More Proof for Atheism!

More Proof for Atheism! October 24, 2012

The God delusion is so strong it persists even when the brain shuts down and is unable to delude itself! Note too the resemblance between the doctor’s non-hallucinating hallucination and religious claims about angels — that completely proves that this is a delusion! What actually happened is that when the physician came out of the coma, his brain randomly fired off these images for no reason whatsoever and made him *think* he’d seen them during the coma, when actually he didn’t see them at all. His brain conjured what he wanted to see because believers need these kinds of delusions to sustain their own belief, which is why this was a completely involuntary biochemical phenomenon unrelated to conscious perception. And also, nobody can believe in your blond blue-eyed Jesus because I’m sleeping with my neighbor’s wife! So there!

It’s amazing what faithheads can force themselves to believe in the teeth of hard evidence. That’s why Christians are such obscurantists who refuse to look at scientific data while materialists simply follow the evidence where it leads with fearless minds unclouded by a priori dogmas.

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  • Here’s my question, and I tried asking Pat Madrid this yesterday but he ran out of time on his show, the NDEs are all different.

    The surgeon saw pink clouds and angels.

    Media tycoon Kerry Packer was dead for 6 minutes and experienced nothing.

    Rev. Howard Storm appears to have went to hell only to be brought to The Judgement Seat and returned.

    Betty Eadie had an NDE, but in it Christ did not tell her to return to The Church and she came out of it with a heretical view distorting The Trinity.

    Fr. Scheier is the only one in modern times who has had an NDE that would correspond to Catholic theology.

    While most people feel peace, experience bodily separation, and then go to the light, that’s where the similarity ends. If the Catholic faith is true, why aren’t these people being told during the NDEs that they need to convert by the angels or the person they believe is Christ when they saw Him?

    (I had links to all of the examples, but the program told me my post looked like spam.)

    • SecretAgentMan

      Good question – random list of possibilties follow. 1) Some NDEs are hallucinations, some aren’t; 2) God doesn’t think that these minor peeps above the surface are the participants’ *real* chance at faith, so there’s no last-minute advertising; 3) “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.,” heretics and nonbelievers don’t necessarily stop being heretics and nonbelievers because they’ve been exposed to the truth; 4) some people are far enough away from the fullness of the Gospel that just being shocked into believing in an afterlife is a kind of conversion to Catholicism all on its own, but just doesn’t immediately take all the way; 5) even St. Paul’s “on-earth NDE” or “reverse NDE” was followed by 10 years of study and silence without the curse of the Internet and the fifteen-minutes-of-fame culture; 6) lots of things to do and see in the afterlife and not everyone does or sees the same things all the time.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Nice! Another thought: Heaven is a much greater reality than that in which we are now, so I like to make the analogy of a 3-d critter like us trying to make sense of a 5-d space. You can’t see the 5-d space, you can only see a 3-d cross-section of it. I think something similar applies to catching a glimpse of the greater reality.

        • Right, they try to make sense of what they saw, but they can only do so within the framework they already have.

        • HumanistJohn

          Wait wait wait. You call heaven a reality which is odd since there is no evidence or proof for its existence and therefore can not be a part of reality. You do see how why that would cause one to pause a minute and see the inherent flaws in your statement I hope.

          • Mark Shea

            Um, the man’s experience is what some people would call “evidence” (though obviously not proof). Unless you are going to insist on somebody bringing back a harp, evidence beyond human testimony is going to be pretty thin on the ground. And on that basis we can also deny that there is any evidence for the existence of love. The problem with humanism is it’s so inhuman.

          • James H, London

            No evidence or proof of its existence? So this doctor’s account doesn’t count then?
            So much for following the evidence.
            In any case, heaven (the place where God is) is by definition not part of the space-time we inhabit. Does that make sense?

          • ivan_the_mad

            There are more proofs than the empirical. There are mathematical proofs, theological proofs, philosophical proofs, artistic proofs, etc. It is a misunderstanding to demand empirical proof of the supernatural. Since the empirical deals by definition with the natural, the supernatural is again by definition beyond its scope. This is of course not to say the one cannot discern anything from the supernatural by means of the natural.

            That a materialist refuses to consider more than the empirical does not give me pause any more than does someone sticking their fingers in their ears and humming loudly.

