If you think all skeptics are honest truth seekers, then you need to read my web page on Skeptical Misdirection. There is overwhelming evidence for the afterlife and psychic phenomena. The skeptical atheist view that consciousness is produced by the brain is an absolute fraud. Skeptics claim to be interested in truth. This is the Big Lie of our time.
However the problem is not just that skeptics and atheists are spreading misinformation.
Research shows that belief in the paranormal and religion can be conducive to the health and well being of people. These beliefs can help people cope with grief, divorce, job loss, the fear of death, particularly in the terminally ill, and can deter suicide. Therefore, when skeptics and atheists try to convince people to stop believing in the paranormal and religion, they may be doing harm to other people. Furthermore, research also shows that having meaning in life is necessary for people to thrive but skeptics claim consciousness and meaning are illusions. When skeptics spread their philosophy of materialism they may cause harm by taking the meaning and purpose of life away from people.
I am not saying anyone, skeptic, atheist, or believer should change their beliefs because of this research. You should believe what you think is right.
Also, I am not saying all skeptics and atheists are bad people. We all incarnate for different purposes, to learn different lessons. Some people need to have the experience of being a skeptic or an atheist. I went through a period of my life where I was a materialist atheist and during that time I formed a highly developed sense of ethics. That sense of ethics is much more valuable to me than one based on fear of karmic retribution or punishment in the afterlife. I follow those values because I know they are right not because I am afraid to do otherwise. I had to have the experience of being a materialist to develop those values.
However, if your beliefs are dangerous to another person, if they will harm his health and well being, you should not go on a crusade to convert him to your way of thinking. If someone is grieving, or suffering from a terminal illness, or feeling suicidal, you shouldn't try to convert him to materialism. But it is not just the afterlife. The references I link to below show religion can help if you are going through a divorce or have lost your job. These are not theoretical points. Real people experiencing real suffering can be harmed by activist skeptics.
I realize this attitude may upset some skeptics. However my overriding concern is to protect people from being harmed by skeptics and atheists.
Below I include links, quotes, and references to research that shows how helpful religion and belief in the paranormal can be to people. But I also know this from my own experience. I have been to many Spiritualist church services and I've seen what I am writing about first hand. Many people come to a Spiritualist church for the first time when they are suffering from grief because mediumship is part of the Sunday service. Some of these people are suffering from extreme grief from the death of a spouse or a child. Losing a child is one of the most difficult of all things to have to experience in life. During church services, I've seen and heard with my own senses the comfort and relief that a communication from a deceased loved one can give to another person.
Imagine a child conceived in love, who you carried in pregnancy, gave birth to, fed from your own breast, and raised from infancy. Who you taught to walk and talk and took to their first day of school and had birthday parties for. Who you loved and who loved you and trusted you completely in their innocent childlike way. Imagine your hopes and dreams for their future. Now, imagine their life is cut short, maybe by a sudden accident or a lingering illness. Actually, you can't imagine the grief and sense of loss a parent would feel in that situation. Now try to imagine what it is like for that parent to know that their child's existence has not been cut short but that their child is living with Grandma in another plane of existence, and they can still know about each other and communicate words of love.
I've been there during Spiritualist church services and seen and heard a medium provide this comfort to people suffering from extreme grief. I knew the medium, I knew the church, I know it wasn't cold reading or hot reading and I know the information the medium gave to identify the spirit was specific, detailed, and impossible to guess by chance.
So I also know the harm that can be done by skeptics who never had this experience and who don't know what they are talking about when they try to convince someone else that it is all a delusion or a fraud.
The people who are deluded and who are committing fraud are the skeptics and atheists. There is overwhelming evidence for the afterlife and the skeptical atheist view that consciousness is produced by the brain is an absolute fraud. Skeptics claim to be interested in truth. This is the Big Lie of our time.
Here are links, quotes, and references to back up my assertions about the benefits of belief in the paranormal and religion:
An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Paranormal and Spiritual Experiences on Peoples' Lives and Well-Being by J.E. Kennedy and H. Kanthamani,Original publication and copyright: The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1995, Volume 89, pp.249-265.
Recent research suggests that a world view that is open to aspects of life beyond the physical-materialistic realm can be conducive to health and well-being ....
