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Mike

Questions on the nature of spiritual experiences

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Thanks for the replies everybody. My main purpose for writing this thread is to better understand how one identifies what is from God vs what is not. My OP is to help me understand what people mean when the say spiritual experience/witness and why some consider them to be of divine orgin rather than produced by the human mind or some other source. My paradigm is different in many ways to those who believe in a personal God. I don't believe that God exists but I am willing to see if I am wrong. I am willing to see if there is good reason to change my beliefs. I would just like to make a distinction: I am not someone who has had faith/belief then lost it. I have never been a believer. :P

Mike

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I am not someone who has had faith/belief then lost it. I have never been a believer.

Fine, but to claim you are "temple worthy" is disingenuous then. The first three questions of the current temple recommend interview deal directly with faith and testimony.

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pseudogratix:

Fine, but to claim you are "temple worthy" is disingenuous then. The first three questions of the current temple recommend interview deal directly with faith and testimony.

Your right, I shouldn't have put it that way. I didn't mean to misrepresent myself. How about: I am commiting no major sins that would keep me out of the temple and I try to lead the best life I know how. Sorry again, it just seemed like an easy way to explain where I stand.

Mike

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How about: I am commiting no major sins that would keep me out of the temple and I try to lead the best life I know how.

Then that takes you back to my previous point. Simply refraining from major sins of commission doesn't equal repentance. The crux of repentance is reconciling oneself to God's will.

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I'm not sure what you mean. The problem is I don't know what God's will is. I think I have some understanding of the repentance process (according to LDS interpretation) regarding sins of ommission and commision. I have employed the repentance process before and continue to do so when I do something stupid or hurtful.

Mike

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Dr, from my personal experience it seems odd that I can call myself a Christian and have interesting discussions and share common faith with everyone from Catholics and varios Orthodox and countless protestants and independents and we all see things pretty much alike - but there are a few differences of opinion.

With Mormons it is usually a statement that if I don't believe in Joseph Smith that I can be a Christian but not a Mormon.

Why the distinction if we are all of Christ? Please remember that the new birth is of God, not of man, the works of man nor the will of man. If it is of God, then why do you distinguish in such a way and then say you wish to be accepted as a Christian?

Seems odd to me. It just doesn't seem right at all.

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I'm not sure what you mean. The problem is I don't know what God's will is.

Perhaps you don't think that you have received sufficient confirmation regarding God's will yet, but I think that God is more interested in whether you are committed to accepting His will once He grants you the confirmation you seem interested in receiving.

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Thanks for your posts everyone. I appreciate good advice as much as the next guy. But i'm starting to feel a little like i'm on trial here. :P I would like to get a few more responses to my OP if possible. They are honest questions and i'm trying to be as courteous as possible. I don't have an ulterior motive. <_<

Mike

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But i'm starting to feel a little like i'm on trial here.

If you don't want to feel like you are on trial it is best to never introduce material regarding yourself in order to try to keep things regarding yourself as neutral as possible.

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pseudogratix:

If you don't want to feel like you are on trial it is best to never introduce material regarding yourself in order to try to keep things regarding yourself as neutral as possible.

I am going to have to agree with you on that one.

So, about my OP ...

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So, about my OP ...

I recommend you create a new thread that is clearly stated and focused on one specific issue you wish to discuss.

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Hmmmm, maybe tomorrow, though right now I am really just looking for answers/replies to my original 2 questions.

Mike

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Hmmmm, maybe tomorrow, though right now I am really just looking for answers/replies to my original 2 questions.

You aren't likely to get much with the title the way it is now and the introduction of material regarding yourself.

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Good point. Thanks pseudogratix.

Mike

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1. To break it down into the most simplest, easiest ways or methods to tell what is actually the Holy Spirit at work within your soul starts with Adam and Eve. They were given the ability to be "...as Gods knowing good from evil. Gen 3:5" That is the first sense of what it feels like, by knowing right from wrong. We are all given that ability from all the way back to Adam and Eve. In every instance where you knew that doing something was wrong, but you didn't have anything tangible to support why you should just abandon your previous position, that is usually the Holy Spirit trying to talk to you. Since we don't have anything tangible though, we don't usually listen to that inner voice, at least not until later when we find out why we should have. By that it is best understood in the phrase "Man I KNEW I shouldn't have turned there! I just KNEW it."

