Who is Really Self Actuzliaed, Atheists or Theists?


Yeat another example of atheist attempt at social sciences, on the blog: God is for suckers

An atheist on the blog linked above discovered that actual sercet to realising the reality of God and he's too ignorant and vein to even figure what it means. He's trying to prove that Atheists are self actualized nd religious people not. In fact the studies actually, including those by Maslow whom he quotes and lauds, quite the opposite. Studies show that religious people are self actualized and atheists are not. But this guy, can't find his name, doesn't have a clue. So he uses anecdotal evidence and just asserts "all the atheists I nkow are like this so they must be self actualized, I hate Christianity so it must not be."

Here is how this advanced self actuzed enlightened human describes his site:

Commentary, news, and rants on the evils and stupidity of belief in the big invisible daddy in the sky. Illuminating and watchdogging the widespread attempts to institutionalize the theocratic rule of the US. Making fun of believers everywhere.

The graphic is from his blog

Now he's going to tell us what self actually is:

Atheism As Self Actualization

12 August 2007 by KA


Let’s talk about actualization, you and I. Take a good, strong look at where we stand.

Abraham Maslow, in 1943, a leader in humanistic psychology, came up with the theory of self-actualization.

No, this is no New Age nonsense: it’s not some Deepak Chopra chaff. It’s a theory that makes a lotta sense.

Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs is as follows:

a theory in psychology that Abraham Maslow proposed in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, which he subsequently extended to include his observations of man’s innate curiosity. His theory contended that as humans meet ‘basic needs’, they seek to satisfy successively ‘higher needs’ that occupy a set hierarchy. Maslow studied exemplary people such as Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglass rather than mentally ill or neurotic people, writing that “the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy.”[1] Maslow also studied one percent of the healthiest college student population. While Maslow’s theory was regarded as an improvement over previous theories of personality and motivation, it had its detractors. For example, in their extensive review of research that is dependent on Maslow’s theory, Wabha and Bridwell (1976) found little evidence for the ranking of needs that Maslow described, or even for the existence of a definite hierarchy at all.

his description of the nature of self actualization. He's quoting an article on Answers.com Even though he basis his arugment upon Maslow he takes issue with Maslows ideas.

I disagree with this last sentence. We require our physical needs be met. We yearn for security, routine. As pack animals, we absolutely must be loved, and provided with a sense of belonging. From those three, flows the fourth. We are, after all, hierarchal creatures.

My addendum to this, is that the religious folks are pretty much stuck at the Esteem level.

As pack animals we must be loved? He's making leap into unsupported claims by implying that love is a need of pack animals. He makes the unsupported assertion that religious people are stuck in one of the phases. Of course he can't see atheists aer stuck just the rule keeping stage. This is a rank armature.I am betting he's in high school, it's certain he has not studied social sciences at the college level.

Now he's going in deeper, from supported claims to anecdotal evidence.

Let’s elaborate, with a personal anecdote. I had a pretty tough childhood (yeah, I know, we all did, just bear with me). Insecure, bullied, wrestling with the divergent hormone avalanche, I sought out alternative ways of validation. Food was one. The occult was another.

It gave me a secret, it gave me the illusion of power. Adolescent fantasies of strength. Luckily, I outgrew all that folderol.

And here is my take: there are many, many things in this life, this world, this universe, that are out of our individual control. Weather, other people’s behavior, other variables over which we exert zero control.

Of course if his low self esteem is what drove him to atheism, then we would search through a succession of positions that would grant him the best illusion of power and worth. It somehow just doesn't occur to him that since he hasn't gotten healed emotionally then the one stuck with is just the one that offers the greater illusion. So my theory about atheists is that they are into the hate because it give them the rush of feeling Superior. They can prop up their failing self esteem by saying "look at these stupid religious slobs, they are so much dumber than i am." One would never think that by reading he hateful intro to his blog above.

So it is in this cloak of flesh we wear, that insecurity plagues us, dogs our footsteps, and sends the wearer on various bunny trails.

Gnostic dualism yet?

