Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Are Religous People at Higher Risk for Depression?

  photo 1893_Edvard_Munch_The_Scream-WR400.jpg

There is another study atheists have dredged up to show that religous experience doesn't work. This is a real study, it's international and it's part of a larger study and none of them have any intended of destroying religion per se, the larger overarching study is about depression. While atheists are promoting it in the media as a disproof of "religious experience" as a transformational thing, the study is not really about religious experience in terms of mystical or peak experience. Their only measurement of religious belief is chruch going. The main thing to remember is they are not comparing religious experience to non expedience but chruch going to non chruch going. Not only is this not refutation of my long standing argument that there are no studies showing that peak experience, mystical experience, the sense of numinous or feeling God's presence is bad for you, but this is not even a fair study of chruch going and depression becuase they didn't study charismatic churches.

Don't get me wrong, I value more than just charismatic churches. I'm strangely happy in a good quite "dead" Methodist service (drives my sister nuts). I guess it reminds me of Perkins School of Theology. Moreover, charismatic churches have their problems. I hate the concept of the "the mega chruch." I defy anyone to go to a chruch where people clapping their hands and jumping up and down and going "yea God" then feel depressed. You have to work at getting back into the depression (unless it's really clinical).

This study is just flat out wrong for several reasons.

Huff post blog, "being religious or spiritual is linked with getting more depressed."
Dr. Raj Persaud and Dr. Peter Bruggen.

Previously studies appeared to show that religious and spiritual beliefs may be protective for depression, and were associated with better well-being. It was a widely held view amongst psychiatrists (who are not, as a group, particularly religious) that religion and spirituality protected your mood from the vicissitudes of life's misfortunes.
But now, a very large study, which followed up people for a year, has found there is an opposite relationship between religious belief and depression. Religion, and even more, spirituality not tied to formal religion, appears to be unhelpful in terms of protecting you from low mood, and could even be linked with more depression.

A key finding of the study, conducted in several different counties, is that a spiritual life view predisposed to major depression, especially significantly in the UK, where spiritual participants were nearly three times more likely to experience an episode of depression than the secular group.[1]
Of course when we actually look at the study itself we find the reference to "spiritual" in the title is just a reference to church going as is the reference to "being religious." Their concept of all that those words mean is going to chruch. Of cousre we have to distinguish bewteen the coat tail riders and the study itself.  The Huff post blog guys are the coat tail riders they had nothing to do with the study they are just using it to make their point about how they hate religion.
The actual study is by Leurent B. Nazareth et al.
Here is he abstract on Pub med.

Abstract of the Study on Pub Med.

Psychol Med. 2013 Oct;43(10):2109-20. doi: 10.1017/S0033291712003066. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Spiritual and religious beliefs as risk factors for the onset of major depression: an international cohort study.


Mental Health Sciences Unit, Faculty of Brain Sciences, University College London Medical School, UK.



Several studies have reported weak associations between religious or spiritual belief and psychological health. However, most have been cross-sectional surveys in the U.S.A., limiting inference about generalizability. An international longitudinal study of incidence of major depression gave us the opportunity to investigate this relationship further.


Data were collected in a prospective cohort study of adult general practice attendees across seven countries. Participants were followed at 6 and 12 months. Spiritual and religious beliefs were assessed using a standardized questionnaire, and DSM-IV diagnosis of major depression was made using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Logistic regression was used to estimate incidence rates and odds ratios (ORs), after multiple imputation of missing data.[2]

The results indicate that 10.5% had episode of depression in the following year,compared to 10.3% of religious participants and 7.0% of non religious. Those with strong belief were at twice the risk of depression.

Two things to look for there. First, the method it says they talked to some chruch goers (attendees) and they asked  them questions about their take on life and things relating to depression. For that they used a standardized scale of depression. Their only measure of religiosity is their chruch going and maybe some views about life. They did not use the M scale so they are not talking about actual spiritual experience. They say people with strong belief had a greater risk but how did they access strong belief? Those who go to chruch more?

A vast array of studies show that those who have religious experiences, such as peak experience, and those who particulate in a religious tradition are less likely to be depressed. A major literature search by Bonelli and Dew, et al, indicates that religious affiliation and participation are much greater hedges against depression than not being involved. They show that with 444 studies, 60% report less depression for religion/spirituality, while only 6% show more.

Depressive symptoms and religious/spiritual (R/S) practices are widespread around the world, but their intersection has received relatively little attention from mainstream mental health professionals. This paper reviews and synthesizes quantitative research examining relationships between R/S involvement and depressive symptoms or disorders during the last 50 years (1962 to 2011). At least 444 studies have now quantitatively examined these relationships. Of those, over 60% report less depression and faster remission from depression in those more R/S or a reduction in depression severity in response to an R/S intervention. In contrast, only 6% report greater depression. Of the 178 most methodologically rigorous studies, 119 (67%) find inverse relationships between R/S and depression. Religious beliefs and practices may help people to cope better with stressful life circumstances, give meaning and hope, and surround depressed persons with a supportive community. In some populations or individuals, however, religious beliefs may increase guilt and lead to discouragement as people fail to live up to the high standards of their religious tradition. Understanding the role that R/S factors play in preventing depression, facilitating its resolution, or leading to greater depression will help clinicians determine whether this is a resource or a liability for individual patients.[3]
This is a very comparable, if not more important, study than the Nazareth study becuase it summarizes 444 other studies. Now the Bonelli study shows that Pentecostals have high rates of depression. Does that disprove my statement about hand clapping at the top? No it does not. The authors give two reasons, first, the Pentecostals have high rates of depression might be because they are selected by people with depression who need cheering up. These people go the service jump up and down, feel better, and go back every Sunday because it relieves their depression. They don't go into it deeply enough, or don't seek a medical solution to overcome the problem long term.Second reason, the authors also speculate that it may be that the emphasis on evangelism causes high anxiety.[4] In any case they are using more standards for religiosity than just chruch going.[5]

The studies were rated on a scale of 1-10 from H.M. Cooper [6] "Cooper emphasized the definition of variables, validity, and reliability of measures, how representative the sample was, quality of the research methods, how well the execution of the study conformed to the design, appropriateness of statistical tests, and the interpretation of results." [7] They study followed Cooper's guide lines, with 40% rated 7 or higher. "Of these methodologically more rigorous studies, 119 (67%) found less depression, faster recovery, or greater responsiveness to R/S interventions, whereas 13 studies (7%) reported the opposite. Thus, overall, 61% of studies find less depression among the more religious, and as the quality of the study increases, this proportion remains the same or increases slightly (67%).."[8]

Another study found on Pub med says that religious people who are deeply involved in their faith have less risk of depression than those who don't. This study invovles U.S. Population:

McCullough ME, Larson DB.


