Science and philosophy gave him something he never thought he’d find… respect for religion |312|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Science and philosophy gave him something he never thought he’d find… respect for religion |312|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Apr 26 | Consciousness Science

    Dr. Bernardo Kastrup explores his new found respect for religious myths in, More Than Allegory.
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    photo by: Bernardo Kastrup
    Today we welcome Dr. Bernard Kastrup back to skeptiko to talk about his new book, More Than Allegory. In the book, Kastrup explores the potential for religious myths to propel us beyond the ordinary:

    Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: Authentic religious myths can bring us beyond the constraints of this [reality]. That’s what they’re pointing to. They’re pointing at something beyond linear logic; beyond space and time; beyond the constraints that we willingly adopt in our ordinary relationship with reality. We shouldn’t give those constraints up but I think we shouldn’t lose, willingly, our only umbilical connection to something that goes beyond that either.
     
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  2. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

    Are the religious traditions that are so much a part of our culture worth saving, preserving, nurturing?

    Is there, as Bernardo suggests, something more in those traditions--something inherently mystical and something important for us individually and for our culture to advance?
     
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  3. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    If we strip religions of the sociopolitical stuff that gets annexed to them, we end up with the kind of events that are discussed in this forum. For example, Prophets were well known milenia before we went to the lab and discovered that retrocausality or precognition were for real. Besides the ability to access further, is there that much difference? Bernardo has a valid point.
     
  4. The people who like their religion should be free to practice it. That is enough.


    It is not mysticism that religion contributes. Materialism is mystical. How does matter produce consciousness? Where did the multiverse come from?


    The benefits of religion are largely practical.

    Religion is good for the individual.

    Andrew Sims, past president of Royal College of Psychiatrists: "The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. ... In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html

    Research shows that belief in the paranormal and religion can be conducive to the health and well being of people. These beliefs can help people cope with grief, divorce, job loss, the fear of death, particularly in the terminally ill, and can deter suicide. ... Furthermore, research also shows that having meaning in life is necessary for people to thrive ...
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/skepticism-big-lie-activist-skeptics.html

    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...ife.html#articles_by_subject_benefits_meaning

    Religion is good for civilization.
    Jürgen Habermas
    For the normative self-understanding of modernity, Christianity has functioned as more than just a precursor or catalyst. Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of a continual critical reappropriation and reinterpretation. Up to this very day there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a post-national constellation, we must draw sustenance now, as in the past, from this substance. Everything else is idle postmodern talk.

    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html#lennox_civilization
     
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  5. EthanT

    EthanT Member

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    Haven't posted in a while, but just wanted to say this was a great interview. Hope to see more along these lines at Skeptiko. Loved to see Bernardo's views swing in this direction. Really syncs up with how I have felt for a long time, so I guess it's a bit pleasing to see somebody use logic, philosophical rigor and an open mind to eventually arrive at the conclusions he has. I also thought Alex asked some great questions throughout the interview.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
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  6. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    Great interview! I love running down various ontological paths until words lose their meaning.

    Symbol, sensing, meaning, information, identity, character, narrative, myth, logic, nonsense, hierarchy, one, Brahman and God. This podcast had all the right words in it and I think the exploration of these words helps us frame up better metaphors for our own existence.

    Yes, but we must insert disclaimers into them all: these texts in whole or part may be mythical and not literal. But then again, how would the religions survive without a dedicated kernel of fundamentalists?

    I still get inspiration from certain stories in the Bible and little glimpses of a hidden meaning here and there.

    For instance: in an exploration of the relationship between the Logos and the Abyss, I realized we find the Logos "floating" on the surface of the Abyss in both John and Genesis. I expounded on this more in the last blog I wrote, but in short: Jesus (the Logos, the Word, the Light, the firstborn of creation) walks on the surface (boundary) of the water (the abyss, death, darkness, nonsense, destruction) by faith and then gets in the boat and rebukes the waters and calms the storm putting the Abyss back in its place. Peter (The Rock, brittle, unchanging, structured) tries to walk on the Abyss, but sinks. Those whose mental structures are too rigid are more easily cracked when their foundational faith is shaken.

    And in Genesis, the first act of creation is the spirit moving over the surface (boundary) of the waters (abyss) creating light (the Logos) when God speaks the word.

    Maybe that seems a bit obscure, but to bring it closer to home: all of our systems of logic shed light on the workings of the creation and are structures built on assumptions or primitive notions which cannot be questioned without entering a vicious circle or infinite regress - in other words logic floats on the abyss of nonsense by faith alone.

    And what is more: creation happens when moving along this boundary between what is already created (the Logos) and what is uncreated or pure potentiality (the Abyss). To be a creative person is to dabble in nonsense and insanity - deconstructing in order to come back with something novel. To be spiritually dead is to either lose faith like a rock (like Peter) pushing too far into the boundary thus sinking into the abyss which is dissolution and insanity or to remain safely sane and far from the boundary becoming petrified and brittle in your existing stagnating structure. The Spirit moves over the water and this is life and creation.

    Anyway, that's just one example of how I believe deep truths can be exegeted from religious myths.

    I think so.

    The problem with religion is the same with any organization (structure) of people: whenever 2 or more people get together hierarchy forms to more effectively coordinate action. Hierarchy filters controlling and low-empathy people to the top.

    The other problem with religion, I alluded to above: stagnation and brittleness from old structures which no longer support but imprison - a loss of curiosity which is the quality that draws an individual along the boundary of knowledge between the Logos (the known) and the Abyss (the unknown).
     
