Atheists... do you have a purpose?

Sent in by Jackie

A couple of days ago, in the middle of the thread about integrity of the Christian community, somebody posted an interesting question that I couldn't wait to jump all over. He asked "Atheists... do you have a purpose?"

I must have hit cancel instead of publish because my comment never went on the thread. So, I figured it would make a better discussion topic instead.

My response to this question goes something like this:

By purpose, if you mean divine, then of course not, because we don't believe in the divine. If you mean responsibility, then yes. We don't need motivation to do the right thing. We don't have to have a carrot dangling in front of us. (And by carrot, you could interpret that to be heaven, spiritual gifts, blah, blah...)

Sometimes I get quite an ego and like to think that I have more ethics and morals in my little atheist pinky finger than most Christians do.

I don't have an ulterior motive to be friends with someone. My relationships aren't fake. If I don't like someone, I don't get close to them. I can be friends with someone without planning a sales pitch and hoping for the day they change to being just like me. I respect diversity. I'm friends with people because I like them and enjoy having them around me.

I don't need a reason to help someone. No crown, no streets of gold, no mansion... just knowing that I might have made someone else's day a little better. I don't expect recognition from a choir of angels for making a good decision. I make good decisions because I have a brain. I do the right thing because I give a shit.

I care about the world around me. I am not awaiting the glorious day of Mithras' return... I mean Jesus.... oops. I believe in the one planet that I share with billions of other people on it and I take some responsibility to make it a better place.

I don't need a reason to help someone. No crown, no streets of gold, no mansion... just knowing that I might have made someone else's day a little better. I don't expect recognition from a choir of angels for making a good decision. I make good decisions because I have a brain. I do the right thing because I give a shit. Religion does nothing to make the world peaceful. Religious sects of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc., each thinking they are the only one that is right and every one else should be eradicated from the planet, doesn't sound like a very good peacekeeping strategy to me. There is one planet... we all share it... we are all ruining it. The rest of the world needs to buck up, admit that they may not have all the answers, and start recycling!

And finally, to think that one has a specific "purpose" which is divine is a very egotistical thing to believe. What about the starving children in Africa? What's their purpose? Be born with aids and starve to death? Nice... Maybe you could take that purpose of a "higher calling" and do something intelligent with it, like find a way to end hunger and cure cancer. Forget preaching your bible crap... starving people will do whatever they must for food. If they don't mean it in their hearts when they prayed that sinner's prayer, just doing it for food, are they still saved? The bible I read says no, or maybe that's just my interpretation.

I've been there, thinking I had a higher calling. I devoted two years to ministry training and nothing else. I kept believing that God would have me doing something amazing to turn the world to Him. But here I am, 10 years later... working a job I hate to pay the bills -- because I chose not to go to an actual college and get a real degree -- raising a beautiful son, happily professing my atheism and living a life happier and more fulfilled than ever (despite the job). If I wouldn't have decided to take my life in my own hands and waited for that proverbial door to open, I'd still be going to the college-age Sunday school, waiting for my soul mate and believing that I was an ambassador to the world, all the while never leaving comforts of my church.

69 comments:

Joe B said...

Atheists with a purpose. There's the problem. It's those danged English articles.

Atheists don't have a purpose. No one should. Each human being has as many purposes as he or she may elect or have opportunity to pursue.

A group of people may come to gether for a purpose, and pursue that purpose together for as long as seems good to them. Or they may be compelled to do so against their will.

The church told me my individual purposes were all crap compared to the greater purpose they wanted me to commit my time and resources to. I personally rejected that claim and here I am in the wide open spaces of volitional purposes.

So do atheists have a purpose. God no.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderfully refreshing article. It's not news, but it's easy to forget when you're surrounded by delusional and preachy self-righteousness.

My decisions are both *more* difficult and *more* meaningful because I expend the energy to make them myself. It is not a character flaw that I choose to decide what is right based on reality, or as Bertrand Russell said "inspired by love and guided by knowledge". Any other course of action is inferior, or as I like to think of it "lacking in style".

"My relationships aren't fake." Damn straight. Thank you.

schala25 said...

Haha, Joe B...love it :)

Anonymous said...

Great article, Jackie! I particularly like the bit about the friendship. Just yesterday I was thinking how fake some Christians look when they pretend to like everybody.

As for my purpose, I have many. One of them is to never waste another Sunday morning in church.

THE ACE said...

Jackie, that's a great response to the troll who posted that question
a few days ago. Christians believe
they must have a purpose. That purpose is to become a mental and
emotional slave to their church and
religion (making sure the church gets ten percent of their income
every week, of course) and base
almost everything they do on an ancient book that most Christians
can't even agree on.

Considering we don't ask to be born, why does there have to be
a purpose to our lives? What's
wrong with enjoying time with our
family and friends, performing acts
of kindness for others when we can,
and striving to do the best we can
with whatever career we've chosen?

Well, perhaps there is a purpose..
to avoid the talons of Christianity
or any other religion that exists
solely to control the lives of
as many people as it can.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand this nonsense about belief in god giving one "a purpose." OK, let's say I do believe in "god," how does that give me purpose? What role exactly has this god assigned me? If you believe the Bible is a set of instructions from this god, where in the Bible does it tell us what our main mission is? I know the Bible has all kinds of admonishments, but none of it seems like anything purposeful to me.

Is our purpose to "praise" and "worship" this god? Is that why he made us, as some kind of adoring pet who licks his feet and wags our tails when we see him? Seems rather petty for some infinite being, doesn't it? If this god exists as they claim it does, all knowing, all powerful, etc, then why would he even give a rat's behind regarding our opinion of him? Do you care if the dust mites on your skin "worship" you?

Nature has given us purpose aplenty, our genes tell us to survive and reproduce, so that the genes are passed on. Everything else we do, from science to symphonies is in support of that. No deity needed.

webmdave said...

Other than nature's purpose, individuals find purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in all sorts of activities, only one of which is complete immersion in a religion.

All of us choose our own purpose. A religous person has simply decided to make religion his or her purpose.

Ricky said...

I'm an atheist, but I believe that you made one error. You said, "Religion does nothing to make the world peaceful. Religious sects of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc., each thinking they are the only one that is right and every one else should be eradicated from the planet..."

I'd object to the putting of "Buddhism" in that group. Although all religion is incorrect in that there is no evidence to back them up, there are some religions that are quite liberal, and even some that, dare I say it, make the world an even better place (despite weakening rationality).

Most Buddhists have no problem with science. And, in fact, Buddha is not a God and believing in him won't get you to heaven. The things you do on earth influence whether you'll go to heaven or maybe go to hell (for a time...being able to be born again after being purged). Jainism preaches that every life (including animal and even plant life...they try to not kill plants if possible, but take ingredients that can grow back - as human hair does, without killing humans if it's cut) is sacred. They also have an idea called non-exclusivity which means that opinions vary, and one should never get so into dogma (even their own dogma!) that it makes you hate another group.

Besides the life-after-death stuff, there is indeed stuff that people can learn from SOME religions. It's mostly the Abrahamic ones that are ruining the world.

As I said, I still don't believe in any of them, but many of the followers of Eastern religions don't think that I'd go to hell, or should even be converted to their way of thinking. That's a far cry from what we're used to.

