Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Myths about science and religion: A little research saves a lot of apology

arroba Email

(This is my most recently published ChristianWeek column, focusing on stuff that religious people supposedly used to believe that no one ever believed (except maybe some gullible materialists). )

The ignorance and opposition to science of religious folk has been staple of antireligious tracts for centuries. Often, the tales remind me of bogus miracle stories – so good they can’t be false. Two recent examples are worth noting:

Religious folk, we have been told, opposed anesthesia in childbirth because women should suffer the Biblical curse of Eve (Gen 3:16). Medical historian A. D. Farr actually went to the trouble of methodically searching the literature from Britain in the 1840s and 1850s, when modern anesthesia during childbirth was first introduced. He found that religious opposition was a figment of later propaganda.

How did the idea get started, despite a lack of evidence? Well, now, that’s a story ….

For the rest, go here.

Also: So, at least some people are beginning to get the significance of Mike Behe’s Edge of Evolution?

Also: Is tenure a dull dog’s idea of heaven?

Students take religious studies to be better people, but profs want them to think more critically about faiths

Marvin Olasky on the current desperate atheist rage. A death rattle?

Does parallel processing in the brain show that there is no mind?

IrrDan wrote: "...ID is a scientific approach with no religious implications." The Scubaredneck responds: This is simply wrong. ID is a scientific approach (empericism vs rationalism) but it has strong religious implications, as does the Big Bang, Quantum Mechanics and almost any other major scientific research program. Consider the religious battle associated with Galileo and Copernicanism (which was much more about Aristotileanism vs Platonism than geo- vs heliocentrism). Galileo wrote page after page on how his views were not at odds with the literalism mandated by the Council of Trent, attempting to favorably address the philosophical and religious implications of his scientific theories. The religious implications attached to the truth of ID are no less real. Nor do they impinge upon the truthfulness or "scientificness" of ID, just as Darwinism's religious implications (which are many and ought not be ignored) do not impinge upon its truthfulness or scientific status. The Scubaredneck The Scubaredneck
This reminds me of the very common charge that the ancient Hebrews "used to think the world was flat", as of course us dumbunny Christians. Neither is true. Some apostate early church leaders taught this but other than that it is not the case. See also: http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/russell/FlatEarth.html and then: http://tektonics.org/af/earthshape.html It seems that shortly after the ascension of Origin of Species some creative writers like Washington Irving and other non-historians and historian alike with an agenda "rightsized" the history of some metaphorical "foundations of the earth" type statements, ignored the "circle of the earth" in Isaiah(which is fantastic for its time as written), and altered everthing from Hebrew meanings of "sphere" to "Hangeth the earth on nothing" from Job(also interesting for its time, as most of the tribal societies around the Hebrews imagined the earth on the backs of elephants and turtles, etc), and even spiced up the Columbus story (it was NOT about the earth's shape, as Irving claimed, and in this case the Church was right--Columbus would have starved to death it not for fortuitously ramming into Central America.) --SWT S Wakefield Tolbert
it is important to note that when Dante wrote the Divine Comedy he was basing this not on mere imagination, but rather on the use of an earlier version of the Explanatory Filter. It is estimated that roughly 73% of the inferences made about the "Inferno" are correct. Furthermore, the use of the Explanatory Filter in writing his monograph "Paradiso" yeilded an amazingly accurate number of 93.5%. Such early work in understanding the nonmaterial side of natural reality should not go overlooked. Dembski has refined Dante's earlier EF so that it is now accurate almost 99.78% of the time. IrishFather412
