MikeT

Did you have "spiritual" experiences as a Christian that you can't explain rationally?

Recommended Posts

 

I grew up in a Pentecostal church so my experiences of drama: possessed people, those claiming to be delivering prophecies from God, or speaking in tongues etc. are not in short supply. However, I would not even include these as they can easily be faked. I am talking about situations where you believe that some kind of supernatural experience must have taken place as a result of things taking place in church, even if you no longer believe in religion. Did you ever experience this kind of event?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


PLEASE EXCUSE THE ANNOYING COMMERCIAL BREAKS IN THE CONVERSATION:

As with everything these days, the cost of keeping the Ex-C forum up and running has been rising. Inflation? In part, but the primary reason is this: As participation in the forums grows, costs increase. The Ex-C forums will remain free of charge to everyone, but if you believe this little corner of the Internet provides value to you or others, and you feel inclined to help keep us online, please consider making a one-time donation or becoming a regular contributor. Contribution options appear under the "Upgrade" link above, and can be accessed by clicking here.

Oh, and as an incentive (no, you won't be given any bogus promises of eternal bliss), if you do become a regular contributor by signing up for any monthly or yearly patron package, this annoying ADVO will disappear.

And now, back to the regularly scheduled conversation...



No.

 

There was certainly a time when I thought that there had been events in my life (and I'm the lives of others that I know) that could not be explained in the absence of the supernatural, but one of the major turning points on my road to disbelief was the realization that this is simply not correct. I have never had any experience, or even heard of any credible account of any experience that explicitly requires a supernatural or "spiritual" explanation. I'm interested to see what others have to say though...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, but I've sure seen a lot of it on television!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with disillusioned on this one.

 

There were times that at the time (Mainly in pre teen and early teen years when I was most vulnerable to such things) I thought I had experiences. What happened as I got older I found that they were much better explanations in light of other information and lack of evidence for such things being caused by god.

 

However in hindsight nothing that I have witnessed needs a supernatural explanation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen and done things I don't completely understand, but I'm pretty much convinced that no gods are needed for such things to happen. Some of my senses are heightened due to having grown up in an unpredictable environment. I may subconsciously pick up stuff that is unsaid, and have mistakenly called it prophecy before. Even now it sometimes happens and I still feel that the information doesn't come from "me". However, I now know I have DDNOS and sometimes I feel parts of me are not really me, if that makes any sense, lol. It seems some of my parts do the more careful observing and relating the ideas to me, but back then it made believing in angels or guidance of the holy spirit seem so natural.

 

There's a big but, though. It's a huge trap to focus on this information as "the truth" even when people present evidence that conflicts with it. It's still only human observation and as such prone to error, even if it's a bit more sensitive than usual.

 

The heat, buzzing and tingling in my body that I felt during prayer is trickier to explain but with that I'm actually even less convinced that it needs gods. It's probably part self hypnosis (or should I say hyperfocusing), part something that many living things can do or feel, but many also can't, or they don't pay attention to it. 

 

Every "healing" I thought I experienced was actually pain removal. In some cases, where the illness was likely to go away anyway, it seemed like true healing but now I know it was just the power of the mind and the body's natural processes, and they possibly supported each other too, like what happens with placebo. Something serious such as tooth decay was a different deal, it landed me in emergency surgery even though I was able to pray my own pain away from even that. 

 

I know it's definitely not biblegod doing this because I've made sure to blaspheme the alleged holy spirit multiple times. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had the odd spiritual experience.  I've met, seen and heard God the father, the son and the spirit.  I've met seen and heard Satan and angels.  I've physically fought off demons.  They made my body shake uncontrollably.  I've spoken in tounges like it was my first language and understood what I was saying.  I've had so many visions and heard so many voices that I've lost track of the happenings.  Many wonderful and weird experiences have come my way that at the time left me with no doubt that they were real experiences.

When you suffer from severe bipolar disorder your manias and hypomanias can result in psychosis.  For a time, I lived in hypomanic mode for years.  What that meant for me was I regularly heard voices and saw visions just like someone who has schizophrenia.  I now take medication that does away with all the above.

It took me a long time to dechristianize because I had so many spectacular experiences.  But I am free now.

The brain is a spectacular special effects creator.

Christianity has the power to make sane people psychotic.  It worsened my psychosis.

I don't have the slightest doubt that the god as painted in the bible does not exist.

I don't have any experiences that I cannot explain rationally.

