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Posts Tagged ‘atheism’

Maybe you already saw this article linked over at The Drudge Report.  I am posting it here because of my own personal experience.   You see, I wish that when I was mired in sin and depressed and hopeless, some good Christian doctor had just said, “Get thee to a rectory! find a priest and dig yourself out of this dung heap of sin!”

Well, I eventually found that curative on my own, without the help of the medical community.  Still it is good to know that there are medical professionals that understand that God made us to be corporeal and spiritual, and the one affects the other.  In England, a young man described as being “in a rut and in need of help” was lucky enough to find a doctor who was willing to see him as the whole person that God made him.  After a lengthy consultation the doctor suggested that the young man return to the practice of his faith from youth.  Fox News NY reports:

Richard Scott, a doctor for 28 years, is under investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC) and faces disciplinary action after he suggested to a 24-year-old man that he might find solace in Christianity.

Scott, who practices at a medical center in Margate, east of London, well known for having Christian doctors, insists he only raised his spiritual beliefs after carrying out a thorough and lengthy consultation, during which medical checks and referrals for further care were arranged.

When the man’s mother inquired of the consultation, however, her son apparently replied, “He just said I need Jesus.” This prompted his mother to refer Scott to the GMC, claiming that he had not offered medical advice during the consultation but instead talked about Jesus.

…He has continued to seek treatment from the practice despite the complaint filed by his mother.

The doctor, who has an unblemished record “has decided to fight the allegations and stand up to what he believes is a politically correct trend in Britain to persecute Christians for expressing their faith in the workplace.”

Scott fears that if he accepts the warning, and discusses his Christian beliefs with other patients, he could be struck off.

He maintains he acted professionally and says the complaint was made against him in the knowledge that professional bodies are nervous about claims of a religious nature.

Scott said, “I only discussed my faith at the end of a lengthy medical consultation after exploring the various interventions that the patient had previously tried, and after promising to follow up the patient’s request for an appointment with other medical professionals.

“I only discussed mutual faith after obtaining the patient’s permission. In our conversation, I said that, personally, I had found having faith in Jesus helped me and could help the patient. At no time did the patient indicate that they were offended, or that they wanted to stop the discussion. If that had been the case, I would have immediately ended the conversation.

“This complaint was brought to the GMC not by the patient, who has continued to be a patient in this practice, but by the patient’s mother.”

Scott is a partner at the Bethesda medical center in Margate, Kent. The six partners at the practice are all Christians and it has taken a biblical name. Practice leaflets and message boards publicize the doctors’ religion and invite patients to raise Christian beliefs with them.

Scott is being advised by the Christian Legal Center. Paul Diamond, the leading human rights barrister, has been instructed in the case.

Did you catch that?  The practice is made up of Christian practitioners.  Their leaflets and boards publicize their Christian beliefs and the nature of their practice.  So my question is, did this mother take her son there knowing full well the nature of their practice?  Was this some sort of set up?  We know from experience that atheists and humanists are not content to simply keep religion out of government.  They want it out of everyone’s lives and will not be happy until this is achieved.  Their number one target, in fact their only target, is Christianity. 

Pray for this doctor and his legal defense team.  May we never be silent in proclaiming the truth.  And for what it’s worth, I think the doctor is probably spot on.  We all can think of examples where getting right by God ‘cured’ someone of pain, despair, depression, anxiety or other so-called mental illnesses.

It did for me.

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Is this article suggesting that religious people are only spiritually-inclined because they are brain-damaged?  Hmmm. 

