Is the soul biological or spiritual?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Vitaliy
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Post by Vitaliy »

Belinda wrote:I did follow Vitaliy's link to his own material in the Web… although I will continue to be very interested in paranormal events.
If you become interested in my approach, you are welcome on my site through clicking my signature link at the bottom. Then - References. Some papers are in English, others - in Russian. Sorry, if you have problems reading Russian :(.
PhillipS
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Post by PhillipS »

enegue wrote: So, a corollary that follows from this assumption is, God's mastery of science is such that he can create an entire mature universe in no more than 5 days. Awesome!

If that's all there was to it though, I would be standing on pretty shaky ground, but there's more. Ok, God created a brand new, mature universe. What would I expect to happen as it moves forward with time? I would expect to see it grow old, for bits to fall off, for complex things to return to their simplest state? Now, knock me over with a feather, isn't that precisely what I do see?
Sure, the second law of thermodynamics implies that the universe is winding down as it expands, and eventually will face a (lack of) heat death. That is, unless the expansion reverses beforehand and we get a big crunch, possibly followed by another big bang. Yet, within this overall framework, there are pockets of increasing complexity. Our Earth for one, but there may be others we cannot detect because of distance. In geological time, this incresae in complexity on Earth is ongoing. I refer here to the evolution of life. Even on a much shorter timescale, man's inventions (language, writing, computers, artificial intelligence, the internet) and the reach of his mind show no sign of abating, and indeed may be accelerating.

On a related point, surely the evidence from radioactive dating, which proves the vast age of the Earth, must cast some doubt in your mind about the Biblical story of the creation!
enegue wrote:
PhillipS wrote:I do not share your gloomy outlook for humankind, but then that is only a matter of opinion. I believe that man has the innovative ability to solve his problems for the good of all, and this has been ably demonstrated in many fields. Of course we have a long way to go, and there are pitfalls to avoid, such as nuclear terrorism, poverty and pollution of the planet. So we cannot afford to be smug.
So, let me put this simple question to you: stepping outside your immediate environment, do you believe the level of discontent in the world at this time is increasing or decreasing?

Cheers,
enegue
The answer to your question depends on the frame of reference, both time and place.

If you look at averages over 2,000 years, most indices of human well-being have been improving. I cite here lifespans, infant mortality, individual freedom, nutrition, public safety, etc. Of course, there was a huge blip in the curve in the first half of the 20th C due to World Wars I & II, but things have been getting better since, in general. As to the level of individual contentment in the developed world, I get the sense that it is increasing along with the indices, with the exception of the first half of the 20th C and perhaps the last few years since the start of the Great Recession in Europe and the US. I do not have any market research to support my position.

I do travel often to undeveloped countries in Africa and Central Asia, and I would have to admit this positive progression is not evident in those places. People there are beset with a host of problems, such as civil wars, corrupt governments, poverty, starvation, lack of freedom, high infant mortality rates, endemic diseases, etc. I encounter a lot of discontent here. In some places it has been like this as long as people can remember. In others (central Asia), it has been so since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Groktruth
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Post by Groktruth »

enegue wrote:
Groktruth wrote:Frank Loehr devised some kitchen table experiments using sprouting seeds and prayer. The biblically recommended experiment is to tithe as a test of God and His ability to provide supernaturally. Or to "seek Him with all your might" and see if He will reveal Himself. The stuff you list might work to get demons to reveal themselves, if they exist, as is presently rather likely true.
Hi, Groktruth.

In regard to tithing, it only dawned on me in recent years that tithing and thankfulness are connected. You will only want to tithe if you are thankful, and you can't express thanks without someone to thank.

Another observation, you know how people are always asking "Are you a glass half-full or a glass half-empty guy?", well, anyone who tithes has always got a glass that is overflowing.

Cheers,
enegue
Hi Enegue,

My first experience with tithing as a test of God was to prove that He was the sort of mental construct PhillipeS hypothesizes. I had made a promise I wanted out of, and was arguing with myself that I had made the proviso in the promise that I would do my best, all that I could, to keep the promise. When all that failed, I was free to break the promise.

