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Dr. D

Would it be acceptable?

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Dr. D

Believers often state that they gained their belief through a spiritual experience so euphoric that it is beyond description but it led them to absolutely know the legitimacy of Jesus as the Savior of mankind.

Would it be acceptable to Christians if one said that they, too, had a spiritual experience directly from God, so inspiring that it could not be denied, telling them that the tenants of Christianity are false and that only He should be given worship?

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Rock-Star

Believers often state that they gained their belief through a spiritual experience so euphoric that it is beyond description but it led them to absolutely know the legitimacy of Jesus as the Savior of mankind.

Would it be acceptable to Christians if one said that they, too, had a spiritual experience directly from God, so inspiring that it could not be denied, telling them that the tenants of Christianity are false and that only He should be given worship?

I believe a majority of Christians put in this position would say that this particular spiritual experience was demonic in nature and intended to deceive them...Instead, of course, of stopping to question whether they might have been deceived in the first place. Interesting question.

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Boe

I asked my mother that once. She told me that only Satan would say that to shake our faith. lol

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Sherapy

Believers often state that they gained their belief through a spiritual experience so euphoric that it is beyond description but it led them to absolutely know the legitimacy of Jesus as the Savior of mankind.

Would it be acceptable to Christians if one said that they, too, had a spiritual experience directly from God, so inspiring that it could not be denied, telling them that the tenants of Christianity are false and that only He should be given worship?

Ha ha ha ha ha I was contemplating starting a thread along these lines.

So.do you mind if I may be so bold, as to ask you, if I can add a question to your thread? "Puppy dog eyes " :wub:

The question is: For all those who have had an out of the ordinary experience/or euphoric/or spiritual experience...And did not conclude that it was from g-d, Why not?

Edited by Sherizzle

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Dr. D

I asked my mother that once. She told me that only Satan would say that to shake our faith. lol

And some creationists claim that Satan put those fossils across the earth to deceive mankind.

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Boe

And some creationists claim that Satan put those fossils across the earth to deceive mankind.

LOL how could you possibly argue against it? There's no logical foothold to stand on, with that one.

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IamsSon

I would imagine this person would face the same scrutiny as Christians face when they give their testimony to non-Christians.

Edited by IamsSon

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The Silver Thong

I have mentioned this many times. I drowned and was dead for over 20+ min. At that time I was a believer and saw nothing worthy of responding to except I received nothing as far as a message. However I did experience a profound feeling of peace. When I came back so to speak I was almost disappointed if that makes any sense.

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Sherapy

I would imagine this person would face the same scrutiny as Christians face when they give their testimony to non-Christians.

I know a lot of Christians and um is the only place I have ever seen so many making claims that they know g-d on subjective experience/personal testimony no less. .

Anymore then the Buddhists I know making claims they are the Buddha reincarnated.

It's an interesting thing to say the least.

Edited by Sherizzle

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Trolololol

I believe a majority of Christians put in this position would say that this particular spiritual experience was demonic in nature and intended to deceive them...Instead, of course, of stopping to question whether they might have been deceived in the first place. Interesting question.

This is what I think would happen, too. Anything against their faith must somehow be the devil.

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Sherapy

I have mentioned this many times. I drowned and was dead for over 20+ min. At that time I was a believer and saw nothing worthy of responding to except I received nothing as far as a message. However I did experience a profound feeling of peace. When I came back so to speak I was almost disappointed if that makes any sense.

Did you conclude it was from g-d, as a believer at the time, and if not- Why?

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Donnie  Darko

I believe a majority of Christians put in this position would say that this particular spiritual experience was demonic in nature and intended to deceive them...Instead, of course, of stopping to question whether they might have been deceived in the first place. Interesting question.

In all honesty, that's probably what I would think. Ofcourse, that's because "I am set in my own christian beliefs.." so obviously, that's to be expected. In the same way some people claim Allah(God of the Quran) is the one and only along with the Prophet dude. Same with other religions, and so on and so forth it goes.

