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Spiritual Experience

Discussion in 'Religion' started by AspieWatchmaker, May 2, 2018.

  1. AspieWatchmaker

    AspieWatchmaker Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Have you ever had a spiritual experience? I am trying to understand what causes people to turn to religion and spirituality. I have read the Wikipedia article on spiritual experience, and it may as well have not existed for what I could glean from it!

    I am an atheist, and until a recent experience I didn't believe that anyone could possibly take faith seriously. From the first moment I heard the word god (I was 7) I have struggled to understand what any of it means.

    Please tell me what you see/feel in your religious/spiritual practices so I can try to reduce my mistrust of spiritual people and understand what this is about.
     
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  2. SplendidSnail

    SplendidSnail Well-Known Member

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    Wow. I hope this post doesn't get too controversial. But, since you asked...

    I very much believe in Science. I think Science explains a lot about how the universe works, the far back history of the universe, etc.

    I believe Science explains a lot about me. I believe it can explain everything about how my body works, and how my brain works. I even think, if someone knew everything there is to know about me, it would be theoretically possible to scientifically predict everything I will do before I do it.

    But as far as Science is concerned, I'm a robot. My body is nothing but a shell that responds to input to produce an output, in a predicable way. Which is probably basically true.

    But there's something along for the ride in my body. That something is the real me. It's how I truly experience what I experience. I know I have this something, because I do experience life, rather than just responding to input. I have no way of proving that I have this something; all the evidence will say my body just responds to input in a predicable way.

    Although I know I have this something that's along for the ride in my body, I don't know for sure that anyone else in the world has one; my senses can't prove to me that other people aren't just shells that respond to input. But I do think that other people have something along for the ride too.

    I guess this something that's along for the ride in my body would be called, by many religions in the world, my soul.

    Anyway, that's basically the essence of my faith. First time that I've actually documented it. It feels good to have done so.

    I don't think my scientific beliefs in any way contradict my religious beliefs.

    I consider myself to be Christian, but don't actually go to church very often. And the very occasional time that I do go to church, I usually just sit through the service and leave when it's done.
     
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  3. AspieWatchmaker

    AspieWatchmaker Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    So the entire basis of your faith is cogito ergo sum? I just don't see the connection between that and the supernatural. You believe in God, yes? What makes you believe in him and do you ever have feelings of transcendence pretaining to your faith/belief?

    I hope very much that this thread stays calm and civil and that nothing overtly offensive is posted here.
     
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  4. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    I am a member of a very well known branch of Christianity. I will try to write in a non-pushy, non-preachy way, but since you asked, here's my belief.

    I understand the "spiritual stirrings of the heart" that so many religious people talk about, but I do not experience it as often as I want, probably because I live my life 99% in my head and 1% in my heart. The times I have had spiritual experiences are deeply personal and precious to me. Unlike other thoughts or experiences that I can question or analyze to death, the power of my spiritual experiences has not diminished over time.

    I believe that:
    1. Either something is true or it isn't. I don't buy into "this is true for me." Either God exists or He doesn't. Either Christ was the Son of God or He wasn't.
    2. God wants us to know the truth.
    3. God doesn't set us up to fail. We haven't been left to helplessly go with whoever has the best religious argument.

    Given those three beliefs, there must be a way to sort out what is true from what isn't. I believe that way is the scientific method. Given the right conditions to an experiment, and following those conditions exactly, one should get the predicted result. For religion those conditions are:

    1. Ask God for something.
    2. Ask "in the name of Christ,"
    3. Ask for something which is right, in God's judgement. Ask for a free car and you void the experiment. Instead start by asking God what He wants you to do, or what is true.
    4. Ask with faith. Believe that God will answer you.
    5. Ask with the sincere intent to act upon the answer. God won't answer questions of idle curiosity - He's in the business of effecting real change. If you're not willing to change, don't ask.
    6. Work out what you can on your own first. Study, meditate, and analyze what you have available to you before going to God and asking for more. God won't open any doors for you that you can open yourself, and that you know you should open.
    7. Try living the doctrine/commandments/principles for a period of time. Christ promised that anyone who does His sayings would know whether they were true or not.

    I believe that anyone who follows that experiment precisely will get results.