2 To test that you can do lots of things. For one, the easiest thing you could do, is to start by at least playing with the notion that there is no such thing as coincidence. Just playing with it is one thing, like, by praying for something, some small sign, (and don't forget to ask that you can recognize it, when it happens). I did that, and I even went so far as to make a deal with Him if I my desperate prayer was answered. Imagine my surprise when not only was my prayer answered, but to the letter, and it was even accompanied by the complete agreement of everyone present as well as having not one, but two innocent witnesses of the direct, and divine intervention of God in the events that transpired. So, needless to say, I have kept my end of the deal, and I have not made anymore deals with him like that since!

If that is not even the least bit appealing right now (I mean trusting that He will answer your prayers, or even really wanting that kind of undeniable proof), there is always the less hypocritical feeling action of just privately reading scriptures. Not just skimming either, but really giving them the benefit of a doubt. I would start with the Doctrine and Covenants, (well I did, but that is further down). I know that these methods are painfully simple, but that is what we are told to do if we ever become lost. To return to the basics, being studying and praying. These methods aren't likely going to be as visible as a neon sign falling in your path with the words "It is true" on them, but it is probably the best way to know.

I too once felt as you do now for the majority of my life. I didn't have a problem with it so much as I didn't know if any of it was anything more than an elaborate story. I knew that I didn't want to pretend, I absolutely refused to do that. I was not brought up in the church though, I was not even introduced to religion until I was sixteen and my father decided to start cramming his former religion down my throat. I know now that it was his way of trying to help me, but it was all about pretending, and I just wouldn't. I am still viewed as a heretic there, and I don't miss the sermons that were just for me.

I joined the church without really knowing if for sure if most of it was true (like piece by piece). I did have a small testimony though, that the spirit was there, that my prayers had been answered as to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith, but I didn't KNOW these things to my core. I didn't have a strong testimony of them, and I didn't even care to nurture that testimony for years. I went back to my old habits immediately after realizing that my husband was still going to beat and cuss me. A quick side note to clarify that last statement: I became interested in joining the church after seeing that my abusive husband was kind and full of the spirit when I asked him what he thought about the church. Unfortunately, he did not intend to have anything to do with the church, or the Lord, and my joining only affected me. I left him just months after my daughter was born, and immediately after he involved her in one of our fights.

Moving on, I am a reader by nature, I have read hundreds maybe even thousands of books. I read a very boring, and dry book by an unnamed author that gave me a slightly different perspective on God and the Devil. I certainly had no interest whatsoever in Christ before this, as I said, I didn't know if he was real, I never said he wasn't, but I couldn't truthfully say he was either. So it was after reading this immensely boring book in about a hundred 15 minute intervals (as long as I could stay awake) I figured that I could at least attempt to read some scriptures. My main reason for not reading them had been that they were not what I liked to read, or that they were boring. I had tried the Book of Mormon a couple of times already and not made it past 1 Nephi, so I decided that I would try a newer text. One that was more of a history of the establishment of the church. I read the doctrine and covenants first, it seemed to be the easiest to wade my way through. I didn't do this to prove it to be truthful, I did it to prove to myself that I wasn't missing out on anything by not living the word of wisdom. I did it to prove that nothing would happen. I got to 88 when I proved myself wrong, lol.

I quit smoking and my understanding of the scriptures and gospel principles grew tenfold at least. With that and the baptism of my husband it was all the push I needed to nurture my testimony. I learned that the Holy Spirit is not always as loud as bells going off in my head, but it is still easy to determine if I just listen hard enough. I am actually happy now, that is probably the best thing that the gospel has brought into my life. I still have the most heavy of trials to bear, but I turn in at night with a smile on my face instead of being sleepless with worry. I never had peace in my heart before, that is the greatest thing, no more unrest.

And btw, LOL for the title! It is definitely an eyecatcher!

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Yes, excellent, THATS the kind of stuff i'm looking for. Thank you wiltedlace. While I may be skeptical of some of the things you said, I really appreciate your response.