Barbie Brains said...

Loved this article...My family has been harping about "my purpose" in life ever since I announced that I no longer believed in gawd. A fundie friend even gave me Rick Warren's syrupy self-helf blathering hallucination titled: "The Purpose Driven Life" which is a waste of paper not fit human intellectual consumption.In the very first chapter, Warren spews out this gem: "It is not about you." I have no idea what the "it" refers to and why that "it" is not about me. All cults operate in the same way. You are expected to surrender intellect, will, your individual luminosity and individuality for tepid dogmatic sameness. I believe that many Christians are secretly FRUSTRATED with the purpose that they have accepted as "divine" and the way to repress the fundamental frustration with their marriage, kids, god-kitsch, suburban nightmare is through digging themselves deeper and deeper into the hole...there is no PURPOSE, only "purposes" (plural) defined by each individual. By the way,last year I saw comedian Bill Maher live in Dallas at the Majestic Theater and he opened his act with a reading from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life as interpreted by Maher. It was hilarious and the audience could not stop laughing!!!

Barbie Brains said...

Sorry...*self-help* and *not fit for human intellectual consumption*...I have these midget devils playing with my keyboard... :-)

boomSLANG said...

Ultimately, this proposed "purpose" that Theists insist they have boils down to one thing: Eternal existence. This must be the case, or else, I think by now we would've heard a logical explanation as to how the perpetual worship of a deity gives "purpose". Moreover, "purpose" doesn't necessarily imply "meaning", as the former suggests "intent". Something can still be meaningful and not be intended to be meaningful.

That said, this alleged "God" that presumably supplies "purpose", is, itself, either intended, or not intended. If the former, who or what "intended" its existence? If the latter - if "God" exists unintended - then according to the Theist's very premise, "God", like us, has "no purpose".

Surely then, unceasing reverence to an entity with no purpose cannot supply "purpose". Right?

Theists?

Jackie said...

Sorry, I did make an error mentioning Buddhism. I'm not too familiar with the religion. I'm sure all of you know what I meant with religions that think they are the only ones that are right and deserve to have life whether it be present or eternal. I'm sure there are other religions that are completely peace based. Christians claim there's is all about peace and we all know that it's not.

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

So, do most atheists believe there is no life after death?

If so, why?

webmdave said...

@ murgman:

Since no one has elected me the spokesman for "most atheists," I for one would have to excuse myself from assuming to have an authoritative answer for all, some, or most atheists. I personally do not believe in life after death. The reason I do not believe in life after death is because there is no evidence of any such thing.

Do you think plants have life after death? Do you believe cats and dogs have a life after death? Are you of the opinion that the Great Apes have life after death? If not, why not?

Human beings are mammals that share approximately 98% of the same DNA as chimpanzees. No one that I know thinks chimps have an afterlife.

Do you believe in life before birth? It seems very likely to me that I will have a similar experience after my death that I had prior to my birth. Think about it.

However, if you have verifiable evidence that anything lives beyond the grave, please feel free to post it.

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

I could provide documented cases of NDE, etc., but you, no doubt, could focus on biology to dispute that, and we would simply have a difference of opinion running for many posts, and that is certainly not my intention. I just want to focus on why you believe energy stops at death... and ask another question.

Do you have documented proof that LAD does not exist?

(By the way, the whole animal soul thing is not something that I'm not an expert at discussing, but I do believe they have some deep emotions as opposed to all instinct.)

webmdave said...

I have read Dr. Moody's books on NDEs. I have also read other authors on the topic. NDEs are evidence of NDEs. Testimonials of dreams, hallucinations or visions when the brain has been denied adequate oxygen hardly qualifies as evidence of life after death. In any case, NDEs do not support the tenets of Christianity. If anything, NDEs suggest something akin to reincarnation.

Barbie Brains said...

Nobody armed by art and culture and literature and philosophy is likely to be anything but bored and sickened by ghost stories, UFO tales, spiritualist experiences, or babblings from the beyond. Atheists cannot dis-prove the existence of a deity or "the afterlife". It can only be found entirely lacking in evidence or proof. Caution: "ectoplasm" has been produced by frauds to the applause of morons.

murgman said...

So this is it? Nothing more? Your love for your children/loved ones stops here? Your intellect ends as you breathe your last? The "energy" your body possesses simply dissapates, ignoring the 1st law of thermodynamics?

Can you define, "entirely lacking in evidence"?

Disclaimer on spelling, please!

webmdave said...

Murgman, you are the one intent on insisting there is life after death for humans and I don't know what else. If you have evidence to support your assertion, then feel free to present it. Otherwise, I remain a skeptic.

That OK with you?

If it's not OK with you that I remain a skeptic, could you please explain why my skepticism bothers you? I don't care you believe in ghosts, disembodied spirits, angels, demons, and a heavenly host of magical creatures. I, however, see no reason to believe in such things.

The balls in your court.

Joe B said...

Yep. As soon as metabolism ends the remaining energy in the human body's systems is more or less gradually absorbed by the environment. Heat is rather quickly lost to the surroundings. Whatever energy is caught up in our matter is then broken down slowly and released by the metabolic processes of other creatures, dissipated in chemical reactions or whatever.

No laws of thermodynamics being violated here. Just the observable end of doing for an individual.

boomSLANG said...

Murgman...I could provide documented cases of NDE, etc., but you, no doubt, could focus on biology to dispute that...

As pointed out to you, "near death" isn't dead. "Close" only counts in a game of horseshoes.

Nonetheless, if the "energy" that presumably makes up the personality(i.e..the "soul") exists independently of the physical brain, why then do people who suffer from comas, stroke, Alzheimer's, and other brain defective ailments, lose their personalities? Also, what about those who've been resuscitated after being clinically dead, but who have been deprived of oxygen for too long, and thus, they come back "brain dead"? As long as they can resuscitate the physical body - regardless of how long it takes - the "soul" shouldn't be effected.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Well said, Jackie. Unfortunately, for those who've been convinced that it's necessary to have an eternal purpose, an argument that suggests a meaningful purpose can be found in the here and now fails to be satisfying. I think perhaps this is at least partly because it's really the wrong answer to the question, "Why are we here?"

It seems that most people simply don't care for the idea that we're little more than an insignificant species on an insignificant planet, (apparently) alone in a great big universe. Frankly, even I have a tough time with that from time to time. Who wants to feel small and insignificant, right? But, that is the cold, hard truth, isn't it? At least from a universal perspective.

This is it. This life is all we get, and although it may be a pleasant fiction to believe that we are special and destined for immortality, we best serve ourselves and our world by looking to what we have and what we can create for meaning.

@ murgman

I could provide documented cases of NDE, etc., but you, no doubt, could focus on biology to dispute that, and we would simply have a difference of opinion running for many posts, and that is certainly not my intention.

I, for one, thank you for not pursuing that particular line of nonsense, er, inquiry.

I just want to focus on why you believe energy stops at death... and ask another question.

Do you have documented proof that LAD does not exist?


