TED Conversations

Farokh Shahabi Nezhad

CEO & Co-Founder at Idearun, TEDxTehran

TEDCRED 20+

This conversation is closed.

Is there any way to prevent religious debates from turning into a big fight?

People discuss lots of things, politics, sports, anything
But when they discuss religious opinions, most of the time, they get all angry and try to win even with fight.
why is that? why that can't be a normal subject?
and more important, How can we prevent this?

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Closing Statement from Farokh Shahabi Nezhad

Tnx everyone for their replies. I enjoyed learning from different aspect for this problem.

I can only conclude this : Don't argue with someone unless they are open minded and ready to be changed and challenged.

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  • Feb 19 2013: I'm pleased that the Pope is aware of the status of heaven. May he passeth it to his successor. As an avid agnostic, I refrain from proselytizing ...one man's tranquillity is another's hell. Death has been, is now and will always be one of mankind's greatest enigmas ... but we have a smorgasbord of heavens.
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      Feb 19 2013: "Death has been, is now and will always be one of mankind's greatest enigmas."

      Perhaps for you, but not for everyone. Many have died--clinically, that is--and have returned to share that experience. Dannion Brinkley comes to mind, one who has written extensively about his after-death experience, and then there's neurosurgeon and neuroscientist Dr. Eben Alexander, and his book, "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (2012) in which he asserts that his out of body and near death experience (NDE) while in a meningitis-induced coma in 2008 proves that consciousness is independent of the brain, that death is an illusion, and that an eternity of perfect splendor awaits us beyond the grave — complete with angels, clouds, and departed relatives, but also including butterflies and beautiful girls in peasant dress. According to him, the current understanding of the mind 'now lies broken at our feet'— for 'What happened to me destroyed it, and I intend to spend the rest of my life investigating the true nature of consciousness and making the fact that we are more, much more, than our physical brains as clear as I can, both to my fellow scientists and to people at large.'”

      "I refrain from proselytizing."

      That's a reasonable position. Similarly, what you believe is your business. And this brings us full circle to the discussion underway on this blog: I'm not here to convince you of anything. I have my proof, which is, for me, incontrovertible proof--a proof that buttresses my knowledge of an afterlife, but won't necessarily offer you sufficient proof to nudge you from a position of saying you don't know, to one of full knowing.

      The problem emerges when one side or the other attacks the other for not believing as they believe. This is the experience I've often encountered when sharing my life story and experiences, rather than the courtesy of a hearing without being subjected to ridicule.
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        Feb 20 2013: That NDE sounds remarkably a lot like a dream or hallucination.

        Butterflies and beautiful girls.

        Perhaps what you might expect when unconscious or near death.

        His interpretation could be correct. NDE are profound.

        I understand how attractive this vision is and why many would use this to reinforce their hopes and beliefs. Personally I look for something more compelling as proof of life after death. I class it as unknown, but most likely the end of our conscious existence.based on everything we know with reasonable confidence.
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          Feb 20 2013: "That NDE sounds remarkably a lot like a dream or hallucination."

          When taken out of context and serialized, anything can sound "remarkably ... like a dream or hallucination."

          NDEs are similar to OOBEs. Let me assure you, the various worlds, dimensions, and realties are mind-blowing, and feature everything imaginable and unimaginable.

          "His interpretation could be correct. NDE are profound."

          As are OOBEs. Fortunately, you can experience the latter without the downside of NDEs. Much of what I know and have experienced I don't reveal, because to reveal them would strain credulity, such is the nature of my Out-of-Body Explorations, and the various entities and lifeforms I've encountered.

          "I understand how attractive this vision is and why many would use this to reinforce their hopes and beliefs."

          Attractive to be sure, but I, and many like me, don't need it to reinforce "hopes and beliefs." Our daily lives are reinforcement enough, if such was required, which it isn't.

          "Personally I look for something more compelling as proof of life after death."

          And that's your choice, and your decision. Although, I fear, without a similar experience as that of Dr. Alexander, that "compelling proof" will remain as elusive as science's inability to fathom the existence of an afterlife, and fully plumb the mysteries surrounding consciousness.

          "I class it as unknown, but most likely the end of our conscious existence.based on everything we know with reasonable confidence."

          Your "reasonable confidence" is misplaced, since what we know is profoundly limited and doesn't account for life's simplest experience, and reality--the sourcing of Life in body, and Mind in brain.

          I harken back to this perennial limitation of science, fully knowing that science will never crack this simplest puzzle--for all its ubiquity--of human existence and the prevalence of intelligent lifeforms, albeit with man as nature's crowning achievement.

          For me each day is as supernatural as it is natural.
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          Feb 20 2013: All of life's experiences are unknown ,until they become known. I would never expect a single human to apprise me of the sum total of all possible human experiences; Why then would I expect a single "NDE" human to summarize all NDEs for me ? On the other hand,nor should I discount any honest persons experience for the sole reason that it is unique or estranged to my own experiences.
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          Feb 20 2013: Good point Shawki,
          I've had an NDE/OBE, researched hundreds of cases of NDE/OBEs, and while there are many similarities, there are also differences.

