How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
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30-11-2012, 09:13 AM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
Booze.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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30-11-2012, 09:18 AM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
Hallucination.

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30-11-2012, 09:54 AM (This post was last modified: 30-11-2012 09:59 AM by Vosur.)
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
Their visions are merely anecdotal experience. There is no way to verify or falsify the claim that they have had them, so I generally do not care about them all that much. Sure, you can attempt to give a believer a plausible explanation, but as has been demonstrated by a certain Calvinist, one can simply assert that the explanations are not good enough for your personal experience ad infinitum. It's a waste of time.

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30-11-2012, 10:20 AM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
What's sad, culturally, is that if I claim to have visions of smurfs, it's considered a mental illness. If I say I have visions of a god, it's acceptable. Sam Harris has a funny quote about this line of thinking:

“The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one
occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to
God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I
fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more
ridiculous or offensive.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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30-11-2012, 10:29 AM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
My brother had a pretty serious car accident, a long time ago. His head basically went through the windshield, then back into the car. Many cuts and abraisions. Blood everywhere. He told me that he heard a voice say, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you." He swears it wasn't the driver or anyone else, but very well could have been, and with what he had just experienced, he may not have been hearing or thinking clearly.

But I wouldn't ever tell him "it wasn't what you thought". He wouldn't believe me, first of all [which would cause a rift between us], but it seems to give him hope. I care more about my brother than to cause issues. Perhaps someday he will come to the conclusion that it wasn't what he thought it was.

But yes, people will do and say MANY things [in the church environment] to gain favor with their peers. To be one who has "had an incredible experience with god" CAN be quite the religious ego boost. Remember that piousness is important to many church goers, and when I was young [in my christian days], the girls were always looking for someone who would be "the spiritual head of the family". I was dating a very pious girl and knowing that SHE wanted me to be more closer to god [I was in my "questioning god" phase, a couple years prior to de-converting], I attempted to BE a better "spiritual head" figure. Down deep, I was conflicted, and felt nothing when attempting it, . . . . but realistically, I was addicted to the sex. Yeah!
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30-11-2012, 10:52 AM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
Wishful thinking.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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30-11-2012, 11:07 AM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
Does anyone remember the old Polaroid One Step cameras? This was back in the days of film cameras and the pictures would eject from the camera immediately and develop automatically in about a minute.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine told me about a shrine where Mary was supposedly appearing and people could take "miraculous pictures" where images would appear in the pictures that weren't there when you took them. The images were things like angels or holy objects. My friend had supposedly taken some of these and for months I repeatedly asked him to bring some to school and show me. He never did. Today, I believe he lied and didn't really have any. However, some people really were taking these pictures because I ended up going to that shrine myself. I was told only the Polaroid cameras would work. Later, when I had given up my faith, I realized why. These Polaroid pictures sometimes had imperfections that would look like light in abstract shapes. By coincidence or imagination (like the Rorschach inkblot) one could sometimes see faces or other things in the blemishes.

I believe many "miracles" can be explained this way - a combination of a lie, exaggeration, and/or honestly just seeing only what one wants to see in a situation that has a perfectly rationale explanation. And visions of a god probably stems from the same type of thing.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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30-11-2012, 12:40 PM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
I don't think every person speaking in tongues consciously knows they're faking it, I think many really believe they are due to a combination of mass delusion and emotional reasons to want to do so.

As for visions, hallucinations happen for many reasons and it's been shown to provide evidence for "hauntings," so why not religious experiences, since they aren't really that different. Things like magnetic fields, power of suggestion, etc can induce ghost sightings, so why not sightings of the virgin mary?

And just like the ghost people, I think many religious people are not consciously lying, they fervently believe what happened really happened and really was a religious experience. They are probably not lying, but they are mistaken/confused, or else the rest of us would have the same experience and it would be repeatable and verifiable.

That, and the brain doesn't remember things perfectly. A shadow from the curtains in a dark room is remembered as a human figure, then the brain edits in that it was actually Jesus himself, and it's remembered that way because it makes the person feel special and important.
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30-11-2012, 01:31 PM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
(30-11-2012 08:55 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  The brain has evolved to make shit up.

That's just what the brain does, its kinda like its job and shit. Wink

(30-11-2012 08:55 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  It's not surprising people have visions, what is surprising is that more people don't have visions.

They do, they just don't recognize 'em as such. Tongue

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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30-11-2012, 02:41 PM
RE: How do you explain believers' "visions" of god?
(30-11-2012 04:02 AM)amav.eram Wrote:  I did in fact have very subjective personal experiences on three occasions during my Christian life: I experienced a voice speaking in tongues saying what I interpreted to be a scriptural verse, I had some quite strange experiences with so called demonic possession in which parts of my body went numb...so that is why I have not asked the question of why I didn't experience such things.

Now I'm confused. If you have had 3 such experiences, and yet you're able to rationalize them as not being actual encounters with god, then why the original post? Are you just trying to figure out why other people have similar experiences but they are unable to recognize them as non-god experiences?

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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