Rupert Sheldrake Rediscovering God

8.5: web.relig/Rupert Sheldrake/Rediscovering God
Rediscovering God with Rupert Sheldrake
at Hollyhock [a place he likes to vist]
(this is a partial transcript [with comments]).

. anatheism means returning to god;
[ it implies turning away from god,
as was the case when scientists supported atheism.]
. having the modern world going back to god
involves learning from atheism as a purifier:
it's purged a lot of rubbish out of religion;
also, consider all the religious traditions;
[ returning to god doesn't mean
returning to any particular traditional religion].

. he was raised in a Methodist family
in a small town in England;
went to an Anglican boarding school:
a rather conventional Christian upbringing.
. but as part of his scientific education
he realized his science teachers were atheists
and they regarded atheism as the normal position of a scientist;
so, wanting to be a scientists,
atheism was part of that package.

. he was the only boy at school who refused to get
confirmed [as a Christian] at the age of 14;
he eagerly joined the Humanist association,
the atheist association for undergrad's;
however, after a few meetings he found it a bit dull
for instance, as a 2nd year undergrad,
they were addressed by the great biologist, Julian Huxley
who was a leading humanist and atheist in Britain
and he was talking about humans taking control
of the evolutionary process and improving the human race.
. unlike the negative eugenics of Nazi's,
positive eugenics was still fashionable;
and, he promoted selective breeding via sperm donation;
donors should be people like himself, of course;
[there would be a huge number of children,
that you would have nothing to do with:]
it all seemed a bit thin.

. he wanted to believe the universe was all machinery:
just blind chance giving rise to everything;
no god, and no consciousness.
[. by consciousness,
he means that free will comes from experiencing:
your consciousness looks at your brain's view
and your consciousness's will affects the brain;
whereas science says the brain causes free will,
and consciousness merely experiences the brain:
the brain thinks it has free will;
therefore consciousness has the impression of free will.]

. the mechanical view of the universe
was particularly a strain when he fell in love
coming to terms with these emotions;
he was in a physiology lecture,
learning about all the sex hormones;
and, the gap between a list of chemicals and being alive
seem unbridgeably huge.
. he started looking into a less mechanistic science,
a more holistic science, thought he was still an atheist.
. he got holistic ideas from a German poet and botanist;
[ can anyone help with the spelling of that German's name?]

. his studies had him traveling through India,
where he was introduced to their religious ideas;
when he got back to England,
he wanted to explore consciousness
and the use of psychedelics [hallucinogenic drugs]
convinced him the mind was vastly greater than
anything his scientific education had told about.

[ I felt drugs helped me find the god:
I was taking 8oz of dextromethorphan syrup,
and this usually gives only trivial hallucinations
or at most lucid dreams;
but this time I was mixing it with theophylline
(given to me for smoker's cough)
and I was surrounded by homeless men
in a religious charity shelter mission.
. I received visions (waking dreams)
explaining life and my place in it;
and I felt the god was acting as a father.
. the visions explained that the sine wave
was named sin() because it it was an infinity of
ups and downs with no real progress;
the stars formed the image of a man
(the fractal nature of the universe?);
there were a gathering of eyeballs merging,
and the final merging involved great tension,
followed by a great relief,
that reminds me now of globalized governance
and the WWIII that will install it;
there was an obelisk upside down;
and, I was staring at the bottom of it,
which represented my place in life:
it seemed I was at the very top,
but everything was upside down.
. I also began experiencing telepathy:
I would daydream of struggling with someone,
and one man would make noises synchronously
as if he was the one being subdued.
. telepathy evolved into schizophrenic symptoms
where some of my thoughts were not my own
(thought insertions)
and those thoughts were being sent to others
(thought broadcasting)
telling others things I didn't want to say.
. this caused me to ask myself,
how could thoughts travel between brains?
what was controlling my thoughts?
the supernatural is more than a rare father,
it could be influencing all my thoughts;
and it could be a source of emotions too;
I wondered if there was any me at all:
we are really just pawns of the supernatural.
. I became less trustful of my selfish emotions;
and more thoughtful of others;
typical of people of who are religious!

. transcendental meditation was of interest
to explore consciousness beyond drugs;
those teaching transcendental meditation
didn't push ideas of god:
it was about the physiology of well being.

. he was intrigued by India, yoga, and meditation;
and in 1974 he had a chance to work in India.

