If I have a stomach ache and tell people, they all believe me. If I have a spiritual experience and tell people, many don't believe me.
If both experiences are internal and observable only to me, why does everyone believe my stomach ache but many don't believe my spiritual experience?
This occurs because people have faith in stomach aches but no faith in God!
Likewise people have faith that a plane they are travelling in won't crash or faith that when they go to sleep they will wake up.
Also many people are offended by the spiritual experiences of others because it contradicts their own faith in atheism. Such people may claim not to have faith in their atheism but they obviously do believe in it.
Faith is similar but not identical to a hopeful belief. An atheist "hopefully believes" in atheism. A deeper faith exists for those who have not only a hopeful belief but actual personal spiritual experiences. We can't let others experience our stomach ache or we can't fulfil anothers hunger by eating for them therefore we can't give our spiritual experiences to another by merely telling them about it.
Do you think you need a spirtual experience in order to believe in God? Or can that experience stand on its own?
The definition of a spiritual experience is something that brings a person nearer to God. The awe and majesty of nature is a spiritual experience but it seems many atheists are in denial about it. Although I have noticed that the majority of online atheists claim to find Buddhism very fulfilling! They use the provisio that its "not a religion " yet it has temples, scriptures, prayers, rituals etc and it is also classed as a religion by every dictionary in the world.
What exactly is happening when you have a spiritual experience?
While you may feel that the awe in nature "brings one closer to God", the atheist finds no such reaction. After all, it doesn't make sense to feel closer to an imaginary creature when viewing the grand canyon or angel falls - such things happen naturally, with well known and understood reasons and there is no reason to postulate an intelligence behind them.
So it's no wonder that the "spiritual" experience doesn't have anything to do with a god to the atheist and no wonder that they deny any such feeling even though they experience the same emotional reaction. They just don't attribute it to a god, that's all.
What about the great "existential mystery" that has propelled all philosophy for millennia? How do you feel when confronted with the "existential dilemma"? Nothing?? Would that really be an honest answer.
Also, I don't think you are speaking for all atheists when you say you feel nothing when looking at the majesty and mystery of the universe. I can't imagine any sentient being not feeling something very deep within the essence of their innermost being. It's not like having a cigarette or knocking done a whiskey or placing a bet on a horse; it is far deeper. That inexplicable deepness is your soul calling to you.
what does the word GOD actually mean?
Did Paul Mc Cartney actually have a visit from Mother Mary in writing Let It Be?
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.
And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
I think your premise is wrong. If you tell people you had a spiritual experience, most people will believe that you really did experience something in your mind. But they won't all attribute it to God.
My premise is that a stomache ache and a spiritual experience are both internal and perceptible only by me and no others.
Moreover, both are the same type of belief. We don't say we have a pain, the pain is in our stomach, therefore we have a stomach ache. We simply experience a stomach ache. The belief that we have a stomach ache is therefore grounded in our (apparent) experience of it. Likewise the belief someone had a spiritual experience is not based on reason, it is grounded in their (apparent) experience of it. Apparent in both cases because the senses can be unreliable for various reasons (dreaming, hallucinating, under the influence etc).
The point being that for the subject, there is no difference between their belief they had a spiritual experience yesterday, and their belief they had a stomach ache yesterday. For the believer they are qualitatively the same.
And because experience has such a high epistemic status (beliefs grounded in experience tend to be held more strongly than beliefs formed on the basis of evidence) we do not question such beliefs unless we have a very good reason to. In fact we don't consider them beliefs, but knowledge. No one says I believe I had a stomach ache yesterday, or I believe I had toast for breakfast yesterday. Instead we say I had a stomach ache, or I had toast for breakfast yesterday. Likewise someone would not believe they had a spiritual experience yesterday. For them, they had a spiritual experience yesterday.
You can see all this in action by speaking to anyone who holds religious belief. Most Christians, for example, would say they do not simply believe in god, but they experience god in their lives. It is rare to find someone whose belief in god is formed solely on the basis of evidence. So when a Christian says they know god, they are as certain about that as someone saying they know what they had for breakfast yesterday. Such is the power of belief grounded in (apparent) experience.
When you have a stomach ache you are claiming something only for yourself that has no effect on how other people see the world. Thus it is a false comparison.
That said, many people might doubt someone when they claim an ailment if it matters to them for some reason (e.g. you are asking for time of work), malingering and hypochondria do exist.
Because a stomach ache has discernible causes that could probably be observed empirically by a medical professional. Your belief in a deity can not.
You make a valid point, although I have been through a fairly serious medical experience where doctors had no explanation.
Just for clarification, I am not necessarily linking a spiritual experience with a deity. Some states of mind are spiritual but don't require a belief in a deity, especially in Buddhism.
That said, it's easier to detect a stomach ache than a spiritual experience.
