Political Skeptics, what's their motivation?

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#22
Hjortron, respectfully, this isn't the first time I disagree with your interpretation of Nanci Danison's NDE, or what you seem to take out of it. I don't want to get into an unending debate into all the specifics here. But I've read her books and viewed her videos carefully, and I don't think "killing people isn't bad" is part of the "Universal Knowledge" she accessed. It's definitely not what the spirit of her books is. Also, to reduce her NDE to "just party!" (please excuse me if I'm misreading you!) would a grossly unfair mischaracterization.

I'm saying all this because I get a sense you're often using her NDE, which I know you're familiar with, as backup for your views. Which I don't completely disagree with (your views, that is) - but it depends on the specific details of what you're saying.

Just a few examples:
We're here for ourselves - to grow, to play, to laugh, to go crazy, to enjoy the ride, to experience, to learn. Or whatever else we may want. We chose these lives. We get to do whatever we want with them. If that means becoming a spiritual guru, a healer, or blowing up a building and killing thousands of people, well, it's just a matter of what you want to do and what you feel is in your best interest. Elaboration.
I don't think Danison's NDE informed her that we are pure self-interested beings. That's more the human animal part, than the fraction of the the Light Being energy inhabiting it. Why would she also exhort people to learn to better self-control their "animal" nature?

Also I don't see validation in her NDE for where
If that means becoming a spiritual guru, a healer, or blowing up a building and killing thousands of people
fits with
it's having fun as hell and enjoying existence to the absolute fullest, bathing in love and bliss and peace and joy all along as we do so.
I know you also value Robert Schwartz' work like I do, but I don't see validation there for the idea that people incarnate for the fun of experiencing murder, say. A path is chosen where that is a possibility because of the spiritual issues they are choosing to work through.
 
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#23
I profoundly disagree.
Which is perfectly fine. But do you think you could elaborate on why you profoundly disagree with my assessment of the situation?

Why is it wrong to murder if there's a wonderful afterlife awaiting everybody?

Now don't get me wrong, murdering others who don't want to die is not conducive to a peaceful society. I'm well aware of that. But that doesn't make it wrong in the larger sense. It's not wrong from the perspective of the spiritual realm.

Hjortron, respectfully, this isn't the first time I disagree with your interpretation of Nanci Danison's NDE, or what you seem to take out of it. I don't want to get into an unending debate into all the specifics here. But I've read her books and viewed her videos carefully, and I don't think "killing people isn't bad" is part of the "Universal Knowledge" she accessed. It's definitely not what the spirit of her books is.
I don't base all of these views on her NDE alone, far from it. I'm drawing these conclusions from the totality of the survival data, admittedly with a heavy emphasis on NDEs, combined with a healthy dose of objective reasoning.

I don't enjoy debates either, I much prefer discussions in order to arrive at the truth of the matter.

I too have read her first two books (not the third) and seen all the videos of her I've come across and read all of her News Letters, and I can most assuredly say that according to her, being a murderer isn't one billionth of the big a deal that contemporary society makes it out to be. To demonstrate this beyond any doubt, see this:


At 52:25 - 54:02, she makes it explicit beyond any doubt how murdering is not at all a big deal according to those in the spirit realm.

Also, to reduce her NDE to "just party!" (please excuse me if I'm misreading you!) would a grossly unfair mischaracterization.
I'm not reducing her NDE to "just party!" - but I'll grant you that it's a fine summary of my position indeed ;) I'm reducing the totality of survival data to just that. What do you think they do in Heaven on a daily basis (disregarding the fact that there's no night and day, etc)? Work a job they hate? Suffer from hardships? :) No, they do whatever they want to do, which can always be summarized with partying, playing and having fun. I mean, I can play chess all day long and have an extremely fun and interesting time doing so, or I can dance my ass off. I enjoy both! :D But the point I'm making is that Heaven is all about enjoying ourselves. Indeed, that's what eternity and all of existence could ever be about - enjoyment. Now, by enjoyment I'm talking very universally - some enjoy partying, some enjoy baking, some enjoy working on projects, etc. But at the end of the day, we will spend eternity enjoying things, whatever they happen to be. And love, peace and joy will always be part of that, of course, but there will be activities of all sorts as well on top of that.

