Religious Experiences are not Hallucinations

Seriously ITC, every couple weeks you post one of these threads with no evidence and get proven wrong every fucking time. C’mon, could you at least bring your A game?

There is no evidence that “religious experiences” are anything but wishful thinking or manifest self delusion. People really don’t want to end when they die or need to feel that they have an externally imposed purpose. And some people need that so much they pretend to have god visions. It’s pathetic, but it’s perfectly understandable. Just because you want something to be true does not increase the chances of it being true.

Dawkins is correct and you are incorrect.

[QUOTE=ITR champion;11412334

To conclude, religious visions and other experiences are not hallucinations.[/QUOTE]

Wow, you certainly opened a can of worms. But I like your OP even though it’s more than is needed to prove your point, which is correct, of course.

Reading through the counter posts it seems the word hallucinations has taken on new meanings to include dreams, thoughts, daydreams, and any other thing unseen. Such a definition is ludicrous, of course. The emotions are clouding reason and logic.

I don’t know of anyone that can’t tell an hallucination from a dream, or thought, or spiritual experience. But one does have to understand that there are spiritual experiences before trying to do so.

I will be back.

So people with synesthesia are hallucinating?

I fail to see any proof. Perhaps you could show some proof to me, all I see are assumptions, and opinions.

Of course.

This has to be the most ironic post I’ve ever seen.

There is no evidence that religious experiences are actual contact with anyone else, let alone a God.
No visionary is able to make anything happen (by appealing to their God).
No doubt these folk of faith genuinely believe they are in the presence of a God. So what?

Christianity states that Jesus is the Son of God and Judaism states that he isn’t.
When Jews and Christians have religious experiences, could you tell us which group is wrong?

As others have said, we only have the nun’s word for it that they were in touch with God.
This is not a scientific test.

Every conceivable test, huh?
How did they check for fakery, aliens and Satan impersonating the Virgin Mary? :smack:

Or, more simply, demonstrating that neuroscience is inexact.

I don’t have a lot to say about this subject but I find it interesting that Daniel Dennett refutes the very idea of a persistant and holistic hallucination in the very first chapter of ‘Consciousness Explained’.

Lucky for me the burden of proof lies on the party suggesting the pan-dimensional super-god-force from space, and not little old me who is suggesting that religious visions are the result of common mental processes that we know to exist.


The burden of proof lies on the one that makes the claim, and you claimed that spiritual experiences were but wishful thinking or manifest self delusion. Now where is the proof.

First you have to define “spiritual experience.”

Once again, let’s turn to an expert, in this case Richard Dawkins, one of the most influential biologists of all times. In his book The God Delusion, Dawkins rejects the notion that religious experiences are a proof of god, instead describing them as “hallucinations”, and even states that those with “questionable mental health” are the most likely to have religious experiences. Hence the truth about this issue is the precise opposite of what Maslow want us to think that it is.

He doesn’t, to the best of my recall – he asks how they are possible, and then gives a theory sketch in the form of an analogy with a game where a set of yes/no questions are arbitrarily answered according to some rule: just the same way you can get a somewhat consistent story from these questions, without that story actually needing somebody to ‘tell’ or invent it, your brain can appear to register sensory input without there actually being something generating that input, by querying the stream of data supplied by your senses (perhaps according to certain preconceptions) and getting arbitrary answers. Put another way, perception appears to work at least to some degree through the testing of hypotheses made about the ‘outside world’, these hypotheses being either confirmed or disconfirmed by the data coming in; false positives may then appear in the form of seeing things that aren’t actually there, ranging from optical illusions to full-blown hallucinations or even dreams, depending on their severity. Some external influences may lower the confirmation threshold, which rather neatly explains how drugs, for instance, can ‘generate’ hallucinations.

If something’s not there and you see/hear/feel it, then there is something wrong with you

Does this mean that all religious experiences are valid? It doesn’t matter if you’re seeing Jesus or Allah or Rama or Moroni or Xenu or Zeus? They’re all genuine religious experiences?

Or is it a case of it being a genuine religious experience if you see the right deity and a hallucination if you see the wrong one? Nuns who see Jesus are experiencing God but new agers who see spirit guides are kidding themselves?

Your point would seem to be devoid of reason and logic, as I see it. You acknowledge in the first paragraph that people consider hallucinations to include dreams, thoughts, daydreams, and any other thing unseen. And then you claim you don’t know anyone who can’t tell hallucinations from those things.

How is it you are able to simultaneously declare that there are people who believe hallucinations to include those things and that you know no people who cannot tell that those things are seperate? I don’t believe it’s particularly logical to claim you both know some people who do and deny that you know any such people. I think you may have to pick one.

Strikes me that feeling something is ludicrous is, by definition, something of an emotional response itself, too.

I suspect that the answer will be that many religious experiences, even not of the OP’s particular faith on the surface, may be considered true; however, they are true insofar as they are truly “divine” in origin, with the particular religion ascribed to being behind it being a matter of the perception of the experiencer. IOW, that it’s just one God behind them all.

Sorry Chester, the burden of evidence is on the person suggesting the theory. Your theory is that god is talking to gullible people across the planet. Let’s see the evidence.

I think that, by definition, religious experiences are hallucinations.