Practicing the Presence of God
Especially for those of us who came out of the charismatic movement, “worship” (when a person is suppose to be singing praises to God) was a very integral part of our Christianity. I use quotes around worship because, in reality, it was more about self-gratification than what one would consider true worship. If you think about it worship is really a single-directional event that should not have any expectations of a return. However, we worshiped to receive something from God. For us, it was about the high or the emotions we experienced.
These emotions became ingrained within us. Even now, on my de-conversion journey, I could close my eyes and hum one of those worship songs and feel the very same emotion that I did in the past. Back then, my psyche interpreted it as the “presence of God.” Now I know it was just an emotional and conditioned response to a particular stimuli.
This phenomenon is different for different sets of individuals. For example, there is a large American Christian community who believe that Southern gospel is the only type of music God ordains. To them, Christian Rock is evil and of the devil. This community will feel nothing listening a contemporary worship song, but they will “experience the Holy Ghost” with a banjo pickin’ rendition of “I’ll Fly Away.” If I had heard that very same song, I would have experience nothing since I’m not conditioned to experience God with that type of music. Why would God not be there for me?
My point is that the reality is – it’s NOT really God Christians experience. It’s a series of feel good chemicals released into the body as a result of a conditioning that develops over time.
- The de-Convert