Archive for August, 2009

Gambling Damages Our People and Our Socioculture

August 31, 2009

Gambling Damages Our People and Our Socioculture 

The following is an article that I wrote for Indiana’s South Bend Tribune’s Michiana Point Of View published Sunday, July 22, 2001.

There have been many changes since I wrote this article. The gambling industry has continued to grow. The number of our citizens who gamble and who show various gambling-related behavior problems have continued to grow. Our National financial disaster has worsened. Now in the year 2009, it is known to world. Our problems continue to grow.

The following is a shortened version this newspaper article.

Our National gambling revolution did not result from a populace movement. It emerged almost exclusively through the combined efforts of the gambling industry, its wealthy lobbyists and our desperately receptive legislators and politicians.

The critics of behavioral psychology have long predicted that its principles would someday be used by governments to coerce and exploit their citizens. B. F. Skinner, perhaps the greatest psychologist of the 20th century, warned of a different form of governmental exploitation which is based upon systems of rewards.

I am saddened to inform you that this is exactly what has happened as our government has legalized and popularized gambling and then taxed its profits to obtain increased revenues for its own growth and development. The enticing short-term attractiveness of this Post-Modern cultural design is that a large proportion of our population finds it rewarding to gamble and the government hungers for a new source of revenue. As Skinner explained, “voluntary” gambling taxes avoid increasingly coercive income , sales, and property taxes and simultaneously reduce the likelihood of citizen revolt. The federal, state, and local governmental financial problems that drive this new governmental gambling business are well documented.

This Nation’s history of legal gambling is a long and troubled one, with more problems emerging as gambling has increased. Our population is gambling more than ever before.

  • In 1716, lotteries were operational in each of the 13 colonies and they continued to grow in popularity.
  • During the 1870’s, most kinds of gambling were outlawed by the states because of massive scandals in the Louisiana lottery.
  • Between 1964 and 1975, about 13 state lotteries re-emerged.
  • In 1971, mental health professionals began to treat pathological gambling.
  • In 1980, pathological gambling was included as a “disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-III, used by professionals to diagnose mental disorders.
  • In 1982, he New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling established a 24-hour help hot line.
  • By 1990, legalized gambling existed in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
  • By 1999, U.S. gross legal gambling revenues were estimated to be around $60 billion. By 2002 gross legal gambling revenues had grown to nearly $70 billion. In 2007 this figure was $92.27 billion.

Principles of psychology help explain why citizens are so responsive to legalized gambling opportunities. Behavioral psychologist have consistently demonstrated that all of us animals will continue to peck or push buttons and pull or press levers at very high rates under special schedules of reward. Often behaviors will reach frantically high rates, to the exclusion of all other activities. Increasingly intermittent and random rewards (variable ration schedules of reinforcement) produce very strong behaviors that persist, even in the face of starvingly diminished food rewards. This and other well known behavioral principles are fundamental to teaching people to, over the long run, willingly pour more and more of their money into the bottomless sinkhole euphemistically marketed as “gaming”. Such privately and governmentally sponsored advertising mocks our truth-in-advertising laws and enters the realm of the darkest propaganda.

The damage that we are now inflicting upon ourselves and our children in unconscionable:

  • In 1997, the Harvard Medical School Division an Addictions estimated that the past-year prevalence for problem and pathological adult gambling was approximately 5.3 million and 2.2. million respectively. It also estimated that there were 5.7 million American adolescent problem gamblers and 2.2 million adolescent pathological gamblers.
  • In 1999, The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reviewed 4,000 research papers on gambling and estimated that 3 million of the adult population were “life-time” pathological gamblers and another 7.3 million were “life-time” problem gamblers.
  • This commission further concluded that pathological gambling is associated with: substance abuse, mood disorders, personality disorders, domestic violence, and child abuse and neglect.
  • The children of gambling adults are more likely to become involved with delinquency, smoking and drug use. They also show an increased risk of developing problem or pathological gambling.
  • Dramatically increased child and adolescent gambling is correlated with and increased risk for pathological gambling later in life. In general, adolescent gamblers are at greater risk than adults fo develop problems or pathological gambling.
  • In 1999, the costs of gambling to our society (job loss, unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, poor health, psychological treatment) were about $1,200 per pathological gambler per year and about $715 per problem gambler per year. Other lifetime costs (bankruptcy, imprisonment, legal fees for divorce, etc.) were about $10,550 per pathological gambler and $5,130 per problem gambler. The combined costs of pathological and problem gamblers per year was about $5 billion, with and additional lifetime cost of about $40 billion. It can be safely assumed that these costs have increased since 1999.
  • Pathological gamblers are more likely to have financial, physical and emotional problems. When debts mount, pathological gamblers frequently resort to crime to pay their debts. They also suffer increased rates of suicide.

