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saizai
11th February 2009, 02:29 PM
(Inspired by reading this (http://nemorathwald.com/religions/how-to-recognize-the-signs-of-an-imaginary-friend), which I recommend.)

Theists and ex-theists:

Tell us a story or two of a specific experience in which you believe (or believed at the time) that you had an interaction with or experience of God - particularly one in which God interacted with you.

Please tell it from the perspective of you at the time.

Theists only: How would your experience be different if God did not exist?

Ex-theists only: How would you explain your experience from your current perspective?

Everyone: Please do not debate on this thread. I want it to be just a collection of stories told in the first person. You are welcome to ask clarifying questions of someone (e.g. for them to expand some detail of their experience), but please reserve the usual theology arguments for other threads.

If you have neither a question nor a story: please be quiet so as not to clutter this thread.

Thanks!

slingblade
11th February 2009, 02:40 PM
(Inspired by reading this (http://nemorathwald.com/religions/how-to-recognize-the-signs-of-an-imaginary-friend), which I recommend.)

Theists and ex-theists:

Tell us a story or two of a specific experience in which you believe (or believed at the time) that you had an interaction with or experience of God - particularly one in which God interacted with you.

Please tell it from the perspective of you at the time.

Theists only: How would your experience be different if God did not exist?

Ex-theists only: How would you explain your experience from your current perspective?

Everyone: Please do not debate on this thread. I want it to be just a collection of stories told in the first person. You are welcome to ask clarifying questions of someone (e.g. for them to expand some detail of their experience), but please reserve the usual theology arguments for other threads.

If you have neither a question nor a story: please be quiet so as not to clutter this thread.

Thanks!


Never had one, though I watched all around me have them. I knew I was just as faithful as they were, just as dedicated, just as earnest. I knew I had at least enough faith to move a mountain, but that experience kept eluding me.

I faked them a lot, as I belonged to the sort of sect that wails and moans and flops around on the floor in religious ecstasy, and you look sort of obvious if it never happens to you....

Last time I went to church as a member and believer, we were having this sort of service that night. And I prayed, telling god that if nothing happened to me that night, if I felt nothing, I was never going back, and it would really be the end of my faith. I remember saying something to the effect of "for all I know, I'm begging my ceiling to grant me a boon."

Well, needless to say, nothing happened. I never went back.

And yeah, I was talking to my ceiling, after all.

Minarvia
11th February 2009, 02:47 PM
I have to empathize with Slingblade. I never had one, either. I once was Catholic, had faith (or so I was strongly convinced of) and despite years of churchgoing, reading the bible, and praying, I truly, deep down, felt nothing. No presense. No intelligence caring about me or mine. Absolutely nothing. And then I began to ask hard questions.

I was talking to my ceiling after all, as well.

Tanstaafl
11th February 2009, 03:11 PM
When I was a kid (maybe 7) I had a dream in which Jesus spoke to me. He really said very little, it was mostly just a matter of him being there and paying attention to little ol' me for just a minute. At the time I thought that was communication from Jesus, though even then I knew that it could have been just a plain old dream.

Now, of course, I have long since concluded it was just my mind showing me what I wanted to see.

Wolfman
11th February 2009, 03:14 PM
I've never seen or heard God; but several girlfriends have attested to his presence while having sex.

Piscivore
11th February 2009, 03:22 PM
I am God. My thirteen year old son calls me that constantly, and seems to be completely overcome by awe and raw emotion each time he does so as he flees to his room, often slamming the door in his religious exuberance.

He also calls me "Jesus" in the same manner, so I got that whole "trinity" thing going, I guess.

Wolfman
11th February 2009, 03:24 PM
I am God. My thirteen year old son calls me that constantly, and seems to be completely overcome by awe and raw emotion each time he does so as he flees to his room, often slamming the door in his religious exuberance.

He also calls me "Jesus" in the same manner, so I got that whole "trinity" thing going, I guess.
So...your trinity would be "God", "Jesus", and "Holy $*#$"

Mojo
11th February 2009, 03:27 PM
I fed God twice today.

And emptied her litter tray.

Piscivore
11th February 2009, 03:28 PM
So...your trinity would be "God", "Jesus", and "Holy $*#$"

Something less scatalogical and referencing the specifics of my relationship with his female progenitor by which he was created. :)

saizai
11th February 2009, 03:40 PM
I faked them a lot, as I belonged to the sort of sect that wails and moans and flops around on the floor in religious ecstasy, and you look sort of obvious if it never happens to you....

Was this purely for show, or a sort of "smile to make yourself feel happy" thing? What was it like? How did others perceive it?

Wolfman
11th February 2009, 03:42 PM
If you have neither a question nor a story: please be quiet so as not to clutter this thread.

Thanks!
:boxedin:

Sorry

slingblade
11th February 2009, 03:53 PM
Was this purely for show, or a sort of "smile to make yourself feel happy" thing? What was it like? How did others perceive it?

Mostly for show, as I was pretty young and embarrassed at what I then thought my supposed lack said about me and my level of faith. But it was also a kind of "fake it til you make it" thing, which at least one pastor encouraged us to do, at least for the Speaking in Tongues thing.

He did actually instruct us to just kind of...open our mouths and our hearts and let any old gibberish flow out. God would see that as a sign of the earnest desire of our hearts, and would give us this gift of prophecy.

Now, I'm a natural mimic. I can imitate just about any sound the human voice can make. Ok, I'm rather lousy at !Kung glottals and clicks, but accent-wise, I'm pretty good. Having been raised among people who did this thing on a regular basis, I could imitate them fairly well. So well, that either everyone bought it as the "real deal," or else knew everyone faked it and just included me in the club. Regardless, I was never challenged on my fakery.

At the time, it pretty well broke my heart. I thought it meant God hated me, or I would never be good enough, something disparaging. Looking back, I find the whole affair cruel.

godless dave
11th February 2009, 03:59 PM
Having been raised among people who did this thing on a regular basis, I could imitate them fairly well. So well, that either everyone bought it as the "real deal," or else knew everyone faked it and just included me in the club. Regardless, I was never challenged on my fakery.


Did you ever think that maybe everone else was doing the same thing you were, faking it to fit in with everyone who seemed to genuinely be slain in the spirit?

