In another search for meaning, here is Phi (the Golden Ratio) in the Tetragrammaton
Why do we search for meaning in Pi? For the simple reason that we expect intelligence at the base level of life. In a way, the hope that Pi contains a message or a pattern comes from our understanding that God is the author of Reason and Math. Galileo Galilei said that the Universe is written in the language of Mathematics.
Most likely, the future holds some more secrets about Pi. Meanwhile, continue to pursue Math and Meaning in your pursuit of Truth.
Can a changed life provide evidence that
a proported event has happened?
In the case below, this college professor on his death-bed experiences some of the pains of what he says was hell. The change in his life shows that SOMETHING happened. What would a scientist say to these claims? How would the scientist explain this experience?
It’s science week. How do we approach this from a scientific perspective? A scientist sets up the observation. Looks at the evidence. Considers the laws at work, and looks for the best explanation. Then the scientist tests their theory.
Looking at the Evidence
We have watched the videos. The man says he was an athiest. He got sick and died/almost died. During this time he had a horrifying experience which he called hell. His experience in “hell” changed when he called out,
“Jesus, please help me!”
Then positive things happened, resulting in his coming back to this life and being healed by the doctors.
Considering the Laws at Work
& Looking for the Best Explanation
This is an issue in the mental-psychological realm
Either he saw something. (Truth-teller)
Or thought he saw something. (Self-deceived/delusional)
Or did not see anything, but said he saw something. (Liar)
From the change in his life we can probably rule out the Liar option, since many years passed between the experience and the recording, yet he did not change his story. It appears he obviously believes in his own story. So either he is delusional or telling the truth.
How can science help us know if he is telling the truth or not? Do we need to determine our boundaries?
…would say that the answer has to lie in the physical world. It could not be true that he experienced something in the supernatural. It was in his mind, and something he saw flipped his view of reality. So he would be delusional, somehow. They would run a battery of tests to find out what kind of psychological problems he has. Simple.
A Theistic Explanation
…would not automatically reduce the possibilities to physical world, so the option of super-nature is still on the table. He might have seen something, and that something might be supernatural.
Testing the Theory
How can we test if he is telling the truth about what he said?
We could test for delusional psychology. Test how he interacts outside of this recording. Is his lifestyle consistent with his profession of faith in God? (Or does he speak on contrary topics elsewhere, for example). We’d need to check his life. To see if he is a habitual liar, or if his actions reflect someone who is not in touch with reality.
If his lifestyle is consistent with his profession of faith in God, we could test if he speaks in accordance with theistic laws.
When I listened to him, I was keenly aware of each point he said, and compared it with what the Bible says. Why the Bible? Because through other reasoning I have come to the confidence in the reliability of the Bible in matters of supernature.
I measured his words against the Bible. It didn’t seem to contradict…
Unfortunately, the “afterlife travelogue” presented above is firstly questionable because it has dangerous implications. If we believe he went to actual hell, he would be disproving the existence of hell.
What I mean is, we understand hell, and the power of the name of Jesus, from Scripture.
The Bible says,“man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment.” Heb 9:27
If his experience was actually hell, one man’s experience would be disproving the book of Hebrews.
And if he disproves Hebrews, all of Scripture is suspect. And if Scripture is suspect, his being saved by the name of Jesus is suspect. Meaning that if he were actually in the hell Christ spoke of, he was not where he thought he was, and he could not have been rescued by the one he thought rescued him. It’s self-contradicting.
Experience must bow to Scripture. If your experience tells you something contrary to the Bible, your INTERPRETATION of your experience is wrong.
It [the afterlife-story phenomena] is not harmless. It denigrates the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. It confounds faith with superstition. It subtly elevates human experience to a higher level than the Word of God. It purports to reveal things about God and the heavenly realm that are not taught in Scripture. And it repeatedly insinuates that the testimony of someone who has been mystically enlightened can be a more effective stimulant to faith than Scripture alone…
This is just one example of a large and growing subgenre of afterlife travelogues popular today—a genre that includes at least two mega-best-selling titles from evangelical publishers. The authors of these stories—and evidently millions of readers as well—regard these testimonies as authoritative, reliable, and full of superior insights that can take readers to a higher level of understanding and enlightenment beyond what we can get from the Bible.