Well, strictly speaking I don't believe energy "stops" at death. As far as remains are concerned, energy does not stop at death, really. Decomposition dissipates energy over time, and the material becomes nutrient for the surrounding soil. Over a much longer time, organic material can become stored energy in the form of oil or coal. However, I expect you learned that in science class, and are actually asking a different question. State it clearly, and you might get an answer you can accept...or, more likely, an answer that opens a seething can of worms for you. ;)

As for part two, no one has documented proof that LAD does or does not exist. What we do have proof of is that when someone dies - I mean, really dies - the body decomposes and the rest of us are forced to carry on the best way we can. If, at this point, you're tempted to cite a study or two discussing NDEs, I'd first like to remind you of your stated intention to avoid that topic, and recommend you read "Near Death Experiences & the Medical Literature" on this page.

Cheers!

murgman said...

I think skepticism is healthy. I believe it good to question who and what we are.

What kind of proof would you like? Jesus to show you His wrists? God to take you to where He is and return you so that you can tell everyone what you saw? Documented cases of healings? How about documented proof of raising the dead to life? I could show you those things, but since you weren't there to see them, you wouldn't believe them, right?

Joe B said...

Credible evidence of an amputee's limb being regenerated would be way cool. Got some?

J. C. Samuelson said...

Ah. Late posting, as usual.

So this is it? Nothing more? Your love for your children/loved ones stops here? Your intellect ends as you breathe your last? The "energy" your body possesses simply dissapates, ignoring the 1st law of thermodynamics?

In order: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, with the caveat that no violation of any law occurs (assuming murder wasn't the cause of death, of course :)). This link may help you understand the 1st law. You might also find the following of interest (taken from a Christian association of scientists on this page):

How our bodies make unusual things happen.

Inside our bodies, reactions occur that would not occur outside our bodies, and molecules exist that would not exist outside our bodies. How and why can this happen?

kinetics: Many reactions that usually are kinetically unfavorable can occur because some proteins, which are called enzymes, act as catalysts that increase a reaction rate and "make things happen" by providing a way to lower the activation energy and/or bring chemicals together in a spatial orientation that is "just right" for reacting. Enzymes operate in the context of control systems that control which reactions do and don't occur, and when. These control systems are analogous to a thermostat that turns a furnace on and off, when we do and don't need heat, but are much more complex and wonderful.

thermodynamics: Many reactions that usually are thermodynamically unfavorable can occur when they are coupled with another reaction. For example, if a biologically useful reaction that is unfavorable (because it produces a change of -400 in universe-entropy) is combined with a sufficiently favorable reaction (that produces a change of +500 in universe-entropy) the overall coupled reaction is favorable, since it produces an increase of +100 in universe-entropy. Our bodies use external fuel — the chemical potential energy stored in the foods we eat and the oxygen we breathe — to drive these coupled reactions.

Living organisms in the earth's biosystem are maintained in their unusual state (having high chemical potential energy, with low constraint-entropy and normal temperature-entropy) by using external energy from the sun, with solar energy first being directly consumed by plants, which convert it into chemical potential energy that can be consumed by animals. In both plants and animals, coordinated biological systems produce the mechanisms of life — operating in rate increasers, control systems, coupled reactions, and in many other ways — that are necessary to make these unusual things happen.


Now, for your later post...

What kind of proof would you like? Jesus to show you His wrists? God to take you to where He is and return you so that you can tell everyone what you saw? Documented cases of healings? How about documented proof of raising the dead to life?

Credible evidence of any of this would be great. Plus what Joe said.

I could show you those things, but since you weren't there to see them, you wouldn't believe them, right?

Are you claiming to have seen Jesus' wrists (and I don't mean your Latino gardener)? Are you claiming God "[took] you to where he is?" Are you claiming to have documented, credible evidence of miraculous healings and resurrections?

Oddly, no one has reported these things in any credible, peer reviewed journals. Must be a conspiracy.

murgman said...

J.C. (nice initials)

Have you every seen the complete chemical process you just pulled from that website,in action? You have seen what you believe to be the end result, but have you seen such a process? My guess is no, yet you have FAITH that it is true, yes? You said these were Christian scientists who gathered this info and you seem to believe it, yet when the bible is presented as truth, you decline its authenticity, interesting.

Are not eye-witness accounts proof for all? Credible sources, huh? The bible has proven, over and over, to be an extremely accurate historical document, yet you chose to ignore it because it isn't in line with how you want things to be. I think's that a natural reaction. Why aren't bible witness's credible, to you?

Your quote below.

Are you claiming to have seen Jesus' wrists (and I don't mean your Latino gardener)? Are you claiming God "[took] you to where he is?" Are you claiming to have documented, credible evidence of miraculous healings and resurrections?

Jesus was crucified at the wrist and I don't have a gardner! :)

I make no claim, other than my belief in a document that reads true, and what I'VE seen.

But you still didn't answer my question, would you believe?

murgman said...

To boomslang,

Your quote: Nonetheless, if the "energy" that presumably makes up the personality(i.e..the "soul") exists independently of the physical brain, why then do people who suffer from comas, stroke, Alzheimer's, and other brain defective ailments, lose their personalities?

If you lose a leg or hand, would you not be changed in the physical?

Why would the brain be different? Physical isn't spiritual or intellectual. Tissue damage is just that and will inhibit the ability to do physical things. Besides,Who says that when someone is quote "brain dead" that they are or aren't? Giving the thought process of many on this site; How do you ultimately prove someone is brain dead if you can't see it?

And if you can, explain how some of those folks, come back?

The point is is that we have a limited understanding of how the brain works. Besides, maybe the brain is the conduit to the soul. Any takers on proving it isn't?

AtheistToothFairy said...

murgman said...
Are not eye-witness accounts proof for all? Credible sources, huh?

Actually, not-so-much; as has been proven time and time again, in classes at police academies.


The bible has proven, over and over, to be an extremely accurate historical document

Did you cut and paste this line, because we've heard this exact same line, countless times from xtians.

Of course, when asked to prove that the bible is a reliable historical document, xtians have little to offer as proof in that regard.
Sure, as we all know, many of the places it speaks about actually existed, but so what. I can say the same for many fictional stories of new or old.

Show me outside the bible record, that Moses actually existed and helped all those Jews escape Egypt and wonder around aimlessly for 40 years. Where in secular history do we find the events of the Red Sea opening up to allow all those Jews to pass?
Can you even buy into such a story as being anything more than pure fiction?
Of course, Stronger-Now would be more than pleased to tell you about how god forcibly hardened pharaoh's heart, so there goes the free will idea out the proverbial window.

Show me outside the bible that your jesus character actually lived and performed all those interesting magic tricks he is famed with.
Show me the historical records that clearly show that 500 dead zombies crawled out of their graves. Very odd that the bible is the sole record of such a monumental event, don't you think?
Explain to me why Paul knew next to nothing about an earthly jesus.
Explain to me why the authors of the NT failed to write anything about your jesus from the time of his birth until he was 12 years old, then again remained silent until he was about 30.
Gee, for the most important 'man' of all time, your bible sure stays mighty quiet about the majority of his earthly life.

Where are the memorial shrines to jesus, that humans would have naturally made, after jesus left this planet? Hey, followers tend to do such things for their leaders and yet, no one did that for jesus...why?