Mike

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Sorry, I really hate to get this personal, like with sharing the info about my ex-husband, but I have to add that he had grown up in the church, but his father was abusive and eventually divorced and excommunicated, though probably not in that order. Anyway, my ex-husband was the one who would go live with him during the summers and watch him beat his new wife and get beat on himself. I had been attracted to the "bad boy" aspect of him without knowing how bad it could get. Despite all of that, when it came to the church, he unfallibly knew that it was the truth. Seeing the Holy Spirit in him (though I didn't know that was what it was then) gave me hope for our marriage which is why I entertained the notion of becoming a member.

I did not however, decide to actually join without first praying, and knowing for myself that it was true. Knowing a thing is true and knowing everything about it is true are two different things. Like, you know that my name is Kim, but you don't know much else other than what I say here is true. Does that make sense? I just didn't know that you could be a member of the church and not know everything there was to know about it and still have a testimony of what little I did know that was true. But now I know that we don't learn everything at once, and that what I do know is true, and I have the rest of my life to learn the rest.

Oh, and the prayer/deal I made with the Lord, that happened AFTER I had read up to DC 88 and already knew pretty much that it was true. That is why I knew I had to keep my end of the deal. If not I probably would have laughed it off as coincidence.

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wiltedlace:

I think I understand what you are saying here. Its so very hard to truly convey the meaning of personal experiences. I feel a little uncomfortable asking people to talk about what they consider sacred/special (regardless of a religious context). I'll think about what you said. Thanks

(p.s. I hope this doesn't sound patronizing, but i'm sorry about your ex-husband and how you were treated.)

Mike

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When I saw your list of what you will accept to be the truth I saw that you were greatly limiting God on what you would be willing to accept as a testimony. This is your right to do, but in reality you might be limiting yourself. By this I mean that I personally know that most of my prayers are answered by someone I did not expect to help me.

About a month ago or so I was praying to be able to find the means to be able to get my children some diapers. It was during my prayer that I was impressed by the Holy Spirit to call a certain friend. (note: at the time I didn't realize why, I just thought it was because I knew she was home) I went ahead and called and I asked her to go pick me up a pack and I explained that I would pay her when she got to my house. (we only have one car and my hubby works n goes to night school) She asked me what size my kids were (I have two babies a year apart and yes I was on birth control for both, so much for 97% effective!) and I told her the two sizes and explained that I needed a size in the middle. She said that she had some diapers left over from watching her nephew and that she would bring them over just to tide me over. I agreed because I really only had 8 dollars to my name anyway and I just had faith that something would happen so that I would have enough to last until payday, and if not, I did have the 8 dollars still.

About an hour later than I expected her, (and the babies needed to be changed when I called) she showed up with two brand new packs of diapers(one for each of my babies) and pampers no less! I didn't speak right away because I would have cried, but I didn't have to because she explained that she had to go to wal-mart anyway and while she was there she just felt that she should go ahead and buy these, she had the extra money, and so she did.

What was funny to me, and what was even more of a testimony of the spirit than anything was that she said to me "I almost picked you up a Dr.pepper too, something said I should, but you didn't say anything and I had already paid and was walking by the refrigerator on the way out..." What touched me about that was that I had been fighting down the urge to ask her to get me one. I felt too guilty to ask for a drink when I was so poor that I had to try to buy an in between size diaper for my babies, but the whole time I had wanted to blurt it out. I guess that is what you would call a prompting that got ingnored by both of us. I hadn't asked because there was no tangible reason to. She had not told me she was going to the store. I did not want her to go out of her way so I fought back the urge to ask. What was my reward? (duh there wasn't one except for the lesson lol) It was that I knew I should have asked, and that she wouldn't have minded picking me up one to begin with. It was pride on my part. Anyway, I guess my point to sharing that is that if I had limited my willingness to believe only from a set of rules (that didn't include other people being a witness and made up by ME) then I would have missed the lesson, and the blessings too. I would not have called anyone, I would have wallowed and later went by myself to the store when my hubby got home. The kids would have had sweaters tied to their butts until then instead of the royal treatment of having pampers! (LOL)

So I find it funny that shortly after that post with the rules you say that you can take care of yourself. That is exactly the mentality that would have landed some sweaters in the trash! (LOL) It isn't that the Lord requires us to ask for His help in all things, but more that He can help us. He knows the hearts of those around us, if we need them to be softened so that they won't fire us for being late again, or whatever, well, He is there for us. I guess I should just say that He is literally our Heavenly Father. Though He willingly will sit there and just watch us stumble, He still wants to be an active part of our lives. He wants a relationship with us as we have with each other, with our earthly parents, with our spouses. He wants us to talk to Him about everything, He wants acknowlegement for it too. Like just knowing that He is the one who took so much time to make a creature as complex as a spider is enough to make my testimony grow.