(Feb. 11) — Scientists have identified areas of the brain that, when damaged, lead to greater spirituality. The findings hint at the roots of spiritual and religious attitudes, the researchers say.
The study, published in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Neuron, involves a personality trait called self-transcendence, which is a somewhat vague measure of spiritual feeling, thinking and behaviors. Self-transcendence “reflects a decreased sense of self and an ability to identify one’s self as an integral part of the universe as a whole,” the researchers explain.
Before and after surgery, the scientists surveyed patients who had brain tumors removed. The surveys generate self-transcendence scores.
Selective damage to the left and right posterior parietal regions of the brain induced a specific increase in self-transcendence, or ST, the surveys showed.
“Our symptom-lesion mapping study is the first demonstration of a causative link between brain functioning and ST,” said Dr. Cosimo Urgesi from the University of Udine in Italy. “Damage to posterior parietal areas induced unusually fast changes of a stable personality dimension related to transcendental self-referential awareness. Thus, dysfunctional parietal neural activity may underpin altered spiritual and religious attitudes and behaviors.”
Previous neuroimaging studies had linked activity within a large network in the brain that connects the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortexes with spiritual experiences, “but information on the causative link between such a network and spirituality is lacking,” explains lead study author, Urgesi said.
One study, reported in 2008, suggested that the brain’s right parietal lobe defines “Me,” and people with less active Me-Definers are more likely to lead spiritual lives.
The finding could lead to new strategies for treating some forms of mental illness.
“If a stable personality trait like ST can undergo fast changes as a consequence of brain lesions, it would indicate that at least some personality dimensions may be modified by influencing neural activity in specific areas,” said Dr. Salvatore M. Aglioti from Sapienza University of Rome. “Perhaps novel approaches aimed at modulating neural activity might ultimately pave the way to new treatments of personality disorders.”

Links to Spirituality Found in the Brain.

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Dinesh D'Souza contributes yet another intellectual blow to the new atheists.

From now until Christmas, I am going to post frequently about really great books out there you should consider getting for me someone.  Like this one!  ==>

Dinesh D’Souza has a new book out proving the existence of an afterlife.  Dinesh is a writer and political analyst mostly known to me from The National Review.  But his work in Christian apologetics of the last few years has been outstanding.  He comes at it from an intellectual rather than a biblical or theological viewpoint which is quite effective for the new atheism.  (Remember:  we have to meet them where they are.)

From his series Dinesh D’Souza on Life After Death at the Catholic Education Resource Center:

Here is my presuppositional argument for life after death. Unlike material objects and all other living creatures, we humans inhabit two domains: the way things are, and the way things ought to be. In other words, we are moral animals who recognize that just as there are natural laws that govern every object in the universe, there are also moral laws that govern the behavior of one special set of objects in the universe, namely us. While the universe is externally moved by “facts,” we are internally moved also by “values.” Yet these values defy natural and scientific explanation, because the laws of nature, as discovered by science, concern only the way things are and not the way they ought to be. Moreover, the essence of morality is to curtail and contradict the powerful engine of human self-interest, giving morality an undeniable anti-evolutionary thrust. So how do we explain the existence of moral values that stand athwart our animal nature? The presupposition of cosmic justice, achieved not in this life but in another life beyond the grave, is by far the best and in some respects the only explanation. This presupposition fully explains why humans continue to espouse goodness and justice even when the world is evil and unjust.

Notice what the presuppositional argument does not say. It does not say that because there is injustice in the world there must be justice somewhere else. Nor does it say that the human wish for a better world is enough by itself to produce another world that is better. Rather, it begins with the recognition that while science explains much of nature very well, there is a big part of human nature that science does not seem to explain at all. In particular, evolution does a good job of accounting for why we are selfish animals, but it faces immense challenges in accounting for why we simultaneously hold that we ought not to be selfish. Far from facing the facts of life, like every other animal, we continue to cherish ideals that have never been and will never be fully achieved. We are flawed creatures who act as if we ought not to be. We know that we live in an unjust society where the bad guy often comes out on top and the good guy often comes to grief, yet we continue to hold that this is not how it should be. We continue to say things like “what goes around comes around” even though we know that in this world it is not always so. Despite the harsh facts of life, we tirelessly affirm that it should be so. Our ideals, in other words, contradict the reality of our lives. It seems that we, uniquely among all living and nonliving things, seek to repudiate the laws of evolution and escape the control of the laws of nature.

Dinesh has a way of putting complicated theses forward intelligently while also accessible to the rest of us.  Hey, even Christopher Hitchens begrudgingly gave him props for this book.  Check it out!

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AP
Atheist Press? No, it stands for “Associated”….just like it’s written.

“You should always try to make friends, but there are certain things about religion that can’t be tolerated,” Gress said. “Basically, the intolerance of religion can’t be tolerated.”

This is the wonderful voice of “science and reason” as the Atheist Movement likes to phrase it.   Heh heh.  I doubt that kid knows he said something moronic.  Here are some other non-starters that I read in the AP story, Atheist student groups flower on college campuses.

In another sign of growing acceptance, at least three universities, including Harvard, now have humanist chaplains meeting the needs of the not-so-spiritual.