These human tragedies represent the enormous negative externalities and delayed costs of legalized gambling. How do we calculate the resulting present and future damage to us, to our children and to our grandchildren?

Tragically, by the time we figure this out, it may be too late to reverse our self-destructive practices. We must act on the basis of psychological theory and incomplete but clearly negative data trends.

We must not overlook other clear and present harms. Economically, we are trading away solid long-term growth for unstable short-term gain. Gambling lobbyists and politicians tell citizens: “Our people are going to travel to neighboring regions to gamble their money away. Why not legalize gambling her and keep those revenues for ourselves?” Of course, they do not explain that when casinos are legalized, people are often attracted away from local businesses (restaurants, theaters, shops, etc.). As a consequence, these stable traditional businesses that have long benefited individuals and society often lose income and are forced to close.

Furthermore, lobbyists and politicians generally do not tell citizens of the increased crime (political corruption, robbery, drugs, prostitution, etc.) that is frequently associated with legal gambling enterprises.

This nation’s social viability is increasingly impaired by poor cultural planning and increasing rates of population maladaptive (bad) behavior: Why would such an afflicted culture legalize and encourage gambling activities that damage individuals, families and ultimately our whole society?

I must conclude that our government has preyed upon its citizens in the 1980’s by legalizing gambling and taxing its new revenues. The same was done during the 1960’s and 1970’s when pornography was legalized and then taxed. Furthermore, initiatives to legalize and tax illegal drugs and prostitution are now gathering momentum.

Countless numbers men and women have given their lives in the defense of our freedom. Can’t we give up a few immediate pleasures for the long-term good or our socioculture? Think it through, decide for yourself and act accordingly. Remember: In a democracy, or a republic, the people get exactly what they deserve.”

For a more complete and scholarly review of gambling problems and their impact upon our socioculture you may read my chapter (pps. 45-89) in Gambling: Behavior Theory, Research, and Application. This book was edited by Ghezzi, P. M. , Lyons, C. A., Dixon, M. R., and Wilson, G. R., and it was published in 2006 by Context Press, Reno NV.

 V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. , 8/31/09

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In The Wake Of Colombine

August 30, 2009

In The Wake Of Colombine

I am sick and tired of this culture’s obsessive-compulsive personal freedom worship. We have, under force of law and governmental mandate, expunged the worship of our indigenous conceptions of God and His Rules for personal conduct from nearly all public places. What has now been imposed is an enforced worship of the Personal Freedom God.

As if in mock similarity to our original religions, the new Personal Freedom God is comprised of its own trinity of beings. This unholy trinity has been forged within the crucible of the politics of blatant profit motives, pleasure, and self-interest. It is comprised of the media, the educational system, and the judicial system. Behavioral manifestations of these coordinated and unified forces represent incarnations of the Personal Freedom God.

Too much of anything is a bad. Too much freedom is as bad as too little freedom. Totalitarianism destroys the normal human growth and development of populations in ways different from destruction by anarchy (which masquerades as total freedom for the individual). Regardless, both of these pathological and pathogenic extremes eventually kill cultural enterprises and damage the people within them.

If there is any message in the Columbine tragedy, and other similar events, it is that our culture is sick and dying. The truth about the state or our union, and its future, is nowhere but in the actions of our children and youth.

Billy Budd, 4/22/99

Vision # 2

August 30, 2009

Vision # 2

Next, Labels were projected onto each of the developmental age segments representing the damaging or impairing events that happen to some of the people of each age group.

