Civil Debates on Christianity and Religions

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:27 pm  Consciousness Reply with quote

Consciousness has been studied for many years, one of the most recent discoveries or perceptions I have heard is that we are more often on auto-pilot, living unconsciously.

I am intrigued by this, some Christians believe that, as the only species that is conscious of things, we are divinely created. But if the truth is that we are more often on auto-pilot and that is the normal state of being (example, I drive to the same places every day and don't remember thinking about driving I just do it and don't even remember what's going on, but if a car jets out in my path, I instantly (without thinking) react.

Religion is something that appears to me to put some people on "auto-pilot." Such as when a religious person is not seeking answers or defending their position. It seems to me that only when they are challenged in their faith, and the usual responses are not working, that they come off of auto-pilot and into consciousness. Most religious people, in my view, appear to not want to debate their position, but are happy in their settled view, in other words, they live on auto-pilot.

Question for debate:

Isn't consciousness more likely NOT divine?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 11: Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:09 pm
Re: Consciousness

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[Replying to post 10 by Aetixintro]

So there is no need for someone who is alive, for a consciousness that can operate outside the body, other than the "need" to have a bodyless mind that can operate after the body is dead, which has to be possible for religious books to be true.

But our consciousness would be the same as the bodyless one with all its memories and personality. Hence, our consciousness should be able to pass from the physical body to outside the body, and back again before the physical body dies if it operates that way afterwards.

And if we look at the "evidence" of people who say they have had out of body experiences, they presumably can operate outside the body while their physical bodies are dying or close to death (there are no out of body experiences where the person is absolutely for sure dead and then comes back to life weeks later and has to dig themselves out of a grave so "close to death" is the only "evidence" available for us to consider).

This type of testimony (which is the only "witness" evidence there is) also shores up the idea that if there is a mind that can operate outside the brain, it has to be able to do so even while the body is still alive. I just tried it and I can't do it.

Perhaps the need is psychological, that some want it to be true and so believe it is possible without thinking of the logistics of such a thing. The bible, as far as I know, does not have a reason for why we were made in a physical form when we can "exist" without one - it would then follow that there is no reason for our physical existence on Earth, but that is another topic. It also does not say what happens when we die (or are dying as in the case of the "witnesses" above,) that causes the mind behave like what we call a spirit. And why, since those "witnesses" didn't die, does the mechanism by which they turned into bodyless spirits, go away? Why does it not only happen when you are for sure dead? But more importantly, because it does not happen when we are for sure dead, it has to be able to happen TO EVERYONE at any time, or during oxygen depravation, or during a coma, or during deep sleep.

According to the bible, Jesus was resurrected in his physical form, he raised up and disappeared, when the "rapture" comes, people are supposed to disappear and if we were made in his IMAGE, that suggests that we need our physical form in any so-called hereafter. This contradicts the religious need for a "spirit."

Your thoughts, since I am going in circles here, or am I?

Last edited by BwhoUR on Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 12: Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:33 pm
Re: Consciousness

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McCulloch wrote:

OpenYourEyes wrote:
If the mind or consciousness can be shown not to be totally dependent on the brain, then does that degree of independence (or non-dependence) constitute a separate existence or something which can survive without the body?!

That is a rather large if. Admittedly, we don't entirely know how human brain works, or for that matter earthworm brain, but there is as yet no indication that mind is anything other than a product of brain. We do know, for example, about many physical things: disease, injury and drugs ; which affect mind by changing brain.

And we know consciousness works, whether we know exactly how or not. Not knowing exactly how does not suppose that it works without the brain but WITH the brain because we are using it when we are alive. Only with evidence that it works when the brain is dead and the person does not come back to life, can we entertain that it works without a brain.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 13: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:36 am
Re: Consciousness

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BwhoUR wrote:

Your thoughts, since I am going in circles here, or am I?

Since you posted this in Psychology/Sociology I would like to offer a potentially different perspective than you may be considering.

Thus far your concerns appear to be equating consciousness with the ego. You appear to believe (or assume) that your memory and personal identity are a large part of your consciousness. They are, of course, a large part of your conscious experience, but they aren't necessarily a part of your actual consciousness at all actually. This, of course, can all depend on how you personally view, define, and consider these concepts.