I would like to comment on which "religion" is more beneficial. It has also now been established that the vast majority of NDEs (Near % - " Experiences" (+95%), that occur in Judeo-Christian cultures, are positive or heaven-like in nature, but there is a significant minority of 4-5 percent that are described as being negative, distressing or hellish in nature (15% s, 3% children; PMH Atwater) (15% s, 1% children; Bonefant, 2001). The typical heaven-like positive “deep core” NDE of Judeo-Christian culture is extremely interesting. The NDE never deviates from the basic Judeo/Christian belief system of a heavenly paradise with a Supreme and Omniscient Creator, Who appears in the NDEs as the “Being of Light”. The positive deep core Judeo-Christian NDEs all talk of the "All-Knowing Light", “Jesus”, "Supreme Being". All references in Judeo-Christian NDEs to God/Jesus/Supreme Being are always referenced to the indescribably bright light coming from God. Overwhelming feelings of being loved by this “Most High Omniscient Being of Bright Brilliant Pure Light” are also mentioned in all deep Judeo-Christian NDEs. I also find it extremely interesting that this “Bright Brilliant Pure Light” is always associated with God, however "God" may appear to the person (whether purely as “Brilliant Light” or as the person of Jesus who gives off “Brilliant Light”). The Judeo-Christian NDErs always refer to this “Being of Brilliant Light” as alive, as all knowing, as all powerful, as the source of all life, as the source of all love; in other words, as the Lord God Almighty. Every deep Judeo-Christian NDEr says the most real and dramatic event to have ever occurred at anytime in their lives was to be in the presence of “The Being of Light”. The reports of the positive transformations in these people’s lives are profound and well documented. They are literally “changed for life”; no matter how many years past the NDE they are surveyed. These people who experience “The Being of Brilliant Light” become much more concerned with their fellow man. They come back to this world emphasizing the need for love of all people. Many NDErs who have experienced “The Light” find it difficult to cope in this “dog eat dog” world until they find a job that is more oriented to Human service. 1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. John 12:36 "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and, departed , and was hidden from them. Contrary to what was popularly believed for many years following Raymond Moody's best selling book "Life after Life" in 1975, not all NDEs from around the world fall into the same definitive categories. Though it was, and still is, somewhat difficult to find differentiating factors of how a specific denomination of religion affects NDEs within the Judeo-Christian culture, it is now commonly known that profoundly different cultures have profoundly different NDEs. Though NDEs may be similar in their basic structure across cultures, they are vastly different in their level of pleasure to the NDEr. This is because of the differences between the cultures in prevalence of encounters with “The Being of Light” in a heavenly paradise. The only plausible explanation that makes sense is that the underlying philosophical basis, belief system or religious underpinnings, under which the society operates, has a major impact on the types of NDEs that occur within that specific culture. Several scientific studies (Pasricha, 1986, Schorer, 1985-86; Kellehear, 1993; Murphy 1999,2001) have indicated the phenomenologies of NDEs are indeed culture bound. It should be stressed that the NDEs of foreign cultures do not compare favorably with the Judeo/Christian NDEs of the western world. In the NDE cases studied in India by researchers Satwant Pasricha and Ian Stevenson, it is common that the subject does not spiritually view his or her mortal body, as do many subjects of Judeo-Christian NDEs. The Hindu subject is “taken” in hand by "messengers" and brought before a “foreboding official” who is often described as having a book or papers that he or she consults. The official discovers a mistake in the paperwork. The wrong person has been "sent for”. The person is then brought back by the messengers to his or her terrestrial life, or the subject is "pushed down" and revives. The error supposedly made is often a slight one, as a person of the same given name, but a different caste, or someone living in a different, but nearby village, should have died and been brought instead of the subject of the near-death experience. Whereas in Judeo-Christian accounts it is never a clerical mistake by a “foreboding official” that brought about the person’s . What is consistent in Hindu accounts with Judeo-Christian accounts is that some Hindu accounts do include a life review. However, in Judeo-Christian accounts the life review consists of seeing a panoramic view of a person's entire life while in the presence of "The Being of Light" who fills the person with overwhelming love and forgiveness while reviewing their life. The Hindu accounts consist of having a “foreboding official” read bits and pieces of the person's life (called the "akashic record") and also consists of the person having deep remorse for not living a better life. No mention is ever made of the "Being of Light" or of overwhelming love and forgiveness that comes from the “Being of Light” in any of these Hindu “life-review” accounts (Murphy 99). In his study of Thailand, Murphy points out that many times the “foreboding official” reading the life review is anything but a “Loving Being of Light”. He states many times the “official” reading the life review, in non-western accounts, is notorious for his