The religious EuPHorIa

(The above picture is to           symbolize to mental bubble within which religious minds find comfort by associating imaginary friends and worlds.)This blog is an abstraction from an article published in the New Scientist website.It is a report explaining the alleged religious experiences.There are many more research done on the matter and more need to be done to arrive at a scientifically acceptable conclusion. This is reproduce in religurd to initiate  discussions,not to claim authorship of the content.

(The above picture is to symbolize to mental bubble within which religious minds find comfort by associating imaginary friends and worlds.)

The article link- http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627574.200-brain-shuts-off-in-response-to-healers-prayer.html

The  abstraction.

WHEN we fall under the spell of a charismatic figure, areas of the brain responsible for scepticism and vigilance become less active. That’s the finding of a study which looked at people’s response to prayers spoken by someone purportedly possessing divine healing powers.

To identify the brain processes underlying the influence of charismatic individuals, Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and colleagues turned to Pentecostal Christians, who believe that some people have divinely inspired powers of healing, wisdom and prophecy.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Schjødt and his colleagues scanned the brains of 20 Pentecostalists and 20 non-believers while playing them recorded prayers. The volunteers were told that six of the prayers were read by a non-Christian, six by an ordinary Christian and six by a healer. In fact, all were read by ordinary Christians.

Only in the devout volunteers did the brain activity monitored by the researchers change in response to the prayers. Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian (Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsq023).

Schjødt says that this explains why certain individuals can gain influence over others, and concludes that their ability to do so depends heavily on preconceived notions of their authority and trustworthiness.

It’s not clear whether the results extend beyond religious leaders, but Schjødt speculates that brain regions may be deactivated in a similar way in response to doctors, parents and politicians.

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No!!Sir Arthur was not a Buddhist (stop the false claims)

Edwin Ariyadasa(close associate of Sir Arthur) stated..

“Sir Arthur was one of the freest spirits, that walked the Earth. He was unencumbered by convention or dogma. At one point he described himself as a crypto-Buddhist later on.
I was told that, he had an inclination to drop the adjective “crypto” I am happy that he sent me his touching greetings on my 85th birthday (3 December 2007) just 13 days before his 90th birthday.”
Does this suggest that he became a Buddhist?
NO..
These statements should be understood in connection with other statements that clearly indicates that he did not belong to any religion and he did not believe in reincarnation which makes him a non Buddhist.They are as follows
“During interviews, both in 1993 and 2004–2005, he stated that he did not believe in reincarnation, citing that there was no mechanism to make it possible”
“In 2000, Clarke told the Sri Lankan newspaper, The Island, “I don’t believe in God or an afterlife,”[58] and he identifies himself as an atheist.”
Edwin Ariyadasa’s assumption should be viewed in the context of his own prejudice towards Buddhism that probably would have made him believe that Sir Arthur dies as Buddhist.
That said,I must also state that Sir Arthur did not see Buddhism as a religion which as I think he wrongly interpreted since Buddhism in essence and in practice fits comfortably within the sociological definition of religion.
Which states
” A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Aspects of religion include narrative, symbolism, beliefs, and practices that are supposed to give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life. Whether the meaning centers on a deity or deities, or an ultimate truth, religion is commonly identified by the practitioner’s prayer, ritual, meditation, music and art, among other things, and is often interwoven with society and politics. It may focus on specific supernatural, metaphysical, and moral claims about reality (the cosmos and human nature) which may yield a set of religious laws and ethics and a particular lifestyle. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion)
There are many other definitions that should be looked at.But this really sums it up.
Buddhism fits nicely with in this definition though many Buddhists attempt to state that it is a philosophy just because it does not accept a creator God but advocates the belief in an all knowing human being(Buddha) who sailed across “sansara”(Cycles of life and death) for the salvation of all living beings including the gods and the demons.This argument is like a small child saying superman is true but harry potter is false.
So,with due respect to Sr Arthur,it us clear that he misconstrued Buddhism as not a religion.In conclusion it can be stated that he has not found him self as a Buddhist or belonging to any other religion and it is only natural to expect people trying to falsely identify intellectuals like him as belonging to a particular faith after they are dead so that they can use the respect given to such people as authority to
establish and spread their religions.This kind of propaganda was done from Darwin to Einstein therefore it is a common incident that follows after a death of famous scientist.
Full post of Edwin Ariyadasa.

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2010/03/21/mon05.asp

Can morality be changed magnetically?

