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Lost_more_then_Once

A Christian with a question/concern

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I hope I'm not barging in, or being too disrespectful here for you all, but I have a question.  Really I guess it's a concern more then a question, but it is a question nonetheless.

 

Before any of you guys left Christianity, did you have any experiences of faith?  Or did you know of someone else's experiences?

 

I guess the question comes down to if you ever had a "God moment," where in some big or small way you found Him.  That's the question and the concern all wrapped up in one.

 

Again I'm sorry if this sounds disrespectful or "holier then though" kind of vibe.  That's not my intent.  Finding God's love in the mist of a depression as a kid was part of my realizing that there's no question that God exists or not, but only a question of who God is, and what to do from there.  So this is expecially sad for me to hear people say that they never knew God exists.  More so if it comes from those who used to be Christian.

 

Have any of you guys ever had a "God moment?" Or have you had more then one?  If so what made you want to leave?. If you haven't, would you be open to hearing experiences?

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I know I have experienced what I thought were "God moments", usually during times when I was at church and everyone was worshiping together. It seems more likely that it was just my brain creating the experience, because I was a believer then and surrounded by like-minded people while having a positive, shared experience. Non-believers still experience similar things to this outside of a religious setting that aren't related to a god. It could be the case that rather than finding some god's love, you had a positive experience that you probably couldn't explain at the time and because you are a believer, attributed that experience to a god.

 

What caused me to leave it all behind was the realization that a god who would torment people for all of eternity for finite crimes and a sinful nature that was allegedly programmed into us, could not be benevolent enough to be the cause of these "God moments" when I thought I was experiencing love. Even if this god was involved in it somehow, it would merely be an illusion of love, rather than actual love. For me to think otherwise, would be like being trapped in an abusive relationship, while thinking that the abuser loved me when I had no good reason to think that was the case.

 

Oops, I also forgot to welcome you to ex-C since you're new here. I think that if you are willing to have civil and positive interactions with people, rather than just preaching at them to win souls, then you probably aren't intruding. So, with that out of the way, it's nice to meet you and welcome to this place.

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3 hours ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

So this is expecially sad for me to hear people say that they never knew God exists.  More so if it comes from those who used to be Christian.

Not to be rude, but this verbiage here demonstrates how profoundly you are mistaken about us, how deeply confused you are.  We did used to be christian, which means, by default, that at one time we did believe that god exists.  But the hard truth is that no one, not even you, actually knows that god exists.  That is the hard truth we have all faced.  Again, not trying to be rude, or come off like a bull*dozer here.  But there it is. 

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4 hours ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

 

 

I guess the question comes down to if you ever had a "God moment," where in some big or small way you found Him.  

 

Hello, and welcome to Ex-C. Yes, I was completely overwhelmed by what I thought was God's grace when I "got saved." Truly I thought that all things had become new. A month or two later I had the experience that I believed was baptism of the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues, etc. And many many times from then on -- quiet moments of meditation and prayer, joyful communion with the group of believers, answers to prayer (I believed) ... 

 

I assure you that I experienced just what countless others do. My experience was not unique.

 

But over the course of years, robust reasons to conclude that the teachings of Christianity are true became thinner and thinner. Eventually I realized that I could not affirm it as the truth anymore, and later, that I could not even affirm seriously that I believed God exists. 

 

There are many weak points in the system of Christianity, and I won't rehearse them here because, again, my "journey" out of faith was no more unique than was my journey into it. Please, though, do not suppose that I was only exposed to religion and not to what you may call the "relationship", or that I just didn't do it right or didn't do it hard enough or long enough or didn't read the right books or talk with the right apologists .... I'm not being snarky, just recalling other online conversations I've had with believers who couldn't think that I or other ex-Christians were "doing it right." I trust you know what I'm trying to say!

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Many people have "god moments." It happens with Christianity, Islam, Voodoo, Pagan religions and of course Magic Mushrooms. What's your point? That we were never "real" Christians?

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6 hours ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

I guess the question comes down to if you ever had a "God moment," where in some big or small way you found Him.  That's the question and the concern all wrapped up in one.

