Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
Blueogre2

The problem of spiritual experiences

35 posts in this topic

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

God gave us free will?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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...

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, _Only and braveone2u for your explanations. My question was part rhetorical and part wondering what the "spiritual" element is. Can we not have an "awakening" or an epiphany without the spiritual? Can this dramatic change be psychological or philosophical?

I think problems within organized religions do arise when some have spiritual experiences. When one becomes aware the he/she is one with everything and one with God, for instance, this feeling my be contrary to the teachings of Christianity. Only Jesus is considered one with God, I think. No one else is allowed to be the equal of Jesus, or of God. Ordinary citizens are not allowed this privilege.

In Hinduism, everyone is God. Most don't realize this inwardly, but those who do are easily accepted with no prejudice. I would think, in Christianity, the lack of spiritual experience is not as great a problem as those who have had this spiritual experience. There can be only one Jesus. Wouldn't others walking around having had this profound spiritual experience be a threat to Christian dogma?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lack of spiritual experiences, not in the churches i know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, _Only and braveone2u Can we not have an "awakening" or an epiphany without the spiritual? Can this dramatic change be psychological or philosophical?

When one becomes aware the he/she is one with everything and one with God, for instance, this feeling my be contrary to the teachings of Christianity. Only Jesus is considered one with God, I think. No one else is allowed to be the equal of Jesus, or of God. Ordinary citizens are not allowed this privilege.

In Hinduism, everyone is God. Most don't realize this inwardly, but those who do are easily accepted with no prejudice. I would think, in Christianity, the lack of spiritual experience is not as great a problem as those who have had this spiritual experience. There can be only one Jesus. Wouldn't others walking around having had this profound spiritual experience be a threat to Christian dogma?

Can we have an "awakening" without the "spirit" element? Having the element of resurrection (as in Lazarus Syndrome) is really the only guaranteed "awakening." Otherwise, a common "awakening" is subject to disregard, disdain, or disrespect -- as in, "It was only a dream."

How to define God is the problem. Was Jesus God while he was alive? I believe that Jesus was the incarnation of the Holy Spirit or "Flow," just like Horus, Krishna, Mithra, etc. They were one and the same power-core. Is the "Flow" God? That, I don't know, even though I'm one of its servants. I'm beginning to really find out that the "Flow" is here to guide us to our freedom, or to reach Nirvana.

Is anyone "one with God"? No -- at least not the way I define my God. Also, spirituality is being in the now; therefore, being one with God is totally out of the question while one is still on this earth. Nobody on earth has totally undergone the process of Nirvana.

Has Jesus entered Nirvana? I do know from watching those Jesus Christ films that he is in this material reality until the end of time. And God(?) is not in this world.

Peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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).

Sounds like you & I have had similiar experiences. For a long time I processed it as a "spiritual awakening", because that was a term & language I was familiar with. Now I wonder whether it was as much or more of a physical and emotional experience as it was spiritual. Certainly my experience changed who I was and how I'm in the world, and what I perceive to be in the world, but that's not necessarily spiritual. An issue with this kind of experience, I think, is that the only language we only have religious/spiritual terms for it, so that's how we speak of it and process it.There are very few references to it as non-spiritual/non-religious, other than Abraham Maslow's work around peak experiences. I think he quaitifies and identifies it very well, without resorting to religious terms.

Maybe we use religious/spiritual language because these experiences are so life-changing in regard to how we perceive and understand things, and when it happens, there is little to connect it to other than in spiritual terms. For me the physical changes occurred first, and it was almost overwhelming. When I began to look for explanations of the event, all I found were religious references. I don't know why I had this experience, as I had not sought it out nor even knew it existed, and if someone had told me, I wouldn't have believed it. I have processed the experience mostly as being aware of my connection with Mother Earth and all of her children, whether they be humans, plants, animals, or stone, of knowing i am a small part of a much bigger whole. Is this the same as experiencing God? Maybe what's in us and outside of us is what we call god, small g to indicate something other than a supreme beingcreator/savior. Maybe our concept or definition of God needs to be challenged, or we need to explore ways to redefine God, think outside the box so to speak; we will certainly encounter challenges when we do that, but quite possibly unexpected rewards as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, _Only and braveone2u for your explanations. My question was part rhetorical and part wondering what the "spiritual" element is. Can we not have an "awakening" or an epiphany without the spiritual? Can this dramatic change be psychological or philosophical?

To be honest, I (and I'm sure the rest) have jumped around all of those terms in trying to explain and figure out what happened. Spiritual just stood to the front for me, due to the building of my thoughts and feelings in reaction to my world around me these days. I started there, went to psychological, then back to spiritual, philosophical, etc.

Now I'm trying to fit them all together. Well, as an armchair enthusiast. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you & I have had similiar experiences. For a long time I processed it as a "spiritual awakening", because that was a term & language I was familiar with. Now I wonder whether it was as much or more of a physical and emotional experience as it was spiritual. Certainly my experience changed who I was and how I'm in the world, and what I perceive to be in the world, but that's not necessarily spiritual. An issue with this kind of experience, I think, is that the only language we only have religious/spiritual terms for it, so that's how we speak of it and process it.There are very few references to it as non-spiritual/non-religious, other than Abraham Maslow's work around peak experiences. I think he quaitifies and identifies it very well, without resorting to religious terms.

Yeah, that fits with how I explain it. What else would I be able to call it? I don't know. So I go with "spiritual". The same term I would have rolled my eyes at and snicker hearing another say, which changed overnight. How crazy!

But I think Carl Jung was really going somewhere with his personal experiences and interpretations of what I call spiritual. He would translate it in a different way with his own terms using psychology education. But while I don't fully understand his whole thing there, I agree that it is all related to our mind. But what isn't?

I'm just paying close attention to certain things I absolutely adore out of the blue now, in my every day life. The Sun, moon, water, trees, dirt even, lol. I had ignored this all for my whole life, why am I now loving these things? I say it is because of a spiritual change, only because this is the best term I know to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do such experiences constitute proof positive that there is something otherworldly going on? Personally, I'm skeptical and think that all these things can be comfortably explained in this-worldly terms, if one cares to subordinate emotion to reason (and I am one who does).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

So God is a voyeur?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spiritual experiences can happen for so many reasons including temporal lobe epilepsy, near death experiences, singing, chanting, chemicals, and even, in my case, sweeping with a broom (in a very meditative manner) although this last and maybe some of the others can be considered a state of flow (aka being in the zone).

http://en.wikipedia....ow_(psychology)

There are many other reasons for spiritual experiences. We all lump them under one banner for lack of a better method now.

As a rough rule I would categorize chanting and drumming that leads to spiritual experience as a form of flow because it is deliberate versus other types of spiritual experiences that are more spontaneous but people will call it as they wish and I don't mind.

When you are able to feel the presence of God, or feel yourself melt into nature, listen to a song and have your head swimming in a dopamine rush, all these are very great experiences that might differ from one another but basically allows us a sense of being connected or more than we are.

Edited by Chasingtherabbit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So God is a voyeur?

I meant morevlike a student.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.