    Many of my first spiritual experiences came from #7. I tried living the "church life" and I saw how it changed my life. As I persevered, more experiences came later.
     
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  5. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I also believe in Science and through it's growth we obtain more knowledge of how things work.
    Science changes through time. What was believed to be truth, later changes as our equipment to breakdown the physical matter and what might be called non-physical matter evolves. We have learned there are different levels of energy existing.
    Science cannot answer the question though "Is there a God?" Is there a "Soul" that after death of the material vehicle we call a body continues on retaining it's knowledge of self?
    Example would be upon death. It is well documented that some who have been brought back from death in time before the body is too far damaged, can tell what they see while yet in this world but out of body in their soul consciousness. NDEs.
    I've spoken with a few who have had the experience including my own father who died on the operating table in open heart surgery. He said "HE", what would be his knowledge of self, was above the people in the room as he watched.
    Later he told his doctor and me who was in the room and what was going on while he was technically dead.
    The doctors were not surprised and said they hear this a lot.
    People who also experience what is known as Astral travel in sleep, another documented act, see and know things that they know nothing about and even learn to control the experience staying lucid.

    I will not even speculate on those who say they have gone through the 'tunnel' and met loved ones who preceded them in death in another plane of existance.
    I have my beliefs, but, belief can't be proven.

    Do I believe in a God? I believe in a consciousness that creates and keeps everything in order. Chaos theory to me is illogical. I don't call God a him. Or her. To me it is this consciousness that creates, gives order to all existence.

    Have I experienced anything transcendent?
    Yes, at least to me. Things that have happened that can't be explained by today's physics. No need to say more.
    Does that create a comfort or a faith in which I can say
    I know about God, death, birth, heaven, hell, souls living on? No.
    I question and try to find a given, a known, not a belief system that can't be proved.
    It is what it is, whatever IT IS. That's my take.
    I am what I AM, whatever that is. Going with the flow.
     
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  6. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    No, I haven't had any spiritual experiences and I do not follow any faith. I also believe science to explain the world around me. My body is a bundle of energy and forces that will one day break down, and one day I shall cease to exist. If a 'god' does exist, then, in order to have such power, he/she/it must be extraterrestial. First contact has been made.
     
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  7. Bella Pines

    Bella Pines Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I went to a catholic girls school, have been exposed to the hindi, buddhism and islamic faiths and studied science.

    I would say there is no single reason that people turn to religion. I have observed;

    • Insecurity, the need to be re-assured
    • Fear, of death and really of life
    • Avoidance of responsibility (it's not my fault, it's god's will)
    • A desire for belonging
    • A justification, again with "god's will"
    • A desire to be around similar minded people
    • Because other people do it
    • Because they've grown up that way
    • Because there's no easy alternative
    • A desire for explanation
    Personally, my various higgledy piggeldy belief systems stem from the last one. I believe that life is too complex to simply end. However, I don't believe one single entity created the entire universe. I've worked on big projects, there was at the very least a committee. Also, I'm a software architect by day and no architect ever sticks around to watch the business as usual running of the system they design, so if there were a bunch of gods arguing about how to create the world, I would say they are long gone and we have to help each other. Also, I believe holy wars are not god's will, they are all us.

    But that's just me, everyone has a different and rainbow array of beliefs for the various reasons.
     
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  8. Full Steam

    Full Steam The renegade master V.I.P Member

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    I got a special interest all of sudden one morning. The nature of reality and what happens when you die.

    I pursued it for about 4 years I think, and I started off with physics, and then quantum physics, near death experience, and anything else that could shine a light.

    One thing I found from the science is that it really does not explain reality well at all. There are some many glaring holes that defy explanation.

    Then I read a book called "Biocentrism" by Robert lanza , which changed everything really. His big theory of everything is that consciousness is fundamental.

    No me, no universe.

    Or at least my universe would break.

    He talked about eastern mysticism and how some ideas could explain the scientifically inexplicable.

    Mostly I think he meant non-duality.

    So I started reading about Buddhism, and others. I can't ever get into religion, but I was looking for the wisdom behind the bells and temples.

    With non-duality belief is not only not required, it impedes progress, and that intrigued me. Spirituality that is about showing you where to look so you can see for yourself.