The only thing I had not tried was dealing with God as a tangible reality who could be involved to make "all things possible," miraculously. I was shown the tithing experiment, and thought that if it failed (and I hoped that it would!) this would disprove God, in a Popperian sense.

But, as you note, the experiment never fails. After several months of getting miraculous provisioning, I went on to the other experimental ways we have of "proving" that God is pretty much as he describes Himself in scripture.

Gratitude came later, actually as the result of an experiment where it was the predicted result of certain verbal statements plus prayers. And, as I discovered the incredible riches that come with gratitude, I switched my agenda, inluding my giving/tithing, to one of hoping that this God stuff was true. The idea that there might truly be some higher being involving themselves in "my" life like a Dr. Dolittle watching over and talking with a pet worm, became great news. So many experiments involved fixing all sorts of nuisance problems.

So, I got the wherewithal to keep my promise, and did. It was expensive, but in the end, was satisfying.

And, I dropped Popper as a guiding philosopher of science, and took up Bayes more seriously.
enegue
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Post by enegue »

Hi, Groktruth.

I must admit you made me smile when I read your post. I had no idea that someone would be so ... scientific ... about the subject of tithing. LOL.
Groktruth wrote:So, I got the wherewithal to keep my promise, and did. It was expensive, but in the end, was satisfying.
I had a similar experience with a venture my church set out on to raise funds for a school. I disagreed with the method they chose to pursue, but was compelled to commit myself because I reasoned that my objection was only an excuse for not wanting to contribute. The venture was a success and I was pleased to have been involved.

Cheers,
enegue
Groktruth
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Post by Groktruth »

enegue wrote:Hi, Groktruth.

I must admit you made me smile when I read your post. I had no idea that someone would be so ... scientific ... about the subject of tithing. LOL.
Groktruth wrote:So, I got the wherewithal to keep my promise, and did. It was expensive, but in the end, was satisfying.
I had a similar experience with a venture my church set out on to raise funds for a school. I disagreed with the method they chose to pursue, but was compelled to commit myself because I reasoned that my objection was only an excuse for not wanting to contribute. The venture was a success and I was pleased to have been involved.

Cheers,
enegue
Hi, Enegue,

Your story is a classic tale of the value of examining yourself, and distrusting any thought that smacks of wishful thinking. We sometimes err, but it is not so shameful as mistakes made pursuing, foolishly, our selfishness.

I believe the strongest case against atheism is that it makes the atheist look so much smarter than the rest of us, foolish, deceived believers, in a world where there is no one around, no God's etc, who are even smarter. The atheist subtly argues themselves into the position of being the smartest sort of living being on earth. No wonder they like the idea!

I suspect that this is why they have deceived themselves, because they usually will argue, "There is no evidence for God." They have concluded that they are so smart, they have seen all the evidence that ever was, and upon careful examination of it all, have found that none of it supports the hypothesis that there are separate souls, or God, or gods. Yeah, right. Humbly concluded, of course.

I know that this was how my mind was working, truly why I did not want God to be out there. Thinking of myself as Professor super-mind was much nore fun than thinking of myself as "You worm, Jacob." But the living was not so great.
PhillipS
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Post by PhillipS »

Groktruth wrote: The only thing I had not tried was dealing with God as a tangible reality who could be involved to make "all things possible," miraculously. I was shown the tithing experiment, and thought that if it failed (and I hoped that it would!) this would disprove God, in a Popperian sense.

But, as you note, the experiment never fails. After several months of getting miraculous provisioning, I went on to the other experimental ways we have of "proving" that God is pretty much as he describes Himself in scripture.
Groktruth,

My tithing has never been rewarded with a supernatural experience. So, either God loves you more; or you have different standards than I when it comes to discriminating between supernatural events and events that are natural, man-made or the result of chance.

This illustrates why it is impossible to explain these kinds of subjective/personal experiences to another unless he has already had similar experiences; and then you would be preaching to the converted!
enegue
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Post by enegue »

PhillipS wrote:My tithing has never been rewarded with a supernatural experience. So, either God loves you more; or you have different standards than I when it comes to discriminating between supernatural events and events that are natural, man-made or the result of chance.

