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Religious experiences


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#1 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:13 PM

I was a Protestant for the longest time. I was studying theology for awhile and came across the question of where the Holy Spirit was. I was told by a convincing debater that the Holy Spirit was with the Catholics guiding them and provided possible proof. I started to think like a Catholic, following their ideas in my head, and I did start to feel different. I felt brighter, in the way of a brighter outlook. I didn't end up becoming a Catholic because my family would not let me, though I wanted to, and later very soon, forgot about all of this.

Since then, I don't really care about religion as much. But had my family let me be a Catholic, it might have changed the story arc of my life. I might have ended up a priest or something instead of a game artist, which I am studying to be.

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#2 Memories are Better   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 769

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:31 PM

I grew up in a terrible religious household, was forced into all that 'stuff', hated it as a kid, had to pretend to believe it and all that, I preferred math found it far more magical simply because well lets be honest through math you can do anything. I wont bother speaking more about my religious experiences, I am sure this thread will eventually be locked as rarely do religious discussions end well (even on religious sites); all I will say is I don't speak to my family and I am an atheist.


Edited by Dynamo_Maestro, 15 October 2013 - 04:49 PM.


#3 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:34 PM

I grew up in a terrible religious household, was forced into all that 'stuff', hated it as a kid, had to pretend to believe it and all that, I preferred math found it far more magical simply because well lets be honest through math you can do anything. I wont bother speaking more about my religious experiences, I am sure this thread will eventually be locked as rarely do religious discussions end well (even on religious sites); all I will say is I don't speak with my family and I am an atheist.


It probably will be locked. But I asked if it was against the rules to make a religion thread and was pretty much told that it probably wasn't. I'm hoping for about 15 good replies before it becomes a flame war and is locked.

#4 FlyingSatin   Members   -  Reputation: 283

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:38 PM

I think the people here are far more likely to engage in a flamewar about OpenGL vs. DirectX rather than any type of religion flamewar.



#5 Memories are Better   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 769

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:49 PM

I think the people here are far more likely to engage in a flamewar about OpenGL vs. DirectX rather than any type of religion flamewar.

 

Hmm I must be looking at the wrong sections, I only seem to come across C# vs C++ wars



#6 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2499

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:49 PM

I think the people here are far more likely to engage in a flamewar about OpenGL vs. DirectX rather than any type of religion flamewar.

Don't bet on it.
 
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#7 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22736

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:50 PM

There are occasional religious discussions in the Lounge.  The same rules tend to apply as always.  Keep it civil, keep it on topic, if the topic devolves into a flamewar it will be terminated, etc.

 

I'm just wondering, what exactly is the topic of the thread? "Religious Experiences" is pretty vague, and I've had quite a few that range from extremely positive to extremely negative.

 

Are you just soliciting generally "What are your personal experiences with religion?"  If so you might want to make that clear.


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#8 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:53 PM

I'm just wondering, what exactly is the topic of the thread? "Religious Experiences" is pretty vague, and I've had quite a few that range from extremely positive to extremely negative.


The meaning of the thread is kind of implied. I've had weird experiences concerning Catholicism, and was hoping to discuss them. The feeling I felt, and how the debater was supposedly right.

I could not think of a good thread title. I knew if I made the title just "Religion" and that's it, it would probably attract the people who like to argue about it.

#9 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2203

Posted 15 October 2013 - 05:23 PM

My guess...

From your perspective of starting on the outside of a religion looking in at it (as opposed to being inducted into it by your parents), I'm thinking that it's the situation where people want to be part of something that's 'bigger' than themselves. It's probably a big part of the sensation that you remember feeling. Not necessarily a bad thing but also not necessarily a solution for whatever has pulled you towards the religion in the first place.

I can see the appeal of having a clear sense of right and wrong and the way things are and should be. Until you find yourself in a situation where you're at odds with those beliefs about the way things should be or another person's interpretation of of those beliefs.
 



#10 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31851

Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:16 PM

I grew up exposed to Christian scripture in schools, but I just thought they were stories that got told to children. I honestly had no idea that people believed in them. I remember one day playing with the scripture teacher's son, and he asked me something about God, so I asked him if he believed in God (which he did), and it puzzled me as much as realizing a 10yr old believes in Santa or the tooth fairy!
So I guess I was naturally an atheist.

