fear"?

No, my brand of free thinking is limited by reality and reason. I think boomSLANG stated the point clearly enough.

I am not afraid of your beliefs, and you are free to believe whatever you like concerning your 'supernatural' powers. I am free to think you suffer from some mental defect, as per Occam's Razor, until you can provide solid evidence otherwise.

Samantha said...

boomslang: "I'd like to know how you've concluded that Pekingjohn - or any proponent of naturalism - "desires" the resulting conclusions at the end of their search for truth."

Wow. Did you hurt yourself making that leap?

Let's focus. I was responding to one person, one argument. I tried to demonstrate that his argument could be used to support a completely opposite conclusion, therefore is was not evidence for his conclusion and to contend that it was must reveal a preference for that conclusion.

Our whole society is involved in various sorts of indoctrination, and a lot of people like it. Look at the rabid responses to me for saying I had an experience they didn't. And yet these people think they have a scientific mindset. Hence, my use of quotation marks. "Scientific indoctrination" was meant to be an oxymoron.

And if you think the Wikipedia quote doesn't describe an overwhelming portion of the scientific community... well, you're probably very happy with your worldview. Try to find some real reference sources, though.

And now you've got the great red ferret god to cavort with the pink unicorns. Obviously it's a waste of time hoping you people will ever think clearly.

Enjjpt said...

Samantha said,
"Obviously it's a waste of time hoping you people will ever think clearly."

Right. Thinking clearly to you means believeing that the dead talk to you personally. Looking and asking for evidence for supernatural claims is obviously not thinking clearly.

What is the difference between your claim that the dead talk to you as a 'reality' and the Christian who claims they are filled with the 'Holy Spirit'? Or someone off the street who claims to be God or be able to perform miracles?

You dismiss the Red Ferret God and Pink Unicorns as not being real. How do you know? boomSlang and I have seen them. Dont discount or experiences because you have not had them yourself. You are obviously not thinking clearly if you dont accept that the exist.

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Samantha quotes boomslang:

"I'd like to know how you've concluded that Pekingjohn - or any proponent of naturalism - "desires" the resulting conclusions at the end of their search for truth."

Her response...Wow. Did you hurt yourself making that leap?

Let's review....

Previously, Samantha to Pekingjohn:

"What you're talking about is indoctrination, a subject that should be familiar to any ex-christian. However, it is not evidence for your desired conclusion."[bold and italics added]

Desire: transitive verb

1. To wish or long for; want.

2. To express a wish for; request.

ref: American Heritage

Let's try again: The implication is that the conclusion is something that was desired..i.e..wished for; hoped for; longed for, etc. So where is the "leap" in pointing out that you falsely assume Peking' "desires" his conclusion???

Samantha...Let's focus.

i.e..let's agree with Samantha.

Samantha...I was responding to one person, one argument.

Relevance?

Samantha...I tried to demonstrate that his argument could be used to support a completely opposite conclusion, therefore is was not evidence for his conclusion and to contend that it was must reveal a preference for that conclusion.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but the conclusion that you sought to "demonstrate" was that "Western science" indoctrinates people, just like religion does. In other words, you, like many proponents of mysticism/supernaturalism, seek to equate the methods of "science" with the "Faith" of religion. If I'm wrong, please, by all means enlighten me. Like I always say, I'd much rather have my errors corrected, than to blindly keep defending them.

Samantha...Our whole society is involved in various sorts of indoctrination, and a lot of people like it. Look at the rabid responses to me for saying I had an experience they didn't.

Another strawman. Furthermore, find me a minimum of one post that asserts that "Samantha" didn't have her "experience". In other words, to the best of my knowledge, no one is saying you didn't have an "experience".

Samantha...And yet these people think they have a scientific mindset. Hence, my use of quotation marks. "Scientific indoctrination" was meant to be an oxymoron.

Notice the distinction between "education", and indoctrination in the previously referenced definition of "indoctrination". Furthermore, you seem to be implying that because people are skeptical of your personal "experience", that therefore, people who are proponents of the scientific method are what?...fakes?..frauds?..hypocrites?..what?....whAT are you saying?

Put it this way---if you have a better, more reliable method than the scientific method for determining fact from fiction, by all means, I'd be happy to have a listen to what that is. Waiting.

Samantha...And if you think the Wikipedia quote doesn't describe an overwhelming portion of the scientific community... well, you're probably very happy with your worldview. Try to find some real reference sources, though.