    The teaching being the finger pointing to the stars. "don't look at the finger or you will miss all the heavenly glory" (points for the first to ID that quote)

    So I went for it, and became a seeker for a few years, looking for enlightenment and the real Me.

    I don't know if I'm 100% enlightened now, and I don't care about it anymore. Which maybe indicates that I am, but then the ego comes along and tries to claim it's enlightened, and then suddenly I'm not any more.

    So back to your question.

    I had many spiritual experiences along the way, none of which proves the existence of anything one way or another.

    It is possible to look in the right way though, and see that reality is not what it seems. That the real Me, is, first of all, the witness of experience, and not the fleshy action figure that gets upset about things.

    There's something behind the fleshy, brainy, thoughty bits, and if you look you'll find its a whole load of silent empty space. Turns out, that's you!

    That's the thing that's along for the ride.

    Emptiness.

    And if you compare the emptiness to how it was when you were a child, you'll see its never changed one bit.


    In the second instance, once you spend enough time with the emptiness, with the sense of "I am", it can be seen that there is no seperation between me and anything else. This takes longer to realise than finding out what you are.

    The non-dual view is that there are not two. Inside me, and outside me are part of the same thing, in the same way fingers are part of the same hand.

    This actually fits with some scientific views, as physics believes it has proven that the dual version of reality is wrong.

    Many people believe that means there is no ghost in the machine.

    The ultimate truth may be that there is a ghost, but there is no machine.

    The truth can only be seen by starting on a path and following it where it goes. You cant see the end from the beginning, and that's why atheists believe in the non-existence of all bar matter and energy.

    They are unwilling to start a long and open-minded journey towards something they believe is impossible.

    If you won't look you won't ever see.

    In my opinion all religions are based on and talking about, and leading to the same thing.

    You.

    "whats searching, is what you are searching for".
     
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  9. Mary Lyn

    Mary Lyn Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I had been searching for an answer to whether religion was right or not - was there really a God, when I met a couple who were born again Christians for the first time in my life, being brought up by atheists.

    After getting to know them, and being the recipient of much kindness and care from them during a difficult time, I decided to ask God, one night to prove to me whether it was all true and whether he was there or not.

    I remember the exact time, the exact day etc as it was so profound, and yes he did prove it to me as his presence filled the room. I have not doubted it since - in all of 45 years.

    A lot of that time I have not attended church due to health issues and problems socialising and have come to believe that it is all about getting to know him ourselves and of course studying the Bible.

    Even though outwardly it looks like I have failed utterly in life, spiritually I am a success because I know Jesus so well and have him with me at all times.

    I would go to my death for my faith - it means everything to me that I am accepted by Jesus and that he is the only thing in my life that has kept me.
     
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  10. Khendra

    Khendra Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Science answers the "hows" of the observable, material world and Universe, but does not give the "whys." This is why most people across the world turn to some sort of faith and don't rely only on science. Most faiths also give a more specific moral code by which to live; science cannot be used to answer ethical questions. Even secular humanism usually relies on relativism and/or some basic utilitarian principles of harm avoidance, which are much grayer than what faith systems provide. Some amateur brain scientist I once liked named Jon Niednagel attempted to say I and most Americans are inherently "right brain dominant" and thus don't understand or appreciate boundaries, but I'm actually the opposite: I actually do, in fact, gravitate toward moral codes that have more black-and-white thinking than what is popular in contemporary society right now. And conservative Christian theism has more moral boundaries than secular humanism does, so it makes more sense to me.

    For further background info and context, and to answer your main Q more thoroughly, I grew up Christian, became agnostic in my late teens and early twenties, and then returned to Christianity after a spiritual experience. This experience was completely unlike any mental experience I had before; it convinced me that I was living a sinful life, that God was real, and He wanted me to turn back to Him lest I fall away. I now understand this to be the presence of the Holy Spirit convicting me.

    My husband, who was my fiance at the time of conversion, remains non-theistic. However, we have a happy marriage despite our differing views. As a Lutheran Christian, I don't believe in fundamentalist or evangelical "decision theology," so I don't attempt to convert him (also out of respect to 1 Peter 3, where unbelieving husbands are said to be won over by the conduct of their wives, not their words).
     