2 Decompensation Model Revised

These labels represent only some of the possible damaging experiences that individuals and families may experience in each age segment. Most of these damaging events, now projected upon my evolving model, are well known to professionals and lay people alike. Psychologists call these experiences pathogenic because they are consistently associated with (and “suspected” of causing) higher than average rates of psychological disorders and problem behaviors among the people that experience them. In science, proving cause can be very difficult. We will discuss the problem of proving causation in materials to follow. However, no one should doubt that child abandonment, child abuse, teen pregnancy, and drug addiction, etc., commonly destroy human potential by putting the individuals who suffer these traumas at high risk for future biological, social, or psychological problems.

As I considered the implications of these thoughts and images, I became uncharacteristically shaken and fearful. My experiences in private practice and teaching college abnormal psychology and psychopathology of children and adolescence compelled my conclusion: I judged that steadily increasing proportions of America’s population had been experiencing these and other damaging events with predictable bad outcomes for them and America. I did not know the truth of this assumption, at that moment, but the implications of this possibility were frightening.

Whether the damaging influences are biological (in-utero toxic poisoning due to maternal alcohol or drug abuse, inherited tendencies to develop mental illness or other physical diseases, or contracting sexually transmitted diseases, etc.); or sociological (increased divorce rates, racial or gang violence, increasing proportions of children living in poverty, etc.); or psychological (impaired emotions, perceptions and behaviors due to the traumas of physical or emotional abuse by parents and care-takers, abandonment, or sexual abuse, etc.) the outcomes are similar. Very often, way too often, the damaging effects remain with the afflicted individuals as they mature and move from one age segment to the others until they begin to accumulate and remain, for the longest time, within the adult population. It is important to remember that as these individuals move through the segments of the developmental continuum they interact with thousands of other individuals who may, or may not,  yet have any of the problems or risks of problems that the origionally affected individuals.

Why don’t you think about the implications of this fact until I post the next segment of The Vision in a day or so.

VTM, 8/3/09

 

Vision #1

August 28, 2009

Vision # 1

Prelude to a Vision

In the introduction to his book, Imperial Stars: Republic and Empire, author Jerry Purnelle refers (pps. 3 & 4) to Niccolo Machiavelli, in The Discourses, who described six kinds of government. Machiavelli considered three kinds of government to be “good” but he noted their tendency to be corrupted and to become “very bad.”

“Thus monarchy becomes tyranny; aristocracy degenerates into oligarchy; and popular government lapses readily into licentiousness. So that a legislator who gives to a state which he founds, either of these three forms of government, constitutes it but for a brief time; for no precautions can prevent either one of the three that are reputed good, from degenerating into its opposite kind; so great are in these attractions and resemblances between the good and the evil”. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Discourses.

My primary concern is with the slide of our Republic of the United States toward a widespread state of hedonism and licentiousness. Jerry Pournelle,familiar with such cultural evolutions from the early Greeks and Romans to the present, addresses this trend:

“Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it”.

What is the truth about our Nation’s present state and its direction of change? We all would like to remain hopeful for a bright and lengthy future for America. Indeed, there are some grounds for hope: We are a strong and vibrant population. We can be justifiably proud of our cultural heritage, and of many of our recent accomplishments. Hopelessness, and its self-fulfilling nature, must be rejected at all costs. Certainly, there are grounds for a hopeful future. But I judge that this is true only if a significant and active percent of this culture’s citizens will perceive the reality of our deteriorating condition, understand the principles that fuel our downward spiral, and then move in all ways possible to use those principles to reverse these destructive trends.

The American people seem to be learning that fatal lesson. The last Forty years have seen the United States reject the temptations of empire, but nearly succumb to the seductions of democracy. We have reached the abyss, but not yet taken the last step over it. The survival of freedom itself is at stake, and that future is by no means certain” (pps. 10-11).

 Perceiving the reality of our condition is not so easy as it would first appear. Often what is perceived is but a reflection of other hidden, underlying, events and structures. So it is with the great complex mix of events that now threaten America.

It was 1983. I had been reading intensively in the field of psychology ever since I declared it as my psychology major in 1963. I had obtained my Ph.D. in 1971, and had began to teach psychology at Indiana University South Bend in 1970. My area of specialized interests were Learning, Child Development, and Behavior Modification. By 1979, I had written my first book on parenting and teaching children. It had already become apparent to me in the early 1970’s that certain cultural changes (population mobility, fewer extended families, fewer nuclear families, fewer children, maternal employment, infant and daycare centers, etc.) had robbed many of America’s parents of a common understanding of what children need to grow to be healthy adults. Many parents simply did not know what they needed to do to help their children achieve this essential outcome.

