If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

What do they believe? What do you think? Talk about religion as it exists today.
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Secret Alias
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Re: If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

Post by Secret Alias »

My wife could do the dream stuff. I was too stupid:



My 16 year old self REALLY loved the Journey to Ixtlan the best:

(part 1)

(part 2)
andrewcriddle
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Re: If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

Post by andrewcriddle »

DCHindley wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:38 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 12:55 pm
DCHindley wrote: Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:07 pm He was quite aware that he had a form of "schizophrenia" as they called it then.
What do you think they call it now?

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/ ... ndex.shtml
Back in them days literally everything that now falls under bi-polar disorder was called "schizophrenia" by most folks, and maybe some (not all) specialists.
Do you possibly mean that what is now called bi-polar used to be called manic-depressive psychosis ?

Andrew Criddle
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DCHindley
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Re: If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

Post by DCHindley »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:15 am
DCHindley wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:38 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 12:55 pm
DCHindley wrote: Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:07 pm He was quite aware that he had a form of "schizophrenia" as they called it then.
What do you think they call it now?

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/ ... ndex.shtml
Back in them days literally everything that now falls under bi-polar disorder was called "schizophrenia" by most folks, and maybe some (not all) specialists.
Do you possibly mean that what is now called bi-polar used to be called manic-depressive psychosis?
Hello Andrew,

IIRC, back in the 1970s the terminology was much more fluid than it is now, and many conditions were much more generally classified. Today's classification system took many decades to work out, with various medical and psychological/psychiatric associations having competing definitions at times. IIRC, and I'm talking as a layperson, today "bi-polar disorder" represents a broad range of disorders of which manic-depression is one manifestation. "Schizophrenia" is one manifestation of Disassociate disorders, which are technically different than bi-polar.

Folks argue about these definitions even today. All I was saying was that disassociative states like the mental imagery of schizophrenia might be interpreted as a religious experience. If it is caused by brain chemistry then it is an involuntary experience that produces chaotic sensory states that the human brain tries to make sense of. The sense the mind makes of it may vary from individual and by circumstances.

I'm pretty sure the experience of "Paul" on the Damascus road, in the different accounts of Acts and Paul's letters to the Galatians & Corinthians, was involuntary, and certainly interpreted as a religious experience by the writers responsible for these accounts or allusions. I'm not suggesting Paul had a psychiatric issue, as other physical causes for a disassociative state can occur, like epilepsy.

I do not think that whoever's experience was being described was a self-induced one, at least in this case.

Ask me about whether Jesus and his disciples possibly practiced mystical ascents, and so induced religious experiences, then that's a different story. I am open to that possibility. For example, the "transfiguration" and maybe the trial before the high priests where they act as though Jesus had correctly uttered the divine name YHWH. But how would he otherwise have known that? I highly doubt the polemical Jewish literature that speculated that he hid it somehow by means of a written pronunciation guide hidden within cuts in his flesh or by a tattoo.
bbyrd009
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Re: If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

Post by bbyrd009 »

Peter Kirby wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 10:44 am Suppose the following:

(1) A religious experience could be difficult to explain for you personally, without impugning your psychological state. It would not involve drugs or being asleep, so you are left only with other possible natural explanations, such as a mental problem you have no previous history of. Or, alternatively, you are left with the possibility of supernatural causes for the experience. There would of course still be room for doubt.

(2) A religious experience could be extremely vivid. You could, for example, see an angelic person who appears suddenly in your living room.

(3) You have a doubt either way as to whether you could have such a religious experience, but for some reason you have the feeling that it's at least possible even if unlikely. Let's say you've had milder feelings of what could be called a numinous presence, for example, but nothing before your five senses.

(4) Hypothetically, you believe that the vivid experience would most likely not ever happen if you simply wished that it did not happen. It's a sort of inverted Pascal's wager. If there's a real presence there, you believe it would respect your wishes not to experience it more vividly. Since you believe yourself mentally sound, you believe you wouldn't see it if it weren't there. So you'll likely experience nothing if you just wish to experience nothing.