Roma
11th February 2009, 04:02 PM
At the very moment when I had just lost all faith and didn't believe that God could know every single human on earth (logistics) or even care (what a bunch of balogne) and thought that men were just controlling pigs who invented this "religion crap" to control women I suddenly saw Jesus standing before me.

Okay, first question: how did I know that it was Jesus? I just knew, he also looked like some of the drawings I had seen, not all, just some, I figure I must not have been the only person to ever see him.

Second question: was I sleeping, on drugs, drunk, mentally ill? Nope, nope, nope, and nope.

Third question:was I afraid? No, I was in complete awe, it was a total peace.

Fourth question: what did he say or do? He was just there to let me know that God really does know and love and care about every single person on earth always.

Fifth question: how long did that last? Just a couple of minutes, then he left, just disappeared. Then for about 2 months total strangers were coming up to me and asking me if I was a Christian. This really creeped me out. I remember sitting against a wall in the Student Union Building desperately trying to cram for a geography exam when some one plunked herself down beside me and asked me that. I closed my text book, went to the washroom and looked at myself in the mirror to see if there was anything on me that was causing those strangers to come to me and ask me that. Nothing. If there was I would have covered it up.

Sixth question; then what? I didn't say a word about it to anyone for twenty years then I told a church pastor and his wife. His wife's reaction was kind of strange, she thought a person of my "less than stellar" religious lifestyle wouldn't be some one Jesus would waste his time on, she thought it must have been a demon impersonating Jesus. I'm not kidding, those were her words.

Seventh question: then what? After having that experience with Jesus my life became extremely hard and I went through trials that I've been told human beings cannot live through, I think that if I had not known that Jesus was always with me I would have lost my mind. I have since devoted myself to helping others that are experiencing similar trials, though not as severe, my life has truly been bizarre.

Eight question: How many other people have you told about this since telling that pastor and his wife? Nobody else, I almost told my story on another forum site but stopped because I knew I would just be ridiculed, but today I just don't care, think whatever you like. :)

JihadJane
11th February 2009, 04:04 PM
In my mid-teens I was meditating and felt a lovely warm glow at the base of my spine. At the time I thought it could be God. I was right. It was!

slingblade
11th February 2009, 04:05 PM
Did you ever think that maybe everone else was doing the same thing you were, faking it to fit in with everyone who seemed to genuinely be slain in the spirit?

No, not until later, as I rejected my faith. Then I realized they had to be faking it, or self-deluding, had convinced themselves it was real.

But while I was faithful, I believed others were really being touched by god, yet I was not. I was very, very good at magical thinking.

Professor Yaffle
11th February 2009, 04:12 PM
I think I interpreted the positive emotions I felt when singing and playing hymns that I loved as interacting with God.

And I remember one time that I really felt as if God was close to me. I had just broken up with a boyfriend and was feeling really down. I went for a walk along the beach and after a while lay down and dozed for a while. I had this feeling as if someone had their arms around me and I felt safe and comforted. There was a really warm feeling like the sun was shining down on my face really strongly (and I thought that's what it was), but when I opened my eyes, I saw that it was really cloudy; it was later than I thought and there was no sun shining on my face. At the time I interpreted it as God comforting me and helping me when I was down. At the time it was a really powerful experience.

Now, i just think that the mind is a very strange thing.

JihadJane
11th February 2009, 04:23 PM
I suddenly saw Jesus standing before me.



I have a friend, not and never a Christian, who had this experience twice, both times when she was intensely distressed. As you describe, "Jesus" was just standing there and she felt soothed, loved and cared for.

It didn't make her a Christian, though!

ETA: However, she did feel that the experience changed her forever, giving her a feeling of inner strength.

jakesteele
11th February 2009, 04:55 PM
I had a near death experience in the hospital from a terrible accident. I was "picked up" by god's hand and brought to the "top" of the universe. As I was being "picked up" I had total, absolute awareness that the only reason I was perceiving a hand and the face of god was because I had that imprinted in my psyche from when I was a very young child. Once I comprehended that I realized that life, the universe and everything consisted of three things: the known, the unknown and the incomprehensible. I realized, also, that man was infinitely more than just the conscious/subconscious, ego/super ego/ID, etc. There were no human attributes to this experience. No god as we understand it, no devil, no good or bad, no white light, no nothing like that at all. It was just "power" and impersonal reality which is impossible for me to put into words because there are none to describe it.

Also, I should note that I have taken psychedelics of all kinds and know what hallucinations are. This was transcendent of all that. It was outside of and beyond in ways that can't be conveyed. To this day, it was and still is the most powerful experience I've ever had. I didn't come back with the meaning of life, a new purpose and direction, no sense of helping other people other than what I already did. It just was; nothing more, nothing less.



When I was young I loved nature with all the birds, bugs, animals, etc. I had several instances of transcendently becoming a part of the "All" and understanding "All". I saw the harmony and perfection of everything. In later years I realize I was experiencing "The Way" as put forth by Taoism. I have tried to live as best I can according to the simplicity and the harmony of this.

saizai
11th February 2009, 05:18 PM
Roma - You answered several follow-up questions, but not mine. :p

How would your experience be different if God did not exist?

quixotecoyote
11th February 2009, 05:18 PM
It's funny, I never had a direct experience with god. I was a theist from about 8-17 years old, after my family had a religious re-awakening and started going to church. I wasn't a skeptic then and hadn't developed critical thinking skills, so I just accepted what they told me as truth. The pastors were nice, smart people and I trusted they knew what they were talking about. I got baptized and promised to always believe, yada yada. Felt bad about breaking that promise when I figured out it was all smoke and mirrors.

Anyway, I spent awhile waffling and during that period I hung out with some Wiccans, believed that for awhile. This is where it gets funny. I have a strong memory of a religious vision from that time period, but I have no idea whether I actually had it in a dream or something, or just told the other people about it enough I started believing it myself. It's weird when you have a memory you can't trust.

arthwollipot
11th February 2009, 05:21 PM
I spoke to God once on the great white porcelain telephone. The conversation was entirely in my mind, and went a little like this.

God: You brought this on yourself, you know.
Me: No ****, sherlock.
God: I know you know because I'm God.
Me: Bull. You're not God. You're just me.
God: No, really I am.
Me: *bleerererrrrghhh*

Cainkane1
11th February 2009, 05:25 PM
I was having asthma when a faith healer came on TV. He was praying for people in general but he specifically mentioned God healing an asthma attack. Well I touched the screen like he suggested but I still had the asthma. Never prayed again. I was a kid when this happened.