I will give another example with a friend of mine who explained this better if you don't mind. It is how she developed a closer relationship to Heavenly Father. She too is a lonely housewife, and she also has young children. She used to mourn because she was the only one who saw how precious her babies were. She saw all of the first steps, everything, and even if her husband did see, she still felt that she was the only one to fully appreciate their cuteness. So one day as she was sitting on her couch (she had just moved and was taking a break from unpacking) she heard the child-like singing of her 3 year-old down the hall. She looked and saw her daughter singing to her own pretty little reflection as she looked into a mirror that was still leaning against the wall. My friend was brought to tears as she spoke with the Lord and said to Him "Look at my little girl, can you see how beautiful she is?" She said that as she sat there staring at her little singing beauty with tears running down her cheeks she knew that He could see too. It was not tangible as we know that word to mean, but it was real and the Holy Spirit testified to her that she was not alone in her love for this sweet child. She knew that she did not have to go find a camera for this moment to be special. She had a very personal experience that testified to her heart of the reality of the presence of the Lord with her.

It is this kind of relationship that will foster a testimony. It doesn't start out this way obviously, you know that already. But it begins with just a tiny bit of faith. In the scriptures we are told how to pray, we know not to repeat His name vainly, but we are also told to "cry." This is literally, and spiritually. This is getting angry at Him sometimes, it is just out and out bawling because you deserve more than this, or you can't take it anymore. It is not dealing with our problems alone, happiness never was alone. It is saying that we don't want to deal with them anymore, it is begging that he would take our burdens from us. It is saying that we don't like hurting, that we need love. It is many things, but it is always the truest desires of our hearts. If you are praying mechanically then you can't really expect more than something as easily explained as that. If you are just saying words, then they are just words.

I guess I should tell you what happened to me that made me believe that I had received an answer to my prayers as to whether the church, the BoM, or JS was true. I will try to keep it short n sweet.

I had agreed to pray for an answer to the above questions, but forgotten/didn't. When I saw the crushed looks on my missionaries faces when they checked back I agreed to "really" do it this time. So there I was ....all alone, kneeling in prayer. I had asked the questions not in faith so much as borrowed faith. The sisters had told me that I would know, so I figured that I probably would, or if not that much, I still had faith that just maybe that they were telling me the truth about Him being able to speak to ME. I was sitting there, my legs going numb, my eyes closed, and waiting. I had asked if it was true, and I was waiting. After what seemed a small eternity I was about to go ahead and get up when I pictured the looks on their faces as I told them that I had prayed and just hadn't been answered. I decided to give it another shot and wait just a little bit longer. I sat there in the darkness of my own eyelids when my mind started to wander. I started to think of how I would feel if it turned out that it was all true. I wondered if I would be ok with that, and I started to realize that it was kind of an exciting thought. As these thoughts were comingling in my brain I started to get this tickly feeling every time I thought about this stuff all being true. I had forgotten the numbness of my legs completely when I changed my question from is this the truth to "It is the truth, isn't it?" then to "It really is the truth!" I didn't realize that I was crying, all I could feel was this happiness and this feeling of being alive, truly alive and just so happy. I was smiling and laughing a little bit and I started wiping my tears away and I said amen at some point.

It wasn't that I got an answer definitively shouting "YES!", but that my willingness to receive ANY ANSWER whether it was the one I wanted it to be or not was what was important. That willingness opened up my heart and I was able to receive the answer that was the truth. So you see, this is the real reason as to why I joined, because for once, nobody asked me to fake it, but instead told me that I needed to mean it, I needed to know for myself first and that I didn't have to learn some funny litany or unnatural language. I knew for myself that it was the Lord himself who had spoken to my heart. I knew from years of misery that I certainly couldn't just make myself happy like that, and never in a million years did I think it would ever be about Jesus when it happened.