I'm saying all this because I get a sense you're often using her NDE, which I know you're familiar with, as backup for your views. Which I don't completely disagree with (your views, that is) - but it depends on the specific details of what you're saying.
Well, this much is true, and it's mostly because she's so very explicit about things which can only be indirectly derived from the writings and testimonies of other NDErs. But it's not like she is my only source for these views - they're compatible with other NDEs, and they square nicely with reason itself. It's just that I use her as a reference point because of her clarity of expression.

Just a few examples:
I don't think Danison's NDE informed her that we are pure self-interested beings. That's more the human animal part, than the fraction of the the Light Being energy inhabiting it. Why would she also exhort people to learn to better self-control their "animal" nature?
Again, I didn't make that particular argument based on anything that she said. I'm not here just regurgitating her views, I'm drawing my own conclusions based on a plethora of arguments already made by many other writers, thinkers and NDErs before me.

I also didn't make the argument that we're purely self-interested beings, you've misinterpreted what I was going for. I'm merely saying that to advance spiritually, you can't focus on trying to change others. You have to change yourself, and then help others when they're ready to advance themselves. Christian Andréason provided a great metaphor for this. It's like you're walking over a bridge. You can hold someone's hand as they're walking over it, but you can't force them to walk over it. We can lovingly help other people advance, but we can't expect or force them to do it. All we can do is be as loving and emphatic and helpful as possible, and spiritual progress is just that, but to expect anything of others is to miss the point entirely of how to be as spiritual as possible.

Also I don't see validation in her NDE for where

Hjortron said:
If that means becoming a spiritual guru, a healer, or blowing up a building and killing thousands of people
fits with

Hjortron said:
it's having fun as hell and enjoying existence to the absolute fullest, bathing in love and bliss and peace and joy all along as we do so.
Again, wasn't talking about her particular NDE. But those two bold snippets of text weren't written next to each other for a reason. The former talks about what we can do in this world. The latter explains what it's like in the other world. I'm not making the argument that you're "bathing in love and bliss and peace and joy" while you're "blowing up a building and killing thousands of people". But then again, you're never doing the latter in this world. We can have some fun here, and we should indeed pursue it, as life is meant to be fun, too! But not like the fun we can have in the afterlife.

My point with the former text in bold is only to illustrate how, in Nanci Danison's words, "Everything's cool!". There is no judgment on what we do here, ever. We can't do anything wrong. It's like playing a video game wrong, you know, it just doesn't make sense. You don't have to beat Bowser in Super Mario and play it from start to finish, you can just jump around outside the castle if that's your thing. There's no blue print or instruction manual on how to play this game that we have to follow.

I know you also value Robert Schwartz' work like I do, but I don't see validation there for the idea that people incarnate for the fun of experiencing murder, say. A path is chosen where that is a possibility because of the spiritual issues they are choosing to work through.
I don't know if he says it's fun, but in the larger sense, incarnation is role-playing. It's filled with scary and challenging experiences. But once we're in spirit, we're going to see it for what it was, and appreciate it accordingly. In the larger sense, being murdered is like watching a horror movie voluntarily.
 
#24
Which is perfectly fine. But do you think you could elaborate on why you profoundly disagree with my assessment of the situation?

Why is it wrong to murder if there's a wonderful afterlife awaiting everybody?

Now don't get me wrong, murdering others who don't want to die is not conducive to a peaceful society. I'm well aware of that. But that doesn't make it wrong in the larger sense. It's not wrong from the perspective of the spiritual realm.
To answer that question, you first need to answer the question of why there is a physical realm and physical life at all. If one does not believe in a Diety or in a purpose to the universe, the question is, of course, non-sensical. But if one does believe that the universe was created with a purpose, and that therefore our physical lives have purpose, it follows that ending those purposeful physical lives is very bad.
 
#25
I'm out of my home and PC now, but I still managed to borrow a laptop from one of my friends - I think I have to support Hjortron. My own ideas regarding relationship of "morality" and spirituality is very close to his, even if not totally similar.

