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Why do atheists have such a low retention rate?

In “Study: Atheists Have Lowest ‘Retention Rate’ Compared to Religious Groups” (Christian Post, July 11, 2012) , Napp Nazworth reports that

Only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults. This “retention rate” was the lowest among the 20 separate categories in the study.

There were 1,387 atheists (weighted) in the survey. Four-hundred thirty-two weighted respondents said they were raised atheist. Of those, 131 self-identified as atheist.

“What these findings reflect is that in the U.S. atheists are for the most part ‘made’ as adults after being raised in another faith. It appears to be much more challenging to raise one’s child as an atheist and have them maintain this identity in their life,” Dr. Mark Gray wrote at CARA’s blog.

Some of us are tempted to wonder whether they just grow tired of the society of Darwin’s tenure bores and the atheist troll in the mailroom. Or of the uproar around the Skepchick. Re that latter individual, at some point, surely a normal dude must wonder, what is in this for me, long term?

He might be better off with a cute, decent girl who offers free coffee and cake in the parish hall, not sexy pics. But to meet her, he has to sober up, shave, shower, and go to church … so …

So, … maybe it’s just the facts of life that catch up with some of them? ;) As in:

This be yer last religion jaw fer the week from the news desk.

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23 Responses to Why do atheists have such a low retention rate?

  1. Beautiful Hymn!

  2. The choir girls don’t look that bad either, do they? Like, over the long term, would this be more or less rewarding than SkepChick’s untidy bathroom?

    Look, we not know, we not care, we just say, get outta THERE.

    There are still nice girls out there, but they expect a guy to be respectful.

  3. 3

    Ah…to connect with the Transcendent Intelligence that lifts us beyond the mean estate we live within. “The Hand that made us is Divine.” My thinking is already being transformed.

  4. A song in the same vein

    Creation Calls — are you listening? Music by Brian Doerksen
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwGvfdtI2c0

  5. My wife is a high school French teacher, and, as bizarre as it might seem (since I earn my living as a software engineer in aerospace R&D), two of my three college degrees are in French language and literature. (That’s how we met 37 years ago.)

    In 1987, before my two beloved daughters were born, my wife and I took a vacation to France. We stayed in Latin Quarter, near the Sorbonne university, just across the Seine river from the Notre Dame Cathedral.

    Each evening we wandered around looking for a restaurant, and one evening we stumbled upon Église Saint-Séverin.

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/13066287

    The church is dedicated to Séverin, who is said to have been a hermit who lived there and prayed in a small rudimentary oratory. After Séverin’s death, a basilica was constructed on the spot. This was destroyed by the Vikings, and the current church building was started in the 11th century, though its major features are late Gothic and date from the 15th century. Its external features include some fine gargoyles. Its bells include the oldest one remaining in Paris, cast in 1412; their ringing is recalled in a well known poem in praise of Paris by Alan Seeger.

    Even though I was an atheist in those days I was struck by the beauty of the church, and a church organist was practicing for a forthcoming church service that evening. I was literally moved to tears.

    Another evening, during our walks in the Latin Quarter, we stumbled upon Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....ris%29.jpg

    The church was dedicated to two medieval French saints of the same name: Julian of Le Mans and a figure from the region of Dauphiné. “The poor” is said to originate from Julian of Le Mans, whose dedication to the cause of the poor was considered exemplary.

    This heritage is so profound and so meaningful that words are inadequate to describe it. As a former militant atheist, but now born-again evangelical Christian, I’ve gained much appreciation and admiration for Catholic tradition.

    What do atheists have to offer? I’ll tell you: You are the product of random mutations and natural selection that did not have you in mind. Your life is ultimately meaningless and purposeless; you live, you die, and that’s the beginning and end of it all.

    Of course, the “science” upon which this hideously destructive idea is based is completely illogical, evidently counterfactual crap.

    These are just a few reasons why I, raised a devout atheist, apostatized from the family religion.

  6. Gill says:

    What do atheists have to offer? I’ll tell you: You are the product of random mutations and natural selection that did not have you in mind. Your life is ultimately meaningless and purposeless; you live, you die, and that’s the beginning and end of it all.

    I don’t doubt that you feel that your life has been enriched by finding God. But, caricaturing atheism like this is about as fair as caricaturing Catholicism as a highly organised pedophile ring, which I’m sure we could both agree would be unfair.

