Moved: The brain is not the source of all thought and reason - the mind is.


#1

[quote="JustaServant, post:5, topic:282122"]
I'll let my wife, a therapist, answer this. She doesn't have an account on CAF.

Mental Illness is a medical illness. The brain is an organ, just the like the liver and the heart. It is also the source of all thought and reason. If the organ is diseased, damaged or deformed at birth, thought and reason are affected. This can be demonstrated on PET scans.

[/quote]

The brain is not the source of all thought and reason - the mind is. The mind is not merely an emergent property that supervenes on to the physical processes of the brain; it is distinct, immaterial matter.


#2
  1. Yes, but the way in which he is worshipped, and the attributes which are worshipped in him, make him different enough as to be demonic: a being of pure, capricious will. In some way, we worship the Creator, as we believe Allah (as Muslims view him, not the same word used to describe YHWH or the Trinity in Arabic areas) is the creator: but there is no doubt that there is a distinction to be drawn - we just don't know where. I do consider myself as having worshipped Muhammad as well, even though, as you point out, it is shirk: we do not hold him on the same level as Allah, but, he is considered "the perfect model of all things, the perfect man: he was sinless, and what he did is with Allah's blessing".

The Koran was written by Muhammad, and, as much as I would have railed against it, Muslims do essentially adore (as in latria) the Koran with great veneration and superstition (and Muhammad wrote the Koran): further, the Islamic doctrine as it is practiced, comes almost solely from what are called the sunnan as reported in the ahadith, which are the guide to all things in life, and are the practices and sayings of Muhammad: so, we worship either a false god, a demon, as seen in a mirror darkly, and along with that cross in to shirk - as all Muslims do - towards a book that a man wrote, and towards his actions. The Koran was written by Muhammad, but, in Islamic doctrine, is co-eternal with Allah, and the uncreated word of Allah: this, as St John Damascene points out very succinctly, makes it Allah: so, we worship a human invention as the uncreated Word of Allah, where it was written by Muhammad; thus, we worship Muhammad.

  1. I was a Muslim apologist before I was a Catholic one. Polytheism or associating partners with Allah (shirk) is our greatest fear. At a time, I became convinced that, according to the Words of Allah, there was no way, no matter how righteous I was, to achieve Paradise: that Allah could damn the just, and save the evil, because He so Willed it: and "Allah does as Allah wills". As you realize, all things are culturally conditioned, so I can not answer with objective and complete surety whether the reactions of me towards Christian sacred objects and the Bible were greater than they should have been. However, I had read the Jewish Tanakh many times, and had not the reaction to it I had to the Salvific message of the New Testament; for a moment, I was terrified of Allah (the devil you know) and Christ (the so-thought devil you don't) equally. After I "took the plunge", as is said, Allah slowly receded, as did his tortures and terrors, and, I believe, the whisperings of demons went away with him, to a large degree.

Example 1. The Holy Bible: upon reading the New Testament the first time, in an attempt to refute it, I was struck with great dread. To attempt to disprove Christianity, I spoke aloud in the masjid the Christian declaration of faith, the Nicene Creed in English, to demonstrate the Christian God had no power: there was a great howling or screaming in the head, as if the brain was being lacerated (which, as an epileptic, I have not experienced before or since), which ended in a seizure (which have been well-controlled for years) about halfway through, to the fellow men in the masjid, proving to them that Allah was the true god, for obvious reasons. I am not certain exactly at what word it happened, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was, "true God from true God", or "consubstantial with the Father". I had been baptized as an infant: I have later interpreted this not as Allah's anger, but as the Holy Spirit driving falsity out, and dragging me back in to the Light of the World, which the darkness comprehendeth not. Still obstinate, I continued reading the New Testament; particularly strong reactions were gained in the Prologue of John's Gospel, when Paul resurrected the boy who fell to his death while he was preaching, a New Heaven and Earth, and in the last words of Revelation, both "Maranatha" and "Whosoever taketh a single word out of this book of prophecy, God shall take out his name from the Book of Life; whosoever add a single word to this book of prophecy....", etc.

(continued)


#3

(continued from above)

At the time, I began talking to some Mormon missionaries, but, as nothing relevant to this main discourse occurred, I shall skip it here. Several more illustrations or examples can be provided if you so desire them.