. some of Hinduism is profound, some bizarre;
[something about kidding the scientific foreigner?
I think such kidding would help him find
the religion of the culture he came from.]

. he was impressed by the Sufi Islam tradition;
that its worship involved much pleasure
(reciting poetry, running fingers through Jasmine blossoms);
before that he'd associated religion with asceticism
[avoidance of all forms of indulgence];
but he didn't want to a Muslim; because,
fasting (Ramadan) seemed like too much of a stretch,
[ their fasting avoids water all day too!];
they also require circumcision,
[which many others would find a stretch,]
but his home culture was already doing that.

. he talked to a guru [teacher in Hinduism and Buddhism]
who said: all paths lead to god;
and, if you come from a Christian family,
you should take up Christianity.
. that made sense because
[he had problems with Hinduism:]

. the world according to the Hindu cosmology
is getting steadily worse:
we're in the Kali_Yuga, the end of an age.
. among his [Hindu] Indian friends
the goal of doing these forms of meditation
is to get free of the wheels of incarnation.
everyone is trapped in cycles of rebirth;
reincarnation is a bad thing; because,
you want to get off this hopeless world
which is headed for destruction.
. he just couldn't get that as the principle aim.

. also, when he was helping the poor of India
a Hindus would tell him
not to care for the poor,
that their poverty is part of their karma,
your job is to lead your own life
to achieve liberation [avoid reincarnation].
. he realized when he cared about others
that idea came from his Christian upbringing:
charity is deeply ingrained in the
JudeoChristianIslamic tradition:
it's not just about individual salvation,
it's about the collective;
so, he realized he was far more Christian
than he'd ever imagined.

. so, at the age of 34, while in India,
he got confirmed at an Anglican church;
he felt very happy to be
relocated in the Christian tradition
but he still felt a huge tension
feeling the Hindu wisdom was so deep
while the Christian tradition seemed
a bit shallow on the spirituality side.
. he was inspired by a Christian monk
who integrated religions by
reciting a Hindu mantra within a Catholic service;
he pointed out "Catholic" means universal:
if it excludes anything it's not "catholic".
. he found that approach really helpful,
and wrote his first book in India
while influenced by that monk:
(that book is New Science of Life).
. he routinely goes to church now;
that's his religious background.

. the key difference between an atheist
and a theist or religious world view,
has to do with the nature of consciousness:
that is the complete key upon which it all hinges;
both views are rationally ordered;
most atheists are materialists: they believe in
the materialist philosophy of nature.

nature is governed by universal laws:
the laws of the universe are constant,
[ rather than evolving (perhaps the god is
fine-tuning constants such as the
speed of light, or the force of gravity).]
the whole of the universe
has a unified source of energy
(all energy can be interconverted);
the whole universe is one unified being.

. all of these are part of a
traditional religious world view;
and, in the 17th century,
they were built into science,
on the basis of a kind of scientific theology.

. the big difference, is that for an atheist,
we live in an unconscious world:
[ meaning the animals would act the same
even if there was no consciousness experiencing them].
. all the galaxies with all their stars
-- the whole of this universe --
is unconscious machinery.
. we are robots with genetically programmed brains;
and we happen to be conscious
for reasons that are obscure.

. whereas for a religious person in any tradition
the world is permeated with
a greater consciousness than our own
[this is his definition of the god],
to which our own consciousnesses are open,
which we can experience through the mystical,
and which is the background to
the very existence of our own minds in the first place.
[ the god and animals are consciousnesses:
they are generating experiences or dreams;
a consciousness is not only aware of itself,
he says it is also a source of will
even without mirroring the state of a brain;
perhaps he suggests:
the reason we can have a mind that
extends beyond our brain,
is the same reason the god can have
a mind without a brain.]

. that there's a greater consciousness
in the universe,
is framed and interpreted in different ways,
within different traditions;
but the reason anyone believes in any god at all
or any spiritual realities,
is because of experiencing
a greater mind or consciousness than our own.
[ the religious have experienced the god?
perhaps you can't really know the god exists
without having a sort of schizophrenic experience
where one's mind is split between self and god's;
it could be that the only ones who are
diagnosed as having a schizophrenic disorder
are those who had a bad reaction to split mind,
eg, it turned into a sort of demon possession
rather than the touch of god the father.]

