Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Religous Experience Empirically Validated as vital and positive

 Rex, one of our loyal opponents on this blog made the statement response to Kristen:

So is your glass filled with invisible pink unicorns too? They don't exist, so sadly, I don't have room for them in my glass.Do you? There is a quote that I have seen often, I think it applies here: I can appreciate the beauty of a garden without having to believe that there are fairies living beneath it.

My glass is full of reality, and it has no room for superstition.

Unfortunately atheists usually think through the cowardly mind I mentioned before. Their big talk of being strong and facing reality is high selective and all of it is calculated to  while in the dark. Their facts are high selective their er zots "scientific view point" is  a fraud, circular reasoning designed to screen out anything that doesn't fit the template of their brain washing.

The cirular reasoning works like this:

Materialism says there can't be anything beyond the materail realm so there cannot be proof of the supernatural.

How do we know this? because there is no proof of the supernatural.

What about claims of proof such as Lourdes? they can't be true because there is no proof of the supernatural.
With that kind of thinking all counter arguments are also ignored. But there are a wealth of counter arguments. The studies demonstrate overwhelmingly (200 of them) that religious belief and experience help your life and make you better, and the atheist is the sick soul who sees pessimistically and more likely to be in depression, in therapy or mentally ill.


1)Religious experince is not corrollated to mental illness

It is amazing how many atheists think that any sort of religious feeling is a prelude to schitzephrinia, delusions, and other mental pathologies. But the studies show there is no corrollation at all. Now there are cases where mental illness has conicided with religous thoughts, or where delusions took the form of voices in the head claiming to be God and so on, but even in these cases theree is no corrollation between the patients past history of religious belief and delustions. It just happens that at certain times mentally ill people have delusions that involve religious ideas, but it does not follow that religious thinking is a product of mental illness


a) Religious ideas and practice not corrollated with pathology



J. Gartner, D.B. Allen, The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3090

"As for psychosis, the authors notied that those with psychotic ideation are not necessarily preoccupied with religious concerns, nor do they frequently attend religious services; rather they are less frequent attenders than those in the general population..."



b) No corrollation between mystical experince and mental illness.


Childhood Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integration

Caird
(1987) "found no relationship between reported mystical experience and neuroticism, psychoticism and lying while Spanos and Moretti (1988) found no relationship between a measure of mystical experience and psychopathology."
Quote:

The experience of pure consciousness is typically called "mystical". The essence of the mystical experience has been debated for years (Horne, 1982). It is often held that "mysticism is a manifestation of something which is at the root of all religions (p. 16; Happold, 1963)." The empirical assessment of the mystical experience in psychology has occurred to a limited extent. Scientific interest in the mystical experience was broadened with the research on psychoactive drugs. The popular belief was that such drugs mimicked either mystical states and/or schizophrenic ones (reviewed in Lukoff, Zanger & Lu, 1990). Although there is likely some physiological similarity as well as phenomenological recent work has shown clear differences. For instance, Oxman, Rosenberg, Schnurr, Tucker and Gala (1988) analyzed 66 autobiographical accounts of schizophrenia, hallucinogenic drug experiences, and mystical ecstasy as well as 28 control accounts of important personal experiences. They concluded that the:

"subjective experiences of schizophrenia, hallucinogenic drug-induced states, and mystical ecstasy are more different from one another than alike."(p. 401).

2) Religioius belief indicative of good mental health

a)Religous Pepole are More Self Actualized


Dr. Michale Nielson,Ph.D. Psychology and religion.
"http://www.psywww.com/psyrelig/ukraine/index.htm"

Quote:

"What makes someone psychologically healthy? This was the question that guided Maslow's work. He saw too much emphasis in psychology on negative behavior and thought, and wanted to supplant it with a psychology of mental health. To this end, he developed a hierarchy of needs, ranging from lower level physiological needs, through love and belonging, to self- actualization. Self-actualized people are those who have reached their potential for self-development. Maslow claimed that mystics are more likely to be self-actualized than are other people. Mystics also are more likely to have had "peak experiences," experiences in which the person feels a sense of ecstasy and oneness with the universe. Although his hierarchy of needs sounds appealing, researchers have had difficulty finding support for his theory."
Gagenback

Quote:

In terms of psychological correlates, well-being and happiness has been associated with mystical experiences,(Mathes, Zevon, Roter, Joerger, 1982; Hay & Morisy, 1978; Greeley, 1975; Alexander, Boyer, & Alexander, 1987) as well as self-actualization (Hood, 1977; Alexander, 1992). Regarding the latter, the developer of self-actualization believed that even one spontaneous peak or transcendental experience could promote self-actualization. Correlational research has supported this relationship. In a recent statistical meta-analysis of causal designs with Transcendental Meditation (TM) controlling for length of treatment and strength of study design, it was found that: TM enhances self-actualization on standard inventories significantly more than recent clinically devised relaxation/meditation procedures not explicitly directed toward transcendence [mystical experience] (p. 1; Alexander, 1992)



b) Christian Repentence Promotes Healthy Mindedness


william James
Gilford lectures

Quote:

"Within the Christian body, for which repentance of sins has from the beginning been the critical religious act, healthy-mindedness has always come forward with its milder interpretation. Repentance according to such healthy-minded Christians means getting away from the sin, not groaning and writhing over its commission. The Catholic practice of confession and absolution is in one of its aspects little more than a systematic method of keeping healthy-mindedness on top. By it a man's accounts with evil are periodically squared and audited, so that he may start the clean page with no old debts inscribed. Any Catholicwill tell us how clean and fresh and free he feels after the purging operation. Martin Luther by no means belonged to the healthy-minded type in the radical sense in which we have discussed it, and be repudiated priestly absolution for sin. Yet in this matter of repentance he had some very healthy-minded ideas, due in the main to the largeness of his conception of God. -..."



e. Recent Empirical Studies Prove Religious Believers have less depression, mental illness lower Divorce rate, ect.


J. Gartner, D.B. Allen, The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3090

Quote:

"The Reviews identified 10 areas of clinical staus in whihc research has demonstrated benefits of religious commitment: (1) Depression, (2) Suicide, (3) Delinquency, (4) Mortality, (5) Alchohol use (6) Drug use, (7) Well-being, (8) Divorce and martital satisfaction, (9) Physical Health Status, and (10) Mental health outcome studies....The authors underscored the need for additional longitudinal studies featuring health outcomes. Although there were few, such studies tended to show mental health benefit. Similarly, in the case of teh few longevity or mortality outcome studies, the benefit was in favor of those who attended chruch...at least 70% of the time, increased religious commitment was associated with improved coping and protection from problems."

[The authors conducted a literature search of over 2000 publications to glean the current state of empirical study data in areas of Spirituality and health]


2) Shrinks assume religious experience Normative.

Dr. Jorge W.F. Amaro, Ph.D., Head psychology dept. Sao Paulo

[ http://www.psywww.com/psyrelig/amaro.html]


a) Unbeliever is the Sick Soul


"A non spiritualized person is a sick person, even if she doesn't show any symptom described by traditional medicine. The supernatural and the sacredness result from an elaboration on the function of omnipotence by the mind and can be found both in atheist and religious people. It is an existential function in humankind and the uses each one makes of it will be the measure for one's understanding."



b. psychotheraputic discipline re-evalutes Frued's criticism of religion


Quote:

Amaro--

"Nowadays there are many who do not agree with the notion that religious behavior a priori implies a neurotic state to be decoded and eliminated by analysis (exorcism). That reductionism based on the first works by Freud is currently under review. The psychotherapist should be limited to observing the uses their clients make of the representations of the image of God in their subjective world, that is, the uses of the function of omnipotence. Among the several authors that subscribe to this position are Odilon de Mello Franco (12), .... W. R. Bion (2), one of the most notable contemporary psychoanalysts, ..."

[sources sited by Amaro BION, W. R. Atenção e interpretação (Attention and interpretation). Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 1973.

MELLO FRANCO, O. de. Religious experience and psychoanalysis: from man-as-god to man-with-god. Int. J. of Psychoanalysis (1998) 79,]



c) This relationship is so strong it led to the creation of a whole discipline in psychology; transactionalism


Neilson on Maslow

Quote:

"One outgrowth of Maslow's work is what has become known as Transpersonal Psychology, in which the focus is on the spiritual well-being of individuals, and values are advocated steadfastly. Transpersonal psychologists seek to blend Eastern religion (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) or Western (Christian, Jewish or Moslem) mysticism with a form of modern psychology. Frequently, the transpersonal psychologist rejects psychology's adoption of various scientific methods used in the natural sciences."
"The influence of the transpersonal movement remains small, but there is evidence that it is growing. I suspect that most psychologists would agree with Maslow that much of psychology -- including the psychology of religion -- needs an improved theoretical foundation."