Later on as a teenager taking drugs, I guess I experienced what a Christian might call a conversation with God. Not literally a conversation, but the sense of connection to something bigger. So that kind of made me an Agnostic.
My personal God isn't connected to any organized religion, though I do have a King James Bible and a Bhagavad Gita out of interest (I much prefer the latter). God to me is the sum of all things. A personified super man, like the old European gods or especially the old testament god, do not come close to the magnitude of the idea of God to me, they're just nice stories to teach morales to children.

#11 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:23 PM

I grew up exposed to Christian scripture in schools, but I just thought they were stories that got told to children. I honestly had no idea that people believed in them. I remember one day playing with the scripture teacher's son, and he asked me something about God, so I asked him if he believed in God (which he did), and it puzzled me as much as realizing a 10yr old believes in Santa or the tooth fairy!
So I guess I was naturally an atheist.
Later on as a teenager taking drugs, I guess I experienced what a Christian might call a conversation with God. Not literally a conversation, but the sense of connection to something bigger. So that kind of made me an Agnostic.
My personal God isn't connected to any organized religion, though I do have a King James Bible and a Bhagavad Gita out of interest (I much prefer the latter). God to me is the sum of all things. A personified super man, like the old European gods or especially the old testament god, do not come close to the magnitude of the idea of God to me, they're just nice stories to teach morales to children.


Does your God have a consciousness? Just curious.

#12 Nypyren   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4798

Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:54 PM

Hodgman and I share a similar (but perhaps not exact) viewpoint.  I treat the concept of "God" the same as the concept of "The universe".  There's nothing mystical/religious it to me, but the scale of it is astounding, and there are so many unanswered questions about how it functions, where it came from, etc.

 

The universe contains apparently conscious beings, but does that make the Universe itself conscious?  I wouldn't say that.  I would say that "consciousness" is an irrelevant attribute when considering something that includes everything else.


Edited by Nypyren, 15 October 2013 - 06:56 PM.


#13 OandO   Members   -  Reputation: 798

Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:57 PM

I think the people here are far more likely to engage in a flamewar about OpenGL vs. DirectX rather than any type of religion flamewar.

 

Are they not much the same thing? :P



#14 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:57 PM

I ask because when I was in the hospital with medical problems, I seemed to have a hallucination that I was speaking with God. It was likely a hallucination. However, the God I was speaking to was much different than that of the Bible. This God had a consciousness though.

#15 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2270

Posted 15 October 2013 - 07:26 PM

I was brought up in a Christian household, as are most in my country(Greece), but do not imagine anything 'extreme'...in fact neither my parents nor I really went to church unless it was Christmas or Easter smile.png

 

So I became an atheist since first year of highschool, I think...no great (de)conversion, just a realization that there is too much *meaningless* sufferring in the world, without any purpose or goal(for example, a 1yrold infant dying of brain cancer, which has happened to a family I know). Plus, even if I was willing to believe in a personified, benovelent deity, I have absolutely no way to choose which of the versions of it is actually the right one, since there are virtually no solid evidence, just groups of people which believe, with the same conviction, that their version, most probably passed on by their fathers, grandfathers and so on, is the "true" one. Christianity's Trinity? Judaism's Yawheh? Islam's Allah?(just to name the main 3 monotheistic ones). Those are *not* the "same God", they do deal with a God-Creator of the universe, but they describe quite different properties, plus Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was God, a notion that is absurd and blasphemous in the other 2 religions.

 

Then, about 2 years ago, out of pretty much nowhere, I've had an avalanche of religious experiences, a sort of perceived "communication" with God, not in audible or visible hallucinations, but more like a belief I was suddenly "endowed" with a gift to interpret physical "signs" that pointed to the existence of God(the Christian God, to be exact, something not so weird since I was brought up from day 1 in a country/environment where "God" means "Christian God".) I even participated or started some threads here about religion, where I fiercely argued from a Christian point of view, though it was a pov I had constructed on my own, not really relevant to any mainstream dogma(for example I argued that love, not "faith" nor "good deeds", is the ticket to heaven; a loving person is accepted by Jesus into the Kingdom of God, regardless of being christian of any denomination, muslim, jew, buddhist, hinduist, atheist or anything else).