So, of all the paths we tread, those that are most tempting, are the ones that are well trodden, that whisper of the ego of personal power. Whether it be of ourselves as the mighty warrior or the keeper of darkness, the vessel of some ghostly power that will act upon us or to impart some supernatural element in hopes that all will be made right one day, that keening wail of the down-trodden that someone comes someday to pass judgment so that the scales will be righted.

If we look at the fifth level, the formula comes clear: most atheists I know are in possession of those attributes (that I know of: there are exceptions, no doubt).

Atheism is what adults do, that is, when the bloom is off the adolescent rose.

It would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad. Let's talk about what adult don't do. First of all, if they have academic training at all, even at the undergraduate level, they don't' blather unsupported assertions and they try to support them with nothing more anecdotal evidence. This is nothing more than the atheist tendency to play social scientist which we see going awry in so many failed atheist arguments all over the net. This is about the worst one I've ever seen. Another thing adults don't do is mock, ridicule and deride people with other view points just becuase they differ from our own. The only reason this guy doesn't this is because he's not an adult he's probably a high school kid rebelling against Dad because because he's gotten a big does of super ego to counter his own id, and obviously he discovered some bits of psychoanalytic theory and he can resist trying to play shrink.

And so we as atheists go about, attempting to educate our fellow adults, who are trying to clutch the dreams of their youth with tremulous hands. It falls to us, then, to lead the world to maturity.

This is the
Apostate, signing off.

so that's what they are doing when they mock, deride, and ridicule me and claim I didn't go to graduate school and refuse to read the posts I spend hours researching, and tell me I have never read the books I've read. They are trying to educate me. In what? In anecdotal evidence?

To be an educator my deal little ignoramus you must know something! You do not know shit from shinola!

The fact of the matter is Maslow would have thought this approach imbecilic. Maslow, though an atheist, did not think religious people were fools. he said "atheists and believers can go a long way down the path together." He admired religious people adn thought they were strong. He admired because the research data that he did proved that people with religious experience re much more self actualized than those who don't have it.

I'll say it again. The studies show that people who have religious experience (what Mslow called "peak experience") other call "mystical," score much higher on self actualization tests than do atheists.

Maslow was concerned with showing healthy psychology. He noted that Freud,Jung, and all the major thinkers in the field of psychology focused on what makes people abnormal, they wanted to know what makes people healthy. His notion of self actualization is the idea, the epitome of healthy psychology. In his research Maslow discovered that religious people tended to be more self actualized than those who do not have religious experiences and he wrote a book about it: Religious Values and Peak Experience (the entire text of the book is on line).

studies have validated Maslow:

Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 3, 92-108 (1982)
DOI: 10.1177/0022167882223011

Scale Development and Theory Testing

Eugene W. Mathes

Department of Psychology, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois 61455.

The research reported here involved the creation of a measure of the tendency to have peak experiences called the Peak Scale, and the testing of several hypotheses drawn from Maslow's theory of peak experiences. It was found that although individuals who report having peak experiences are also likely to report having experiences involving intense happiness, they are even more prone to report having cognitive experiences of a transcendent and mystical nature. This suggests that although the peak experience involves positive affect, it is primarily a transcendent and mystical cognitive event. Individuals who report having peak experiences are more likely to report living in terms of Being-values, such as truth, beauty, and justice, than individuals who report not having peak experiences. Finally, self-actualizing individuals are more likely to report having peak experiences than less self-actualizing individuals, though the relationship is not a very strong one. In general, these results are consistent with Maslow's theorizing.

Many other studies have done as well.

Dr. Michale Nielson,Ph.D. Psychology and religion.


"What makes someone psychologically healthy? This was the question that guided Maslow's work. He saw too much emphasis in psychology on negative behavior and thought, and wanted to supplant it with a psychology of mental health. To this end, he developed a hierarchy of needs, ranging from lower level physiological needs, through love and belonging, to self- actualization. Self-actualized people are those who have reached their potential for self-development. Maslow claimed that mystics are more likely to be self-actualized than are other people. Mystics also are more likely to have had "peak experiences," experiences in which the person feels a sense of ecstasy and oneness with the universe. Although his hierarchy of needs sounds appealing, researchers have had difficulty finding support for his theory."