          • SecretAgentMan

            I wonder if this suggestion is odd, in that science is largely based on the confidence that unproven and unknown reality is nonetheless real. Aren’t you confusing our knowing the thing with the existence of the thing itself? It can exist whether we know it does or not. And if we have reason to at least wonder if it exists, isn’t that more reason to think it does?

        • Somebody’s been contemplating Dali’s crucifixion!!!

    • If the Catholic faith is true, why aren’t these people being told during the NDEs that they need to convert by the angels or the person they believe is Christ when they saw Him?

      If the Catholic faith is true, I don’t see why we’d expect anyone to be told anything during a Near Death Experience. After all, NDE is just shorthand for the whole range of stuff that goes on when the body or brain experiences some trauma that almost kills the body. It’s not necessarily one and the same thing for everybody, and it’s obviously something we don’t entirely understand at this point.

      On the other hand, we do understand private revelation: it is a gratuitous, freely-chosen, idiosyncratic grace given to some and not to others according to God’s will. We cannot predict it, nor can we demand that it be given, nor can we say with absolute certainty whether any given experience was a revelation from God or a hallucination. Private revelation is the act of a person – really a Trinity of Persons – and not the result of some algorithm or mechanism. It’s not surprising that different people have different relationships with God, and he acts toward each of us according to our relationship with him.

      So it seems entirely plausible to me that God can and sometimes does use NDEs to communicate to some people; but also that such communication only happens to some, not to others, and happens differently every time it happens. It makes sense, from a Catholic point of view, that a private revelation could be indistinguishable from a hallucination, and even that someone might draw heretical conclusions from a genuine private revelation. That’s the way the rest of private revelation seems to work, after all.

      • Ted Seeber

        If the Catholic faith is true, another name for NDE is Purgatory, and I expect to be told an awful lot in Purgatory.

        • antigon

          Sure, Seeber, if Deo volente we get that far.

    • Ted Seeber

      May I suggest reading a bit of Buddhist Scripture? The Bardo, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is mystical imagery derived from a detailed study of the NDE phenomenon over several thousand years.

  • A None
  • MarylandBill

    I think we all need to be very careful about NDE’s. As a Catholic, we essentially have two alternatives, we can either believe they are of biological origin or they are of spiritual origin (A third possibility is that they are a result of the physical and the spiritual interacting.. but for my purpose we can treat that as something of spiritual origin). If they are of biological origin, they can safely be discounted as they do nothing to affirm or deny our faith; why should they? When Jesus raised Lazarus, did you hear him talking about what it was like after death?

    If they are of spiritual origin, there are still more possibilities. Yes, we might encounter God, but we might also encounter an inposter of God. Satan or one of his fallen angels can certainly deceive us and seem very Godlike to our eyes. Further, Satan is smart enough to know in such a scenario, what sort of lies will be accepted (i.e., lack of anything about what we should believe or do etc.) versus what lies will be likely rejected (outright exhortations to go and sin).

    Therefore, for any near death experience we might encounter, just like any spiritual encounter we might have, it is important that we test it rigorously against our faith.

  • Lucien Syme

    Personally I didn’t like two of the comments in his Newsweek article plugging his book:

    1) Some Marian-type figure informs him that “There is nothing you [Dr. Alexander] can do wrong.”

    2) Towards the end of the article trying to convey the grandeur of God he stated: “…that we are loved unconditionally by a God…”

    Maybe the context from the first comment was that there was nothing he could do wrong while on his mystical journey. Or maybe he came back with a message which downplays the significance of sin – making the concept itself an illusion.

    The second comment is one that I understand and is truthful in the sense that God loves us unconditionally; but at the same time we do not have to love Him back. If we don’t attempt to return (or even explicitly reject) His love, God will go on loving us while we suffer eternal separation from Him, so any phrases that seem to convey that heaven is for every single worst unrepentant sinner in history will make me wonder if the message is from God or not.

    But he may not have been trying to convey those ideas through those comments. I look forward to reading the book.

  • James H, London

    Heh! Behold atheists flee to absolute credulity in defense of resolute scepticism!

    Circque du Soleil has nothing on ’em!