    I do not know any atheists who believe their lives are diminished by being an interconnected part of the natural world, sharing ancestry with sunflowers and fishes. Most, instead, see this as a wonderful truth and as a source of respect for living things. Our finite existence is the impetus to live life well, and our smallness in the greater cosmos offers sobering humility.

  7. I do not know any atheists who believe their lives are diminished by being an interconnected part of the natural world, sharing ancestry with sunflowers and fishes.

    Along with dung beetles, lampreys, snakes, and a variety of creates that reproduce largely through the animal version of rape. I know it’s originally meant as a song tweaking Christianity, but this song works arguably better on quasi-pantheist sensibilities than theistic ones.

    Not to mention, the shared ancestry aspect isn’t unavailable to the theist. It’s the ‘meaningless and purposeless, mutations that did not have you or anything else in mind’ part. And to their credit, plenty of atheists do recognize not only this, but how pretty damn dark it is. They didn’t sugar coat it – in fact, the refusal to sugar coat it was part of the pride.

    Most, instead, see this as a wonderful truth and as a source of respect for living things.

    How is brute fact of things being unplanned by a natural method even Dawkins regards as very unsavory, or foul, the ‘source’ of ‘respect’? Because it sounds like the source is actually just your subjective view, not some truth.

    Our finite existence is the impetus to live life well,

    No matter the expense. Unless you don’t like the expense.

    Really, I appreciate the view that ‘Well crap, atheists better get poetic and spiritual in their language describing their beliefs’ from a New Atheist marketing perspective, but really – especially given both atheism and materialism, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    It’s similar to the guy saying, “Bah, having a lot of money and a beautiful wife. It’s like having a healthy body! Too much trouble and pressure if you ask me. Nope, I like being alone, destitute, and paralyzed from the waist down. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.” You may start out saying, ‘What a positive way to look at it’, but after a few moments the whole “Wait, no, that’s crazy, you’re a lunatic” aspect overwhelms.

  8. Along with dung beetles, lampreys, snakes, and a variety of creates that reproduce largely through the animal version of rape.

    Yes, of course. Brittle stars, predatory carnivores, slime moulds, and sloths too. And those scandalous Adelie penguins. And yet we are no more bound by the sexual practices of Adelie penguins than we are to the submarine life of the brittle star. Our shared heritage with all of earth’s life does not make us less human.

    It’s the ‘meaningless and purposeless, mutations that did not have you or anything else in mind’ part.

    Like the animal sexual practices you mention, it sounds an awful lot like you reject this because you don’t like the implications. That, however, doesn’t reflect on whether or not it is true.

    How is brute fact of things being unplanned by a natural method even Dawkins regards as very unsavory, or foul, the ‘source’ of ‘respect’?

    I did not say that the brutality of the natural world is a source of respect for living things, I said that our interrelatedness is that source.

    Really, I appreciate the view that ‘Well crap, atheists better get poetic and spiritual in their language describing their beliefs’ from a New Atheist marketing perspective, but really – especially given both atheism and materialism, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    Complete tosh. Feel free to go on believing in this stereotyped cartoon atheist who spends all day brooding over life’s pointlessness, waiting for oblivion. I am yet to met one.

  9. As to the OP – for balance, it may also be worth noting that atheism is growing faster in many places (including the US, NZ and Australia) than any religious belief. Why does atheism have such a high recruitment rate?

  10. Paulmc,

    Our shared heritage with all of earth’s life does not make us less human.

    And what’s so great about being human again, given the atheist/materialist perspective? We’ve got our share of rapists too, you know. And there’s no particular majesty in being human under that view either. What’d Hawking call us? Some chemical scum on the planet, in the grand scheme of things?

    Now, what you do have under that view is the usual subjectivism. “I find a certain majesty in (x)”, where x can be anything from ‘common descent’ to ‘being white and male’ to ‘being from a western nation’. But the whole, “Yeah, it’s all purposeless, not to mention doomed, along with enough misery that you’d never call it the work of a good creator” thing still hangs there for the atheist, whether or not it’s dwelled upon.

    Like the animal sexual practices you mention, it sounds an awful lot like you reject this because you don’t like the implications. That, however, doesn’t reflect on whether or not it is true.

    Actually, it seems an awful lot like you are ignoring the implications in order to reject what you do. I’m not saying anything that atheists from Russell to Sartre have mostly said anyway. And Russell wasn’t even a materialist.