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Dr. D

I would imagine this person would face the same scrutiny as Christians face when they give their testimony to non-Christians.

But it's not the same, is it?

The prime scrutiny would logically come from Christians, wouldn't it?

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Dr. D

In all honesty, that's probably what I would think. Ofcourse, that's because "I am set in my own christian beliefs.." so obviously, that's to be expected. In the same way some people claim Allah(God of the Quran) is the one and only along with the Prophet dude. Same with other religions, and so on and so forth it goes.

And if I had my experience, would my claim that your experience was demonic inspired be less credible?

And by what criteria would my divine experience be less valid or believable than those claimed by Christians?

Edited by Dr. D

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TrueBeliever

And if I had my experience, would my claim that your experience was demonic inspired be less credible?

And by what criteria would my divine experience be less valid or believable than those claimed by Christians?

you're not them if you question them. they don't usually like that. your divine experience is less valid because it doesn't mirror theirs.

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IamsSon

But it's not the same, is it?

The thing is, He is the only one given worship in Christianity. We worship One God. However, since you said that this encounter would specifically leave the person with the message that the tenets of Christianity were false, yes, it would most certainly be different from Christianity.
The prime scrutiny would logically come from Christians, wouldn't it?

I'm not so sure. Christians would most likely quickly dismiss this message. Isn't one of the things that bothers non-Christians about Christians the fact that we are so sure that we believe the truth and all other world views are wrong? I think it would receive more scrutiny from those looking for a way to discredit Christianity.

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Sherapy

You're not them if you question them. they don't usually like that. your divine experience is less valid because it doesn't mirror theirs.

I've noticed that?

Why is questioning seen as a way to discredit Christianity?

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TrueBeliever

I've noticed that?

Why is questioning seen as a way to discredit Christianity?

they just are very suspicious of outsiders........it could be the devil at play to tempt them, an atheist trying to reason with them.

Back when I was a believer I probably would have thought it was the devil if someone told me they had a divine experience saying christian tenets were bad and to not be followed. I would have assumed that automatically. we were taught there were enemies on every corner. just waiting to persecute us and try and trap us.

The automatic respect given to christians in this country has alot to do with it. It was 'unreasonable' to question/argue with a christian. They were the 'good' people, the 'right doers' all else evil doers and provocateurs. Their way or the highway basically.

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Mr Walker

Believers often state that they gained their belief through a spiritual experience so euphoric that it is beyond description but it led them to absolutely know the legitimacy of Jesus as the Savior of mankind.

Would it be acceptable to Christians if one said that they, too, had a spiritual experience directly from God, so inspiring that it could not be denied, telling them that the tenets of Christianity are false and that only He should be given worship?

Im not sure i understand this. I had a number of experiences revelations and visitations over time which eventually convinced me, absolutely, of the existence of a real physical independent entity i call god, but I CHOSE christianity as a personally and culturally relevant form of connection to god. I could have chosen any religion that i saw as relevant and productive. God never siad "im the christian god," rather the reverse He never even said he was god, or a god, although he self evidently was, by all human definitions of god.

Then again, my experiences were neither euphoric nor beyond description. They were unusual but real physical encounters much the same as encountering a new person or an unusual animal. They can be easily and simply described accurately and clearly.

If my god told me christianity was false i'd tend to believe it, but throught its teachings actions and interactions, it is very similar to the form of god described and encountered in the old and new testaments.

Thus i suspect it would not say such a thing. It teaches and mimics and mentors the principles of love and understanding of the god of the bible, which is one reason also why i chose christianity. But clearly all gods of "the book" are one and the same god. Jewish christian and muslim. I would go further and suggest that manifestaions of this one physical god have led to the creation of many religions over human history. People and cultures put their own face, interpretation and emphases on what they encounter, leading to a variety of perceptions of the same god.

I know i do The god i know and live with is very similar to other gods yet different. He doesnt ask me to worship him, just to be one with him. He models his expectations of my behaviour, yet excuses/understands my inability to quite meet his standards of; thought, deed and principle. He just asks me to keep trying and to try and give all that I can.

