Are Atheists Brainwashed?
Posted on 19 October 2010, 17:50
Based on all the articles I’ve seen in newspapers and on the Internet lately, as well as all the books promoting atheism, it appears that organized atheism has declared war on organized religion. The latest attack appeared in the October 11, 2010 issue of USA Today. Authored by Jerry A. Coyne, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago, it is titled “Science and religion aren’t friends.”
“Evolution took a huge bite a while back, and recent work on the brain has shown no evidence for souls, spirits, or any part of our personality or behavior distinct from the lump of jelly in our head,” Coyne writes in championing the cause of atheism. He goes on to say that “science is no more compatible with religion than with other superstitions, such as leprechauns.”
There is nothing in the article to indicate that Coyne, who says he is a “former believer,” is even remotely aware of all of the scientific research suggesting that consciousness survives death – research in near-death experiences, mediumship, past-life regression, deathbed visions, apparitions, astral travel, and other paranormal phenomena. It was research carried out by a number of very distinguished scientists and scholars. My guess is, however, that if confronted with the volumes of research attesting to survival, Coyne would, as with other atheists I have encountered, say he knows all about such research and that it is just so much bunk. The scientists and scholars, as brilliant as they may have been, were simply duped by master magicians.
The atheists who call themselves “skeptics” sometimes have their own magicians show how the “trick” is performed. I was thinking about this recently when hitting some lobbed baseballs over a 200-foot fence in a Little League ball park. It occurred to me that my wife, if she were present, might think I am a good baseball player. Since she knows very little about baseball, she likely would not immediately recognize the difference between hitting a lobbed ball over a 200-foot fence and a 90-mph fast ball over a 340-foot fence. There is, of course, a world of a difference. The point is that the atheist’s tricks are usually performed on what amounts to a Little League field and the people who buy into their tricks don’t know enough about the real phenomena to know the difference.
In his 2009 book, The End of Materialism, Dr. Charles Tart, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California at Davis, states that the conflict is not between science, per se, and spirituality, but between scientism and spirituality. Scientism is, he says, a rigidified and dogmatic corruption of science. In effect, scientism is scientific fundamentalism and is to science what religious fundamentalism is to religion. While the religious fundamentalists are locked into the “letter” of whatever good book they adopt, the scientific fundamentalists are dogmatically locked into the scientific method.
It is difficult to generalize, but it has been my observation that many atheists are former religious fundamentalists. When their faith was tested and things didn’t work out in their favor, they blamed it on God and divorced “Him,” moving to the other extreme and vowing never again to be duped. First Santa Claus, then God, such a person does not want a third strike. But I have also encountered a number of atheists who had issues with their parents, who were fundamentalists. Atheism was a way to rebel against their parents. In effect, the move is often from religious fundamentalism to scientific fundamentalism without any real understanding of spirituality outside of religious fundamentalism. The smug atheists jump to the conclusion that religious fundamentalism is representative of all spiritual belief, and they end up not being able to see the forest for the trees.
Most of these scientific fundamentalists begin their ad hominem arguments by claiming that there is no scientific proof of God. They are in that respect much like the religious fundamentalists as they believe that God must be identified and validated before one can accept the survival of consciousness. If there is no “proof” of God, there must not be any “proof” of an afterlife seems to be the reasoning. When the evidence for survival is pointed out to them, they immediately start flying the science banner and claiming that research into psychic and spiritual matters has not been scientific because the phenomena can’t be replicated. They give their own narrow meaning to “science” and pretty much limit it to test tube science, ignorant of the fact that they are at the same time dismissing so many other areas that science has accepted.
The basic issue is not whether God exists, but whether consciousness survives physical death. If God, whatever He, She, or It happens to be, does exist, but survival does not, a belief in God doesn’t do much for us. On the other hand, if there is evidence for survival, as there most certainly is, that is what God is all about in the first place. Consider that Buddhists are able to accept survival in some form without a god.