Would you wish that you never had such an experience? Or would you remain more open to it, or even wish for it? Why or why not?
how might you discern between "religious experience" and "emotional experience?" one might ask
bbyrd009
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Re: If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

Post by bbyrd009 »

Peter Kirby wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:23 pm This question could be connected to another one, a question of whether someone can be considered morally culpable for their lack of belief.
yet Scripture seems to make plain that the only judgement is for works
and isnt it the Pagan (Roman Centurion) and Atheist (Good Samaritan) who get the highest praise?
bbyrd009
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Re: If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

Post by bbyrd009 »

DCHindley wrote: Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:07 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 10:44 am Would you wish that you never had such [a vivid religious] experience? Or would you remain more open to it, or even wish for it? Why or why not?
I think there should be a distinction between an experience that comes upon you, as opposed to one you cause yourself.

Ones that come upon you: When circumstances outside your control come together to allow you to see some part of the world with a new eye. These can include ones that are caused by some kind of bipolar affection.

I have a bipolar friend who is fine for long periods of time, but every year something knocks him off-kilter, like a change in diet or feeling like he didn't need or want his medications, and he would get paranoid, dissociative and angry. Maybe it was Seasonal Affective disorder, I don't know.

Back when I led a bible study at a Jr College I attended (if 3 people showed up I was elated), one guy came in for several weeks with color pencil drawings of what he recalls seeing in visions. He was quite aware that he had a form of "schizophrenia" as they called it then. They were evidently very vivid for him and luckily he expressed his experiences very well. The problem was he could not tell anymore what was imaginary and what was real. To him, he actually "saw" what was depicted in those pictures with all the rays of colorful light and distortions.

Think of autistic savants, who may be unable to relate to other people in a normal manner, look at the relationship of numbers, say, and realizing they are all connected, can do all sorts of math in their heads. The average cashier today can barely calculate change (coins) in their head without the register, or pulling out a calculator or phone app. Is that a "religious experience?" I cannot say for sure.

Induced: The other angle is when we try to induce a religious experience. In these cases we are trying to pre-program a religious experience. Jewish Merkabeh (sp) mystics repeat passages from scripture that have symbolic value, but turn the phrase around in their head in a way that is similar to picking a gym locker lock. Once they hit the right combination, they start to loose spatial orientation and imagine they are rising through the heavens, giving secret passwords and sigils to the guardian angels at each gate, until they were able to commune with God (depicted as singing in the celestial choir around God's throne).

While I have never done this myself, some people do arrange to participate in Native American religious ceremonies involving use of Peyote/Mescaline "buttons" or Psilocybin mushrooms to induce a vision. They immerse themselves in the Native culture, and undergo this because they *want* to experience what Shamans do.

Most probably don't remember the late 1960s and early 1970s (when I was in Jr High and High School), but the combination locks by Master Lock Corporation could be picked by systematically applying a logarithm until the right combination occurred. It took into consideration that the flat spots on the lock mechanism were about 3 digits wide. The whole thing could be done in under five minutes. By the same principals, I had figured out how to calculate a "reverse combination" (completely different than the original one) that was dialed in reverse. At the time, I was amazed and elated that I had figured that out and I used my secret knowledge to put notes in girl's lockers, steal a bully's clothes so he had to go about in his shorts all day, things like that. I felt empowered.

The whole "patriot" phenomenon in the USA is similar. Lots of folks were bombarded by carefully placed social media posts and news articles to believe that the election is a dark plot to oust the "right thinking" people, the only solution they can think of is violent insurrection to bully or threaten others to accept their positions. They were fully convinced that the US President of that time was going to impose martial law and put people of color in their place, as it used to or should be (in imagination at least), as if this is enshrined in the US Constitution (it isn't). They were not even trying to disguise themselves, as no harm would come upon them when the president seizes full control. They had the religious conviction that the President would prevail, and so they acted, full of "righteous anger," threatening to shoot folks for being of the wrong political party (the party you are a registered member of is public record here), etc. I don't think this is over just yet. Lets just say we are investing in ammo for several shotguns and rifles our kids inherited from a relative.