In terms of psychological correlates, well-being and happiness has been associated with mystical experiences,(Mathes, Zevon, Roter, Joerger, 1982; Hay & Morisy, 1978; Greeley, 1975; Alexander, Boyer, & Alexander, 1987) as well as self-actualization (Hood, 1977; Alexander, 1992). Regarding the latter, the developer of self-actualization believed that even one spontaneous peak or transcendental experience could promote self-actualization. Correlational research has supported this relationship. In a recent statistical meta-analysis of causal designs with Transcendental Meditation (TM) controlling for length of treatment and strength of study design, it was found that: TM enhances self-actualization on standard inventories significantly more than recent clinically devised relaxation/meditation procedures not explicitly directed toward transcendence [mystical experience] (p. 1; Alexander, 1992)

But let us turn to quotations by Maslow himself, becuase it's very instructive. Maslow was an atheist but the had Buddhist leanings and he did not hate religious people. He respected religious people, especially mystics. He said:

My feeling is that if it were never to happen again, the power of the experience could permanently affect the attitude toward life. A single glimpse of heaven is enough to confirm its existence even if it is never experienced again. It is my strong suspicion that even one such experience might be able to prevent suicide, for instance, and perhaps many varieties of slow self-destruction, e.g., alcoholism, drug-addiction, addiction to violence, etc. I would guess also, on theoretical grounds, that peak-experiences might very well abort "existential meaninglessness," states of valuelessness, etc., at least occasionally. (These deductions from the nature of intense peak-experiences are given some support by general experience with LSD and psilocybin. Of course these preliminary reports also await confirmation.

This then is one kind of peak-knowledge of whose validity and usefulness there can be no doubt, any more than there could be with discovering for the first time that the color "red" exists and is wonderful. Joy exists, can be experienced and feels very good indeed, and one can always hope that it will be experienced again.

and again:

Now that may be taken as a frank admission of a naturalistic psychological origin, except that it invovles a universal symbology which is not explicable through merely naturalistic means. How is it that all humans come to hold these same archetypical symbols? (For more on archetypes see Jesus Chrsit and Mythology page II) The "prematives" viewed and understood a sense of transformation which gave them an integration into the universe. This is crucial for human development. They sensed a power in the numenous, that is the origin of religion."

"In Appendix I and elsewhere in this essay, I have spoken of unitive perception, i.e., fusion of the B-realm with the D-realm, fusion of the eternal with the temporal, the sacred with the profane, etc. Someone has called this "the measureless gap between the poetic perception of reality and prosaic, unreal commonsense." Anyone who cannot perceive the sacred, the eternal, the symbolic, is simply blind to an aspect of reality, as I think I have amply demonstrated elsewhere (54), and in Appendix I, fromPeak Experience

Anyone who cannot perceive the sacred and the eternal is blind... does that sound like the adult Maslow is ready to join in with your friend in mocking and ridiculing religious thought?

The Greely study spcificially disproves the notion this guy sets forth that religious people are losers and unsuceesful and trying to pretend about a "sky daddy" becuase they can't make it in life:

Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. (Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)

Long term effects of religious experience have been demonstrated by such major studies as Noble and Wuthnow:

Long-Term Effects


*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
Meditate more
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style


*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*intelligent, relaxed
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*integration, allocentrism,
*psychological maturity,
*self-acceptance, self-worth,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion

Short-Term Effects (usually people who did not previously know of these experiences)

*Experience temporarily disorienting, alarming, disruptive
*Likely changes in self and the world,
*space and time, emotional attitudes, cognitive styles, personalities, doubt sanity and reluctance to communicate, feel ordinary language is inadequate

*Some individuals report psychic capacities and visionary experience destabilizing relationships with family and friends Withdrawal, isolation, confusion, insecurity, self-doubt, depression, anxiety, panic, restlessness, grandiose religious delusions

Links to Maslow's Needs, Mental Health, and Peak Experiences When introducing entheogens to people, I find it's helpful to link them to other ideas people are familiar with. Here are three useful quotations. 1) Maslow - Beyond Self Actualization is Self Transcendence ``I should say that I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still `higher' Fourth Psychology, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest, going beyond humanness, identity, selfactualization and the like.''