Do you judge the ethics of a situation based on a person’s intention or the outcome of the situation? It turns out that magnetic stimulation can actually change the way you decide, according to a new study. Researchers led by Liane Young at Massachusetts Institute of Technology started with previous studies showing that there’s a relationship between moral judgment and a part of the brain called the right temporoparietal junction. This region is located between the temporal and parietal lobes on the brain’s right side. People with high activity in this region have been shown to be more likely to use intention in deciding morality, rather than just looking at the outcomes of a situation. In the new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers temporarily interrupted brain activity in participants with a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation. This basically induces an electric current in the brain, Young said. This allowed researchers to see if disrupted activity in the right temporoparietal junction had any effect on moral judgment, she said. This was a small study involving 20 undergraduates. The researchers found that this actually made participants more likely to decide morality based on outcomes, rather than intentions. Participants tended to find it morally permissible in cases when the agent in the example has a bad intention but causes a neutral outcome, Young said. Researchers used the example of a person, Grace, who puts a powder in her friend’s coffee. In one variant, Grace thinks the powder is toxic, and her friend dies – this is a negative intention with a negative outcome. In another, she thinks the powder is toxic, but her friend is fine – a negative intention with a neutral outcome. “It seems to be the case that if certain parts of the brain are damaged, moral judgments will look different,” Young said. The downside of the study is that it shows a somewhat modest effect, said Dr. Gregory Berns, director of the Center for Neuropolicy at Emory University. Also, scenarios such as the poison powder example are complicated and not entirely realistic. “People will answer these questions often times in a way that is socially expected of them,” he said. “The only way to sort that out is when you’re in the situation.” Still, this is interesting research, although it is difficult to pin down which part of the brain is really responsible for morality at present, Berns said. Young’s group’s subsequent research will look at the role of this particular brain region in assessing cultural taboos such as forbidden foods, incest, and purity. Editor’s Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

Posted by: Elizabeth Landau – CNN.com Health Writer/Producer Filed under: Psychology

Religion and education in Britain

Critical analysis on buddhism and all other religions

Buddhist are as any other believer of any other religion are significantly mislead{now you must be angry but keep reading as Buddha as far as surmon in “Kalama suthra”advice you to keep an open mind be analytical (which I admire but this is in contradiction with many of the impractical teachings of Buddhism)} .You people call your religion the truth and guess what, so does the others who believe in other religions.Calling something is true based on faith(do not give me the irrational argument that Buddhism does not require faith “saddha is just another word for bakthiya“) is just an assertion but to make it an argument who should back it with reason and for an argument to be a fact it should be underpinned by evidence.NO religion including Buddhism can do this and only science can and only science will.And if somebody thinks that morality and civilization came about as a result of Buddhism or any other religion it is an false assumption.Morality is an inherited by humans and all animals with sufficient level of reason with the excption of humans having the ability to refine and organize morality in oder to create civilization(for more details see social contract principle) and it must be said with clarity and evidence(of course you will only understand this if you have read about other religions books about philosophy,logic and evidence) that religions are not the source of morality but just documentations of morality.All religions acts as deice of governance,this has been the purpose of religions even with the tribal formats of them where the leader wanted unquestioned authority and power.Religions are based of fictions which introduces super natural characters like God,Buddha or Allah to create that’wow” feeling inside you to get your attention and control your autonomy under those super natural characters whose orders or guidance are if disobeyed would lead to hell or more suffering and if followed would lead to haven or nirvana(what ever might be the concept behind the reward it is still a reward).This is also named by me as the”donkey tied to the cart principle”(mail me if you want to know more).Now you would be thinking why should Ilisten to him,who is he and how dare he criticize the establishment and who is he compared to LORD Buddha who suffered billions into trillions of years in search of truth and more than that who suffered for us,preciselyleading to my point that you have been hypnotized by the mythical stories(as stories are scientifically proven to impair reason to a level where it result in drawing the listeners to state of trance where you feel that “Oh so wow’ a.k.a Holly!.This mechanism is used so often in religious preachers and you will so often notice this if you carefully analyse the formula of Bana deshana.(there are more techniques that are used by religions such as chanting to hypnotize devotees.And another reason average intelligent people adore religion is because they find it difficult to understand the world as it is and they feel very uncomfortable with the realities of the(do not tell me Buddhism represents reality cause so does say the other religions and saying is not enough and just because it sounds rite does not infer it is does not represent the truth you have to prove it or should leave it as a theory) the world which simply characterizes humans as mortal beings with no existene after death where as religions attribute divine,eternal and sansaric lifes to us, whom can develop super natural powesr which can be developed by meditaion or prayer.Religion gives people a divine identity by associating them self to super natural creatures who become the saviors of man kind and yea some time all creature of the universe and by giving them hope about an alternative reality(nirvana, haven)to a level that they get so addicted to it they behave on schizophrenic and retarded manners such an obsessive praying or chanting , sacrificial acts(I know Buddhism is not that extremist,but it does justify suicidal acts if it is done to archive nirvana which you should be very careful when allowing a child to read and also protect children from the stories of hell that can impact the fragile mind of a child and horrify children which in future would have serious consequence on once personality) in other words simply to say it makes us feel like we live in a fairy tale.Imagine so many times you have prayed in front of clay statues and gone round and round trees expecting it will cure you sins(Apala) and chanting till the morning thinking it will bring prosperity to the people(if so Sri Lanka must be the most developed country in the world,which obviously is not)and chase off evil spirits and welcome divine creatures and worshipe people just because they where a particular dress(Chivareta wadinawa) which when collectively appreciated can be classified as schizophrenic behavior which allows me to humorously say that if the writer of harry potter lived in the medival times we would be worshiping Harry potter and all the brooms in the world since he used brooms to save humainty(Which kind of anologise with buddha and the boa tree or jesus and the cross),which can be academically termed as miss use of symbology.