Note, that the first time I received the Sacrament of Penance and was absolved, there was something supra-natural that happened, as if the Priest was Christ Himself (this in an Orthodox Church) come to heal me as many are recorded in the Bible; when I first took the Body and the Blood (again, in an Orthodox Church), I saw that Christ had come back to die for me - and indeed, had never stopped dying for me, as his sacrifice was infinite. And, contrary to many people's experiences, something supra-natural again occurred on the same day, with the Reception of the Holy Sacrament (or Mystery), whereas many say, "You'll be let down if you expect something special, as it is an inward grace alone", I most certainly experienced more than the physical experience of eating bread and wine; I was brought for once out of the darkness and in to the light, and saw clearly, in a spiritual sense, for the first time in many years (not to mention I didn't have the need to eat for several days: God hath granted me abundant graces, for what reason I don't know, beyond that He is Infinite, and I am finite). Since those events, the previous mental illness and drug addiction have faded to an almost imperceptible level (no fits, no episodes, no cravings), without at all changing my course of treatment, except for adding Christ.

The most pertinent episodes, as I remember them, are herein recounted.

  1. Every last one of them that was both a pious Muslim, enemy of Christ, and had "the balls", as is said, to do similar things; I was urged down the path myself, by another Muslim who did similar before me, with less dramatic, but still dramatic, effects (he became a Christian, and I wanted to disprove the theory, or to prove his weakness of mind, or that Allah had lead him astray, as he does as he wills); I followed in his footsteps instead.

As far as the recitation of the Qur'an during salat goes, many, though not most or all, have experienced similar things, and all interpret it in the same way: according to the ahadith that state that angels come down from Paradise, to listen to the recitation of the Recitation, and to witness perfect salat.

I apologize for the lack of eloquence and structure, and rambling nature, herein: if you have further questions, or wish further examples, or desire further clarification of a specific incident, please let me know, and I will do what I can, by the Grace of Christ God.


#4

Blah blah blah blah,

Six of one or half a dozen of the other.

Jesus went healing the sick and casting out demons. So. there is a difference.

What truly is the chemical deficiency in a person's brain? is it the depleting of the veil that keeps us from seeing what we are not supposed to see?

Are psychotropic drugs facilitating the bringing down of this veil? Are they inducing a chemical imbalance that brings about visual "halucinations".?

There is a reason we are not supposed to have a chemical imbalance. It is built into our genetic makeup.

Mental illness or demonized.........maybe the premise is all wrong.

Bad thread...........bad premise.


#5

Khalid--thank you very much (shukran gaziilan) for your lengthy responses.

1) Allah as the God of (whimsical) action: I've read a similar description before--as recently as this semester, in the textbook we were assigned for a course on Islam. Is this view of God common among Sunnis, or ubiquitous? What would the Shi'as say?

You believe that Muslims worship Muhammad because "he is considered 'the perfect model of all things, the perfect man: he was sinless, and what he did is with Allah's blessing'". But Catholics and Orthodox would say similar things about St. Mary--they venerate her as the most blessed woman in history and the sinless Mother of God. So, wouldn't it be accurate to say that Muslims view Muhammad as Catholics and Orthodox view St. Mary?

I find intriguing your rationale for stating that Muslims ultimately worship the Qur'an. Have you suggested this line of thought to any Muslims before?

2) How much success did you have as a Muslim apologist? Who did you converse with--participants in online forums, nominal Christians you knew in real life, or others? And what personal attributes/prior beliefs/etc. of your hearers made them more open or less receptive to your message? What did you regard as the strongest reasons for being Muslim at the time? What arguments for Islam did others find most persuasive?

I imagine that you're aware of Father Zakariya Boutros (the Coptic priest from Egypt now living in exile somewhere on U.S. soil): what do you think of the man, his ministry, and his style of evangelization? Have you considered following in his footsteps and launching a television show to bring Muslims to Christ?

The incident at the mosque was intriguing, so I'm going to ask for those "[s]everal more illustrations or examples [that] can be provided". Your reactions to going to confession and partaking in communion for the first time were also really interesting. Why did you feel that Christ had come to forgive you himself, as if you were one of the people mentioned in the Bible?