As much as Hjortron, I do not believe in objective "morality". In fact, I consider moral realism to be indefensible, especially if one takes into account the whole picture of the evidence provided by consciousness research and spirituality. Some morally inclined people want to emphasis the spiritual and afterlife experiences that suggest some form of special consequences for "morally bad" behavior - but other such experiences show a picture that is devoid of such consequences. In fact, there is no strict, unified picture here: while some patterns do exist, the particular content of the experience is, to some extent, imaginal. "Imaginal" here does not mean "imaginary": such experiences are definitely real: the evidence of their non-local, beyond-brain-and-body nature, as well as general patterns and traits which is characteristic for all of them, strongly points toward their actually real nature. But actually real does not mean "objectively" real - they are (partially) subject-based, filled with cultural, historical and semiotic legacy imprinted in one's unconscious. So, the presence or absence of any form of the consequences of one's life-actions during transpersonal/post-mortem experience is based on one's own psyche, not on some absolute "cosmic laws" - which, probably, do not exist. What exist is our choice, which is neither "good" nor "bad" in some absolute sense.

Absence of morality, however, does not automatically imply the absence of meaningful ethics - as long as we understand that such ethics is a humane construct, not some mind-independent truth. It is always debatable, and the alternative way of conduct is always possible.

For example, the largest ethical fallacy of the modern Western culture seems to be its adultism - the severe discrimination of children and adolescents by adults, based solely on their biological age. It has already reached extreme forms: kids are now deprived of almost everything - of information (age-based censorship, "parental control"), of travel and world-exploration (age-based curfews), and, most of all, of any sexuality (age of consent, demonization and repression of any form of "underage" sexual activity, especially intergenerational one). The most tragicomic fact is that such status of children is relatively new - some decades ago, in 1960s and 1970s, kids had much more liberties which they have now; even sexual rights of children were treated quite seriously, being the topic of open scientific, scholarly and social debate. The turning point appears to be the 1980s and the infamous "satanic ritual abuse" panic - while it was discredited as itself, its reactionary aftermath is still felt - not only in the institutionalized degradation of children's social and cultural status, but also in attacks on the unconventional science, philosophy and spirituality (try to recall how such subjects were flourishing in 1970s and there are they now).

Happily, 2010s seems to be "the era of the new dawn" for me - unconventional and "heretical" research is becoming highly popular again, and society is again in the state of unrest - which lead to resurrection of libertarian and "rebellious" social movements... Youth rights movement included. So, I'm optimistic about the future - I might become a witness not only of the death of the mechanistic materialism and militant psi skepticism and antitheism, but also of emancipation and empowerment of children and adolescents.
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#26
Does anyone know what is the simplest way to respond to a post in the "scissor"-ing technique? I wonder if there's an easier way than hitting "Reply" a dozen times and having to do all that editing, because it gets tiring.

I don't base all of these views on her NDE alone, far from it. I'm drawing these conclusions from the totality of the survival data, admittedly with a heavy emphasis on NDEs, combined with a healthy dose of objective reasoning.
H, as you probably know, I'm pretty close to some of your views on all of this, but let me challenge you a little.

When you say "the totality of the survival data", have you included all the mediumship data from the Spiritualist age? Because that would be 100% against a lot of what you're saying here. Also, I could easily find tons of NDEs that contradict these views.

Now, personally, I find some of the "transcendent NDEs", like Danison but not exclusively, more persuasive. And I think they offer a framework for understanding more "simplistic" either fire-and-brimstone NDEs or "do good deeds and be less selfish" NDEs. Specifically, the human personality/soul in transition as it leaves the body is, well, in transition, and unwittingly "manifests" beliefs, fears, etc. (This is just a pet theory and could be wrong, of course. This is also my extrapolation from those NDErs, not the view of those NDErs themsleves. This is also not a "psychodynamic" superpsi theory, because I am more persuaded than not that this is post-death.)

Having said that, those "transcendent NDEs" are in the minority, and I just can't see how you're drawing your conclusions from "the totality of the survival data".

Also when you say: "objective" reasoning - I don't know if such a thing exists ;) (we aim for it, but do we really get there?) , or if it does if it has anything to do with the greater reality.

At 52:25 - 54:02, she makes it explicit beyond any doubt how murdering is not at all a big deal according to those in the spirit realm.
I think your phrasing here is a little questionable. I think she's talking about what is perceived at an extremely high level (and in that sense she's saying no different than what I've heard from a lot of other more "ordinary" NDEs where an "angel", for example, would say that, yes, from their pespective, all the suffering here, even the Holocaust, is near-insignificant because it's so tiny on the time scale and from larger perspectives).

