Being "Led" by God
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25-10-2012, 02:11 PM
RE: Being "Led" by God
(25-10-2012 01:23 PM)AmishLatinJew Wrote:  Hello onedream, and welcom to TTA.



As far as that voice... most people call it a conscience. Part of our evolution. We are able to rationalize beyond the basic instincts of survival.

Hope this helps to some extent, know that nothing i mention here is meant with any malcontent or grudge. Just honest opinion.


Hmmm...interesting. "Conscience."

Very good. Thanks for the perspective.
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25-10-2012, 02:12 PM
RE: Being "Led" by God
(25-10-2012 01:36 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  Why would god answer that couple's prayer to raise cash, but not answer the equally sincere prayer of a young boy praying to god to make his father stop coming home drunk and beating him and his mother, his prayers for someone to come and take him away, to someplace safe. Why are his prayers ignored, but the prayers of a couple of undoubtedly very nice, but not particularly needy middle-class adults are answered?


There are three answers.
1. God is a sadist
2. God doesn't answer prayers
3. There is no god


Good point.
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25-10-2012, 02:17 PM
RE: Being "Led" by God
(25-10-2012 02:03 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  Amyb said "humans are pattern seeking animals". We had to be. Even if you reject evolution, seeking patterns has allowed us to rise to heights of civilization and conquer our environment. Egyptians (and all other civilizations with major rivers) needed to know when the Nile would flood and when it would - seasonal flooding happens every year and crops need to be planted and harvested between floods rather than during them. All over the world, farming relies on observing seasons, weather patterns, etc. - get it right and you have food to eat all winter, but get it wrong and you may starve to death. Incidentally, it was not necessary to keep track of when the rivers didn't flood, so our ancestors learned to track events that matter and ignore irrelevant non-events.

Those of our ancestors who were good at it survived and bred children who shared this capacity. Those who were bad at it starved and didn't breed children who were bad at it. (that's simplified, but basically that's how it works).

This is why YOU, today, are good at recognizing patterns - your ancestors needed that skill to survive and they were good at it so you are, too. It's also why your brain really doesn't keep track of the non-events that don't fit into observable patterns.

So you pray for stuff, and sometimes that stuff comes true, and your pattern-recognizing brain jumps all over it and sees the pattern and forms the opinion that prayer works. But when you pray for stuff and sometimes nothing happens at all, your pattern-recognizing brain ignores that because it doesn't fit into any pattern and is treated as inconsequential.

Perfectly normal.

For example, I'm an atheist, I was born that way and never attended church even one day of my life. Just last week my sprinkler system stopped working. I still don't know why. I specifically told several people that my lawn was getting a big brown and I sure hope it rains soon because I am going to have to wait a couple paychecks to fix that. This week it has rained an unusual amount for this area at this time of year. Now, it's easy for my pattern-recognizing brain to say "Wow, I talked to my friends and it came true." In fact, there have been other events in my life where I talked to my friends and stuff came true.

But, there is a cause-and-effect relationship that I have to consider. My friends certainly did not cause it to rain. I can clearly understand that. So there is a pattern here, and my brain likes the pattern, but my rational mind rejects it as extremely unlikely to be a plausible expression of reality.

However, this is not possible with God. He is a supernatural magical being. So if I had told God I wanted rain, and then it rained, I would not be able to reject that because supernatural magical god supposedly COULD make it rain, so it would fit the pattern and be believable to my pattern-recognizing mind. Assuming, of course, that I believed in God, which I don't, but this is how it works for people who believe in God - any pattern that links a prayer to a normal event that could have and would have happened without God's intervention still gets credited to God because he's so supernatural and so magical that he can do anything and the believer accepts that he does do everything, so all coincidences get attributed to God's Will.

Back to your garage sale, you would have gone to that sale regardless of whether that guy prayed or not. I'm betting this was not your first yard sale. I'm further betting that you heard no Godly voice in your head leading you right to that sale, saw no stars in the eastern sky leading you there, etc. You just happened to want to browse a garage sale and that guy happened to pray for a means to get his word out. I suspect he prays for lots of things and that this was just one prayer out of thousands, or millions. Probably not that big a surprise that he prayed for this. And this visit to a random garage sale was probably also not unusual for you and not that big a surprise that you were at a garage sale.

Could it have been God guiding you there? Maybe. Could it have just been a coincidence, like when I wanted rain and it rained? Definitely.