 

Well, anyway, the whole thing turned out to be , you guessed it, a kind of psychotic episode, triggered by my "genius" decision to suddenly stop taking the anti-depressants which my doctor, who I was seeing for years, and still do, had prescribed, and that treated my OCD and depression. Looking back, it was kind of an interesting period, as I was constantly in a sort of "feverish"/ecstatic state, terribly excited that profound "secrets" had been given to me, though the exact nature of those "secrets" I wasn't really able to define smile.png. When the whole "high" eventually faded out, I was kind of embarassed about things I've said(mostly online, as people in real life hadn't really noticed anything significantly different, I kept things to myself), but I decided not to be too hard on myself, and that my brain, going over a sudden chemical "withdrawal" over my idiotic decision to stop taking my meds overnight(note: Do NOT do this!), just...took a wrong turn somewhere. So I'm back to my atheist mode...and that's the end of it. smile.png


Edited by mikeman, 15 October 2013 - 07:30 PM.


#16 HappyCoder   Members   -  Reputation: 2880

Posted 15 October 2013 - 07:33 PM

I am a Mormon and believe in God, but I can relate to atheists. I find myself asking questions about the human history and evolution as well as the earths history and it's connection to by beliefs. I am not satisfied with the poor attempts people make trying to explain the evidences away and find myself working through the questions myself. I know some atheists who are good people and religious people who aren't. I don't think that somebodies church determines if they are a good person or not.

The bible, specifically the old testament, is quite a puzzle. If taken literally at face value we should believe that mankind has only been around for about 6,000 years whereas archeology shows that we have been around much longer. I wont share all my thoughts on trying to explain this but I believe it comes down to human error when writing, translating, or passing verbally, stories over the ages. Record keeping wasn't always good as it is today. However, I still believe the book is valuable.

I also believe God has an important role in my life. I don't understand everything about him and his plan but I do believe he is real and we have a purpose. A belief in him hasn't come from evidences that come from the senses. Rather it is the spirit that, in my personal view, bypasses the senses and speaks directly to our spirit and minds. You don't hear a voice but it is usually accompanied with positive feelings and a clear mind. Its hard to explain and many times hard to recognize. I know many of you will write those feelings off as being a psychological phenomenon that come purely natural causes. I have thought of that many times but have decided to choose faith over doubt and follow those promptings. It has served me well for me so far.

Anyway, I was about to post more about having God in my life but it was feeling a little too preachy, so I will just get off my soapbox now.

#17 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31851

Posted 15 October 2013 - 07:34 PM

Does your God have a consciousness? Just curious.

The universe contains apparently conscious beings, but does that make the Universe itself conscious?  I wouldn't say that.  I would say that "consciousness" is an irrelevant attribute when considering something that includes everything else.

It's interesting philisophically though.
Does your foot have a consciousness? No, of course not.
Does your head have a consciounsess? Yeah, it's in there somewhere -- you can cut off any other bit of your body besides the head it would seem and remain "you".

 

What is "I" or "self" though? We usually confuse "I" with our body, and our body contains our consciousness somewhere, so we say that we are conscious, because there is a consciousness somewhere within our bodies.
If we accept that, then when asked, "does the room that you're in have a consciousness?" then we also have to interpret that as "is there a consciousness inside the room that you're in?", and then the answer becomes yes, because you're in the room, and there is a consciousness inside you.
So the earth, the solar system, and the universe-as-god obviously have many consciousnesses biggrin.png
 
However, if you're asking if there is some in-the-sky ethereal consciousness permeating through everything, with the power to produce miracles on earth at will, I'd have to say that the probability is extremely unlikely, being almost certainly 0%.