I should myself have been more careful about what I said earlier. I agree that her view, and others', is not that "murder is bad". Echoing what Vortex is also saying, those NDEs, and possibly some other survival data, point to a spiritual reality that is beyond human-level "good and bad". And I personally feel that's probably the accurate view, at higher levels. BUT, there is almost always mention of love. Murdering would not be a loving act, unless it's part of some pre-planned agreement/possibility to work out issues. And why would a being that is immersed in love choose to experience "murder", unless if it's for some growth purpose other than mere fun. The Danison view of Source is always that of joyful creativity, curiosity, and experience, but love is always a part of it. Hey, but these are just my own reflections (based on the data ;)), and I could be completely off base..

What do you think they do in Heaven on a daily basis (disregarding the fact that there's no night and day, etc)? Work a job they hate? Suffer from hardships? :) No, they do whatever they want to do, which can always be summarized with partying, playing and having fun. I mean, I can play chess all day long and have an extremely fun and interesting time doing so, or I can dance my ass off. I enjoy both! :D But the point I'm making is that Heaven is all about enjoying ourselves. Indeed, that's what eternity and all of existence could ever be about - enjoyment. Now, by enjoyment I'm talking very universally - some enjoy partying, some enjoy baking, some enjoy working on projects, etc. But at the end of the day, we will spend eternity enjoying things, whatever they happen to be.
You're sounding very sure of yourself here about what the "afterlife" is (or are). Which is fine, that's your prerogative - I just don't have the same level of assurance as you.

But, more to the point, again, it's very easy to find "survival data" that points to different portraits. Have you read, for example, George Meek's After We Die, What Then?, that summarizes the portrait of the afterlife through the whole of the mediumship tradition and some other survival data? (Tymn and other authors have put out similar books.) They certainly don't portray the afterlife as a place of mere "partying, playing and having fun".

I'm not saying I buy into all of these portraits that contradict your views, again I'm just saying they are out there. The same with NDEs. I'd have to look to find the exact quote, but a young child after his or her NDE was asked "What was it like?" And he or she said: "It was a lot of hard work" or "People work really hard there." (This might be from Atwater's book of children NDEs.)

I might respond to the rest later, H, but right now I've got to go. Happy '14. :)
 
#27
if one does believe that the universe was created with a purpose, and that therefore our physical lives have purpose, it follows that ending those purposeful physical lives is very bad.
No, it doesn't follow at all, because death, and all things that lead up to it, are part of physical life. In other words, if you're going to say that everything in life matters, then so does murder and suicide. They are part of life and the human experience. They aren't external to the rest of the experiences we have here. To say that murder is wrong but that knitting is OK is nonsensical, because both are equally much a part of having a physical experience.

It's not like the purpose of life, or even just a part of that purpose, is to live as long as possible. Why would it be? Death is part of life. Murder is part of life. Suicide is part of life. Accidents are part of life. Diseases are part of life. War is part of life. Natural disasters are part of life. Animals eat each others all the time, as do stars and even black holes. The entire universe recycles all the time, and there's nothing that says that the purpose of us incarnating here is to stay alive for as long as possible, or help others stay alive for as long as possible. Again, it's like saying "the purpose of a video game is to play it as long as possible". At some point, you quit playing, either because you die in it or because you choose to do something else, or whatever. It doesn't matter. And if you want to play again, you play again!

Here's something else to consider. When you're saying that "ending those purposeful physical lives is very bad", you're essentially arguing that death itself is bad. But death is inevitable. Does the time and method of death really matter? When someone dies by cancer, heart attack or natural disaster, was it "very bad" too? Or is it cool that the randomness of the world takes our lives, but not that we add to that randomness factor by playing out certain characteristic behaviors inherent to the personality we incarnated into? Some people have a tendency and/or desire to murder others and/or commit suicide, for instance. That's a part of the character they're playing, their very reason for coming here in the first place. Not everyone chooses to come here to be an angel incarnate. Some just want to have fun going crazy, experiencing what's like to participate in a war, be an evil dictator, murder and rape, etc.

H, as you probably know, I'm pretty close to some of your views on all of this, but let me challenge you a little.
You were formerly Ninshub on the old forum, right? :) And you know I love to have my views challenged :D

When you say "the totality of the survival data", have you included all the mediumship data from the Spiritualist age? Because that would be 100% against a lot of what you're saying here. Also, I could easily find tons of NDEs that contradict these views.
No, I have not. But feel free to reference me to that data, or paraphrase their essential findings and/or arguments.

And please reference a bunch of NDEs like that.