If you weren't so caught up in the fantasy of a god, and his empty promises of an eternal afterlife, then you might see how ridiculous your entire bible piece-mealed story book really is.

Instead of just believing that everything in your bible is automatically true, why not try to verify what it says, just as we did?
You might be hugely surprised by what you find !!


ATF (Who has gotten so weary of hearing about how accurate the history of the bible is, when it's nothing but pure fictional claptrap)

webmdave said...

Again, murgman: What is your point? Why do you care about anyone's skepticism regarding your extraordinary claims and their request for credible evidence?

Hmm?

Christian apologist, disingenuous is thy name.

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

Previously I said: "...if the energy' that presumably makes up the personality(i.e..the 'soul') exists independently of the physical brain, why then do people who suffer from comas, stroke, Alzheimer's, and other brain defective ailments, lose their personalities?"

Murgman responds...If you lose a leg or hand, would you not be changed in the physical?

Um, yes of course, changed physically. On the other hand, the amputee's cognative skills, reasoning skills, and their personality are not altered one iota - except for perhaps some psychological issues over the injury itself, such as depression.

You: Why would the brain be different[than a missing leg, or hand]?

You are arguing my point for me. Again, yes, a missing appendix, big toe, or "leg" will alter the individual physically, but it will not alter a person's cognative skills, or personality. However, a missing piece of "brain" will alter the cognative skills and personality, depending on which lobe of the brain is missing or extracted. The same is true if the brain becomes injured, as in amnesia, specifically of the organic causes.

This all seemingly contradicts the premise that a "soul" - which is essentially an individual's personality - can exist and operate independently of a brain. It's the notion that a "mind" can exist without a brain. I argue it cannot, and there is not one scrap of objective evidence that it can. Although, you are free to believe whatever you want to believe. That's what "faith" is for, I suppose.

You: Who says that when someone is quote "brain dead" that they are or aren't?

Who says? The medical community says.

You: How do you ultimately prove someone is brain dead if you can't see it?

I don't know exactly what you mean by "ultimately prove", and I won't get into the legalities of it, but where CPR is concerned, there is only a small window of time to restart bloodflow before the brain tissue dies, which subsequently causes permanent, irreversible brain damage.

"The extent and effect of brain injury is often assessed by the use of neurological examination, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological assessment." (ref: Wikipedia)

You: The point is is that we have a limited understanding of how the brain works.

Agreed, we don't know everything about the brain. Therefore, when homosapians expire, their personality magically floats out of their physical body, and its destination is one of either a perpetual state of heavenly bliss in the clouds, or a perpetual existence of torment somewhere in the depths of the center of the earth. This, of course, is based on if the individual held the correct religious beliefs when alive. Yes, uh huh....I see it now.[/extreme sarcasm]

See non-sequitur.

You: Besides, maybe the brain is the conduit to the soul.

But why a "brain" at all? God's "mind" can presumably exist and function without a "conduit" or interface. Why do we need physical brains, if there is mind/body duality?

You: Any takers on proving it[the brain] isn't[a conduit to the soul]?

Any takers on proving that shape-shifting Mole-men don't live inside Pluto, and from there they control the actions of human kind via their joysticks?

boomSLANG said...

continued...

Murgman...Why aren't bible witness's credible, to you?

Likely for the same reasons that the Book of Mormon witnesses aren't credible to you.

Murgam...The bible has proven, over and over, to be an extremely accurate historical document

As so, the biographical literature on the life of George Washington. Yet, I'll wager that very few grown, healthy-minded adults, if any, believe that he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River, which is over a mile wide at its narrowest points.

In other words, the redactors of said literature likely had an agenda to embroider the story, and being so, they did this by exaggerating George Washington's physical strength.

Could it be that the redactors of the bible had an similar agenda, and thus, made simlar exaggerations? Hmmmm...?

Philip said...

This is ridiculous, murg.

Braindead is something you can see, via machines - zero activity in the brain.

And people coming back to life? There's nothing mystical or magical about it. It's simply zapping people with electricity or otherwise getting their organs pumping again. Suspiciously mechanistic, and not spiritual at all.

If modern medicine has taught us anything, it's that the human body is an organic machine. Boom's made a good point about the brain. Things we consider spiritual (emotions, personality, conscience) are ultimately functions of the brain. The mind, the consciousness, so far, has not been proven to exist apart from the brain. If it did, just like Boom said, then damage to the brain would not change ones personality, and problems with the brain would not cause an excess of schizophrenia/visions/hallucinations.

Theists go on and on about how amazing the human body is and how its complexity is proof of intelligent design. Honestly, I'd be more impressed with a body that allows us everything we can do without all the complicated interconnecting parts.

Christians always go on and on about what a great job their god has done with creation, while I wonder why God didn't do a better job with things. I suppose I just expect more of their god than they do.

sconnor said...

OK, I'm going to jump into this discussion. As many of you know, my 10 year old son, Connor, died from a heart attack, related to leukemia. After his death, I read more books on the subject of NDEs then I have read books, in my, entire, life. I even got into a heated debate with Boomslang, which I now regret. There are mounds of testimonials of people having these experiences, but this absolutely, does not prove life after death. It only proves they are having experiences. Concerning my unbearable grief, I admit I am a hold out, on the possibility, that the conscious does continue on after death, but that is only wishful thinking, nothing I can substantiate. I also believe that these experiences should be studied, because I do not dismiss them, all out of hand, as dreams or hallucinations and one of the biggest questions I have is, why are the majority of them, spiritually related? It's not like dreams and hallucinations where anything goes -- being on a deserted island, with scantily clad women or being late for the big test and you don't know your lock's combination. (insert any other bizarre dream sequence)

My research in to NDEs led me to a chapter of IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) in Columbus Ohio. The woman, Nancy Clark, who facilitates the chapter, had an unusual Near Death Like Experience, where, while, she was giving an eulogy, at a friends funeral, she simultaneously had an outer body episode, that became a detailed and profound experience. She wasn't sick or near death. What's interesting is, she didn't collapse or show any signs of dementia, hallucinations, schizophrenia, she continued to deliver her eulogy, while she had lengthy discussions, with loving beings of light, a life review, and complete knowledge, accompanied with being one with the universe.

Aside from the whole matter being a hoax or a persons way of getting attention -- something I think is entirely possible, but I find remote, in this case -- we would have to speculate that either the experience and her conscious reading of the eulogy all took place in the context of her brain or, somehow, on some level, something that was still "her" was able to have a separate experience at the same time she was giving the eulogy. What I find intriguing is all her faculties -- while giving the eulogy -- were not affected. She didn't have a seizure, accompanied with convulsions and none of the plausible scientific hypothesis such as anoxia, anesthesia, adrenalin, drugs, etc, seem to apply. Does this prove that consciousness can live outside the parameters of the physical brain -- no, but it is something to ponder. Nancy Clark is conducting a study on this type of experience, and is collecting information from people who have had similar experiences. Maybe on some infinitesimal, quantum level, information is stored and can exist in a separate reality or perhaps duel realities -- I don't know.

Anyway I would like to know what others think. You too Boomslang, I've come a long way, and I respect you -- don't hold back.

--S.

murgman said...

Phil,

Why is it ridicules to think that man-made machines are unable to measure every function of the human body? That's faith!

