• Phoenix Rising needs funds to operate: please consider donating to support PR

Religion?

mango

Senior Member
Messages
905
Likes
4,976
Anyway, I had terrible things happen in meditation and did not realize this can happen till I read, "The Buddha Pill" which talks about people going psychotic in meditation. Stark, raving psychotic. One nurse took more than a decade to recover.
I'm so sorry that happened to you OkRadLakPok, it sounds horrible :(

I've taken part in several very long, intense and even "extreme" Buddhist meditation retreats over the years. For me personally, it's been an amazing tool on so many different levels in my life. (Hasn't had any effect on ME or any of its symptoms, though!)

However, I just wanted to echo what you said, that it's not at all uncommon that people totally freak out, have psychotic episodes, have very severe bodily reactions etc -- I've seen it happen to people around me several times. It's really powerful stuff.

I believe that it's very important for everyone who practices meditation to be aware that this is something that can happen to anyone at any point in time. Not just to beginners or those considered to be "mentally unstable" -- it can happen to anyone, regardless.

Meditation teachers have a really big responsibility. They need to inform their students and also be able to take care of them if something like this should happen.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
15,004
Likes
44,605
1) Interesting point: I heard that Christian POWs in Vietnam (and possibly in other countries/wars) survived a lot longer than atheist POWs, as the power of their faith gave them hope, which had a sustaining effect on their lives/bodies. Note: I'm not a Christian myself. Also note: I don't know where this comes from, may not be correct.
My feeling on this is not so much that the person is any specific religion vs. that they have faith, love for their family, or a goal that motivates them to keep fighting. My belief is similar to that of Viktor Frankl's in "Man's search for Meaning" in which he explained how he survived in the concentration camps (vs. the above example is a POW in Vietnam) and for us it might be suffering through years of a debilitating illness, but I think they all apply.

His belief is if you had something that gave meaning to your life (and it could be religion, the love/hope of your family, or a goal/project that you hope to complete some day) that this gave you the extra push that you needed to sustain yourself and keep fighting. Of course pure luck is also involved but if you have a goal that keeps you going, you do fight harder to live IMO (or at least I know that I do).

But for me, the goal can be anything like I said. Right now I have a goal to see my daughter graduate high school in four years, in addition to my faith in God, and wanting to get well enough to do volunteer work and advocate for those who cannot. If I had none of these things, I think I would have already given up but having them gives me that extra push to spend four hours dealing with an insurance issue even though I'd rather not, etc. So I understand what the original poster meant but I would make it much broader than just one specific religion or one situation.
 

xrunner

Senior Member
Messages
843
Likes
690
Location
Surrey
I heard that Christian POWs in Vietnam (and possibly in other countries/wars) survived a lot longer
Hi @David Jackson, I don't think there are stats on this. However, you could easily come to that conclusion by studying history and personal observation because since the very beginning, for Christianity that was the case.
There's no other explanation for the growth and flourishing of a church that was cruelly persecuted, her leaders and followers systematically tortured and murdered. Unfortunately, that kind of treatment didn't stop then.
I'm not an authority (my interest in the history of Christianity is only of a couple of years) but there's an endless number of personal cases through to our times.

For e.g. the kgb could never break down Walter Ciszek (15ys in a gulag), the vietcongs weren't much successful either with card. Van Thuan (13ys in solitary confinement), at Auschwitz the nazis had to inject Maximilian Kolbe with acid, as starvation and dehydration weren't killing him fast enough...
Even now, for e.g. a young woman called Asia Bibi, a mother of five sentenced to the death penalty on false accusations and her refusal to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ (even had to give birth with her ankled chained), has now spent the last six seven years of her life in a very small prison cells without windows, yet she has the strength to carry on despite not being able to see her family and facing death.
Then if you look into what's happening in the middle east with young children for e.g., you'll see that the list goes on and on.

the power of their faith gave them hope, which had a sustaining effect on their lives/bodies.
Based on my personal experience as a Christian this explanation is incorrect. Christianity seems much misunderstood. It's not the power of faith, rather the power that comes from God in response to faith.
It's a totally external (to the human body soul and spirit) power, an awsome power i.e. God's Spirit that comes into you and it changes everything in your life. It has absolutely nothing to do with either motivation, psychology, or human effort.
 