  11. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This is a good picture of much the way I have come to believe. NO seperation between anything.
    This is the one conciousness that is all.
    The Law of One.
    Don't know about how to describe emptiness since everything is in constant movement, just at different levels.
    Even what seems to be nothingness is moving in it's own state of being. Everything is some type of matter with it's own organized consciousness.
    No matter... it's all one. Good analogy.
     
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  12. Full Steam

    Full Steam The renegade master V.I.P Member

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    It's also worth pointing out that most people have experienced things they can't explain.

    Some of these things hint at there being more than matter and energy.

    I had my life saved once by a weird noise.

    I was riding my motorcycle, a big fast litre sports bike at pretty fast speeds, approaching a blind bend up a steep hill, when I heard a roar in my helmet that was over the wind noise.

    Wind noise at 80mph is very loud, and I was wearing ear plugs, so external noise doesn't get heard attar speed.

    My mind flashed the thought, "that sounded like Satan laughing". The thought made me chuckle, and I came right of the gas, down to about 40mph around the bend.

    As I came out of the bend I saw another biker on the wrong side of the accelerating towards me, as he overtook a line of cars.

    I braked very hard down to a crawl, and he just managed to sweep back into his lane in front of me.

    This was a narrow country road with no room for two bikes, so no way we could have avoided a head on collision which would have been fatal at those speeds.

    There was the bulk of the hill between me and the other bike, so no way my subconscious could have been warning me.

    I never heard a noise like that before or after, and I wore the same helmet until it fell apart.
     
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  13. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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  14. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've had many alleged experiences because I was a paranormal investigator from 1996 to around 2006 until I stopped after the public craze took a hold after awful TV shows like Most Haunted and many more became over popular, now there's nothing but fake or grossly exaggerated TV programmes and masses of unprofessional paranormal groups that started appearing from around 1999, many of which take the public out to events at a cost, some of these even fake or exaggerate for "entertainment". I say fake TV programmes because if you watch say Ghost Adventures they obtain amazing "evidence" that you would have to go out on average for months to achieve every few minutes, you need patience to be a genuine paranormal investigator, on many nights nothing happens at all even in places like Chingle Hall which was allegedly known as the most haunted house in Great Britain (I've stayed there numerous times in the 1990s and got to know the owner who has sadly since passed away), but you live for the occasions when things do occasionally happen. I've also spoken to owners at well known allegedly haunted locations who have told me true stories about how TV shows have faked evidence including Most Haunted. I also went to Spiritualist church, I didn't agree with everything they taught and kept an open mind, but I have most definitely experienced a lot of alleged unexplained phenomena both while there on courses where I got to know the owner really well and from going on paranormal investigations. I have obtained scientific evidence including alleged E.V.P. recordings where some were quite blatant and I have also had alleged spiritual experiences that could not be explained by current science.

    I will now talk "unprofessionally" and the following is opinionated and officially unproven, I would never speak like this if I was speaking as a professional paranormal investigator, but I will do this for the purpose of this response. I can now tell when a spirit is close, for instance one house I visited had such incredibly strong energy that our whole team needed to listen to music to take our mind off it, it felt extremely negative to say the least and we later discovered that there had been severe child abuse at the location. At Spiritualist church I let a spirit come very close and it's an incredible, intense, but weird feeling, it wasn't unpleasant however. I actually relaxed and let it have control of my body, giving it permission to come into me, I actually lost consciousness for a short time while my friends and others saw me become a medium for the spirit, it was done under controlled conditions and this was a Spiritualist medium course. I have also done Astral Projection experiments with some success, I was meditating lying down, attempting to leave my body at a time when I'd never achieved anything despite trying lots of times and I gave up thinking that I'd failed, I sat up and looked around my room from a sitting position, then I realised that I could still feel my eyes shut, I opened them and instantly I saw the ceiling as I was still lying down, I believe I actually sat up in my spirit body only. I've managed to leave my body further in later experiments, but it is difficult and at one stage something unpleasant seemed to try to stop me. I have never ever been frightened of spirit however, I can stay alone in an extremely haunted location for instance and it simply doesn't bother me. It annoys me now it's become so commercialised with many groups that take out the public for profit, advertising with quotes like "will you survive the night" and c**p like that with horror themed websites, it's so unprofessional and it's made a mockery of serious paranormal investigations.