This illustrates why it is impossible to explain these kinds of subjective/personal experiences to another unless he has already had similar experiences; and then you would be preaching to the converted!
Here's the thing I found about tithing. I reasoned that If I gave with an expectation of return, then I was giving with the wrong attitude. I had to WANT TO GIVE. How do you know when you are doing that? By continuing to do it whatever happens. The moment you stop is the moment you know you do don't really want to give. Persistence is the behaviour that proves all things spiritual. The things you continue to do are the measure of what you WANT TO DO. As I shared with Grotruth, I found that anyone who tithes will always have a glass that is overflowing.

Cheers,
enegue
PhillipS
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Post by PhillipS »

enegue wrote:Here's the thing I found about tithing. I reasoned that If I gave with an expectation of return, then I was giving with the wrong attitude. I had to WANT TO GIVE. How do you know when you are doing that? By continuing to do it whatever happens. The moment you stop is the moment you know you do don't really want to give. Persistence is the behaviour that proves all things spiritual. The things you continue to do are the measure of what you WANT TO DO. As I shared with Grotruth, I found that anyone who tithes will always have a glass that is overflowing.

Cheers,
enegue
Sure, giving is not giving if you have an expectation of return or if you give without really wanting to. But my post was in response to Groktruth's claim that he receives a supernatural reward from giving, which proves God's existence. This is subjective and personal and is impossible to convey to another who does not have these supernatural experiences.
Nubbles
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Post by Nubbles »

Groktruth wrote:I believe the strongest case against atheism is that it makes the atheist look so much smarter than the rest of us, foolish, deceived believers, in a world where there is no one around, no God's etc, who are even smarter. The atheist subtly argues themselves into the position of being the smartest sort of living being on earth. No wonder they like the idea!
That is not a case against anything. Don't you think you are smarter than an atheist? Don't you think they are foolish? This "case" against atheism is offensive. You do know there are atheistic religions, correct? The fourth largest religion in the world is an atheistic one, for your information.
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Vitaliy
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Post by Vitaliy »

With eyes wide open, I can only stand in bewilderment at a sly wisdom of my fellow forum believers. The church has long demanded a tithe for the maintenance of its comfortable existence and subduing its believers. And now this same idea appears again in order to buy from Lord some material reward, or something "miraculous" - being superior not only to my understanding but claiming to be a manifestation of divine omnipotence.

At the same time God appears as sort of selfish subject being under the influence of anthropomorphism, and requiring material reward, and sincere grovel. In this case, we should have in mind: the highest bidder, "sincerest lover" - will get more. The market is a market, even transferred to the heavenly pastures ... Wonderful works are thine, O Lord!
Belinda
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Post by Belinda »

Grocktruth wrote:
I believe the strongest case against atheism is that it makes the atheist look so much smarter than the rest of us, foolish, deceived believers, in a world where there is no one around, no God's etc, who are even smarter. The atheist subtly argues themselves into the position of being the smartest sort of living being on earth. No wonder they like the idea!
Atheists take God seriously enough to :

1. Search for evidence of his reality.

2. Examine how upper class, aristocratic, rich and theocratic 'God' adherents throughout the history of Christianity have capitalised on the lie that God punishes unbelievers.


3.Look at how God beliefs both help and diminish humanity.

4. Feel and act friendly towards the simple Christian church attender who doesn't interfere with other people's lives, and who is Christian enough to extend kindness towards believers and unbelievers alike.
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enegue
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Post by enegue »

Nubbles wrote:That is not a case against anything. Don't you think you are smarter than an atheist? Don't you think they are foolish? This "case" against atheism is offensive. You do know there are atheistic religions, correct? The fourth largest religion in the world is an atheistic one, for your information.
A smart Christian can see the trend towards increasing discontent in the world and knows he is not smart enough to secure a solution on his own. A smart Christian will cry out to God for help in order to behave counter to his natural inclinations, which will then slow the rate of increase in discontent marginally.