          For example, I did not experience "angels, clouds... butterflies and beautiful girls in peasant dress", nor was my experience in any way connected to religion.

          So, I agree with you Shawki, that I would never expect a simgle human to apprise me of that experience, nor would I expect a single human to summarize all NDE/OBEs:>)

          It seems like this conversation got hyjacked to NDE/OBEs rather than the topic question....
          "Is there any way to prevent religious debates from turning into a big fight?"

          My NDE/OBE experience was not at all about religion, and there are many other cases that are not dominated by religion, so in my humble perception, the topic of NDE/OBE has nothing to do with the topic question as presented.
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        Feb 20 2013: Hi Wilbert, while I haven't had a NDE personally, a close relative has, and I have conversed with others who have. I even looked at that book. The experience has helped my family member lose fear of hell, but does not see it as absolute proof.

        I'm not sure I need to personally have an NDE or OOBE to know enough to have a valid opinion. 'Knowing what we know about the brain, the mind and neurological processes I don't think it unreasonable to assume NDE etc is not a slam dunk argument for life after death.

        Actually I had an OOBE once.. Perhaps I really did travel out of my body. I don't know. I tend to think it was just something going on in my brain, particularly given my state of mind at the time.

        I heard of another Doctor who one day saw demons and angels erupting from the floor. He took himself to hospital and told them he was most likely having a stroke impacting a specific part of his brain. He was correct. Now maybe the stroke helped him see something real we normally can not see. But maybe it was just a hallucination.

        All these experiences, from seeing a god or goddess to demonic possession causing epilepsy, to alien abductions, I don't discount people have experiences, just a bit skeptical of some of the interpretation.

        I guess we agree people do have hallucinations and other amazing experiences and in some cases these are just natural albeit not to common brain misfirings.

        Others are more mundane or common. When you watch tv and lose awareness of your surroundings you are actually in a light trance. If I spin like a dervish I might have visions. If you llock a human in absolute dark and silence within minutes we start imagining/seeing/hearimg things. When you meditate or pray, same parts of everyones brain are active.

        How do you draw the line between stuff going on in our mind and correctly interpreting experiences as something supernatural touching some realm outside of our mental constructs?
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          Feb 20 2013: "Knowing what we know about the brain, the mind and neurological processes I don't think it unreasonable to assume NDE etc is not a slam dunk argument for life after death."

          The only "slam dunk argument" that will resonate for the masses is the survival of death itself.

          I don't presume the polemic skills to change minds with the persuasive power of words, or that my experiences will shift one's beliefs if those beliefs have hardened into denial, or a refutation of things termed supernatural.

          All I have is my anecdotal experience, and even that I proffer with extreme care, cognizant of the general resistance to paranormal events for which my life has seen many during a lifetime of living straddled two worlds--the one we see, and the one we don't.

          "I'm not sure I need to personally have an NDE or OOBE to know enough to have a valid opinion."

          An "opinion" certainly, but an informed "opinion" would require a greater involvment, or, at the very least, knowing the subject experientially to a degree that would inform a position, the difference between learning a skill from a book, and actually learning it as an apprentice with real-world practice.

          "I tend to think it was just something going on in my brain, particularly given my state of mind at the time."

          Consciousness is powerful, and a "state of mind" can trigger the creation of all kind of phenomenon, or connect us with realities we're unaccustomed to seeing.

          "I don't discount people have experiences, just a bit skeptical of some of the interpretation."

          On one blog, I detailed for you an extraterrestrial encounter, one which ultimated with the prediction of an earthquake, three months in advance of it, giving the precise date, and time.

          "How do you draw the line between stuff going on in our mind and correctly interpreting experiences as something supernatural touching some realm outside of our mental constructs?"

          Consciousness is super-creative, and creates realities. There is no realm outside of us.
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        Feb 20 2013: Let me put it this way, I know some people who tried mushrooms and others who tired LSD.

        One saw words and sounds as sparks coming from peoples mouths. Another thought the people around him turned in lizards, and another saw blue and red crystals in the air.

        I had some of the most vivid visions in my life recovering from surgery.

        Did the medication or psycho active substances open our senses to see something we normally can not? Or did the chemicals in our brain cause hallucinations?

        When you damage or play around with the brain you can trigger weird experiences. Now when your brain is starved of oxygen or your body is near total shut down due to some trauma or illness it is perhaps not that surprising people have incredible experiences.

        Again, they could be propelled into another magical realm. Actually it may be real, but not the afterlife. It could be a supernatural holding place before an afterlife or total oblivion.

        Or it could be our poor brains going through some shut down process with hallucinations.

        It is hard to test but I can think of some evidence that would make it more likely people are having a real supernatural experience. But have yet to see anything like this.

        I guess it can be kind of insulting to hear a view like mine towards some profound experience with much attached meaning and interpretation. Again, I don't discount the experiences. And I hope not to offend.
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          Feb 20 2013: "Did the medication or psycho active substances open our senses to see something we normally can not? Or did the chemicals in our brain cause hallucinations?"