. how did we [the science establishment]
get to this atheistic world view?
a little history:
. in middle-ages Europe,
among Jews, Christians and Muslims
the general view was that
the whole universe was alive:
the Anima Mundi (the soul of the universe)
permeates all things:
both animals and plants had souls;
[ see Aristotle`s On the Soul:
even plants have a Nutritive soul.]
the very word animal comes from
the latin word anima (soul)
[ Latin animale "living being, being which breathes,"
neuter of animalis "animate, living; of the air,"
from anima "breath, soul; a current of air" ];
so, it was taken for granted by everybody,
following the philosophy of Aristotle,
Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the Arab philosophers,
that we lived in a living world:
each star had its own angel -- its own intelligence;
the sky was full of the presence of god.
[ angels are messengers of the god;
(perhaps even the fallen angel is a messenger of the god:
the point of evil is to evolve a more robust good);
the notion that we have a guardian angel
reminds me of the extended mind
that gives us protective telepathy.]

. in the 17th century,
the revolution that started science as we know it,
was a revolution because it denied
what everyone previously believed:
[the actions of beings were determined
not by their soul but mechanical rules.]
even the animals were machines
[not affected by the will of consciousness].

. this was the mechanistic theory of nature,
when it was first formulated by René Descartes
[French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist;
"Father of Modern Philosophy"]
who first had a vision on Nov 10, 1619;
he channeled the angel of truth:
and 3 years later he made a pilgrimage to give thanks
to the shrine of the Black Madonna of Loreto, in Italy

. Descartes made a sharp separation:
he didn't deny god, angels, and human spirits;
he said they were immaterial, outside space and time;
and had nothing to do with matter and nature;
the human mind was the only non-mechanical thing:
it was immaterial spirit, interacting with
the pineal gland (under the brain).
. modern theories of Cartesian dualism
[ "Cartesian" means of Descartes ]
are similar except they shifted the interface
to the cerebral cortex.
. this theory created a duality
between humans and the rest of nature:
we're conscious;
the rest of nature (including our body)
are purely mechanical.
. it created a split between science and religion:
religion gets the spiritual;
science gets the entire material universe.

. in the 19th century, people were saying
2 basic principles were too many:
we don't believe in matter and spirit,
there's only one thing.
. the philosophy of Idealism said
there's only spirit:
everything is consciousness;
matter is sort of dumbed-down mind.
[ If we must always view reality in terms of
the same substance that dreams are made of;
and, dreams can make imaginary situations
appear to be real,
then could our reality be the
imaginary universe of a shared dream?
. Subjective Idealism is the theory that
our collective experience
is the only substance that actually exists,
and that perception of a universe
is merely the result of a system of rules
that act directly on the experience.]

. the materialists said there's no spirit;
there's only matter (no angels or god):
human minds are nothing but
the activity of the brain.

. most scientists today claim to believe
god is nothing but an idea in human minds;
belief in god is assumed to be
naive and childish.
. the biggest problem with this materialist world view
which is the subject of his book
The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry
is that their 10 dogmas of science
don't stand up to the scientific process.

. the dogma he'd like to address briefly now
is the idea that matter is unconscious.
. this was an assumption of Descartes
because he split matter off from spirit;
then the materialists got rid of spirit,
leaving matter unconscious;
but how come we are conscious
if the whole universe is unconscious?

. in the philosophy of mind
explaining human consciousness
is called the hard problem,
because there is no known explanation for it.

. one branch says consciousness exists;
but, it's a shadow of the brain:
it doesn't do anything,
so you don't actually have free will.
[ he assumes free will comes from consciousness;
whereas materialists see free will
as the brain's doing:
consciousness simply reflects brain state;
but they don't have a theory of telepathy:
they deny that the supernatural or
collective unconscious or morphic field
has any input into the state of the brain
or the state of consciousness.]

. another branch says consciousness is just
another way of talking about brain activity;
and, after we learn the details of neurophysiology
then we'll be able to get rid of what they call
"folk psychology" -- talking in terms of
subjectivity and consciousness.

. the 3rd school, Eliminative materialism,
says that consciousness is an illusion;
the problem is that if it is an illusion,
an illusion can only exist in consciousness,
making Eliminative materialism
a sort of self-contradictory position.

. and this is the center of the problem
in consciousness studies today;
it's going nowhere;
until 20 years ago scientists ignored consciousness.
. when he was studying science at Cambridge
it turned up for about 10 minutes in a physiology lecture:
"the brain appears to be conscious;
philosophers argued about this for centuries;
they've never gotten anywhere;
so, we'll get on with explaining
how the brain works."
. and of course we've understood a lot about
how brains work,
but it hasn't explained consciousness.