I know that these stories I have shared might make you feel a little bit hopeless as to how you can know for yourself, but the best way is really how I already told you. Just by reading and praying. If you require more than that, and are not against attending church, go to the investigators class instead of Sunday School. You won't be looked strangely upon, you will be welcomed because those classes are usually so scarce that hardly anyone is there. If you would like for me to share more about the other aspects of the Holy Spirit I would be happy to, but I will say that I am not on any set schedule, so there is no telling when I will be able to. There are many aspects of the Holy Spirit though that I haven't listed here. Like um, the differing degrees of it, and whatnot. I have done a lot of study on it because it was important to me too. I hope I didn't waste your time with my stories of my personal experience with it. And before I forget, thanks for your sympathy, I honestly don't think anyone has ever said that to me about my ex.

I guess my point in sharing the personal experiences is to go along with what the scriptures say to know if something is of God. Like with the burning feeling theory: while I know what it is, and can personally tell when it is of God, it is not ALWAYS of God. Sometimes it is adrenaline because you just realized your wife is cheating on you and you want to kill her, or him, or both. Sometimes it is fear that your parents will not only find out that you snuck out, but they will kill you for totaling their car and being in jail to boot. This theory of following your heart could be more simplified with the biblical, and other scriptural explanation that states that everything that is good is of God, and everything that is bad, is not of God. Again with the simplicities lol. That being said, a GOOD warm fuzzy feeling that says, wow, she really loves me, is going to be of God. Though it may seem that her feelings had nothing to do with the Lord, just knowing that everything good is of God simplifies it in that love is of God. So even if the stories I shared barely put a smile on your face, or anyone else's, a smile is still good, so by definition it is also of God.

and yes, "not yet" is an answer. I think it is more likely than anything in the world that it is also your answer to the questions you have regarding the truth of this gospel nearly one hundred percent. Having the patience to accept that as your answer is another trial all together. But please just trust that it could be worse. Patience is a virtue that is hard-earned so I have faith that it is also well-rewarded.

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What was funny to me, and what was even more of a testimony of the spirit than anything was that she said to me "I almost picked you up a Dr.pepper too, something said I should, but you didn't say anything and I had already paid and was walking by the refrigerator on the way out..."  What touched me about that was that I had been fighting down the urge to ask her to get me one.

Hmmmm. Was this before or after the tsunami?

--KY

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Mike your questions put you in good company. Those who move humanity forward constantly ask, "do i correctly, and completely, understand "Whatever" to get the most out of it?"

Will you give me some idea of the God you might not/don't believe in?

There are some interesting reponses. I like King Folly's thoughts.

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Dear Mee:

Will you give me some idea of the God you might not/don't believe in?

You want me to discribe God? I don't know what attrubites God(s) has/have, only what other claim he/she/it/they/we has/have. Really if there is a personal God or gods then its probably not within my power to understand it/them without intervention on its/their part. I hope I understood you correctly.

Mike

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wenglund:
It may help were you to give us some indication of what might qualify, to your mind, as a "good reason to believe" that spiritual experience are real and not just a product of the mind.

Hmmm, good question. This is difficult as I don't know what the experience feels like. Some things off the top of my head that would increase the plausiblity of divine orgin:

Experience only occurs in relation to its interperatation.

Experience is not controllable/manipulable at will (induced, stopped, lengthened etc.)

Experience cannot be induced by non-divine means.

Specific personal experience varified by outside sources.

Experience always leads to truth/correct understanding.

I also suppose that one can somehow be completely convinced beyond a doubt by the Holy Ghost. If that ever happened to me I guess I wouldn't second guess it anyway.

Hopefully I put that right. I am sure there are other ways to show how an interperatation is correct.

That was a well-thoughtout response.

However, I wonder how many of the things you believe to be physically real, and not just a product of the mind, you have subjected to the same criteria?

In other words, are there not physical things you have believed to be real that do not meet one or more of your criteria? Are there not some physical things which you have greater confidence in theri reality than other physical things? Is there not a difference between how you now go about go about determining what is real versus your approach as an infant or child?

If so, then why not with spiritual things?

My reason for asking all these questions is to somewhat vet the nature of your naturalistic epistemology to see if it is much different from a supernaturalistic epistemology.

My reason for asking the second to last question is to suggest the possibility that you might be approaching the question with adult expectations, though with but the foundation of a spiritual infant. I don't say this to insult (because I consider myself to be a child in spiritual matter). Rather, it is an acknowledgement of your claim to not knowing what spiritual experiences "feel" like (which is not unlike a baby whose lack of experience with the physical world leaves them equally ignorant of what the physical "feels" like.)