 

I grew up in the Keys. I saw "god" all around. I saw nature as a reflection of the power and creation of a supernatural god. But then I grew up, basically. Realized the myriad wrong with thinking that way. And moved on. 

 

It's probably hard for you to wrap your mind around the notion of moving on from the perspective you're currently experiencing......

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To crazy guy.  Thank you for the welcome.  What you've said about the state of the world I've struggled with also.  I have a thought on the matter but no real answer.  I'm sure everyone has their own thoughts on that.  I know what you mean having a feeling of belonging.  Perhaps those moments were real, perhaps it was just being in a group that supported and encouraged you.  I can't say, because it was your life, your experiences.  I will say this though.  I think our experiences have more authority on what's real and what isn't then our perspectives.  Doesn't mean we have answers, or understand anything more then before.  But it does mean that if you can trust yourself at discerning what is real and what isn't, then that shouldn't be ignored for philosophical reasons and unanswered questions.  

 

I actually think nonbelievers having God moments should be a wakeup call for them.  If they don't know what happened, and they don't understand it, then that's enough to be open to what else is out there.

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8 minutes ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

I actually think nonbelievers having God moments should be a wakeup call for them. 

A wake up to what?

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2 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Not to be rude, but this verbiage here demonstrates how profoundly you are mistaken about us, how deeply confused you are.  We did used to be christian, which means, by default, that at one time we did believe that god exists.  But the hard truth is that no one, not even you, actually knows that god exists.  That is the hard truth we have all faced.  Again, not trying to be rude, or come off like a bull*dozer here.  But there it is. 

 

When I say sad I mean that in the sense of sorrow.  Like when I hear of a person who doesn't get along with their parents and haven't seen their family for years.  A feeling to feel bad for someone, and want to sympothize or give them your support.

 

As for being a real Christian or not. I can't tell you anything on tgat matter, and so far I have no reason to doubt you.  (I have no reason to believe you either, but I lean on the scale of without a reason to doubt I try to consider the potential as if it could be true. The other way to look at it is have people prove that they are trustworthy and prove what they say, I don't want to do that unless there's a reason to doubt them first.

 

As for whether I can know if God exists or not, the truth is that yes I do know He exists.  I know this from several small experiences that slowly dispelled different conclusions to doubt in Him.  

 

On that note though, you and I have never met.  There's no reason to believe me on those matters.

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To Ficino.

 

You are exactly the kind of person I was hoping to talk to.  The kind of person who's had a strong experience they think was with God (or from God) and then later reasoned that away.  

 

My question is why you doubt your own experiences?  I mean this seriously.  My life has confirmations and corrections based on experience.  Doubt that and you doubt the ability to discern what is real and what isn't.  Usually it takes a very strong trick, to trick our own senses.  Not something to rationalize easily for strong experiences.

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2 hours ago, florduh said:

Many people have "god moments." It happens with Christianity, Islam, Voodoo, Pagan religions and of course Magic Mushrooms. What's your point? That we were never "real" Christians?

 

Not my point at all.  It's not my job to judge who's real and who isn't.  Thankfully I can let that be in God's hands and with His patience.  Too often I've wondered if I'm a real Christian, or real enough if tgat makes sense.  Won't be able to live up to the standard.  At least not any time soon, so I have to have hope and trust in God.  Both for my sake, yours or anyone else's.

 

As for the wake up call.  It would be a wake up to God existing.  Not necessarily about which religion is from God, or any other conclusions, just the observation, that God (or something) exists.  Think of it in terms of being surprised.  Realizing anything as a wakeup call is usually a suprise.  But it's not something to dismiss.

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11 minutes ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

As for the wake up call.  It would be a wake up to God existing.  Not necessarily about which religion is from God, or any other conclusions, just the observation, that God (or something) exists.  Think of it in terms of being surprised.  Realizing anything as a wakeup call is usually a suprise.  But it's not something to dismiss.

 

Explain how this works. 

 

You are starring, suddenly, and literally at god? 

 

Or something more indirect? 

 

What exactly proves to you that god exists, please explain that before trying to go any further. Thanks. 