Having said that, those "transcendent NDEs" are in the minority, and I just can't see how you're drawing your conclusions from "the totality of the survival data".
Because most shallow NDErs really have nothing to say on these matters, and few lines of evidence beyond NDEs and mediumship have anything to say about the nature of the afterlife, they just show that it's there. Shallow NDErs agree with the basics - there's an afterlife, it's full of love, everyone's welcome, etc. But that tends to be it. And deeper NDErs tend to agree with those like the ones Christian Andréason and Nanci Danison have had.

Also when you say: "objective" reasoning - I don't know if such a thing exists ;) (we aim for it, but do we really get there?) , or if it does if it has anything to do with the greater reality.
Haha yeah, but let's not get that philosophical. I'm just talking about thinking about the issue with a dispassionate, rational approach that takes zero account for the contomporary "spiritual correctness" that plagues much of the discussions on forums like this. I don't care about what's controversial to say, I care about what's most likely true.

BUT, there is almost always mention of love. Murdering would not be a loving act, unless it's part of some pre-planned agreement/possibility to work out issues. And why would a being that is immersed in love choose to experience "murder", unless if it's for some growth purpose other than mere fun. The Danison view of Source is always that of joyful creativity, curiosity, and experience, but love is always a part of it. Hey, but these are just my own reflections (based on the data ;)), and I could be completely off base..
Murdering is seldom a loving act, I agree. But neither is taking a walk, reading a book or playing soccer. In neither case, you're increasing your vibrations. To quote from the NDE Jayne Smith had,

Jayne Smith said:
I said to him again, "Everything that has happened to me since I crossed over is so beautiful. Everything is so perfect. What about my sins?"

He said, "There are no sins, not the way you think of them on Earth. The only thing that has any meaning here is what you think."
Which echoes the sentiment of the article I quoted earlier in this thread by J.D. Bourdon. In terms of love, what matters isn't actions, nor outcomes. It's our intentions when we carry out our actions. Helping a child in trouble, for instance, means nothing if you do it because you feel that you have to, rather than as a genuine display of love that you feel in the core of your being as you're doing it.

I know that is a message that a lot of people have a hard time hearing and accepting, because that makes being spiritual so much harder. You can't just delude yourself into thinking that you're being a good person and advancing spiritually by doing what you think are good acts - you have to actually summon and feel the genuine, unconditional love within you for it to matter greatly to your higher self.

You're sounding very sure of yourself here about what the "afterlife" is (or are). Which is fine, that's your prerogative - I just don't have the same level of assurance as you.

But, more to the point, again, it's very easy to find "survival data" that points to different portraits. Have you read, for example, George Meek's After We Die, What Then?, that summarizes the portrait of the afterlife through the whole of the mediumship tradition and some other survival data? (Tymn and other authors have put out similar books.) They certainly don't portray the afterlife as a place of mere "partying, playing and having fun".

I'm not saying I buy into all of these portraits that contradict your views, again I'm just saying they are out there. The same with NDEs. I'd have to look to find the exact quote, but a young child after his or her NDE was asked "What was it like?" And he or she said: "It was a lot of hard work" or "People work really hard there." (This might be from Atwater's book of children NDEs.)

I might respond to the rest later, H, but right now I've got to go. Happy '14. :)
Haha, Happy 14! :D

As for being "sure of myself", well, I guess I'm just practicing and growing in my self-referencing ability, which Robert Schwartz talks about as being one the divine virtues we came here to develop. I trust my ability to reason on these matters, even if the rest of the world have a hard time seeing things as I do.

But what you do you think people will spend eternity doing in the spirit realm? We don't even need to quote NDEs or survival data, we just have to think rationally on the matter. No one who is enjoying themselves fully cares what the purpose of existence is, because they are living the purpose of existence. In the grander scheme of things, these lives are enjoyment too, because spiritual progression (even if through hardships) leads to an enjoyable outcome. Wisdom is something you enjoy. Everything is about enjoyment, at some level. Take Christian Andréason, for instance, who says that "God thinks about nothing but love - all the time!" Why would the creator of everything in existence do that? Because he's obligated to do so? Or because infinite love is the highest form of enjoyment? ;) God is already indescribably, infinitely happy, and want to remain and will remain as such forever! As will we!

