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Thread: In God We Trust

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Medusa View Post
    Sorry. Should have put "it seems to me" and "outspoken" in that sentence.
    The word that's getting you in trouble is "most." Any one of us would get chewed out for saying that most anything is/does anything.


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  3. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Medusa View Post
    I don't see how all you rational people took any offence or even note of what I said anyway :/
    Because you talk stupidity. You have some stereotypes in your head and you talk as though they are facts. You are trying to tell us what it is that we think and believe and YOU ARE WRONG. It's infuriating.

    If I said "most Norwegians would like to eliminate all non-Norwegians from the world" you'd probably think that I was an ignorant idiot and you would very quickly tell me how wrong I was. Well, you have just said the same sort of stupidities about atheists. Stop it. Go and meet more atheists. Become informed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8
    Anyway, back to my personal experience, after couple decades or more of investigating things (I seem to remember getting interested in these things around age 13-15, and I'm 42 now) I ended up coming up with a value system of my own that it uncannily similar to the value systems that most religions seem to have in common.
    Morals are conflict resolution, and it seems reasonable to think that given our environment and biology that some forms of conflict resolution would work much better than others. You'd think that after 10,000 years that most societies would get around to discovering what those are, especially since we've learned how to share information.

    We all got around to discovering pointed sticks and fire, so why not social tools? What's really interesting is seeing where different societies' morals differ, because then you might be able to see the environmental pressures that shaped the conflict resolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8
    Being a trained scientist/engineer, part of the religion I have trouble accepting are some blind beliefs. However, when mot misused and abused, I can see how those can also be useful on occasion to keep people out of trouble.
    The problem is that religions change very slowly while our understanding of the world and technology is changing very quickly right now. It'll take flippin' ages for codified belief systems to work around to not killing/abandoning girls because a hundred years ago you had to send your daughter off with half your herd when she got married, or treating women's sexuality as bad because 50 years ago you couldn't tell which guy was the one who ought to be paying child support.
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  5. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    I just had a neat idea: let's define religion as "that which wars are fought over."

    It occurs to me that at least in the modern world, when wars happen it is time and again because large numbers of people hold absolutely fanatically to some or other belief system, albeit not necessarily one involving supernatural entities. They believe in the state, or in "my country, right or wrong," or communism, or the Dear Leader, or the inherent evil and inferiority of other races - what they all have in common is thoughtless, fanatical belief.

    You do not stop this by eradicating belief in supernatural things. Belief in supernatural things is a mere subset of thoughtless belief.
    See, about the wars, wars aren't fought because of the religion. Wars are usually fought because someone (a large group) as something that another large group has. Religion is often just a built in mechanism abused to incite people into fighting, to make people think something of theirs is threatened, if they don't take up arms and fight. Religion, nationalism, That's the part of religion or any similar organization, it sets up groundwork for easy abuse of the masses. Historically, master manipulators have found other ways of doing the same as well.... Lust look at the politics surrounding WW2, leading into it and following it.

    I mean, how does one legally take huge amount of resources from someone else - you win the war.
    How do you get the masses who may not understand the economical motivations to go and fight for you? You convince something they care about or hold dear is being attacked. Religion, nationality, class standing, comfort, family.... (not necessarily in that order)

    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    This is hardly surprising, because the basic moral intuitions seem to be more or less universal in all cultures. E.g. virtually everyone has some or other version of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Indeed, even chimps, baboons and dogs - i.e. social mammals - have an understanding of this principle. Such ideas do not "come from religion."
    Yeah, and just how may religions, in general terms agree on how people should treat each other... and not just within religions, but general sociology and psychology as well.