Stepping out of Christianity lessened my illness.  They tell you enough shit to drive you crazy in Christianity.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had several experiences that pretty much beg to be seen as spiritual; ironically they were all after I had left the jebus cult for the faith of the evil Vikings :fdevil: . Wonder what morontheists will make of that... if they even dare to tackle that tidbit :lmao:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Thurisaz said:

I've had several experiences that pretty much beg to be seen as spiritual; ironically they were all after I had left the jebus cult for the faith of the evil Vikings :fdevil: . Wonder what morontheists will make of that... if they even dare to tackle that tidbit :lmao:

Actually the Christians can easily explain this one.  You're experiencing Satan and his demons.  You're involved in the occult.  At least that is what I would have said were I a Christian.  Now I say religious meetings and rituals are often conducted in such a way that you unknowingly enter into a trance.  Hypnosis.  You feel like you are floating and tingling and so forth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely, I have had experiences in Pentecostal churches that I could not explain "rationally." For example, prophecies and words of knowledge ("spiritual gifts") that were specifically about me. There was content in there that people could not have guessed or known about me. So I believe this came either from the Christian god, or from the minds of the Christians who spoke the words. If psychics or mind readers can sometimes get certain things right (and I believe they can), I think religious people can do the same. Given the realities of quantum physics (non-locality, entanglement, etc), I don't see how spiritual and psychic phenomena can be ruled out. That is why I put he word "rationally" in quotes - whose reason are you talking about? However, I don't want to have that discussion (argument) here since enough has been written about these things elsewhere.

 

That being said, most of the utterances in Pentecostal churches are b-s coming purely from the minds of the speakers. I was only talking about a very small percentage of "prophecies" that are true, and which went (certainly in my mind) well beyond the realm of probability. I feel that I myself have spoken things that did not come solely from my own mind, as I did not have the full knowledge of what I was saying, or about to say. Despite this, I do not believe anyone should allow their minds or their lives to be guided in any significant way (let alone controlled) by supernatural revelation from any other person. Regardless of how much known truth there may be behind it, the purely religious or revelation part must always be subject to question.

 

Above, I used the term "Christian god." If we apply the Bible's own standards of what constitutes a god, in fact there are many gods. Yahweh is merely regarded as the supreme being. Personally, I believe that when people worship a god, whether it be Zeus, Thor, Allah, or another being, there is a real spiritual entity there, if only because nature abhors a vacuum. If we apply the same standards to the biblical god, do we have reason to believe this god is all-good, all-powerful, triune, omniscient, etc? Personally, I don't think so. He appears to be more like another local god. If the holy spirit exists primarily for the purpose of being a witness to the truth of Scripture (the source of all truth and goodness in the world) and to inspire Christians to be loving and good people, I don't think he is doing a very good job of it. It looks more like, to the extent that there may be a spiritual entity behind Christianity, it is merely trying to help the religion grow more powerful. Instead of one Church, we see thousands of different denominations, each reaching out to the "marketplace" with a different approach to spirituality and church growth. This is not what you would expect to see if the Bible is wholly true. While it's true that God could be taking an extremely long-term perspective, that would put him out of touch with billions of people who are living today and hoping to see examples of what Christianity is really supposed to be about. In addition, inexplicable spiritual phenomena take place within other religious contexts outside of Christianity.

I want to repeat that "gods" are not necessary for these spiritual phenomena, as I believe the human spirit is capable of deep connections with the universe. For example, I know that healings can occur largely as a result of belief. I have personally, on many occasions, believed in things and prayed for things (with faith) that actually came true. I have noticed that asking a spiritual entity for things was of much less importance than having faith that the request would be granted. Even the Bible says that if you ask without having faith, you will not receive what you ask for.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

 

Thanks for that tip, Jesus. So please remind me, why is it that I need you?...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SerenelyBlue said:

Actually the Christians can easily explain this one.  You're experiencing Satan and his demons.  You're involved in the occult.  At least that is what I would have said were I a Christian.  Now I say religious meetings and rituals are often conducted in such a way that you unknowingly enter into a trance.  Hypnosis.  You feel like you are floating and tingling and so forth.

 

Ah right I forgot *chuckles*

 

And yeah group rituals need not be religious regarding the topic to make people lose their minds.

 

For a really sickening example look at the nazi "Reichsparteitage" back then. :vent:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to say that in the decades I spent as a Christian of one kind or another, I truly never experienced anything that could be considered supernatural: no voices telling me what to do, no presence of angels or demons, nothing like that.   I guess I just have a rational mindset.  And yet it took decades for that rationality to break through the floodwall that kept part of my mind in thrall to faith, a floodwall created by years of childhood indoctrination.  At least my lack of a 'spiritual' mindset made my eventual deconversion much smoother than it has been for many others. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, NonMaterialist said:


...as I believe the human spirit is capable of deep connections with the universe. For example, I know that healings can occur largely as a result of belief. I have personally, on many occasions, believed in things and prayed for things (with faith) that actually came true. I have noticed that asking a spiritual entity for things was of much less importance than having faith that the request would be granted. Even the Bible says that if you ask without having faith, you will not receive what you ask for.