National Institute for Healthcare Research, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Mike@nihr.org
People with high levels of general religious involvement, organizational religious involvement, religious salience, and intrinsic religious motivation are at reduced risk for depressive symptoms and depressive disorders. Private religious activity and particular religious beliefs appear to bear no reliable relationship with depression. People with high levels of extrinsic religious motivation are at increased risk for depressive symptoms. Although these associations tend to be consistent, they are modest and are substantially reduced in multivariate research. Longitudinal research is sparse, but suggests that some forms of religious involvement might exert a protective effect against the incidence and persistence of depressive symptoms or disorders. The existing research is sufficient to encourage further investigation of the associations of religion with depressive symptoms and disorder. Religion should be measured with higher methodological standards than those that have been accepted in survey research to date.[9]
This is also a literature search. This is part of the famous Larson study where he analyzed a number of sources. The Institute for Health Research are related to the guys who give the Tempelton prises so atheists will criticize that as bias. But it's a good source their reserach is good. It's Larson who must be be dealt with his research is good. I had one of his studies many years ago.

Columbia study by Lisa Miller:

This study found the opposite of the Nazareth study, that strong spiritual or religious beliefs may reduce the likelihood of depression. She studied 114 adult children of depressed and non depressed parents. "Miller and her team found that individuals reporting that they attached a high personal importance to religion or spirituality had approximately one-fourth the risk of other participants of experiencing major depression. Neither frequent attendance at religious services nor any particular denomination appeared to factor into participants' likelihood of suffering from a major depressive episode."[10] The Miller study has some important findings that may refute the idea of those with stronger faith being more depressed. This study found that those with stronger faith had risk depression due to a  parent being depressed, they were one tenth as likely to be depressed as other participants. They also found that self-reported religiosity/spirituality protected those at high risk for depression.

John Peteet, Harvard.

Ten year longitudinal study studied offspring of participants in an earlier decade long study and found that the offspring of the religious/spiritually committed had less risk of depression.
This well-designed study provides more striking results than previous research investigating the role that religion and spirituality can play in limiting depression," said John Peteet, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and fellowship site director at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Adult Psychosocial Oncology Program, who was not involved in the study. "Hopefully, it will make some psychiatrists more aware of and open to exploring spiritual resources in meeting the needs of their patients.[11]
Newberg and Waldman

The Author of Why God Wont Go Away, Adrew Newberg, did a study with M. Waldman which found that hundreds of studies show that prayer and meditation and even minimial religous commitment helps reduce risk of depression:

Hundreds of medical, neurological, psychological and sociological studies on religion [show] .... even minimal religious participation is correlated with enhancing longevity and personal health....Activities involving meditation and intensive prayer permanently strengthen neural functioning in specific parts of the brain that are involved with lowering anxiety and depression, enhancing social awareness and empathy, and improving cognitive and intellectual functioning.[12]

Abdel-Khalek and Lester study, Kuwait University

[Abstract:] INTRODUCTION: The aim of the present study was to explore the associations of religiosity with subjective well-being (SWB) and psychopathology (anxiety and depression) among college students recruited from two
different cultures, Kuwait (n = 192) and the USA (n= 158). METHOD: The students responded to the following scales in
their native languages, Arabicand English, respectively: the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, the Love of Life Scale, the Kuwait University Anxiety Scale and the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale. They also responded to six self-rating scales assessing happiness, satisfaction with life, mental health, physical health,religiosity and strength of religious belief. RESULTS: The Kuwaiti students obtained higher mean scores on religiosity, religious belief and depression than did their American counterparts, whereas American students had higher mean scores on happiness and love of life. Two factors were extracted: 'SWB versuspsychopathology'and'Religiosity'. CONCLUSION: Based onthe responses of the present two samples,it wasconcluded that those who consider themselves as religious experienced greater well-being.[13]
This one makes it sound like the Kuwaiti students were all depressed it say they scored high on depression. The conclusion makes it clear that it means they scored high on not being depressed. This is an important finding because there is an argument that religious commitment, participation, belief, experience, only help psychological where religion is highly valued in a culture. Atheists make this argument because they think they are showing that it's not connected to any kind of supernatural miracle that religion helps depression. Of no one says that it is supernatural. If used in apologetic it's better made as a fitness argument: we are fit to be religious that's an indication of design. There's a more subtle argument that "it works" is a sign of truth content. Ask any atheist how they know science is true they will say "it works."

The argument can also be made that U.S. is unique in religion working positively on people and in other countries the depression rates are higher for religious people. Clearly not true becuase of the Kuwaiti students. On the other hand they do live in a place where their religious commitment (presumably Muslim) is valued and encouraged. One needs to account for the specific culture in which one is working. We can assume that in situation where religion is dis-valued the religious coping skills will be harder. That just stands to reason.


[1] Dr. Raj Peraud and Dr. Peter Bruggen, "Getting Religous or Spiritual is Linked With Getting more Depressed." Huff Post Lifestyle, blog. Posted: 16/09/2013 00:00

[2]Leurent B, Nazareth I, Bellón-Saameño J, Geerlings MI, Maaroos H, Saldivia S, Svab I, Torres-González F, Xavier M, King M. "Spiritual and religious beliefs as risk factors for the onset of major depression: an international cohort study." Psychol Med. 2013 Oct;43(10):2109-20. doi: 10.1017/S0033291712003066. Epub 2013 Jan 29.
accessed 11/25/13
Nazareth and colleagues are form Mental Health Sciences Unit, Faculty of Brain Sciences, University College London Medical School, UK.

[3] Raphael Bonelli,1 Rachel E. Dew,2 Harold G. Koenig,3,4 David H. Rosmarin,5 and Sasan Vasegh6 "Religious and Spiritual Factors in Depression: Review and Integration of the Research" Literatrere review, Depression Research and Treatment,Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 962860,
Publsihed online reseource
Received 14 May 2012; Revised 29 June 2012; Accepted 4 July 2012

Academic Editor: Charles B. Nemeroff

Copyright © 2012 Raphael Bonelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

accessed 11/25/13

1Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, Sigmund Freud University, 1030 Vienna, Austria
2Division of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
3Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3400, Durham, NC 27705, USA
4Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
5Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA
6Department of Psychiatry, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] H. M. Cooper, The Integrated Research Review: A Systematic Approach, Sage, Beverly Hills, Calif, USA, 1984.

