Prologue: In What Do You Trust?

The history of “In God We Trust” becoming the official motto of the United States

as the country became ravaged by the Civil War, religious sentiment grew… Reverend M. R. Watkinson appealed to Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, to add the phrase to all U.S. coins…He wrote, “This would place us openly under the Divine protection…

Really? The belief that proclaiming a condition brings it into existence is magical thinking. Common in young children but considered psychotic or New Age religion in grownups.

Trust is not created by fiat. Trust is formed by neurological connections in the brain through interactions with others. Trust is established as early as the neonate’s social interactions, if not prenatally, despite the still-developing brain lacking the neurological ability for cognitive or emotional processing of experiences.

Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, researched the importance of trust in infancy. He noted that when caregivers are a consistent source of comfort, food, and affection, an infant learns trust. The baby develops a belief that others are dependable and reliable. If caregivers are neglectful the infant learns mistrust. The baby then develops a belief that the world is an unpredictable, undependable, and possibly a dangerous place.

Every human is forced to trust that persons, places and things will perform as expected, or hoped. At a minimum, we go through the activities of our daily life trusting that our past experiences will be replicated as our present condition evolves into the unknown future minute by minute.

I had a patient with a severe psychotic paranoia that others were plotting to harm her, delusions that friends and family are not who they say they are but in fact aliens. In her case, medication helped her brain function more effectively, but it also took a relationship with a compassionate therapist who could make sense of the unspeakable experiences underlying her distorted mental processes.

Her delusions – like nightmares – were expressing her suffering. Her hyper-religious parents were refusing to meet her most basic human needs for social interaction, isolating her for her “safety”. She could no longer trust her parents to meet her needs, and her world had become a dangerous place.

Most of us can trust our knowledge and skills to get through our day-to-day dilemmas. But as the above case study demonstrates, knowledge of the basics of life is not enough when faced with conditions beyond our personal expertise.

We’re forced to trust others whose superior

  • knowledge of facts that we don’t know
  • can lead to understanding how to act
  • with wisdom of which actionable optional
  • leads to the best resolution of a problem.

In the above case, my patient trusted me after I proved to her that I had

  • knowledge of the facts behind her behavior
  • leading to understanding how to treat her suffering
  • with wisdom of the best options – both of medications and environmental options
  1. Having established that I was trust-worthy by my known past involvement with her,
  2. she then chose to put her faith in me to manage her as-yet unknown future – determining the best resolution of the immediate situation (confinement in a psych hospital) and prevention of a recurrence (placement in a group home rather than isolation in a lonely apartment.)

Her faith in me was proven by her actions – revealing her reasons for burning her bedding, compliance with prescribed medication, agreement with discharge plans.

So proven past trust-worthiness in the foundation for having faith in an individual or institution for a good future. Say, in marriage. One should really know the character, existing social relationships, financial stability, any addictions, etc. before committing to a future with a partner.

Trust from the past is the basis for faith in the future.

According to one Nolan Dalla, philosopher,

Trust is largely based on evidence that’s real according to the senses and to human reason.  Trust is the core conviction of judgment based on knowledge, instinct, and experience…

Agreed.

But then he says,

I assert that faith and trust are contradictory…

Faith has been called “the substance of hope.”  It requires no evidence for belief nor practice.  The very nature of faith surmises that tangible evidence doesn’t exist…

Faith is the abandonment of scientific principles.  Faith is the refutation of tangible evidence…

Press pause. This individual is using Orwellian New-speak: “the language of official propaganda” by the deliberate replacement of one set of words in the language for another.

Let’s go directly to the quotation referenced by this philosopher.

Now faith is

  • the substance of things hoped for,
  • the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

The quotation asserts the complete opposite from what Dalla claims it says.

Continuing on with the original source Dalla misquotes, we can discover the meaning of “faith” as used by that source. There are 336 statements made using the word faith or faithful. The consistency with which this term is used over multiple situations and across a wide span of time establishes the essential research condition of reliabilityand provides a basis for trusting (haha) the same meaning of the word “trust” in this one occurrence:

  • as written in the original language used in composing the Bible,
  • and intended to be understood by all readers of the Bible regardless of language or culture.