. an interesting phenomenon is occurring right now;
a few years ago one of the
top materialist philosophers of mind,
jumped ship and stopped being a materialist:
he adopted Panpsychism (psyche everywhere),
believing there's some kind of mind or soul
throughout all nature:
even the electron has a kind of mind.
. consciousness can emerge in human brains
because there are more primitive forms of consciousness
in the matter that humans are composed of.

. interestingly the top philosopher of mind,
Thomas Nagel
came out last year [2012] with a book adopting Panpsychism:
Mind and Cosmos:
Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature
Is Almost Certainly False.
. Nagel argues that it's incoherent to suggest
that the mind can just emerge from unconscious matter;
you have to have a Panpsychist view:
you have to already have some kind of mind in nature.
. he also thinks there has to be
a kind of purpose in nature already;
which is one of the biggest heresies in materialism
because evolution is supposed to be quite purposeless.

. and recently Christof Koch
who was a principal colleague of Sir Francis Crick
in working on consciousness,
came out 6 months ago [from 2013]
in favor of Panpsychism;
that was a real surprise because
he was one of the most hard-line materialists.

. Panpsychism isn't a new philosophy;
it's the philosophy of nature often called
animism: the idea that there's a kind of
mind, spirit, or soul in all of nature;
it's found in all traditional cultures,
in all shamanic cultures;
it's what the middle ages in Europe had:
Christian animism was the basis of
Aristotle and Saint Thomas Aquinas's
interpretation of Aristotle;
it's what the scientific revolution rejected;
but, it's coming back again,
in a very sophisticated new form.

. the most interesting panpsychist philosopher
in the 20th century
was Alfred North Whitehead;
he was the first philosopher to realize
the implications of quantum theory
which says that photons, electrons, and quantum particles
are waves, not particles;
and that's the reason for the uncertainty principle:
you can't pin down a wave to an exact place and time;
you can't have a wave unless it has
a range of time to wave in:
if you reduce it to an instant, it's not a wave.
so what Whitehead realized
right at the very beginning of the quantum revolution
was that time is built into matter.
. old-style materialism is based on the view
that matter is just a persisting substance;
quantum theory reveals that matter is a process.
. and if it's just a process,
then each electron, each process in time,
has a past pole and a future pole
and it's spread out between past and future.

. what Whitehead argued facinatingly,
is that the key to understanding the
relation between mind and body
is not to see them as inside and outside
(the inner life, the outer world);
the relation between mind and body
is the relation in time:
the mind is the future pole,
the body is the past pole.
. the mind is concerned with possibilities;
our minds are filled with possibilities;
consciousness is a field of possibilities;
and, its main function is to choose among possible actions
so our mind is filled with virtual futures;
as soon as we make a choice,
and put it into action
then it becomes a physical fact:
by then it's in the past.

. even electrons have something like that:
the Schrödinger wave equation in quantum mechanics
tells you all the possible actions of an electron;
as soon as the electron interacts with something
those possibilities collapse down to one choice:
the location of the electron that actually happened
(called the collapse of the wave function).
. between interactions there are
many possible locations to choose from;
and, only upon interaction is a choice made;
[as if electrons have free will like us;
a will which might be influenced by the supernatural
just like we are influenced by the supernatural:
supernature may be able to decide the weather to some extent,
just as it can tempt us by inserting thoughts,
or by giving emotional force to particular options.]

. so this idea of Whitehead's
applies to electrons as well as to humans;
and, it's the best way of conceiving panpsychism.
. the mind in any self-organizing system
is what gives the system its goals, its possibilities;
and, insofar as there's an element of choice,
then if there's any consciousness involved,
then it's there to choose among the possibilities
(whenever the activity is not habitual).
[ he sees consciousness as the source of will;
I see will coming from the brain and supernature;
telepathy comes from supernature;
the state of a morphic field is held in supernature.]

. the sun is a self-organizing system
as are solar systems;
consider the mind of the sun:
the sun is probably conscious;
many human cultures treat the sun as if it's
conscious in some way
(attributing some god or angel to it).
. children view the sun as smiling;
materialists say belief in a conscious sun
is childish; materialists assume
the sun is just a hydrogen bomb,
but they have not tried to scientifically prove that:
they simply assume it.
. there is no proof the sun is conscious;
but the point is, it's an open question:
you can't prove it's unconscious.