Looking for God first is a deductive approach that leads nowhere. Taking the inductive approach of looking at the evidence for survival first and letting God unfold from there seems like a much more logical and intelligent approach.
The atheist or scientific fundamentalist also often assumes that accepting God and survival means rejecting biological evolution. That may very well be the case with many religious fundamentalists, but those accepting the evidence for survival generally find no conflict in accepting both survival and evolution. Certainly, Alfred Russel Wallace, co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution, had no difficulty accepting both. He was a dedicated Spiritualist and said that the evidence for Spiritualism was as good as the evidence in any other area of science.
The atheists are quick to point out how religion has resulted in so many wars and so much terror. They say that they are able to lead a very moral life without God and without the hope of an afterlife. William James, the distinguished Harvard professor of psychology and philosophy, saw such an attitude as just so much bravado that melts away with age and approaching death. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that the masses – the uneducated and the poorer classes that make up the bulk of the world’s population – would be so morally restrained without the belief in an afterlife. Do the “enlightened” atheists really want to test the waters in this regard?
In his recent book, Mind Programming, Dr. Eldon Taylor, president and director of Progressive Awareness Research, Inc., points out that artifacts discovered in ancient burial sites suggest that people have always believed in life after death. Moreover, neuroscientists have demonstrated the existence of religious centers in the human brain. “In other words, we’re built to believe,” he offers. “It takes an act of society and an orchestrated effort by educators to produce an atheist. In this sense, atheism is a product of brainwashing.”
“Eyes are useless to a blind brain,” Camille Flammarion, the famous French astronomer, recalled an Arabian proverb. “[There are too many] men incapable of being convinced, despite the most evident proofs; worthy men, moreover, from other points of view, learned, agreeable, philanthropic, but whose mental eyes are constructed in such a way that they do not see straight before them,” Flammarion continued. “Their eyes have a prism before the retina in place of the normal lens, and this prism distorts the rays by a few degrees, with refractions, which differ according to type. This is not their fault. It is not only that they do not wish to perceive the sun at high noon, but they cannot…To have too much intellect is sometimes a hindrance to the simple comprehension of things as they are.”
Sir Oliver Lodge, the esteemed British physicist and radio pioneer, saw the problem being that “the aim of science has been for the most part a study of mechanism, the mechanism whereby results are achieved, an investigation into the physical processes which go on, and which appear to be coextensive with nature. Any theory which seems to involve the action of Higher Beings, or of any unknown entity controlling and working the mechanism, is apt to be extruded or discountenanced as a relic of primitive superstition, coming down from times when such infantile explanations were prevalent.”
Unfortunately, much of today’s atheism appears to originate in academia. In his 1999 book Passport to the Cosmos the late Dr. John Mack, a Pulitzer Prize winner and professor of psychiatry at Harvard, gives his thoughts on the materialistic “worldview” in which so many academicians are stuck. “A worldview functions at both individual and institutional levels,” Mack writes. “It is a source of security and a compass to guide us. For an individual it holds the psyche together. To destroy someone’s worldview is virtually to destroy that person. A complex network of institutions, an edifice of power and money, supports a worldview and gives it legitimacy.”
Mack goes on to say that “the findings of parapsychology challenge the idea of a mechanistic universe operating by established causal principles, suggesting a world in which unseen connections work mysteriously according to principles we do not yet understand and certainly do not control.” He admits that this was his own mindset – one devoid of consciousness and intelligence beyond the brain – until he began investigating the paranormal. He came to look back upon his former view of a secular universe as “quite absurd.”
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
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Strange Deathbed Mist & Light Explained by Michael Tymn
Posted on 04 October 2010, 22:09
In his recently-released book Glimpses of Eternity, Dr. Raymond Moody, (below) who is known primarily for his pioneering work in near-death experiences, explores the area of deathbed visions and shared-death experiences. In one chapter, Moody discusses a strange mist that is sometimes reported over a deathbed. “They describe it in various ways,” he writes. “Some say that it looks like smoke, while others say it is as subtle as steam. Sometimes it seems to have a human shape. Whatever the case, it usually drifts upward and always disappears fairly quickly.”
