Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
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12-04-2015, 06:14 AM
Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
How would you explain the "spiritual" experiences some people have along the lines of, to give one example, "I believe in the spiritual realm because I'll never forget...one night when I was twelve, I woke to a voice saying to check on my brother. I heard it a few times. So I went and checked on him, and it had to be an angel watching over him because he was having a medical crisis at that moment." There are multitudes of other people's stories for many other things...some sounding important and helpful, some merely finding the lost car keys or $10 or whatever.

My question is how do you explain these experiences some people have? They say it's their proof for God that will always convince them, and obviously just because someone has some unexplained incredible experience, it still doesn't provide evidence of some Abrahamic tribal deity or resolve any philosophical problems with God's existence, etc. But I am so curious how to best explain situations like I mentioned above, just to understand because it makes me wonder what happened. (But with most, it's probably impossible for another person to know). If any threads on this forum have addressed this before, please post those. Thank you!
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12-04-2015, 06:32 AM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
(12-04-2015 06:14 AM)Learner Wrote:  How would you explain the "spiritual" experiences some people have along the lines of, to give one example, "I believe in the spiritual realm because I'll never forget...one night when I was twelve, I woke to a voice saying to check on my brother. I heard it a few times. So I went and checked on him, and it had to be an angel watching over him because he was having a medical crisis at that moment." There are multitudes of other people's stories for many other things...some sounding important and helpful, some merely finding the lost car keys or $10 or whatever.

My question is how do you explain these experiences some people have? They say it's their proof for God that will always convince them, and obviously just because someone has some unexplained incredible experience, it still doesn't provide evidence of some Abrahamic tribal deity or resolve any philosophical problems with God's existence, etc. But I am so curious how to best explain situations like I mentioned above, just to understand because it makes me wonder what happened. (But with most, it's probably impossible for another person to know). If any threads on this forum have addressed this before, please post those. Thank you!

Gap filling selection bias and sample rate error. How many other people in your life have you worried about only to have nothing happen? You saw what you wanted to see. How many people did you not worry about only to find out something did happen?

50 million humans worldwide die on average every year, from everything. Humans die from stillborn, childhood disease, famine, crime. Adults too, die from disease, accident, natural disaster, crime, war and old age. That is half a billion deaths in a decade and 1 billion deaths in 20 years, on average.

Your "feeling" this is a false perception because you are not taking into account all the times nothing happens or something happens to others you know.

I had an idiot boss who used to think by going out to smoke, that would magically cause the phone to ring. He never noticed all the times he was not interrupted or the other smoking employees who didn't get interrupted.

One day we had no calls for a couple hours and 3 people in a row ordered works pizzas. The thought there was something to it. I thought, maybe that was due to a huge TV audience where an add came on, and it was also just around lunch time anyway.

Again, he never took into account all the times that did not happen. I would have found it weird if 3 people in a row called up and asked us if we sold tires. But the fact that we were open wasn't magical at all.

Humans false perceptions is all this is. Nothing "spiritual" at all about selection bias and sample rate error.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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12-04-2015, 06:32 AM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
1. With the sheer number of things happening to so many people every day, odds are that uncanny coincidences occur. It would be strange if they didn't. Millions die without angels alerting any one

2. Subliminal perception of things that seem odd, but one is not quite aware of

3. Unreliable memory, unreliable reporting and exaggeration after the fact

4. Made up stories

Quantum Physics: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
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12-04-2015, 09:44 AM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
Many people have spiritual or religious experiences. If something like that had happened to me, I would probably not dismiss it but incorporate it and the implications into my world view. If I had a close encounter of the third kind I would accept that. That doesn't prove anything except to me. Other peoples supernatural one-offs don't prove anything to me. No factual knowledge is gained, only individual experience.

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14-04-2015, 12:40 PM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
(12-04-2015 06:14 AM)Learner Wrote:  How would you explain the "spiritual" experiences some people have along the lines of, to give one example, "I believe in the spiritual realm because I'll never forget...one night when I was twelve, I woke to a voice saying to check on my brother. I heard it a few times. So I went and checked on him, and it had to be an angel watching over him because he was having a medical crisis at that moment." There are multitudes of other people's stories for many other things...some sounding important and helpful, some merely finding the lost car keys or $10 or whatever.