[7] Bonelli, Op cit.

[8] Ibid.

[9] McCullough ME, Larson DB. "Religion and depression: a review of the literature. "
National Institute for Healthcare Research, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Mike@nihr.org
1999 Jun;2(2):126-36.
accessed 11/25/13

[10] Jonathan Wolfe, "Depression Recurrence Less Likely When Religion is Important." Psychiatric News, American Psychiatric Association. Oct 7 (2011). on line copy  http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=179690&RelatedNewsArticles=true
accessed 11/26/13.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Andrew Newbert, Mark Robert Waldman, How God Changes Your Brain:Breakthrough Findings From a Leading Neuroscientist. Ballaintine Books, 2010, 149.

[13] Chaplain John W. Ehman, "Spirituality and Health, a Select Biboliography of Medline indexed articles Published in 2012" Lon ine resource, pdf. revised June 14, 2013.
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral/resed/bib2012.pdf  accessed 11/25/13. Quoting:
Abdel-Khalek, A. M. and Lester, D. [Kuwait University, Kuwait]. "Constructions of religiosity, subj
ective well-being, anxiety, and depression in two cultures: Kuwait and USA."
International Journal of Social Psychiatry58, no. 2 (Mar 2012): 138-145.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Moral Realism is Just Labeling Behavior

 On Metacrock's Blog Tomorrow I will present a tribute President Kennedy and mark the 50th adversary of his assassination. I have known many people over the years who were there. One of them had evidence of a gunman on the grassy knoll.

I had a big argument with arch nemisis "Royce" (aka "Trolls Royce") on CARM. He had challenged me to prove an assertion I made that God is necessary for us to love. That's not exactly what I said. I said God is necessary for the full nature of love as an ideal (agape) to have meaning. I was not talking about just the mental experience of feelings we associate with the word "love." He clearly thinks that grounding all love in those feelings proves that there's nothing beyond the physical. On Monday on Metacrock's blog I will deal with the issue "Is God Necessary for Us to Have love?" In this post I will illustrate how easily he changes his tune and shifts position and what that does to his moral realism.

He posts:
Finally, please stop shifting the burden of proof you an using an argument from ignorance, where you simply assert God did X, and then complain that everyone is begging the question if they argue against your claim. Anyway, I'm just going to post evidence that mental states are instantiated in matter, or caused to exist by matter. Since there's an abundance of evidence on this and I can't hope to present it all, I'll stick to "qualia" or "subjective properties of conscious experience."

I understand that doesn't necessarily mean they are synonymous with or reducible to matter. It's obvious frm the context that he is reducing love to the physiology of the feeling.  I never argued that mental states are not manifested in matter or that they are not dependent upon material conditions to be accessed.

So here's some of the evidence:

"Consciousness, Epilepsy, and Emotional Qualia." Epilepsy & Behavior 7.2 (2005): 150-60.

The last decade has seen a renaissance of consciousness studies, witnessed by the growing number of scientific investigations on this topic. The concept of consciousness is central in epileptology, despite the methodological difficulties concerning its application to the multifaced ictal phenomenology. The authors provide an up-to-date review of the neurological literature on the relationship between epilepsy and consciousness and propose a bidimensional model (level vs contents of consciousness) for the description of seizure-induced alterations of conscious states, according to the findings of recent neuroimaging studies. The neurophysiological correlates of ictal loss and impairment of consciousness are also reviewed. Special attention is paid to the subjective experiential states associated with medial temporal lobe epilepsy. Such ictal phenomenal experiences are suggested as a paradigm for a neuroscientific approach to the apparently elusive philosophical concept of qualia. Epilepsy is confirmed to represent a privileged window over basic neurobiological mechanisms of consciousness.

"Consciousness and Neuroscience." Cerebral Cortex 8 (1998): 97-107.

The main purposes of this review are to set out for neuroscientists one possible approach to the problem of consciousness and to describe the relevant ongoing experimental work. We have not attempted an exhaustive review of other approaches

"Three Laws of Qualia: What Neurology Tells Us about the Biological Functions of Consciousness." Journal of Consciousness Studies 4.5-6 (1997): 429-57.


 He goes on to list a great deal of stuff about qualia.

 you didn't read it did you? I had I think five levels that argue love can't exist without god.

(1) the detrimental nature of Christian love to gene frequency; makes it anti-evolutionary

(2) The unnecessary nature of being conscoius if we were just products of nature alone.

(3) The necessity of God as creator due to cosmological arguemnt

(4) ditto on fine tuning

(5) the link between being and love.

 To this he says repeatedly that I'm using flowery lanague. Everytime I talk about love is the "will to teh good of the other" he just says i'm writing powertry and doing flowery lanague.

 he says he doesn't' reduce love to brain chemistry. he says: "Evolutionary psychology adequately explains how altruism and love evolved." in a post in that first branch of posts at the top.

Evolutionary psychology, scocio biology pretty much attributes everything we think to brain chemistry. Its' philosophical reduction at its worst.

a source that answers what evolutionary pshcology says abut it:


Those with a fairly deep understanding of evolutionary theory know that the
answer to why humans as a species love their children is the same as the
answer as to why chimps or orangutans or canines invest in their offspring.
There is no other legitimate answer in the scientific/explanatory sense.

Of course, to many such an answer is devastating. It challenges many of their
most fundamental assumptions about how the world works. It removes deeply
cherished, romantic notions about the nature of humanity and leaves behind a
cold, mechanistic, algorithmic answer.
he has to have some answer along those lines or all that stuff at the top is just window dressing.
Then I post a new thread quoting a science article he put up that was supposed to prove that science understands what love is. With the link he says "stop denying science." Stop Denying Science! So scinece has it all tucked away.

I posted this as a new thread. my words are in the blue:

The page he linked to is by Doublas Allchin.

Allchin says:"Morality is a form of behavior.
The first challenge for biologists is characterizing morality in terms amenable to science. Abstract concepts of 'right' and 'wrong', or virtuous motives and good intentions, must be expressed in terms of what can be observed or measured. First, then, biologists address morality concretely as a form of behavior. As such, it fits in a context of other behaviors: foraging, mating and nesting, securing territory, play, grooming and other social interactions."