Not every documented case of folks coming back from clinical death have been zapped, please explain.

Boom and Phil,

Are you saying that all emotion, etc. is physical? What would be the purpose? Please don't use the old arguement that they are needed to perpetuate the species because if there is nothing after death, why would it matter? Why would you care if your children lived after you?

Boom,

Your quotes:

But why a "brain" at all? God's "mind" can presumably exist and function without a "conduit" or interface. Why do we need physical brains, if there is mind/body duality?

THe body has several organs that perform dual functions, why not a mind/body function for the brain?


Any takers on proving that shape-shifting Mole-men don't live inside Pluto, and from there they control the actions of human kind via their joysticks?

You didn't answer my question, you just threw out a red herring.

Scon,

I am very sorry for your loss, there is nothing worse than the loss of a child. God knows how that feels.

I think it is good you seek answers, God honors that. I also think that you have received the answer you seek, but haven't pursued it, why?

Coming to this venue just feeds your doubt, why not go to places that feed your hope? God has answered, but you need to pursue it. You are the reason God sent me here. It was no accident I found this site.

WebDave,

Again, murgman: What is your point? Why do you care about anyone's skepticism regarding your extraordinary claims and their request for credible evidence?

Hmm?

I think it fascinating that folks live an absolutely hopeless life regarding LAD. I think it interesting that people ignore their hearts to feed their intellect.

I don't beleive, not for a second, that everyone of you don't contemplate your existance, God, is this all there is, things you really can't explain, etc...on some level.

I want to talk about some of the things Tooth touched on, but I don't have time now.

stronger now said...

ATF:"Stronger-Now would be more than pleased to tell you about how god forcibly hardened pharaoh's heart..."

...'cause he's a bad mutha-hushyomouth!

O.k. not really. But thanks for the invite.

@murgman,

You seem to think that shifting the burden of proof makes a compelling argument for "christian spirituality". But you don't seem to think it's a good argument for the "asatru spirituality". Why?

@sconner

Hmm. Seems similar to a lucid dream. Interesting.

webmdave said...

Murgman wrote, "I think it fascinating that folks live an absolutely hopeless life regarding LAD."

Hopeless life? Huh? What is hopeless about a mature comprehension of reality? That's not hopeless, that's being a grown-up.

Again, I don't care if you find comfort in wishfully thinking there is LAD or not. That's your affair. My point in questioning you is to find out why others' opinions in this matter are of such momentous concern to you? I challenge you to be forthright and honest as to your real intention in aggressively beating your drum.

If I disbelieve in life after death and later find I was wrong, what do you think will happen to me, Murgan? Do you think I'll burn in hell for all eternity for my skepticism? What possible difference would it make whether I have the correct opinions about LAD or not? Only Christians and Muslims think there are consequences to having an incorrect opinion on these matters.

I think you're a Christian who is terrified of death and who thinks pandering to that fear, which you imagine is shared by everyone, is a powerful evangelical hook for gaining converts. I only think this about you because this site is entitled ExChristian.Net and the article is entitled, "Atheists... do you have a purpose?" In that context it seems likely that your compulsion to go on and on and on about LAD is motivated by a desire to be a successful amateur Christian apologist. Correct me if I'm wrong in my assessment of your motive or come clean and admit that you are trying to evangelize using this approach.

That's not much to ask, is it? A little transparent honesty? Last I checked, subterfuge is not listed as a Christian virtue.

Jackie said...

Wow, this has become quite the thread. I'm not as educated as some people here so I will refrain from trying to sound like I am.

I was thinking after I wrote the original post. We do have a purpose!
To survive. Spread our seed, raise the babies and ensure the survival of our species... just like every animal on planet earth. Every other living organism lives it's life then dies... that's it. What makes us so special? I used to have a hard time recognizing that my consciousness would end after I'm dead and I still do sometimes, but I also understand (thanks to my husband who is studying bio-chemistry) that everything we experience ad feel is a combination of chemicals and electricity running ramped through our brains.
Now, like I said, I'm not educated in the field. High school diploma and 2 years of master's commission, so if I am not correct, please share and provide links to some evidence.
Thanks!

murgman said...

WebmDave,

Wow! Must of struck a nerve. You asked and I answered. I don't feel like I have to defend anything, I'm just curious why folks ignore there hearts. You have, no doubt, had countless people out here to debate your stance and my experience shows me that no one will convince anyone of anything through bias debate.

Fear of death? We will all go through the process and I made my peace with that a long time ago. In fact, most Christians I know, embrace the eventual death of this body and the restoration to God that He has promised.
If Christians are right, heaven is an awesome place to go, yes?

I think your skepticism is more cynisim than not. If it really doesn't matter to you one way or the other, why not chose God's way, just to make sure you aren't wrong? That seems more logical and pragmatic to me.

Listen, most/all of the folks out here seem to be bright and I'm not trying to shove anything off on you, but I would be remiss, just as you feel you would be, if I didn't bring up other options. If you are to have a change of heart, it will be from God, not me.

boomSLANG said...

Murgman...Are you saying that all emotion, etc. is physical?

Yes, that's what I'm saying. Once again, we see in people who suffer physical brain injuries that they have a decline in emotions, or in severe cases, none at all. In sociopathic people(people who are essentially amoral), we see that genetics plays a role, as well as biological factors.

My contention, again, is thus: If human beings are governed by some NON-physical "entity", i.e...a "soul", then the above mentioned senarios, and many like them, would never/should never be an issue.

Murgman...What would be the purpose[if emotions where generated by the physical]? Please don't use the old arguement that they are needed to perpetuate the species because if there is nothing after death, why would it matter?

What would it matter? Because LIFE matters. You are simply projecting your misguided, and frankly, quite silly premise that life is meaningless unless it lasts forever, into the discussion. We have emotions because that's how we evolved as a species. The lower apes have "emotions" too. Hell, the neighborhood stray cat has "emotions". Are those emotions simply instinctual?.. or are those emotions, like homosapiens, "spiritual", as you unceasingly suggest? Watch for the double-standard.

Murgman...Why would you care if your children lived after you?

Maybe Sconner is more qualified to answer this question. For now, I'll hypotheize that life is special, and since we love our kids, we want them to experience as much life as they can. 'Sound unreasonable?

Murgman...THe body has several organs that perform dual functions, why not a mind/body function for the brain?

You keep missing or circumventing my point. You are equating a supposed immaterial, nonphysical entity, to the material, physical, tangible organs of the body.

Look, if this "soul" thingy exists and operates independently of the body, then why the need for a physical interface? If physical organs function in tandem with nonphysical entities, as you hypothesize, then if someone suffers a stroke, why doesn't the "soul" simply start using the liver or elbow as its "conduit"? In other words, why the specific need FOR A BRAIN?? Arrgg! If you want to accept your hypothesis on "faith", then fine, just say so. However, your attempts at trying to substantiate your hypothesis with "logic" are severing lacking, IMO. I don't know how others feel, but it's not convincing me in the least. You are arguing in circles.

Murgman...You didn't answer my question, you just threw out a red herring.