In other words, all of these books take a similarly protognostic stance on heaven and the afterlife. All of them are dangerous and misleading. That includes the ones that seem fairly benign as well as the ones that are clearly steeped in occult superstition. All of them stand as reminders to us that Scripture and Scripture alone is the only safe place for Christians to learn anything about the immortality of human souls, what happens to a person after death, what heaven is like, what awaits the unrighteous in hell, and what we can expect in the judgment to come.
So my final conclusion (after testing his life/mental state) might be that he saw something. Maybe a dream or something dream-like. But he did see something.
But he did not go to hell.
Because his life changed drastically, 180*, I know a frightening experience happened to him. He had a supernatural, near-death experience that shook his foundations. But according to Scripture, he did not die and he did not go to hell. He got a chance to make things right. Good for him.
God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. And God said, “Let there be Light.” Gen 1:1
Was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him, without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was Life and that Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1
This is a beginning of a new phase in my life, a time when a dream of mine is close to fulfillment. Becoming an author of historical fiction books. I have always had a love relationship with history, most particular ancient history. I know the exact moment I fell in love.
Second grade. Teacher’s name escapes me (I’m sorry!) but she used to call me “darling Darlene” on my papers. We learned Ben Franklin’s proverbs that year, we kept a daily diary and there was a boy named Dustin and a boy named Brian in the class. We had a class bunny, and I loved playing with Playschool people outside after school with my neighbor named Kirk. The feelings of freedom, of play, of innocence, of joy at life. I was in America again, after growing up in Japan. I could understand people and was finally learning to read.
Then the teacher read to us the story of Pompeii. It was my first time time-traveling.
She read to us of the daily life of the people of Heraculum and Pompeii. Of the earthquakes and the steaming volcano. Of the eruption of smoke, and the overflow of lava. Of the people running to the sea. Of the ash that covered the people. Then, she read of the archaeologists and anthropologists who uncovered those people. Of how the ash had solidified around the poor people who could not escape Nature. Of how they used plaster to fill in the cavities, and the faces of those people came to light again.
The awe at science, at history, at new knowledge started in me that day and has continued without ceasing.
Saint Augustine said, Credo ut intelligam. This means, “I believe in order that I may understand.” Knowledge is inextricably tied to faith. Faith is the recognition that our senses do not completely tell us everything there is to know about the world.
QUESTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
First of all, the whole question of consciousness is a mystery that no one has yet explained. It is simply jumped to in explanations of how the mind works.
Reason can explain to us three things related to this.
1) Creation We look at creation, and common sense shows us that such an amazing variety and complexity had to originate from laws and rules. In our world, we would not think an iPad could appear out of nothing without reasons for its existence, so it takes less faith to believe in Creator than a random assemblage of molecules creating trees and planets and bacteria and DNA.
2) The Cause The second thing reason explains to us is that either the Cause is personal or impersonal. If the Cause is personal, and we matter, it would communicate with us, since we have a consciousness of that dilemma in the first place.
3) Perfection Reason also leads us to recognize that if there is a Cause and Creator, “IT” would have to be the SOURCE of perfection. Logically “IT” could not be both good and evil, both truth and falsehood, both powerful and weak. So is “IT” all evil, all falsehood, all weak? Or is “IT” all good, all truth, all powerful? We have in us the ideal that strives for the good, the value written into our human consciousness, REGARDLESS OF OUR CULTURE OR RELIGION, is that there is such a thing as PERFECT GOOD. Of course, we strive for it with different standards and rules, but it is a commonly shared part of human consciousness. We commend those who are “good” and shun those who are “evil.”
Without creation, we would see no cause, without the cause we could consider no perfection.
Big Questions: So do we matter? Has the Cause communicated? Is the Cause personal? Is “IT” a “HE”?
QUESTION OF PERCEPTION
The second question to consider, is: can our senses be trusted to guide us into all knowledge?
Watch this video, which shows us just how amazingly accurate our senses are (not)
Back to St. Augustine’s saying, “I believe in order that I may understand.” If we limit ourselves to our own perception of the world, we limit our ability to understand the world of unseen things.
If this CAUSE is personal, if mankind MATTERS, the Creator Cause would communicate to us in a way that defines Himself with all the perfection that Reason proves he must be. So, is there such a communication?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning was the Word. The Word became flesh.
By what name does HE call Himself? This in itself shows us that He encompasses all of what reason says He must be.