  7. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Q: Are the religious traditions that are so much a part of our culture worth saving, preserving, nurturing?

    Religious traditions cannot be saved or preserved in the way Alex suggests. Religious traditions are living cultural realities which are maintained and nurtured by living human communities of believers and practitioners. We can only save and or preserve things which are already more or less dead.

    But I don’t think that is what Bernardo was saying anyway. To my perception he was saying that the religious myths of the various traditions are signs of something in human beings which is deeper and prior to the specific mythological forms they assume in particular religions. An inherent universal experience or sense of the numinous or mystical; of a reality beyond the five physical senses; and the conviction that somehow that hidden reality is of immense importance and significance for us.

    If that is what Bernardo was saying I completely agree with him
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
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  8. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Another issue which arose in passing has to do with near death experience, or any kind of paranormal experience.
    That is, we cannot take the testimony of individuals who have had these experiences purely on face value; or purely in the terms they use to express them.

    I mean this specifically if we want to arrive at a real science of the paranormal.
    I do not mean that we should not respect the personal significance of the experience for the individual.
    These are two entirely different matters.

    The very possibility of science is founded on the collection of data in a systematic and disciplined manner which consciously endeavours to eliminate subjective overlays or bias as much as possible.

    Near death experience involves many features which are unfamiliar to earthlings; the afterlife realms are quite different to the Earth realm. Raw near death experience is necessarily saturated in subject overlays, interpretation and bias. Therefore it must be processed correctly if it is to become properly scientific data.

    The example in the discussion was about people seeing Jesus or Buddha or some other mythological religious figure during their near death experience. If you have read near death literature you will know that behind these specific names there often lies an experience of a being of light. The scientific data is – I saw a being of light; the personal interpretation is – I saw Jesus, or I saw Buddha.

    Meeting a person you have known is a different matter. You don’t have to interpret that you met your mother; you know and recognise her.

    Near death experiences involve many features which are unfamiliar to earthlings and these features are interpreted through the personal human memory of the individual so as to be rendered intelligible. This is an entirely unconscious process. We do it automatically all the time with all experience.
     
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  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I am very cautious about this approach (without perhaps completely disagreeing with you) because science is drenched with this approach when it comes to anything paranormal (and twisting the data to fit some belief has become horribly common in other areas as well).

    David
     
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  10. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Agreed!
    However, as Bernardo pointed out, the moment anyone adopts that viewpoint, that value is more or less lost (however, placebos still have some effect even when people know what they are).

    Personally, I think that exposure to Skeptiko has similar psychological value, but its foundations seem far more robust.

    David
     
  11. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    Do you think that scientists have drawn incorrect conclusions about the reliability of first person accounts? The problem of the reliability of first person accounts goes well beyond parapsycology. Aren't scientists equally drenched with this approach in non-parapsychologically related fields? Law as well.

    What approach do you suggest?
     
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  12. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well the problem is when investigators routinely re-interpret what people say, to mean what they think it should mean! That is the problem with the scientific approach to NDE's. With NDE's you basically have nothing other than a first person account - but of a very striking nature - but if you start re-interpreting it, it can mean anything.

    Searching for commonalities between NDE's seems to be about the best you can do.

    What would you do?

    David
     
  13. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    @ David Bailey
    Obviously I am not recommending anything like what you insinuate.
    I was referring to the scientific method and its proper application.
     
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  14. KeithA

    KeithA New

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    David Eire said

    Another issue which arose in passing has to do with near death experience, or any kind of paranormal experience.
    That is, we cannot take the testimony of individuals who have had these experiences purely on face value; or purely in the terms they use to express them.


    Doesn't Ray Moody say that nonsense and metaphor are part of the NDE persons language when they so describe? And says it's essential to approach NDEs
    in this way? (I stand to be corrected here). So how can you take what they say at face value? I'm not denying something profound happens and BTW,
    like Michael Sudduth, I think that "consciousness will continue after death" though the form is a mystery.The point is how the mind will always be a filter.
     
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  15. KeithA

    KeithA New

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    Am I correct in saying the general opinion here when it comes to NDE accounts is the literalist view?
     
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  16. north

    north Member

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    no
     
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  17. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well you tell me what you do with these accounts!

    What do you do with endless accounts where a person encounters their deceased relatives?

    David
     
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  18. Perhaps there was a time when that was true...not sure now?

    There are people who take the core NDE message as truth, others who think it's a possibility, others who see it as one face of the afterlife, others who suggest it's a deception or at least not the entirety of the truth...and so on...
     
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  19. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    My impression is just the opposite. What is perceived in NDEs has a literal presentation, but what underlies that is something real that it is difficult to apprehend in literal terms. People who see Jesus are seeing the same thing as people who see the Buddha, for example, but presented in different ways. The issue of whether they sometimes see things which can later be verified, e.g. a dead relative who they didn't know in ordinary life was dead, to my mind doesn't change that; they still see the underlying truth of the dead person and attribute to it a literal image.
     
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  20. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Yes Ray Moody has a strange (to me) theory about NDE accounts being nonsense
    I didn't find anything it it that was convincing or even interesting to me
    I completely disagree with Ray on this issue

    NDEers are not talking nonsense. That it not how to understand them; and it is not what I am saying in my earlier comment

    There is a world of difference between - subjective personal interpretation, and nonsense

    There is also a difference between subjective personal interpretation and scientific data

    ps: nor was I saying that scientific data means distorting their accounts to fit a reductionist materialist ideology as one commenter seemed to presume

    Personally I take the testimony of NDEers seriously, and I think it is very likely that we do survive physical death
     
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