So, we know it could DEFINITELY be a coincidence and could only MAYBE be God (even if God turns out to be real, He might not have deliberately intervened in your Free Will by forcing you to go there, so it could have still been a coincidence). Since we know this, there is no reason to attribute magic, supernatural forces, God, or any other outside influence to what was more likely to just be a coincidence - except that pattern-recognizing part of your brain really wants to, and is designed to, and has evolved to do so.

And finally, I might suggest one more thing: You, at some level, deep down, aren't sure you believe in God. That was easy, because you have admitted as much on this same thread. But what I want to suggest is that you have had those same doubts for a very long time, probably longer than you realize. You have always been looking for proof, "seeking" God, trying to find something that can prove your deep-down internal doubts. That pattern-recognition part of your brain has been feeding you all kinds of God patterns for all of your life, comforting you by falsely confirming your own bias ("God exists and he loves me and guides me and takes care of me") whenever it can.

Recently, the rational part of your brain has started to reject this false comfort. It's not quite so blindly, gullibly, accepting that all these God patterns are true. I am quite certain that when you said in your first post on this thread "I've got to know." that this was your cry for help, your mind realizing that your comfort system is fading away and trying to reach out for a new one, a real one: the comfort of knowing that you are not alone and that other people, lots of people, have exactly the same experiences and, like you, recognize that there is an alternative explanation that is better and more real than "God did it".

That's why your faith is slipping - not because of new doubts, but because of new acceptance that the same old false comfort isn't so comforting any more and those old doubts are not being swept away by the false comfort like they used to be.

Please let me know if I've read you wrong.

Awareness is the first step - be aware that your mind is building patterns that aren't really there.
Honesty is the second step - recognize the doubts that you have always had and stop burying them with false comfort.
Reality is the third step - take the first two and the third will happen automatically.

I think you're well on the way to reality.


WOW...WOW...WOW.
What a great analysis. Brilliant.

Thank you so much. Dang, that's good stuff.
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25-10-2012, 02:23 PM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2012 02:38 PM by onedream.)
RE: Being "Led" by God
You guys are really helping here.

Ok...here's some other weird stuff that happened to me.

And we could be getting over into "Power of the mind and ESP" here.

I went forward at a prayer meeting at a church and got prayer for something. I felt a physical sensation like "warm electricity" shooting through my body.

What was that?
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25-10-2012, 02:30 PM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2012 02:36 PM by kingschosen.)
RE: Being "Led" by God
(25-10-2012 12:47 PM)onedream Wrote:  I'm new to the journey here. I recently began exploring all of the evidence FOR and Against God for myself.

I've spent over 20 years as a Christian. I'm currently in Christian radio. But I'm teetering on Deism at this point. Who knows if that will lead to atheism or not?

Here's part of what is keeping me from being an atheist: I have so many times when it appears that God comes through and provides EXACTLY what I need WHEN I need it. And...it seems like I'll regularly say a prayer and BANG it gets answered in a really uncanny way.

For instance: I went to a garage sale last Saturday. And I started talking to the couple running the garage sale. It turned out that they were doing the garage sale to raise money for a ministry they run for people who are in prison. Well, the more I heard, the more I liked. And I decided I wanted to put them on my Christian radio show as a feature ministry.

When I said that, his eyes lit up. And he said "I was just praying last night and asking God how he was going to help us get the word out that we needed support for this ministry. And I felt him say 'Don't promote yourself. I'll bring the promotion TO YOU."

It appeared to be a "divine appointment."

I've had lots of stuff happen like this too. Where I'll get a feeling or a strong sense of "Knowing" that God has said something to me. It's not a voice. It's just a feeling. Or a STRONG thought. And when it happens, I recognize it as not being something that I'm just "whipping up" myself.

Does this happen to atheists or people in religions besides Christianity? I've got to know.

Welcome- onedream

I can think of hundreds of times I "felt" like I was hearing from god or that he had come through and answered my prayers- as I look back today I can see so clearly how I only saw what I wanted to see.

I believe it is our human nature to be happy and so we see what we want to see.

I made a choice to be aware of my thoughts and actions and why I was doing what I was at any given moment, was it something I had been raised doing or believing what environment was I in at the moment & what did I spend my time doing what music had I embedded into my mind....etc.

I needed to see how it was affecting my choices and my beliefs.
Our society and culture truly do tend to led us- unless we stop and are aware.

Step away and open your eyes to what you're being influenced by- if you still want to live this way then enjoy yourself- but don't live a lie it will eat you up inside.

Take a week off and just try to live a life excepting that their is no god and that this life is it!

You may be surprised at what you may see in yourself and why you make decisions.

glad you're here!