    I don’t reject it because I don’t like the implications. I reject it because it’s a pretty weak, poorly supported view, rife with problems. But the fact that I reject it doesn’t mean I can’t notice what follows from the view – and it doesn’t mean that someone talking about the majesty of being related to the very wasps that Darwin found horrifying fails to strike me as silly fluff.

    I did not say that the brutality of the natural world is a source of respect for living things, I said that our interrelatedness is that source.

    If you read what I said, I didn’t say the brutality was the source of the “respect for all living things”. I questioned the very idea of the “source” being anything but a subjective view. It’s not some objective fact, even argued by you, that being ‘interrelated’ makes either respect or majesty intellectually follow under materialism and atheism. And what – if some day we encounter intelligent life elsewhere, it’s not worthy of respect?

    Like I said, it’s nice poetics. It just melts the moment you look at it for more than two seconds.

    Complete tosh. Feel free to go on believing in this stereotyped cartoon atheist who spends all day brooding over life’s pointlessness, waiting for oblivion. I am yet to met one.

    Then apparently you’ve managed to spend years of your life without actually reading what many atheists have to say. Nor did I claim atheists were ‘spending all day brooding’ over this. Further, I spoke purely about what followed intellectually, given the worldview. I have no doubt someone can be quite chipper and happy while being an atheist – it would mostly involve ignoring their atheism and what follows from it and focusing elsewhere. Or, as Alex Rosenberg says, self-medicating.

    for balance, it may also be worth noting that atheism is growing faster in many places (including the US, NZ and Australia) than any religious belief.

    Irreligion is growing quite fast, but atheism, particularly materialistic atheism? Not very much at all, really. Further, the US, NZ, and Australia were previously almost entirely Christian. It’d be silly to expect Christianity to grow faster than, say… Islam, or hinduism, in such places.

    As for why atheism grows even the meager amount it does – probably a variety of reasons, none of which have to do with it being intellectually compelling as a position. Maybe it has to do with the atheism-autism link, what with diagnoses of autism being on the rise. Or maybe it’s more anti-Christianity rising than atheism, from which there are a host of factors in play.

  11. paulmc, any system can have a high recruitment rate, especially in times of uncertainty.

    It is easy to recruit layabouts for uproars and riots. (No claim here is made that atheists would be more likely to take part in them; the point is that hundreds could be recruited in a single evening of grievance mongering. Proving nothing.)

    Long term, stable, socially fruitful beliefs that are passed on to future generations make a difference. And how is THAT going?

  12. nullasalus you wisely noted:

    I have no doubt someone can be quite chipper and happy while being an atheist – it would mostly involve ignoring their atheism and what follows from it and focusing elsewhere. Or, as Alex Rosenberg says, self-medicating.

    Or as Dr. Paul Nelson once put it:

    You would not want to live next door to a materialist/atheist who lived consistently within their worldview.

  13. As to the OP – for balance, it may also be worth noting that atheism is growing faster in many places (including the US, NZ and Australia) than any religious belief. Why does atheism have such a high recruitment rate?

    In addition to the other explanations, consider it at a purely numeric level. If you have a population of ten, adding another ten will increase it by a whopping 100%! Sound the trumpets! An amazing growth rate!

    Now take another population that has ten million members, and add 100,000 to that population. You only have 1% growth. How utterly paltry! Never mind the fact that that 1% growth is in real terms ten thousand times the size of that 100% increase…

    Food for thought.

  14. Actually, it seems an awful lot like you are ignoring the implications in order to reject what you do.

    Rejecting your woe-is-atheists spin does not amount to ignoring the implications of my world view.

    it’s all purposeless, not to mention doomed

    Lacking a divine, overriding purpose does not mean that atheists lack direction or fulfilment in their lives or feel doomed. For example, they may be doing things for more proximate reasons than pleasing a god figure – reasons that relate, perhaps, to our biology, or to our social ecology.

    it doesn’t mean that someone talking about the majesty of being related to the very wasps that Darwin found horrifying fails to strike me as silly fluff.

    What does that even mean? Because Darwin found parasitic wasps horrifying I have to be ashamed of common descent and I should fail to appreciate my place in the biological world? I wish you could see how incoherent that statement truly is. Just imagine what would happen if you applied the same limited, negative focus to your own worldview.