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56 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

I grew up in the Keys. I saw "god" all around. I saw nature as a reflection of the power and creation of a supernatural god. But then I grew up, basically. Realized the myriad wrong with thinking that way. And moved on. 

 

It's probably hard for you to wrap your mind around the notion of moving on......

 

Sounds like you had a beautiful surrounding where you grew up.  For me when I was growing up and still today I gave a sense of awe whenever I look at the stars on a clear night sky.  I have a friend who has stronger roots to nature then I do, so I think he saw the connection in that way more then me.  But yeah I still see it too.  However there are some realizations that keep me from "moving on."  One of them came from studying anatomy.  Even without any experience with God, how we are made is just so amazing and can't be something from chance.  Building oof of that magisty in the creation is considering the same depth of diverse life on Earth.  Life as far as I can tell doesn't just happen. It it did and we made nonliving material become alive I think we'd all hear about it in the news.

 

On another note, "mind wrap." what is that?  Like an elastic brain you use to cover food, hide gifts, or protect items when packing for a move.  Can you compare wrapping your mind to gift wrapping, plastic wrap, or bubble wrap? 0_o

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4 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Explain how this works. 

 

You are starring, suddenly, and literally at god? 

 

Or something more indirect? 

 

What exactly proves to you that god exists, please explain that before trying to go any further. Thanks. 

 

You want an example?

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22 minutes ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

You want an example?

I, for one, would like to see an example that isn't about an anecdote or perceived feelings.

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33 minutes ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

Even without any experience with God, how we are made is just so amazing and can't be something from chance.  Building oof of that magisty in the creation is considering the same depth of diverse life on Earth. Life as far as I can tell doesn't just happen. It it did and we made nonliving material become alive I think we'd all hear about it in the news.

 

1) Have you considered that it may not boil down to two choices, one being god and the other being chance? I have, I'm just wondering where you are at in terms of thinking past the false dichotomy outline above in bold

 

2) Have you thought much about how irrelevant it is whether or not we've specifically provoked non-living matter to living matter in the news? I have, again, I'm just wondering if you've ventured any further along in your own considerations. 

 

30 minutes ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

You want an example?

 

Yes, unless you give us an example we have nothing to consider your claim against. You go ahead and explain the claim and no doubt members here will review it. 

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21 minutes ago, florduh said:

I, for one, would like to see an example that isn't about an anecdote or perceived feelings.

 

If you need conditions for a subject matter then I hesitate on whether you really want an example or not.  Just an observation.

 

15 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

1) Have you considered that it may not boil down to two choices, one being god and the other being chance? I have, I'm just wondering where you are at in terms of thinking past the false dichotomy outline above in bold

 

2) Have you thought much about how irrelevant it is whether or not we've specifically provoked non-living matter to living matter in the news? I have, again, I'm just wondering if you've ventured any further along in your own considerations. 

 

 

Yes, unless you give us an example we have nothing to consider your claim against. You go ahead and explain the claim and no doubt members here will review it. 

 

Do you have other explanations other then we're here by design, or here by chance?  By all means that's a tangent from the topic of God moments that I'd be intreasted in.  As for non living to living matter, one of the conclusions I've heard on the chance/design dynamic is the idea that "life finds a way."  But so far we've done a lot to find out that no living matter doesn't just turn to living matter.  On the level of chance this is the prerequisite to evolution by chance.  But again is you have thoughts on other explainations I'm interested.

 

As for an example what I have are experiences from life.  God moments if you will.  No apologies to florduh, I believe in the concept of experience trumps philosophy, so anecdotes and experience are high on credibility as long as a person doesn't trigger a reason to doubt them. (Such as something to gain, or a smirk before trying to make a joke out of you are reasons to doubt someone).

......   ......

One example for a God moment, or a wake up call (a surprise I wasn't expecting).

 

A few years back I was on my way home late at night from a wedding celebration.  We were in an isolated area so there was a bit of a drive home.  However, I was getting tired and was worried about driving safely.  A quick one or two word prayer asking for help resulted in an immediate wakefulness within me.  Like a shot of coffee.  I was not expecting that, but I got home safe, and had another half hour after before I was able to fall asleep.