Last edited:

Valentijn

Senior Member
Messages
15,786
Likes
45,635
I'm not an authority (my interest in the history of Christianity is only of a couple of years) but there's an endless number of personal cases through to our times.
These likely boil down to a combination of selective reporting and the placebo effect. Basically something random happens, it is attributed to a deity, and actual data between different belief systems (and a lack of belief systems) is never objectively compared.

I have no doubt that prayer makes some people feel better. But it certainly doesn't make them physically healthier or stronger, or any less likely to die from health-related or other physical forces.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
15,004
Likes
44,605
These likely boil down to a combination of selective reporting and the placebo effect. Basically something random happens, it is attributed to a deity, and actual data between different belief systems (and a lack of belief systems) is never objectively compared.
I'm not sure how it would really be measured or compared b/c to me "faith" is something that you believe in the absence of proof. There is no science (IMO) that can "prove" that God exists anymore than there is science that can "prove" that God does not exist. Either stance, is taken on faith IMO. And for me, it is more something personal and not something I ever feel the need to debate. I just don't think it can be measured scientifically in the way you are stating.

I have no doubt that prayer makes some people feel better. But it certainly doesn't make them physically healthier or stronger, or any less likely to die from health-related or other physical forces.
I agree that having faith can make you feel better (or it does for me at least) and I also agree that having faith is no guarantee that you will be healthy, stronger, or less likely to die (from illness, war, earthquake, etc). But for me it grounds me to know that there is something larger than myself and that there is a plan and that both myself and God are involved in this plan together and I am not in this world alone. I do not view prayer as magic or as a slot machine where I put something in and automatically get something back vs. an opportunity to ask God for help so I do not carry the burden alone, or to express gratitude, etc. My favorite kind of prayer is when I can pray on behalf of someone else vs. for myself and often feel selfish if I ask for something for myself even though I know that I shouldn't.
 

Sushi

Moderation Resource Albuquerque
Messages
18,202
Likes
29,683
Location
Albuquerque
This thread is skating close to the edge of Phoenix Rising's "No Relgion" rule.
As a refresher please keep this rule in mind:

Views on religion and politics are personal and important to each of us. This forum is not the place to discuss general politics or religious beliefs. This type of discussion can be divisive and can easily lead to misunderstandings, animosity and unintended offense.

...Supportive threads in the Spirituality and ME/CFS Forum are welcome as long as they are not used to promote your own religious views, to offer explicit spiritual advice, or to critique other members' beliefs.
Therefore, please, no religious or political (unless related to ME/CFS) debate or commentary on this website. Any such posts or threads will be removed.
 

Stretched

Senior Member
Messages
597
Likes
734
Location
U.S., Atlanta, GA
I'm an independent thinker and feel that religious thinking is like being controlled by a drug.
As I posted elsewhere in support of freethinking, you might like the tenets of this organization as supportive and reassuring: FFRF.ORF. Give it a look if you’re a free thinker.

The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion. In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery, not to mention the recent late Stephen Hawkings and his contributions to the understanding of the workings of the universe.
 

Misfit Toy

Senior Member
Messages
4,110
Likes
9,895
Location
USA
I am not sure if I can respond but I will. I am just seeing what sushi is writing and the rules so I am not sure if I am allowed to answer this.

My dad was catholic, my mom was presbyterian and I grew up not really connecting to the Bible. It just wasn't for me. I didn't believe Jesus would rise up from the ashes for one. I could go on about this but won't.

My dad refused to pay the money to have me baptized catholic so when I turned 16, he told me that if I didn't become baptized anything....anything, I would not go to heaven, I would go to hell. This scared me and also made me hate religion as I was 16 years old and a good kid. I didn't get it. I was a peer counselor for students in school, an honor student and just an all around grounded kid. So, I told him...."I will never be baptized because I will not believe in a religion or a God who thinks that way."