You're right, I didn't answer your question, and the reason I didn't, is because its premise is non-sequitur. No, I cannot disprove your hypothesis, nor can you disprove mine. That however, does not make either hypothesis true by default. To attempt such is the fallacy of negative proof. My "red herring" was to illustrate a point, which evidently parted your hair down the middle.

Murgman...I don't beleive, not for a second, that everyone of you don't contemplate your existance, God, is this all there is, things you really can't explain, etc...on some level.

And you're right, we all contemplate those things. However, just because we must plead ignorance in certain areas of epistemology, biology, etc., doesn't mean that we must accept the "GOD DID IT!!!!" hypothesis that Theists serve up here daily. 'Kay?

boomSLANG said...

coninuted..

Murgman...I'm just curious why folks ignore [their] hearts.

Because "hearts" pump blood; they don't think.

Murgman...If Christians are right, heaven is an awesome place to go, yes?

"If" Muslims are right, Jahannum is a shitty place to go, yes?

Let's see...

Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their Home: an evil fate. The Holy Qu'ran 9:73

The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures. The Holy Qu'ran 98:1-8"

Garments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers. Sclading water shall be poured upon their heads, melting their skins and that which is in their bellies. They shall be lashed rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they try to escape from Hell, back they shall be dragged, and will be told: 'Taste the torment of the Conflagration!' The Holy Qu'ran 22:19-22:23"

webmdave said...

"Wow! Must of struck a nerve. You asked and I answered. I don't feel like I have to defend anything, I'm just curious why folks ignore there hearts. You have, no doubt, had countless people out here to debate your stance and my experience shows me that no one will convince anyone of anything through bias debate."

A nerve? Not really, you're merely irritating. Why do I find you irritating? Because you are not here to discuss anything, learn anything, or debate anything. In fact, it is only now that you are admitting that you are here to preach, which shows that you were disingenuous as to your intent.

Now that everyone knows you are a Christian apologist here to preach, the discussion can be open and honest.

Oh, and just to be pedantic, it's "THEIRS" not THERES.

webmdave said...

Murgman wrote, "I think your skepticism is more cynisim than not."

Now you are psychologist as well? Hmm.

"If it really doesn't matter to you one way or the other, why not..."

It doesn't matter to me what YOU believe. I most certainly am not going to waste any more of my life serving an imaginary deity that lives nowhere outside the human imagination. Besides, Allah's eternal torture chamber of fire is purportedly much worse than the Christian hell. Why don't you convert to Islam just to be sure you aren't wrong?

Myths are for kids, silly murgman.

resonate11 said...

Jackie, thanks for your original thread starter. I appreciate your straight talk.

Joe B, nice point about purposes verses a single purpose.

Boomslang, I don't know why you bother arguing with religious zealots. But I'm glad you do because your posts are interesting and informative.

Murgman, you mean well, don't you? And your "truth" just can't be wrong, can it?

Verily, I say unto thee: Our souls emanate from our minds and our minds emanate from our bodies. But just as our minds cannot transcend the destruction of our bodies, neither can our souls transcend the destruction of our minds.

All our thoughts and all our emotions and all our beliefs are but chemical/physical reactions. There is no me after death...no you either.

Fight it, Murgman, fight it, religious evangelicals, if fighting the biological truths of our existence makes life easier for you and more pleasant for those within your sphere of influence.

But here is the thing, Murgman and the rest of you evangelicals, I would be astounded if your witnessing somehow clouded our eyes and shrouded our minds.

Our beliefs are not a matter of our wills! Our beliefs are a matter of making the best sense we can of the best evidence we have.

I feel bad for you, Murgman and others, that your emotional self has been trapped by religious nonsense. But all people like Dave, the webmaster, and others who post here can do is present you with the real life-on-earth facts as we humans have thus far discovered them.

sconnor said...

murgman,

God knows how that feels.

I think it is good you seek answers, God honors that. I also think that you have received the answer you seek, but haven't pursued it, why?

Coming to this venue just feeds your doubt, why not go to places that feed your hope? God has answered, but you need to pursue it. You are the reason God sent me here. It was no accident I found this site.


Listen here you stupid motherfucker, you and your proselytizing, platitude-slinging, ilk is exactly why I'm here. You are nothing but a delusional fuck-tard that can offer me nothing but bullshit fairy tales. You can take your superstitious bullshit and your imaginary sky-boss and shove it down your fucking throat, you cock-sucking asshole.

And as for god knowing how it feels -- I'm not the deranged lunatic, who sent my child to be tortured and sacrificed like your dumb-ass god did. There is nothing you can say or do that can help me and in fact, what you have just said to me only bolsters my opinion of you as being a dumb-fuck. asshole who belongs to an equally ridiculous, dumb-fuck christian club.

If god is the one who sent you here, then he's doing a colossal, shitty job, by using the likes of you. You have zero to offer me and you are a delusional dick-head. Go fuck yourself.

--S.

sconnor said...

In addition -- I may be a hold out for the possibility of an afterlife but I still live a miserable existence of unbearable grief, now. Also the alternative of dying and simply not existing is equally a palatable option, either way is fine by me.

--S.

stronger now said...

"If Christians are right, heaven is an awesome place to go, yes?"

No. Too many wars, too much infighting there for me, thanks.

murgman said...

Boom,

Your quote: If physical organs function in tandem with nonphysical entities, as you hypothesize, then if someone suffers a stroke, why doesn't the "soul" simply start using the liver or elbow as its "conduit"? In other words, why the specific need FOR A BRAIN?? Arrgg! If you want to accept your hypothesis on "faith", then fine, just say so.

I didn't say organs..I said organ, brain. Is not the brain, and by your own admission, a very complex and unknow enity? Liver and elbow have nothing to do with it, you are red herring it again. :)

WebDave and Boom: It was obvious from my first post that I wasn't in line with your thinking and yet you think my intent was to be subversive or hide my intent...Did I need to explain that I was a Christian? I have not asked one of you to change your way. On the other hand, many of you have given me various titles :) and think that following Jesus is silly. So who is the one not willing to discuss their position?

Webdave,

Your quote: If I disbelieve in life after death and later find I was wrong... What if you do?

Resonate,

Your quote: All our thoughts and all our emotions and all our beliefs are but chemical/physical reactions. There is no me after death...no you either.

How do you know that? How can over 5 billion people on this planet be wrong and you be right?

Your quote: Our souls emanate from our minds and our minds emanate from our bodies. But just as our minds cannot transcend the destruction of our bodies, neither can our souls transcend the destruction of our minds.

Can you prove that? What if you're wrong here, too?

Your quote: I feel bad for you, Murgman and others, that your emotional self has been trapped by religious nonsense. But all people like Dave, the webmaster, and others who post here can do is present you with the real life-on-earth facts as we humans have thus far discovered them.

Don't feel bad for us, we have hope...you apparently don't any of that. I think your last statement very interesting. ..facts as we humans have thus far discovered. So there may be things about us that we haven't discovered? why do you think that humans are it? That we are top of the line?

murgman said...

Scon,

I won't post again. Not because of how you reacted, but it is pointless. Do you think you are the only one with unbearable grief? If going off on me helps you deal with that, okay, go for it.

I hope you keep your thought of LAD alive and find the right answer.