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eight bits

Sheri

For all those who have had an out of the ordinary experience/or euphoric/or spiritual experience...And did not conclude that it was from g-d, Why not?

First, about 30-50% of adults in the US and UK report having had such an experience (it is a rotating Gallup Poll question, and has been asked since the 1960's. Response rates vary with the wording, and other factors, as with any poll question.)

Some of the experiences present as secular. The famous example is James Joyce's first glimpse of Nora Barnacle in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce goes on to analyze whether such experiences can be intentionally induced in others, and concludes that they can be, by artists, but even by such impersonal things as vast empty space.

(Note to Chloe, Tennyson considered whether such experiences could be intentionally induced in oneself. Yup.)

Of the experiences that present as spiritual, they do not necessarily disrupt what the person already believes, or traffic in ideas other than what she is already familiar with. Richard Bucke, who put the term cosmic consciousness into the langauge is an example, and he gives many other examples in his book.

The most famous case report is probably Jesus' theophany at his baptism, and his interview with Satan that followed soon after. Jesus may have been energized, made more confident of his faith, and achieved a clearer picture of where he fit into the struggles of his people. Nevertheless, he was a Jew before the experience, and remained a Jew until his death.

So, what would be extraordinary enough to carry with it the potential to make some radical change?

Psychotic break, also called acute schizophrenia. This is thought to be a factor in shamanic initiation, and so has a religious pedigree. U.G. Krishnamurti (not to be confused with Jiddu K.) plainly had an acute episode, and emerged as a popular guru. The best case report is R.D. Laing's edit of Jesse Watkins' first-person account in Politics of Experience. Watkins (re)invented a non-canonical theology during his hospital stay.

What happens in a break is "death of the personality" (waking ego). It is a short-term disability, weeks to months if all goes well, and what emerges at the other end is a new personality, possibly a happier one than the personality who died. What goes on in between can be a kind of interior journey, something that is experienced as being active, not a passive waiting like getting over an illness often feels.

And then of course there is Jung's Red Book. It is simply an extraordinary work of art and literature. Jung was a Christian, and that shows through, but it really wasn't his father's Christianity. Jung shows many symptoms of psychotic break except that he was able to function normally most of the day, and continued his professional practice.

Jung didn't attribute his experience to God. Or, at least, not exactly. But famously, when asked in his old age whether he believed in God, Jung answered that he knew there was a God.

Bottom line (and without lapsing into a discussion of "confirmation bias" and all that jazz): almost by definition of "usual," we will integrate most experiences we have into our usual body of beliefs. Experiences come with a range of intensities, but even intense material is capable of being integrated. We know that because people do it all the time. Only exceptionally ("once in a lifetime" and not in every lifetime) would we have an experience that remade our psyche.

Since you would be more or less literally a different person before and after, it can hardly be surprising that you would have different beliefs before and after. So, fine, that is "belief change." But the mechanism is nothing like "Oh, look, a piece of evidence... well, I think I'll give more weight to hypothesis h than I did before..."

More like BAM, (Time passes), "Let me explain God's plan to you..." And the "me" who says that didn't exist this time last year, and may well not even have cared about God, much less aspired to be his prophet.

(Disclosure of bias: A few years ago, I was a bystander at someone else's death of personality. Even to see it happen to someone else is riveting. As with Jung, this person was able to maintain a professional life during the crisis. Seeing it didn't change my "religious" views, but I cannot think of human personality as something stable anymore. It isn't just our bodies that are mortal.

Perhaps Miyagi-san would chime in from a Buddhist perspective, "No s---, Sherlock.")

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Mr Walker

Ha ha ha ha ha I was contemplating starting a thread along these lines.

So.do you mind if I may be so bold, as to ask you, if I can add a question to your thread? "Puppy dog eyes " :wub:

The question is: For all those who have had an out of the ordinary experience/or euphoric/or spiritual experience...And did not conclude that it was from g-d, Why not?