 

Moments like that are what I'll call God moments.  And there are enough diversity in them that they challenge any rational that they weren't from God, but some trick of the mind, or a con of religion, or some other reason to say I'm sane and reliable every other moment of life but not reliable during those moments.

 

What I don't understand (and the reason and concern inspiring this topic), is if these God moments are so rare that most people don't have them.  Nor do I understand how people dismiss those God moments if they have them.

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8 hours ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

I hope I'm not barging in, or being too disrespectful here for you all, but I have a question.  Really I guess it's a concern more then a question, but it is a question nonetheless.

 

Questions are fine and not disrespectful. If someone barged in spitting vitriol and calling us all sorts of names that would be disrespectful.

 

8 hours ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

Before any of you guys left Christianity, did you have any experiences of faith?  Or did you know of someone else's experiences?

 

I guess the question comes down to if you ever had a "God moment," where in some big or small way you found Him.  That's the question and the concern all wrapped up in one.

 

Yes and yes.

 

When I was younger we were calling for the holy spirit (So think of the church as fundamentalist Pentecostals who believe in gifts of the spirit etc, but not the full Pentecostal stuff you see in mega churches these days) So everyone is worshiping and 'in the spirit' etc. One woman start excitedly talking about seeing angels around us in forms of balls of light. I opened my eyes and also saw them moving above overhead. There was great praise and glory given to God for sending his angels to be among us.

 

So what do I think happened? I cannot speak for the woman, but one - there were lights overhead. People were getting excited (some might say in the spirit) and this woman was known for speaking in tongues (Which IMO is just baby blather and to this day I can replicate her quite convincedly) I was also young and impressionable so experienced a form of group induced fooling of the mind. In hindsight I wouldn't even call it an hallucination.

 

So that's me.

The other story I've heard is the Pastor (Who swears that this took place as was god to this day) when he was 17ish was handed a track talking about a certain baptism. He was also getting right into the god thing as teens tend to do at that age. (Went through a fervent period myself) He swears that he got home and an audible voice told him that if he didn't get baptised the next day it could be his last chance. (Basically a threat - get baptised or go to hell). Which he did.

 

So what do I think happened? I think he was getting heavily involved with religious stuff, was told about hell, and hat baptism was the way to save him, and his mind went to work and basically created the voice. That or he's schizophrenic.

 

In each case a naturalistic explanation is far more likely than Goddidit.

 

8 hours ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

Again I'm sorry if this sounds disrespectful or "holier then though" kind of vibe.  That's not my intent.  Finding God's love in the mist of a depression as a kid was part of my realizing that there's no question that God exists or not, but only a question of who God is, and what to do from there.  So this is expecially sad for me to hear people say that they never knew God exists.  More so if it comes from those who used to be Christian.

 

Have any of you guys ever had a "God moment?" Or have you had more then one?  If so what made you want to leave?. If you haven't, would you be open to hearing experiences?

 

I didn't want to leave, but I tend to follow evidence where it leads, and the evidence lead away from Christianity.. well from religion in general really.

 

Would I be open to hearing about experiences? Sure, but experiences won't change my mind., There is no way to verify experiences, and people from different religions all report experiences so they don't help prove anything. Would you be open to hearing Muslim or Hindi experiences that prove their gods to those people?

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I had numerous God moments during my Christian period, and I took them specifically as "Jesus" moments. But I have had numerous God moments since perceiving the weaknesses in the Jesus story and, looking back, it seems to me that even those "Jesus" moments, being what I expected at the time, were preparing me for a deeper understanding of things. I read somewhere that the Universe responds as we expect it to, and I think there may be something to that.

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14 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

I didn't want to leave, but I tend to follow evidence where it leads, and the evidence lead away from Christianity.. well from religion in general really.

 

Would I be open to hearing about experiences? Sure, but experiences won't change my mind., There is no way to verify experiences, and people from different religions all report experiences so they don't help prove anything. Would you be open to hearing Muslim or Hindi experiences that prove their gods to those people?