    PS: It's wrong that at a Spiritualist church a spiritualist has to say, "this is for entertainment purposes only" or similar before starting in the UK for legal reasons, yes there is a lot of fake psychics and spiritualists, but from experience I know some are genuine and what-ever you believe it's a religion. If spiritualists have to say this then so should preachers of all other religions in the UK including in church before they read the Bible, because that's most certainly not proven. It is totally and utterly wrong.
     
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  15. Full Steam

    Full Steam The renegade master V.I.P Member

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    THAT, is fascinating.

    Thanks for sharing.

    I know spiritualists who are genuine too. One person I know well is a trans medium, who channels all sorts.

    Much like Abraham hicks but better in my opinion.

    I'm not 100% convinced that the explanation is correct, ie channelling spirits, but I do believe something paranormal is happening.

    These people are not faking, and they are very sane and grounded. Typical materialist explanations are quite patronising and often offensive.

    Its ok to not know what's happening, and you can admit that, but calling people frauds or insane is not fair or warranted.
     
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  16. Joel's Hear

    Joel's Hear I'm here, at least for now

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    YHWH.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
  17. SplendidSnail

    SplendidSnail Well-Known Member

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    First, I don't particularly like the term cogito ergo sum, which translates as "I think, therefore I am". You could program AI to think as well as any human can, but it still wouldn't have this thing that's along for the ride (a soul).

    It's more along the lines of "I know for sure that there is more to me than science can or ever will be able to explain, therefore there is more to the universe than science than science can or ever will be able to explain".

    You could say that I use that as a bridge between my scientific beliefs and my religious beliefs. Yes, I believe in God. Yes, I believe that there is intelligent design to the universe, and that intelligent design is good. I believe that God put my soul in me, and put a soul in everyone else too.

    I don't believe that every word of the bible is literally true (sorry, I don't believe the world was created in a week 6000 years ago). But I do believe that there is divine inspiration to the bible and that there is much that we can learn from it.

    But in the end, there have been quite a few years in my life where I wasn't sure whether I did believe in God. I definitely did as a young child, much as a young child believes in Santa Claus.

    There were quite a few years in between where I really was on the fence as to whether I believed in God because I didn't see any definite connection between what I know to be true (Science), and my spiritual beliefs. I still considered myself a Christian all that time, but probably not at all with any serious conviction that I really believed inwardly.

    I can actually recall having an "Aha" moment several probably about 5 years ago when I realised there was this "Something" in me along for the ride - my soul - and realised that, though that, yes, I do very definitely believe in God, not as a child believes in Santa Claus, but as a true belief of which I have some certainty beyond just what others tell me.

    Does that mean that the entire basis for my faith is cogito ergo sum? I feel like that's a harsh way of putting it, but maybe it does.

    You decide.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
  18. Full Steam

    Full Steam The renegade master V.I.P Member

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    I think therefore I am doesn't work because;

    1. As you say a machine can think.
    2. If you were without thought would n't you cease to exist?

    Consciousness KNOWS it exists by itself, and it is plainly more fundamental than thought. In fact, it's the single most obvious truth in your whole experience.
     
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  19. SplendidSnail

    SplendidSnail Well-Known Member

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    Bang. You've hit it on the nose. That's exactly what I was getting at. Thank you.

    It's the single most obvious truth in your whole experience, and yet it's completely impossible to prove. And that's the bridge between my scientific beliefs and my religious beliefs.
     
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  20. Bella Pines

    Bella Pines Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @Full Steam - I went on the exact same journey in the exact same order but was at it for about 12 years! I went through physics (for my degree), which was just a series of observations and explained diddly squat, I specialized in quantum physics, still nothing, I looked into paranormal, abductions, near death experiences etc and still came up blank. The best thing I found however, were a set of books called "seth speaks" and elias forums, Elias Digests – you create your reality, pt. 1. They make a really interesting read. I take it all with a pinch of salt because I am a natural skeptic, but what I really liked about the elias digests is there is an occasion spark in there that actually attempts to explain WHY. And it was the why that I found missing from my science studies: the Elias forum: Digests – Table of Contents
     
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