We have already spent all of eternity, so far, doing things we want to do. We will continue spending eternity doing all the things we want to do. That includes spending ridiculous amount of time in the spirit realm where we're indescribably happy all the time, but also going on adventures in physical incarnations by our own choosing 10^10000000000000000000000000 of lifetimes, if we want to, doing all kinds of crazy, fucked-up shit. Existence and eternity is all about infinite, never-ending enjoyment and experiencing everything we ever want to.

How could it, and why should it, be any other way?
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#28
This way to respond is easier for me:

I'll grant you most of what you're saying here, H, I agree with it or share your dispositions (re: the value of the more transcendental NDEs, intentions vs. mere actions), so that I won't respond to those parts. I'll just challenge you and respond to you on these little bits:


No, I have not. But feel free to reference me to that data, or paraphrase their essential findings and/or arguments.
There's the Meek book, there's Michael Tymn's The Afterlife Revealed, the ending of Fontana's Is There An Afterlife? I'm sure there are others. I think the conclusions on mostly based on the history of mediumship. Paraphrasing or summarizing? Sorry, too much there (a LOT if you just read the Meek book), and I'm not that generous with my time. :D

Murdering is seldom a loving act, I agree. But neither is taking a walk, reading a book or playing soccer. In neither case, you're increasing your vibrations.
I don't know that those other activities are not "vibration-raising". Book-wise, especially. I remember Danison in her first book specifically mentioning reading a book about spirituality, or the afterlife, as definitely vibration-increasing. ;) And we get all those NDErs, and the whole tradition of mediumship, as rating knowledge and learning as especially valuable. And taking a walk in nature, why not also? Lots of people report a small to large mystical feeling/experience in contemplating nature. ;)

Also, I would tend to think murdering is incredibly vibration-lowering, but then here I'm just speculating and what do I know?


As for being "sure of myself", well, I guess I'm just practicing and growing in my self-referencing ability, which Robert Schwartz talks about as being one the divine virtues we came here to develop.
Wonderful. And I mean that sincerely.

But what you do you think people will spend eternity doing in the spirit realm? We don't even need to quote NDEs or survival data, we just have to think rationally on the matter.
I don't know what we "do" in the afterlife. I tend to think it's too transcendent to even begin to think about in terms of any specifics or sense of certainty. That's just me personally. Regarding your last sentence, I disagree. I think that's the modus operandi of a lot of unread "skeptics" or outsiders on this data who think their own reasoning should allow them to discern what's true or not, or possible or not, irrespective of the data.

But that doesn't mean I necessarily disagree with you on some of your conclusions. I do imagine it's more joy than "work", going on everything I've read so far and what feels more convincing, but then I don't really know either.
 
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#29
As an adolescent, I became an atheist, and as night follows day a sceptic, as a reaction to religious indoctrination. An element of my reaction was to do with the impossibility of being a good Catholic: I mean, how can any normal youth resist masturbation? So you give up religion, but are still a bit queasy about whether it could all actually have been true, and so you have to get more strident in your denial of religion.

If you can't see things except in terms of a divide between religion and atheism, aren't aware that underlying religion might be something else, then the stridency has to be maintained. If you give an inch, then you start to fear the consequences of the life you've been living, even if it's not particularly evil. I suspect many atheists/sceptics are motivated by fear, and the more fearful, the more strident. On a deep level, they may be secret believers: that perhaps being why they often focus on hopelessly naive notions about God: Dawkin's God is straight out of the Disney version of the bible, about as subtle as a freight train.

As to political scepticism, well, I don't view it as specially different from political anythingism, really. Some people are politically inclined, and one political object amongst many is atheism/scepticism. If they were religious, they'd probably be political about something else.
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#30
But what you do you think people will spend eternity doing in the spirit realm? We don't even need to quote NDEs or survival data, we just have to think rationally on the matter. No one who is enjoying themselves fully cares what the purpose of existence is, because they are living the purpose of existence. In the grander scheme of things, these lives are enjoyment too, because spiritual progression (even if through hardships) leads to an enjoyable outcome. Wisdom is something you enjoy. Everything is about enjoyment, at some level. Take Christian Andréason, for instance, who says that "God thinks about nothing but love - all the time!" Why would the creator of everything in existence do that? Because he's obligated to do so? Or because infinite love is the highest form of enjoyment? ;) God is already indescribably, infinitely happy, and want to remain and will remain as such forever! As will we!
I sometimes also think that possibly "we" exist or continue, etc., on many kinds of different levels. One more immediate level (or a few levels) might be more akin to an Earth+ existence that you find in some of the mediumship communications, and might not involve total bliss, and there may be higher levels which is what some folks seem to have accessed in a different ways.