3) You mentioned "[e]very last one of them that was both a pious Muslim, enemy of Christ, and had 'the balls', as is said," but I'm not clear what you meant here. You also wrote, "I was urged down the path myself, by another Muslim who did similar before me"--what did he encourage you to do?

About your Muslim acquaintance who became Christian--did his conversion take place in the West or the Middle East/North Africa (MENA)? How did his family and friends react, or did he keep his change of religion secret? How many other Muslims do you think become Christian nowadays, whether in the West or the MENA region?

And since Islam requires the separation of Muslim men/women and boys/girls who are not related by blood or marriage, how did it happen that you and your fiancée were praying together at night?


#6
  1. It is ubiquitous doctrinal orthodoxy amongst Sunnis. To say differently is to "bind Allah's hand", as the Koran says, and apostatize. I have no idea what the Shi'i think, as my knowledge, as a Muslim, of Shi'i were "they whip themselves bloody, worship the occulted Imam, and of course are kuffar". It's not increased any since then - only Sunnis now get the same treatment. This view comes from a mediaeval Islamic mystic and anti-philosophical philosopher/theologian by the name of Ghazali and his disciples, and is called "Ashariyya", and is best represented today by the Hanbalis (the bi la kaifa-ists). In Christianity, Ockham's thought is very similar, but he lacked the scriptural support found in the Koran and also had the undercutting, "In the beginning was Reason...and God was Reason" (John 1:1); Christianity had built-in defense mechanisms, not the least of a developed philosophical tradition, and the fact that Thomas Aquinas had refuted him centuries before he was born. (Another interesting point: philosophy never flourished in Islam, partially because Aristotle's works were not analyzed, but were treated as the Koran or Bible: attempting to remove contradictions and treated as "Philosophy", the discipline itself.)

There was an opposing strain of thought in early Islam called Mutazila, which was much more open to reason, and worked towards resolving contradictions (like the claim that Allah has eternal attributes that are not Allah, or an eternal Koran that is not Allah, or that Isa is a Word of Allah and not Allah): without an exception (but Ghazali), every distinguished thinker of Islam - those that received Latin names, such as Averroes and Avicenna - were of this school. The history is great, and a decent popular book on it is The Closing of the Muslim Mind (there are better resources in English than in Arabic by an order of magnitude).

1.1. No, because Mary didn't write a book of law or do/say things that would later be compiled in to books of law (whether or not the ahadith are authentic is beside the point, as Muslims believe they are) that regulate every last detail of life down to the present day. Muhammad wrote what is viewed as the eternal word of God, and even many Muslims secretly believe this, or, maybe a better term is unconsciously believe this (much as many Christians unconsciously believe in three gods, lacking understanding of the Trinity, even though they've been told it is One God). If Mary had written the Scriptures, and we treated the Scriptures as we treat the Koran, and had given birth to the ahadith, and every Catholic was required on pain of damnation to visit Mary's place of birth, Protestants would be justified in saying we worship her.

1.2. Have I stated it? Yes. Have I had much luck with it? None. So I discontinued stating it. A Muslim who is willing to consider it already has one foot outside of Islam. I became, quite a while ago, an unwelcome person at any mosque or Islamic center in which I have been, for obvious reasons.

  1. I helped run a website (which is still running, albeit without me, and is one of the primary sources of Islamic apologetics against Christianity on the web - take a guess which one it is - yes, that one, and, no, I didn't start the oppositely-named one with Christian responses after converting - it was around long before me) and did a bit of work on the streets. Thankfully, I do not believe I ever caused a soul to leave Christ - my apologetics were "defensive" in nature, that is, reinforcing the faith of Muslims against the calls of Christian missionaries, and attempting to divert or defeat their arguments. With no modesty I state that I was excellent, as, in religious debates, I've never been on the losing side. But I've been on both sides at various times, the only difference being that I couldn't be on both sides at once. It's a testament to my rhetorical and logical skill (mainly rhetorical and emotive: the rule was like unto, "when in a debate, it doesn't matter who is right or wrong, or who wins: but only the audience's reaction") that I could defend a false proposition against a true proposition successfully, and make darkness look like light. As far as practical success, I never witnessed a defection from Islam stemming from my inability to answer a question, and generally found my answers repeated, which, whether valid or not, were psychologically effective.