3) Religion is positive factor in physical health.


"Doctrors find Power of faith hard to ignore
By Usha Lee McFarling
Knight Ridder News Service
(Dec. 23, 1998)
Http://www.tennessean.com/health/stories/98/trends1223.htm

Quote:
"Some suspect that the benefits of faith and churchgoing largely boil down to having social support — a factor that, by itself, has been shown to improve health. But the health effects of religion can't wholly be explained by social support. If, for example, you compare people who aren't religious with people who gather regularly for more secular reasons, the religious group is healthier. In Israel, studies comparing religious with secular kibbutzim showed the religious communes were healthier."Is this all a social effect you could get from going to the bridge club? It doesn't seem that way," said Koenig, who directs Duke's Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health .Another popular explanation for the link between religion and health is sin avoidance."

"The religious might be healthier because they are less likely to smoke, drink and engage in risky sex and more likely to wear seat belts.But when studies control for those factors, say by comparing religious nonsmokers with nonreligious nonsmokers, the religious factors still stand out. Compare smokers who are religious with those who are not and the churchgoing smokers have blood pressure as low as nonsmokers. "If you're a smoker, make sure you get your butt in church," said Larson, who conducted the smoking study."

see also: he Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993 For data on a many studies which support this conclusion.

4) Religion is the most powerful Factor in well being.


Poloma and Pendelton The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3290.

Quote:

"The authors found that religious satisfaction was the most powerful predicter of existential well being. The degree to which an individual felt close to God was the most important factor in terms of existential well-being. While frequency of prayer contributed to general life satisfaction and personal happiness. As a result of their study the authors concluded that it would be important to look at a combindation of religious items, including prayer, religionship with God, and other measures of religious experince to begin to adequately clearlify the associations of religious committment with general well-being."

(5) Greater happiness


Religion and Happiness

by Michael E. Nielsen, PhD



Many people expect religion to bring them happiness. Does this actually seem to be the case? Are religious people happier than nonreligious people? And if so, why might this be?

Researchers have been intrigued by such questions. Most studies have simply asked people how happy they are, although studies also may use scales that try to measure happiness more subtly than that. In general, researchers who have a large sample of people in their study tend to limit their measurement of happiness to just one or two questions, and researchers who have fewer numbers of people use several items or scales to measure happiness.

What do they find? In a nutshell, they find that people who are involved in religion also report greater levels of happiness than do those who are not religious. For example, one study involved over 160,000 people in Europe. Among weekly churchgoers, 85% reported being "very satisfied" with life, but this number reduced to 77% among those who never went to church (Inglehart, 1990). This kind of pattern is typical -- religious involvement is associated with modest increases in happiness


Argyle, M., and Hills, P. (2000). Religious experiences and their relations with happiness and personality. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 10, 157-172.

Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Nielsen, M. E. (1998). An assessment of religious conflicts and their resolutions. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37, 181-190.

Nielsen again:

In the days before research boards reviewed research proposals before the studies were conducted, Pahnke devised an experiment to induce people to have a religious experience. On a Good Friday, when they were to meditate in a chapel for 2.5 hours, twenty theology students were given either psilocybin or a placebo. The students who were given the psilocybin reported intense religious experiences, as you might imagine. Their levels of happiness also were significantly greater than the control group reported. But what is especially interesting is that these effects remained 6 months after the experiment, as the psilocybin group reported more "persistent and positive changes" in their attitudes to life than did the placebo group.


Pahnke, W. H. (1966). Drugs and mysticism. International Journal of Parapsychology, 8, 295-314.

300 empirical studies prove value of religion!




Next: Instrict page 3

7 comments:

Rex said...

Sadly the only thing that any of this "proves" is that most people are not strong enough to face reality and death without the warm fuzzy feeling of the Great Invisible Whatever watching over them and caring about their life.

It is a crutch and an addiction to fairy tales that hinders progress and retards education, rational thought, and scientific investigation (see stem cell research under the Bush administration). It promotes discrimination for those who are different, treats women as second class citizens, or in some cases, as property (especially abroad, but the FLDS and the Quiverfull movement among others do it here too). It creates more poverty and disease by banning birth control, especially in the third world. It takes money from the poorest and funnels it into lavish, ostentatious wealth for the few, the Vatican comes to mind.