 

What evidance did you find that supersedes your experience?  Not supersede someone else's experience, or my experience, but nullifies your own experiences?  This is the tragedy that I see in the situation.  To find God in an amazing way and later deny it completely in my opinion is like getting a precious treasure and then throwing it away as nothing or worthless.  Or to love a spouse fully and later have it fall apart.

 

whatever evidence it was I'm interested in hearing it.  As the the experiences from other religions, yes very much so I'd like to hear them.  Well most of them anyways.  Same as I said before for individuals who give a reason to doubt them there is one religion that is on my list that qualifies with preemptive reasons to doubt.  Scientology is not something I will tolerate as potentially a legitimate source for what's true or what's real.

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14 minutes ago, Moonobserver said:

I had numerous God moments during my Christian period, and I took them specifically as "Jesus" moments. But I have had numerous God moments since perceiving the weaknesses in the Jesus story and, looking back, it seems to me that even those "Jesus" moments, being what I expected at the time, were preparing me for a deeper understanding of things. I read somewhere that the Universe responds as we expect it to, and I think there may be something to that.

 

I can respect and understand that.  It's not an act of denial of what you've seen in your life, but a change in the conclusions you use to hold on that experience.  My conclusions are obviously different then yours about God and the universe, but I'd love to hear the "Jesus moments" and the "universe moments."  If you're willing of course.

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" Nor do I understand how people dismiss those God moments if they have them."

 

Indeed. So maybe if someone is able to dismiss them then perhaps they weren't really God moments after all. Or God's moments aren't that memorable for other people. So if you hadn't prayed to God would he have just let you run right off the road and smack a tree? 

 

Why are Christians satisfied with believing in a God who supposedly does things... and these things are so subtle that a non-believer is really unable to differentiate God's action vs random chance? Why would that near-non-existent level of interaction from God satisfy you? 

 

God parts the Red Sea for Moses ... "He" (or something) parts your eyelids for a while longer.... Not much comparison there. 

 

....

 

On to my story: When I jumped into Christianity at age 30ish I felt a euphoria when I read the bible for like 15-20 minutes ... I also felt the same euphoria during worship part of the service, and during church choir. My fellow fundys assured me it was the Holy Spirit! Woohoo! After a while though, that feeling didnt happen anymore when I read the bible. 

 

Since I gave up Jesus, I discovered I can create euphoria other non-religious ways ... I assume it's just a dopamine response. I can also smoke pot and get a much much better euphoria than the old Holy Dopamine Spirit. Maybe it's the Cannabis Spirit. :) 

 

edit: How about Salvia or DMT? They produce what are called "God" experiences. On demand. But they dont have anything to do with Christianity...hmmm

..........

Regarding experience:

 

You say, " I believe in the concept of experience trumps philosophy, so anecdotes and experience are high on credibility as long as a person doesn't trigger a reason to doubt them."

 

ok:

 

If someone wakes up everyday convinced that he is Napolean Bonaparte, is he? That's his experience, and according to you anecdotes and experience are high on credibility. In that case , this person would 'have' to truly be Napolean.

 

If 1.5 billion Muslims have an experience of Allah or of Mohammed or of the Koran being true...does this experience trump someone else's belief in Christianity? 

 

If I experience a vision that says "Lost_more_than_once" is a kook, should I take that vision as Truth? 

 

Or should I gather as much data as I can from multiple sources to make an informed decision about something? 

 

-Midniterider

-Agnostic stoner.

 

(a few edits for clarity)

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3 hours ago, Lost_more_then_Once said:

To crazy guy.  Thank you for the welcome.  What you've said about the state of the world I've struggled with also.  I have a thought on the matter but no real answer.  I'm sure everyone has their own thoughts on that.  I know what you mean having a feeling of belonging.  Perhaps those moments were real, perhaps it was just being in a group that supported and encouraged you.  I can't say, because it was your life, your experiences.  I will say this though.  I think our experiences have more authority on what's real and what isn't then our perspectives.  Doesn't mean we have answers, or understand anything more then before.  But it does mean that if you can trust yourself at discerning what is real and what isn't, then that shouldn't be ignored for philosophical reasons and unanswered questions.  