Little did I know then, that an unanticipated event was about to occur that would change my perceptions, goals, and creative actions for the rest of my life. I was asked to join a private practice on a part-time basis. I did this, as an overload, and continued my work as a university professor.

The following years of “practicing what I preached” within the crucible of countless hours of therapy with troubled children, adolescents, and adults, and families was a powerfully transforming experience. It catalyzed my thinking about what I had learned in all of my studies, my university teaching and my personal research. So many things that I had learned were now directly connected and highly relevant to the very real human problems I was then trying to solve in my tiny corner of America.

As you may know, university professors often accuse counselors and psychotherapist of seeing a “biased world of only trouble and misery”. Counselors and psychotherapists accuse university professors of “living in ivory towers”, dealing with problems only in the abstract, and being highly impractical.

In 1979, I began to live in both worlds and I believe the combination of these worlds has allowed me to see things more clearly than many of the professionals who work exclusively in either one of these domains. In 1983 the combined results of these experiences spontaneously and suddenly arranged themselves in my thinking and in a mental-visual form that stunned and motivated me like nothing else ever has.

The Vision

The following account may sound strange or mysterious, but it is not. History is full of individuals who have immersed themselves in the study of complex and perplexing problems and who have then been suddenly struck with what they thought were important insights. This happened to me and I will leave it to you and others to decide if I am right or wrong.

It first came to me as I drove the familiar riverside road to my workout at our local YMCA. The images did not appear all at once, but they began like a punch in the stomach. First, a main form appeared and then its many details arrayed themselves across the next few days. It was like a computer graphic that included categories of behavior, human age demographics, and other kinds of data that I had studied and it became “alive”: It moved and changed through time and its history and projections told an ominous story about the past five decades of America’s cultural evolution—and our future.

The image appeared as a large rectangle-like box. But it wasn’t really a rectangle. The top of the “rectangle” sloped upward, from left to right in my visual field, like the side of an increasingly steep hill. Within this odd geometric form were four sections separated by vertical partitions. Each partition contained one age segment of our population. The age segments were infants, children, teens and adults. The size of these segments crudely approximated the proportions that they would represent within the United States and their sum represented 100% of our population.

Our population’s birth rate has declined steadily since WWII and infancy lasts only one year. Therefore the infant’s segment represented the smallest proportion of the whole. Next was the children’s segment which extends for the next 11 years and is therefore larger. Adolescence extends from 13 years of age until 20 years and therefore appears about half the proportion of the children’s segment. The life-span of adults has steadily increased due to the better nutrition, healthier environments and the increasing power of medical technology. The adult life-span comprises the largest proportion of our population. It includes the adult population (ages 21 to 66) and the aged population.( Age 65 and over).

At the bottom of this upward sloping space were arrows symbolizing that all of the individuals in each of these age segments grew older and moved one way (to the right) through all of the categories as if they were on a conveyor belt. Of course, as this the population moved through the age segments, some individuals of all ages “fell off the conveyor belt” when they died and were therefore removed from the population.

Figure 1 represents the first image among several that emerged.

I will show you the next image next Monday.

1 Decompensation Model Revised

A Bullet Between The Eyes

August 27, 2009

A Bullet Between The Eyes

Today a man in Boston stalked his wife, who left him to live in a woman’s shelter, and shot her twice in the head and once in the chest at a bus stop in front of a dozen teenagers. Her two young children also stood and watched their mother die a terrible death.

Everywhere I hear the call for tolerance from the prevailing radical left. But, what we really need is less tolerance: We need a great deal less tolerance.

We need less tolerance as a society for divorce, adult pregnancy out-of-wedlock, teen-age pregnancy, all other forms of irresponsible sexual behavior, child physical and sexual abuse, drug abuse, profanity, robbery, drive-by shootings, and yes, even killing mothers in front of their children at a bus stop.