JFrankA
11th February 2009, 05:45 PM
I have a story. Just one. And sorry, it's a long one.

Let me give you a little background of this: I was still in Catechism, just before my confirmation, so I was about 12 or so. Catachism then was split into two classes: boys and girls. So, of course, I was in a class of about seven boys. I was the outcast of the class because I didn't hang out with the other boys, didn't live in their neighborhood, and I was very very overweight at that time.

Some time before this incident, the priest who was teaching the class was telling us that if we gave our lives to Jesus Christ, then we would always be happy. This lead me to thinking: if I do give my life to Jesus Christ, is it because it's the right thing to do or is it because of a selfish reason and I always want to be happy? This really bothered me at the time, because if I gave my life to Jesus because I wanted to be happy, then I would be doing this for a selfish reason and being selfish isn't what giving your life to Jesus is about.

I asked him this in private. (And no. No sexual molestation, no harassment, etc, is in this story. So it's not going to turn into that). When I did, he smiled and simply said, "Wait until the next class." So I thought I'd get an answer soon.

So on the day of the class he came in with a small vial that of oil. He said it was blessed by a Bishop at the Vatican.

He said that he will show each of us the power of god and we will have our answers to our doubts, then he looked and smiled reassuringly at me as if to say "This might help you understand." I'm sure he wasn't trying to mock me or anything.

He then had one person stand in front of him, eyes looking at his hand. He said that he's going to anoint the person with the oil, and say a special prayer quietly. The power of god will flow through him and into the person in front of him, the person will feel the power of god.

Well, the first person stood up in front of the priest, the priest anointed him with the oil, and started praying. The priest rolled held his hand just above eye level and rolled his own eyes up. Within seconds the person just collapsed to the floor.

It took that person several seconds to recover. He said that it was amazing and that he did feel the power of god. He said he felt so peaceful and warm and for that moment, things are clearer to him.

The rest of the class rushed to try this out. They couldn't wait. Each one had a turn and each one said pretty much the same thing after the experience.

Now, I didn't want to participate. Quite frankly, something seemingly that powerful and affecting scared me. I didn't want to feel the power of god. So I kind of pretended I had already done it, hoping I would get away from participating.

No such luck.

They all were happy and suddenly very friendly to me. They were patting my back and encouraging me as if I was one of their gang. Something they had never done to me before.

So I stood in front of the priest. He anointed me with the oil. I then watched his hand rise. As I followed it I saw his lips move in silent prayer than watched his eyes roll up and flutter his lids.

Suddenly I felt a rush and a tingle all over. The room spun and I couldn't stand. The guys caught me before I fell to the ground. They put me in a chair and I sat there, trying to suss out what happened to me.

The priest told all of us that what we felt was the power of god. It's something we will all feel when we give our lives to Jesus and something we will continue to feel all our lives if we obey Jesus' word. It's not selfish. It's part of what we are.

I never got a chance to talk to the priest again about this in private. The rest of the classes were teaching from the scriptures and such, and every once in a while one of the other boys would ask "Can we fall down again this class?" The answer was always no.

That stuck with me for years. Partly because of the experience, and partly because the priest never did answer my question.

Fast forward to about 12 years later: I'm in college. Now I've always had a fascination with hypnosis, ever since I was eight, believe it or not, but in college I'm actually trying to find out how to do it and how it works.

(Side note: the hypnosis thing we can discuss in another thread, please. I do stage hypnosis, and I know that there is nothing magical or supernatural about it. It's a trick).

So in Psych class I'm reading about persuasion and suggestion. And on my own I'm reading about hypnotic inductions.

I come across one induction where the subject stands in front of the hypnotist. She/he stands so that the feet are together and the body is ridged. The hypnotist raises his hands above eye level of the subject, forcing the person to look up with her/his eyes only.

This does several things: the eyes looking up like that get tired easily so the subject wants to close them, the subject has a harder time balancing so in a very short time the subject will lose her/his sense of balance, making a slight feeling of vertigo. This also most likely make the subject hold their breath for a short time without realizing it. Add a little suggestion that something might happen, and viola! The subject feels tingly, warm and can't stand up.

Yes, I made the connection. Now, I don't know if the priest knew it was a trick or if he believed that it really was the power of god, but that doesn't matter.

The truth is that all those years ago I experienced a trick. Something anyone can do. It wasn't god. In fact, it's something I do now on stage without invoking any religion, or anything supernatural.

That moment was one of the more major eye-openers for me when it comes to me going from Catholic to atheism. There have been others, some just as major, but that, I think was the first time it really came together for me.

....sorry for the long post, btw.....

Autolite
11th February 2009, 05:54 PM
Okay, first question: how did I know that it was Jesus? I just knew, he also looked like some of the drawings I had seen, not all, just some, I figure I must not have been the only person to ever see him.



How did you "know" it was Jesus and not just a hallucination? People do hallucinate. I know I have. I've had a couple of "Old Hag" hypnagogic hallucinations that were most realistic, but I understood that they were just figments of my imagination.

How is it that you are certain that what you think you saw was the real deal???

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Hag_Syndrome

stilicho
11th February 2009, 07:26 PM
(Inspired by reading this (http://nemorathwald.com/religions/how-to-recognize-the-signs-of-an-imaginary-friend), which I recommend.)

...

You are welcome to ask clarifying questions of someone (e.g. for them to expand some detail of their experience), but please reserve the usual theology arguments for other threads.

Thanks!

I wonder how your link relates to your subsequent questions, saizai.

The link makes the assumption that "God" doesn't exist if it is hiding and compares this to the experience of having your parents be invisible to you when you are sick. (Why, only, when you are sick? What about when you require other care?)

I think you might get more responses if you cut out the link and ask only of non-theists about their experiences with "God" even though we know it doesn't exist.

alfaniner
11th February 2009, 08:24 PM
(This was several years ago, before both my parents died.) I was at a particularly down time -- I remember it being in April -- something about Spring really does that to me. I was still going to church on a regular basis (only a short walk from home). I was really needing to hear a sermon like the ones I'd heard in Boot Camp, very uplifting, rewarding, and pertinent.

