Author Topic: Question about authenticity of hell theough tesiminy, main part of question bold  (Read 2441 times)

Uman2

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Hello, was indoctrinated into Christian faith since birth. I have a hard time when people ask me what I believe. On one hand, I trust evolution, I have had difficulties accepting the Bible. The whole idea that religion is a man made construct with “heaven” and “hell” used as a mechanism for controlling populations makes sense. However, in my church, one of the priests told us that hell has been proven to exist. He sent us an email with a few written accounts of religious people who were decent, but drank and partied, and were therefore not accepting God. They then either claim that they may have died and had what’s known as a Near Death Experience or NDE or even dreams sometimes where they encounter hell.

I found a multitude of videos where people claim to have seen hell in either a dream or an NDE, and what I realized is that all these reports sound consistent:

– falling through a black hole
– hearing screams
-seeing souls suffering
– seeing fire
-meeting demons who often say “we got you now”
– the demons beat people, and look like reptiles
– then the person calls out to Jesus or God, and a light appears
-this light saves them
-or a hand reaches down and grabs them out of hell bringing them back to their bodies.

There are many of these kinds of videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOhOynR9Jxg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II_3H9O4LSo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmp3UNjeu0k
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwFruS4rpdI

All of these sound so similar.

I wonder how so many people could hallucinate/dream the same thing, especially this last link was a mormon woman who didn’t believe in hell, and had no exposure to it. How did she experience what so many experience?

They seem so consistent. Being raised Christian, I always pictured hell as a place with dark rocks that people stand on, surrounded by lava and fire, being burned, suffering, maybe meeting Satan, etc. I never pictured there being demons who claim “we got you now” and attack people while mocking them. All of my Christian friends I asked didn’t picture this either, so what gives? Why do all these accounts report reptile horned demons? Even the idea of a bright light cominh to rescue them or  hand coming down to pull them out of danger sounds amazingly consistent. Can people's brains independently cause such similar experiences?

Any rational thoughts on this?

Dave

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OK, Uman2, welcome - yes, why not start with the easy questions!

I am not 100% sure but I seemed to remember that the image you are describing is the Christian one.  Other hells, like the Jewish Sheol, are places of limbo, forgetfullness etc. The concept of a place of punishment may be part of the good ol' Christian dogma and doctrine - keep the masses scared and they won't cause problems.

Despite different sects and denominations having varying concepts there is probably enough 'leakage' of the standard avatars and images that the subconcious, at least, grabs hold of the more extreme stuff. Those who are prone to believe in the supernatural anyway also probably have vivid subconcious imaginations.

Do some research on the 'afterlife' of other then the three Abrahamic religions - what is the Buddhist afterlife like? The Jainist? Do pagan gave an afterworld? What happened to the native American warriors who did not achieve the 'Happy Hunting Grounds'? If I remember rightly their spirits are destined to wander, never to find rest. But no nasty demons so far as I know.

You have to expand your view outside of you current experiences if your's is a genuine question.

Try these for what they are worth:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_Hell
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 09:05:39 PM by Dave »
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Tank

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Seems you've been hawking this question around other atheist sites for about a year now. Didn't you get any answers?
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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xSilverPhinx

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[snip]

Can people's brains independently cause such similar experiences?

Yes, they can, through the power of suggestion. Ask yourself, why do people from mostly euro-centric Christian backgrounds 'see' Jesus in their dreams or during NDEs as a white, blue-eyed blond man when the real Jesus, if he existed, would have different physical attributes? It's because people see paintings and renditions of a white Jesus all around them, and it's those images that surface from the subconscious when people are having...erm..certain religious experiences.

'Experiences' of 'Hell' occur in much the same way. Would a medieval Viking 'experience' the Christian Hell or would they be mentally transported to Valhalla during NDEs and religious experiences instead? What would a modern person raised in the Hindu faith see? Would a Buddhist's vision be the same?

Do you see the point I'm trying to make?

Edited to add: Beat me to it, Dave! :grin:
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No one

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Tank:
Seems you've been hawking this question around other atheist sites for about a year now. Didn't you get any answers?

Sure, just not the ones that were hoped for.

Dave

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Seems you've been hawking this question around other atheist sites for about a year now. Didn't you get any answers?

Spreading a question's net wide for a short time can be good practice. But after a year I might tend to agree with No-one's view.
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Sandra Craft

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[snip]

Can people's brains independently cause such similar experiences?

Yes, they can, through the power of suggestion.

As the slightest bit of reading up on the subject readily tells us.  By the way, Uman, Silver is our resident brain expert.
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I think the first thing to recognise with NDEs is that no one who has had one of these actually died.  That many people have seen what they expected to see in these circumstances, or at least their interpretation of what they think they saw, does not surprise me at all.  In extremis I would expect that the human brain is likely to experience some sort of phenomena as a result of oxygen deprivation or whatever that may well be interpreted in the light of the person's deep set beliefs.  This does not make those phenomena any more real than the hallucinations one might experience under LSD or indeed while dreaming.
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Tank

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Tank:
Seems you've been hawking this question around other atheist sites for about a year now. Didn't you get any answers?

Sure, just not the ones that were hoped for.

Exactly my thought. But we'll see.
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Tank

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[snip]

Can people's brains independently cause such similar experiences?

Yes, they can, through the power of suggestion.