Abraham Maslow (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being, Second edition, -- pages iii-iv.

2) States of consciousness and mystical experiences
The ego has problems:
the ego is a problem.

``Within the Western model we recognize and define psychosis as a suboptimal state of consciousness that views reality in a distorted way and does not recognize that distortion. It is therefore important to note that from the mystical perspective our usual state fits all the criteria of psychosis, being suboptimal, having a distorted view of reality, yet not recognizing that distortion. Indeed from the ultimate mystical perspective, psychosis can be defined as being trapped in, or attached to, any one state of consciousness, each of which by itself is necessarily limited and only relatively real.'' -- page 665

Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.

3) Therapeutic effects of peak experiences

``It is assumed that if, as is often said, one traumatic event can shape a life, one therapeutic event can reshape it. Psychedelic therapy has an analogue in Abraham Maslow's idea of the peak experience. The drug taker feels somehow allied to or merged with a higher power; he becomes convinced the self is part of a much larger pattern, and the sense of cleansing, release, and joy makes old woes seem trivial.'' -- page 132

Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Books.

Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integration. Unpublished paper by Jayne Gackenback, (1992)

"These states of being also result in behavioral and health changes. Ludwig (1985) found that 14% of people claiming spontaneous remission from alcoholism was due to mystical experiences while Richards (1978) found with cancer patients treated in a hallucinogenic drug-assisted therapy who reported mystical experiences improved significantly more on a measure of self-actualization than those who also had the drug but did not have a mystical experience. In terms of the Vedic Psychology group they report a wide range of positive behavioral results from the practice of meditation and as outlined above go to great pains to show that it is the transcendence aspect of that practice that is primarily responsible for the changes. Thus improved performance in many areas of society have been reported including education and business as well as personal health states (reviewed and summarized in Alexander et al., 1990). Specifically, the Vedic Psychology group have found that mystical experiences were associated with "refined sensory threshold and enhanced mind-body coordination (p. 115; Alexander et al., 1987)."

(4) Greater happiness

Religion and Happiness

by Michael E. Nielsen, PhD

Many people expect religion to bring them happiness. Does this actually seem to be the case? Are religious people happier than nonreligious people? And if so, why might this be?

Researchers have been intrigued by such questions. Most studies have simply asked people how happy they are, although studies also may use scales that try to measure happiness more subtly than that. In general, researchers who have a large sample of people in their study tend to limit their measurement of happiness to just one or two questions, and researchers who have fewer numbers of people use several items or scales to measure happiness.

What do they find? In a nutshell, they find that people who are involved in religion also report greater levels of happiness than do those who are not religious. For example, one study involved over 160,000 people in Europe. Among weekly churchgoers, 85% reported being "very satisfied" with life, but this number reduced to 77% among those who never went to church (Inglehart, 1990). This kind of pattern is typical -- religious involvement is associated with modest increases in happiness

Argyle, M., and Hills, P. (2000). Religious experiences and their relations with happiness and personality. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 10, 157-172.

Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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Recent Empirical Studies Prove Religious Believers have less depression, mental illness lower Divorce rate, ect.

J. Gartner, D.B. Allen, The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3090


"The Reviews identified 10 areas of clinical staus in whihc research has demonstrated benefits of religious commitment: (1) Depression, (2) Suicide, (3) Delinquency, (4) Mortality, (5) Alchohol use (6) Drug use, (7) Well-being, (8) Divorce and martital satisfaction, (9) Physical Health Status, and (10) Mental health outcome studies....The authors underscored the need for additional longitudinal studies featuring health outcomes. Although there were few, such studies tended to show mental health benefit. Similarly, in the case of teh few longevity or mortality outcome studies, the benefit was in favor of those who attended chruch...at least 70% of the time, increased religious commitment was associated with improved coping and protection from problems."

[The authors conducted a literature search of over 2000 publications to glean the current state of empirical study data in areas of Spirituality and health]
70% of the time believers are more likely than non believers (or at least experiences are more likely than non experiencers) to have these effects of self actualization