    At the risk of offending people who have strong religious beliefs (sorry guys, please don't take this as my being dismissive of your beliefs, I'm hypothesizing here), let's look a the time way back when the bible was written... some thousands of years ago, depending on whether you are looking at the old of new testament... In those times, we didn't have a lot of science to explain things and events in nature. Superstition and some observation of natural patters is what most people had to go by. People believed in all kinds of supernatural beings.... I think it was Voltaire that said: ""If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him"... Especially in the old days (I'm imagining 3000-5000 years ago, give or take a 1000)

    The way I look at the bible for example, it has psychology, sociology, some sciences, morals and what not all mushed together, and if you look past the mystical and literal, even today it's not a half bad as 'life's little instruction book'

    For example, when I read the old testament, and went through the section of what was clean and unclean... the lighbulb went on in my head about how that could be the general start of guides in hygiene and disease prevention. Whomever wrote that, must have observed a lot pf patterns of what seems to make people sick, and determined that if you avoid certain things, your chances of getting sick are less.

    I remember the old testament repeating how 'our god is a jealous god' or something to that effect... You have to remember that in those days there were all kinds of superstitions and mystical creatures floating around in people's head. Sounds like whomever came up with the bible eventually figured out that this may not be a very good thing. How do you get people to follow your guidelines, and not someone else's... Making your god one that gives you goodies, and feels jealous sounds like a pretty nifty way to me.

    There are a number of other things I noticed, that made sense in a similar manner, but it's been about 6-7 years when I read the old and the new testament, so I forget more examples off the top of my head.

    Today... especially in last few hundred yeas, society as a whole has grown and learned by leaps and bounds, offering us a number of addition options for security and prosperity, beyond religion, so these things can seem a bit silly or archaic and not the only way to keep yourself out of trouble.

    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    Indeed, although it is of course better to think long and clearly about them, or you run the risk of confusing the letter of the law with the spirit of the law. Much of what Jesus said (or at least, reportedly said, according to the gospels) centered around this theme: if the law says you shouldn't work on Sunday, should doctors treat the seriously injured on a Sunday? Should you feel smugly superior to the morally deficient, or is such smugness a moral deficiency in itself?

    Fundies, amongst other things, are people who tend to stick to the letter of the law while ignoring its spirit. Especially when it suits them.
    Ok, the not working on sunday is also a good one. How do you get people who have a tendency to abuse their workers to not run them into the ground? You prescribe it's a sin to work on sunday... and poor workers get a rest. Sort of like the early form of protecting the labor. But, you have to make common sense exceptions... like you said, if there's an emergency of some sort.

    I think this is where the mortal sin of excessive pride comes in... I think I was reading about how it encompasses excessive religiousness... I'll have to poke around to see where I saw that. It made a lot of sense when I saw it.

    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    Now I have often observed this phenomenon (and it ties in with your observation that genuine "free" thinking is far more difficult than we think): whenever there is a discussion about issues that people get emotional about and where it can be difficult to ascertain facts, lots of people, including and even especially staunchly "free thinking" atheists, have a tendency to revert to whatever religious morals they grew up with.
    Yup yup!
    Partially from learning, and partially, I strongly believe that to a degree what we learn in the early childhood, while our brains are growing at the rapid rate and forming all kinds of neural connections, it forms out personality as well. I think this is much harder to change as we get older. I forgot which philosopher brough up the concept of tabula rasa. I don;t think we are a complete tabula rasa at birth, I think genetics play a role in formations of personality, but early environmental and social influences play a role as well.

    Also, past phisiological, our societies have a fairly distinct set of beliefs and customs etc, that are impossible to get away with. To draw a parallel between that and creativity, one of my art professors talks about creativity being an ability to link existing things in new ways, and by doing that coming up with new stuff and ideas. For example, he says, noone could have invented an electric toothbrush in early renaissance - why, because electricity or even the notion of it did not exist. I think that's in part why DaVinci is so extrodinary, his creativity appears to have taken a number of forward steps beyond what was known at the time.