    I have no doubt someone can be quite chipper and happy while being an atheist – it would mostly involve ignoring their atheism and what follows from it and focusing elsewhere. Or, as Alex Rosenberg says, self-medicating.

    Again, you are repeating the same nonsense – that as an atheist I have to be performing feats of cognitive dissonance to be happy. It is interesting that you think this is a logical, necessary conclusion. I suppose much of this reflects where you draw your own happiness from.

  15. Rejecting your woe-is-atheists spin does not amount to ignoring the implications of my world view.

    It’s not spin at all – hence the army of intellectual atheists on my side when I claim this, and your complete lack of response to it. I and others point out what follows given atheism and materialism, and your response is “Atheists don’t run around being glum and morose all the time!” But I never said they did – indeed, I said it’s entirely possible for them to be happy.

    But what follows from the worldview, follows. Hence Rosenberg, Russell (again, even as a non-materialist), hence Sartre, hence even Dawkins.

    And you’ve got no response to it. You’re just angry I didn’t allow your moment of would-be poignancy to pass without pointing out the obvious.

    Lacking a divine, overriding purpose does not mean that atheists lack direction or fulfilment in their lives or feel doomed.

    It’s a good thing I said, explicitly, that I entirely expect it to be possible for atheists not to “feel doomed” and the like, eh?

    As for divine and overriding purpose, a bit more below…

    For example, they may be doing things for more proximate reasons than pleasing a god figure – reasons that relate, perhaps, to our biology, or to our social ecology.

    “Pleasing a god-figure” isn’t the only, or really even the major, purpose on theism / non-materialism. However, given atheism and materialism, the “reasons” people do what they do are the stuff of blind, mechanistic forces. There is no free will. Really, there is no intentionality either. People do “things” because of blind, clockwork mechanics.

    Again, read your Rosenberg. Read your Dawkins and Coyne. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but in my defense, I’m just the guy delivering the message other atheists stumbled upon themselves.

    What does that even mean? Because Darwin found parasitic wasps horrifying I have to be ashamed of common descent and I should fail to appreciate my place in the biological world? I wish you could see how incoherent that statement truly is.

    It’s not “incoherent”. I’m pointing out how hilarious your view is, and how fragile. You’re the one who went with the cheery Care Bear examples of “I share ancestry with sunflowers and fishes!” Yep, you do. Also, the dreaded carnivorous torture-wasps, all produces of mindless, meaningless material forces, directed at nothing, and doomed to die.

    And I didn’t even deny you COULD find majesty in this! Indeed, I said I was sure you could. I pointed out that the ‘source’ of the majesty and such was subjective view. The actual facts of nature have little to do with it, certainly in an objective sense.

    Just imagine what would happen if you applied the same limited, negative focus to your own worldview.

    It’s not a “limited, negative” focus. In fact, the precise problem for you is that my focus is NOT limited. Again: sunflowers and fishes. There’s a lot more to life than that. Just as there’s a lot more to humanity than hugs and symphonies.

    Further, I’m extremely realistic about all the possible implications of theism. Really, it can be a frightening view – which is precisely why so many people hope it’s not true. On the other hand, it’s got a lot more going for it than atheism and materialism. Them’s the breaks.

    Again, you are repeating the same nonsense – that as an atheist I have to be performing feats of cognitive dissonance to be happy.

    It’s not really nonsense, especially when you’ve displayed it in this very thread. Further, it’s not even *me* concluding this. I’ve got an army of intellectual atheists who shall conclude the dissonance for me, from Russell to Sartre to Rosenberg to Dawkins himself. Hell, I even have science on my side – care to see the prevailing scientific wisdom on how people cope with unfortunate truths?

    Really, I’m not saying “go be sad”. Hell, go be happy. But please, don’t expect to talk about the joy and tummy-tickles you feel on atheism because – golly! – you’re related to songbirds. The materialist atheist’s wannabe-pantheist nonsense is easier to expose than the wildest cult’s.

  16. I am not sure where you get the idea that you can school me on biological diversity, my own worldview or its implications. What you have done is play telephone with yourself until you have me talking about “tummy-tickles”. All I offered was another side to what was claimed to be the totality of the atheist world view spouted early in the thread. What I said was clearly subjective, flippant and hardly the totality of my life philosophy. Apparently I actually need to point this out, as you have taken a few words and run off one of the most smug, arrogant and assuming rants I have ever seen.