Faith is:

  1. the substance, support, steadiness, assurance, confidence
  2. proof, test, conviction

The passage in Hebrews 11 goes on to provide examples of this definition, so anyone who isn’t educated on the earlier biblical references can readily learn that faith is, in fact, based on evidence for belief and demonstrated by actions / practice.

  1. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain
  2. By faith Noah prepared an ark
  3. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out…obeyed; and he went out
  4. etc.

This is consistent with Dictionary.com’s definition of faith: “confidence or trust in a person or thing:”

Biblical faith is the end result of reason. Faith is extrapolating from the evidence of things known to what is unobservable. This is the essence of the scientific method – extrapolating the results of a small sample to a larger population to anticipate a future outcome.

In the complete opposite of what this guy is saying, any action made towards a future result without faith based on evidence from the past is the abandonment of scientific principles of proof of reliability, consistency, guarantee of performance in one’s chosen course of action.

The best example of faith in practice is religion and all its intended and unintended fall-out.  Billions of global citizens claim to be believers adhering to one faith versus another…

Take note that this philosopher’s claims are so broad that small minds, or those with a bias, can be easily persuaded that they are accurate. Who can’t call to mind acquaintances whose idea of “faith” is exactly as this philosopher reports it to be?

But when we narrow the focus of the argument to the detail used by this philosopher, we discover that he is a sophist: a teacher who makes money by cleverly deceiving students who don’t know enough to realize that the instructor’s arguments don’t reach logical conclusions.

There is a crucial distinction between religion, of which there are many, and the (singular) Bible quoted by the “teacher” above. And I’m not just referring vaguely to Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. The mere fact that there are competing Christian denominations basing their distinctive doctrines on the same source requires us to admit there is, in fact, blind acceptance by followers of those denominations rather than faith based on the shared sourcebook.  

But that doesn’t prove this beguiler’s point. He argued against the Bible’s definition of faith, and examination of the Bible proved his argument to be fallaciouscontaining a fallacy; logically unsound: deceptive; misleading: delusive.

According to the Bible, faith is the end result of reason. Faith is extrapolating from what is known to what is unobservable. This is the essence of the scientific method – extrapolating the results of a small sample to a larger population or future condition. So we can’t categorize the Bible with “religions”.

Whether it’s believing in angels or denying evolution, faith is folly.

According to his definition of faith. But that requires us to abandon the biblical definition and the Bible altogether and believe this guy. It is believing an unproven “revealer of secrets” that is folly!

If you’ve ever gone through a relationship breakdown you know what I mean.  “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.” Then it does. And then it does again. At some point you have to put your faith in your own experience for your future and act on the fact that the promised future is never going to happen. For your own survival you have to stop putting your faith in an untrustworthy person leading you into a disintegrating future.

Faith is not only wrong — but also bad.  The very notion that we rest “in God’s hands,” enslaves greater human pursuits..

There is not a human being who can meet all their own needs. We are all required to trust a higher authority for medical care, groceries, ad infinitum. To do so doesn’t necessarily enslave. It depends on who we choose to accept as our authority in that matter. And interdependence – supporting one another – is what empowers greater human pursuits from the most personal twosomes to the greatest empires under Darius the Great, Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, ad infinitum.

This absolutely requires wisely placing faith in others by rationally acting on their promised – but as yet unrealized – future actions after determining their credibility. Are they reliable within multiple claims? Are their claims validated by external sources? Most of all, have their past promises come true in their actions?

Lies are easy to fabricate, only actions provide essential proof. 

Secular-humanism has been defined as “the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and the solving of human problems.” 

Aha! The recruiter reveals his objective. He is trying to lure you into secular-humanism by playing on the common misperceptions that science and religion are opposites, with scientific discoveries providing a rational basis for belief vs religion requiring blind acceptance of what you are told. 

In reality, science is what requires blind acceptance of what you are told. Can you prove for yourself that what you are being told by scientists is factual? Absolutely not.

Scientists can’t even prove it.

From Forbes magazine: Scientific Proof Is A Myth.

You’ve heard of our greatest scientific theories: the theory of evolution, the Big Bang theory, the theory of gravity. You’ve also heard of the concept of a proof, and the claims that certain pieces of evidence prove the validities of these theories. Fossils, genetic inheritance, and DNA prove the theory of evolution. The Hubble expansion of the Universe, the evolution of stars, galaxies, and heavy elements, and the existence of the cosmic microwave background prove the Big Bang theory. And falling objects, GPS clocks, planetary motion, and the deflection of starlight prove the theory of gravity.