Religion 'linked to happy life' from news.bbc.co.uk.
Professor Clark said: "We originally started the research to work out why some European countries had more generous unemployment benefits than others, but our analysis suggested that religious people suffered less psychological harm from unemployment than the non-religious.
"They had higher levels of life satisfaction".
Even though churchgoers were unsurprisingly more likely to oppose divorce, they were both less psychologically affected by marital separation when it did happen, he said.
"What we found was that religious people were experiencing current day rewards, rather than storing them up for the future."
But Justin Thacker, head of Theology for the Evangelical Alliance, said that there should now be no doubt about the connection between religious belief and happiness.
"There is more than one reason for this - part of it will be the sense of community and the relationships fostered, but that doesn't account for all of it.
"A large part of it is due to the meaning, purpose and value which believing in God gives you, whereas not believing in God can leave you without those things."
Are Religious People Happier than Atheists? by By Susan Perry at minnpost.com
In fact, some research has found that people who regularly attend religious services can expect to live an average of seven years longer than their peers who never step inside a church, synagogue or mosque.
New research has found “that the positive effects of religion depend enormously on where you live,” writes Upson. “Religious people may be happier than their godless counterparts, but only if the society they belong to values religion highly, which not all societies do.”
Bereavement and belief in the Afterlife from candidaabrahamson.wordpress.com
Grief from the loss of a loved one is often overwhelming and crushing. Religions often try to ease that gaping sense of emptiness through ritual aimed at facilitating gradual release. And the literature on the positive effects of religion on healing is significant. Becker, in his 2007 paper, “Do religious or spiritual beliefs influence bereavement?: A systematic review,” analyzed 32 studies, covering a total of 5715 persons. 94% of the studies showed some positive effects of religious or spiritual beliefs on bereavement [all references below].Lessons from the Light by Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser. The link goes to a page in the book that describes how knowledge of Near Death Experiences deters suicide.
There is a comfort that a belief in life after death brings, and it allows the belief holder to better reconcile his loss, to be less gripped by overwhelming fears, to adapt better, and, in some cases, to recover faster.
Becker G. Do religious or spiritual beliefs influence bereavement?: A systematic review.” Palliative Medicine 2007; 21(3):207-217.
Billings AG, Moos RH. The role of coping responses and social resources in attenuating the stress of life events. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1981: 4(2):139-157.
Braun M, Berg D. Meaning reconstruction in the experience of parental bereavement. Death Studies 1994; 18(2):105-29.
Clarke SM, et al. Religiosity, afterlife beliefs, and bereavement adjustment in adulthood. Journal of Religious Gerontology 2003; 14(2):207-224.
Davis C, Nolen-Hoeksemea S. Loss and meaning: How do people make sense of loss. American Behavioral Scientist 2001; 44(5):726-741.
Schoenrade P. When I die…Belief in afterlife as a response to mortality. Personality and Social Psychology Journal 1989; 15(1):91-100.
Smith P, Range L, Ulmer A. Belief in afterlife as a buffer in suicidal and Other bereavement. OMEGA–Journal of Death and Dying 1991-92; 24(3):217-225.
As far as I know, the first clinician to make use of NDE material in this context was a New York psychologist named John McDonagh. In 1979, he presented a paper at a psychological convention that described his success with several suicidal patients using a device he called "NDE bibliotherapy." His "technique" was actually little more than having his patients read some relevant passages from Raymond Moody's book, Reflections on Life after Life, after which the therapist and his patient would discuss its implicatins for the latter's own situation. McDonagh reports that such an approach was generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.
Since McDonagh's pioneering efforts, other clinicians knowledgeable about the NDE who have had the opportunity to counsel suicidal patients have also reported similar success. Perhaps the most notable of these therapists is Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist now at the University of Virginia, whose specialty as a clinician has been suicidology. He is also the author of a classic paper on NDEs and suicide which the specialist may wish to consult for tis therapeutic implications. (14)
Quite apart form the clinicians who have developed this form of what we migh call "NDE-assisted therapy," I can draw upon my own personal experience here to provide additional evidence of how the NDE has helped to deter suicide. The following case ...
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