power to condemn people to hell. In Hindu circles, it is a traditional belief that the reading of a person's akashic record occurs immediately after . This concept is widely believed by Hindus all over India. Though, there are a minority of somewhat “pleasant” NDEs for s in the India cases, it should be noted that these “pleasant” Hindu NDEs lack the stunning depth of beauty and overwhelming feelings of love and forgiveness from “The Being of Light” that are commonly reported in the majority of Judeo-Christian NDEs. There are a few exceptions to this preponderance of negative NDES in India. I found a few very pleasant children’s NDEs from India which compare favorably to Judeo-Christian NDEs. These include a reference to “The Being of Light". The fact that young Hindu children see “The Light” while the Hindu s do not see “The Light”, clearly indicates the false beliefs we gather as we become s drastically influences s having a negative NDE. I have a feeling, as our knowledge grows, that a few of the NDEs from other cultures will have a few “special” s who experience “The Light”, but it seems certain this will prove to be a rare exception, instead of the norm, for any in a non-Judeo-Christian culture. The NDE reports from Tibet (a Buddhist country) are even more disturbing than the ones I've read from India (a Hindu country). Though there are some references to seeing light in these accounts, the Buddhist NDEr never encounters “The Living Being of Light”. The typical Tibetan NDEr emphasizes remorse, pain, fear, disappointment and disillusionment as does the Indian experiencer. Yet, the typical Judeo-Christian NDEr emphasizes overwhelming feelings of peace, forgiveness, comfort, painlessness and love. Here are the major episodes of the Tibetan NDE as given by Lawrence Epstein in his thesis from the University of Washington. Episode 1: Generally, the NDEr (das-log's) is afflicted by an illness, and unlike the Western cases, has some time to contemplate its possible results. Although the onset of the NDE may be peaceful, it is most often characterized as painful and confusing. Episode 2: Whether or not the NDEr (das-log's) recognizes the signs of elemental dissolution as given in the 'chi-kha 'i bar-do texts, the excruciating psychic and physical pain of the experience is emphasized. The NDEr usually does not recognize he has "died" for some time, perhaps until he has reached bar-do. Episode 3: The NDEr (das-log's) encounters the primary light, secondary lights colors and sometimes the "dark tunnel" structure. Depending on the state of his knowledge he might recognize these signs for what they are, as he recollects the bar-do teachings. More often, he is confused and frightened by them. A partial life review may appear at this stage, emphasizing the 'das-log's remorse at not having led a better life. Episode 4: The NDEr (das-log's) hears the noises associated with the chos-nyid bar-do, such as the roaring of dragons, the shouts of yamas, or the disembodied voices of supernaturals. Episode 5: The NDEr (das-log's) systematically stresses the discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here. Episode 6: The NDEr, (das-log's) usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back to the living. Episode 7: The NDEr (das-log's) witnesses trials in and tours hell (it should be noted that the Buddhist concept of hell is of a transitional, temporary, nature, much like purgatory is in Catholic traditions) . The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. d souls also ask him to take back messages to the living asking for help in obtaining “merit”. Episode 8: The Dharmaraja explains matters to the NDEr (das-log's), exhorting him to lead a moral life and spread the word among the quick. The NDEr is sent back by the Dharmaraja. Episode 9: The NDEr (das-log's) returns to his own body, with the same fear and revulsion with which he left it. Needless to say, this is absolutely horrifying. Thank God for the grace we have in God/Christ/Supreme Being if these accounts of Tibetan NDEs turn out to be truly as horrific as these first studies are indicating. The majority of non-Judeo-Christian NDE's that I have read about in PhD level papers and science magazines are, for the most part, deeply distressing no matter which foreign culture I have read about (Japanese, Tibetan, Indian, Chinese, African, Saudi Arabian and Melanesian). Of the few somewhat pleasant NDEs I have read about from profoundly different cultures they lack the stunning depth of beauty, awe inspiring descriptions of paradise and overwhelming feelings of love and forgiveness from “The Being of Light”, so commonly reported in Judeo-Christian NDEs. Except, of course, for the few children’s NDEs in those foreign cultures I have read about. As a Judeo-Christian society, we should seek to conduct a major study on NDE phenomena throughout the world. It is our sacred duty as decent human beings to do our best to firmly establish the truth, so that we may warn the poor souls of any false