Mind Neuroscience Religion

Can people with cognitive problems have spiritual lives?

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In “A Testimony of Grace and the Plasticity of the Brain” (Trinity International University, July 2, 2011), Heather Zeiger reflects on one striking case:

We never know how God is working in someone’s life, even as they are in the twilight of their lives or in a coma or navigating through the fog of Alzheimer’s. We know so little about how the brain actually works, and to say that someone is as good as dead when he or she is in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s or in a coma is short-sighted. There are still many mysteries about the mind/brain connection and just how plastic the brain is.

The mind makes up its mysteries as it goes along, and the brain follows perforce.

9 Replies to “Can people with cognitive problems have spiritual lives?

  1. 1
    Ilion says:

    My aunt (by marriage to my father’s brother, and the last of that generation on my father’s side) apparently has Alzheimer’s, and from what I hear is nearing the end of her life. She recently broke her hip, which frequently seems to initiate the final death-spiral in those of advanced age.

    I just learned that not too long ago, she had received major heart surgery … which I am sure was not paid for by her children, but rather by the tax-payers. While I certainly do not desire that my aunt die, and suspect that without the surgery she may well have died already, I believe it was wrong … immoral even … to stick the tax-payers for the bill.

    However, opposition to “extra-ordinary” (given the context) medical intervention, subsidized by the tax-payer, is a very different thing from advocating the active murder of the old and weak.

  2. 2
    Ilion says:

    … as was done to Terri Schiavo.

  3. 3
    Ilion says:

    But he never mentioned suicide. He would not let his stroke force him to kill himself.

    My mother’s sister, near the end of her life, tried to tell my sisters that she wanted them to help her commit suicide. But, she din’t really want to die … she wanted her old life, and her husband, back. And, she didn’t want to die alone, with only machines to bear witness to her passing, which is how most deaths, these days, occur.

    I like to think I helped Dad escape, this time around.

    I am happy for your father, and for you.

    I’m also tearing up.

  4. 4
    Ilion says:

    It isn’t fair. I know it isn’t. In my mind’s ear, I still hear the shrieking, bereft mother.

    Not that I need to inform you of this, but it isn’t “fair” that any of us escape Hell/Death, for that is what we each, even the innocent child, deserve.

  5. 5
    zeroseven says:

    Ilion @1:

    I don’t see anything different between killing someone by a deliberate act and killing someone by deliberately omitting an act that would save their lives. If you find someone hanging by their fingertips off a cliff and walk on by you are just as culpable as someone who pushed them off.

  6. 6
    Elizabeth Liddle says:

    Ilion:

    My mother’s sister, near the end of her life, tried to tell my sisters that she wanted them to help her commit suicide. But, she din’t really want to die … she wanted her old life, and her husband, back. And, she didn’t want to die alone, with only machines to bear witness to her passing, which is how most deaths, these days, occur.

    Yes indeed.

    That’s very moving, Ilion.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Can people with cognitive problems have spiritual lives?,,, Actually one of the reasons I am excited about going to heaven, when I die (not that I rushing death! 🙂 ), is that handicapped people report being ‘whole’ in heaven;

    a few notes:

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

    ‘Blind’ Vicki’s NDE – more detailed account – audio – part 1 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65KhcCS5-Y

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)
    http://findarticles.com/p/arti....._65076875/

    Here is a Typical comment from a Near Death Experience:

    ‘Bryce was also greeted by all of his relatives who had passed on before him. He experienced these loved ones as somewhat younger in form and face than when he had last seen them, healthier and happier.
    http://iands.org/nde-stories/1.....light.html

    =======================

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – Dr. Ben Carson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585/

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives:
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: So we need a functioning brain to receive our consciousness into our waking consciousness. And as soon as the function of brain has been lost, like in clinical death or in brain death, with iso-electricity on the EEG, memories and consciousness do still exist, but the reception ability is lost. People can experience their consciousness outside their body, with the possibility of perception out and above their body, with identity, and with heightened awareness, attention, well-structured thought processes, memories and emotions. And they also can experience their consciousness in a dimension where past, present and future exist at the same moment, without time and space, and can be experienced as soon as attention has been directed to it (life review and preview), and even sometimes they come in contact with the “fields of consciousness” of deceased relatives. And later they can experience their conscious return into their body.
    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

    Quantum Coherence and Consciousness – Scientific Proof of ‘Mind’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6266865/

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.

    In The Wonder Of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind, Eccles and Robinson discussed the research of three groups of scientists (Robert Porter and Cobie Brinkman, Nils Lassen and Per Roland, and Hans Kornhuber and Luder Deeke), all of whom produced startling and undeniable evidence that a “mental intention” preceded an actual neuronal firing – thereby establishing that the mind is not the same thing as the brain, but is a separate entity altogether.

    “As I remarked earlier, this may present an “insuperable” difficulty for some scientists of materialists bent, but the fact remains, and is demonstrated by research, that non-material mind acts on material brain.” Eccles

    “Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder.”
    Heinrich Heine – in the year 1834

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Also of interest is that physical reality itself conforms to what is commonly reported in Near death Experiences of a tunnel:

    It is also very interesting to point out that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), is also corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as an observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences:

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    ===============

    timelessness is also verified;,,,

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Experimental confirmation of Time Dilation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....nfirmation

    It is very interesting to note that this strange higher dimensional, eternal, framework for time, found in special relativity, finds corroboration in Near Death Experience testimonies:

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    =========

    fn;

    The weight of mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. Yet, mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light, because, from our non-speed of light perspective, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for the mass going the speed of light. Whereas conversely, if mass could travel at the speed of light, its size will stay the same while all other frames of reference not traveling the speed of light will disappear from its sight.

    Special Relativity – Time Dilation and Length Contraction – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSRIyDfo_mY

  9. 9
    Ilion says:

    … is that handicapped people report being ‘whole’ in heaven;

    And is this wholeness not promised in the Bible?

    If it isn’t a Biblical promise, my mother somehow got the impression that she will no longer be a cripple, long before there were reports of “near-death experiences.” Maybe some of her dead relatives (whom she believed she’d seen after their deaths) had told her. 😉

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