 

I think there is also a possibility of some deep connection with each other. Like a sixth sense that can also lead to "spiritual" connections, or experiences where someone gives a prophecy and seems to know what is going on in your mind. That has also happened to me.

 

As I said earlier, all of the healings, and other drama that you see in church give me no reason to think they are real. My own experience of believing I had experienced some "spiritual" or supernatural event was when there was a relative who was supposedly experiencing spiritual attacks and was going through all the drama that goes with it. I had gone to stay at a relative's apartment when this was happening as it put an enormous stress on me at the time in terms of fear, and being unable to sleep in my own home. While staying in the other apartment I was awake lying in bed at about 2am. It was quiet enough outside to have heard a pin drop, but a guy who was on his own and shouting loudly in the distance made his way to the bottom of the apartment building, about 40 feet below the window where I was and kept shouting for about a minute. I think I know who that might have been but never got to see him.

 

I thought to myself at the time that there may be some spiritual element to what was happening so prayed (in my mind) against this person making noise. At that very second the guy began to scream an inhuman scream. Within about 10 seconds his voice had gone through an array of about 7 different screams or varying pitches and cries of agony, fear, and other demented screams. I could not have imagined this or dreamed it as a relative I was with also heard it and tried to look out of the window to see who it was. I can only conclude that if this wasn't anything to do with religion it had to be an intelligent force behind it which was trying to give me the impression that it was. I have lived in a city for my entire life, and have heard robberies, violence, fights etc. but nothing that sounded close to that man's collection of different voices, which just happened to occur at the very second I began to pray in my mind. I should emphasize that I don't believe in organised religion or the bible. I have every incentive not to believe that experience was supernatual as I no longer go to church.

 

Anyway, I am convinced that there is some spiritual connection between people, and that there is some kind of spiritual existence although I do't know what that is. Anyway, not trying to scare anyone - I know superstitious pentecostals love these kind of stories, but I mention it here as it is one experience I had that cannot be explained by coincidence in my mind. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the thing about coincidences is that considering the nearly incredibly large number of events that happen to us throughout each day, it's to be expected that really rare and unlikely ones will occur from time to time as well.

Richard Dawkins explains it really well:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only things I recall are euphoria while reading the bible, singing church songs, and praying. Cannabis is substantially better though.

 

One time I came up with some phrase about Jesus that seemed pretty clever. Then in the same week or two one of the pastors said that phrase during his speel and my family members and I were sure that was the spirit moving...blah blah , whatever.

 

Outside of Christianity I've had some out of body experiences and lucid dreams. Much better than the Christian euphoria, imo.

 

Whether any of these experiences are non-material or supernatural I dont know. Whether reality is material, non-material or supernatural I dont know that either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, midniterider said:

Whether any of these experiences are non-material or supernatural I dont know. Whether reality is material, non-material or supernatural I dont know that either.

 

Ha ha, I like that spin. Reminds me of philosophy: perhaps reality is all happening in the brain in any case, or maybe it's all a dream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rounin said:

Well, the thing about coincidences is that considering the nearly incredibly large number of events that happen to us throughout each day, it's to be expected that really rare and unlikely ones will occur from time to time as well.

 

 

I don't think Dawkins' coin tossing really covers the experience I had, but maybe that's me being a realist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 4:39 PM, MikeT said:

 

I grew up in a Pentecostal church so my experiences of drama: possessed people, those claiming to be delivering prophecies from God, or speaking in tongues etc. are not in short supply. However, I would not even include these as they can easily be faked. I am talking about situations where you believe that some kind of supernatural experience must have taken place as a result of things taking place in church, even if you no longer believe in religion. Did you ever experience this kind of event?

 

 

Yes, a Walk to Emmaus event....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, end3 said:

Yes, a Walk to Emmaus event....

 

Can you elaborate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/13/2017 at 6:47 PM, disillusioned said:

No.

 

There was certainly a time when I thought that there had been events in my life (and I'm the lives of others that I know) that could not be explained in the absence of the supernatural, but one of the major turning points on my road to disbelief was the realization that this is simply not correct. I have never had any experience, or even heard of any credible account of any experience that explicitly requires a supernatural or "spiritual" explanation. I'm interested to see what others have to say though...

 

I'm not sure I could have said this better myself. I think, at the time, I found ways to explain things that happened to me as being from God and truly believed it. Now, after studying human nature and psychology more, I know that it was just confirmation bias. I was looking for what I wanted to see. I think confirmation bias is a HUGE THING with religion....the human brain is capable of a lot when it is convinced of something.

 

16 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

I have to say that in the decades I spent as a Christian of one kind or another, I truly never experienced anything that could be considered supernatural: no voices telling me what to do, no presence of angels or demons, nothing like that.   I guess I just have a rational mindset.  And yet it took decades for that rationality to break through the floodwall that kept part of my mind in thrall to faith, a floodwall created by years of childhood indoctrination.  At least my lack of a 'spiritual' mindset made my eventual deconversion much smoother than it has been for many others. 

