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MikeT

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

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You ask if I've had "spiritual" experiences. Sure I have, both before and after deconversion, but they weren't supernatural.

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Nope

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The thing we have to remember with "rational" is that our brain/mind isn't a perfectly sound computer, but rather an organic computer that works well enough to help us survive on Earth through regulation of body functions and, with humans, a particular knack for abstractions like "see problem; make tool to help fix problem". That in turn gave us languages and math, science and sadly, religion which may have started out as "I need an edge to help me survive. Maybe someone is in charge of this world like I'm in charge of my family. Maybe I can appeal or appease that person." For whatever reason, religion stuck hard with humans all over the Earth. The stone temples of gods are still standing, though the gods are no longer adored or feared.

 

I've had a couple of good handfuls of experiences that seem profound emotionally, and yet they have not reliably repeated. The most striking was a voice speaking clearly to me to not marry a particular woman (turns out that was a good guidance), told me that another girl I liked was currently in bed with another guy (also true because I drove out to his house and saw and talked with her, that was the most outstanding information I got), and once it told me not to be mean to a woman that was being a clown at a church event (not sure why that was so important).

I've had dreams of a mountain, over and over again, and each time it fills me with awe and emotion wells up strongly within me. I've had something like a dream where I awoke and felt like I'd been cradled in the arms of God, and that peace lasted all day (and I've wished since that I could give that to people I've seen in suffering, because it really was profound). I've felt heat pouring down on me from nowhere. I've shaken and felt energy coursing through my body in a pentecostal service, so I looked like a Shaker or Quaker with trembling hands.

 

On the flip side, I've watched a handful of people go into a manic state which required meds after a few days. One thought he was going to be a prophet to win Korea to Jesus. He'd been under intense emotional pressure in his cult church Maranatha and finally snapped. Suddenly he didn't need to sleep, spoke rambling sentences that he thought were profound but didn't make a ton of sense. Eventually he was committed to a psych ward and after rather a lot of medication slept for days.

 

Another friend went manic after intensely praying with pentecostals for the baptism of the Spirit, and he suddenly didn't need to sleep for days and had visions and prophecies pouring out of him. This went on for a week or two, then his body crashed and he slept for a couple of days. Not surprisingly, the mental stuff stopped, but he thought he'd offended God somehow and that all the mental stuff had been genuine.

 

My pastor's wife went manic during an evening service where she kept boasting about how she was able to compose and perform music for hours, and how incredibly godly her husband was, and she launched into a long rambling song until her husband stopped her. At home she said that she had a vision of Satan appearing to her, and she challenged him because Jesus lives in her. She went right over the edge mentally, tore out an eye, killed the family dog, and some other things until her husband found her. They of course attributed it all to spiritual warfare, but not surprisingly taking lithium instead of prayer brought it under control.

 

My dad and others who are getting near death start seeing people in the mirror besides their own reflection. It is a fairly common thing. Some interpret this as really seeing the "other side", but more likely it is the mind slipping into dream state while awake, so these things can seem quite real and be only in the mind (remember the movie "A Beautiful Mind"?). My dad even shot at one he saw in his bed. Happily, no one was injured.

 

So the organic mind is capable of seeing and experiencing things imaginary as though they are reality. Dreams can seem so damn real. I really have no explanation for the voice I heard being accurate, but then again, I don't understand a lot of actual reality (why gravity works; how matter and energy are different states of the same thing; etc). But I don't have to try and answer with God, spirit guides, and other until I have some kind of repeatable reliable information.

 

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I think about these things sometimes. Coming from a Pentecostal background,my mind was prepped to hear voices. 

After our home was broken into,I experienced two different visions or whatever the scientific name for them is,within a week. 

One was a large man and the other a blue ladder. I know I was under intense stress because of the break in. I haven’t researched sleep paralysis yet,but that’s next on my deconstruction list. 

 

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Not me! I was raised in the Church of Christ, which doesn't emphasize emotional or spiritual experiences.

 

I have had some experiences as a dabbler in the paranormal and the occult, however....

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One experience in particular that, as a Christian, I attributed to God. Years later I concluded it was just a series of coincidences. Either that or Calvinism is right and I was predestined to have a 38 year career in the insurance business.:)

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43 minutes ago, Geezer said:

On experience in particular that, as a Christian, I attributed to God. Years later I concluded it was just a series of coincidences. Either that or Calvinism is right and I was predestined to have a 38 year career in the insurance business.:)

 

"A 38 year career in the insurance business" -- I haven't heard that metaphor for hell before, but I like it!  

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5 hours ago, Tsathoggua9 said:

 

"A 38 year career in the insurance business" -- I haven't heard that metaphor for hell before, but I like it!  