Yes. I believe Jesus is the only way to get through this life and into the next one. We WILL stand before Him and give an account, like it or not.


Good luck all and thanks for allowing me to interact with you.

webmdave said...

Murgman, there was a time when the majority of the Western Empire believed heart, mind and soul in the Greek Pantheon. There are millions that bow down to Allah. How can you be right and all those intelligent people wrong.

Murg,

Most if not all of us where once sold out, born again, blood bought, evangelical, fundamental, preaching, witnessing Christians. Murg, I ran a Christian website! Can you believe it? We have considered our positions and changed our minds. Please list the works of literature that you have examined that contradict your current worldview. My guess is that you've read not one.

Joe B said...

murgman,

Let's deal with something much more to the point. As S so correctly noted you are dillusional. We've been kind to you. No souls to be won here, son. So, toddle along now.

Jackie said...

Apparently Murgman hasn't heard of neuro-science, bio-chemistry, or the many other fields of study, including the use of those electrode thingies that look at brain activity, that prove the chemical reactions and electricity that cause the emotions and thoughts. Again, all we ask for is proof and all the troll can give us is empty words and false assumptions.

resonate11 said...

Sconner: In addition -- I may be a hold out for the possibility of an afterlife but I still live a miserable existence of unbearable grief, now. Also the alternative of dying and simply not existing is equally a palatable option, either way is fine by me.

Sconner, stick around if you can. We--both this community and humankind--need you. We need you to remind us why we should divert our energy and intelligence and wealth away from how to hurt and kill people into seeking and discovering cures for illnesses like leukemia.

If we Americans were not using our resources to maintain and enlarge the world's largest military/industrial complex, humanity could be a lot farther toward being able to cure such diseases.

boomSLANG said...

Murgman....I didn't say organs..I said organ, brain.

Yes, obstinate follower of christ, I'm fully aware of what you said. Here's the quote:

THe body has several organs that perform dual functions, why not a mind/body function for the brain?[bold added]

Try and follow closely---I'm saying that since you made a reference to other "organs"(plural) in comparison to the "brain", I simply elaborated based on your analogy. 'Get it? Again, while other organs may serve a dual purpose, if so, it is in a PHYSICAL application. It is you who is asserting that the "brain" has a different kind of "dual functionality", that being that it is a "conduit"(your word) to a meta-physical, supernatural realm.

Regarding that unporven hypothesis, please feel free to review all of my previous refutations of that premise, or then again, feel free to keep right on ignoring them.

You continue...Is not the brain, and by your own admission, a very complex and unknow enity?

No, in fact, I never refered to it as such. Complex? Yes. Do we know everything about it's function? No. We do know, however, that when the brain is physically altered - either by disease or trauma - that the "personality" is effected, and thus, for the bazillionth time, that points to the "mind" being dependent on a healthy, functioning brain.

You....However, Liver and elbow have nothing to do with it, you are red herring it again. :)

No---me pointing out the fallacy/fallacies of your fantastic claims again.

You...So who is the one not willing to discuss their position?

Excuse me, but who here has attempted to avoid discussing the immediate subject at hand with you? If anything, it seems to me that you are the one picking and choosing to answer what you think you can, and ignoring the rest.

Nonetheless, most of us have been on both sides of this issue. If we're at a stalemate, perhaps you can either offer some objective evidence for your fantastic, mystical claims, or if not, you can be on your merry way?

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

Scon,

I won't post again.

Good, but I'll belive it when I see it.

Not because of how you reacted, but it is pointless.

Isn't it curiously, absurd, you use your abyss of a cranium to rationalize, that I was the reason god sent you here but now, it's "pointless", painting you and your god as entirely incompetent.

Do you think you are the only one with unbearable grief?

Are you kidding me? You just keep digging your grave deeper and deeper -- what an asshole question. Is god the one helping you with your words? Because, if so, both of you are cosmic fuck-tards, with zero ability of compassion or saying the right thing.

If going off on me helps you deal with that, okay, go for it.

Spare me your Junior, psychological, analysis. It's easy for you to pull bullshit out of your shit-hole, isn't it? Your inept and fully erroneous, rationalization, that me going off on you, is helping, is wholly absurd; It doesn't help me with anything. What it does, is, thoroughly, cement my view, that holier than thou, brain-dead christian drones are completely, delusional and you and your little christian cult have zero authority and can't help me and in fact, have made it even worse. You're a delusional piece of shit, who should keep his, fucking, mouth shut, especially, of things you have no idea about.

I hope you keep your thought of LAD alive and find the right answer.

I don't give a shit what you hope. And as far as NDEs are concerned, the majority believe that dogma and religion are not important. The accounts of the NDEs say, we are here to grow in love and everyone is saved, not just the arrogant, christians, who think they got it all figured out.

Yes. I believe Jesus is the only way to get through this life and into the next one. We WILL stand before Him and give an account, like it or not.

whoopie-d-doo, again, you only bolster, my view of you -- a psychotic, asshole, babbling, that you and your specific christian ilk, got your ticket to funky-town, because you do the right things, were born into the correct religion and think the right way; while the rest of humanity is damned, to be tortured, in the flames of hell, for an eternity. It looks like your imaginary sky-genie sent a pathetic, piece of shit -- completely, incompetent of swaying my opinion, only proving you are delusional, asshole who thinks I'm the reason god sent you here. Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo.

Good luck all and thanks for allowing me to interact with you.

I don't know about everyone else but murgman's interaction with me, left me soiled, as if he mentally raped and abused me. Murgman, you are a vile, deer-in-the-headlight, deluded christian, whose proselytizing and existence is nothing but the vomit you spew.

--S.

Hells Bells said...

I just find the idea of life being pointless UNLESS you have an eternal relationship with God quite confusing. What exactly do Christians think their purpose will be when they're "in heaven"?

Murgman said that heaven will be a wonderful place if Christianity is right - but for how long? Humans thrive on challenges and discovering new things. A heaven which is one long praise party I would think would get a bit boring after the first few thousand years or so - and I used to say that as a Christian too. And I'm not sure that staying for eternity in a mile-high cube filled with gold will actually be that great anyway. I like getting out into the countryside!

All the Christians do is defer their purpose to rely on a god. They have no idea what their purpose in heaven will be, but it gives them a purpose on earth - namely to try to persuade as many people as possible to believe that they are right.

For whatever reason I have emotions and I care for my family, those who I have brought into this world. My purpose now is to try to make sure that they have as secure a present and future that I can provide, both materially and emotionally.

sconnor said...

I agree hells bells,

"Most people can't bear to sit in church for an hour on Sundays. How are they supposed to live somewhere very similar to it for eternity?" -- Mark Twain

--S.

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

Sconner, stick around if you can. We--both this community and humankind--need you. We need you to remind us why we should divert our energy and intelligence and wealth away from how to hurt and kill people into seeking and discovering cures for illnesses like leukemia.

If we Americans were not using our resources to maintain and enlarge the world's largest military/industrial complex, humanity could be a lot farther toward being able to cure such diseases.


Thanks resonate11; I completely concur.

--S.

sconnor said...

Stronger now said, Hmm. Seems similar to a lucid dream. Interesting.