As the slightest bit of reading up on the subject readily tells us.  By the way, Uman, Silver is our resident brain expert.

She's not a 'layman' expert either. She is actually a qualified neuroscientist doing research into brain function. So mind your Ps and Qs when responding to her.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Asmodean

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Others beat me to this, but I'll try to play it from a slightly different angle;

So, how do YOU see Hell?
What colour is the sky?
What does the wind smell like?
How does the water taste?
Where do the souls of the damned dwell?
Are there bridges over the rivers of lava?

These are what they call "loaded questions." In an individual with any sort of imagination, especially if that individual is inclined to believe in the afterlife, these will evoke images. Images of what, you say? Well, for starters, that there is Hell, and that Hell can be "seen," or at the very least experienced in some way. Then we have the sky, so we "know" Hell is not underground. The wind, so we "know" there is weather, the water, so we "know" there is water in hell. The last two are slightly more complex, but follow the same pattern. I'm suggesting to you that there are rivers of lava and souls of the damned, which dwell somewhere, and your mind spins them into something.

This is how many people can imagine broadly the same stuff. They may disagree on minutia, but imagination is malleable, so if they keep talking about it, over time, the differences will converge... Or sometimes become a chasm and lo and behold, a new cult is born.

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xSilverPhinx

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[snip]

Can people's brains independently cause such similar experiences?

Yes, they can, through the power of suggestion.

As the slightest bit of reading up on the subject readily tells us.  By the way, Uman, Silver is our resident brain expert.

She's not a 'layman' expert either. She is actually a qualified neuroscientist doing research into brain function. So mind your Ps and Qs when responding to her.

:blush: Oh dear, :badger: my research is in remote memories, more specifically systemic consolidation, even more specifically the structures (besides the hippocampus) involved in remote memory recall, which is just a tiny slice of the neurosciences pie. But since suggestion can cause false memories it is a topic of interest. I'll try to answer any questions you may have in the best way possible. :grin:   
Give no mercy to your fear.



Asmodean

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Actually, if The Asmo may..?

I’m fascinated with the physiological workings of human “cold storage,” which, I assume, is what remote memory is (as opposed to me accessing your memories remotely, which, by the way, is also way cool)

How does it work? Is it the way the neurons are combined? A “physical map” of a memory, one might say? Or is our archive an active, electrochemical thing, what “surfaces” into the conscious due to some triggers? Or maybe both/neither? I don’t expect that we have all, or even many of the answers, but...

Do please feel free to pile very thick and convoluted literature upon me if this is not explainable in a reasonable forum post. :-)
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xSilverPhinx

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Actually, if The Asmo may..?

I’m fascinated with the physiological workings of human “cold storage,” which, I assume, is what remote memory is (as opposed to me accessing your memories remotely, which, by the way, is also way cool)

How does it work? Is it the way the neurons are combined? A “physical map” of a memory, one might say? Or is our archive an active, electrochemical thing, what “surfaces” into the conscious due to some triggers? Or maybe both/neither? I don’t expect that we have all, or even many of the answers, but...

Do please feel free to pile very thick and convoluted literature upon me if this is not explainable in a reasonable forum post. :-)

A bit of both, I would say, though finding the precise physical substrate of memory, of the engram, as it's called, is still frontier stuff. Huge leaps have been made in the last decade since the optogenetic method was developed, which can essentially label populations of neurons and turn memories on and off just as easily as flipping a light switch. It's a much 'cleaner' method than pharmacologically inactivating a brain region, but expensive, a little too expensive for most labs in developing countries. :(

(then these lousy politicians who don't want to invest in science wonder why we're falling so behind, but anyways...) 

It's believed that a memory trace comes from both the physical organisation of neurons into networks and the strength of connections between neurons. It takes a few hours to consolidate a memory at celular levels (synaptic consolidation - cells), and days, months and even years at the systemic level in the case of humans (systemic consolidation - circuits), though not all types of memories undergo this latter type of consolidation.   ;D

There are currently three major hypotheses that attempt to explain what happens as memories become systemically consolidated, the Standard Model, the Multiple Trace Theory and the updated version, Trace Transformation Theory. In all, the hippocampus, which is a stucture located in the medial temporal lobe more or less between the ears in humans, is responsible for forming memories. You remove that structure and you will have access to some remote memories, but will be incapable of acquiring new ones. In Alzheimer's for instance, the hippocampus is one of the first structures to suffer damage, which is one of the reasons sufferers often regress back to ancient memories, such as when they were a child, etc. 

There is still no consensus on which should be the prevailing theory, so it's still a little fuzzy. Also frontier stuff. :grin:

I won't go into minute details, but the main idea in all of them is that memories start in the hippocampus and "migrate" to cortical structures with time. That's basically what systems consolidation is about. The hippocampus goes offline and is not important in the recall of remote memories (according to the Standard model) but it still participates (according to the two others).
 
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Sandra Craft

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Others beat me to this, but I'll try to play it from a slightly different angle;

So, how do YOU see Hell?


Just for fun:

What colour is the sky?  Red and orange with bits of yellow.
What does the wind smell like?  Sulfur.
How does the water taste?  Probably like the water in Flint, MI.
Where do the souls of the damned dwell?  Don't ask why, but I see them living under rocks.  They're very squished.
Are there bridges over the rivers of lava?  No, you have to swim across.

And I don't even believe in Hell. 
Sandy

  

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