If no change in reality can change your belief - Then your belief is not based on anything in reality
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25-10-2012, 02:33 PM
RE: Being "Led" by God
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25-10-2012, 02:39 PM
RE: Being "Led" by God
(25-10-2012 02:23 PM)onedream Wrote:  You guys are really helping here.

Ok...here's some other weird stuff that happened to me.

And we could be getting over into "Power of the mind and ESP" here.

But when I was 19, I was attending Bible college. I dreamed one night that I walked into a specific McDonalds. In the dream, there were two kids sitting at a table eating. In my dream I told them about Christ, prayed with them, & they accepted Jesus.

I woke up and thought "cool."

Two days later, I walked into that McDonalds and those two kids from my dream were sitting there. I told them about Christ and they prayed with me.

ESP? Psychic? What?

Also around the same time I went forward at a prayer meeting at a church and got prayer for something. I felt a physical sensation like "warm electricity" shooting through my body.

What was that?
As for the McDonalds, since we do not have access to the dream, we didn't experience it, we can't know it was the same kids or if you just remember it that way. Or if you happened to see 2 kids, and decide to act like you did in the dream to make it "come true." Memory, like eyewitness testimony, has been shown time and time again to be unreliable. In any case, I don't think it sounds like proof of any type of woo, especially since it was YOU who decided to do what you dreamed about after the fact. People sometimes feel the same way you felt at church while attending a concert of their favorite band.

As for the warm sensation, a lot of people get that and attribute it to religious experience. Other people get it and attribute it to things like being in love, or looking at something beautiful. I've felt a bit tingly and happy watching my old pet rabbits frolicking in the grass and playing. It isn't evidence of the supernatural; it's evidence you are emotionally affected by something. It's likely dopamine or something. I had a christian roommate who would basically appear to experience withdrawal symptoms if she didn't attend church and "be in the presence of Christ" at least three times a week.
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25-10-2012, 02:39 PM
RE: Being "Led" by God
(25-10-2012 02:23 PM)onedream Wrote:  You guys are really helping here.

Ok...here's some other weird stuff that happened to me.

And we could be getting over into "Power of the mind and ESP" here.

But when I was 19, I was attending Bible college. I dreamed one night that I walked into a specific McDonalds. In the dream, there were two kids sitting at a table eating. In my dream I told them about Christ, prayed with them, & they accepted Jesus.

I woke up and thought "cool."

Two days later, I walked into that McDonalds and those two kids from my dream were sitting there. I told them about Christ and they prayed with me.

ESP? Psychic? What?

Also around the same time I went forward at a prayer meeting at a church and got prayer for something. I felt a physical sensation like "warm electricity" shooting through my body.

What was that?
Check out Egor's thread about precognition dreams. Sleepy

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25-10-2012, 02:48 PM
RE: Being "Led" by God
I know exactly what you are talking about.

The other day I was outside muttering to my husband: Darnit, I wish I knew where you put the key to the barn door.

And wouldn't you know it, I found it just a bit later. It had fallen off it's hook and ended up in a dark corner.

Oh, I should mention my husband has been dead for 10 months now.

See how that can happen? Now, I hardly think my husband was around to hear and guide me. I just happened to be wearing my winter jacket for the first time this year and it has a flashlight in it's pocket, which I proceeded to use around the barn door looking for the key.

If I believed in an afterlife, I would take this as proof that he was watching over me. Then again, I have looked for that key for months and he didn't show it to me until now.

It's the same with prayers. I talked to an imaginary friend - my late husband. You talk to an imaginary friend - god. If the desired effect happens, we can easily fool ourselves into believing it had to do with our talking to them. But then you have to figure in the many, many times when nothing happened.

How do you reconcile that? Do you tell yourself that your imaginary friend knew better than to respond earlier, that your getting this answer now was all part of a plan?

Can't you see how silly that is?

"It's all a part of the big plan" is a great sentence. Now you never have to be responsible for your own actions, and any doubt you may have regarding your imaginary friend is wiped away. Not only that, it explains away the fact that most of the time nothing at all happens in response to prayers. And so you can go through life with your imaginary friend by your side, free of any responsibility.

You know, I was looking for a small item in a dark place. I should have gone and fetched the flashlight months ago. DUH on me!

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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25-10-2012, 03:10 PM
RE: Being "Led" by God
(25-10-2012 02:23 PM)onedream Wrote:  But when I was 19, I was attending Bible college. I dreamed one night that I walked into a specific McDonalds. In the dream, there were two kids sitting at a table eating. In my dream I told them about Christ, prayed with them, & they accepted Jesus.