. if it's likely the sun is conscious,
then what about galaxies [and superclusters]?
could they be conscious?
then what if the entire cosmos is conscious?
and then from panpsychism you see
we get the idea of perhaps a cosmic consciousness;
but then is that the same as god?
or is that pantheism? [it's all part of god]
we're then into an almost
theological and philosophical discussion:
what would be the difference between
god and pantheism's view of god?
pantheism would be
the consciousness of nature as it is;
the mind of god would be
a mind that transcends nature:
it's within nature and also transcends nature;
like our own minds are within our bodies
but they also transcend them
[via our morphic field, the source of telepathy.]

. our body is here in the present;
our mind extends into the future
(our hopes, plans, dreams, aspirations);
it extends into the past through our memories;
our minds transcend our physical bodies
through time and through space:
our minds extend far beyond our brains,
which is why people can feel when
they're being stared at;
why people can pick up intentions as in telepathy;
why dogs can know when their owners are coming home.
. so I think our minds transcend our bodies,
and I think the mind of the cosmos
may transcend the cosmos.

. now this is where we get back to traditional ideas
about the nature of the divine mind
or of the nature of god.
. in all the major traditions,
there is an astonishing measure of agreement
about the nature of god's mind.

. there's a very interesting book:
The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss
by David Bentley Hart;
he shows very clearly that in different traditions
there's such similar views.

. in one of the Hindu traditions,
the name for the ultimate nature of god's mind
is (being)(knowledge)(joy or bliss).

. in the Christian tradition,
the art of the nature of god is the Holy Trinity
[ Father, Son, Holy Spirit:
when Jesus' fellow Judeans say Jesus is the son of god,
they meant he was the king of Israel,
that is the messiah;
he was like a son to god,
because he knew the will of god,
as did the other prophets.
. when he said you are saved by believing in him,
you are saved by following the will of god:
the obedient will be rewarded with resurrection:
given an eternal body like the angels.]

. god is, of course,
not an old man with a white beard:
the kind of god most atheists don't believe in
is the kind of god most theists don't believe in either.

. god the father is the source of all being;
god doesn't just create the world in the beginning,
like a kind of demiurge,
fashioning something out of clay
or an engineer of atoms or something;
god is the ground of being now:
the fact that anything exists right now
is because it's sustained by god's being.
. god is the logos or consciousness of all things
the form of all things, the basis of
all reason and all knowledge in the universe
-- animal, human and divine.

. god's nature is bliss or joy:
the nature of god's consciousness is to be
blissful or joyful.
. the traditional understanding is that
our minds and everything in nature
has some aspect of this divine being,
a kind of scaled-down version, fractals.
. and our minds are capable of
linking with the mind of god
through direct experience
and that's why
for anyone who's ever believed in god,
it's not a matter of
agreeing with a ridiculous set of beliefs;
it's a matter of experience, primarily,
of being in the presence [of a consciousness]
greater than one's own.
. and this can happen in nature;
it happens to him quite often on a certain island;
if he's sitting quietly in the forest or on the beach
he often has a sense of the presence of
a being or consciousness much greater than just him.
. other situations in which the presence is felt
is during music, art, beautiful church services,
prayer, and meditation.

. many people have a flavor or taste
of being in a mind greater than their own;
about 90% of his audience has some sense of this,
a greater presence within which we live.

. and this has many implications;
while he's been on a particular island
he's been reading one of the greatest of
the Christian philosophers, saint Anselm
[Medieval Christian philosophy].
. Anselm was writing about the nature of god;
he says the mind of god must contain all qualities
every fragrance is a sensation in the mind of god
-- a mind of infinite possibility.
[ Dream Theory posits that
the universe exists because there was
no god to define nothingness,
the only way to express the reality of nothingness,
is the indefinite experience:
an infinity of experiences of infinite diversity
that collectively say nothing in particular about existence.
. god is the program that influences the minds
of things that can do all this experiencing;
the god itself doesn't experience anything:
god is there to ensure there is
an infinite diversity in experience.]

. consider how this applies to biological evolution;
the normal theory is flowers evolved with animals
to attract them.
. Darwin pointed out:
there could have been no flower
before there was an eye to see it;
the patterns, colors, and fragrances of flowers
appeared 70 million years ago,
long before there were humans to enjoy them.