The priest gave a sermon about a recent horrible incident -- how a woman had murdered a pregnant woman and wanted to cut the baby out of the mother for her own. This (according to the priest) was such a strong indication that some women feel so strongly that they want to have babies that all abortion is bad.

I was just so nonplussed at the discontinuity of those thoughts that I almost stood up in the church and said "WHAT THE ****!?" I left before Communion, probably the last Sin I ever committed.

That was the event that put me firmly on this side of the fence. Much analysis since then has reaffirmed my conviction that it's all ********.

Roma
11th February 2009, 08:45 PM
Roma - You answered several follow-up questions, but not mine. :p
How would your experience be different if God did not exist?

Since the moment before my experience I did not believe that there was a God my experience would have been the same. But if God did not exist then the Son of God would not exist ergo I would have seen nothing.

After it happened I was not proud of it and didn't tell anyone about it because I knew I would be ridiculed.

I don't have hallucinations. I was a single mom, going to university during the day and just came home from working the evening shift at Robins Donuts, not suffering from any emotional distress or illness, just pissed off that I was broke, and pissed off at Christians. If that qualifies as a situation that would cause hallucinations then a whole lot of people on this forum are seeing things.

How do I know it was Jesus? I just knew, I know that doesn't help.
But I think there are a lot of other people who saw the same person and also understood who it was and used their artistic talents to record it because some, not all, of some artwork depicting the likeness of Jesus looked the very same as what I saw.

Autolite
11th February 2009, 10:32 PM
Ex-theists only: How would you explain your experience from your current perspective?

Well, as mentioned in a previous post, my experience was more like seeing a demon than a god. I was a theist at the time but it never entered my mind that it was any thing supernatural. I initially thought that I was somehow dreaming with my eyes open and dismissed the vision as such.

It was later, when I had read about sleep paralysis and the associated hallucinations, that I realized what had actually occurred. The experience was a text book example. It occurred one night during military basic training. Lots of induced stress, twenty hour days and sleep deprivation.

It baffles me how folks who claim 'visions' of Jesus completely dismiss the possibility that they could have been simple hallucinations (hallucinations which are fairly common and easily explained)...

Autolite
11th February 2009, 10:42 PM
I don't have hallucinations. I was a single mom, going to university during the day and just came home from working the evening shift at Robins Donuts, not suffering from any emotional distress or illness, just pissed off that I was broke, and pissed off at Christians. If that qualifies as a situation that would cause hallucinations then a whole lot of people on this forum are seeing things.

I find it interesting that you mentioned that you were a single mom, broke, attending university, 'pissed off' and working nights yet "not suffering any emotional distress". Remarkable! I get a knot in my stomach just trying to decided what colour socks to wear... :D

Hokulele
11th February 2009, 10:56 PM
I have a story. Just one. And sorry, it's a long one.


Very cool story. :)

Roma
11th February 2009, 11:10 PM
Autolite, plenty of people take classes and work and it doesn't give them hallucinations.
That year was actually one of my light years, my kid was healthy and I had a good babysitter. Now if this had happend at a different time three years later when I was working both evening and graveyard shift jobs, bringing my sick child to class with me, and letting my violent alcoholic brother and his crazy wife live in my bedroom, while volunteering as a school class parent rep., and on a schoolboard task force, and building sets for the university theatre company, and nearly getting arrested for dismantling just a bit of the stage set for the Hare Krishna which my child's father took off and joined, well then, yes, I think I could agree that a hallucination would have been a possible explanation.

saizai
12th February 2009, 12:28 AM
It was later, when I had read about sleep paralysis and the associated hallucinations, that I realized what had actually occurred.

FWIW: It's rather hard to prove something *is* a hallucination, if you're willing to posit that it's possible that something supernatural occurred. (E.g. how would you tell the difference between a "hallucination" and a "vision from God"? I can't think of any test.)

I wonder how your link relates to your subsequent questions, saizai.

The link makes the assumption that "God" doesn't exist if it is hiding and compares this to the experience of having your parents be invisible to you when you are sick. (Why, only, when you are sick? What about when you require other care?)

I think you might get more responses if you cut out the link and ask only of non-theists about their experiences with "God" even though we know it doesn't exist.

The link describes part of the author's change from fundamentalist Christianity to agnosticism. If you read his main religion page you'll see that more directly.

I found it interesting in that it discussed his experiences from an internal perspective, i.e. comparing actual experiences (or lacks thereof) to what the same would be without an existent God. And that is, essentially, the question I posed in the OP.

I'm not interested in discussing the arguments made in that link here; I gave it simply to give credit to what inspired me to ask.

Soapy Sam
12th February 2009, 12:44 AM
.

If you have neither a question nor a story: please be quiet so as not to clutter this thread.
I have no personal story to tell of contact, imagined or otherwise, with hypothetical entities.
On this forum, it seems probable that few people will have such a tale to tell.
Is that itself not an important datum?

arthwollipot
12th February 2009, 05:07 AM
I have no personal story to tell of contact, imagined or otherwise, with hypothetical entities.
On this forum, it seems probable that few people will have such a tale to tell.
Is that itself not an important datum?And yet, we already have 35 relevant posts. Don't you find that interesting?

KarlG
12th February 2009, 06:50 AM
I wrote this in response to a (dare i mention her name) Kurious Kathy post a while back but never really finished it. I've been looking for somewhere to post it for a while, i was going to start a new thread but it's really only a couple of fragments of that reply that i'm going to post. Hope that's ok :)

The thing I donít understand is why the believers who have had a direct religious experience/talked to god/whatever go out and preach. Since they have had a direct religious experience, they must have been chosen by God to receive it. IOW, god mustíve known that they needed to be convinced by a direct experience of god that he exists, and usually he tells them (or they interpret the experience or they get the idea) that he has a special purpose for them and to go out and preach to the unbelievers. WHY?? Why would we be convinced by a second-hand experience when it took a direct intervention by god to completely convince them? Do we not deserve the same chance to directly experience god that they had? Why does god (who knows exactly what it would take to convince us he existed) give certain people that evidence and not others? Why, when they have received proof that god exists directly from him, turn around and say ďgod doesnít need to prove himself to youĒ. Two possible scenarios: (i know there are MANY more)

1. They were atheists before the experience, and god mustíve decided to intervene and make them believers. Why doesnít he do this to all of us

2. If they were believers before, do they see this experience as some sort of reward, or just that god mustíve known they needed more experiences to fully believe and have a purpose for them. (Snip)


So you say youíve had a direct experience of god that fully convinced you of his existence? This would mean that you were not fully convinced before the experience. This suggests that the evidence for the existence of god that existed before your experience didnít fully convince you. So why do you think the exact same evidence + your story will convince anyone else that god exists?