What I am suggesting is that perhaps for you to be made aware of spiritual things, it will require the same ostensive and experiencial learning as was needed for you to have learned of physical things.

Likewise, it may help were you to give us some of the "good reasons" you have for not believing the same.

Well for one, I haven't experienced anything that was undeniablely or even probably from God from my perspective. The experience of others is not convincing because I don't know how I would react/interpret the same experience they had. Through personal experience and study I have found that the mind can create powerful experiences based on belief that are not necessarily literally true.

Can't the same be said of physical experiences? In fact, philosophers of the 18th century, lead by Hume, suggested that we don't know matter, but all we know is the mind. Berkeley then used the same reasoning to demonstrate that we don't know the mind either. This lead to the clever remark (quoted by Will Durrant in "The Story of Philosophy"): "No matter...Never mind!" ;-)

The point being that the ability to duplicate experiences (physical or otherwise) solely in the mind, while a valid issue of concern, should not be the final arbitor of whether somethng is real or imagined.

The OBE story I gave earlier is an example of this. I'll try to explain my point of view and my reasons for it. It's hard to put somethings into words.

I understand. I think, thought, that you have provided enough explanation to make for an interesting discussion, if not a basis for mutual enlightenment.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Mike,

I think it also important for me to acknowledge that it is perfectly reasonable not to believe in something you don't beleive you have ever experienced. This is true whether your inexperience is a function of lack of cognition (failure to accurately recognize spiritual stimuli as spiritual, or unawareness of the spiritual stimuli that you may have been subjected to over the years) or lack of actual spiritual stimuli.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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wenglund:

However, I wonder how many of the things you believe to be physically real, and not just a product of the mind, you have subjected to the same criteria?

In other words, are there not physical things you have believed to be real that do not meet one or more of your criteria? Are there not some physical things which you have greater confidence in theri reality than other physical things? Is there not a difference between how you now go about go about determining what is real versus your approach as an infant or child?

If so, then why not with spiritual things?

My reason for asking all these questions is to somewhat vet the nature of your naturalistic epistemology to see if it is much different from a supernaturalistic epistemology.

Hmmm, I see your point. The critera I gave is not IMO binding; just a few thoughts on what might increase the likelihood of an experience being literally real.

My reason for asking the second to last question is to suggest the possibility that you might be approaching the question with adult expectations, though with but the foundation of a spiritual infant. I don't say this to insult (because I consider myself to be a child in spiritual matter). Rather, it is an acknowledgement of your claim to not knowing what spiritual experiences "feel" like (which is not unlike a baby whose lack of experience with the physical world leaves them equally ignorant of what the physical "feels" like.)

What I am suggesting is that perhaps for you to be made aware of spiritual things, it will require the same ostensive and experiencial learning as was needed for you to have learned of physical things.

That very well could be. If so I can only hope I'll be able to grow up, so to speak. It's definitely a possibility.

Can't the same be said of physical experiences? In fact, philosophers of the 18th century, lead by Hume, suggested that we don't know matter, but all we know is the mind. Berkeley then used the same reasoning to demonstrate that we don't know the mind either. This lead to the clever remark (quoted by Will Durrant in "The Story of Philosophy"): "No matter...Never mind!" ;-)

The point being that the ability to duplicate experiences (physical or otherwise) solely in the mind, while a valid issue of concern, should not be the final arbitor of whether somethng is real or imagined.

True, but I have more or less established the general accuracy of my senses in relation to reality. In my experience my emotion, insights, logic, beliefs, and pretty much any thing else my mind experiences are much less reliable and often not literally correct (only subjectively "real"). I admit the possiblity that spiritual experiences are different for whatever reason. I just can't think of a related precedent. I do have precedents (in my own experience) other phenomena that are often misinterpreted or mislabled as being literally real; spiritual experiences (as I understand them) seem to share some of the same properties. Hence my skepticism.

I think it also important for me to acknowledge that it is perfectly reasonable not to believe in something you don't beleive you have ever experienced. This is true whether your inexperience is a function of lack of cognition (failure to accurately recognize spiritual stimuli as spiritual, or unawareness of the spiritual stimuli that you may have been subjected to over the years) or lack of actual spiritual stimuli.

For the inverse reason I can also acknowledge the position of the believer.

Mike

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