    When I refer to sunflowers and fishes (and I did also mention slime moulds and carnivores, despite your sneering) I refer to the subjective awe that many atheists experience when contemplating our biological heritage. It a is remarkable conclusion that stems from our best objective understanding of the world’s biota. This does not require that life lacks parasitic wasps and it does not aspire to be pantheism.

  17. paulmc,

    I am not sure where you get the idea that you can school me on biological diversity, my own worldview or its implications.

    I’m helpfully reminding you about the state of nature and the world itself, particularly from an atheist-materialist perspective. No need to thank me, the pleasure is all mine.

    Are you upset that I brought up the carnivorous wasps, not to mention the rape and botflies and the rest? I don’t see why you would be. More majesty and pride for you!

    All I offered was another side to what was claimed to be the totality of the atheist world view spouted early in the thread. What I said was clearly subjective, flippant and hardly the totality of my life philosophy.

    You’re saying that what you said was entirely subjective, and pretty meager stuff – and you’re upset because I pointed out that it was entirely subjective and pretty meager stuff?

    As for smug, arrogant and assuming – I’m flattered, but no, not really. I was something else: more thorough than you. I pushed the curtain open wider on nature, particularly nature as it is under a materialist, atheist view. I pointed out the wide variety of atheists who have similar regard for the world and the consequences of their views.

    It a is remarkable conclusion that stems from our best objective understanding of the world’s biota.

    Remarkability – more subjectivity. Like I said, what’s doing the work here isn’t the facts, it’s the subject. You could be delighted and amazed by anything you wish, subjectively. ‘Atheists are just thrilled by the Summer Steam Sale going on. So many great games for low prices! That makes life subjectively worth living.’ Less poignant, but same value.

    Really, I accept evolution and CD both. But I also like to be honest, brutally honest, about the reality of nature, even from a theistic perspective. Sugar-coating it is too easy to crack anyway, as you’ve found.

    This does not require that life lacks parasitic wasps and it does not aspire to be pantheism.

    Then maybe in the future, you’ll replace the sunflowers with parasitic wasps, and the fishes with cannibal chimpanzees. And heck, you can even slice evolution and biology out of the picture. ‘We can still experience subjective awe. You know, at anything at all, in principle. It’s all equally valid. Objectively speaking, given atheism and materialism.’

  18. Are you upset that I brought up the carnivorous wasps, not to mention the rape and botflies and the rest?

    Upset? I don’t see how I could be. What I am is baffled that you think you were making some kind of world-changing statement. Somehow you still think you have.

    You’re saying that what you said was entirely subjective, and pretty meager stuff – and you’re upset because I pointed out that it was entirely subjective and pretty meager stuff?

    I’m at a loss how I can simplify this any further for you. You have taken a simple statement and run away with it, thinking you have upturned the core of my materialistic paradigm, exposing an underbelly being eaten by parasitic wasps. You have not.

    I was something else: more thorough than you

    Oh thanks, that’s cute. You’ve brought some fleeting happiness to my bleak atheistic life with your funnies.

  19. What I am is baffled that you think you were making some kind of world-changing statement. Somehow you still think you have.

    World-changing? Not at all. As I said: nothing but more thorough.

    As I kept telling you, what I said isn’t exactly news. I pointed out the variety of atheist intellectuals who essentially agreed with what I was pointing out. I tread no new ground here.

    I’m at a loss how I can simplify this any further for you. You have taken a simple statement and run away with it, thinking you have upturned the core of my materialistic paradigm, exposing an underbelly being eaten by parasitic wasps. You have not.

    Did you not even read what you quoted? I said – and I’ve been consistent in this – that what I pointed out isn’t news. It’s pretty darn old and well-known. You were bringing up the sweet, nice parts of nature. (Sunflowers!) All I did was pointed out what else is included in that list, and the nature of the pride and awe. Nothing more.

    Oh thanks, that’s cute. You’ve brought some fleeting happiness to my bleak atheistic life with your funnies.

    Funny how I keep saying ‘I agree entirely that an atheist’s life doesn’t need to be wall to wall misery and woe’, but darnit, you keep on wanting me to say that. Alas, you’re stuck with what I’m actually saying. ;)

    Here’s one more bit of pride. You and me? Related. Same genetics – we’re more similar physically (and that’s the main, ultimate metric in materialist-atheism, recall) than, say… you and those sunflowers and fishes.

