Sunday, January 24, 2010

God in the brain? 2

My friend Tina:
I know this sounds a bit "far out" but after my brother John died this past year, I went to see a local psychic who lives in my neighborhood and has a good reputation locally. I wanted to know if John had "crossed over" or not, as his consciousness was so intermittent. He did come through with her to reassure me that he had . . . he mentioned a situation only he and I knew of, so I was convinced it was his spirit.
She described him as looking vibrant with a thick dark mustache and hair. And when he told her "death is the only sure cure for aging," we (the psychic Dona and I) both laughed. She said that was a good one and she would have to remember that.
I’m not pushing psychics. I know there are many kind of shady ones. But I had previous knowledge about her so wanted to share this to perhaps help you picture psychics as healthy.
Now to my skeptical friend whom I quoted a few posts ago. He thinks that if our “brains got turned off, there would be nothing transmitting.” As I understand this, he would say Tina’s contact with her deceased brother through the psychic was not true. Tina somehow was deceived because, he would say, there is no spiritual entity besides figments of human imagination and those are produced by chemical processes in the brain.

Physicalists really do not credit any spiritual reality, when for me it is the essence of life, PRIOR to material reality. I believe Spirit—Consciousness or Mind—is the font of material reality. I believe I get spiritual guidance from Spirit (maybe through a variety of spiritual entities), but physicalists believe my thoughts all come from my material brain. Incredible.

What I don't get in the message of physicalists is this: It seems they talk about spiritual experiences but just avoid admitting they're spiritual, and I suspect they avoid it because they associate spirituality too closely with religion, which disgusts them. I don't understand how they can say all mental activity—all the wisdom, insights, and psychological understandings, the intuitions and creativity, the leaps in understanding that can't be tracked in linear fashion, all the unconscious drivers of human behavior, all the myths in the collective unconscious—that it's all merely the result of chemical processes.
To me it's denying a plain fact.

I believe an objective spiritual reality, what we call God, is independent of our individual minds, conscious and unconscious, and yet also prompting our individual minds and working through them. Tina and those who described the experiences in my paranormal posts are not stupid.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty is not stupid but in fact courageous. She challenged her prior belief and risked losing the respect of her fellow journalists by looking for evidence of spiritual reality or “God.” A few posts down, I cited some results of her study. Here are more of her conclusions:

• Hagerty found what I have in my less disciplined study of this subject—spiritual experiences are common. Most people have them, and this is what explains the power of religion. But they come randomly and are hard to nail down in experiments. We can’t predict them (although we increase the likelihood of having them by being sensitive to their possibility).

• While chemicals like psychedelic drugs can prompt mystical experiences, Hagerty thinks they mediate the spiritual dimension and that the experiences are not only physical.
• It’s just as rational to believe that brain activity results from our minds or Eternal Mind as to believe that thoughts result from brain activity.

• Our thoughts may impact others, not only ourselves; she thinks our thoughts can have an effect on another persons’ body. This would mean that prayer for others works. In one experiment a husband’s thoughts changed his wife’s physiology. Prayer studies show this too. I wrote about studies of this in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky.

4 comments:

Dave60 said...

Contact with the spirit of the dead troubles me, for I’m not sure I want to continue after death, at least not in my current form of awareness. The implication of such contact is that one’s spirit is eternal or at least continues after the body dies for however long who knows. Trapped in one’s current form of awareness for eternity is not a pleasant thought. This is the problem with concepts of heaven, listening to glory to god on high sung by angels for all eternity is my concept of hell. Dying and having one’s spirit return to and merge with a universal spirit which is larger and all encompassing resulting in a transformation of awareness would be preferable.

Jeanette said...

Interesting.
I'm certain that "listening to glory to god on high sung by angels for all eternity" will NOT happen, but have no certainty about anything else, except that after physical death our participation in spiritual life continues in some form.

Dave60 said...

You claim certainty of participation in spiritual life after death, is this from personal experience of a spiritual nature? By that I mean contact with the spirits of the dead. I am uncertain, I have thoughts about continuation of some kind of awareness after death, but no certainty. I know most religions are based on the premise of a soul which exists separate from the physcial body, and I have whitnessed things which I cannot explain, but certainty eludes me.

Jeanette said...

I've not experienced contact with a deceased person but have heard many accounts of such contact from people close to me and absolutely trustworthy. Gradually my skepticism turned into certainty.
In addition, I've had my own experiences with Spirit. Well, I'd say this contributes more to my certainty. Thanks for the question. I've written more about this in other blogposts.