So you're not talking to a god. Just an highly emotionally charged reaction to an unusual/unexplained event then?
What is a "spiritual experience" if not talking to a god? If you can define that you may find a great many people agreeing with you.
Godhead, Holy Spirit, numinous, Nirvana and other terms depending on the culture all describe a similar experience as an internal, self-engulfing light that triggers elation or rapture.
So, you are saying that "elation and rapture" equals a "spiritual experience"? Atheists contend that these are merely human emotions and do not prove that a god or god exists. All people may experience these emotions regardless of whatever god or gods that they believe in. Yes, atheists can also experience these emotions without believing in the existence of a god or gods.
So, yes, I believe you are experiencing "spiritual" emotions, but I don't believe that emotional responses to beauty or complicated math or even "faith healing" equals proof that a god or gods exist. It simply means that you are experiencing emotional feelings, nothing more.
Not at all. I am saying that elation and rapture are the emotional responses to the purely spiritual part of the experience, i.e., Nirvana.
Skipping the religious jargon, it seems that "internal, self-engulfing light that triggers elation or rapture" is the meaning that you assign to an event called "spiritual".
Given that, I'd have to say that the large majority of the population has spiritual events in their lives. Perhaps during sex, perhaps viewing nature, perhaps in a dream. Maybe in a release from stress, or with the aid of certain drugs. All are known to produce those feelings.
What about facing the "existential dilemma" itself? Do you acknowledge there is any such existential dilemma?
If you acknowledge there are lesser rapturous experiences and you also acknowledge that there is in fact an existential dilemma then you are practically admitting you have understood something about your soul and you have left the Wilderness. Wilderness. Are you perhaps another one of the many "atheist Buddhist"? The majority of atheists here admit to a fondness for the Buddhist faith; perhaps you are embracing that faith?
No, I don't really see any existential dilemma. I don't know enough about buddhism (nothing, really) to embrace it.
Perhaps you need to do some extra curricula activity in this area as everyone is faced with the existential dilemma unless they're in a coma. Then again some comatose patients do recall periods of actual inner consciousness.
Therefore unless you are lacking consciousness you must be aware of your own existence.
Are you aware of existence?
Being aware of the questions and deciding that they create a "dilemma" are two very different things. Mankind has the ability to come up with unlimited numbers of questions without answers, usually because the questions very often make assumptions that are not true.
For example, the question of why we are here or the purpose of life. Both pre-supposes an intelligence that created us, but that supposition is false and thus the question unanswerable. A "dilemma" only if that supposition is taken as fact, then.
No, the dilemma is refered to by atheist philosophers as well. It's common knowledge. I'm surprised you didn't know that.
Anyway you know you exist so that's a good start. Babysteps. For a minute I thought you were in some other mind state.
Not so fast. Does a biological, electrochemical machine, producing "feedback" on itself really exist? Electrochemical feedback. Ghost in the machine at best. Even if emergent, it is still contrived and limited by time. Does Socrates exist? Not any more. A man must prove their existence to God.
If we put an electric guitar against an amplifier, it may start to feedback. Does that make it a musician? Perhaps a human is more intricate or elaborate, but a strict empiricist or materialist, is reduced to such a comparison. If one lives by the materialism sword, one falls by the materialism sword.
"A man must prove their existence to God."
Why? Does not the creator of an object know that it exists? More reasonable is that a god must prove it's existence to a man.
Reality appears to be existing, although I am not an impartial observer. Yet, we are not talking about reality, or assumed objects that are presumably within reality. An abductor has taken the materialists hostage. It is not unreasonable that concerned parties require proof of life. Life. Autonomy. Independence. To be. Extant. Existing.
Alas I have Netzero and limited data. Take care.
It appears to me that materialism is a tomb or a womb.
And that theism is a womb of imagination. Comforting, it is, to know that father is watching, protecting and caring. That all the really hard questions are already answered with no effort on our part with a simple "God".
A red herring frozen in a block of.ice for eternity. A tomb or womb. A sad state of affairs or a potential joyous outcome. Anywho Im on My phone. But its something to reflect on or feedback on. Tomato tomatoe
I have a precedent. I did not exist and then I got born. Just like the materialist, I was born into a predicament of being in a tomb or womb. But the precedent remains. I understand it has a suggestion of hopefulness, but the precedent is still on my side. Regardless of whether or not I am "comforted" does not change the fact that either way it is looked at: tomb or womb, they both undeniably stuck. I have a precedent. Something similar happened before.
I can find no great dilemma in the question of the purpose of man. As "purpose" requires an intelligence, and there is none outside man, it becomes apparent that mans purpose is whatever he chooses to make it. No dilemma at all no matter how hard the philosopher tries to make one.