 

I actually enjoyed the insurance business. Commercial lines was my area of expertise.  That often involved complex risk analysis. It was my job to act as the clients Risk Manager. I had to identify all the exposures to physical risk & liabilities the clients company had, and then make sure we provided the right coverages to protect the clients company. 

 

Needless to say that also exposed me and my agency to liabilities if we missed something, or provided inadequate protection that resulted in a claim against our client. Just like doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals we had to carry Errors & Omissions Insurance to protect ourselves. 

 

It was often a challenging job, but I loved doing it. The 2 professional designations I had required 6 1/2 years of study @ The University of Memphis. There is more to being an insurance agent than most people realize. 

 

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Me and my totally logical, rational, intellectual, well educated, not emotional, zero woo attitude and personality 100% atheist, never believed that there is supernatural or spiritual anything of any kind anywhere husband have had multiple experiences.

 

We were not together, the experiences were unrelated, separate in time and place and without a doubt very evil and meant us ill will and real harm.  We have both had multiple experiences of something/someone that was without a doubt flowing love and energy  for lack of a better way to describe it.

 

My husband has changed from how he was to now he knows (not just believes) that yes there is something/someone  good and evil that exists out there somewhere  but not sure if it (they) can or should be called Gods or Devils.

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17 hours ago, Geezer said:

 

I actually enjoyed the insurance business. Commercial lines was my area of expertise.  That often involved complex risk analysis. It was my job to act as the clients Risk Manager. I had to identify all the exposures to physical risk & liabilities the clients company had, and then make sure we provided the right coverages to protect the clients company. 

 

Needless to say that also exposed me and my agency to liabilities if we missed something, or provided inadequate protection that resulted in a claim against our client. Just like doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals we had to carry Errors & Omissions Insurance to protect ourselves. 

 

It was often a challenging job, but I loved doing it. The 2 professional designations I had required 6 1/2 years of study @ The University of Memphis. There is more to being an insurance agent than most people realize. 

 

 

Nifty!

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I believe there is another realm and do believe in hell and the devil still. I heard a voice speak to me as a small child. I will always remember it. I don’t however believe ghosts are people who lived before. 

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Well, I really wanted to find a thread like this.

 

The first thing I can observe - definitions. It has been said before, but what is really the difference between emotional, spiritual, biological, etc? They are , in my mind, just classifications of reality, like all language for that matter. Useful as an instrument, but limited and can be confusing. It is more of a convention that established reality. Like any emotion has also a biological component, which can be easily verified by anyone. 

 

Second thing, and again, this is just personal observation , without needing God knows how many studies. Something in me , call it the brain, the soul, the whatever, receives, orders and creates my current reality. As in we receive numerous information and stimulation from the sense - ears, eyes, etc, numerous stimulations from our memory, from empathy - as in the ability to feel the emotional state of another human/ animal. This is not rocket science, I repeat, it is just daily experience. And, again, I dream. From what I hear, a lot of humans also do it, but I least I do it, and have terryfing , surreal dreams almost every night. Big problem with nightmares for years. In this I have the proof that this thing in me - soul, brain, spirit, etc , has the capacity of creating or at least sensing the creation of other entities, in a different manner that me being awake. 

 

From this simple observation I have managed to make, after setting aside as much as I can of what I have been told about how to interpret reality, I conclude that my reality as I sense it is a creation, a continous creation of this something inside of me. Pain is a creation of this which I call me, of the body if we are to categorise. I also create these separations of spiritual and material, etc, as concepts.

 

I have had surprising experiences in Christianity, practicing a form of buddhist vipassana meditation, and several forms of psychotherapy. These were indeed unexpected, but I would not like to use the word irrational just to name what I cannot explain or put in a satisfying conceptual framework. 

 

Interpreting religion as experience, and some experience I had as spiritual got me very connected with Christianity. The thing is, many people say they have had spiritual experiences in very desparing moments, but having weird experiences in the cases of deep and persistent psychological turmoil, even of something feeling like bliss, is not necessarily what one thinks it is. People may change, and say well, look, this experience changed me. I would beg to differ that that is a trick of the psyche. A whole of things happened before that and after that . Plus, people do change from some high impact events , in general. Like a trauma. 

 

This is my journey at least. Who and what is this rational mind and this framework of logic, reason, etc, we say is bulletproof anyway? Sometimes I tend to believe that, yes, we all have some conventions that are useful and some ways of investigating reality, but they are limited. I am not saying that all is just imagination and nothing can be discerned, just saying that I have to see more closely their limits and properties. 

 

 

 

 

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The only thing i had was at the height of my Church of Christ experience in the 1970s.  It was 3 specific "coincidences."  I belonged to a prayer and study group, and one night 3 people were having some specific problems we prayed about.  All 3 problems came to an end within a few days.  It wasn't a "miracle" kind of thing, but highly unusual that they all 3 worked out as we wanted.

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