  • Himangsu Sekhar Pal

    Who will tell us how space and time become non-existent for light?
    If there is an entity that exists neither in space nor in time, then space and time will be non-existent for that entity purely naturally. I am not saying that such an entity does really exist in nature, but only showing here how they can be non-existent for any entity by purely natural means. For no entity other than this can space and time be non-existent purely naturally. If an entity exists in space and time, and if we forcefully or by some other means deprive it of space and time, then of course space and time will be non-existent for it also. But we cannot say that they are non-existent purely naturally, because we have applied force or some other means here. So the conclusion is that for any entity existing in space and time, and not forcefully or otherwise deprived of them, space and time cannot be non-existent purely naturally.
    Now can we say about the light that it exists neither in space nor in time? Can we say about it that it has been forcefully or otherwise deprived of space and time? Can we say about any entity of this universe that it exists neither in space nor in time, that it is beyond space and time? If there is such an entity, then what is that entity? If there is any one on this earth who has any idea about its existence, then let him/her come forward and enlighten us also about its existence. If we see that no one is coming forward, then we will have to conclude that no such entity really exists in this universe for which space and time will be non-existent purely naturally. But in spite of all these, what do we see actually? We see that space and time are non-existent for the light. Yes, space and time are non-existent for the light. As per the theory of relativity space and time become non-real or non-existent for the light, because their values become zero. If there are two points A and B, and if the distance between A and B becomes zero, then we cannot say that there is any space in between A and B. Distance becoming zero, time will also become zero.
    A man may be poor; but with his sincere effort and hard labor one day he may become rich. Once he becomes rich, we will not say that he is still poor. Rather we will say that he is now rich. In a similar vein we can say that once space and time become non-existent for the light, they are non-existent for it. Thus for the light space and time do not exist, they are simply non-existent. Can one give any reason as to how space and time become non-existent for the light when we know very well that they cannot be so purely naturally?
    I have shown that due to only two causes space and time can be non-existent for an entity:
    1) Cause A: If the entity is neither in space nor in time. This is the natural cause; and
    2) Cause B: If the entity is in space and time, and if it is forcibly or otherwise deprived of space and time. This is the unnatural cause.
    If space and time are non-existent for the light neither due to cause A nor due to cause B, then what is its cause? Who will tell us?
    Here “purely naturally” will mean not due to any outside cause.
    Scientist Victor J Stenger in his once bestseller book “God: The Failed Hypothesis” has written that the God of the gaps argument by itself fails, at least as a scientific argument, unless the phenomenon in question is not only currently scientifically inexplicable but can be shown to forever defy natural description. He has also written that God can only show up by proving to be necessary, with science equally proven to be incapable of providing a plausible account of the phenomenon based on natural or material processes alone. (pp 13-14)
    We are really very grateful to Mr. Stenger for expressing his thoughts with such clarity, because it is extremely rare. This shows that not only he is a scientist but also he is also an able philosopher. Yes, if there is a phenomenon in this universe which forever defies natural or material description, and if science is also proven to be incapable of providing a plausible account of it based on natural or material processes alone, then there, and there only, God can show up by proving to be necessary.
    Now whatever may be the cause due to which space and time become non-existent for the light, at least one thing is absolutely certain here. This cause can be at the very most either an unnatural or a supernatural one, but it can never be a natural one. Natural cause will be for that entity only that exists neither in space nor in time. As the light is not such an entity, so in this case of the light we find a phenomenon that, according to Victor J Stenger, will “forever defy natural description”.
    But even if we claim that this phenomenon forever defies natural or material description, scientists may still hope that it does not defy such a description. That is, they may still hope to provide a plausible account of it based on natural or material processes alone. If science shows that there is really such a one, then it cannot be said that this phenomenon forever defies natural description even if we make any such claim. So in that case God cannot show up here by proving to be necessary. However if we find that no such description is possible, then that will show that in this case science is proven to be incapable of providing a plausible account of the phenomenon based on natural or material processes alone, thus ultimately leaving only God to show up by proving to be necessary.
    So, can there really be a natural or material description of this mind-boggling case of the light, where we find that even an infinite distance as well as a time-interval of an eternity becomes zero for it? How do the scientists propose to explain these facts by material processes alone? Or, shall we have to go for God here, as someone else will perhaps go for dialing M for murder?