    Same with personal ideas and value systems... an average person can only build a step or two forward beyons what already exists.... and that's oif you are on a forefront of things. If you are not, you're barely catching up. For example, all of the 'value system etc... I thought I was coming up for myself, turns out a lot of people were doing the same, and in last 2-3 years learned *it* it's called 'Secular Humanism'. Well, rats, I thought I was pretty clever coming up with my own ideas. BS, with availability of information available to me and nay others, as alternatives to religion, I didn't fall to far from the tree. I have some semblance of satisfaction that I did a fair amount of thought experimentation in the process, but in the end, just about all of it is a product of the environment I'm in, and not necessarily a terribly progressive product.

    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    Once again, that is something fundies do. The god they believe in is an utterly immoral monster, and they follow him around for utterly selfish reasons - they want to get the reward at the end.
    Yea, that gets me, what some people will swallow today.... even with all the alternatives available. I think it takes some personal predisposition for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    Are God's moral values good simply because he carries a bigger stick than us, or can we evaluate them in some other way? If there is such another way, then why do we need God to prescribe our morals in the first place? If there isn't another way, then the only basic moral value is "might is right."

    I think moral values evolved like anything else, and all normal people have fairly good moral intuitions. We then invented gods not so much to create moral values as to enforce them. If you believe in an invisible Big Brother in the sky watching you all the time, you may well be more likely to behave. It's a sort of religious equivalent of a cop on every street corner.

    What do you do if you want to break the rules but you're scared of the Invisible Big Brother? Well, you become a fundie. Because then you can believe that for one thing, God will forgive you whatever wrong you did, if you ask humbly enough. And you also get to do whatever evil you like as long as you stay within the literal letter of the law. Rather strangely, fundamentalism is a creative way of thumbing your nose at Jesus.

    The fundies are like the type of naughty school children who, when told trowing paper planes in class is against the rules, throw a spitball instead and then smugly tell the teacher that it was after all not a paper plane, so there. All hurt and surprised when they end up in detention anyway! :-)
    I can't really say I know a whole lot about fundametalist christian.... I do know in general that most intolerant setups give me the wheelies, because they make very little common sense so much of the time, it's just plain stupid. Prohibitions, zero tolerant policies, all or nothing crowd, cults, brainwashes, and all kinds of other intolerant extremists. They come in many shapes and forms.

    As things get more complex, even mathematics and physics recognize exceptions to all kids of rules rules.... and neither has really come all that close to what they attempted to do, explain life and universe. Even if you look at a mathematical set of simple numbers (-1, 0, 1). mathematics recognizes that these numbers have different behaviors in certain operations. In life... the set of operands is countless...

    But... sometimes it's more comfortable to follow a strong leader then to think for one's self. However, the big drawback to that is that a strong leader isn't always a kind leader.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Morals are conflict resolution, and it seems reasonable to think that given our environment and biology that some forms of conflict resolution would work much better than others. You'd think that after 10,000 years that most societies would get around to discovering what those are, especially since we've learned how to share information.

    We all got around to discovering pointed sticks and fire, so why not social tools? What's really interesting is seeing where different societies' morals differ, because then you might be able to see the environmental pressures that shaped the conflict resolution.

    The problem is that religions change very slowly while our understanding of the world and technology is changing very quickly right now. It'll take flippin' ages for codified belief systems to work around to not killing/abandoning girls because a hundred years ago you had to send your daughter off with half your herd when she got married, or treating women's sexuality as bad because 50 years ago you couldn't tell which guy was the one who ought to be paying child support.
    YES YES, Very well put. I agree wholeheartedly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Ross View Post
    A common quote is that if want to become an atheist, then just read the bible.
    But a belief in God does not need to be attributed to a specific religion. I firmly consider myself agnostic, neither rejecting the existence of a god outright nor fully believing in one, and I would very much like to read The Bible (both testaments,) as well as The Koran, The Tao Te Ching, The Bhagavad Gita, and many other religious texts out of pure curiosity and to see if there is anything to be gained or learned. I have no doubt that I will find most of what is within The Bible and the other texts to be disagreeable, but I would at the least like to give it a fair chance, without bias.