. the normal theory says evolution randomly came up with
the senses needed to find flowers
but if there's a source of all qualities
in the mind of god
the more economical theory is that
animals tune in to these qualities
in the mind of god.
[ the universe was designed to generate experiences;
part of this goal entailed a designing a biology
that could map onto the many types of experiences.]

. the standard theory would say
[feelings of pain and reward evolved to promote survival];
that doesn't explain how subjective experience is created.

. the mind of god attracts us through
any pleasurable or attractive phenomenon.
[ why think god is just pleasure?
perfection means finding a place for everything,
both pleasing and painful.]

. ultimately these are connections with
the mind of god;
the interesting thing about this is that
in traditional theology in the West and elsewhere
and in Greek philosophy (pre-Christian),
according to Aristotle and to Christian and other theologies
god works in the world by being attractive.

. in the medieval cosmology
god is the prime mover of the universe;
god doesn't push the world from behind:
we're drawn towards the divine.
. the whole universe is striving to
get closer to god.
. and how this reflects itself in human life
is the otherwise inexplicable strivings that humans have
for truth and beauty and goodness.
. and these have drawn human beings
for a very long time (long before Christianity);
even some of his atheist colleagues,
the reason they don't believe in [religion]
is because they believe in truth
which means they have a sort of unconscious devotion
to this divine principle.

. we are irresistibly drawn to beauty,
and so are animals.
. being drawn towards altruistic service
and doing the right thing,
is a basic human need.
[ he was previously pointing out
altruistism seems to be lacking in Hindu culture
(they have a caste system:
if you are poor it's because
you're in a lower caste:
your poverty is deliberate):
what he thought was normal altruism
was really part of his Christianity.
. not everybody is rewarded for altruism;
contrast that to the orgasm:
almost everybody is rewarded for sex.
. his point may be that altruism is
practiced by atheists as well as theists.]

. if it is true all cultures are altruistic
or strive for truth, or beauty;
these are ways the divine mind works in our lives;
whether we are aware of it or not:
we can cut ourselves off from this divine mind
and we can deny it exists.
[. the divine is a director of life
influencing emotions to ensure all experiences:
there will be some selflessness making good feelings,
and some selfishness for making bad feelings;
eventually, for each evolving civilization,
the past holds hell, and the future holds heaven.]

. he now sees atheism as a terrible self-deprivation
in their devotion to the higher good of truth:
by rejecting a totally inadequate image of god:
a god who just fills in gaps that science can't explain
or who starts off the world machine in the first place
with a big bang or [an alternative to the big bang theory
of complete creation
there is his theory of perpetual creation:]
a god that fine-tunes the laws and constants of nature;
by rejecting a completely inadequate view of god
that humans have no purpose beyond
living with as much pleasure as possible;
and maybe subscribing to some higher ideals
because there's always an unconscious drive
towards the divine even in atheists
and that's what makes a noble atheist.

. but atheism closes down the ways in which
we can communicate with the divine
where we can be open to god's spirit
which can inspire and guide us;
and in the end,
atheism is bad for your health:
studies have shown in the usa
[the studies don't apply outside the usa]
those who practice a religious belief,
live longer, are healthier, and
recover from diseases better than
those who don't.
. white males gain 5 years from being religious;
black males gain 15 years;
if any pill could do that,
it would hailed as a medical breakthrough!

[ but is that a randomized study?
can we randomly decide who will be religious
and still have religiousness be healthy?
. there could be unhealthy conditions
that cause people to become unreligious;
for example low emotional intelligence
emotional instability or disagreeableness;
and, even if one tried to be religious
one would still have the unhealthy condition
that had one tending to be unreligious.

. then again it could be a simple trade-off:
it's a discipline that reduces freedom,
but it gives you a feeling of having a safety net,
and it could help you develop
emotional intelligence and stability.
. what if you honestly disbelieve religion;
eg, there is simply no reason to believe
that believing Jesus is god gives you eternal life:
because there is no reason to believe in
personal eternal life: what seems obvious is
the existence of an infinite procession of
finite lives all united by a morphic field.
. well,
how many people really believe their religion?
what they believe in is their culture's tradition:
there is a sense of being cared for by a community,
in exchange for giving some of yourself to community.]