My question is how do you explain these experiences some people have? They say it's their proof for God that will always convince them, and obviously just because someone has some unexplained incredible experience, it still doesn't provide evidence of some Abrahamic tribal deity or resolve any philosophical problems with God's existence, etc. But I am so curious how to best explain situations like I mentioned above, just to understand because it makes me wonder what happened. (But with most, it's probably impossible for another person to know). If any threads on this forum have addressed this before, please post those. Thank you!

Of course these type of explanations leave a lingering unease, why did I find my keys when thousands of children died from hunger today?
If this god is supposedly intervening, then why is so much suffering occurring that he does nothing about? Why does he intervene in certain trivial matters and not the big stuff?

Aside from the inherent random and capricious nature of such acts, all of these personal experiences are usually just our brains playing tricks on us. While someone is asleep, they hear someone gasping for breath, their brain; in a dream-like state provides a voice that says so-and-so needs help. They get up and check on the person and find they are having an issue. All this is, is your brain filling in gaps and trying to make sense out of something. You heard something in the next room, your brain constructed a voice in a dream to explain it. Then it turned out the sound that catalyzed the dream was related to your brain's interpretation of events-someone gasping for air=someone in trouble.

It's hard to convince someone magic doesn't exist when they want to believe in it so much.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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14-04-2015, 02:20 PM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
(12-04-2015 09:44 AM)Billy Bob Wrote:  Many people have spiritual or religious experiences. If something like that had happened to me, I would probably not dismiss it but incorporate it and the implications into my world view. If I had a close encounter of the third kind I would accept that. That doesn't prove anything except to me. Other peoples supernatural one-offs don't prove anything to me. No factual knowledge is gained, only individual experience.

yes! and also, there are many contradicting supernatural experiences from different religious viewpoints happening all at the same time, all the time. they can't all be right, but they can all be wrong...
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15-04-2015, 02:24 PM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
In most situations, I chalk things up to the choices and decisions of individuals. Often times we may react in distinct "seemingly" random ways, that can often be traced back to learned behavior over time. It doesn't have to lessen the wonder with which we perceive our experiences, but in my view, we can rationally be amazed by the workings of the universe, in both its known and unknown aspects.
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21-04-2015, 09:32 PM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
Well not all of them are proven wrong but with the contradictions some of them at least are proven right and common spiritual experiences like seeing the future in dreams should honestly be considered and I find that, that proves that there is indeed a supernatural. I am not sure why instances like that are not put into the light when they are common compared to other supernatural testimonies. In fact even atheists have had de javu.

Scientists should honestly study phenomena like that and other phenomena like people getting their DNA changed and brain neuro-transmission increased from meditating and prayer.
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21-04-2015, 11:49 PM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
The neurosciences are definitely an interesting landscape. Some of the surface level changes, like our BPM/heart rate slowing from meditation, prayer, or deep concentration, can be attributed to increased focus. Beyond those effects, I would need to lean upon the understanding of those who's field of expertise this is. My passions lie more with cosmology and philosophy, though I do find all areas of science fascinating.
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22-04-2015, 12:31 AM
RE: Unexplained "spiritual" experiences
(21-04-2015 09:32 PM)Augustine17 Wrote:  Well not all of them are proven wrong but with the contradictions some of them at least are proven right and common spiritual experiences like seeing the future in dreams should honestly be considered and I find that, that proves that there is indeed a supernatural. I am not sure why instances like that are not put into the light when they are common compared to other supernatural testimonies. In fact even atheists have had de javu.
I have experienced deja vu. All it is is a *feeling* that you know what's gonna happen next. Even if what you thought happen did happen (as in seeing the future in dreams) - it doesn't mean anything. We *all* possess a limited ability to predict things - a vivid imagination. It's hardly surprising that sometimes we get it right. Seeing it in a dream - a dream is still generated from your brain, with your thoughts and memories in it. So even in a dream you might "see" something which later becomes reality.

Let's say you're super worried about your family business going under and you're thinking about it a lot. You might have several dreams about it. In one of them somehow you get bailed out. The next day you wake up feeling hopeful and remember the dream. A few weeks later the business is bought by a competitor for a good price. You remember the dream. "Wooo, God was looking out for us!". It's meaningless.

Quote:Scientists should honestly study phenomena like that and other phenomena like people getting their DNA changed and brain neuro-transmission increased from meditating and prayer.
There have been many studies involving reputable people who claim to have supernatural abilities. Nothing beyond the placebo effect has ever been found.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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