We will now spend a million dollars to sentence the mother shooting man to prison for life. A place where he can join a gang, enjoy illegal drugs and a hot sex life, lift weights, watch T.V., study law, and sue the Government for inhumane conditions (at our expense).

What that man really needs is a bullet between his eyes—this minute.

Billy Budd, 10/23/07

Power To Change The World?

August 27, 2009

Power To Change The World?

A T.V. add asked early this morning: “Do you think you have the power to change the world”?

 My answer, as I exited the bedroom on my way to my computer, was: “Yes—But I’m nuts”.

Billy Budd, 1/29/89

What Could This Mean For Society?

August 27, 2009

What Could This Mean For Society?

God’s Blessings to you Jana. You know your Bible well and you are correct that scripture states it is by Faith alone that salvation is gained.

I find the discussion of what gets a person into Heaven to be very humbling. This is truly a matter of faith which is beyond the analysis of science, and certainly beyond my ability. My posting was not meant to address the matter of Eternal Salvation, but rather to address the fact that such a faith-based teachings and social influences can lead to rare and highly beneficial behavioral effects here on earth.

Some may argue that Christian influences have had bad effects (the Inquisitions, etc.), but ultimately, it was this religious influence that enlarged the circle of acceptance and respect to include all of humanity. Judeo/Christian influences also were central in the development of Western Civilization as we know it today. At age 67 years, I convinced by my experiences and readings of history that all faiths that include similar value systems have generated far more goods than bads for people and the evolution of their sociocultures.

I am also convinced that as America evolves further way from Judeo/Christian, or other similar and compatible, faith-based value systems the quality of our population’s collective thoughts and actions will continue to decline, generating more bad outcomes than good ones for all of us. I sadly and fearfully conclude that this will diminish our cultural and national viability.

Jana, your questions at the end of your response to my blog are excellent and thought provoking. It is very difficult to answer them with certainty, but I will tell you what I believe to be the most probable outcomes.

“If it were real, would you consider a spiritual experience be a catalyst for positive change?”

Any strongly held belief, or system of beliefs, will powerfully influence our thoughts, perceptions, emotions and behaviors. This is so for both good and bad. Most would agree that the spiritual experiences of Reverend Jim Jones were bad. However, I think that what you consider spiritually-derived Judeo/Christian faith-based moral actions could be an especially powerful catalyst for positive change within any population.

“What ways could people experiencing God’s spirit affect those around them?”

People who habitually ask themselves, “What would Jesus do” and then act accordingly, are not only models for others to imitate, they influence and teach others through their direct treatment of them. I call the spread of these and other similar influences within a population a form of good Behavioral Contagion. The results can be powerfully beneficial to all. Add to this similar increases in educational and media activities and the good influences could spread like wild-fire.

“What could this mean for society?”

Such changes could lead to a dramatic increase in the virtues that have made America the greatest nation in the history of the world and reverse its present decline. It could also mean the spread of this wonderful continuing legacy to other nations that will benefit immensely. In otherwords, a wave of good behavioral contagion among nations of the world.

Now that would be pretty good, don’t ya think?!

VTM, 8/27/09

Censorship of Moral Values

August 27, 2009

Censorship of Moral Values

It is a bazaar twist that the minority secular forces in America, through the judiciary, have convinced the body politic that censorship of almost any sort is akin to a mortal Sin. Then, in the same way, they perpetrate the grand fraud that the Constitutional Separation of Church and State means that all references to Judeo/Christian guidelines to moral conduct must be expunged from the public domain. Both are a monumental lies. These lies have credibility only because America has failed to educate its public about its own precious history;  the religiously-based moral precepts of its founding fathers and their original intentions, hopes and dreams for our future.

The following quotes are taken from Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in our Nation’s History and Future, by Newt Gingrich.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports” (p. 19).

George Washington, Farewell Address

 

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other'” (p. 19).

John Adams

 

“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness” (p, 19).

Samual Adams

 

“The politician who loves liberty sees…a gulp [sic] that may swallow up the liberty to which he is devoted. He knows that morality overthrown (and morality must fall without religion) the terrors of despotism can alone curb the impetuous passions of man, and confine him within the bonds of social duty (p. 19).

 Alexander Hamilton

 

“Our country should be preserved from the dreadful evil of becoming enemies of the religion of the Gospel, which I have no doubt, but would be the introduction of the dissolution of government and the bonds of civil society” (p. 20).