 

I actually think nonbelievers having God moments should be a wakeup call for them.  If they don't know what happened, and they don't understand it, then that's enough to be open to what else is out there.

Oh for goodness sake. As florduh said, a wake up to what? The fact we're going to "hell", that place that Christianity invented when the old testament books of the Jewish religion wasn't enough to control people? 

 

Edit: 

 

Welcome to ex-c. Forgive my impatience but I was brainwashed for 36 years about the "precious treasure" of gods existence before I woke up. Why did I wake up? Let's quote Dan Barker again - basically, I refuse to worship evil: 

"I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being."

 

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8 minutes ago, midniterider said:

" Nor do I understand how people dismiss those God moments if they have them."

 

Indeed. So maybe if someone is able to dismiss them then perhaps they weren't really God moments after all. Or God's moments aren't that memorable for other people. So if you hadn't prayed to God would he have just let you run right off the road and smack a tree? 

 

Why are Christians satisfied with believing in a God who supposedly does things... and these things are so subtle that a non-believer is really unable to differentiate God's action vs random chance? Why would that near-non-existent level of interaction from God satisfy you? 

 

God parts the Red Sea for Moses ... "He" (or something) parts your eyelids for a while longer.... Not much comparison there. 

 

When it comes right down to it, it all comes down to the details.  The very things you can't confirm for yourself unless you were there.  That's how experiences go.  The issue is the state of tiredness versus the state of wakefulness.  Therefore I wasn't trying to make this a topic of my God moments (which you can't validate), but a topic of if you guys had them or walked away from them.

 

15 minutes ago, midniterider said:

 On to my story: When I jumped into Christianity at age 30ish I felt a euphoria when I read the bible for like 15-20 minutes ... I also felt the same euphoria during worship part of the service, and during church choir. My fellow fundys assured me it was the Holy Spirit! Woohoo! After a while though, that feeling didnt happen anymore when I read the bible. 

 

Since I gave up Jesus, I discovered I can create euphoria other non-religious ways ... I assume it's just a dopamine response. I can also smoke pot and get a much much better euphoria than the old Holy Dopamine Spirit. Maybe it's the Cannabis Spirit. :) 

 

Let me put it another way, if you felt drunk or high without reason, would you wonder why?  Would you be worried someone spiked your drink or you were having a medical condition and needed a doctor?  Or would you shrug it off as nothing.  Personally, I'd pay attention.  As for the Holy Spirit feeling while you read, I've had a simular experience.  It wasn't every time I read the bible but it was a few times expecially after a short simple prayer.

 

21 minutes ago, midniterider said:

Regarding experience:

 

 I believe in the concept of experience trumps philosophy, so anecdotes and experience are high on credibility as long as a person doesn't trigger a reason to doubt them."

 

If someone wakes up everyday convinced that he is Napolean Bonaparte, is he? That's his experience, and according to you anecdotes and experience are high on credibility. In that case , this person would 'have' to truly be Napolean.

 

If 1.5 billion Muslims have an experience of Allah or of Mohammed or of the Koran being true...does this experience trump someone else's belief in Christianity? 

 

If I experience a vision that says "Lost_more_than_once" is a kook, should I take that vision as Truth? 

 

Of should I gather as much data as I can from multiple sources to make an informed decision about something? 

 

-Midniterider

-Agnostic.

 

What you're talking about is conclusions, not evidance.  The more information and data you have the more likely your conclusions hold some weight behind them

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19 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Oh for goodness sake. As florduh said, a wake up to what? The fact we're going to "hell", that place that Christianity invented when the old testament books of the Jewish religion wasn't enough to control people? 

 

A God moment would be a wake up call in the suprise of "what just happened."  It doesn't mean you have a conclusion yet on any matter, only that you have an experience that you can't explain and holds the possibility of God being involved.

 

You're reasons to dismiss God aren't my concern right now unless you've had some kind of "what just happened" moment as well.  Then the reasons to dismiss your experience are my interest.  That's basically the topic I meant to discuss.

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