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OfflineLordPeter
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Registered: 10/04/01
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Christian Spiritual Experiences
    #476889 - 12/02/01 08:05 AM (15 years, 11 days ago)

Hey people :)

I am wondering what people think about this -

My sister attended an "Alpha" course, which is basically this course that's been running to introduce people into Christianity - which, apparently, is very successful.

Anyway, basically, she had what she described as a profound spiritual experience, a feeling of overwhelming love, together with visual light, etc etc. It produced a lot feelings and caused her to cry for long time afterwards, and now she is really turning to the Christian faith.

Now - Myself, Im not a Christian, and strongly believe against the idea that you have to accept that there was a Dude called Jesus, who was GODs son - and the only way to eternal life is to believe this fact, blar blar, etc. Fail to believe in Jesus and you are destined to eternal misery in hell, (or something like that;)

My question is - Surely a human being can have a spiritual experience, in a Christian surrounding, in a christian context, yet the spiritual experience was not caused by GOD (in the christian context), or the "Holy Spirit" as Christians call it - surely a response from the feelings and spirtual surroundings she was in?

I have said that Human beings have been capable of having spiritual experiences since the dawn of time, and it certainly doesnt mean that Christianity is the true religion. I was particularly referring to spiritual experiences through psychedelic chemicals..

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I Don't want to insult any christians on here (after all, you are all generally nice people;) but I personally dont think a spiritual experience shows any validity of a Christian GOD.

Your ideas would be much appreciated :)

Peter


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Anonymous

Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: LordPeter]
    #476892 - 12/02/01 08:24 AM (15 years, 11 days ago)

Spiritual experiances come about when you find them within yourself... christianity, like all religions, is just one way of guiding yourself to that experience.


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OfflineTimeleech
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: LordPeter]
    #476924 - 12/02/01 10:08 AM (15 years, 11 days ago)

>My question is - Surely a human being can have a spiritual experience, in a Christian surrounding, in a christian context, yet the spiritual experience was not caused by GOD (in the christian context), or the "Holy Spirit" as Christians call it - surely a response from the feelings and spirtual surroundings she was in?

Yes, I would think so. But if anybody has a spiritual experience in Christian surroundigs, and a christian context, well, for the experiencer that could be as close you get to proof I think...

People have religious experiences in all kinds of surroundings, and they generally derive the meaning of it from the context. Shamans often refer to the spirit of the magical plants because that's where they get their experiences. Some would say about your sister's experience that it was some kind of mass hysteria (which might not be as negative as the name suggests), or mass hypnose/trance/suggestion (which are all just different words for more or less the same thing).

They all seem to enter som kind of trance, so I think most of these experiences are a mass-suggestion, as the experience is steered by the authority figure of the sect.
Just a paranoid thought: Do you think sects and the like could use some drugs to induce these experiences in people?


--------------------
--
Eternally boggled, flummoxed, bewildered and surprised.
theophagy.org


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InvisibleWorld Spirit
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences *DELETED* [Re: Anonymous]
    #476978 - 12/02/01 12:30 PM (15 years, 11 days ago)

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Anonymous

Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: World Spirit]
    #477003 - 12/02/01 12:55 PM (15 years, 11 days ago)

So basically you are saying that I can seek, but I cannot have that spiritual experience unless God decides that I am deserving of it?

And I don't really care for my previous statement either, because any experience I've had was quite unexpected... but that is besides the point.


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InvisibleWorld Spirit
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences *DELETED* [Re: Anonymous]
    #477040 - 12/02/01 01:43 PM (15 years, 11 days ago)

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Anonymous

Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: World Spirit]
    #477104 - 12/02/01 02:38 PM (15 years, 11 days ago)

you sound hostile, but I might just be touchy today...



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InvisibleWorld Spirit
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences *DELETED* [Re: Anonymous]
    #477130 - 12/02/01 03:18 PM (15 years, 11 days ago)

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Anonymous

Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: World Spirit]
    #477144 - 12/02/01 03:28 PM (15 years, 11 days ago)

lol...
I don't think I'd want to deal with PGF, I've never been a fighter anyway.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: LordPeter]
    #477217 - 12/02/01 04:44 PM (15 years, 11 days ago)

When I was an agnostic Jew, in my early 20's, I had a particularly Christian revelatory experience on acid. Of course, Christian symbols were already in my unconscious, and they surfaced at that point. When I was practicing and studying Indian and Greek philosophy (Yoga and NeoPlatonism respectively), my psychedelic experiences tended to assume forms that were consonant with those related frameworks. When I was in seminary, trips took on certain Christian elements that were not pleasant or strengthening. There was a heavy element of guilt for my imperfections (sinfulness) that was channeled through the late doctrine of Original Sin. Since I later understood that this doctrine, which was never of Jewish origin, was added more for control of peolple by the power-corrupted Church, I eventually disgarded the belief in our radical inherited depravity (in favor of the Jewish notion of the yetzer hara - an evil 'inclination' not an evil nature), and once again had positive, edifying, growth-oriented psychedelic experiences.
Trips are a function of set and setting (look up the Good Friday Experiment in Marsh Chapel at Harvard).