Elias Boudinot

 

“Religion and Virtue are the only Foundations, not only of Republicanism and or all free Government, but of social felicity under all Governments and in all Combinations of human society” (20).

John Adams

 

“Reading, reflection, and time have convinced me that the interests of society require the observation of those moral precepts…in which all religions agree” (20).

Thomas Jefferson

 

“Religion is the only solid Base of morals and Morals are the only possible Support of free governments” (p. 20)

Gouvernent Morris

 

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments” (p. 20).

Benjamin Rush

 

The following quote (in bold) are the words of Newt Gingrich, to be found on page 21 of his book:

For the founders, it was abundantly clear. Religious liberty and freedom of religious expression would be indispensable supports for our democratic traditions of government and our pluralistic society.

And so they have for over two hundred years.

It is important to recognize that the benefits of these supports accrue to people of not just one particular faith, but those of all faiths, and for all people of goodwill, whether religious, agnostic, atheist, or radical secularist. Likewise, the Founders clearly believed that the weakening of these religious supports—such as by the hostile treatment of religion in American public life—threatens to undermine the very republican institutions under which the religious and the non-religious alike find their liberties.

Masturbating the Lions

August 25, 2009

Masturbating the Lions

One historical way to keep a population content and docile–focused away from governmental abuses and the general state of their condition–is to entertain them in ways that are irresistibly rewarding. Especially effective are the biologically based rewards that have addicted our species forever.

These reinforcers have always produced highly pleasurable feelings and emotions that are accompanied by increasingly obsessive/compulsive thoughts and behaviors and that are highly goal oriented and directed away from the exploiting controllers.

It was so in the coliseums of a declining Rome and so it is now in the post-modern era of a declining United States of America.

Photography, violence, and gambling are now available through all of our technical venues. Previously illegal, now all made legal and provided by a government that first stimulates the masses’ well known hedonistic and self-destructive appetites and then taxes its populations’ increasingly frenetic self-stimulatory behavior patterns. The specter of legalized (and therefore taxed) prostitution and drugs are now gaining momentum.

With erie similarity,  B. F. Skinner spoke of clever trainers who once masturbated their lions to avoid being eaten alive.

VTM, 3/17/01

Religion a Catalyst for Positive Change?

August 25, 2009

Jana Martin Says:
August 24, 2009 at 9:22 PM | Reply   edit

This is good stuff! I am delighted to read both of your thoughts on this matter. As always, I am wondering about other related things. The delayed reward of heaven, 72 virgins, or promises of a better position in the next reincarnated life, I’m sure, motivates millions of people to follow a set of rules. I think this idea applies to many Christians in the same way; those whose understanding is based on the belief that following the rules in the Bible earns them entrance into heaven. Yet Christianity is different from all the other religions, so Dr. Richard Malott’s theory can’t apply to all Christians. Entrance into heaven is NOT based on good works. Contemplate the meaning and ramifications of the following scripture.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is a free gift from God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8,9

In Mark Virkler’s book, “Communion With God”, he describes Christianity as much more than a code of ethics; it is much more than a religion. It is a love relationship with the King of Kings; a direct encounter with Him through the indwelling works of His Holy Spirit. “I can study the Bible rationally, simply with the mind, and learn many facts about God. For instance, I can learn that God loves me. But since love is an inner heart experience, I cannot fully experience God’s love until He touches my heart with His love, heals my hurts, and breaks my hardness. When He fills me to overflowing, then through intuitive, spiritual experience, I have fully experienced the love I have read about.”

The Bible explains that God imparts love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and faithfulness through His spirit.

It is these experiences that inspire and empower me to love others when they are unlovable, follow God’s ways when my way seems more desirable, and honor Him with my life. I am not motivated to follow Him to gain entrance into heaven. I am grateful that I was freely given it. I guess I don’t fit into Dr. Richard Malott’s theory.

Mark Virkler states that spiritual experience is not irrational, but superrational; an extension beyond rationalism, not considered by science, but none-the-less, real.

If it were real, would you consider a spiritual experience to be a catalyst for positive change? What ways could people experiencing God’s spirit affect those around them? What could this mean for a society?


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