I apologise for the somewhat disjointed nature of this reply, i'm posting from work and am really busy :) (On my break right now, BTW)

Apathia
12th February 2009, 06:59 AM
When I was a Christain, I used to frequently feel the presence of God.
It was that bit of subjectivity that kept me a believer for many years after I had no philosophical and evidential support for my faith.

I felt the presence of God if my prayer was especially focused or emotionally charged.

I found that meditation was also a way I could call up this experience, especially a type of meditation in Japanerse Esoteric Buddhism called "Ajikan."

I also got deeply involved in "energy work" (Reiki and the like) and found that if I made an "energetic connection" with a tree,
(I know, I was a nutcase then and still am.)
I felt as if it had a personal presence.

Examination of these experiences led to my understanding that I was projecting these presences.
A tree spirit, the Cosmic Buddha, God, they were all purely subjective.

I can still call up a comforting presence.
It's just that I now understand I'm the creator of that presence.
It's a projection of how I'm relating, not an objectiive entity.

Roma
12th February 2009, 07:12 AM
KarlG, awhile after my experience I felt very disappointed in myself, as if God decided I wasn't smart enough to go through my life with enough faith without His "extra help". So as far as I'm concerned anyone who can have faith in God without ever seeing Him or having His "extra help" is someone more worthy than me, obviously He didn't think I could.

You coudln't find me out preaching my story, I didn't want anyone to know it, I don't know why on earth I ever posted it here except that I'm kinda starting to feel more comfortable on this site, everybody else is kinda wierd here too.

Convince you guys? Are you kidding me? I thought you'd tear me to shreds! But so far everybody's been nice, concerned that I'm hallucinating, but nice.

fuelair
12th February 2009, 07:18 AM
I was walking along on a cloud minding my own business when this big old geezer asks for some spare change. "Get a job!" I said. "Hey, buddy", he responded, "I'm God and you are screwed!"
He turned and started walking away. I snuck up behind him, drew back my foot and booted his ass off my cloud.
He screamed all the long way down. Made a hell of a noise when he hit. Haven't seen him since.

Roma
12th February 2009, 07:26 AM
Now you see that Autolite? Fuelair is hallucinating again, somebody needs to check his medication.

Autolite
12th February 2009, 07:46 AM
FWIW: It's rather hard to prove something *is* a hallucination, if you're willing to posit that it's possible that something supernatural occurred. (E.g. how would you tell the difference between a "hallucination" and a "vision from God"? I can't think of any test.)


Well, I suppose that it simply boils down to what makes sense to each individual person. Someone claiming a genuine vision of christ might sound completely irrational or delusional to certain individuals, whereas the medical explanation of hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations might sound perfectly rational and reasonable.

Reference you assertion about 'proof', you are absolutely correct and I am in total agreement. If I were to sincerely claim that I saw god, who appeared to me as a flying pink unicorn, it would be quite impossible for you to prove that I didn't...

JFrankA
12th February 2009, 07:53 AM
Very cool story. :)

Thank you. :)

Autolite
12th February 2009, 08:05 AM
Now you see that Autolite? Fuelair is hallucinating again, somebody needs to check his medication.

:D

Actually, I just read the "rolling eyes" post too. That was a good one!!!

Autolite
12th February 2009, 08:32 AM
I don't have hallucinations.

Neither did I until I had one.

I'm not a (your) doctor so it would be inappropriate for me to attempt refute such a claim, specifically. However, I've read a little bit about sleep paralysis and such and it gives me the impression that many people are still quite embarrassed about discussing such occurrences.

It is not until one learns more on the subject before the stigma surrounding certain types of hallucinations begins to fade. I've found out that many hallucinations are common, frequent and benign, yet rarely discussed. They don't necessarily suggest any sort of mental imbalance apart from extreme fatigue, stress or a combination of both.

If folks became more open and honest about their 'visions', it might help break down that stigma and possibly relieve some of the anxiety that these hallucinations seem to create...

http://www.amazon.com/Wrestling-Ghosts-Jorge-Conesa-Sevilla/dp/141344668X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234453256&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Publications-American-Folklore-Society/dp/081221305X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b

(The latter book talks a little more about the 'woo' aspect, but at least it could be considered as presenting a more 'balanced' approach to the subject of sleep paralysis...)

KarlG
12th February 2009, 09:20 AM
KarlG, awhile after my experience I felt very disappointed in myself, as if God decided I wasn't smart enough to go through my life with enough faith without His "extra help". So as far as I'm concerned anyone who can have faith in God without ever seeing Him or having His "extra help" is someone more worthy than me, obviously He didn't think I could.

You coudln't find me out preaching my story, I didn't want anyone to know it, I don't know why on earth I ever posted it here except that I'm kinda starting to feel more comfortable on this site, everybody else is kinda wierd here too.

Convince you guys? Are you kidding me? I thought you'd tear me to shreds! But so far everybody's been nice, concerned that I'm hallucinating, but nice.


I wasn't accusing you of preaching or trying to convince us and i appreciate you posting your story, i for one am very interested in hearing how people justify their faith. I have respect for people who consider their religion a personal thing and do not try to force their beliefs on others. The people who do preach are not 'better' christians than you; i would say they are more insecure and try to prop up their beliefs by convincing others. I'm sure there is a passage in the bible about being quiet in your faith but i don't have time to look at the minute.

As i said, it was a fragment of a looong response to a certain preaching poster that i didn't send, sorry if it gave the wrong idea or is OT.

ExMinister
12th February 2009, 10:53 AM
I have one. I have a few actually but this one I haven't been able to explain yet. A few years ago, my husband and I attended something called darshan with Mother Meera.