 

Going back to the "what is self" question though, I somewhat believe in duality... my position changes back and forth over the years... but there is definitely a big difference between the body (as in your foot) and your mind. If you cut off the foot, you're still "you", but with each cut of the brain, what was "you" diminishes in some way. Duality comes into it when you start to believe that your mind is separate from your consciousness, and that a part of your consciousness is just a passive observer with no control over your mind -- basically God, watching if you're into that, or the purest form of self, separate from the self we associate with mind and body.

I ask because when I was in the hospital with medical problems, I seemed to have a hallucination that I was speaking with God. It was likely a hallucination. However, the God I was speaking to was much different than that of the Bible. This God had a consciousness though.

Keep in mind that there's many scientific explanations for these phenomenon. Inside your brain, you're not just one person. We each have many different parts of the brain all doing their own thing and competing for dominance. When communication between the parts are disrupted, it's possible for them to all basically start acting as separate people, instead of cooperating to create one person.

 

If I believed in such things, this would be a manifestation of (the singular) God -- much like how the Christian God himself couldn't walk among us, so he created the human Jesus as a manifestation of himself on earth. Catholic God is split into three pieces, while still being a singular "one God".

 
If you want to picture an all-powerful God, imagine that He was split into an uncountable number of pieces that now make up everything that is and can be imagined. You yourself are made up of these pieces, so you're also a manifestation of God.


Edited by Hodgman, 15 October 2013 - 08:57 PM.


#18 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2499

Posted 15 October 2013 - 07:50 PM

I was raised nominally Catholic, but grew out of that in high school. 
 
When I was older, I decided I liked Terry Pratchetts view:

...don't believe in gods in the same way that most people don't find it necessary to believe in, say, tables. They know they're there, they know they're there for a purpose, they'd probably agree that they have a place in a well-organised universe, but they wouldn't see the point of believing, of going around saying "O great table, without whom we are as naught." Anyway, either the gods are there whether you believe in them or not, or exist only as a function of the belief, so either way you might as well ignore the whole business and, as it were, eat off your knees.


Later still, I decided that religion was actively bad for people, and I swung more towards Richard K. Morgans view:

Even if you could convince [me], against all the evidence, that there really was a god? I’d just see him as a threat to be eliminated. If god were demonstrably real? Guys like me would just be looking for ways to find him and burn him down.


These days, I take more of a "live and let live" approach. If someone wants to believe in god, that's fine with me, as long as they don't try to impose their beliefs on others. 

 

That said, I am still firmly convinced that the catholic church is a despicable organisation and needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

 

So there ya go, my religious evolution by way of literary quotes.


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#19 cronocr   Members   -  Reputation: 755

Posted 15 October 2013 - 07:59 PM

Well, at this point the thread hasn't turned into a flamewar, and I'm resting from a lot of programming, so... why not. I have believed in God all my life and actually had a few spiritual experiences. I've never taken drugs, not even smoke, but two of my experiences happened during near death events. Also have experienced weird events like time slowdown, void visualization, info-addiction, and others, but I never associated that with anything spiritual, that's something from the mind. I've always been pretty interested in spirituality and science at the same time, and had periods of experimentation and even fanatism from completely different beliefs: Christian and New Age. I have also been very close to people that practiced these, and witnessed things that people would consider miracles, including demonic possessions and exorcisms. I've had brief interaction with Hare-Krishna and Tibetan monks, nuns, as well as other people that also had spiritual experiences. Also seen truly atheists scared by ghosts, and sincere believers taken down by the injustices of life.

 

My current view of God is that of a classic god, actually the one that most resemble it is Chronos, yes, the god of time that ate his children, that's at the same time the father and enemy of all gods. For me it's an individual and intelligent entity, that is not a part of the universe. It's good and evil at the same time. The fist greatest gift that Chronos gave to living beings is life and the second greatest is death. God can lie and play jokes, yet it's respectful of life and free will, and will not force anyone into believing in it. For the time being I'm a true believer of the God of Time, and I think every religion is wrong.


 

 


#20 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4766

Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:31 PM

No gods for me. I find the idea of a god really, reeeaaaaally ridiculous. Specially the one of a god that watches over us, that loves us, cares for all of us, and bla bla bla. It's just something that seems so out of touch with everything. It's like an insta-rationalization machine.

 

I was never able to relate with such things.


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