Sorry for contributing to derailing the thread a little here.
 
#31
On a sliding scale of....
....well intentioned....misguided....mischievous....ruthless....wicked....
....where would proponents place the activity of persistent skeptics?

Are they trying to save the world, or herald in a totalitarian Dark Age? Would former skeptics have indulged in or condoned the activities of their current counterparts, or is this an ideological cage fight with no holds barred?
There are various people with various backgounds and various motivions. A variety of people ended up joining the National Party without necessarily being fully aware of it goals and methods.

With the leaders of organized skeptics advancing an ideology of no God, no spirit, no morality and no free will, we should be less sympathetic. When the leaders become involved in crimes of identify theft, wire fraud and sexual assualt, we might begin to consider the fruit. How might other culture view proponents of no God, no spirit, no free will?

Under the fog of materialism, traditional wisdom on the existence of malevolent forces is ignored.
 
#32
There are various people with various backgounds and various motivions. A variety of people ended up joining the National Party without necessarily being fully aware of it goals and methods.

With the leaders of organized skeptics advancing an ideology of no God, no spirit, no morality and no free will, we should be less sympathetic. When the leaders become involved in crimes of identify theft, wire fraud and sexual assualt, we might begin to consider the fruit. How might other culture view proponents of no God, no spirit, no free will?

Under the fog of materialism, traditional wisdom on the existence of malevolent forces is ignored.
Good point. Broadly speaking, I think there are those who listen to the likes of Richard Dawkins on his soapbox saying nonsense will plunge us back into the dark ages, strip research units of vital funding while idiots bend spoons and promote fairy stories instead of logical clarity, and say damned right too. Then there are those who listen more closely to the consequence of his words, the political and social intentions of materialist dogma, and continue to say 'bring it on'. The first group are larger, but the second are infinitely more scary.

What the first group fail to recognise is that materialism knows no half measures. It can't accommodate moral ethics (because there's no morality) or compromise with believers of any stripe (because belief is pointless) and even concepts like law are subject to the biological imperatives of an individual's brain, and who is to say what are right or wrong impulses? They imagine there's a common sense mid ground where people can stop believing in morality and the law, but continue to behave as though such things still existed. For materialists there is no such place.
 
#33
No, it doesn't follow at all, because death, and all things that lead up to it, are part of physical life. In other words, if you're going to say that everything in life matters, then so does murder and suicide. They are part of life and the human experience. They aren't external to the rest of the experiences we have here. To say that murder is wrong but that knitting is OK is nonsensical, because both are equally much a part of having a physical experience.
First of all, I didn't say everything in life matters, I said life has a purpose. It could very well be that there are things in life that detract or distract from that purpose.

Second of all, death, while part of the human experience, is different in that it ends all the other experiences. We all get to experience death at some time, but by bringing it about sooner for someone you are necessarily ending the potential for all other experiences.

Here's something else to consider. When you're saying that "ending those purposeful physical lives is very bad", you're essentially arguing that death itself is bad. But death is inevitable. Does the time and method of death really matter? When someone dies by cancer, heart attack or natural disaster, was it "very bad" too? Or is it cool that the randomness of the world takes our lives, but not that we add to that randomness factor by playing out certain characteristic behaviors inherent to the personality we incarnated into? Some people have a tendency and/or desire to murder others and/or commit suicide, for instance. That's a part of the character they're playing, their very reason for coming here in the first place. Not everyone chooses to come here to be an angel incarnate. Some just want to have fun going crazy, experiencing what's like to participate in a war, be an evil dictator, murder and rape, etc.
Yes, death, in many other circumstances is bad as well. But when it happens through human intervention we have whom to blame.

Of course the time and method matter! A peaceful death at the end of a long and fruitful life is much better than a 20 year old being burned alive.

It is true that some people have worse tendencies than others but that doesn't mean they are compelled to be evil. Everyone makes choices and they are responsible for those choices.
 