Well, I believe in God. I believe in Angels and I believe that the devil is here on earth. He's my brother...joke! :D

I am agnostic. I talk to and ask for guidance from a higher power and that helps me. I believe in doing good.

I also love the Jewish religion. My roommates from college and when I lived in San Fran and NYC were jewish. I love Shabbat and have spent shabbat at my friends and love it. No computers, or phone or tv. I think it's a beautiful religion. I could embrace it. I sometimes feel that judaism is more my cup of tea than most religions.

I also like Buddhist practices. I don't know enough about buddhism though, but it's very spiritual and I like that.

I think whatever floats your boat as long as you don't push it onto others.

If I could find a church that was more spiritual and community based, I would go. If it was a non denominational church.

For me, its important to believe in a higher power to know I am not alone. Plus, who created those beautiful sunsets and the sky? I believe some "thing" made it all happen. For whatever reason, this comforts me.

Also, there have been things that have happened that I feel are true blessings and not to sound corny, but I believe God put those things in front of me and I knew right away that what they were a gift and it was going to work out.

For example, my jewelry business. I had never made jewelry in my life. I went to a gem show with a friend, made jewelry and knew instantly it was a hit. Everything and I do mean everything was in perfect alignment and it all fell into place and most things in my life don't. It all came together like one big symphony and within a few months I was in a store in Philadelphia and then two years later, my stuff was on Philadelphia's main weather girl on TV. Now, I had been sick for years and unable to work and now my stuff was on TV and I could not keep up with it. I was doing so well. Seriously...think about it. I never made jewelry til age 34. God put it in my path for me to make it happen and I did. Thank you, God!
 

iwillwin1day

Senior Member
Messages
189
Likes
214
I am Muslim. What keeps me going is these words of God Allah " These dunya is temporary and aakhirah( after death life ) is forever. Keep doing good deeds and be patient in tough times. As those who are patient for them is heaven forever..."
 

Stretched

Senior Member
Messages
597
Likes
734
Location
U.S., Atlanta, GA
Let's face it, life is a stinker for everyone; even for those we see who look like they have it easier. So in trying to keep with site guidelines I will just say that I have found so much wisdom and comfort in God's Word. So yes, for me, my faith in Him has been my greatest help in all of this.
Try prof Richard Dawkins bestseller, circa 2005. It might open more avenues to explore.
 

kurt

Senior Member
Messages
1,177
Likes
374
Location
USA
I am not hoping to open a can of worms and I don't know if we can talk about it, but I am just wondering if religion has helped anyone to feel like they can go on?
It's complicated.

I was raised in a somewhat fundamentalist religion (literalistic interpretations of scripture). I could see early in life there was something wrong, the teachings and behavior did not match up. I actually tried to leave organized religion at age 11 and was able to be non-religious for about a month. But then I had no real choice, so I returned to the fold. Eventually I got pulled in all the way, believing hook, line and sinker. The particular group I was with was a 'prosperity gospel' church. For those who don't know what that is, imagine a religion where you are taught that your financial and social success in life were blessings you received conditional on your worthiness before God, and that worthiness is a dialogue controlled by the church. Not really related to the Bible or any other scripture, although that would be quoted. This created a huge stress in my life, and I believe contributed to me pushing myself too hard. I took on too many responsibilities, was over my head and had little time for self. Type A+.

A few years after my CFS started, I spent a year reading scriptures and praying and asking forgiveness for whatever I had done to offend God, because my church people hinted that my sickness must be due to some unrepentant sinning. I could not figure out what that might be, but I tried hard to be right with God. And ... you guessed it, nothing happened.

We each find our own path, sometimes our pathways are opposite. Some may start out atheist and end up religious. I started out religious and ended up scientifically minded. I do still hold some of my religious values, and I enjoy spirituality, but not as part of any organized religion.