Moody and co-author Paul Perry quote a Georgia doctor who twice saw a mist coming up from deceased patients. The doctor explained that as the patients died they lit up with a bright glow, their eyes shining with a silvery light. The mist formed over the chest and hovered there, as the doctor observed closely and saw that the mist had depth and complex structure. He further said that it seemed to have layers with energetic motion in it. During the second occurrence, the doctor felt an unseen presence standing beside him and seemingly waiting for the patient to die.
A hospice psychologist is quoted by Moody as saying that the misty clouds which form above the head or chest seem to have an electrical component to them. A nurse reported seeing a mist rising from many patients as they die, including her father, with whom she saw the mist rise from his chest “as if off a still river,” and then hovering for a few seconds before dissipating.
The bright glow witnessed by the Georgia doctor has also been reported by many other deathbed observers. Moody quotes one man as saying that the room became “uncomfortably bright,” so bright that he couldn’t shut it out even when he closed his eyes. A hospice nurse reported seeing a “luminous presence floating near the bed, shaped somewhat like a person.” In the same case, the head nurse saw the light in the room and light coming from the dying person’s eyes but did not observe the presence.
Moody tells of his own experience as he and other family members gathered at the bed of his dying mother. Among some other strange things, they all saw an unusual light in the room. “It was like looking at light in a swimming pool at night,” Moody explains.
There are countless reports of dying people having visions of light and seeing loved ones gathering, but skeptics discount them as hallucinations. However, as Moody points out, it is one thing to claim that the dying person is hallucinating, quite another to claim that healthy people in the room are sharing in the hallucination with the dying person. He discusses a number of other shared experiences at deathbeds and opines that they tell us more about the afterlife than the NDE and that they are “the key to proving the existence of an afterlife.” (It should be kept in mind that calling something an “hallucination” does not mean it is not “real.” It is just not objectively real.)
Caregivers Often Witness
Such misty vapors and “lights” around the deathbed have been reported by other researchers, including Dr. Bernard Laubscher, (below) a South African psychiatrist. “I was told by different ‘Tant Sannies’ (caregivers) how while watching at the bedside of the dying one with one or two candles burning they had seen the formation of a faint vaporous body, an elongated whitish purplish-like cloud; parallel with the dying person and about two feet above the body,” Laubscher wrote in a 1975 book, Beyond Life’s Curtain. “Gradually this cloudlike appearance became denser and took on the form, first vaguely and then more definitely, of the person in the bed. This process continued until the phantom suspended above the body was an absolute replica of the person, especially the face.”
Laubscher further reported that these caregivers, some of whom were apparently clairvoyant, reported seeing a ribbon-like cord stretching from the back of the phantom’s head to the body below and that the phantom would begin to glow as it was fully formed. “They noticed that some were more luminous than others and there was a light all around the outline of the [phantom], which I could only compare to a neon tube,” Laubscher added, going on to say that as the phantom righted itself the connecting cord thinned out as if it was fraying away. Sometimes these clairvoyant caregivers would report joyous faces of other deceased gathering around to welcome the person to the spirit world before the “silver cord” was severed and the visions ceased.
As Laubscher came to understand it, the vaporous material has the same makeup as ectoplasm, the mysterious substance given off by physical mediums before materializations. It acts as sort of a “glue” in bonding the physical body with the spirit body, and the more materialistic a person the denser the ectoplasm and the more difficulty the person has in “giving up the ghost.”
In their excellent 2008 book, The Art of Dying, Dr. Peter Fenwick, a renowned British neuropsychiatrist, and Elizabeth Fenwick also discuss the “smoke,” “grey mist,” or “white mist” which leaves the body at death. “Sometimes it will hover above the body before rising to disappear through the ceiling, and it is often associated with love, light, compassion, purity, and occasionally with heavenly music,” they write, adding that not everyone who is in the room sees it.
