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"My neurologist once told me that people with temporal lobe epilepsy are very often intensely religious.

Certainly
just before I have a grand mal fit
I have a 'vision' of such peace,
joy and significance that I can only call it God.

What does this say about the whole nature of religious vision?

Certain episodes
in the lives of the saints
have acquired a new meaning for me.

When Theresa of Avila had her three-day vision of hell, was she simply having a temporal lobe attack?"

Karen Armstrong

"Beginning the World"
New York: St Martin's Press (1983).







Just because some people
claim mystical "contact"
does NOT mean
they have a valid understanding of what humanity should believe or do.



The green sidebar on called.htm has some Bible verses
that came as a shock
when I really thought about them,

yet I'd read the Bible from childhood,
as a theological student
& as a minister
and had NOT really realised the implications.










" If a believer feels that he has enough empirical proof for his own belief,

he can NOT insist that there is enough empirical proof to convince those who do not agree."






New reformation Leaving

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Just an outline at present.
This needs more time than I can give it now.


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Please read the paragraph on the left panel with an ojective "outsider" viewpoint...

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The quote :

"I contend that we are both atheists.

I just believe in one fewer god than you do.

When you understand why you dismiss all the other gods,

you will understand why I dismiss yours."

can also apply to subjective experiences...

eg Asian mystics,

North American Indian spirituality,
( with documented evidence of psychoactive substance use by at least some groups),

Traditional African religious experiences,

the Mormon "revelation"

etc...


The Mormon claim to have the latest revelation is not accepted by the rest of Christianity,
or the rest of the world, ( for good reasons ).
He might have experienced something, but most of us now know enough to be able to dismiss any claim to objective validity for his ideas.

The JW's have an unusual interpretation, again dismissed even though they claim to be God-guided.

Christadelphians & other unusual groups...

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Saul / Paul - health issue - minor stroke ? severe dehydration ?

Guilt over being an extra zealous antagonist taking extremist measures...

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The importance of dreams, trances & visions in the past...

Subconscious wish fullfillment
"I imagined a new heaven & a new earth..."

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Aust aboriginal bone pointing leading to certain death in historical tribal culture...

( Group beliefs and power of suggestion in an unquestioning, unsophisticated believer with no mental defense mechanisms.)

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"Experience" and misinterpretation or ( self ) delusion...
The clarifying contribution of the psychological sciences.



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Those who follow the group pattern in the type of experience
that they & others in the group have.


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The solitary mystic vs organised religion.

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Stimulating the brain & producing halucinations...

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Johns Hopkins trial of psychactive substances - mystical, halucinary experiences

a report here

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Early human experiences & natural psychoactive plants..
eg ergot on rye, psychoactive mushrooms, wine, herbal drugs, etc...

How did the tribe learn what was safe to eat in a new area ? - trial & error...

Some would have died from eating poisonous substances,

Some would have reported "visions",

which could have included "useful" insights sometimes,

just as a dream can have links with what is going on in a person's life,

sometimes !!!







" If a believer feels that he has enough empirical proof for his own belief,

he can NOT insist that there is enough empirical proof
to convince those who do not agree."


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