These recent events remind me of the Hutu rebellion against Tutsi rule in Rwanda. First it was radio talk shows denouncing the unity government, even going as far as shooting down the President's official plane with a shoulder fired missile and by secret agreements the extremist Hutus arose on the same day all over the country and hacked as many Tutsis to death as they could. "You are Tutsi, so you must die" was the phrase the mobs used, and since the extremists were willing to kill even other moderate Hutus, many were driven by fear to also commit atrocities, even Christian priests. IIRC, this all occurred in the 1990s. To the radicals, they were on a divine mission. They had worked many of the Hutus into a frenzy and it erupted on an orgasm of extreme emotions.

But now look at the Judean rebellion in AD 66. It was accompanied by extreme hype about an oracle of a coming kingdom that would replace the Romans as world empire. It was talked about in the marketplaces and religious gatherings. The newly established Jewish kingdom would, of course, be a just and a blessed one to live in, but there were different approaches to achieving it and who should be included or excluded, that clashed with each other and proved ruinous. "Maybe God would send angels to do the fighting for us, or maybe God expects us to establish it ourselves!"
Matthew 11:12 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force."
These self induced frenzies, IMHO, totally overwhelmed the Judeans. The disappointment of not realizing the establishment of that kingdom and the extreme social stratification that occurred in the course of the revolt and afterwards literally forged Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism and even some forms of Gnosticism as we know it since.

Would I want to live through a religious frenzy playing out like that? IMHO, we already are, at least here in the US. Where are the Sociologists/Social-Anthropologists when you need them? We may have just witnessed the establishment of a new form of evangelical "Christian" religion that is totally different than what it was just a few decades before.

Just my 2 cents.
"like"

"...on an orgasm of EXTREME EMOTIONS"
bbyrd009
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Re: If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

Post by bbyrd009 »

DCHindley wrote: Sun Jan 31, 2021 10:32 am
andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:15 am
DCHindley wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:38 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 12:55 pm
DCHindley wrote: Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:07 pm He was quite aware that he had a form of "schizophrenia" as they called it then.
What do you think they call it now?

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/ ... ndex.shtml
Back in them days literally everything that now falls under bi-polar disorder was called "schizophrenia" by most folks, and maybe some (not all) specialists.
Do you possibly mean that what is now called bi-polar used to be called manic-depressive psychosis?
Hello Andrew,

IIRC, back in the 1970s the terminology was much more fluid than it is now, and many conditions were much more generally classified. Today's classification system took many decades to work out, with various medical and psychological/psychiatric associations having competing definitions at times. IIRC, and I'm talking as a layperson, today "bi-polar disorder" represents a broad range of disorders of which manic-depression is one manifestation. "Schizophrenia" is one manifestation of Disassociate disorders, which are technically different than bi-polar.

Folks argue about these definitions even today. All I was saying was that disassociative states like the mental imagery of schizophrenia might be interpreted as a religious experience. If it is caused by brain chemistry then it is an involuntary experience that produces chaotic sensory states that the human brain tries to make sense of. The sense the mind makes of it may vary from individual and by circumstances.

I'm pretty sure the experience of "Paul" on the Damascus road, in the different accounts of Acts and Paul's letters to the Galatians & Corinthians, was involuntary, and certainly interpreted as a religious experience by the writers responsible for these accounts or allusions. I'm not suggesting Paul had a psychiatric issue, as other physical causes for a disassociative state can occur, like epilepsy.

I do not think that whoever's experience was being described was a self-induced one, at least in this case.

Ask me about whether Jesus and his disciples possibly practiced mystical ascents, and so induced religious experiences, then that's a different story. I am open to that possibility. For example, the "transfiguration" and maybe the trial before the high priests where they act as though Jesus had correctly uttered the divine name YHWH. But how would he otherwise have known that? I highly doubt the polemical Jewish literature that speculated that he hid it somehow by means of a written pronunciation guide hidden within cuts in his flesh or by a tattoo.
i guess YHWH is a transliteration anyway; a translation might be something like AEOU?
bbyrd009
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Re: If you could have a religious experience, would you prefer not to?

Post by bbyrd009 »

didnt "religious" used to mean "by rote?"
"i drink a cup of coffee every morning, religiously?"
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