To a certain extent. I would like to know what your definition of a lucid dream is? My definition is finding yourself entranced in a detailed daydream, so immersed that the reality around you is not apparent. Nancy would not consider what happened to her a daydream. First this was a life-altering experience -- to my knowledge lucid dreams are not capable of that and in her experience she was completely aware of her surroundings and what she was doing in both realities. I would also have to surmise that when a person awakes from their lucid dream, they come to the realization that it was only a dream. Nancy asserts that the duel realities she experienced were absolutely real. I don't know, this is an interesting experience to ponder. I really do not think it was a lucid dream. I sometimes wonder if it was some kind of mild seizure -- a seizure that causes you to have an experience like she had without compromising herself at the funeral by having convulsions or at the very least stammering or forgetting what she was saying -- which BTW, she did not do.

--S.

stronger now said...

I was just going by what I read on wikipedia about lucid dreams. I don't think what she had qualifies as one but it may share some aspects.

sconnor said...

Yeah perhaps. Like I said she is doing a study, where she is accepting testimonials and she will not accept any that even remotely resemble a Near Death Experience. She won't even except the testimonies of a people who had an out of body experience, who were almost in an accident or close to death, because adrenalin could have premeditated the circumstances. She wants people who were doing normal activities and then out of the blue they were transported to another conscious realm while retaining the other part of their consciousness in this realm. Again, it's not proof that there is an after life, but you got to admit it is intriguing and deserves more study.

--S.

BTW, I really want your input boomslang, what do you think?

Peace and more,

--S.

J. C. Samuelson said...

@ murgman

In case thou hast become a lurker...

You have seen what you believe to be the end result, but have you seen such a process? My guess is no, yet you have FAITH that it is true, yes?

Well, no, I haven't seen it myself. I'm not a scientist and don't claim to be. However, the process described has been repeatedly documented and tested by contemporary scientists. The "faith" I have (as you describe it) is in the process of science, which has been demonstrated again and again to be the most reliable method for increasing our understanding of the universe.

Scientific findings are also provisional. That means they can always be falsified and replaced. This is orders of magnitude different from religious faith.

Are not eye-witness accounts proof for all?

No they aren't. Eyewitness accounts are often considered evidence, but not proof, and have also been determined to be very unreliable.

The bible has proven, over and over, to be an extremely accurate historical document...

Ummm...not exactly. I happen to have more than a passing familiarity with the historical value of the Bible, and it is not as reliable (or useful) as you have been led to believe.

Don't get me wrong! It's a lot of fun to explore and fit various books into their historical contexts, but the authors were not trying to capture history the way a historian would. They were telling stories from their unique perspectives. Yet, leaving that aside, even if we assume that it is a reliable guide to history, that in no way lends credibility to its supernatural elements. Unicorns, dragons, talking bushes, virgin births, and resurrections are hardly elements of a story we should take as reliable simply because the author(s) placed the story itself in an identifiable historical context. There are numerous stories that people regard as myths but contain facts about the time period in which they were written or set.

yet you chose to ignore it because it isn't in line with how you want things to be...

You have no idea how I want things to be.

Why aren't bible witness's credible, to you?

Since you've become a lurker (or have left), there's little point going into that.

But you still didn't answer my question, would you believe?

Actually, I did. I quote myself: "Credible evidence of any of this would be great. Plus what Joe said."

I think it fascinating that folks live an absolutely hopeless life regarding LAD. I think it interesting that people ignore their hearts to feed their intellect.

What on earth makes you think that any of us lead hopeless lives due to a lack of belief in an afterlife? Am I supposed to be depressed because I'm going to die someday? That's part of life, dude! Everybody does it. I'd rather focus on my life now, with all its blessings and flaws, than obsess about an afterlife.

Also, what makes you think any of us "ignore [our] hearts to feed [our] intellect? We have the same emotions you do, and have contemplated our existence in at least as much depth as you too. Not only that, but you did notice that this is "ex-Christian" dot net, right? You do the math, buddy.

I guess that's all, folks.

boomSLANG said...

For Scott("Sconner"),

You mentioned you're holding out in the hopes of there being a post-mortem existence(LAD). Considering your personal circumstances(tragic loss) - and considering the mutual respect we have for each other now(thanks for that) - I wouldn't want to jeapordize the latter, nor come across like I'm getting my jollies trying to refute the latest hypothesis you offer.

In a nutshell - and since you asked - I'll say this much: I don't believe perception, or "experience", is possible without a healthy, functioning brain. Another contributing factor for my skepticism of LAD is the whole notion of a perpetual existence, or "eternal life". This is regardless of the where, how, or why of it. Aside from "experience" and "existence" both being temporal concepts, infinite life seems self-defeating, IMO.

'Best, boom'

AtheistToothFairy said...

To Sconner and all,

Well, Sconner's reference to NDE's and this women, Nancy Clark, got me curious enough to go check out her story.

Anyone interested in learning more about Nancy can find information at the following:

http://www.freewebs.com/nancy-clark/

http://www.freewebs.com/nancy-clark/index.htm

http://www.freewebs.com/nancy-clark/hearhisvoice.htm

Here is part of her story regarding her NDE experiences in life.


Our real "home" that many near-death and near-death-like experiencers report, is a realm where the Light and unconditional love surpasses any imagined ideas of paradise. Those who went "home" temporarily, came back to tell the rest of us some astonishing stories of their journey home. Let's take a look at what Nancy Clark tells us about the journey she took twice.

A pivotal moment occurred during the birth of Nancy's first child in the early 60's when she was diagnosed with having toxemia of pregnancy, a potentially life-threatening medical condition marked by extremely high blood pressure, edema, convulsions and death. Nancy died during childbirth. During those moments she had a near-death experience. Her spirit lifted out of her body and from ceiling level, she watched the frantic medical team as they tried to bring her back to life. She travelled through a dark void, experienced tremendous unearthly peace and she saw the Light of unconditional love. She wanted to remain "home," with the Light, but it wasn't her time. Disappointed, she chose to return back to life. Nancy recovered in the morgue!


Later while giving a eulogy for her dead friend.....

Through some unexplainable enhanced perception, Nancy "saw" her deceased friend's spirit standing with her at the podium as she began speaking the eulogy. She then experienced an out-of-body episode and encountered a Being of Light she perceived as God. "My eyes were beholding the luminous energy of the Light of God and my entire being pulsated with ecstasy as I acknowledged the presence of God. I recognized the Light again and I was overjoyed beyond words."

Nancy merged into oneness with the Light and she was flooded with an outpouring of pure, Divine unconditional love beyond human comprehension. Infinite and perfect love was being infused into her being so awesome that it still brings tears to Nancy's eyes whenever she tries to speak of this ineffable part of her journey "home" again. Nancy says, "Every nook and cranny of my being was bombarded with what seemed to be a nuclear explosion of unconditional love."

-----

Of course, she has a few books she would like to SELL you, so she can help you to discover "god's unconditional love", for yourself.

Sorry Sconner ole buddy, but Nancy here doesn't impress me and I don't see anything she has to offer that would make me do back-flips and change my opinion about NDE's not being a pathway to a visit with god, or any other dimension/realm etc..


ATF (Who requires far more proof than hearsay stories, especially from those who want to sell me their books)

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