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The problem of spiritual experiences


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#1    Blueogre2

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 09:11 PM

Greetings forum, today my thoughts turn to the concept of  spiritual experiences and the problems they present for both Christianity and Atheism. Basically I feel like that if God is real, then how does one account for the great deal of suffering and sorrow in the world. If Jesus really did heal all the people he came in contact with then why do many people die from illness and injury. The lack of spiritual experiences presents a serious problem for the Church and it's claims. Furthermore, Atheists also are in a bind due to the fact that the constant accounts of hauntings, aliens abductions, and recovered memories of past lives seem to indicate that the material world is not all that there is. I am interested in what everyone has to say.


#2    ambelamba

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 09:14 PM

View PostBlueogre2, on 15 September 2012 - 09:11 PM, said:

Greetings forum, today my thoughts turn to the concept of  spiritual experiences and the problems they present for both Christianity and Atheism. Basically I feel like that if God is real, then how does one account for the great deal of suffering and sorrow in the world. If Jesus really did heal all the people he came in contact with then why do many people die from illness and injury. The lack of spiritual experiences presents a serious problem for the Church and it's claims. Furthermore, Atheists also are in a bind due to the fact that the constant accounts of hauntings, aliens abductions, and recovered memories of past lives seem to indicate that the material world is not all that there is. I am interested in what everyone has to say.

The easy answer is that God actually enjoys watching people's suffering and sorrow.

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#3    _Only

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 09:29 PM

View PostRon Jeremy, on 15 September 2012 - 09:14 PM, said:



The easy answer is that God actually enjoys watching people's suffering and sorrow.

Or maybe doesn't enjoy it, but needs to see it. As it is a part of everything. And He/She/It needs to see everything, in every way possible.

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#4    A Shadow

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:19 PM

God gave us free will?


#5    and then

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:13 PM

I love these threads  :w00t:   They all go something like this:  He's not real - IS TOO!  He's not real - IS TOO! HE'S NOT'S REAL! - HE  IS TOO!

  We've cast the world, we've set the stage,
  for what could be, the darkest age...

#6    Ashotep

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:23 PM

There is definitely more to it than dieing and then your just gone.  I came to this realization after seeing a ghost.  I strongly believe there is life after death.  Someone has to rule that world,so why not God and his son Jesus.  So since there is life after death, does it really matter what kind of life you have on this side.  Your money will not get you a better place on the other side.


#7    GreenmansGod

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 01:33 AM

That is what I love about being a Pagan. I was telling a priestess I know, if I hadn't been a Pagan I couldn't have gotten back on my feet.   In Pagan thought you have to work for an outcome. We don't expect a miracle. You put your energy into what you need to happen, but it is going to take some work and effort.  Spirits, ghost, and spooky physics doesn't bother me, there is more to the Universe than we understand at this time.   No conflicts, all in balance as far as I can see.

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#8    libstaK

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 01:39 AM

View PostDarkwind, on 16 September 2012 - 01:33 AM, said:

That is what I love about being a Pagan. I was telling a priestess I know, if I hadn't been a Pagan I couldn't have gotten back on my feet.   In Pagan thought you have to work for an outcome. We don't expect a miracle. You put your energy into what you need to happen, but it is going to take some work and effort.  Spirits, ghost, and spooky physics doesn't bother me, there is more to the Universe than we understand at this time.   No conflicts, all in balance as far as I can see.
This is actually true of christianity too - "you shall know them by their WORKS" to paraphrase.  Folk like to ignore the details and enjoy the ride though, funny how that never seems to get them to their intended destination isn't it?

I actually agree about the other point I have highlighted also - it takes a lot more faith to accept that all is in balance in this day and age than many could wish to imagine lol.  However, doing so puts responsibility for what we choose next where it belongs on each of us.

