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Interesting Indeed

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Posted by Aurino Souza on May 2, 2002 13:54:38 UTC

That's definitely interesting. There's two ways I could talk about it. I could either deal with it as an isolated incident, or I could aim for the topic I think you're getting at, that you can't understand faith until you experience it. I guess I'll do both.

No, you are missing my point.

I'm not totally convinced that that drug actually exists, and you weren't speaking metaphorically.

The drug exists, I'm not making it up or speaking metaphorically.

If it does, though, I wonder what would happen if you were to give a dose to a monkey or a guinea pig, with no concept of any God.

I can tell you right now what would happen. The monkey would go unconscious for several minutes, and on regaining consciousness he would appear confused. After that, you wouldn't be able to notice any major difference in behaviour.

Does that answer your question? Or do you want me to ask the monkey to describe the experience? That would be a bit tough...

If a reaction were to take place, perhaps it would instill a feeling of awe or well-being, a feeling of incredible positive emotion with a feeling of another presence.

I'm glad you know what goes in a monkey's head. I for one have no clue.

Although, for someone to claim that the drug proved God's existence to them is a bit silly, I think.

Agreed, except when the one claiming to have met God is yourself. That was my point, what is silly to you now may not be silly once you learn more.

If I could design a pill that could completely annihilate any faith in a person and make them accept it completely, the experience would be no more and no less legit. It's a chemical reaction that you have no control over, and I tend to be a bit suspicious of things that you can only understand by ingesting large amounts of narcotics.

Come on Mario, you are a smart guy, you can understand what's wrong with the above. If I may rephrase your last sentence, it should read as "I tend to be a bit suspicious of things that you can only understand through chemical reactions that you have no control over". Can you see the problem now?

In case you still can't, let me make it obvious to you: if your thought is controlled by chemical reactions beyond your conscious control, you have no way to know that what you're thinking right now is more or less "true" than what you might be thinking under the influence of narcotics. If, on the other hand, conscious thought is not entirely subordinate to chemistry, then the argument that what a person thinks under the influence of narcotics is "less right" than what you think without them simply crumbles on its own weight.

No matter how you look at it the problem can only be made simple by irrationally dismissing it.

True, my experience may be limited by the fact that I haven't experienced it, so I can never *know,* but the fact that it is artificially induced makes me suspicious.

Why? What's wrong with artificial? Do you believe your brain has been optimized to know what's true, or do you think it has been optimized to find food?

Also, scientifically speaking, why would the only way a human can directly experience God be to take a drug? Why would God take such a roundabout approach? Sounds mighty suspicious.

But that's entirely beside the point. I'm not saying the drug proves that God exists, not at all. I'm only presenting you an intellectual dilemma of difficult resolution. I haven't solved it myself, although I do have some ideas.

If you were being purely metaphorical, and were trying to say that faith can never be explained, it just is, well, I suppose that's true. But I don't accept it as an explanation, regardless. My skepticism isn't "just there." I try to have decent reasons for it. People who say that faith can't be explained, it just is, have no right to criticize people who kill or terrorize people as a result of their faith, which also "just is," and can't be justified. I believe you when you say that you can't explain your faith, but I don't view it as a valid reason to have it.

Now here you misunderstood me terribly. First, I haven't used the word faith, that's not what I'm talking about. Second, I'm as much a skeptic and a cynic as you are, trust me. Third, I don't disagree with anything you said above, not a word.

Let me put it another way: I suppose it's fair to assume you are as curious to know the truth about God as I am, and to assume you are as much skeptical of any explanation of God as I am. If you are the I-need-to-see-to-believe kind of guy, then rest assured I'm with you all the way. But now I'm going to make you a proposition and I'd like you to consider it seriously.

I know these people who have taken this God-drug. Not in person, I read about scientific studies done with them, but that doesn't change the facts. And the facts are that every one of them, without exception, and regardless of previous beliefs, claims that the drug has provided them with knowledge about God. So look at it this way, before the drug they didn't know, after the drug they think they know. Now I don't know about you, but as far as I can see absolutely no difference between what I know and what I think I know. Others may see a difference but I can't. With that in mind, the only thing that is preventing me from knowing the truth about God is a pill, which I decided not to take, for reasons I'm sure you understand.

All I'm saying is, it's quite possible that you and I are ignorant about God out of a personal choice and nothing else. The truth is there but we don't want to know. As Alan says, some kinds of knowledge can be dangerous.

What do you think about it?

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