God Experiences?
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04-05-2010, 03:55 PM
God Experiences?
So, I think many of you here are former theists, myself included. I'm curious if any of you had any experiences of God during your time as a theist, and if so, if you have logical explanations for them now.

I do have one in particular that I've never forgotten, and I often drift back to it.

It's nothing fantastic, but when I was 13 or so I had gone to a party and a friend of mine had mentioned at some point during the night that he wanted to kill himself. I wasn't sure if he meant it or not, and I was very, very worried. For a reason I don't remember, I was staying at my grandmother's that night. I prayed and prayed to God that my friend would be ok. Finally I asked, in my head, for God to give me a sign that things were going to be ok.

In my memory, at that instant, the television that was in front of me snapped off. My heart jumped - but even then I was skeptical, as my grandmother's cable was prone to going out. Honestly I can't remember if it was just the signal or the power to the tv that went out. I said "ok, sorry to doubt, but if that was you (God), please turn it back on." In my memory, the power or signal was restored.

The rational explanation of course, is coincidence. The power/signal went off and then came back on, which is a common occurrence that just happened to occur when I had asked for a sign (assuming that it happened exactly as I remember it). I didn't ask for a specific sign, just "a sign," and so the television going off and on was that signal. Not to mention I was in a worried and heightened emotional state. I do know it was an old tv, and there was no remote control to make it do that. Anyway, I held on to this one instance for years as proof that God existed, when I would doubt. I still think of it fairly often. Now, I know that memories are not always reliable, and I wonder if there's any of it that I changed in my mind to make it more grand. The friend was fine, btw, mostly a teenage over-reaction to something someone had said. And of course, the fact that everything did turn out ok reinforced my experience even more.

All that said, even now, my mind wants to creep back to that one instance at times.

So, anyone care to analyze my experience or share their own?

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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04-05-2010, 04:19 PM
RE: God Experiences?
I don't know about analyzing your experience - maybe tomorrow, my brain is fizzling right now - but I personally never had one.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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04-05-2010, 08:57 PM
 
RE: God Experiences?
I can't recall any specific incidences where something occurred and I thought god may be behind it. I do know of times when I would get angry or upset about something and look up to the sky to ask god 'why' (my answer would come, but with realization that I was answering my own question).

There was a situation in my life that almost made me go BACK to being a theist, though.

It was April 2007.

I had started a new job as a Project Coordinator for an insurance company. I was excited to get this job because the one I held before that was the most BORING role I had ever been in. Prior to that, I was laid off my first full time job (after 7 years), so I think my emotions were still a bit high. Although I had been in my new PC role for less than 1 month, my boss was already proving to be the worst I had ever had. She was bossy, overbearing, and impatient. She took credit when it wasn't her's to take, and she had no issues with screaming at you in front of others. The role was a step back for me...I wasn't qualified yet to be a project manager, but was far from qualified as a Business Analyst. My strategy was to go 'down' a step on the logical career ladder, but landed in a big pile of horse dung as a result.

Not only was my stress work related, but personal on two different fronts. My wife was pregnant with our second son. During the routine 18 week ultrasound, the radiologist saw something in the image that suggested a cleft lip (possibly palate). The news was devastating to me and my wife (moreso my wife), so the stress level was quite high. I did research into the condition and 'hoped' that it wouldn't be a worst case scenario (cleft lip AND palate, which would make breast feeding, my wife's choice to perform, very difficult). We were booked in to a larger hospital in the city where a more extensive ultrasound was performed. The technician there gave us a bit more assurance that he didn't 'see' the palate being involved, but could only say what he saw in the pictures. What worried my wife most was the fact that less than 1% of cases were tied to Down Syndrome. Any possibility was a scary possibility. She had foregone the amniocentesis test (testing for Downs) earlier on. If she had gone for it, we would have had confirmation of whether this was the case or not. Having to deal with the stress of not knowing for sure was taxing on both of us.

Also at this time, my first son, who was about 3 1/2, came down with a very bad stomach bug. He had been vomiting for a few days, hardly keeping anything down (not even water). I was hoping that it would 'ride itself out' as most stomach bugs do, but this one was persistent. One night, I saw something dark in his vomit and realized it was blood. That was the last straw. I took him to the hospital, where he recovered (thankfully) after staying there for 3 days. He had dropped in body weight due to dehydration. He looked so skinny that it scared me almost to death.

So, where am I going with this?

While we were in the hospital for the stomach bug, I had also come down with the same illness. It took a lot out of me. I couldn't keep anything down, and my energy level was so depleted, I could hardly walk down the hospital corridor. I remember sitting in his room, finally breaking down, looking up to the ceiling and saying "please, god. Help my son. Make him better. I swear I will believe if you just help him!"

Sad

Well, after the few days we were in the hospital, my son got better. He started eating again, and his body weight had gone back up. I had healed as well, but it was never about me...I wanted him to be okay.

It was later on (after my second son was born) that I came to realize that what my first one had was the Rotavirus. The symptoms, the severity...it all fit. And...I realized that it was the help from the hospital, the nurses, the doctors who tried every test they could think of,...and time...that healed my son.

And, when my second son was born in July that year, he was born with a cleft lip only, a partial one at that. Although he had to have surgery later that year to correct it (yet another heartbreaking story), the point is that I had learned a lot about genetics and all the good things doctors do, not just in Canada, but around the world to help children with these types of craniofacial problems. And, my son did not have Downs. Smile

As for my job? Well, I kept searching for a new role as I was working for Satan and her minions Smile. Needless to say, I found my current job in November of 2007 (about the time of my second son's surgery). I persisted and finally found my salvation.