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In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

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#9    No-thingBornPassion

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:05 AM

View PostBlueogre2, on 15 September 2012 - 09:11 PM, said:

Greetings forum, today my thoughts turn to the concept of  spiritual experiences and the problems they present for both Christianity and Atheism. Basically I feel like that if God is real, then how does one account for the great deal of suffering and sorrow in the world. If Jesus really did heal all the people he came in contact with then why do many people die from illness and injury. The lack of spiritual experiences presents a serious problem for the Church and it's claims. Furthermore, Atheists also are in a bind due to the fact that the constant accounts of hauntings, aliens abductions, and recovered memories of past lives seem to indicate that the material world is not all that there is. I am interested in what everyone has to say.
If God(?) were here, It would be appalled. Unfortunate for us, this Power-Reality is not in this world. Then again, spirituality is not about materiality; it's all about our (perfect) spirit. I believe that to be really be free of suffering and sorrow, a being has to accept Nirvana (when presented that option). I truly believe that it is our destiny. To know my definition of Nirvana (definitely not the dictionary version), you have to read my previous posts.

I commend Darkwind for his tremendous effort because I constantly realize through daily living (sometimes harsh, not always hunky-dory) that all we really have is now. The story of our lives will constantly unfold, whether we like it or not, while we are "aware." It's the reason why I stopped praying. Nowadays, I just give thanks...and live my life. Yes, we always have a choice to do something about our situation; however, it not always a guaranteed success. And not doing anything about it is also a choice.

Lack of spiritual experiences? Every waking moment of our lives is our "spirit" experience. You may want to look into "awakening."

Peace.

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#10    Jessica Christ

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 11:51 AM

View PostBlueogre2, on 15 September 2012 - 09:11 PM, said:

Greetings forum, today my thoughts turn to the concept of  spiritual experiences and the problems they present for both Christianity and Atheism. Basically I feel like that if God is real, then how does one account for the great deal of suffering and sorrow in the world. If Jesus really did heal all the people he came in contact with then why do many people die from illness and injury. The lack of spiritual experiences presents a serious problem for the Church and it's claims. Furthermore, Atheists also are in a bind due to the fact that the constant accounts of hauntings, aliens abductions, and recovered memories of past lives seem to indicate that the material world is not all that there is. I am interested in what everyone has to say.

There are atheists who are spiritual. There are also Christians who are not. The point being that the orientation one assumes exists for each of these groups are not necessrily accurate. Further the belief that Christians reject science and that those who accept science must be atheists, are both false premises as well.

The lack of spiritual experience does not present a problem for the Church (capitalized, nice) or its claims because many churches DO accept science.

The biggest challenge posed toward Chrisitanity is how to take a religion which required communal bonds (visiting a church and becoming part of a community) to a generation that has weak communal bonds and would rather remain enclosed among a few small social circles?

Atheism on the other hand is doing fine because it does not require a sense of community to continue although Freethinker societies hail back hundreds of years.

The only actual problem presented in the OP, at least to me, is the contrast between those who believe in science and those who believe in the supernatural, because it cannot all be happening outside of us, neither can it all be happening in our mind, so there is a middle ground, but this is not really a problem after all.

Consider the fact some of us actually appreciate scientific explanation, especially when it comes to explaining the preternatural. This is perhaps a word you should become aquainted with 'preternatural', Some actually do have spiritiual experience but also understand how the mind could be producing them but that doesn't have to make it any less special when put into the frame of a cultural context that makes sacred, or at least more special, the spiritual experience, to know the human body is capable of producing such experience, that we have evolved to see patterns, that cultures are comfortable with certain explanations, does allow for one to both, at the same time, accept the scientific and cultural explanation without putting them at odds.

For an example consider the visitiation from a loved one. Currently science has shown that such visions might be comforting. Does this mean ghosts exists? No, but it does mean our mind can produce hallucinations to comfort us during a crisis of grief. Does this mean that one experiencing a "visitiation from a loved one" should just dismiss it as a trick from the mind without giving it any special meaning? I would not, it would be special to me, I would believe it was them, even as my mind knows it is just an elaborate defense mechanism producing a hallucination.