The Wiki description: Darśana (Darshan, Sanskrit: दर्शन) is a Sanskrit term meaning "sight" (in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding; from a root dṛś "to see"), vision, apparition, or glimpse. It is most commonly used for "visions of the divine," i.e. of a god or a very holy person or artifact. One could "receive darshana" of the deity in the temple, or from a great saintly person, such as a great guru.
In the sense "to see with reverence and devotion," the term translates to hierophany, and could refer either to a vision of the divine or to being in the presence of a highly revered person. In this sense it may assume a meaning closer to audience. "By doing darshan properly a devotee develops affection for God, and God develops affection for that devotee."

So Mother Meera is believed by lots of followers to be an incarnation of the Goddess on earth. She can touch you on the forehead, gaze into your eyes and bestow a blessing upon you, open up your spiritual eyes, and all that kind of thing, which is called "darshan," if I'm getting it right. At any rate, she was in a nearby city and we decided it might be an interesting experience so we made the hour and a half drive to attend. There was no cost. At the time I was 100% woo and I treated the experience with reverence, as did my husband.

It took place in a school auditorium. When we first walked into the school, the smell of incense was strong. We were directed back to the auditorium and given guidance on what we needed to do: Remain silent and seated in your chair, wait for your row to be called, then move to your spot on the auditorium floor, where people then kneel and move forward on their knees (to show respect) until they eventually reach the stage, where Mother Meera is seated. One by one people would go up on the stage, kneel before Mother Meera, she would bless them and they would stand up and go back to their seats. People were to encouraged to stay for the whole event and meditate the rest of the time.

There was no incense burning in the auditorium and it was not decorated in any special way; just looked like a gymnasium packed full of aluminum chairs, and there were maybe a few hundred people there. I had heard of Mother Meera when I worked in the New Age store many years prior, and Wayne Dyer had mentioned in some tape series that he'd met her and that he'd been impressed by her.

My husband and I were there about 2 hours as all these people filed onto the stage and back down again. When it was my turn and I looked at her up close, she looked completely neutral to me - I didn't see any of the radiant love Dyer had talked about. Of course, I assumed maybe she just didn't like me particularly! She touched my head and turned toward the next person.

We returned to our seats, waited a bit longer, then my husband whispered that we should leave, so we did. On the way out, I asked him if he'd felt or experienced anything and he said no. I said I hadn't either. We just shrugged. Probably a waste of time then, but an interesting experience anyway, who cares. Let's go get something to eat, we decided. We stopped in a little room where they had books and incense for sale. I liked the incense so I bought some.

Bear with me, I'll get to the point here soon. So we found a Taco Bell a few blocks away and went in and ate. Neither of us felt any sort of effects whatsoever and we talked about other stuff. So then we get back in the car and onto the freeway and suddenly the weirdest feeling comes over me. Of course no one here has ever used an illicit drug like marijuana, but if you had, or if you've ever taken a Valium type drug, combine the two together and that was similar to the feeling I had. A profound feeling of peace, joy, almost giddiness, and a feeling that it was too much work to even think. This feeling was huge and unlike anything I've experienced before. At that point, my husband looked over at me and said, in his naturally poetic way, "Hey, do you by any chance feel really weird?" He had it, too.

So we drove home feeling like this. Really bizarre.

When we discuss skeptical things, this experience sometimes comes up and one of us will say, "How do we explain that weird thing we experienced after darshan?"

After this happened, I guess I figured it must have been a genuine experience of God (Goddess, to be more accurate).

Since then, I've wondered (don't laugh): Could it have been something in the incense?! The thing is, we couldn't smell it from the auditorium, which is where we were most of the time. It was very strong, though, in the little store where we stopped before we left. Wouldn't it be illegal to sell incense that makes people "high" though? And burning that incense at home didn't produce any kind of effect that I noticed. I still lean toward that explanation, though. It's the only thing I can think of. Maybe it's got something in it that inadvertantly produces that effect, but it doesn't happen in the smaller amount you breathe in at home. It seems less likely that she could have had something on her hands that soaks through a person's skin. What else could it be? And why would it have had such a delayed effect? It didn't happen until after we ate and were back on the road. Couldn't be power of suggestion or it would have happened during the event, not 45 minutes later, I would think. Group hallucination doesn't make sense either because it was a feeling, and anyway I felt it even before my husband said anything.

I know, you're all thinking it must of have been the Taco Bell food. It IS that good. :)

shawmutt
12th February 2009, 11:03 AM
When I was a Christian, and had a troubling day or issue, I would grab my Bible, say a prayer, and open the Bible to a random page. Without fail, there would be something on that page that offered comfort.

How do I explain it. Hmm...this is a troubling issue, let me find my Bible--

Ah, Daniel 6:16-23

16Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

17And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

18Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.

19Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

20And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

21Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.

22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

23Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

Need I say more? There is undeniable proof of God's power and glory! In other words, I was a *********** loon.

saizai
12th February 2009, 12:57 PM
KarlG - No offense, but the points you raised - while perfectly valid and interesting to debate elsewhere - are extremely likely to turn this thread into a general theological debate, which is something I wanted to avoid.

I'd suggest you do repost that as a new thread; you're welcome to link to it from here if you like, of course.

saizai
12th February 2009, 01:03 PM
You coudln't find me out preaching my story, I didn't want anyone to know it, I don't know why on earth I ever posted it here except that I'm kinda starting to feel more comfortable on this site, everybody else is kinda wierd here too.

Convince you guys? Are you kidding me? I thought you'd tear me to shreds! But so far everybody's been nice, concerned that I'm hallucinating, but nice.

FWIW, usually they would. ;)

The main questioning line being: how exactly do you know that what you saw was in fact Jesus? That it bears strong similarities to pop-culture notions of what Jesus looks like is evidence for it being a hallucination, not against; note the same trends in UFO 'sightings' which tend to resemble recent TV and book depictions.

None of which proves it one way or the other, really - as I said, it's extremely hard to distinguish 'hallucination' from 'vision'. (Hallucination from objective reality, now that's easier. Still hard, but at least it's doable. :))

In any case, I wanted this thread to just be stories both ways with people being comfortable to tell 'em, and it's been very interesting. Hopefully you learn from theirs (and how they perceive 'em now), and they from yours.