A smart Christian will cry out to God for help in order to show non-Christians, who recognise the trend towards increasing discontent in the world and know they are not smart enough to secure a solution on their own, how they can connect to God so they too can cry out to him for help to behave counter to their natural inclinations, and thus slow the rate of increase in discontent marginally.

But, there just aren't enough people willing to listen to and call on God. You guys actively discourage it. So, discontent will continue to increase, just like entropy, until the end.

When will the end come?

Cheers,
enegue
Nubbles
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Post by Nubbles »

enegue wrote: A smart Christian can see the trend towards increasing discontent in the world and knows he is not smart enough to secure a solution on his own. A smart Christian will cry out to God for help in order to behave counter to his natural inclinations, which will then slow the rate of increase in discontent marginally.

A smart Christian will cry out to God for help in order to show non-Christians, who recognise the trend towards increasing discontent in the world and know they are not smart enough to secure a solution on their own, how they can connect to God so they too can cry out to him for help to behave counter to their natural inclinations, and thus slow the rate of increase in discontent marginally.

But, there just aren't enough people willing to listen to and call on God. You guys actively discourage it. So, discontent will continue to increase, just like entropy, until the end.

When will the end come?

Cheers,
enegue
I will repeat part of my last post:

You do know there are atheistic religions, correct? The fourth largest religion in the world is an atheistic one, for your information.

The end will come when people like you (including people of all religions who think theirs is the only way to curb discontent), finally annihilate themselves over whose God is the best. It almost sounds like you want that.

Your religion is not superior to anyone else's. You are not better than anyone else at solving the problems of the world.
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Vitaliy
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Post by Vitaliy »

enegue wrote:A smart Christian will cry out to God for help in order to show non-Christians, who recognise the trend towards increasing discontent in the world and know they are not smart enough to secure a solution on their own, how they can connect to God so they too can cry out to him for help to behave counter to their natural inclinations, and thus slow the rate of increase in discontent marginally.
Well. So you propose asking God for help. But you were created in His image and likeness. Why not take the full responsibility and act yourself? How you bring up the children of your own? So that until their last days they will cry for you help and advice in any predicament? Then let us destroy all schools and universities and teach children to pray and address all their problems to God. Let us imagine it. All our research laboratories, factories, transport - all positions are entrusted to people in black cassocks. Any problems are solved with the God's help. Shall you take a plane, where the pilot was not trained to fly planes, but knows how ask God for help?

Asking God for help has the only sane reason - when you meditate - in line with a bulk of other methods to enter the alternate conscious state. It helps to consult with your subconscious and find the answer to your problem yourself. There are many religions and you have no reason to insist that your religion, your God is more true than that of all others.
Groktruth
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Post by Groktruth »

PhillipS wrote:
Groktruth wrote: The only thing I had not tried was dealing with God as a tangible reality who could be involved to make "all things possible," miraculously. I was shown the tithing experiment, and thought that if it failed (and I hoped that it would!) this would disprove God, in a Popperian sense.

But, as you note, the experiment never fails. After several months of getting miraculous provisioning, I went on to the other experimental ways we have of "proving" that God is pretty much as he describes Himself in scripture.
Groktruth,

My tithing has never been rewarded with a supernatural experience. So, either God loves you more; or you have different standards than I when it comes to discriminating between supernatural events and events that are natural, man-made or the result of chance.

This illustrates why it is impossible to explain these kinds of subjective/personal experiences to another unless he has already had similar experiences; and then you would be preaching to the converted!
Actually, in orthodox science, if you do an experiment and get a different result than another experimenter, the two of you then proceed to examine each others materials and methods.

Here are mine.

1. The tithing experiment was an explicit test of God.

2. I gave exactly 10% of my gross income, plus a bit more as a gift.

3. I asserted that I was paying a due bill, a just debt, not giving a gift, with the 10%

4. I paid it to the holiest place I was personally in contact with, where holiest was defined as non-hypocritical and most directly involved in keeping God's written commandments. The Godly people that were playing the straightest with me personally.

5. I had identified a specific "provisioning" result that I was committed to regarding as "miraculous." (Money left over at the end of the month, in a household that had not seen such a thing for a year.) But, of course, I was open to other "signs" of divine intervention.

Now for yours.
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