Except that’s a complete lie. While they provide very strong evidence for those theories, they aren’t proof. In fact, when it comes to science, proving anything is an impossibility.

Even in theoretical physics, the most mathematical of all the sciences, our “proofs” aren’t on entirely solid ground. If the assumptions we make  no longer apply…we’ll “prove” something that turns out not to be true. If someone tells you a scientific theory has been proven, you should ask what they mean by that. Normally, they mean “they’ve convinced themselves that this thing is true…”

So don’t try to prove things; tr y to convince yourself.

Without question, science is the latest religion, and scientists are the new gods who have taken it upon themselves to “reveal the truth”.

To this end, we must trust in the insatiable desires of our most gifted and dedicated to continuing the ways of discovery that benefit us all, and those who follow.  Trust becomes a largely positive ideal not only giving life purpose but reaffirming human value…

Throw out this preacher’s New-speak and apply the true meanings to the word-bait.

Can you put your trust in his a man urging you to disregard faith – knowledge of past actions establishing trustworthiness – and simply believe / hope that the future created by an elite group of secular-humanist leaders will turn out in our best interest?

When at the same time he admits these leaders have “insatiable desires” and we know absolutely that past actions by leaders with insatiable desires inevitably leads to exploitation and even extermination of the masses they bring under their control.

While the faithful place their lives at the supposed goodwill of a theoretical supreme being, we secular-humanists are forced to rely on each other.  Accordingly, we are required to have trust in each other — which is actually the noblest of virtues.

Required is simply a softer way of saying forced. Enslavement is the noblest of virtues?? Wow, massive Newspeak.

The Netflix series Welcome to Eden is a mesmerizing case study in being forced to trust an unknown entity for your future. There’s lots of sex, but that accurately demonstrates the most dangerous trust risks we take.

Does your personal past experience and historical knowledge of the tyranny imposed by despots in families, workplaces, nations and world empires drive you to – sensibly – distrust humanity in all its organized means of control? Possibly even to hope that the Bible’s documentation of a benevolent supreme being is true?

This blog investigates that possibility. 

The reader is not expected to read and comprehend the following, simply to scan over and, frankly, to be impressed with the rigorous methods applied to this blog’s evaluation of the claims made by rival scientific and religious authority figures.

Have you applied the same rigor to determining the trustworthiness of your believed means of salvation from catastrophe in this life and, especially, any possible after-life?

Scientific Research Methodology

Research

Characteristics of Research

  • directed toward the solution of a problem…
    • In this blog, the problem is determining if there is life after death, and what, if anything, can be done to guarantee it.
  • emphasizes the development of generalizations principles, or theories that will be helpful in predicting future occurrences. 
    • In this blog, that apply to all humanity.
  • based upon observable experience or empirical evidences.
  • involves gathering new data from primary or first-hand sources or using existing data for a new purpose.
  • characterized by carefully designed procedures that apply rigorous analysis.
  • strives to be objective and logical, applying every possible test to validate the procedures employed the data collected and the conclusions reached.

There are varieties of ways through which topics are researched. Based on the nature of the topic being researched in this blog, the following types of research are employed.

Qualitative Research: doesn’t involve measurements or numbers but instead characteristics of human perception and behavior.

  • Inductive analysis is a major part of qualitative observational research because…questions evolve during the research process. The researcher can form any hypothesis through the answers and work backwards to prove or disprove it or even build on it.
  • Naturalism or naturalistic inquiry…focuses on how people react or behave when they are put in a real life situation…hinges on the reality that things in general are coherent, consistent and predictable.
  • Context sensitivity – The researcher…should not negate an opinion or thought on the basis of a personal bias.

Basic/ Fundamental /pure or Theoretical Research: Its utility is universal.

Longitudinal Research Examples…historical…genetic research.

Philosophical Research: focusing on the vision of others, that would be revelation reported by the founder of a religion, like Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, or Christianity.

Case-Study Research: deals with unusual events like resurrection from the dead.

And if the idea of being that objective about studying religions wigs you out, wait until you discover the process required to effectively carry out research. This blog has followed this process.