#34
If you can't see things except in terms of a divide between religion and atheism, aren't aware that underlying religion might be something else, then the stridency has to be maintained. If you give an inch, then you start to fear the consequences of the life you've been living, even if it's not particularly evil. I suspect many atheists/sceptics are motivated by fear, and the more fearful, the more strident. On a deep level, they may be secret believers: that perhaps being why they often focus on hopelessly naive notions about God: Dawkin's God is straight out of the Disney version of the bible, about as subtle as a freight train.
Methinks they doth protest too much. If they really do, as many will try to tell you, merely "lack" belief in a God, then there should be 1,000 things they'd find more worthwhile to be doing instead of bloviating on some internet forum about it all day. A true atheist, in that sense, would never have any such compulsive thoughts about God in the first place, nor would thus feel compelled to discuss, and debunk, Him at every opportunity.
 
#35
The political skeptics are strange creatures. I can't quite understand them.

How anyone can dismiss freedom without the slightest hint of regret or dismiss freedom whilst upholding that we ought not to live our lives in certain ways (i.e. religiously) is extremely odd - and it is a very strange, dark and dangerous mind-set.

A group whose cohesion is so based on rationality and analytic logic is almost bound to foster hatred against those who speak metaphorically or holistically - and yet, our human nature (our moral nature) is not rule-based or rational. We are deeply emotional and ethical creatures - as the shark is forever moving in order to stay alive - so man is intentional and purpose-seeking in order to understand his situation. All other animal knows their place in nature - man is the only one who has learnt to ask questions - and this makes all men seekers. Whether they acknowledge that fact or not.

All mature men must have asked the religious question -"What is it all for?"

Standing on the shores of time
from whence we once crawled from the slime
I hear the echoes of my roar:
-"What was it for? What was it for?"
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#36
I'm sure the motivations are diverse, just as they are for believers.

Some people just like duality and the chance for aggression and so they jump into the skeptic vs believer debates. People like having opponents no matter what side they are on, as conflict is generally accepted as a substitute for meaning.

Scriptural literalism will naturally breed a strong opposition, and for some any belief outside materialism threatens a return to irrational societies whose beliefs confirm common bigotries and hypocrisies. So what starts out as a reasonable stand regarding the importance of state supported secularism and battling of varied superstitions descends into a paranoid witch hunt where all things "paranormal" are a threat.

For others, the universe must make sense logically. The danger of Idealism and Dualism is they possibly present a universe that cannot be understood in terms of causal chains and localized interactions occurring in linear time. That's the big problem with Psi - if it was just a field effect it wouldn't be a problem but things like Krippner's dream telepathy experiments and Jungian synchronicity suggest a mental world whose explanations lie outside the known methods of interaction.
 
#37
I still don't think we've worked out why people who explicitly do not accept any form of non-material reality, choose to spend substantial amount of their free time on a forum with people who do. It's clearly not true for them to say 'we want to be convinced', because they dismiss the data before seeing it, and if they think proponents are gullible, there's no necessity to share a board with fools and dupes. So what brings people like a moth to a flame, month after month, year on year to do battle with proponents of psi?
 
#38
I still don't think we've worked out why people who explicitly do not accept any form of non-material reality, choose to spend substantial amount of their free time on a forum with people who do. It's clearly not true for them to say 'we want to be convinced', because they dismiss the data before seeing it, and if they think proponents are gullible, there's no necessity to share a board with fools and dupes. So what brings people like a moth to a flame, month after month, year on year to do battle with proponents of psi?
Clearly, you need to reincarnate as such a person in order to understand why ;)

I don't see a problem with it. People are interested in what they're interested in.
 
#39
I don't see a problem with it. People are interested in what they're interested in.
True, but when obsessive compulsion meets tribalism it's difficult to wade through the treacle of derision to get to the facts. Besides, if I have to reincarnate I'd like to progress to enlightenment, and skeptics recognise neither .
 
#40
True, but when obsessive compulsion meets tribalism it's difficult to wade through the treacle of derision to get to the facts.
:D Well, yeah, but that's just how it is.

Besides, if I have to reincarnate I'd like to progress to enlightenment, and skeptics recognise neither .
So, do you think their lives are a waste, just because they're not seemingly enlightened in your mind? Maybe one of the themes of your (and mine for that matter) life is to understand and experience what it's like to participate on a forum like this one. In this life, I'm a proponent, and you are too (or so I assume). In the next life, we might be skeptics, or fence-sitters. It doesn't matter. We're not here only to advance infinitely every lifetime in terms of what our contemporary spiritual elite may deem "enlightenment", but also to experience what things are like from various perspectives.
 
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