That's just saying that they can't make judgements about ethics or morality so they just describe behaviors that seem to coincide with those philosophers term moral. He is not that scinece has discovered some empirical proof of morality. He says that below.

"Non-human species may exhibit various stages in the evolution of morality.
Conceptualizing morality as a form of behavior opens the possibililty of observing it in other species. Indeed, if complex features evolve gradually, one might well expect to find stages of protomorality, incipient morality or various precursors in organisms besides humans. An important resource in understanding the evolution of humans and their culture, then, is comparative behavior. Even if the behavior is not strictly genetic, one may still find informative phylogenetic patterns or similarities based on common ancestry. Studies of primate behavior are potentially valuable. Transitions and intermediate stages may be more concretely envisioned or documented."

He has basically just admitted that they don't have any great scientific discovered that proves morality. they are labeling behaviors that coincide with what people have called moral. Having done that they assume that morality comes form nature and has to evolve since they have assumed it's grounded in behavior. They have not proved this. they are assuming so.

"Biologists borrow from other disciplines in characterizing behavior as moral.
But which behaviors are "moral"? Here, biologists must proceed cautiously. One cannot even identify the relevant behaviors without a working concept of 'right' and 'wrong' or of 'morality'. Invoking a value judgment threatens to prejudice the whole endeavor. The biologist's proper approach is thereby indifferent and fluid, contingent on definitions of ethics identified by others. Biologists may encounter multiple conceptions of what is to be explained. Different benchmark definitions may yield separate, complementary explanations. Of course, biologists are accustomed to addressing the "same" phenomenon on multiple levels of organization: molecular and cellular, physiological, populational, ecological, evolutionary. Biologists have thus developed a suite of explanations which apply to different aspects of moral behavior."

he's just admitting that they have to allow philosophers to tell them what is moral. Why would they barrow at all if they could have special scientific proof of the moral. obviously all they are doing is labeling a behavior as moral because people say that it is.

"Evolution itself does not express or yield values.
Nature may seem to exhibit its own values. For example, natural selection may seem to "favor" adaptive traits. Survival and reproduction may seem inherent values because they lead to continuity of the lineage. However, historical facts are distinct from values. Effects do not indicate intentions. Patterns of causation do not reflect processes of evaluation. A falling body does not reflect a value of gravity. Two charged particles do not reflect a value of electrical attraction. In the same way, reproduction and survival do not reflect a value of evolution. As exemplified in extinction, species do not "need" to be perpetuated. As exemplified in sterile insect castes and non-fertile individuals, single organisms do not "need" to reproduce themselves. The language of natural "selection" may easily mislead one to personify nature inappropriately. Recognizing such tendencies may be important in avoiding mistaken impressions."

That's really just a frank admission of what I've said. they don't have a special empirical discovery of morality they are assuming morality has developed. Another improtant aspect this opens up and proves is that since morality is intention that means that nature cannot be proved to contain morality. He just said they can't prove intention and they can't assume it. Without intention there can be no moral thinknig! why? because moral thinking is making choices in light of certain intentions. To be ethical one must be seeking to do the good. Intention is important.

see i'm a ideologist. morality is duty and obligation. so intention to do duty and keep obligations matters. That's NT morality as well.
When the Bible says God Looks on the Heart it's saying Intention matters.

"Science is limited to description.
Biological analysis may enrich our understanding of morality, but it is also limited. Science is not able to discover ethical principles in nature.[/quote]

Stop The Machine! Let's repeat that:

"Science is not able to discover ethical principles in nature.".

not only so but he admits they can't justify them either:

Nor to justify them. Nor to evaluate them, say, based on evolutionary history. Nor even to develop them based on some presumed universal or "objective" principle of "human nature." Many have tried. All have failed (Farber 1994, Bradie 1994). Rather, the achievable aim is to explain how organisms such as humans evolved moral capacities, to form moral concepts and to act on them in particular environments. That may also involve describing how, as organisms, they are able to do so (neurologically, cognitively, emotionally, socially). To describe morality as a practice is not to prescribe any particular moral rule. To explain the behavior is not to justify it. Facts and values (is and ought) are conceptually distinct. Charles Darwin, in his own presentation, notably limited the scope of his analysis to the "natural history" of ethics (1871, p.71). Still, knowing how and why (historically) we value things may fruitfully guide reflections on the process. Having introduced these caveats, then, let us consider what biologists have discovered about morality as an evolved form of behavior."

this is an even clearer statement that science has not discovered n empirical proof of what is moral. He says they can't evaluate what is moral, they can't justify what is moral [B][I]Nor even to develop them based on some presumed universal or "objective" principle of "human nature."

this is That atheists own guy confirming everything I've argued against him in all that knock down drag out over moral realism.


 then he switches his definition, after telling me that will to the good of the other is flowerly langue and poetry he switches to think kind of definition of love, arguing that he used it all along!

 "But a fairly decent approximation would be something like 'concern for the well-being of something else, where that concern is not simply derivative of some other desire one has.'"

 But that's the flowery langue he disproved of before. Then he dies ever saying that love is just reducible to brain chemistry. But he wants to create the impression that using the word "instantiated" means he's not reducing it. All that science at the first of the post shows clearly that he is equating the brain chemistry and the experience of it with love and any sort of higher ideas which he has constantly ridiculed as "flowery language and poetry." Remember he says: --Anyway, I'm just going to post evidence that mental states are instantiated in matter.

The upshot here is that his moral realism reduces to labeling behavior with values rather than any real sense of proof about objective moral truth without God. He shifts his whole position when his reductionism (which he denies is reductionism) is upended.

Don't miss Metacrock's Blog on Monday when I'll deal with the love issue.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Atheists Call for "Eradication" of "mind virus" (belief in God): Is it a Clear and Present Danger Yet?

  photo Holocaust-NaziParade.gif

John Loftus on the Debuncting Christianity Blog lauds a "new Atheist" radical who reveals a real Draconian agenda for dealing with Christianity. Now I don't believe that this represents even the majority of new atheism. I don't believe that all of atheism is a conspiracy or that all atheists are full of hate or any such thing. There is a hate group segment of their community, and this is surely it. That they are getting more brazen I think is a sign that they are more desperate.