. prayer and meditation is known to improve health,
perhaps because they provide channels or connections
with what is the medium in which "we live and move
and have our being" (Saint Paul);[Acts 17:28]
["For in [god] we live and move and have our being." [NIV]
"For in [god] we have life and motion and existence;" [BBE]]
[. even if you haven't experienced evidence of the god,
or would feel fake trying to be religious
because of what they say about the god,
there's always meditation to improve your health.]

. the vision of god that all religions have had
is a god in whom we live and move and have our being,
and who is the source of our conscious life,
and to whom our minds are linked,
and from whom our minds are derived.

. I think this is part of a more general movement
in what we find in the world today
of anatheism: finding god again.

. what happens when we die?
we continue to be able to dream
but we lose the ability to wake up.
[ but what is there to define dreams
once you have died?
even inanimate stars may have consciousness,
I can't disprove that,
but when you die you become like dirt;
does dirt dream?
. his views are consistent with Christians who say
your body creates a consciousness (a soul)
but your death doesn't destroy that soul;
else there would be no reason to be good:
there would be no everlasting accountability.

. there is a selfish reason to be good:
the only way you will be protected
is if everyone is good to everyone;
the threat of eternal punishment doesn't protect us;
what protects us is strong security
that makes crime and war difficult;
strong security avoids power differentials
and limits privacy rights.

. even if I don't believe in eternal soul,
I still believe that god is watching,
and god can intuitively inform others about me;
however, if everyone really believed in hell
suicide could never be an escape from punishment,
hence belief in hell seems much more compelling
than a mere belief in god and telepathy;
but what evidence is there of hell?

phi/morphic fields are part of the supernatural:
. Rupert Sheldrake has proof of telepathy,
and I think telepathy is proof of god
or some sort of supernatural entity;
but, he thinks telepathy is possible via morphic fields,
and morphic fields are natural not supernatural?
. the way you tell a field exists
whether a gravity field or a morphic field
is that it has an effect on objects;
if that effect is linear and predictable,
then we say there is
no willful program determining the field
and thus it is part of nature.
. but if it is unpredictable, and not just random,
then it could be determined by a willful program
and should then be classified as supernatural.
. it seems then that morphic fields are
in the realm of the supernatural
giving telepathy a way to escape predictability:
. the reason we don't have perfect control of telepathy
is that it's partially an act of god,
or an act of some other supernatural program.

. once when he felt danger in a dream,
he found himself praying,
and realized if you can pray during dreams
there can be an opening to the spirit
during dreams as well as during waking.

. when you look at near death experiences
it depends upon which culture it happens to:
in the West they float above their body
then go through a tunnel to a place of love.
. in the Hindu culture the tunnel leads to an office
where the god of death tells them
there's been some sort of mistake.
. perhaps Muslims do get the virgins,
and atheists do get nothingness.

. thoughtful scientists can't really believe materialism
because, it says the mind is nothing but the
activity of the brain
and the consciousness can do nothing
implying that there is no free will.
[ why not believe that brains have free will,
and consciousness simply experiences brains?
perhaps because his Christianity says
his consciousness persists despite body death,
and eternal life seems pointless without free will?]

. a materialist knows there is consciousness
because they are responsible for their actions;
rule of law is based on the assumption
that we do have a certain freedom of choice;
otherwise people could defend any crime
by saying I couldn't help myself
because my brain made me do it.
[. assuming consciousness is the source of will
reminds of the problem of getting drunk
to the point of blacking out
(no longer conscious but still active);
drunks tend to make less responsible choices
as if consciousness is the source of restraint.
. anyway,
the way a materialist believes in free will
is that consciousness is simply
the dream of being an animal's brain
in control of an animal.
. as long as the brain has a preference
and the brain can act on that preference
that brain can provide the feeling of free will
so then consciousness can dream about free will.
. the universe is just a math model,
and the only real things in the universe
are the experiences or dreams
that are defined by the animals in the model
(and maybe other objects in the model).
. it's the math models that provide the will,
not the dream stuff.
. morphic fields are defined by the supernatural;
telepathy is proof of a supernatural entity,
perhaps even proof of god's existence.
. where we are in agreement
is when he says something about materialism
is preventing people from admitting telepathy:
the next revolution in science will
open up to telepathy and morphic fields.
. we also agree the universe has a purpose
but I believe the purpose of god is to
ensure generation of the indefinite experience:
an infinity of experiences of infinite diversity.