2.1. What made men receptive? The fact that they were already Muslims. Which arguments were persuasive? It depends entirely on the argument advanced against Islam, as I was not an offensive apologist or missionary/da'ee except on rare occasions, as they are "two sides of two coins" as is said. My strongest reasons for being a Muslim were one: the demonic fear of damnation placed in me at the time by whatever spirit works in that religion, and rationalizations. My work as a defensive apologist had long exposed me to the "truth about Islam", or the weaknesses and contradictions therein. It is a rule that an apologist for a faith, must take unto himself all of the challenges to faith presented, in order to shield others. If the faith is false, it does damage. If the faith is true but the apologist unlearned, it does damage. If the faith is true but the apologist is learned, he must practice apologetics on himself as well. To work in apologetics is, I believe, the most spiritually dangerous part of ministry.


#7

2.2. I am marginally familiar with him alone. I converted to Christianity in America. My awareness of him in Egypt was minimal, and none of the respectable ulema spent any time attempting to refute him. I'm not sure whether that means his arguments were very bad or very good, but his impact on the rank-and-file Muslim, at least as of 2005-6 or so, was minimal, unless his arguments were propagated by other preachers or by word of mouth and eventually reached me for refutation or deflection. It is altogether possible that it is odd that I did not deal with his arguments directly, as I am far from the only apologist around. In Egypt, where, uniquely in the entire world, all four madahib co-exist alongside some Shi'i and Sufiyya (a word derived directly from the Greek sophia, meaning knowledge, or philosopher) and even a sizable amount of Christians of four or more different sects - Oriental and Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical (or Baptizers or Believers as we called them, for the way they baptized, often publicly and illegally, although I'm not sure if they were actual Baptists, as, I was very much the "odd man out" being baptized as an infant - most were born Muslims, and thus Catholics or any sect would baptize them as adults) - lends itself to an extremely high proportion of ulema, du'at, Christian missionaries, priests, ministers, aimma, apologists and religious personnel of all stripes.

2.3 How is that possible? Television costs much money. I've considered writing a book, as, if I put my mind to it and go through revisions, I am a decent author (although there is a veritable glut of books on Islam in the English market, both condemnatory and laudatory, but very few to the tune of "Reasonable Faith" by William Lane Craig specifically keyed to Islam and Catholicism, although there are a few on Youtube, such as Acts17, that try, albeit from an Evangelical perspective) but no Muslim would ever read it, except for apologists. Street-corner preaching with a good "hook" is the only method I have conceived of to get a Muslim to pay attention for a moment.

2.4 It's a religious experience - I have no idea why. If I knew why, it would cease being a religious experience and become a theological exercise.

I'll pick up with Q 2.4 prima pars and QQ. 3ff. later or tomorrow, as it is very late (or early) and I have already run through more than one full post.


#8

Thanks, Khalid. There are follow-up questions I'd like to pose, but will give you time to address those remaining above.


#9

Wow, Khalid. Thanks for your testimony! I'm kinda jealous of what seems to be God's preferential treatment of converting Muslims who experience the biblical graces that we read about in the Scripture when they so turn to the Christ, the truth and life, as opposed to the rest of us converts! :( I know, I'm being petty and worldly! :p


#10

@ Trebor, I agree with Khalid about the Muslim relationship with the Qur'an. It's not just inspired by God, not a mere "message" or "truth" from God- It's God's own direct, personal speech! Divine self-expression, unmediated by any creaturely agency! That's Islamic regard of the Qur'an. I read once, don't remember where, that the analogous object in Christianity of what the the Qur'an is in Islam, is NOT the Bible, but Christ! I personally would say that the Qur'an's most perfect analogy in Christianity is the Eucharist in Catholicism. The only difference is a lack of explicit acknowledgment of what is taking place in Islam, stemming from their rigid inflexible idea of what monotheism ought to be.

So I agree that it is much more than an object of mere veneration- It's the eternal uncreated speech of God! What would you do to God's own personal unmediated speech if it came down to you other than offer Adoration? Imagine a voice that is God himself speaking personally to a creature! What else could be elicited if not adoration? Would you be able to separate your treatment of that voice that you know is God speaking from your treatment of God's person? How would you do that?