This is the title of the post by Loftus

Boghossian is Very Serious; He's a Crusader, a Radical, and I Like It!

I have written a few posts about Peter Boghossian's book, A Manual for Creating Atheists.To read other posts in review of his brilliant book click on the tag below. In this last one I want to highlight how much of a crusader he is, a radical, and how much I like it. He is dead serious. We know this from his radical remedies for the present faith virus pandemic.

In his final chapter titled "Containment Protocols" we see this clearly. He utilizes the theme of Darrel Ray's book, God Virus, The: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture, very effectively for this.

Since religious faith is a mind virus that can infect others in our society, then in order to help get rid of it we must get serious about containing it as we try to eradicate it.
"Containment?" That has a pretty ominous ring to it. One question up front if you have to create atheists that means they aer not atheists already right? So they are advocating manipulation and doing the same kinds of things they accuse Christians of doing. What makes them any better? Well we Chrsitians don't talk about containing any group of people. What does that mean? let's see....

By the way, "mind virus?" Is that a technical term? What psychiatry text book did he get that term from? Is it an actual germ. It's funny when I have argued that atheist use the concept of "meme" to accuse their opponents of being diseased they deny that it's that kind of model.


His remedies are radical, but important and needed.
Loftus plays the fascist card. It's need, we must set up the camps hu?

1) Use the word "faith" only in a religious context. He is calling for a change in how we use language. This is something David Eller has advocated as well as myself in our books. Boghossian: "It matters what words we use. Certain words trap us into a make-believe picture of life--one that is false and misleading" (p. 211). We should not say we have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow, or other such things, where the overwhelming probabilities lead us to know without much doubt at all. You can see a list of these words in a 2009 talk I gave for the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, right here.
I don't actually hear the term "faith" used that much in a religious context. Why is that any different than using "theoretical" for imaginary scenarios like possible worlds and multiverses?

2) Stigmatize faith-based claims like racist claims. He argues we should deploy the models of the civil rights and the women's rights movements. Basically it should be politically incorrect to argue something based on faith. He aptly quotes Sam Harris here: "People who harbor strong convictions without evidence belong at the margins of society."
Here we see a truly sick mind coming into focus. Martin Luther King was a minister of Christ. By this guy's stadnards he was insane and had a mind virus. But of course he doesn't dare say that. He has the audacity and mendacity to try link atheist poison with civil rights, and belief in love and truth (Christian belief) to "racism." That is such a lie! When  did we try to make atheists sit at the back of the bus? We never passed Jim Crow laws to keep atheists in the role of second class citizens. We never lynched atheists. That they want to do these things to us is ironic becuase I've always said their term "xian" is their version of the N word. They are as filled with hate for Christians as white racists were for black people. This proves it. At least this segment of the atheist community.

3) Parrhesia: Speaking truth in the face of danger. We should not sit at the back of the segregated bus, so to speak. "Be honest. Be direct. Be blunt. Be unapologetic....Don't tone it down or talk baby talk....Instead, tell people exactly what you think and why you think it. Take a punch and give a punch. Speak truth in the place of danger be a part of Team Parrhesia" (p. 214).
By that frank admission they put themselves at the back of the bus. No one tried to force them there.

4) Stay informed. He even recommends reading faith peddlers like Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig. Boghossian is so radical he recommends against buying their books new, but rather getting them second hand, so they don't profit from us in any way. 
 Faith peddelers like the greatest living metaphysician who was given the mantle of Charles Hartshorne and is a recognized expert in modal logic. This guy doesn't know what modal logic is.

5) Contribute. Do what you can. Use whatever talents you have in this cause. "Be active. Get involved. Volunteer. Vote." Contribute financially as well, to good atheist/skeptical organizations who are making a difference.

6) Experiment and publicize. "Develop your own strategies to fight the faith virus." Then publicize them in the appropriate medium, like books, magazines, podcasts, videos, documentaries, plays, editorials, songs, art works and so on.

7) Form academic-community partnerships. These partnerships take many forms. Partner with like-minded people to be more effective.
Is he trying to say they should keep Christians out of higher education?
8) Treat faith as a public health crisis. Two words: "contain" and "eradicate." We must do this with ethical and Constitutional concerns in mind, he says. Rather, "interventions need to be designed that counter the spread" of the virus. Our "containment strategy should promote the 'value' of believing on the basis of evidence."

Now we see the goal in sight. This is where it's heading. Not merely contain as said but also elminated. "eradicated?" In what way? Does he mean just convince people with logic? But apprently they are growing desperate because we don't buy their logic so it's clear they mean something else.

9) Financially cripple purveyors of false epistemologies, especially religious institutions. Take away their tax exempt status. Hell yeah! While Boghossian isn't hopeful that can be done in America anytime soon, "Ultimately, the tax-exempt status of religious organizations must be removed."

Financially crippling is a pretty serious thing. He's really dreaming big if he thinks they are going to wield he power to change the tax code against belief in God. The 3% freinge group (in fact only a segment of that) is going to wrest the tax code from 80% of the population? In fact 90% believe in God.

10) Create skeptical (atheist) children. He makes no apologies for this bold suggestion, saying, "It may seem odd: raising a child so she doesn't hold preposterous metaphysical beliefs. Strange indeed, but also vital." What he means is that "it is important to develop within our children the "attitudinal disposition to be skeptical."
They so contorting about what they allow to go on inside other people's minds. Irony of Ironies, O IR_ON_Y! the so called "free thinkers" not so free are they? They actually think they have the right to decide what you can believe and what your child is permitted to believe. They want to determine matters of philosophy and questions about reality and construct your right to think about reality. You would think these intellectually superior all knowing self appointed intellectuals would know something about history.

This is the kicker!

11) Finally, remove the religious exemption for delusion from the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' (DSM). He says, "There is perhaps no greater contribution one could make to contain and perhaps even cure faith than removing the exemption that prohibits classifying religious delusions as mental illness." For the reasons why he makes this statement you'll have to read them yourselves. At the very least, faith should be listed as a cognitive bias everywhere cognitive biases are listed.