religion how to avoid the horror. It is also apparent we should have a rigorous study sanctioned weeding out any false beliefs we may have in our own Judeo-Christian societies contributing to the minority of horrid NDEs we find in our studies, not to mention the fact that 80% of s in Judeo Christian cultures currently have no NDEs at all. Though some complacent individuals may argue that such a study is not that important, I strongly disagree!! I find the fact that we, as a whole, are thoroughly ignorant of such an important matter as our after-life to be very, very problematic to say the least. I also find it very interesting that the deep Judeo-Christian NDErs who come back are absolutely adamant about the importance of loving others and are also adamant about having a deep, loving and “spiritual” relationship” with GOD (as opposed to just having the “religious relationship” with God). Every NDEr who has been in the presence of “The Being of Light” will agree that these two following rules are the most important rules you can follow in your life. These two rules also happen to be the basis for Judeo-Christian ethics. Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, and with all your mind. This is the First and Great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Sometimes positive NDErs from a Judeo-Christian culture are also adamant about emphasizing we should be loving and tolerant of all religions from all other cultures. A few even change “religions” from Christianity to what they view is a more “spiritual” eastern religion. But then why do the hard facts of the NDE studies themselves betray this open tolerance of all religions? Do not be deceived by them for they are only searching for a deeper spiritual connection to the true God. They do not know that the true God is only found in Judeo-Christian beliefs. They are right to seek a deeper spiritual connection with God, yet they are very wrong to search through false pagan religions to find it. According to all afterlife studies I’ve seen it does indeed matter in what and in Whom you believe when you die! The NDEs themselves testify to this fact! It is my assertion, from the evidence that I’ve seen so far, that the Judeo/Christian belief system is by far the most desirable belief system one could have when facing imminent and that a purely Eastern philosophy is one of the most dangerous philosophies one could have. Until I see conclusive and rigorous evidence that indicates otherwise, I will not apologize for saying the Eastern religions are false pagan religions that are extremely dangerous to whomever holds their beliefs while facing impending . This may seem harsh but it is honest. John 5:24-25 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from into life.“ I also find it extremely interesting, the examination of the Shroud of Turin indicates that it was indeed some type of “Super-natural Light” that scientists are not familiar with, which imprinted the image of the Man on the Shroud of Turin. Not only is the Light that made the image found to be supernatural, the image of the Man on the Shroud was imprinted on the Shroud by “Super-natural Light” that came directly from the body itself! Yes, you read that last sentence right. The “Supernatural Light”, that had to be used to make the image of the man on the Shroud, came directly from the body itself!!! This “Being of Bright Brilliant Pure Light” that is always referred to as God and is such a prominent feature of the Judeo-Christian NDE’s and of the Judeo-Christian Bible is, by all reasonable indications and logic, the same omniscient “Being of Bright Brilliant Pure Light” that was responsible for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, as evidenced by detailed scientific examination of the image of the Man on the Shroud of Turin. bornagain77
I think it is obvious that some religions provide more benefits than others. just read the news and see which parts of the world are most prosperous. As for ID, ID is a scientific approach with no religious implications. Nevertheless, it can provide spiritual comfort. IrrDan
Denyse, I don't have either a blogger account or a google account so I can't post at Mindful Hack. But in relation to your post "Desperate atheist rage" fran b asked whether there is any evidence that, "particular religions provide more benefit than others". NCLS (National Church Life Survey) Research has an occasional paper at http://www.ncls.org.au/default.aspx?sitemapid=5882 that shows that when age, gender and religious unreflectivity (believe, do not question) are controlled for, orthodox Christians do better than people who define themselves merely as "spiritual", at things like satisfaction with life, optimism, feelings of security and financial giving. The secularists come last at these things and more. Janice
Does it surprise you that certain atheists care less for facts than polemic ? I'm sure this is all part of that superior atheist ethic we keep hearing about. Jason Rennie

Leave a Reply