If it keeps the faithful from running out and killing and raping and plundering at will, then it is a positive choice between two evils, but if that is the case, I think that the underlying issue should be addressed instead of just applying the diseased bandage of religion.

For every positive effect that you can show for religion, I can show a negative impact on humanity.

Superstition of any kind is a blight, and a sign of an unenlightened, immature species.

Metacrock said...

Sadly the only thing that any of this "proves" is that most people are not strong enough to face reality and death without the warm fuzzy feeling of the Great Invisible Whatever watching over them and caring about their life.

that's not a warranted conclusion, just becuase RE makes life better doesn't mean everyone is inadequate. But It also doesnt' make any sense becasue if that's the case then it's better to go God and get the strength.

It proves two other thigns as well:

(1) it shows way atheism is an intellectually poor choice, becuase there's he evidence and rather than face it you have an emotional reaction against,emiontal not intellectual.

(2) it proves the supernatural because that's what the supernatural is. the power of God to raise us to a higher level of being.




It is a crutch and an addiction to fairy tales that hinders progress and retards education, rational thought, and scientific investigation (see stem cell research under the Bush administration).


again an irrational conclusion. you just rebel against the facts refusing to accept them even though I've documented it in spades. now that just cannot be what "free thinking? is about!

Its' even more irrational sense the evidence proves RE makes you strong then it' not a crutch for the weak it's to build you up to be strong.

stem cell thing is totally irrelevant. again you just assume there's only one kind of Christian and only the worst elements you can find get to be thought of as representing the Christian tradition. so childish




It promotes discrimination for those who are different, treats women as second class citizens, or in some cases, as property (especially abroad, but the FLDS and the Quiverfull movement among others do it here too).


that's just a lie and its empirically disproved. the civil rights movement was 90% Christian. there were no major atheist leaders of the civil rights movement the major organization was a Christian organization the major leader was a minister.

say same for the abolition movement.



It creates more poverty and disease by banning birth control, especially in the third world.

prove it! document something little guy. again you assume any evil you find is automatically all Christians. all Christians do not sanction birth control.


It takes money from the poorest and funnels it into lavish, ostentatious wealth for the few, the Vatican comes to mind.

that's a lie. read some liberation theology. Christianity has motivated the major revolutionary movements of the poor in Latin America. no way you can blame Christianity for that when the social Darwinists were all atheists.

If it keeps the faithful from running out and killing and raping and plundering at will, then it is a positive choice between two evils, but if that is the case, I think that the underlying issue should be addressed instead of just applying the diseased bandage of religion.


you are saying unless people are free to murder, rape, torture and destroy everything then capitalism reigns. even Sendero Luminoso never said that! that's insane. That's to left of the extreme left group in Latin America!

For every positive effect that you can show for religion, I can show a negative impact on humanity.

that's becasue you comity to many logical fallacies you are not critical of your own arguments. so you lump all Christians in to the crimes of any can find. anything you link to one Christian automatically becomes the work of Christianity.

One could prove anything with that kind of argument.



Superstition of any kind is a blight, and a sign of an unenlightened, immature species.

let's so you get off you litlte unread unlearned ass do some proving that religions superstition. you need to do something to start proving things. I can't STAND this emotionalized garbage; lies and slander with no attempt to control our emotionalism.

Metacrock said...

Rex most of the things you mention have nothing to do with God being real. "I hate Christians" is not an argument that there's no God.

god could well exist and Christians all be evil stupid idiots. that' not an argument.

Rex said...

The post was mostly about the perceived positive social aspects of religion, a placebo effect if you will - people are happier and more content with religion.

My comment was just an illustration that there are always two sides to every story.

For each warm and fuzzy anecdote that you can tell about how religion is a positive, I can recount one about how it is harmful.

As always, a stalemate.

tinythinker said...

Wow Rex, don't be shy about your bigoted condescension.

Metacrock said...

yea two sides. the educated side and the running off at the mouth side ;=)

tinythinker said...

To add: I should clarify that I don't think Rex is a bigot (at least I hope not), but rather some of his statements have that quality. I am just tired of the over-generalization and hyperbole. If I were to use the same criteria, I should basically lump all atheists together and use the worst examples to characterize them. It would be equally repugnant.

(And yes, Metacrock makes some rude generalizations about atheists, and yes, I have taken him to task over that for more than a decade.)