He is actually saying that he wants belief in God to classified as an actual mental illness! It's not enough to just put of society agaisnt belief we have to close off the possibility of anyone wondering about it ever again by saying it's insane. That's so stupid! So narrow minded. That's far more narrow minded than racist garbage or anything a mad dog cone head ever thought of short of lynching. Why? Because it closes off all possibility of ever thinking for oneself again. All they have to do is declair anything you think as pre condition for belief. "People who want lower taxes tended to believe in God." So wanting lower taxes is a sign that yu might be wondering if there could be a God, which would mean yu are insane. In fact anyone who votes against the atheist candidate has to be thinking about belief in God so voting against their agenda is s a sure sign of mental illness.

Not understanding what forces of fascism and control are being unleashed here is just stupidity. Do we stop with Christianity or all beilef? Or what pantheism? Is that a danger becuase it might lead to theism?  The slipper slope potential is enormous. Who they hell do they think they are? What would give them the right to determine what people can wonder about? What could possibly give the arrogance to think they are so certain of their nonsense that is deserves to be enshrined as the definition of sanity?

This DSM "Bible" of psychiatry has said that S/M is not mental illness and has removed it from that definition.
on Wiki
In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association responded by modifying the denotative criteria defining “sadism” and “masochism” in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV); thus, consensual sadomasochistic behavior no longer is considered a sexual disorder. Furthermore, in the textual revision of the DSM-IV TR (2000), sadomasochistic behavior is a sexual and mental disorder if the patient “has acted on these urges with a non-consenting person” and if “the urges, sexual fantasies, or behaviors cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty”.[9][10] Elsewhere, in 1995, Denmark became the first country to delete “sadomasochism” from its medical disorders system of classification.[11]

This clown is actually saying that S/m is more normal and healthy than belief in God? "The "Janus Report on Sexual Behavior," one of the premiere academic surveys of sex practices, found in 1993 that 14 percent of men and 11 percent of women have had some sexual experience with sadomasochism." (ABC News). While 90% of Americans believe in God. That's an appeal to popularity but it does mean its too common to be thought of as a mental probelm. This guy has no data he has no backing form any psychiatric organization. Clinicians are more likely now to say that religious experience is good for you. The Allman study showed that half the clinicians have religious experience themselves and more than that say it helps their patients get better.

This lunatic is willing to alter the work of psychiatric authority  just becuase he loses arguments about philosophy to theists! That should be the definition of mentally ill!

 photo 250px-Klan-in-gainesville.jpg

Dawkins says:

As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, A Manual for Creating Atheists offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith--but for talking them out of it.

On CARM the idiot Deist who has been quoted here many times, chimes in to say he's "100%" in agreement.

I agree 100% with his position. If anyone has read my posts here, they will see that I don't beat around the bush or "play nice" with the Christians. They think they should get a pass, and this thinking is furthered by society doing exactly that. Danny of America talks about scoffers and scoffing as if that's a bad thing. His intent is to stigmatize non believers and ward off attacks on foolish beliefs by saying anyone who would challenge warped beliefs are scoffers.

For Danny and others, who want to use the word scoffer, have at it. I'm proud to wear that title, and I wear it with honor. I will no more discuss a resurrection as if it actually happened than I would a claim that Jesus is orbiting the Halle Bopp comet. IO refuse to give the Christians an inch on their contentions that homosexuality is a choice, and will continue to scoff at their ignorance on this topic. I will not give them the latitude of trying to contend that Jesus abolished OT law, when it clearly says he did NOT.

We should not continue to let them get away with their chicanery, double speak, obfuscation and crazy claims. They are ruinous to society. Let them have God. Let them win that argument, but never, ever, ever let them contend a man rose from the dead while zombies rose from their graves, and that a personal God will do stuff for them cause they believe, and non believers go to hell. These are crazy time thoughts that dumb down humans, and are unhealthy for society. The reason they have been able to get away with it for long is that society didn't scoff them.

Not let them "get away with it?" With what? Having their own ideas? Thinking for themselves?  These guys said I was such a lunatic for saying that atheism was a movement. they aer talking about eradicating belief (or is it the believers too?) and controlling what people are allowed to believe, but I was just peranoid think they have a movement!

Deist is so tired losing arguments he's ready to try to fascism to force people to see things his way. He's so sure he's right he thinks he has the right to suspend free thought, but when we are so sure we are right that makes us insane.

What's more inane is this guy calls himself "Deist" he claims to believe in God in some sense, but then he says supports "100%" making belief in God a definition of mentally ill.

I don't think there is any immediate danger. I don't think these guys could get a majority of people to follow them to a free breakfast. They aer a tiny minority it's much more likely that society is in danger from the religoius right lunatics who have the ear of the public and make up a sizable faction. In fact I wish we could lock that group in a room, see who comes out.Yet the Church should be aware of what these guys are doing. After all if they were so secrative about having a movement what is this guy not telling us about his plans?

This represents another stage in Atheists shutting down dialogue. They will create hostilities and close off the ability to have a dialogue and then blame theists for not being forthcoming or able to support their position. The best thing we can do now to counter this stuff is to keep dialogue going.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Are Athesits their Borther's Keeprs?

 Mother T photo Mother20Teresa-1.jpg

A Study supposedly shows that atheists are more motivated by compassion than are religious people. Atheists have used this in various ways to show that atheist can be moral, that relgion doesn't produce compassion and so on. The study is done by entitled "My Brother's Kepper: Compassion Predicts Generocity More Among Less Religious Individuals."[1] First published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, 00 (0) April (2012) 1-8. The Authors were Laura R. Saslow and Bob Willer, et al. It was published on line before print and can found in a pdf:


Past research argues that religious commitments shape individuals’ prosocial sentiments, including their generosity and solidarity. But what drives the prosociality of less religious people? Three studies tested the hypothesis that, with fewer religious expec-
tations of prosociality, less religious individuals’ levels of compassion will play a larger role in their prosocial tendencies. In Study 1, religiosity moderated the relationship between trait compassion and prosocial behavior such that compassion was more critical to
the generosity of less religious people. In Study 2, a compassion induction increased generosity among less religious individuals but not among more religious individuals. In Study 3, state feelings of compassion predicted increased generosity across a variety of
economic tasks for less religious individuals but not among more religious individuals. These results suggest that the prosociality of less religious individuals is driven to a greater extent by levels of compassion than is the prosociality of the more religious.[2]

 They want to know if religion makes people more pro-social does it make them more compassionate? If not then can non reiloigious people be more compassionate. They use giving money to charity as the benchmark and thus decide that non religious are more compassinate not because they give more money but becuase tehy have fewer motivations to do in addition to compassion. So they see non religous motivation as stripped away compassion is what's left but religous people more more than one motivation. Let's look at the methodology and results.