The important part of the religious experience for me was that it taught me to seek answers to existential questions, and that part is still with me. Finding answers I can believe in has created a kind of mental stability. Even if many answers are non-religious and science-based. At one point I studied the science of religion (there is a great EdX class on the topic from U.BC.), and that helped me understand how humans co-evolved with religion, and how part of our brains can easily soak up religious ideas. And I do still like to study mystical experience, and I think that HAS helped me with my CFS symptoms, I have an easier time staying emotionally stable as the stresses of life swim around me, because I have built up a metaphysical worldview that I can believe in.

CFS is a pretty brutal human experience, and remembering some of my religious, mystical and spiritual experiences sometimes helps me get through difficult days. And I realize much of my personal value system has been influenced by religion. But at this point I am much happier to not have organized religion be a barrier to think for myself, and choosing what to believe in life.
 
Messages
575
Likes
1,798
Location
Missouri
I am not hoping to open a can of worms and I don't know if we can talk about it, but I am just wondering if religion has helped anyone to feel like they can go on?
... wondering if it helping anyone to go on for years in this kind of suffering?
Yes, it is helping. Perhaps getting a bit picky about word definitions I'd like to refine my comment by saying that what is helping the most is less the religion part and more the faith part; perhaps that could also be stated as less the ceremony and tradition parts and more the relationship part.
(yet ceremony and tradition do have their places in the thing, it is a mistake to dismiss and devalue them)

And it helps go on for years with this because I know those years, these years, will end, that is guaranteed, and there is going to be an endless eternity free of these diseases.
(even though thinking about the scale of that eternity sometimes instigates anxiety attacks)
My parents' years are clearly in their ending phases right now, and losing them in this life will hurt in this life and hurt to the core of my heart and being, the loss of love and relationship is deeply painful, that's just the way it is; but I know where they are going and that we will ultimately be reunited.

For the time being I am supposed to be living here and finding what my purpose and calling are in this life. I do not know the ultimate absolute reason or reasons why my life and health are what they are, but I have faith that there is an ultimate reason and purpose for it.

Within that larger unknown we do know smaller reasons and causes for a number of things, of situations, and even direct causes of health problems.

A few troubles in my life have even been directly caused by me, oh well, so much for my ego, there's government paperwork documenting at least one or two of my imperfections! Live and learn, such is life!

There have already been instances where things I have lived through have helped someone get through their own challenges in this broken, fallen, world and life.

And, likewise, there are people whose hard experiences and suffering have given them exactly what they need to support and help me.

This world is broken and all of us who inhabit it are broken somewhere, somehow, be it visible or invisible; yet with love and compassion we can share, support, strengthen, and sometimes even pick up and carry, one another as we run, walk, sometimes stumble, and occasionally fall flat on our butts or faces, on our way through our lifetimes here.
 
Messages
6,866
Likes
14,979
Location
Second star to the right ...
But at this point I am much happier to not have organized religion be a barrier to think for myself, and choosing what to believe in life.
Forgive my butting in here, for some reason I was alerted to this thread, whose existence I was totally unaware of, and specifically, to your post. Mysterious are the ways, eh?

@kurt, hurrah for your new world view. I gave up on organized religion waaaaay back. And religious groups or belief systems that try to blame someone's suffering on a fault in their personal relationship to the God of their choosing is one of the reasons I never got more than marginally involved, usually thru the efforts of some friend or group of friends who were sure they'd found The Answer.

Religious beliefs and spirituality are mysterious, numinous things, and except for superficial outward observances, one size definitely does NOT fit all.

Like you, I've developed my own spiritual belief system down many years of reading, observing, experimenting, and feeling my way towards the right path for me. Luckily, I come from a fairly non-organized-religion background, so there was no pressure, one way or the other.

But then, I've also never been a joiner or a 'grouper', either, so that helped.

I'm glad I found this. I'll go back and start from the beginning after I get a little rest and feel more focused.
 

gbells

Improved SEIDs from 2 to 4
Messages
544
Likes
540
Location
Eastern NC USA
I think believing in a creator is disabling because then you have to try to make sense of why you became sick. Was it because you sinned? Why isn't a god answering your prayers? Etc. Books I've read on Happiness say that to be happy it is better to focus on appreciating and practicing virtues. Buddhism is compatible with this.