I may have answered this for you before, but having been caught out once with such an assumption i will repeat, basically, my own viewpoint.

God is a label created and attached by humans to certain entities. Both potentially real, and human constructs Those entities have certain physical qualities.(even the human constructs) --like vampires if you ran into a "real" one, you'd know it from the human constructs so common in art literature film etc. (as long as that form of vampire matched the constructed ones.) It could be really nasty if you ran into a 'real" vampire, with none of the constructed characteristics or weaknesses of the constructed ones.

So if i run into an entity which matches the dictionary definition of a god i call it god. Then every one knows where im coming from. If i dont use the correct terminology people are confused. Second, sometimes one doesnt encounter the totality of god. If i see a pair of eyes in the dark, hear a miaow, feel a sinuous shape rub along my leg, and then start sneezing, i can be almost certain i have had an encounter with a cat. Likewise if i have a series of differnt encounters with things commonly attributed to god(s) i can reasonably assume i have just encountered a god (unless of course i have a violent predisposition to disbelief in gods) Then im left in a dfficult position.

Finally, as i've said many times, if you encounter something which; talks like a god, acts like a god, has the powers of a god, and is displaying a personal interest in you, then IMO a wise and prudent person will; treat it like a god, address it like a god, and act as if it is a god, until there is compelling reason not to.

Oh im sorry i just noticed you only asked why people might NOT attribute something to a god.

Thats a good question. A lot would go to the nature and number of occurences. One witnessed verified physical encounter is worth 100 subjective purely internal expereinces in my opinion.

On the other hand 100 experiences which are contextually and personally verifiable but are not witnessed or confirmed by outsiders are still convicing. If i see a sparrow 100 times on my window sill, and watch it eating the grain i put out for it,then its probably there, even if no one else comes into my room and sees it.

So, how might a person who does not believe in god attribute real and unusual occurences, experiences and manifestations?

Well, for all my teenage years, of course, when i was an athoiest /secular humanist, i attributed all my abilities, spidey powers and experiences to my own superhuman powers and magical abilites.

At first i honestly believed all humans had these experiences, abilities, and connections to a wider world. I was roughly disillusioned, as i moved from the tolerant world of childhood into adolescence.

Then i grew up and figured it was much more likely i was NOT responsible. That left something humans define as god, in one form or another.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Rock-Star

But clearly all gods of "the book" are one and the same god. Jewish christian and muslim. I would go further and suggest that manifestaions of this one physical god have led to the creation of many religions over human history. People and cultures put their own face, interpretation and emphases on what they encounter, leading to a variety of perceptions of the same god.

This is a very nice observation, Mr. Walker :tu:

And to Dr. D, I think I may have slightly misunderstood your original question. I thought you were asking what would happen if a Christian person had this "experience", would it change their perspective, etc. I believe you were leaving it more open to just anyone having the particular experience in question. In that case, I tend to think the experiencer themself would most likely come to a new view and perspective on the world, while others would probably tend more towards being skeptical about said experience, whether or not it happened, and it's meaning.

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ChloeB

Ha ha ha ha ha I was contemplating starting a thread along these lines.

So.do you mind if I may be so bold, as to ask you, if I can add a question to your thread? "Puppy dog eyes " :wub:

The question is: For all those who have had an out of the ordinary experience/or euphoric/or spiritual experience...And did not conclude that it was from g-d, Why not?

Sheri, I know you asked me the same question in Mr Walker's Holy Spirit thread, but Doc's thread seems to be a better place to answer and Eighty has this gift of saying things that always help me gets my crazy ideas sorted out in my head so I thought I'd respond here since you asked this here as well.