    What I found most discontenting about this documentary (and within this thread, a bit ) was not the specific beliefs that these individuals held (although I didn't like that many said they would gladly kill in the name of God) but rather their deep attachment to their beliefs and their intolerance to the beliefs of others. Every belief requires some level of faith. Some certainly require a bit more faith than others, but even within the scientific realm data is constantly being updated, and new discoveries are being made that make older theories that were once seen as truth essentially invalid. The fact of that matter is that we all navigate through life with a great deal of uncertainty. At the root of it all, we really know very little, and some may argue that we really know nothing at all. People fear this, and in doing so they cling to religions, philosophies, and doctrines for an attempt at meager support and stability within the endless sea of change and unknowing that is life. And that is a problem, because they are bound to encounter another individual who will challenge their belief system, and in doing so threaten their false sense of security. When this happens this creates a lot of unhappiness for the individual. They can become sad, anxious, scared, and many cases even angry or aggressive. They grasp so tightly to their beliefs, out of fear of the unknown, that it is terrifying to them when it is challenged.

    I have met Atheists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, and people of many other religious affiliations that have been incredibly kind and warm hearted and looked upon myself and others with the same love and gratitude that they would the members of their own religion without any semblance of bias. On the other hand I have met people of the same level of religious diversity, both devoutly religious figures and Atheists alike, who were imprisoned by their own blind arrogance and behave in the world in a rather unfavorable manner. The beliefs held by an individual, and the label that has been attributed to them as a result of those beliefs, certainly do not determine their worth but rather their openness of heart, kindness, and morality. As Martin Luther King Jr. taught, we must not judge a person by their affiliations, their skin color, their creed, or any other superfluous constructs that we may use to define “us” vs “them,” but merely on the content of their character. A man’s faith may lead him to lash out in violence, as we have seen by some so-called “fundamentalists,” or it may give them strength, guidance, and inspiration as has been demonstrated time and time again by moral leaders such as Mohandas Gandhi. Certainly the belief in a God is not what led either terrorist groups or Gandhi to act in the (opposing) manner which they choose to, but rather their sheer being and character.

    “The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love and intelligence has nothing to do with any tradition, no matter how ancient or impressive - it has to do with time. It happens completely on its own when a human being questions, wonders, listens and looks without getting stuck in fear, pleasure, and pain. When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open.”

    I believe (but am not firmly attached to the belief ) that if we are to succeed in eliminating religious conflict and establish peace within our species, we must abandon the “I’m right/They’re wrong” mentality and let go of our grasping to our beliefs. When we let go of our personal biases and opinions that cloud our views, only then can we truly begin to hear and understand each another. Attachment to these views and the aggression that is necessary to defend them can only bring about more pain. “Seeing misery in those who cling to views, a wise person should not adopt any of them. A wise person does not by opinions become arrogant. How could anyone bother those who are free, who do not grasp at any views? But those who grasp after views and opinions wander about the world annoying people,” said The Buddha. (I’d like to think that last sentence was said with humor. ) When we can finally admit “I don’t know,” it is a great relief and quite calming. Even more so it opens us up to a greater ability to learn and to truly hear what others are saying.

    “There are moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.”

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  9. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8 View Post
    You should pick on someone bigger then you. You might learn something... and if you win, it's that much sweeter. A gimmie is slim fare for self esteem.
    Also, picking on the weak (or perceived weak) is not nice.
    I'm really just extending this whole favour to him - if he wins it'll be that much sweeter for him, and he might learn something from me. I'm really being charitable here.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan N View Post
    I'm really just extending this whole favour to him - if he wins it'll be that much sweeter for him, and he might learn something from me. I'm really being charitable here.