 

Same. I always faithfully waited for something, but I never believed other people when they had some kind of experience. I was just too skeptical, I guess. My mind was BLOWN when I realized the "god" in my head was a combination of my voice and my mother's negative narcissistic one. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had experiences and I can explain them all rationally. 

 

I saw demon eyes once. Scared the shit out of me. Now I understand it was sleep paralysis. 

 

I saw people speaking in tongues and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. Now I understand it's group psychology. 

 

Both seem really real. I understand why they fool people. But they are quite common. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/15/2017 at 0:40 PM, Vigile said:

I had experiences and I can explain them all rationally. 

 

I saw demon eyes once. Scared the shit out of me. Now I understand it was sleep paralysis. 

 

I saw people speaking in tongues and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. Now I understand it's group psychology. 

 

Both seem really real. I understand why they fool people. But they are quite common. 

 

I had sleep paralysis once and felt certain there was a demon beside me. I could not turn my head to look directly at it but I sensed that there was a shadow beside me. I was laying on a couch at the time. I said the name of Jesus, and immediately was able to turn my head and look. Of course, I saw no demon. The odd thing about it is that there was a window behind my head. Less than a week later, a burglar broke through that same window and stole some things from the house.

To me, this provides some evidence for a "supernatural" realm. Science certainly doesn't claim that everything that is real can be seen and touched by humans. As for energy, it can come and go. I feel that a different word could have been substituted for the word "Jesus". The act of speaking out loud helped bring me back into reality, i.e., full consciousness. From reading Ed and Lorraine Warren's books as well as other materials, I still believe in the existence of evil spirits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, I know that sleep paralysis and the imagination provide naturalistic explanations for what I just described, but to me that does not preclude or exclude spiritual reality. I have experienced enough things to believe in a spiritual realm that coexists with the material realm. For example, the fact that beliefs (which we would rightly assign purely to a "spiritual" realm) have real impacts on the material realm (even apart from any physical causation) suggests to me that the spiritual may even be more "real" than the material. A person cannot possibly convey their personal experiences and reality here in such a way that it would convince a materialistic thinker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NonMaterialist said:

 

I had sleep paralysis once and felt certain there was a demon beside me. I could not turn my head to look directly at it but I sensed that there was a shadow beside me. I was laying on a couch at the time. I said the name of Jesus, and immediately was able to turn my head and look. Of course, I saw no demon. The odd thing about it is that there was a window behind my head. Less than a week later, a burglar broke through that same window and stole some things from the house.

To me, this provides some evidence for a "supernatural" realm. Science certainly doesn't claim that everything that is real can be seen and touched by humans. As for energy, it can come and go. I feel that a different word could have been substituted for the word "Jesus". The act of speaking out loud helped bring me back into reality, i.e., full consciousness. From reading Ed and Lorraine Warren's books as well as other materials, I still believe in the existence of evil spirits.

 

When you said Jesus, you woke yourself up, which is why you could turn your head. A coincidence isn't proof of anything. We tend to remember positive hits and discount negative hits. I.e., we forget all the times there was no coincidence, which makes coincidences seem more powerful than they really are. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No.

 

I went to some Charismatic/Pentecostal worship services when I was a Christian. They were all transparently fraudulent, like a magic show given by an incompetent magician, except that they took up an offering. That part worked really well!!

 

I even talked my college roommate out of being being Charismatic. I did a pretty good job there, because he has been a member of a Calvinist Presbyterian church for the past 40 years. (After I became an ex-Christian I tried to talk him out of being a Christian, but Calvinism was stronger than Pentecostalism, so I had less success. He's pretty liberal for a Presbyterian, though.)

 

God never answered the prayers of any Christian that I ever knew, beyond the coincidental occurrences that randomly coincided with their prayers.

 

I went to lots of retreats, revivals, etc, (Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, various para-church groups). Lots of people had ecstatic experiences at those meetings, but "God told me" that they were all just making fools of themselves. ;)

 

Actually, I'm a lot more "spiritual" now than I ever was as a Christian, if you define "spirit" in the ancient sense of "alive". (The Hebrew word for "spirit" (ruach) is the same as the word for "breath", and means "alive", which makes sense because in the good old days, if you didn't breathe, you weren't alive.)

 

I feel a much stronger connection to nature and all living things, and I am now able to feel much more empathy and closeness to other human beings, since becoming an ex-Christian.

 

There's nothing mystical about that. We all live on the same planet, breathe the same air, etc. 

 

Christianity promised inner peace, purpose and love, but it actually gave me the exact opposite for all of these things, and took away what I had had of them before I was "born again". I am now able to much more sincerely, strongly, and healthily, experiences all of those things, because I no longer depend on a vindictive, controlling, nonexistent Jesus to do it for me. 

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