Frozenwolf150
12th February 2009, 01:11 PM
As a kid, when I used to believe, my mental picture of God was as a stern, mysterious, and somewhat creepy looking old guy, fairly large-statured, dressed in black rabbinical robes with long black hair and a beard. At the time I didn't know how to describe his appearance, aside from creepy, but in retrospect he kind of looked Jewish, which was pure coincidence. My image of God changed into something more abstract, as a silent booming presence in the sky, if that makes any sense. In one childhood dream I remember, that's sort of how he appeared, as a darkened eye of the storm in the clouds up above; an overwhelmingly loud background noise, yet one that you couldn't hear directly. God was what was there when you peeled away all other layers of the sky, which I guess could represent layers of reality.

Soon enough, in those dreams, I learned that I could appeal to this God to bring me out of nightmares in an instant. In other words, I learned to "pray" to God to wake me from bad dreams. Interestingly enough, this worked every single time, and this is what I would qualify as my "interaction" with God. The fact that it worked however is not all that far fetched, in retrospect, because it was all going on inside my mind as I see it now. The allegories and dream interpretations that you could read into this have all crossed my mind. Heaven and Hell are subconscious states of mind that the dreams may certainly represent, so if the nighmares represent Hell, then God saved me from Hell in a sense.

This was shortly before the time I started to have my doubts. I felt frustration and disappointment over prayer, such as whether or not it was fair to ask for certain things, or even if it worked at all. I also started to see God as a presence who recorded every wrongdoing or misstep, who was constantly breathing down my neck and watching my every move. I was afraid to even think negative things about God because it literally made me feel ill, like a shock was running down my spine, as if he was punishing me on the spot for questioning him. Examples of such questions were the issue of theodicy, the necessity of worship and faith, and whether we're judged on belief or on deeds. This made skepticism difficult, as you might imagine.

At the same time, I didn't have any external reinforcing factors influencing me to believe. I started to draw my own conclusions because there was room for them, speculating that maybe God set things in motion but doesn't really intervene (deism). However I always left room for God, for the irrational reason that I'd believed in him up to that point, and I was still fearful of the ramifications and consequences of thinking there might not be a God. In other words, even when I started to drift away and take a more skeptical approach, I was still interacting with God, in essence.

Nowadays as an agnostic atheist, now that I see God as a literary figure and allegory for nature, emotions, ideas, and human qualities both good and bad, it could still be said that I interact with God. I call myself an atheist because I reject belief in gods in a traditional sense, and God certainly is not an object of worship for me. Rather, this God is something I can study and learn about in all its interpretations, as it stands at the frontier of human knowledge and beckons us to seek it out. God to me is not a monarch or master, but a metaphorical teacher and guide so to speak, which I believe is how the relationship ought to be. He need not even exist in order to fulfill that role.

saizai
12th February 2009, 01:28 PM
Since then, I've wondered (don't laugh): Could it have been something in the incense?!

TTBOMK no incense available in the US would do this other than through psychosomatic triggering effect.

Opium might, but I've never heard of it being available here.

(FWIW, you may want to check out Pharmako/Gnosis. Great trilogy.)

I know, you're all thinking it must of have been the Taco Bell food. It IS that good. :)You disgust me. :p

Autolite
12th February 2009, 03:24 PM
The main questioning line being: how exactly do you know that what you saw was in fact Jesus? That it bears strong similarities to pop-culture notions of what Jesus looks like is evidence for it being a hallucination, not against; note the same trends in UFO 'sightings' which tend to resemble recent TV and book depictions.

This is a very valid and relevant point. I recall reading that people who've experienced 'visions' will claim to have seen a god (or demon) that resembled those particular to the individual's culture or religion (with perhaps the exception of 'Old Hag' herself who represents a nearly universal fear of aging and ultimate death).

So it would seem that god is either tailoring his/her apparitions to suit what the individual would expect to see, (based on their own, individual preconceptions) or the claimant had been hallucinating. What other explanations could there possibly be???

JFrankA
12th February 2009, 03:39 PM
At any rate, she was in a nearby city and we decided it might be an interesting experience so we made the hour and a half drive to attend. There was no cost. At the time I was 100% woo and I treated the experience with reverence, as did my husband.

It took place in a school auditorium. When we first walked into the school, the smell of incense was strong. We were directed back to the auditorium and given guidance on what we needed to do: Remain silent and seated in your chair, wait for your row to be called, then move to your spot on the auditorium floor, where people then kneel and move forward on their knees (to show respect) until they eventually reach the stage, where Mother Meera is seated. One by one people would go up on the stage, kneel before Mother Meera, she would bless them and they would stand up and go back to their seats. People were to encouraged to stay for the whole event and meditate the rest of the time.

There was no incense burning in the auditorium and it was not decorated in any special way; just looked like a gymnasium packed full of aluminum chairs, and there were maybe a few hundred people there. I had heard of Mother Meera when I worked in the New Age store many years prior, and Wayne Dyer had mentioned in some tape series that he'd met her and that he'd been impressed by her.

My husband and I were there about 2 hours as all these people filed onto the stage and back down again. When it was my turn and I looked at her up close, she looked completely neutral to me - I didn't see any of the radiant love Dyer had talked about. Of course, I assumed maybe she just didn't like me particularly! She touched my head and turned toward the next person.

We returned to our seats, waited a bit longer, then my husband whispered that we should leave, so we did. On the way out, I asked him if he'd felt or experienced anything and he said no. I said I hadn't either. We just shrugged. Probably a waste of time then, but an interesting experience anyway, who cares. Let's go get something to eat, we decided. We stopped in a little room where they had books and incense for sale. I liked the incense so I bought some.

Bear with me, I'll get to the point here soon. So we found a Taco Bell a few blocks away and went in and ate. Neither of us felt any sort of effects whatsoever and we talked about other stuff. So then we get back in the car and onto the freeway and suddenly the weirdest feeling comes over me. Of course no one here has ever used an illicit drug like marijuana, but if you had, or if you've ever taken a Valium type drug, combine the two together and that was similar to the feeling I had. A profound feeling of peace, joy, almost giddiness, and a feeling that it was too much work to even think. This feeling was huge and unlike anything I've experienced before. At that point, my husband looked over at me and said, in his naturally poetic way, "Hey, do you by any chance feel really weird?" He had it, too.

So we drove home feeling like this. Really bizarre.

When we discuss skeptical things, this experience sometimes comes up and one of us will say, "How do we explain that weird thing we experienced after darshan?"