Authentic mystical experiences are "occasioned" by psychedelics (Huston Smith's term), not caused by them. If an experience is of the Holy Spirit (spirit is an archaic word. Today, consciouness carries more meaning) or Holy Consciousnesss, it is the result of an action by the Transcendental Subject. In other words, 'God' is the active agent, humans are the passive receptacle. This is epitomized in Christian symbolism by Mary - Theotokos - Mother of God, who is the untimate contemplative. Her being receives/conceives the Divine Presence. In Islam, it is said that God is closer than one's jugular vein. That one should be able to be a 'vessel of clay,' as St. Paul puts it, for the Divine Indwelling, the Logos, the Holy Spirit, requires preparation and purification. On the other hand, Paul himself (as Saul) was murdering Christians when he himself was struck blind by a Transcendental experience. 'God' is not coerced by man. Heaven is not taken by force.

Your own take on Christian doctrine is from a very distorted literal, fundamentalist stance. If you are interested in a scholarly and absolutely mind-blowing explanation of New Testament writings, read former Episcopal Archbishop John Shelby Spong's 'Liberating the Gospels.' This is no New Age crap, it is a monumental contribution to believing Christians and non-believers alike. Peace.


--------------------
γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


Edited by MarkostheGnostic (12/02/01 04:46 PM)


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InvisibleWorld Spirit
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences *DELETED* [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #477343 - 12/02/01 06:48 PM (15 years, 11 days ago)

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Invisiblemariasabina
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: LordPeter]
    #477825 - 12/03/01 01:20 AM (15 years, 11 days ago)

Everyone has their own opinion on Christianity, but since you asked, here is my personal experience with it.

I grew up in a Christian household and believed in God but I wasn't really all that into it... as a matter of fact, by the time I was in junior high I absolutely hated going to church. The church my family went to was full of hypocrites and "nominal" Christians, who were rather snobby and judgemental. My mom and I always had a huge fight on Sunday mornings... she had to literally drag me out of bed to go. I knew the bible verses and sermons in my head, but didn't feel anything in my heart. I attended some revivals and things like what you mentioned, and I would feel a little spiritual high that weekend, but it was soon forgotten. Overall, Christianity to me was like a chore. I studied other religions and found that I'd much prefer Buddhism or practically anything to Christianity.

One day, I ventured to a different church where a dynamic pastor presented the gospel as something that really applied to practical, everyday life. As my spirit was awakening, the same bible verses and stories I had heard a million times seemed new and amazing. He talked a lot about spiritual warfare, and of the great commision. As I learned more and my faith grew, I have experienced nothing short of miracles in my life.

Ever wonder what happened to the Christianity of the biblical days? What happened to Jesus' disciples running around doing miracles, getting arrested, etc. It just doesn't seem like there's much going on in today's churches anymore except people gathering quietly on Sundays and quietly going home. But true Christianity does exist... for example the pastor that opened my eyes... he's actually been attacked by other pastors from "dead" churches (including the one I hated going to) for stirring up such a commotion. But Jesus and his disciples always stirred a commotion wherever they went... and if Christians are supposed to be like Christ, well...

Most of my friends are surprised by how "religious" (I prefer spiritual) I am. But I can't deny what I have experienced. There are many things that have happened in my life since my spiritual awakening that just can't be explained as coincidence and that I must attribute to my walk with God. They're really quite amazing but it would take forever to speak of those experiences. All I can say is that I have no doubt about the validity of my faith....


--------------------
Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot. - Niel Gaiman


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: mariasabina]
    #477985 - 12/03/01 06:34 AM (15 years, 10 days ago)

well that was a nice post mariasabina

I have deep faith in christianity, that is I believe Jesus is God himself, the one and only.

I subscribe to the idea of angels and demons, frankly, it doesn't seem far-fetched at all.

I've had fantastic psychedelic trips, where I've seen many things that I hear other religions talking about. These visions have caused me much testing of my faith, but I've always been able to reconcile these visions with christianity.