What if the person goes to a couple of doctors and they take x-rays or perform tests and determine the cause of the stomach ache is likely caused by an ulcer? Then the person wakes up and realizes that it was all just a very realistic dream? Or the doctors find an ulcer and the person never had a stomach ache, the ulcer never bothered them, yet was lying to get pain medication? Furthermore there's a notion that things are only true if they are observed? I assure you that there are truths unknown and indifferent to what an empiricist believes. There appears to be an inherent logic to reality, otherwise our conversation is pointless. One plus one is two, whether 10 doctors observe it or not. One plus one is two, regardless if anyone is lying or dreaming. The truth stands on it's own. The underlying logic is undeniable. We are just observers of something that is logical and is actualizing.
A spiritual experience has far greater implications than a stomach ache. You saying that you had a spiritual experience relating to God implies that there's a God. You saying you have a stomach ache implies that maybe you ate too much for lunch. Most people aren't interested in debating over if you had a suitable quantity of food, whereas the God debate is kind of a big one.
The stomach ache is very specific to you and your body and does not assert any philosophical or religious beliefs. It's just a temporary physical state. No one has any reason to argue it.
The difference is that you can BOTH believe and factually have a stomach ache. Because you can factually prove that a stomach exists.
You cannot prove that a "spiritual experience" exists factually. There is no hard evidence - like an actual stomach. There is no such thing as a "spirit". It is only a concept, it's not a THING!
You can only believe that you are experiencing an ephemeral concept. You cannot say it is a fact, Look up the definition of a "fact".
I didn't say there is a spirit. I said there is a spiritual experience.
You don't know factually that I have a stomach ache. Only I know it.
And that is why I don't believe you are having a "spiritual experience" - because YOU are the only one that can say that about yourself.
I can believe you are having a stomach ache because I can run lab tests and MRIs and Ultrasounds and palpate the area and listen to bowel sounds through a stethoscope and quite possibly find a CAUSE for a factual stomach ache.
I cannot do these things to verify your "spiritual experience".
The Incompleteness Theorem proves science can't answer all questions.
There are many atheists who can't seem to accept this particularly when discussing such forum topics as this. Science science science marsha marsha marsha same same!
Atheists need to come to grips with the proven limitations of science. Stephen Hawking totally accepts the Incompleteness Theorem why can't you?
When did I or any other scientist say that we can answer every question? Science is a METHOD of STUDY! Science studies the natural world to come up with explanaitions and solutions. Only theists are trying to fuse science with religion in order to prove that santa clause or god exists. Keep trying, I give you A for effort. But science really isn't interested in what you BELIEVE.
Other relevant questions:
What is spirit? what is god?
What are the definitions of god, God, spirit and Spirit?
Why is it bad to have many gods ...
but ONE God is fine?
If that one God is nothing but a concept, how can we love, be devoted / committed to a CONCEPT?
and WHY should we be devoted to a concept?
When Christians say one can be "saved," what does that mean?
And saved from what ... committing sins?
What if a person likes committing sins and doesn't see anything wrong with it on a logical level?
like adultery, theft, cheating in business or politics, etc.
Ok. We're getting somewhere. One of the things science can't fully study is the spiritual realm and philosophy. Therefore it's impossible to judge others who have had real spiritual experiences.
Are you still practicing Buddhism? .
No, I do not "practice" any sort of religion. Where do you get that idea? I am a scientist - career, and an atheist - quickly becoming anti-theist because of people like you who keep insisting that you know what I am supposed to do and think. You know nothing and you don't want to learn anything either.
Getting back to my last post: you agree science can't answer everything (re Godels theorem ) so all I'm saying is that spiritual matters can't be FULLY understood by science. Agree?
PS you told me once or twice you didnt miind getting into an atheist version of Bhuddism. Remember??
by Chasuk5 years ago
I'm an atheist, yet I'm open-minded enough to acknowledge that God might exist. If you are a theist, are you open-minded enough to acknowledge that He might not?
by wilsonallen016 years ago
Hi guys,I am suffering from stomach ache. It is paining like anything and it is not continuous. I can feel it after regular interval of time. and most important is that I am feeling this pain just below the left lung....
by Nicole Canfield5 years ago
What is your most spiritual experience with the Divine? Whether you believe in the gods or a god and a goddess or god...what was your most spiritual moment when you knew that you heard the voice of god or goddess or you...
by Scott Bateman9 months ago
I believe God exists because of my own spiritual experiences and the experiences of millions of other people over thousands of years of human history.But stating that God exists immediately makes people jump to...
by James Q smith8 years ago
Just a question, but it would seem if there really were no God, then Atheists couldn't exist. Is Atheism a religion? They definitely seem to be unified by a common belief.
by Brittany Williams3 years ago
Atheism only means the lack of a belief in God. Why is it so hard for Christians to realize that we dismiss their religion for the same reasons that they dismiss all other religions? It doesn't make us horrible people,...
Copyright © 2017 HubPages Inc. and respective owners.
Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.
HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc.
HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.