To show you one impractical and controversial principal lets for a moment regard the fist precep of the five precepts which is that under any circumstance buddhist can not kill any animal or living thing.Concern should be given to ‘under any circumstance’ so that this principal’s validity can be tested in respect of the war we had in Sri Lanka to determined whether the war heros are according to above principle of buddhism siners who undoutable killed LTTE carders.I call them my heros and my saviors but in line with buddhism they will be termes as siners with bloond on there hands so as you can see buddhism simply states to us that we should have not destroyed the LTTE.What is the practical solution that buddhism stipulates when some body or some organization acts offencively towards us,ot would simply say that sacrifise you life as “Paramithawa”.If followed these conduct there would not have not been any buddhist left in this country.It is humerous to see how the Sangas bestow there blessings to army men who is in fact going to act in contrary to the principals they believe in I could not stop my laughter when I saw such a thing happenig and I felt ashamed as to the deceving nature of monks and to see the stupidity and unpricipled behavior of it follows who either did not understood the apparent contradiction or while understanding did not have the courage to stand upto this ammusing behavior.When you look at the instance where Buddha was asked to explain why his family and relatiives in Magadha Kingdom were slautered by enemies of that state he preached that thay had to die in such a horific way because once in a past life they had been fishermen and they had enjoyed looking at how the fishe die.See if they had such onsequene for fishing then think what degree of pain would be put upon by us and the army heros by karma for killing humans(LTTE) and celebrating the victory(the true salvation of our country).This is only one twisted peiciple of buddhism whic potrays impractical features of it.To illustrate a contradiction comparison should be made between 1st precep of “pansil” and the “Dhasaraja Dharma Pricipals” which requires the king to safe guard his subjects from foriegn forces and in order to do so to have an army(not to say sadu sadu)to fight for the nation where as the 1st pinciple requires not to kill under any circumstance.

I have made my point and presented it simply as I could and I can not help you if you can not understand the simple logic that I have used in the context,but keep an open mind when reading and criticise my arguments,but with solid counter arguments of intellectual value and of substance not like ” I know it si true cause I saw white lights or Buddhism is only of intelligent people(In my opinion it is for litrature lovers) and not for sinners,as science is not about worshiping an authority but to challenge the authority with on view in mind that is to discover and understand the truth by proper methods(not by closing your eyes and doing silly stuff to experience bliss) which have serverd man accurately.

Finaly,I would like to site an authority,which is somthing I usually do not do as I preffer my oroginal ideas free from authority to most possible extent,which in this case I would site since my idea,which originated independently from Albert Einstien’s(One of the greatesr minds ever) idea, has the same meaning that simply says that do good and to refrain from the bad you do not have to believe in an aftr life and therefore rewards od punishments,just do what you do to fulfil the purpose and that if we humans do good to get merits(PIn/Kusal)

or abstract from bad to avoid punishment(suffering experienced due to Pau/Akusal).

We do not need religion to be moral and loving,it is in us as humans,religion only divides humans.Remember my friends we are one species and we should not depend on these abussive religious authorities whom have divided us and feed on our hard erned money and inhabitates the progress of the human kind.It is time to act!