Huh?  I don’t suppose it is fair of me to assume that Harvard University knows that a “chaplain” is a religious clergyman who is attached to an institution, chapel or military branch.  How can a “chaplain” be non-religious?  Of course, we are modern here, let’s just hijack the definition of “chaplain” and it’s HARVARD, gosh darn it, and they can do whatever they please.

“The goal,” said Andrew Severin, a post-doctoral researcher in bioinformatics, “should be to obtain inner peace for yourself and do random acts of kindness for strangers.”

Severin calls himself a “spiritual atheist.” He doesn’t believe in God or the supernatural but thinks experiences like meditation or brushes with nature can produce biochemical reactions that feel spiritual.

Why would atheists be doing random acts of kindness for strangers?  what is a spiritual atheist?  Why doesn’t he call himself a “biochemical atheist”?  Does this post-doctorate know how …well…foolish he sounds?  is he post-logical, too?

You know, I think what bugs me most about this entire article / movement is its nonsensicality.  Is that a word?  Are Christians allowed to just make up words, too?  Well, I did and the word is nonsensicality and under its definition are the examples:  “spiritual atheist, “humanist chaplain” and “intolerance of intolerance”. 

With the growth has come soul-searching — or the atheist equivalent — about what secular campus groups should look like. It’s part of a broader self-examination in the atheist movement triggered by the rise of the so-called “new atheists,” best-selling authors who denigrate religion and blame it for the world’s ills.

Should student atheist groups go it alone or build bridges with Christian groups? Organize political protests or quiet discussion groups? Adopt the militant posture of the new atheists? Or wave and smile?

There are just all sorts of Wrong with this quote.  I’m going to stick with this:  I want to know what Christian groups are ‘building bridges’ with the Atheist student union.  No doubt, looking for that so-called common ground that Pres. Obama assured us we share.  Um, what common ground do Christians have with Atheists?  Uh…um…uh…I dunno….gay rights?

The club worked with a Methodist church on a gay rights candlelight vigil, a gesture that would make some atheists cringe.

And some Christians, too.  Those that are ..um…Christian.  I am so happy to see our Methodist brethren building bridges with the Atheists on something that they both agree on.   (Is anyone else taking notes?)   Speaking of taking notes, here is another fun little observation:

Bodnar, an ex-Catholic married to a Buddhist, recommends the local Unitarian Universalist congregation, a haven for a grab bag of religious backgrounds and a few members of the ISU Atheist and Agnostic Society.

Oh alright, I admit that I already knew about the problems with the Unitarian Universalists.  But its fun to note that it is a church that atheists feel perfectly comfortable recommending to other atheists.  Hint:  if your church is on the reco sheet for the Atheist and Agnostic Society, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Of course, that bastion of Catholic teaching [cough cough…sorry, got something caught in my throat] Notre Dame is in the article too, with helpful advice for ’emerging atheists’:

Christian Smith, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame and a principal investigator on the youth and religion study, said campus atheist groups are better off without militancy. Young adults are taught their entire lives to be nonjudgmental, that different points of views are OK and that there is no one truth, he said.

“Emerging adults are just not into trying to make other people be or do something,” Smith said. “If I were advising atheists and humanists, I would say their long-term prospects are much better if they can successfully create this space where people view them as happy, OK, cooperative, nice people.”

 In other words, want to proselytize…er…attract more students to your atheist movement then stick with the reliable formula:  Act. Like. Christians.  I love it!  the entire point of Atheism is to deny all supernatural explanations, events and beliefs.  So what are the new Atheists doing?  Proselytizing, finding their “spiritual” atheism, being tended to by ‘chaplains’, building their communities, acting like Christians and er…soul-searching.  Did I sum that up correctly?

Oh, and in case you were mislead by the AP’s headline (which I am sure was not intentional) [cough cough..sorry], the writer throws this in at the bottom of the article:

On most college campuses, secular groups take shape when non-believing students arrive and find a couple-dozen Christian groups but no home for them. It isn’t that atheism is necessarily growing among students — surveys show no uptick in the number of atheist and agnostic young adults over the last 20 years.

 Associated Press, I want to thank you for yet another well-researched, timely and completely unbiased news article!

note:  all emphasis and coughing mine.  Sorry about the coughing, I seem to have my gullibility caught in my throat….

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