Consider the following:

In some religions your "soul" (or spirit) is indeed your ego (i.e. your sense and knowledge of your personal experience). In fact, in Christianity it is your ego that is judged, and either "saved" or condemned. And if your ego is "saved" then it's your ego that will live on for all of eternity. Clearly the Christians would object to this observation, but it's necessarily true based upon how their religious paradigm works. It is the human ego that Jesus has offered eternal life, or everlasting punishment to.

In those religions (which actually include all the Abrahamic religions) the ego is the soul (or spirit). Or certainly an inseparable part of the soul (or spirit). This necessarily must be the case since it is the ego that is being judged, then either condemned or "saved".

However, this is not the case in all religions. Many pantheistic religions, including Buddhism, reject the notion of the ego entirely. They don't claim that the ego does not "exist". Of course it exists. It's nothing other than the sense of self that you experience as a human, along with all the experiences and memories that go along with that experience. So they recognize and teach that the ego is "just an illusion" brought about via the physical experience in this world.

But the ego is not your "consciousness". Your consciousness is the thing that is having the experience of being an ego momentarily.

Therefore, when you die there is no need for you to remember anything from your life, including your beliefs, preferences, personality, etc. All that is required is that you are able to experience existence again. For it is the experience of existence that is your consciousness, not the memories of what you might have experienced in a prior life.

This type of mystical pantheistic philosophy is not easy to comprehend. Nor can it be proven to be true or false anymore than something like solipsism can be proven to be true or false. None the less it is an interesting spiritual philosophy that many people (including many pantheists) do not fully understand. Yet it actually makes quite a bit of sense in many ways.

There are even rational scientific arguments that can be made in support of this type of mystical philosophy. In fact, some scientists are actually exploring this realm from a purely scientific and non-religious perspective see David Chalmers, and others.

The reason this is even required in modern science is because our current scientific structure can never explain exactly what it is that is having an experience. Science assumes the existence of particles, (or vibrating waves of energy) as the building blocks of the entire physical world. However, they do not assign any primal ability for these waves to "have an experience". Therefore they have no way for experience to "emerge" from fundamental constituents. The question always remains, "Just exactly what is it that is having an experience?". And science has no possibly answer to this question because that ability was never built-in to the original model. In fact this is the argument given by David Chalmers. So Chalmers is proposing that the ability to experience is a primal aspect of existence, and this is basically the same thing that the pantheists are suggesting. (or at least what some pantheists are suggesting)

In any case, I mainly wanted to address the idea that you seem to be assuming here. And that is that our sense of ego is our consciousness. This is a common concept, but not one that is compatible with various spiritual and philosophical models such as Buddhism and other forms of pantheism.

It's mainly the Abrahamic religions that our focused on saving the ego as the heart and soul of human consciousness. The Buddhists renounce that view as being totally misguided.

Just my thoughts for whatever they are worth.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 14: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:51 am

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By the way I should probably point out the following:

The Buddhists would agree with you that most people are on "auto-pilot" in how they think and behave most of the time.

However, my question to you is this: "What is it that is making choices when the brain is not on auto-pilot?"

It is this aspect of our conscious awareness that the Buddhists focus on. In fact, they claim that a person is not fully "enlightened" until they have come to realize the true nature of their consciousness then allowing them to be the pilot of their brain full-time. Very Happy

But you are onto something already by recognizing that our brains are only on auto-pilot most of the time. At least this brings you to the realization that this is not the case all the time. And when it's not the case, that's when you need to ask, "Just what is it that is making choices now?"

According to many secular materialists there is never a time when the brain is not on auto-pilot. How could there be? There cannot be a "Free Agent" in the brain in a secular materialist philosophy. So in secular materialism all brains are necessarily always on auto-pilot, and ultimately no human can ever be held responsible for what their brain might actually do. There's no one "home" to be responsible for what the brain does in secular materialism. There's can't be, for if someone was "home" that someone would need to be something other than a brain that is on auto-pilot. If there is a Captain in the brain who can take the brain off of auto-pilot, then this is the concept of interest. The fact that the brain can also by run on auto-pilot is secondary to the question at hand.

Think about it.

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