    Warms your heart, I’m sure. ;)

  20. You were bringing up the sweet, nice parts of nature. (Sunflowers!) All I did was pointed out what else is included in that list, and the nature of the pride and awe.

    You’re very hung up on the sunflowers. I haven’t got any problem with amending the list to include parasitic wasps.

    Funny how I keep saying ‘I agree entirely that an atheist’s life doesn’t need to be wall to wall misery and woe’, but darnit, you keep on wanting me to say that.

    Actually, you said it is only possible to be happy by ignoring the horrible implications of the atheist worldview. Not quite the same.

  21. So according to atheism when your time is up, you’re going to be taking an eternal dirt nap. It will be as if you never existes in the first place. It wont matter whether you lived one thousand years of pure happiness and bliss or ten years of pure misery and pain. In the end you will be cast into absolute oblivion and all your experiences and beliefs and convictions will be erased from reality, at least from your non existent point of view. Ultimately nothing matters since you will inevitably end up taking that eternal dirt nap.

    Yep, quite a cheerful and awe inspiring world view.

  22. It wont matter whether you lived one thousand years of pure happiness and bliss or ten years of pure misery and pain. Ultimately nothing matters since you will inevitably end up taking that eternal dirt nap.

    If life is the only thing that we have – and it is certainly the only thing we can be sure of – then the very opposite of this is true.

  23. paulmc you state:

    If life is the only thing that we have – and it is certainly the only thing we can be sure of – then the very opposite of this is true.

    Really??? “it (life) is certainly the only thing we can be sure of”

    And exactly what is “life” in your worldview and how are you certain that you are alive? Paul with such ‘certainty’ that you are in fact ‘alive’ you seem to be dangerously close to Decartes’ dictum of certainty “I think therefore I am”:

    i.e. It is interesting to note that there is a very strong tradition in philosophy that holds that the most concrete thing that a person can know about reality is the fact that they are indeed conscious:

    “Descartes remarks that he can continue to doubt whether he has a body; after all, he only believes he has a body as a result of his perceptual experiences, and so the demon could be deceiving him about this. But he cannot doubt that he has a mind, i.e. that he thinks. So he knows he exists even though he doesn’t know whether or not he has a body.”
    http://cw.routledge.com/textbo.....ualism.pdf

    But neo-Darwinists deny the reality of consciousness and hold that it is a ‘illusion’:

    God Versus Science: A Futile Struggle By J Roy Singham – May 2012
    Excerpt: Materialists believe that matter is unconscious, a tenable opinion. But they also believe that consciousness is an illusion. That belief is absurd, almost madness.
    http://ezinearticles.com/?God-.....id=6940055

    Thus Paul, you seem to be in quite the dilemma. On the one hand you are certain that you are alive, but on the other hand you deny the certainty of the consciousness that is giving you that certainty in the first place?!?

    Notes:

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    (Max Planck, as cited in de Purucker, Gottfried. 1940. The Esoteric Tradition. California: Theosophical University Press, ch. 13).

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’

    I like this following interview where, around the 35 minute mark, Harvard neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander, who had a unique ‘brain-death while on life support’ Near Death Experience, repeatedly refers to consciousness as being ‘non-local’, i.e. as being beyond mass, energy, space and time. He simply is very well articulated towards driving the point home on the ‘hard problem’ consciousness.

    A Conversation with Eben Alexander III, M.D. – Near Death Experiencer – Eben Alexander III, M.D., Steve Paulson (Interviewer) – video
    http://www.btci.org/bioethics/...../vid3.html

    Paul if you really want to be as certain that you are ‘alive’ I suggest you look a little deeper at what life really is and look to the one who defeated death for our behalf so that we might have eternal life:

    Shroud Of Turin Is Authentic, Italian Study Suggests – December 2011
    Excerpt: Last year scientists were able to replicate marks on the cloth using highly advanced ultraviolet techniques that weren’t available 2,000 years ago — nor during the medieval times, for that matter.,,, Since the shroud and “all its facets” still cannot be replicated using today’s top-notch technology, researchers suggest it is impossible that the original image could have been created in either period.
    http://www.thegopnet.com/shrou.....ests-87037

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    Verses and Music:

    Acts 2:24
    God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

    John 5:24
    Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

    Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....38;ob=av2e

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