'Tell ya what, dear...you provide whatever definition of "indoctrination" you please, along with the reference. Fair enough?

And BTW, while we're on the subject---there are certain things that I find UNdesirable about the ramifications/implications of my "worldview". That said, I'll ask you, then: Aside from people not doing cartwheels in agreement with you---feel free to name a few things that you find undesirable about your worldview....you know, a belief in an "afterlife"?...living forever?...talking to dead relatives beyond the grave, etc?

Samantha...And now you've got the great red ferret god to cavort with the pink unicorns.

Yes, yes!...and so? You certainly dismiss those concepts as fanciful and highly improbable... don't you, Sam'? How do you do that, Sam'?...what method do you use?...common sense? "Logic"? 'Listening.

Samantha...Obviously it's a waste of time hoping you people will ever think clearly.

Oh shit, looky here....more ad hominem. Yes, everyone who doesn't agree with Samantha suffers with a myopic point of view. Uh huh...yeah, right.

pekingjohn said...

Samantha,
What would you do if a friend of yours approached you and said that she had been abducted by aliens three times a month for the past six months?

(Quite a few people have actually made such a claim.)

Regardless of what you thought of her situation, you would have to admit that her experience is quite out of the ordinary, and you, if you were a good friend, would take her to get professional help. (There are psychologists who specialize in alien abductions.)

The principle here is that regardless of whether she was actually abducted or not, she truly perceived that she had been abducted, and we must deal with that at face value.

Samantha, something similar is happening to you. You perceive that you hear voices of the dead, but we know that this is outside of our everyday experience.

I strongly urge that you contact your local association of psychologists for someone who specializes in this sort of phenomena.

While hearing voices of the dead is out of the ordinary, it's probably more common than most of us think.

Consulting a professional will help you compare your experiences with others who have had similar experiences and put them into perspective.

Samantha, we don't know each other, but you can consider this coming from a friend. Get help.

The Bite Of The Apple said...

Samantha: "First you want me to believe that success at some endeavors (splitting the atom, etc.) precludes failure at another. I'd like to see the logical path to that conclusion."

You're kidding right? If you have a bible handy;

Isaiah 11:12 - "And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."

Now, science has shown that the earth is indeed, not a square, with four corners, it is more oval, and flying through space.

Thus, such a success of science, does preclude a person from positing "false" claims, such as a square earth, as an objective fact.

Now, no one has to "believe" anything someone else says; a person can believe the earth if "flat" regardless of "facts" - it's their subjective truths based on their subjective reality.

While such a person is not precluded from believing what they want; their own ignorance, or inability to accept established facts that they can verify first-hand, places them at odds with others who are "less ignorant", and able to accept Reality as it "Is", not what one believes it "ought to be".

Christianity, by tradition posits statements that are illogical, and no one need go any further at researching them, until such statements are made clear.

For instance, the word "supernatural", means to exist beyond this Natural Universe. In order to even entertain that statement, one has to understand what it means to not "exist" in this Natural Universe, so they can identify supernatural when they experience it.

That is not possible, if people are considered "natural" beings. It's quite obvious, that one can not escape their natural being, in order to experience not being natural - it's a logical impossibility.

Christianity is filled with such traditional statements that are internally broken in terms of logic.

There is the belief that Heaven resides in another Universe, away from sin, how one has knowledge of another Universe, while living in this one defies logic... obviously, there are explanations. I consider such statements to be the rejection of what "undeniably" exists today, as fact, in order to propose something "new", like an alternative Reality.

Again, Christians can believe what they want to "subjectively" believe, but subjective beliefs without any evidence, will only be accepted by those who know no better.

Nena said...

Maybe PekingJohn and Samantha should get their own damn forum for arguing... no, wait, they have AIM for that...

Dave8 said...

Bill Jeffreys: "I mean you no harm other than the destruction of your delusional religious thinking."

Bill Jeffreys, I really enjoyed reading your original post, it would be nice to one day settle down and open a practice as well, I'm not sure I have the patience though :-)

I wanted to get your thoughts on the following quote, and if you had any reservations about how posters should respond, while adhering to the site's TOS.

Samantha: "I have had several spontaneous experiences such as contacting the recently dead, contacting the long-dead, remembering one of my past lives, and on and on."

Thanks for any heads up, on how you would like this thread to flow. Engaging perceived delusional thinking would seem to be supportive of this thread’s message.