The Fenwicks quote a woman named Penny Bilcliffe, who was present when her sister died: “I saw a fast-moving ‘Will ‘o the Wisp’ appear to leave her body by the side of her mouth on the right. The shock and the beauty of it made me gasp. It appeared like a fluid or gaseous diamond, pristine, sparkly, and pure, akin to the view from above of an eddy in the clearest pool you can imagine…It moved rapidly upwards and was gone.”
In his 1970 book, Out of the Body Experiences, Dr. Robert Crookall quotes Dr. R. B. Hout, a physician, who was present at the death of his aunt. “My attention was called…to something immediately above the physical body, suspended in the atmosphere about two feet above the bed. At first I could distinguish nothing more than a vague outline of a hazy, fog-like substance. There seemed to be only a mist held suspended, motionless. But, as I looked, very gradually there grew into my sight a denser, more solid, condensation of this inexplicable vapor. Then I was astonished to see definite outlines presenting themselves, and soon I saw this fog-like substance was a assuming a human form.”
Hout then saw that the form resembled the physical body of his aunt. The form hung suspended horizontally a few feet above the body. When the phantom form appeared complete, Hout saw his aunt’s features clearly. “They were very similar to the physical face, except that a glow of peace and vigor was expressed instead of age and pain. The eyes were closed as though in tranquil sleep, and a luminosity seemed to radiate from the spirit body.”
Hout then observed a “silverlike substance” streaming from the head of the physical body to the head of the spirit body. “The colour was a translucent luminous silver radiance. The cord seemed alive with vibrant energy. I could see the pulsations of light stream along the course of it, from the direction of the physical body to the spirit ‘double.’ With each pulsation the spirit body became more alive and denser, whereas the physical body became quieter and more nearly lifeless…”
When the pulsations of the cord stopped, Hout could see various strands of the cord snapping. When the last connecting strand snapped, the spirit body rose to a vertical position, the eyes opened, and a smile broke from the face before it vanished from his sight.
Ectoplasm on the Battlefield
“I have seen ectoplasm on the battlefield,” a young soldier was quoted in the January 25, 1945 issue of Psychic Observer by reporter Ed Bodin. “I have watched it emanate from a badly wounded soldier and then disappear as that soldier breathed his last. One hillbilly comrade from Kentucky called it ‘soul mist,’ revealing that many natives in his part of the country considered it quite a normal thing, although they seldom talked about it.”
Because his orthodox Christian family frowned on discussion of such occult matters, the young soldier asked not to be identified. However, he went on to tell how, after being wounded by shrapnel, another soldier lay badly wounded about 10 feet from him. “I looked at him with pity, forgetting my own pain. Then in the deepening twilight I saw strange smoke begin to curl above him as though coming from his stomach as he lay on his back moaning. The stump of his arm was in the thick mud congealing the blood to some extent and making death slower.
“Then I remembered what my friend had said about soul-mist, and I watched fascinated as the ectoplasm became denser and began to flow toward me. For a moment I thought I saw in it the face of a kindly old lady. Presently it reached me and for a second I was bewildered by the strange sensation that came over me. I felt stronger. With my left arm I raised myself and began to crawl to the dying soldier. I reached for my canteen of water. The mist was still around me, and with a sudden effort I was on my feet, and beside the soldier.”
The other soldier died and the young soldier telling the story rose and walked nearly a mile to the Red Cross representative. He remained unconscious for three days and medical attendants later told him that they could not understand how he had lived, to say nothing of walking the near mile to safety. “…to my dying day, I shall believe the ectoplasm from the body of that dying soldier had helped me in a mysterious way,” the young soldier added. “It had given me sufficient strength to save my life. That soul-mist of a sacrificed soldier was like the spiritual light of Jesus about whom it was said: ‘He could save others, but not Himself’.”
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
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