I personally think that your view of equating Our Lady's place within Apostolic Christianity with Muhammad's place to Muslims is very accurate. That's what exactly what I thought when I read Khalid's description of how a Muslim sees Muhammad. It's exactly how I see Our Blessed Lady. Human perfection, model of Christianity, an example to emulate, etc etc, and in addition to that more than the Muslim with Muhammad, I see her as a most powerful Advocate and protector, too!- As well as a Queen------Of Heaven! I still do not agree in any way, that I worship Our Lady, though she's ever-present in my spiritual life and the first line of defense that I run to in times of real desperation :shrug:. So I don't think that this high regard is in itself proof of worship/latria/adoration.


#11

[quote="Marybeloved, post:9, topic:282376"]
Wow, Khalid. Thanks for your testimony! I'm kinda jealous of what seems to be God's preferential treatment of converting Muslims who experience the biblical graces that we read about in the Scripture when they so turn to the Christ, the truth and life, as opposed to the rest of us converts! :( I know, I'm being petty and worldly! :p

[/quote]

You aren't the only one, sister! :)


#12

[quote="Marybeloved, post:10, topic:282376"]
@ Trebor, I agree with Khalid about the Muslim relationship with the Qur'an. It's not just inspired by God, not a mere "message" or "truth" from God- It's God's own direct, personal speech! Divine self-expression, unmediated by any creaturely agency! That's Islamic regard of the Qur'an. I read once, don't remember where, that the analogous object in Christianity of what the the Qur'an is in Islam, is NOT the Bible, but Christ! I personally would say that the Qur'an's most perfect analogy in Christianity is the Eucharist in Catholicism. The only difference is a lack of explicit acknowledgment of what is taking place in Islam, stemming from their rigid inflexible idea of what monotheism ought to be.

So I agree that it is much more than an object of mere veneration- It's the eternal uncreated speech of God! What would you do to God's own personal unmediated speech if it came down to you other than offer Adoration? Imagine a voice that is God himself speaking personally to a creature! What else could be elicited if not adoration? Would you be able to separate your treatment of that voice that you know is God speaking from your treatment of God's person? How would you do that?

[/quote]

:thumbsup: I've heard the Qur'an-Christ comparison before, and was struck by its profundity. But your Qur'an-Eucharist analogy is perhaps even better.

And thanks for your excellent analysis of how the Qur'an really ought to be viewed if Muslims want to be consistent. I'm still waiting, though, for your ten-volume "One Catholic's Antidote to the Claims of Islam: Equipping Apostolic Christians with the Knowledge, Wisdom, and Counsel to Bring Their Muslim Friends and Neighbours to Christ While Maintaining Their Integrity and Increasing Their Faith, Hope, and Charity"... :)

I personally think that your view of equating Our Lady's place within Apostolic Christianity with Muhammad's place to Muslims is very accurate. That's what exactly what I thought when I read Khalid's description of how a Muslim sees Muhammad. It's exactly how I see Our Blessed Lady. Human perfection, model of Christianity, an example to emulate, etc etc, and in addition to that more than the Muslim with Muhammad, I see her as a most powerful Advocate and protector, too!- As well as a Queen------Of Heaven! I still do not agree in any way, that I worship Our Lady, though she's ever-present in my spiritual life and the first line of defense that I run to in times of real desperation :shrug:. So I don't think that this high regard is in itself proof of worship/latria/adoration.

Amen. :thumbsup:


#13

[quote="Khalid, post:1, topic:282376"]
The brain is not the source of all thought and reason - the mind is. The mind is not merely an emergent property that supervenes on to the physical processes of the brain; it is distinct, immaterial matter.

[/quote]

The brain is not the mind.

The mind is not the brain.

Without a brain I can have a mind. Did you know that those born without a brain die. There are such births.

Without a mind I can have a brain. There are those that have brains with no inkling of a mind.

You may want to let this paradigm go as it is unproveable to say that the mind is distinct. Nice try.


#14

[quote="CopticChristian, post:13, topic:282376"]

Without a brain I can have a mind. Did you know that those born without a brain die. There are such births.

[/quote]

Could you explain this a little more, please? In particular, how an anencephalic baby has a mind? The general consensus in neuroscience is that such babies are blind, deaf, and completely unconscious. They have no mental life.