    Nope, I was just counter-asking. Even-Stevens!
    Something tells me JFierce has better things to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    Ah I love people with such a ridiculously condescending attitude.
    They pretend to be the foremost expert in every field and are infallible in every way.


    Oh I know what they mean with the wording, though you might want to look up the definition of the words yourself. Here straight from a dictionary if that doesn't do it for you for Vacuous.

    "expressing or characterized by a lack of ideas or intelligence; inane; stupid"

    But of course vacuous is everyday speech that a majority of people use right, and anyone who doesn't use as such is just lacking in basic intelligence. Your being egregiously condescending, oh my.
    "Vacuous" has the additional denotation of being void or empty, and, depending on the context, the connotation of being silly or ridiculous.

    If you really think [...] rats show that.
    Science absolutely does deal in morals. Absolutely not nearly as overtly as religion - as it never should - but there are some interesting things out there:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moral_Landscape
    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_t...ral-landscape/

    Additionally (and I'm bored of saying this), we really don't need religion to give us morals, we can come up with those by ourselves (since that's what we did in the first place, when we invented religion). Either we make up morals (as we have always done), or we start looking to science to help us make up morals. There is nothing else.

    And your [...]falsehood.
    Beyond the aforementioned reasons: because morality is a product of evolution (specifically the evolution of a highly social species), science allows us to examine why we have the morals we do, how they served us and continue to do so, and possibly insight into how to improve them. Science has already set things straight here by debunking myths surrounding supposed race inequality and homophobia. So science is absolutely involved in morality, and I don't see any argument that that a better objective understanding will lead you to better subjective judgments. Do you?

    I should [...] own.
    There are several conditions in the challenge and, to my knowledge, no religion evades all of them. Unitarianism very much falls short in its disqualification, as it requires belief in a moral authority and upholds the teachings and life of Jesus Christ as exemplary (thereby positing ethics). So no, that's wrong.

    There's a difference between personal god and the belief in a god, Panentheism believes in a god, not one that guides your every action or specific being.
    I don't care about that - no god actually exists. Stop dodging the question.

    This is getting into the distinction between organized religion and religious beliefs though.
    No, it's not. It's always just been about the distinction between fact and fiction, and the only middle ground is intellectual schizophrenia. Religions are based on fictions (all of them) and the grand majority strive to perpetuate those fictions; science does its best to base itself upon facts and dispenses with fiction once it's revealed to be so.

    I'm not taking it any further than this though. A) Your condescending and an asshole who likes to name call. B) These religious topics never die until the people in them get sick of arguing.
    This is not a personality contest, it's a debate.
    And, yes, I love name-calling. I love confrontation of any type - except phyiscal. I don't do so well there. Which is why I stopped gate-crashing Sunday morning services and started urinating in the post-service refreshments. Wait, what names did I call you again?
    Brendan Noeth


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  13. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Kobryn View Post
    But a belief in God does not need to be attributed to a specific religion. I firmly consider myself agnostic, neither rejecting the existence of a god outright nor fully believing in one, and I would very much like to read The Bible (both testaments,) as well as The Koran, The Tao Te Ching, The Bhagavad Gita, and many other religious texts out of pure curiosity and to see if there is anything to be gained or learned.
    Of course not Jacob. Considering how many cultures fabricated Gods through religion I can't speak for all of them. But being and American I really should've have to.

    Jacob an atheist is simply someone who rejects the claim that a God exists. It is not a claim itself but a position on a specific claim. A theist is someone who accepts the claim that a god exists. If your position on the claim "The God Yaweh exists" is anything accept "Yes I accept that" then you are an atheist in regards to Yaweh. Gnosticism is about what you know and is not mutually exclusive to theism. You can claim not to know a god is there but accept it. That is an agnostic-theist which the majority of theists are. I am an agnostic-atheist. I reject the claim that "x" God is there but I do not know. I do not "know" for sure about Zues, Wudan, or Horus either, but I reject those Gods the same. The first Christians in Rome who believed in Christ were considered atheists by the state simply because they rejected the Roman pagan gods.
    Good 5 minute explanation of Agnosticism and Atheism.