The point of my story? I showed weakness when I prayed to god in the hospital.

I was desparate to have my son be okay again, I was desparate to understand why my second son had to go through life with a cleft (what did we do wrong?), I was desparate to understand how a boss like mine could be the way she was without any remorse (BTW, she was a devout Catholic!)

I was desparate to make sense of everything happening at that time.

Everything had an explanation, it was up to me to find out the root cause for all of these issues.

1. My job choice was my impatience, albeit forced (I needed money, so anything coming my way was a 'good' choice).
2. My son had the rotavirus...I did everything I could to help him, so far as taking him to the hospital.
3. My second son had a cleft lip. Genetics plays a very big part in birth defects, whether they occur in your family or not. Plus, environmental variables (which could be any one of 1000's) could have played a part in this.

I came to realize that god had nothing to do with the positives that resulted. Sometimes, bad things do happen to good people. But it is up to the good people to deal with those bad things as well as they can humanly possible. I'm all the better now, thanks to those 3 situations. It is from this that I now realize why I disbelieve in any gods existing.

You can take life and try to live it like a fantasy, or you can take life and just live it.

Thanks for listening.
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07-05-2010, 08:38 PM
 
RE: God Experiences?
No. As of today I have never seen anything that provides evidence for the 'divine'.
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10-05-2010, 08:47 AM
RE: God Experiences?
superman - Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you and your family made it through all of those things. It is amazing what modern medicine and hard work can achieve, all without the help of any supernatural beings. It's funny that I often hear religious people chastising others for "only going to God when things are bad." It's obvious that when times are bad, and people get desperate, is when divine intervention seems most plausible.

Ceryle - I am assuming you were never raised as a believer. When you are, like I was, you are taught to lean on God and seek him and see him in all things. So, as a believer, you start to seek out these experiences that I'm talking about. Which of course, primes your mind to find them. Anyway, glad you have a logical, rational mind. It's torturous at times to work your way out of belief.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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10-05-2010, 09:29 AM
 
RE: God Experiences?
Can I just point out, just because you saw something doesn't mean it actually happened.

I know this sounds very strange, but I mean in a literal sense.

When I was a young child I was deathly afraid of the dark and the inherit monsters which came with it. On one occasion my dad was putting me to bed and I was dreading it, I hated sleeping alone.

I was so frightened in a cold sweat, fear truly had its grasp on me. As my father was trying to calm me down I saw a ghostly figure pop it's head through the wall behind my dads arm. It looked so vividly real in that instance, needless to say I didn't get a goods night sleep knowing there was a ghost in the walls watching me.

How do I know it didn't happen today? Well that ghost happened to be one of the mean ghosts from "Casper the friendly ghost". Yet in my young age I was terrified of this ghost.



I'm just saying immense fear [or perhaps immense faith] may actually cause you to hallucinate.

When people claim to have "saw God" I believe them. They may have actually seen him with their own eyes. Yet our eyes can deceive us as can our minds.
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10-05-2010, 04:43 PM
 
RE: God Experiences?
"I'm just saying immense fear [or perhaps immense faith] may actually cause you to hallucinate.

When people claim to have "saw God" I believe them. They may have actually seen him with their own eyes. Yet our eyes can deceive us as can our minds."

Yes, they hallucinated or saw something that wasn't what it truly was. They 'saw' something, but it obviously wasn't a god.
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10-05-2010, 11:29 PM
 
RE: God Experiences?
My friend isn't a believer in God yet has the idea ghosts exist.

He swore that one night when he awoke there was a black figure standing over him, watching him. This is what sparked his belief, actually seeing a figure.

Yet I told him my story and asked "What's more likely, the fuzzy black soul of the dead has decided to scare the crap out of you, or you where just seeing things?"

Thankfully he agrees.



I will tell you a ridiculous story that his girlfriend sees as a 'divine act of god'. Apparently a local boy had died due to a disease at their local [unqualified] medical center. They where holding a funeral for him at the school, at one stage they released a set of helium balloons and watched them fly up to the sky.

At that moment the clouds parted and the balloon traveled towards the hole in the sky, everyone watched gods work in awe.

I'm don't know too much about weather systems yet I can predict that the parting of the clouds would have created some form of pressure difference attracting the balloon. They didn't mention all the other balloons which headed straight for the cloud, why didn't god save him in the first place? etc.
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11-05-2010, 07:28 AM
 
RE: God Experiences?
Ya...divine acts have always been rather obscure in their nature. Instead of helping millions by providing uncontaminated water, making it impossibly resistant to waterborne microbes; I shall instead manifest one of my pantheons gods upon a piece of toast.
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11-05-2010, 08:52 PM
RE: God Experiences?
Well, this isn't really divine, and I never made the jump that gods exists, but there was a point in times when I believed my house was haunted. When I was a young child, sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night. I would see shadow figures wondering around my house. I got scared to the point that I didn't dare move. I didn't want to tip them off, lest I be dragged off to hell. Anyway, I was convinced my house was haunted, and that spirits roamed the earth. This continued until I was around 12. I was watching TV when they started talking about sleep paralysis and hallucination. Well, the cat got out of the bag, no ghosts, no spirits, no need to fearing for my life when I go to sleep.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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