(i) Formulating the Research Problem – Is there continued existence of the self after material death, and do I have any control over what happens? 
(ii) Extensive Literature Survey – of various answers to this question.
(iii) Developing the Research Hypothesis – There is hyper-dimensional life after four-dimensional death and many religions document how to access it.
(iv) Preparing the Research Design – Qualitative observations of hyper-dimensional beings’ involvement with humanity as documented in various religious scriptures.
(v) Determining the Research Design – Compare and contrast the statements made about God / gods for reliability – consistency throughout the account – and validity – supporting evidence external to the account.
(vi) Collecting the Research Data – Read through the account systematically to develop a coherent record of God’s / gods’ involvement with humanity. 
(vii) Execution of the Project – Compare and contrast internal statements against 1) themselves and 2) external evidence.
(viii) Analysis of Data – Statements that are consistent within the account establish reliability, statements that are consistent with known data outside the account establish validity.
(ix) Hypothesis Testing – If the account is shown to be reliable and valid, the hypothesis is determined to be true.
(x) Generalization and Interpretation – The account is a trustworthy document for using as a guide to life.
(xi) Preparing of the Report or Presentation of the Result – In my case, this blog.

Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation…The word “hermeneutics” is derived from Hermes, the Greek name for the ‘messenger of the gods’.”

Hermes was also the inventor of language, an interpreter, a liar and a trickster. As Socrates noted, words have the power to reveal or conceal and can deliver messages in an ambiguous way. The Greek view of language as consisting of signs that could lead to truth or to falsehood was the essence of Hermes, who was said to relish the uneasiness of those who received the messages he delivered.

The term exegesis is interchangeable with hermeneutics.

exegesis may include the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds of the author, text, and original audience. Other analyses include…grammatical and syntactical features in the text itself.

One of the early examples, and one of the larger corpora of text commentaries from the ancient world, comes from Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) in the first millennium BCE. Containing over 860 manuscripts…these commentaries explore numerous types of texts, including literary works (such as the Babylonian Epic of Creation), medical treatises, magical texts, ancient dictionaries, and law collections (the Code of Hammurabi)…

They shed light on what the concerns of the Mesopotamian literate elite were when they read some of the most widely studied texts in the Mesopotamian intellectual tradition, a perspective that is important for “seeing things their way.”…

the Protestant Reformation brought about a renewed interest in the interpretation of the Bible…back to the texts themselves. Martin Luther and John Calvin emphasized scriptura sui ipsius interpres (scripture interprets itself). 

Eight rules of determining truth by applied hermeneutics.

  • Definition – Define terms as they will be used in your research.
    1. The definition of science according to the Science Council:
      1. Evidence is collected
      2. Experiments and/or observations MUST be made
    2. Then a process that fails to gather evidence and conduct experiments and/or make observations can’t be science.
  • 5642795341_4da16b84cfUsage – Foreign words, idioms, and slang (Short LANGuage) can confuse the meanings of words.
    1. cool, hot, wicked, cookies, mouse 
    2. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day”…(Revelation 1:10) Does John mean Sunday or the Day of the Lord?
  • Context – The big picture. The truth, the WHOLE truth, and NOTHING BUT the truth. Matthew 16:24 “If any man will come after me, let him…

434d78ce-73ae-4a0a-b38f-c8565992851a

deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”

pick_up_your_cross

  • 200px-lincoln_laptopBackground – We can’t just read the Bible and interpret it from our way of life. Historical and cultural settings must be understood. 
  • Logic – Building complex arguments from simple statements to prove something is true.
  • Critical thinking uses logic to separate truth from falsehood and reasonable from unreasonable beliefs.
  • Precedence – Once the evidence for a case has been examined and a decision made, this judgment covers subsequent similar cases.
  • Unity – Any document must be understood as a unified message, and any part of the message must be consistent with the rest of it.
        • Old Testament: “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.” Genesis 6:7
        • New Testament: For God so loved the world…John 3:16
        • Hermeneutical analysis requires searching for an explanation that brings consistency between destruction of mankind on one hand and love of mankind on the other.

babylon_cylindrical_seal_nuclear_bomb

Believe me, the Bible becomes way more interesting when you set aside the boring memories of Sunday rituals and stories dumbed down to grade school level.

how-dna-works

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