Across three studies, we compared the influence of compassion
on prosocial tendencies among more and less religious
individuals. In Study 1, we examined whether religiosity would
moderate the relationship of trait compassion on prosocial
behavior. We hypothesized that trait compassion would be
more critical to the generosity of the less religious than the
more religious. In Study 2, we tested whether a compassion
induction (vs. a neutral video) would increase generosity
among less religious individuals, but not among more religious
individuals. In Study 3, we assessed if momentary feelings of
compassion would predict increased generosity across a variety
of economic tasks for less religious individuals but not more
religious individuals. By measuring and manipulating compas-
sion, and measuring various forms of generous tendencies and
behavior, across three studies we test our hypothesis that
compassion is more integral to the generosity of the less
religious versus the more religious[3]

 They used a scale: Items include,
"I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me,When I see someone beingtaken advantage of, I feel kind of protective towards them, andOther people’s misfortunes do not usually disturb me a greatdeal" (reverse-scored). that' how they measure compassion.


Study 1 yielded evidence in s
upport of our main hypothesis:
Religiosity moderated the relationship between compassion
and prosocial behavior such that the compassion-to-
prosociality link was stronger for less religious individuals than
it was for more religious individuals. Further, these results held
while controlling for gender, political orientation, and educa-
tional attainment—variables that might otherwise account for
our findings. In sum, these findings indicate that although com-
passion is associated with prosociality among both less reli-
gious and more religious individuals, this relationship
is particularlyrobust for less religious individ.[4]
That's the result for study 1 the others are similar.

Obviously there are definitional issues that need to be addressed. There is a methodological problem involving the nature of their definition of religion. how do they define religious? they say more religious are more conservative are they just saing religion = conservative thus not counting liberals as motivated?

Participants indicated the strength of their
religious identity. The scale was recoded so that higher values
represent greater religiosity: 1 (no religion), 2 (not very strong religious identity), 3 (somewhat strongreligious identity), and 4(strong religious identity),M¼2.99,SD¼1.03. Single-item
measures of religiosity have been found to have sufficient
reliability and predictive validity in other work (Gorsuch &McFarland, 1972[5]

That's pretty shallow understanding of religious faith. That's going to be a problem for them. It's not just a matter of either you religious or you are not. There are levels of commitment. It's not too absurd or hard to to prove to assert that those are are more deeply convicted and who have had spiritual encounters would take the teachings more seriously and be willing to live by them. This has major import in two ways. First of all because it means that there's more involved than just feeling compassion and giving. Their major study says that non religious people have compassion as a motivator more so than religious people. That doesn't prove that religious people are less compassionate. It means that religious people might have three or four motives for giving and compassion might not be the main one (like doctrine or teaching might be more important). Non religious people will have mainly just that, compasion. This is the way the study has been understood by critics. "That doesn't mean highly religious people don't give, according to the research to be published in the July 2012 issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. But compassion seems to drive religious people's charitable feelings less than it other groups."[6] One of the study co-author's says:

"Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not," study co-author and University of California, Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer said in a statement. "The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns."[7]
In other words it's not that the religious people are less compassionate but that they may not use compassion as the top of lexically ordered value system they go by.

The other reason knowing the depth of commitment matters is because "religious" covers a lot of ground. It includes people who don't feel the love and those who do. If you don't examine them in separate groups the averages will probably be dragged down by the less committed group. Like having bad students brings down the class average. There is a lot of evidence that those who experience the real spiritual side of their faiths are more giving and have more social consciousness than those who don't. Andrew Newberg says the kind of faith is what make the difference in terms of the result of faith upon the subject.
h+: In your new book, How God Changes Your Brain, you argue that religious fundamentalism can actually be good for you. How do you figure?
AN: It really depends on the nature of the belief. Fundamentalism, per se, isn’t bad or good. It all depends on the nature of one’s beliefs. We’ve found that if one’s beliefs are positive and loving and compassionate that can have a very profound effect on one’s health and happiness. But the opposite is true. If you believe in a punishing god, or if that fundamentalism preaches hate and anger — then the effects are going to be bad. Anxiety levels will go up, a stress response can occur, and like any stressor, if that continues for long enough, it’s going to impact health outcomes in a negative way. The real point is that what we believe has a very direct effect on the quality of our lives and we need to remember that.[8]
Two major studies of mystical experience found that those experienced the form of spirituality known as "mystical" or "peak" experience tended to have increased sense of social consciousness and became more giving. These studies are by Greely and Wuthnow.
Other positive consequences of religious experience include being less authoritarian and racist, less materialistic and status conscious, and showing more social concern and more self-assurance (Greeley 1975, Wuthnow 1978). In fact, it is in large part because of such consequences that scholars continue to acknowledge the importance of the experiential dimension of religion, even if not many study it.[9]
There are some studies that show religious people either have a high level of pro social behavior and/or generosity and compassion.John Lieff reports higher moral development among mystics.[10]
It's important to understand that just doing the two hours a week in chruch and hearing that we should love and be good to people is not enough to change one into a Mother Teresa. Those who have had actual spiritual encounter with the divine have been changed. They will always be the minority and so the average is drug down. There studies form scholarly sources that show not only giving and compassoin assocaited with religious belief but pro social behavior in general. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion finds:

An important discrepancy seems to exist between self-reports and laboratory studies regarding prosociality among religious people. Some have even suggested that this involves moral hypocrisy on the part of religious people. However, the assumption of the four studies reported here is that the impact of religiousness on prosociality is limited but exists, and does not reflect self-delusion. In Study 1 (N= 106), religious young adults tended not to use indirect aggression in dealing with hypothetical daily hassles. In Study 2 (N= 105), female students' religiosity was associated with willingness to help close targets in hypothetical situations but the effect was not extended to unknown targets. In Studies 3 (N= 315, 105 triads) and 4 (N= 274, 109 targets), religious targets not only reported high altruistic behavior and empathy, but were also perceived as such by peers (friends, siblings, or colleagues) in three out of four cases. Other results from the studies suggested that the prosociality of religious people is not an artifact of gender, social desirability bias, security in attachment, empathy, or honesty.[11]

One critique against the kind of study Saslow conduction with laboratory conditions is a study of  Israeli Jewish women Published by McGill University that seems to indicate the short comings of laboratory conditions. The study indicates that religious prompts have to be backed by real world ques that reinforce the religious training.