Okay so what Eighty said about the experiences not disrupting what a person already believes is probably going to be my best answer for why. Now to expand on that, if someone were to ask me, like Marabod made a thread once about "what is God?", and my answer used that experience I described as a reference point, but my idea of it wasn't any kind of God, like a being, but how I described God was a fleeting moment, and Michael and I have discussed that tons. He calls them frozen moments, wrote a paper on it and everything, and I never feel like I can put into words very well, but usually people who have had something similar or have an idea, pick up on what I mean right away, like Michael and Eighty here. Now that day in the car, if I had been a Christian or had a religious background, I may very well have thought it was God because what happened was as I was driving, it felt like those interruptions you get once in awhile on your TV, like something came in and disrupted your channel, your perception is altered for a bit, expanded is the best way I could say. And if I had a Christian background, I very well may have said this was God stepping in, but I wasn't. My mom would say the beach was our church, and she died when I was pretty young, and I knew the feeling I'd get and probably why she'd say that, as I felt the same about it, but what Eighty said about the vast empty spaces, that's the ticket. When these kinds of things happen, those are the things that seem to bring it out for me, like the long highway in my car, and that was the most profound experience I ever had as far as clarity, but the feeling was familiar to something I always got staring out at the gulf, you can't see the end of, and the waves kind of lulled you into that hypnotic state like similar to that highway hypnosis I had in the car so I kind of knew it was more an atmosphere or environment that brought it on for me, out of my own experiences instead of a God per se, but if I had been raised that way, different than I was, I'm sure I would have thought God had stepped in.

But what Eight says about the break in personality (waking ego), that is much better than my saying I got that feeling of being the cells riding around in veins in a bigger organism, that's just how my mind probably worked that out, but that's what it was I think, your ego shuts up long enough that those feelings of separation dissolve. I think Buddhists call it emptiness. I call them fleeting moments, because that's all they've been for me, just glimmers, but I can definitely understand that if it were sustained for very long, it would be life altering, and it would seem natural to me for someone to go looking for a religious context to put something like that into, because as you see here, it's nearly impossible to put into words or make any sense of. But things like that do leave you changed, sometimes big, and like me on a smaller scale, but I do my digging too. The Gnostics seed of Sophia in all of us, attaining gnosis, that's where I kind of related it to the holy spirit in Mr Walker's thread, it seems like that's the descriptions the Gnostics give of what happens with Jesus at his baptism, on a tiny scale I can kind of relate to it, minus all the rest, but probably the Buddhist perspective is the closest to what I can wrap my head around about it all, and there's no God in that, and that's what I felt, more a short change in me, how I perceived things, just another way you don't come across that often, sort of like those pictures you see in psychology class......is it 2 faces or is it a vase? Is what we normally see and feel real, our egos at the wheel, or is it all maya? LOL, now you know why I turn myself inside out when you get talking about subjective and objective reality, hahaha.

(Btw, certificates of my sanity available only by request) ;)

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ChloeB

The most famous case report is probably Jesus' theophany at his baptism, and his interview with Satan that followed soon after. Jesus may have been energized, made more confident of his faith, and achieved a clearer picture of where he fit into the struggles of his people. Nevertheless, he was a Jew before the experience, and remained a Jew until his death.

And you saying that, remember we talked about that before he was led out into the desert by the holy spirit? That just made me think of these vast empty spaces we've been talking about here, maybe the holy spirit needs her space, lol. ;) And no I'm not comparing myself to Jesus people! But I'm sure I'm screwing up the bible interpretations again, muahahaha, but hey, if something makes sense to you a little out of it, that's good for me.

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Dr. D

The thing is, He is the only one given worship in Christianity. We worship One God. However, since you said that this encounter would specifically leave the person with the message that the tenets of Christianity were false, yes, it would most certainly be different from Christianity.

I'm not so sure. Christians would most likely quickly dismiss this message. Isn't one of the things that bothers non-Christians about Christians the fact that we are so sure that we believe the truth and all other world views are wrong? I think it would receive more scrutiny from those looking for a way to discredit Christianity.

Ah, from my experience, I would also worship God but I would not accept the tale of Jesus.

And by what measure of logic or right would the Christian find his experience glorious and dismiss mine so easily?

If the experience itself discredits Christianity, why would it receive more scrutiny from those looking for a way to discredit it?

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