#15

[quote="CopticChristian, post:13, topic:282376"]
The brain is not the mind.

The mind is not the brain.

Without a brain I can have a mind. Did you know that those born without a brain die. There are such births.

Without a mind I can have a brain. There are those that have brains with no inkling of a mind.

You may want to let this paradigm go as it is unproveable to say that the mind is distinct. Nice try.

[/quote]

I can see those without a mind can have a brain, but it doesn't follow that those without a brain can have a mind since all thought comes from the functioning of the brain.


#16

[quote="Faith1960, post:15, topic:282376"]
I can see those without a mind can have a brain, but it doesn't follow that those without a brain can have a mind since all thought comes from the functioning of the brain.

[/quote]

Are you guys saying that Angels are incapable of thoughts? Or lack a mind? What is a "mind" to you? Does God have it?


#17

[quote="Trebor135, post:12, topic:282376"]
I'm still waiting, though, for your ten-volume "One Catholic's Antidote to the Claims of Islam: Equipping Apostolic Christians with the Knowledge, Wisdom, and Counsel to Bring Their Muslim Friends and Neighbours to Christ While Maintaining Their Integrity and Increasing Their Faith, Hope, and Charity"... :)

[/quote]

Lol! Perhaps your encouragement may just convince me to do it! :D


#18

Just a sample of online dictionaries' definitions of the noun "mind"

The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciou...: "as the thoughts ran through his mind, he came to a conclusion"

  1. the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought: * a lot of thoughts ran through my mind*

  2. a person’s ability to think and reason; the intellect: * his keen mind*

[LIST]
]a person’s memory: * the company’s name **slips** my mind
]a particular way of thinking, influenced by a person’s profession or environment: * he had a deep contempt for the bureaucratic mind
]a person identified with their intellectual faculties: * he was one of the greatest minds of his time
]3a person’s attention: * employees should keep their minds on the job
]a person’s will or determination to achieve something: * anyone can slim if they set their mind to it
[/LIST]
*1. * The human consciousness that originates in the brain and is manifested especially in thought, perception, emotion, will, memory, and imagination.
*2. * The collective conscious and unconscious processes in a sentient organism that direct and influence mental and physical behavior.
*3. * The principle of intelligence; the spirit of consciousness regarded as an aspect of reality.
*4. * The faculty of thinking, reasoning, and applying knowledge: Follow your mind, not your heart.

Seems that though we associate it with the human brain, it transcends it. Otherwise we'd have to say that Angels lack awareness of themselves or their experiences since they are purely intellectual beings that obviously lack a body or a brain.


#19

[quote="xixxvmcm85, post:14, topic:282376"]
Could you explain this a little more, please? In particular, how an anencephalic baby has a mind? The general consensus in neuroscience is that such babies are blind, deaf, and completely unconscious. They have no mental life.

[/quote]

XIX,

You misunderstand...I was following the logic...

The brain is not the mind.

The mind is not the brain.

Without a brain I can have a mind. Did you know that those born without a brain die. There are such births.

Let me clarify. The poster says that the brain is not the mind and the mind is not the brain.

So I posed these as questions and were written as statements.

You say that the brain is not the mind.

You say that the mind is not the brain.

So you say that without a brain I have a mind according to this logic and therefore I refer to the anencephalic as you correctly apply the notion and I point out that they die. So then according to this logic as you say there is no mental life without a brain...and the logic proposed...

The mind is not the brain.
The brain is not the mind.

Falls apart and as I said unproveable....:)


#20

[quote="CopticChristian, post:19, topic:282376"]
XIX,

You misunderstand...I was following the logic...

Let me clarify. The poster says that the brain is not the mind and the mind is not the brain.

So I posed these as questions and were written as statements.

You say that the brain is not the mind.

You say that the mind is not the brain.

So you say that without a brain I have a mind according to this logic and therefore I refer to the anencephalic as you correctly apply the notion and I point out that they die. So then according to this logic as you say there is no mental life without a brain...and the logic proposed...

The mind is not the brain.
The brain is not the mind.

Falls apart and as I said unproveable....:)

[/quote]

Okay, now I'm REALLY confused. :confused:


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