The better question is if someone was grieving and saw their loved one who had passed would you, the skeptic, if you are one, or others who are skeptics that are reading, would you go in all gangbusters and dispell the myth for them? That is the only problem that I see...


#11    StarMountainKid

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 01:18 PM

Would someone explain what a "spiritual experience" is. I've never quite understood what that means.

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#12    _Only

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 04:05 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 16 September 2012 - 01:18 PM, said:

Would someone explain what a "spiritual experience" is. I've never quite understood what that means.

It's an experience (at least for me) that completely changed how I view the myself and the world. It was a moment in time that I saw and felt things in a different way. It made me change the way I think and act from that moment on, and I felt (and fully believe) that this experience was facilitated, enacted, and reinforced by a part deep inside me (or spirit). And since the way I think and feel was drastically changed from this point on, I would most definitely call that a spiritual change.

This also seems the type of thing that I can attempt to tell you what it means to me, but you'll never really understand until it happens to you (as fake or dismissive as that sounds).

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#13    Beany

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:43 AM

View PostBlueogre2, on 15 September 2012 - 09:11 PM, said:

Greetings forum, today my thoughts turn to the concept of  spiritual experiences and the problems they present for both Christianity and Atheism. Basically I feel like that if God is real, then how does one account for the great deal of suffering and sorrow in the world. If Jesus really did heal all the people he came in contact with then why do many people die from illness and injury. The lack of spiritual experiences presents a serious problem for the Church and it's claims. Furthermore, Atheists also are in a bind due to the fact that the constant accounts of hauntings, aliens abductions, and recovered memories of past lives seem to indicate that the material world is not all that there is. I am interested in what everyone has to say.

IMHO, pretty much the cause of about 90% of it can be attributed to humans and the nature of life (and death). What would happen if we didn't die of illness or injury? Jose Philip Farmer's "River World" provides some insight to that question. Why rail against a supreme being, or blame a supreme being for not saving us from the circumstances of life or the realities or life? We got what we got and we deal with it, one way or another, and many people experience life as joyous and rewarding, despite the fact that life always ends in death. Don't most spiritual experiences have non-physical consequences, i.e. emotional or soul reward, as opposed to say, living forever, or never having a physical injury?


#14    No-thingBornPassion

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:07 AM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 16 September 2012 - 01:18 PM, said:

Would someone explain what a "spiritual experience" is. I've never quite understood what that means.
You are a being made of "spirit." Spirituality is about the journey of your "spirit." Therefore, every waking  and dreaming moments of your life, or whenever you are "aware," is a spiritual experience. The way I'm getting Nirvana is that it is a way to end one's unique, spiritual experiences because after the process of Nirvana, StarMountainKid would no longer exist. StarMountainKid's core-being would be one with Ultimate Reality, as in merging. Therefore, your memory of StarMountainKid would be completely erased, deleted...because there is only one God(?), not two, three, four, etc. God is one and absolute, at least according to religious books. In this stage of my life..., I totally agree. And yes, Nirvana is just around the bend for me, and I say this with conviction, with my experiences to back me up. On the other hand, I could only speak for myself. I have, however, the right to share my experiences... I'm here for a reason, and the reason is quite clear. Nirvana is real. It has nothing to do with religion. It's the ultimate "spiritual experience" because it will be one's last still-in-identity experience. After Nirvana, one's unique identity is no more. No turning back.

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#15    sutemi

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:18 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 16 September 2012 - 01:18 PM, said:

Would someone explain what a "spiritual experience" is. I've never quite understood what that means.

Hi SMK, This is one of the best explanations I have seen,  It also reveals how the thought maker that we have to listen to all day is our jailer that actually keeps us from experiencing our true nature, although I don’t recommend the good doctors method, just get yourself a good teacher and practice meditation.  The first few minutes show a human brain if you don’t like it just fast forward a few minutes.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html





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