After this happened, I guess I figured it must have been a genuine experience of God (Goddess, to be more accurate).

Since then, I've wondered (don't laugh): Could it have been something in the incense?! The thing is, we couldn't smell it from the auditorium, which is where we were most of the time. It was very strong, though, in the little store where we stopped before we left. Wouldn't it be illegal to sell incense that makes people "high" though? And burning that incense at home didn't produce any kind of effect that I noticed. I still lean toward that explanation, though. It's the only thing I can think of. Maybe it's got something in it that inadvertantly produces that effect, but it doesn't happen in the smaller amount you breathe in at home. It seems less likely that she could have had something on her hands that soaks through a person's skin. What else could it be? And why would it have had such a delayed effect? It didn't happen until after we ate and were back on the road. Couldn't be power of suggestion or it would have happened during the event, not 45 minutes later, I would think. Group hallucination doesn't make sense either because it was a feeling, and anyway I felt it even before my husband said anything.

I know, you're all thinking it must of have been the Taco Bell food. It IS that good. :)

I think I know what happened to you. I don't mean to derail the thread, and if I do, I'm sorry. As I said, I do stage hypnosis. Look at it this way: You had the whole set up ready: your mind set, the legend behind this person, all contribute to the suggestion that something will happen. You've already decided that it would. You didn't know what, but you did expect (and more importantly) have already decided that something would happen.

It's almost exactly the same thing that happened to me in my story. The delayed reaction doesn't mean a thing. It was still fresh in your mind. You can almost call it a "post-hypnotic suggestion".

In other words, you were primed for it, you expected it, part of you desired it, and when you had a quiet moment where you can actually just "zone-out", that is, there is not much stimulus or thinking going on to distract you, your mind allowed itself to have the feeling. Nothing magical, nothing holy, nothing spiritual. Just a simple priming and suggestion.

I do it to people everytime I'm on stage. :)

Autolite
12th February 2009, 03:53 PM
Hallucination from objective reality, now that's easier. Still hard, but at least it's doable.

Perhaps, but suppose that I truly believed in the existence of Bigfoot or unicorns and that god is real. God would know my beliefs (my subjective reality) and might choose to appear before me in a form that would I would find convincing, if only to me.

How would you determine whether it was an actual vision or a hallucination? Even if I had a history of delusional behavior, it wouldn't necessarily mean that the vision wasn't genuine. Would god restrict his appearances only to those who aren't crazy???

Silly Green Monkey
12th February 2009, 04:49 PM
I went to a church with practices similar to Slingblade's.

One time in youth camp, we were doing a night revival type meeting. People were running around, praying in groups, and most importantly, falling over. One of the pastors found me hiding off by myself crying, because I'd not had anything like that yet. A group formed around me and prayed, then I relaxed and fell over. The ground was hard, and a bit cold, and I lay there until I got bored and hopped back up. I did it several times, but never felt anything.

Later I was used as an example in the youth pastor's sermon about how being open to the Spirit would bring the touch of God. I never told anyone what it really felt like.

Autolite
12th February 2009, 05:06 PM
The ground was hard, and a bit cold, and I lay there until I got bored and hopped back up. I did it several times, but never felt anything.

Remarkable coincidence! I had a nearly identical incident of being 'slain by the spirit'. One night I fell flat on my face several times in the parking lot and I never felt a thing. The spirit, however, in my case was rye whiskey.

Even more disturbing was that there was a demon apparition, standing in the doorway, waiting for me when I got home... :D

ExMinister
12th February 2009, 05:26 PM
I think I know what happened to you. I don't mean to derail the thread, and if I do, I'm sorry. As I said, I do stage hypnosis. Look at it this way: You had the whole set up ready: your mind set, the legend behind this person, all contribute to the suggestion that something will happen. You've already decided that it would. You didn't know what, but you did expect (and more importantly) have already decided that something would happen.

It's almost exactly the same thing that happened to me in my story. The delayed reaction doesn't mean a thing. It was still fresh in your mind. You can almost call it a "post-hypnotic suggestion".

In other words, you were primed for it, you expected it, part of you desired it, and when you had a quiet moment where you can actually just "zone-out", that is, there is not much stimulus or thinking going on to distract you, your mind allowed itself to have the feeling. Nothing magical, nothing holy, nothing spiritual. Just a simple priming and suggestion.

I do it to people everytime I'm on stage. :)

Interesting idea, post-hypnotic suggestion. I suppose it could be possible, even with the delay.

roger
12th February 2009, 06:11 PM
ex-Catholic, never had any kind of "interaction" with God.

However, I find this particularly interesting... I ended up climbing in Nepal with a very serious fundamental Christian. As in she wouldn't tell jokes because she felt it was against her religion serious. But a good person.

Anyway, we were climbing down from an acclimation climb in the Khumbu Valley, with Everest, Nuptse, and Lhotse to our back, Ama Dablam and about 100 unnamed 7000m summits in front of us, with the sun going down. Profoundly, indescribably beautiful, topped off with the loopiness that lack of oxygen engenders. It was, no exagaration, one of the most moving experiences in my life, and with no shame I say tears were streaming down my cheeks. Bliss, beauty, rapture, utter joy at being alive and able to experience it.

About that time I passed her on the trail. We looked at each other in silence and saw the tears on each other cheeks, and we both knew we were experiencing exactly the same thing. And then she uttered a biblical quote. I forget the wording, but it basically saying the beauty of the world proves God, but said quite poetically. I just smiled, not willing to break her spell, and moved on.

I can absolutely see why that would have been a religious experience for a commited Christian. I strongly suspect she talks about this event as proof of God. She certainly told similar stories during this climb as 'proof' (we had another atheist with us on the trip that loved to argue religion - I never bother participating). I assert, without proof, that my experience was just as profound as hers - I still carry it with me to this day, and am choking up just thinking about it. Yet it was entirely material, non-religious to me.

I'll honor Sazai's request to limit ourselves to stories, but pretty interesting, no?

KarlG
13th February 2009, 01:04 AM
KarlG - No offense, but the points you raised - while perfectly valid and interesting to debate elsewhere - are extremely likely to turn this thread into a general theological debate, which is something I wanted to avoid.

I'd suggest you do repost that as a new thread; you're welcome to link to it from here if you like, of course.


No offense taken, you are quite right, my apologies for the derail.