          Brain and mind, and body and life are two of the illusions to which we're bound. Simply put, we believe that we're subject to the body--physicality--for sight, touch, taste, hearing, and the operation of the mind from which consciousness emanates.

          We're not. But as long as this belief constitutes our reality, damage to the body can precipitate the death of the body, just as any chemical alteration of the brain can have a huge impact on thought, and therefore on the consciousness that seems to require a brain for its existence.

          This seeming coupling of body and brain with Life and Mind accounts for the seeming cooperation that we see between them, a cooperation that ceases once we're free of the body, especially during sleep, an OOBE, or a NDE.

          "Now when your brain is starved of oxygen or your body is near total shut down due to some trauma or illness it is perhaps not that surprising people have incredible experiences."

          Indeed, as the astral body and consciousness are now free of physical limitations, and physical interpretations of experiences--free to create, and co-create whatever realities meet their fancy.

          "Or it could be our poor brains going through some shut down process with hallucinations."

          As I've stated, once the brain is out of the equation, the mind and consciousness can conjure up an infinite number of possible experiences, and do so without the physical limitations that once attended such creations.

          We're not our bodies, but we're made to believe that we are. This illusion serves a purpose. Without it, our connection to the physical world wouldn't be as strong--and neither would we experience it with the same level of gravity and urgency.

          Those living would be like me, neither here nor there, but a resident in both worlds, knowing the past and future with equal ease, and assurance.
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          Feb 20 2013: "I guess it can be kind of insulting to hear a view like mine towards some profound experience with much attached meaning and interpretation. Again, I don't discount the experiences. And I hope not to offend."

          Not at all: I'm not offended. I understand how incredulous my statements are, and that they'll more likely be disbelieved than belived.

          This world is really no different than other worlds we don't see. In all worlds and realities we're creating our experiences. This world is no exception.

          What's different, or seem to be, is that we don't usually see the connection between thoughts and the reality that these thoughts create. I can. For me, thought and action, cause and effect can be immediate, just as it is in other realities that we term non-physical--so immediate that they may be considered one.

          We can create Hell here as well as there. We can create Heaven here as well as there. And we usually do.

          When we're co-creating, here and there, our realties aren't too dissimilar and we can converse one with the other on a common plane of understanding and experience, but we're not just limited to those understandings and experiences, but can spiral out from these centers of commonality and entertain our own private world, or own peculiar reality.

          "Again, they could be propelled into another magical realm. Actually it may be real, but not the afterlife. It could be a supernatural holding place before an afterlife or total oblivion."

          Here and there, your belief controls the quality and the quantity of your life. Here and there, like attracts like--fear attracts fear and love attracts love. Here and there, you get what you believe you will get. Here and there, truth is what you say it is, and you or your experience is what you say it is.

          What amazes me most, is that few ever inquire about what it is that I have learned from being a denizen of this world and the next; they're usually intent on attacking and disabusing me of the notion of the supernatural.
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        Feb 20 2013: Thanks Wilbert. I've enjoyed reading and reflecting on your comments.
        It's probably good to hear points of view and experiences different from our own.
        Funnily enough there is some intersection of our views. While we diverge on others.
        By the way I am curious about your experiences and insights but don't want to pry.
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          Feb 21 2013: THANK YOU!

          I enjoy respectful exchanges, where both sides share their take on things rather than resort to preachments, or didaticism.

          Serendipitously, I discovered this morning an e-mail in my mailbox from CoastZone, happily devoted to "Accounts of NDEs." I present a portion of it here for your perusal and that of future readers of this blog:

          "Referring to those who experience NDEs as 'returnees,' he related an early case that he heard when he was stationed in the National Guard. The returnee said his NDE occurred after a drug overdose, and he was told 'it was not his time.' During his 'life review' he was shown that he was throwing away the gifts that God had given him. Once revived, 'that man...got up and walked away cold turkey from drug addiction,'-- the NDE absolutely turned his life around, he said.

          "Price has heard of four different ways people exit the body during an NDE-- the tunnel of light happens in only about 40% of the cases. The medical idea that a brain deprived of oxygen explains the tunnel effect, doesn't account for why during the NDE, people report a joyous reunion, a life review, and instruction, and then when they come back they're a different person, he contended. Suicide, Price has learned from the accounts, is not a good escape option. Though people aren't punished for it, they are still aware of all the problems they had in their life, as well as the grief they caused their loved ones. When people were resuscitated from their suicide attempt, they came back with the knowledge that they had to deal with their problems, he said.

          "Regarding hellish NDEs, Price shared a man's NDE account of being attacked by the claws of a T-Rex type creature. He would be healed only to be torn apart over and over again. When the man yelled 'help me Lord,' he woke up back in the hospital, and was subsequently able to turn his life around. Price also cited the case of Howard Storm's hellish near-death-experience, and how help finally came when he called
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          Feb 21 2013: on the Lord. For more NDE accounts, visit the International Association for Near-Death Studies ( IANDS)."

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