When I was a child (10 or 11), my mother took me to a christian retreat for the weekend. There I had a profound spiritual experience. There were many other kids who had "recieved the Holy Spirit" ie: pentacostal decent like in the early part of the book af Acts.

The uninitiated (myself among them) were invited to recieve this gift. We all went to a different room, sat down, and had kids praying in circles around each of us. I felt something rise from my stomach (almost like a burp) except words came out. Words of a diferent language. One sentence. Apparently these words were given from the Holt Spirit to me. I really don't know much about it except that it's called "tonges".

And I've never forgoten that sentence. And I hope I never do. It's something very precious to me.


--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: World Spirit]
    #478035 - 12/03/01 07:27 AM (15 years, 10 days ago)

Uh...if you look at the print in red, you will see that my reponse or "admonishment" was NOT directed to you. Do you know what 'ideas of reference are?' It is a component of paranoia - an ego-inflation that assumes that others are looking at, talking about, thinking about, or generally referring to the subject. If I wish to respond to you, I will do so directly. However, and this may seem "harsh" to you, I have no intention of dialoguing with you on this matter. Frankly, I don't know who you are responding to - certainly not my post, as you either didn't read it or didn't understand it. If it seems to you that only YOU amongst the members of this forum are informed by the Holy Spirit, or that only YOUR experience of faith is authentic, or that salvation belongs to YOU alone - then you are evidencing a rather severe ego-inflation - not the humble manifestation of a high degree of sanctification.


--------------------
γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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OfflineMyznah_Tha_Great
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: LordPeter]
    #478292 - 12/03/01 02:26 PM (15 years, 10 days ago)

in tha first:
YES, i want to insult all christians in here...
BECAUSE:
Beliving in any kind of God is tha most primitive behavior...
It was designed for a bunch of Sissies who couldn't take tha simple truth that mankind is irrelevant to the universal cause...
We're just a grain of sand...Nothing more and nothing less...

second:
you've spoken a true word...

third:
I feel really sorry for you...
You've just lost a relative...


--------------------
Don't forget:
Myznah tha Great belives in you!!!!!
and thats why you can G.I. Joe my ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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OfflineLordPeter
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: Myznah_Tha_Great]
    #478476 - 12/03/01 06:19 PM (15 years, 10 days ago)

Very interesting posts, thanks for all of those everyone..
I wouldnt have thought there were so many Christians on here - I presume you take, or have taken, psychedelics? ? do you not have any issues with that?

There is one thign though - Myznah_Tha_Great, sorry mate, but to say the things you have said is just pure ignorance. It cant be argued that life, the universe and everything is the most wonderful and ingenious existence there is. I think it is a little naive to completely rule out that someone actually thought it all up. But even if there isnt some form of GOD, you certainly cant come anywhere near to proving otherwise, so why be so sure?


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Invisiblemariasabina
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: carbonhoots]
    #478919 - 12/04/01 01:21 AM (15 years, 10 days ago)

that's pretty cool, carbonhoots. My aunt described a similar experience about speaking in tongues, she said it felt like something came up from the base of her spine and she started speaking in a different language.

It must have been really neat at that retreat.. that pentacostal experience with the holy spirit coming down. And I too have visions of different religions when tripping... especially Mayan stone carving type of things.

One time I read the book of psalms while tripping... it was so powerful.... the words were literally screaming at me, declaring God's majesty. In Revelations they describe a voice like "the sound of rushing waters". I never imagined what it might sound like but I knew then. I had to close the book because it was too intense


--------------------
Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot. - Niel Gaiman


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OfflineAxiom420
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: LordPeter]
    #478936 - 12/04/01 01:34 AM (15 years, 9 days ago)

I didn't read any body's responses. but here's mine.

There is a difference between a spiritual experience and an emotional experience. Sometimes they can trigger each other, other times they can happen independantly.

Now that there are no more questions...
Psychedelic is not a word. Perhaps you meant psychadelic?


--------------------
"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
- Albert Einstein


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Anonymous

Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: Axiom420]
    #478952 - 12/04/01 01:50 AM (15 years, 9 days ago)

Main Entry: 1psy?che?del?ic
Pronunciation: "sI-k&-'de-lik
Function: noun
Etymology: irregular from psych- + Greek dEloun to show, from dElos evident; akin to Sanskrit dIdeti it shines, Latin dies day -- more at DEITY
Date: 1956
: a psychedelic drug (as LSD)


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OfflineAxiom420
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Re: Christian Spiritual Experiences [Re: Anonymous]
    #478957 - 12/04/01 01:53 AM (15 years, 9 days ago)

hehehe


--------------------
"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
- Albert Einstein


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