We may conclude based on the results that reports show higher charity and volunteering among the religious not because they are more altruistic, but rather because these individuals live in an environment that more often pressures them to give, in accordance with popular moral codes. As explained previously, worship rituals and holidays often contain cues to give money and time (Shapiro 1971; Bird 1982; Cascio 2003). Without exposure to customs designed in part to solicit donations, it is possible that the non-religious inclination to give often lies dormant.[12]

  Those findings might seem to be anti-religion as a force for giving, it must be pointed out the atheists would have the very same motive to exaggerate giving. They have social ques and a social movement (many tend to be politically liberal) that endorses compassion and giving. In those studies that involve self reporting there would be a motive to exaggerate one's on giving.

a study by Einlof in Sociology of Religion Quarterly consisting of life narrative interview from midlife in the United States "examine how religious values, ideas, and language motivate prosocial behaviors." This including giving and self Scarface and living up the teachings of Christ.

Using ratings from independent coders, statistically significant relationships were found between most of the themes and prosocial behaviors, particularly for respondents who engaged in multiple helping behaviors. In addition to documenting the relationship between religious ideas and values and helping behaviors, the study demonstrates how language mediates the relationship between the social and personal aspects of religion.[13]

Reader of this blog, Yonose, had a cogent criticism:

I saw the Brothers Keepers' study from the link. It is interesting nonetheless. If there's a positive correlation between compassion, empathy and prosocial behaviour, this would actually imply that, somehow, less religious people need to be fed of compassion more consecutively, to do any good deed with our human brethren, by applying constant sense data by stimuli and induction. All of the above seems to be correct. I don't see anything weird about that by now.As a consequence,This would also mean that less religious people are easier to be lied to with political propaganda e.g. like SOME extremist environmental alarmists.Where I believe the study is somehow flawed in context, is the linking of a positive correlation between prosocial behaviour and the making of good deeds per se as universal, because many people who love to be vocal about their lack of religiousness, just like to do good deeds in a preferential way: most probably they will help non-religious people only. Such behaviours have been demonstrated by themselves over and over.It is just overly simplistic to have a positive correlation with compassion, by induction, lack of religiosity, and then conflating such, with the actual making of good deeds to people. There is not a single trace in that study that confirms which types of people they had helped, whether religious or not.

This would also imply that the idea of correlating actual charity with lack of religiousness is not a universal statement, and that it is completely falsifiable, and in consequence, it is not possible to make a proof that "Atheists have more compassion than religious people".That's where I agree that there's a double standard with these types of Atheists.This is just reduced to a mere political game. Have these types of Atheists forgot about their intellectual roots??

These high integration states were also correlated with peak experiences including inner calm, maximum wakefulness, alertness, lack of fear, effortlessness, a sense of perfection, and a sense of being “high.” In an unusual finding these people also had higher moral development, better self-image, better sleep and a better reputation. - See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/extraordinary-mental-states-5-spiritual-and-religious-experiences#sthash.tr6LYxOk.dpuf
These high integration states were also correlated with peak experiences including inner calm, maximum wakefulness, alertness, lack of fear, effortlessness, a sense of perfection, and a sense of being “high.” In an unusual finding these people also had higher moral development, better self-image, better sleep and a better reputation. - See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/extraordinary-mental-states-5-spiritual-and-religious-experiences#sthash.tr6LYxOk.dpuf
I agree.
These high integration states were also correlated with peak experiences including inner calm, maximum wakefulness, alertness, lack of fear, effortlessness, a sense of perfection, and a sense of being “high.” In an unusual finding these people also had higher moral development, better self-image, better sleep and a better reputation. - See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/extraordinary-mental-states-5-spiritual-and-religious-experiences#sthash.tr6LYxOk.dpuf

These high integration states were also correlated with peak experiences including inner calm, maximum wakefulness, alertness, lack of fear, effortlessness, a sense of perfection, and a sense of being “high.” In an unusual finding these people also had higher moral development, better self-image, better sleep and a better reputation. - See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/extraordinary-mental-states-5-spiritual-and-religious-experiences#sthash.tr6LYxOk.dpuf
These high integration states were also correlated with peak experiences including inner calm, maximum wakefulness, alertness, lack of fear, effortlessness, a sense of perfection, and a sense of being “high.” In an unusual finding these people also had higher moral development, better self-image, better sleep and a better reputation. - See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/extraordinary-mental-states-5-spiritual-and-religious-experiences#sthash.tr6LYxOk.dpu

[1] Laura R. Saslow, Robb Willer, Mathrew Feinberg, Paul K Piff, Katharine Clark, Cacher Kelntner, and Srina R. Saturn."My Brother's Kepper: Compassion Predicts Generocity More Among Less Religious Individuals."Social Psychological and Personality Science 1948550612444137
pdf: http://rifters.com/real/articles/MyBrothersKeeperCompassionPredictsGenerosityMoreAmongLessReligiousIndividuals.pdf
accessed 11/12/13

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Staff Writer, "Atheists More Motivated by Compassion Than the Faithful," Live Science. (May 1, 2012) online ressource
accessed 11/12/13

[7] Ibid.

[8] Andrew Newberg quoted by Steve Kotler, "the Neurology of Spiritual Experience" h* sept. 2009
accessed 11/12/13

[9] Encyclopedia of Religion and Society, William H. Swatos, Jr. editor
accessed 11/12/13

[10] John Lieff, Searching for the Mind,Online resource.
accessed 11/12/13.

[11] Vassilis Saroglou, Isabelle Pichon, et al. "Prosocial Behavior and Religion: New Evidence Based on Projective Measures and Peer Ratings" Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Volume 44, Issue 3, , (September 2005), 323–348.
 Article first published online: 25 AUG 2005,DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2005.00289.x

[12] Salomon Israel and Maoz Brown, "Faith, Fellowship, and Philanthropy: Giving Rates as a Function of Religiosity among Israeli Jewish Women," McGill Sociological Review, Volume 3, February 2013, pp. 36-54.
On line versoin posted by McGill University: http://www.mcgill.ca/msr/volume3/article3
accessed 11/13/13.

[13]  Christopher J. Einolf. "The Link Between Religion and Helping Others: the Role of Values, Ideals, and Language." Sociology of Religion Quarterly Review  doi: 10.1093/socrel/srr017
first published online April 6, 2011.