I woke up and thought "cool."

Two days later, I walked into that McDonalds and those two kids from my dream were sitting there. I told them about Christ and they prayed with me.

ESP? Psychic? What?

Ahhh, personal experience. Always a tough one, mainly because the one person in life who we believe unquestioningly is ourself.

The sad thing is, that's the one person we should believe the least. Our brains play weird tricks on us all the time, warping and twisting our memory in ways we can't even begin to realize.

Consider that every thought and memory in your head is just electricity. Everything you see is light hitting your eyes and then electricity travels along your optic nerve to your brain to store an electrical version of that image. Same with hearing, smell, touch, etc. Your brain is just an electrical device in your skull with no eyes, ears, nose of its own. It also has no actual sense of time, so it's really easy for the brain to scramble the "time-stamp" on any particular memory, associating it with something else by mistake. It's also easy for the brain to scramble images, sounds, smells, etc. - to our brain those are all the same thing, electrical impulses. (yes, I know that's oversimplified).

There's a story out there about a Judge who often took cases home with him at night. He had a courier who picked up the files every night and took them to his office. One night he gets visited by the ghost of the courier who had died earlier that day. He sees the ghost, has a brief conversation, and then the ghost goes away. He recalls it vividly but doesn't talk about it right away with his friends or family because he doesn't want them to think he's crazy. But he writes it down in great detail for future reference. Later he talks about it with his wife, I think. She recalls things differently, such as the courier having arrived, alive, and getting the files. The secretary remembers the files being there that next morning. In fact, the courier died in the middle of the night after delivering the judge's files. The judge reviews his notes and finds that they are dated days later than he thought they were, even though he clearly remember writing them on the day the courier died.. He eventually realized that his memory of the events was all wrong and that his mind somehow constructed a weird ghost story days after the events he wrote about - his brain altered his real memory giving him this strange ghost memory instead and twisted what really happened to fit his fantasy, including dates and times.

I wish I could find a link to the story, it was quite informative.

I am not saying that this is what happened to you. Maybe it really happened exactly like you remember it.

Or maybe you had a dream a little bit like what really happened that was totally unrelated, any similarity was coincidence. Then later, after your real encounter at McDonald's, your brain changed your memory. Here's a possible example: you dreamed of going to a Burger King and meeting a couple, guy and girl, who talked to you about religion and told you they recently converted. Two days later you go to McDonald's and meet two guys who you actually convert. Then your brain remembers the dream and notices there are similarities and begins to do that little date and detail scrambling. It replaces the couple in your dream with the real two guys and replaces some details of the dream conversation with details of your actual encounter. Now you remember dreaming the EXACT thing that really happened.

Yes, our brains really work like that and here's why it probably reconstructed it this way:

You were in bible college, having your head filled with religion. Eating, breathing, living religion. It was the first thing you thought of in the morning and last thing you thought of at night. It was your whole life. OK, maybe not "whole life" but an immense part of it.

But, you had those doubts I mentioned in my previous post. Maybe so deep down you didn't realize they were there yet. And you had that need for your pattern-recognizing brain to comfort you and soothe those doubts so that you could justify dedicating so much of your mind, body, and soul to your studies at this bible college.

Then you had an actual event at a McDonald's that seemed similar to a dream you recently had and presto! Your brain turns the electrical impulse of the dream into a clone of the electrical impulse of the real event so that the two match and serve to confirm your faith and justify your convictions.

Most of all, it drives away those irritating doubts for a while, burying them deeper in your subconscious where they can't bother you. Now you can rest easier, doubt-free, secure in your faith and convictions. I am sure that if you think about it, that's exactly how you felt after this "psychic event" - calmer, surer, more convinced that you were doing the right thing, happier, and maybe even a little relieved.

If so, ask yourself why you were relieved - the answer might startle you.

Ultimately, it's just a survival mechanism we all use to run away from our subconscious doubts and fears, especially when those seem to threaten to overwhelm our real lives..

Or maybe you really have ESP. I'm a skeptic and like James Randi, I don't believe there is any real ESP, certainly not on this level - there is no evidence for it and lots of counter-evidence debunking it. But just because I haven't found any evidence, yet, doesn't mean it couldn't be real.

(Google James Randi if you're not familiar with him - he has offered $1,000,000 to anyone who can prove any kind of psychic ability and has had hundreds of people try to get the payday over the last few decades but they've all failed even to convince independent judges. He could set your mind at ease about ESP and psychic ability.)

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