    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan N View Post

    Science absolutely does deal in morals. Absolutely not nearly as overtly as religion - as it never should - but there are some interesting things out there:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moral_Landscape
    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_t...ral-landscape/

    Additionally (and I'm bored of saying this), we really don't need religion to give us morals, we can come up with those by ourselves (since that's what we did in the first place, when we invented religion). Either we make up morals (as we have always done), or we start looking to science to help us make up morals. There is nothing else.
    I agree. Monkeys have morals without believing in a god. No books or church and yet...
    Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days.

    This is what church was like for me growing up. I think that was me at 2:58 back in the day.
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    Jacob's Ladder SPOILER WARNING:

    Maybe life is all physical. And, maybe religions, false as they may be, are just "programming" for the "movie" you get to see in the final 6 to 8 minutes it takes your brain to die.


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    I'm not against the DMT/heaven hallucination idea where your brain disperses loads of groovy chemicals when you're dying. But people have come back to life after death. They talk about white lights and tunnels, but I've never heard any of them say they went to heaven or became one with the universe. I don't keep up with those stories though.
    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."

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    Quote Originally Posted by s.ketch View Post
    I'm not against the DMT/heaven hallucination idea where your brain disperses loads of groovy chemicals when you're dying. But people have come back to life after death. They talk about white lights and tunnels, but I've never heard any of them say they went to heaven or became one with the universe. I don't keep up with those stories though.
    I have low blood pressure and a bit of hypoglychemia. This has cased me to pass out a few times. I've gotten tunnel vision and white lights every time that happens. Similar thing seems to happen when one goes under total anesthesia.

    I think dying is very similar, except you don't wake up later, and maybe brain shuts off in a different order under different conditions. That's assuming non-violent non painful death.

    To me personally, afterlife and heaven and hell etc... are metaphors for what we leave as our legacy after we go. Of course there are few other psychological reasons religions devised these things, but I don't particularly want focus on discussing that aspect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Ross View Post
    I agree. Monkeys have morals without believing in a god....
    Even my cats and a dog exhibit frequent behavior that could be described as compassion.
    They definitely have their own social hierarchy and behavior boundaries. Not as complex as us hoomans, but they definitely exist.

    That's another area where I don't agree with some of the religious views, I don;t think we are soooo different from animals that we are 'speshul' We're just lucky to have ended up on top of the food chain - for now.

    Although, I can see how in the very old days, when people lived in the same dwelling with their animals, old societies eventually figured out it was healthier if we don't (hygene, communicable diseases and similar stuff).... but how do you explain that to the crowd that hasn't grasped the concept of hygiene and diseases.... you tell them they're soo special, they need to keep separate.

    Another reason would be using animals for food... They had to explain why it;'s ok to kill animals for food, but not people, or explain that it's ok to kill an animal for food rater then starve...
    Last edited by Conniekat8; January 21st, 2012 at 04:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by s.ketch View Post
    I'm not against the DMT/heaven hallucination idea where your brain disperses loads of groovy chemicals when you're dying. But people have come back to life after death. They talk about white lights and tunnels, but I've never heard any of them say they went to heaven or became one with the universe. I don't keep up with those stories though.
    Air-force pilots that endure G-Force testing say the same thing. As they are passing out they express similar experiences. Bright lights and a feeling of comfort.
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    try some salvia, or lsd, or ketamine, with your friends, you fly off to all kinds of crazy realms. no god though.
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  21. #255
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    try some salvia, or lsd, or ketamine, with your friends, you fly off to all kinds of crazy realms. no god though.
    The term "Entheogen" would imply that many have found God through those and similar substances.
    Last edited by OldJake666; January 22nd, 2012 at 12:45 AM.

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