God: An imaginary friend for grown-ups?

August 1, 2007 at 2:14 am 72 comments

Imaginary Friend

Have you ever had a conversation with God? Have you ever heard his voice? There was a time when I would have absolutely answered these questions in the affirmative. After all, modern day Christianity is all about having a “personal relationship” with God. As with all good relationships, this relationship includes regular communication.

This “personal relationship” also includes a best friend- Jesus. He will “never leave or forsake you.” In a world when we’re many times betrayed by the ones closest to us, how can we resist having such a friend? You will always have someone to talk to when you’re down or feeling lonely.

In reflecting on my past relationship with God, I have to ask- How is this any different than my daughter’s relationship with her imaginary friend? I recall listening to long conversations between her and “Digget.” Well, the most obvious difference is I am an intelligent adult who can use logic and reason- and she was three. Needless to say, now as a teenager, she no longer talks to Digget.

In a blog entry from his personal blog, HeIsSailing asked the question:

How does God talk to you? Do you hear an audible voice? Does God speak to you by testings and trials? A feeling?

Here’s a sampling of the responses he received:

The written word is more than sufficient – however – I have heard a voice once (but this seems to be quite the exception from my experience). I think the word speaks/interacts with us life experience (’word in the flesh’ idea). – societyvs

I have never heard an audible voice from God. (by audible, I mean passing through my ear). I have heard God speak to me in words, just as people do. When people speak to me, my ear hears a sound, my brain receives the sound, and then it deciphers a meaning. God sometimes speaks to me using words (my brain receives the words, then deciphers the meaning) and sometimes just with meaning. At those times, I am aware that my mind is receiving information rather than generating it. It is often completely unconnected to my thoughts or my perspectives – a “leap” too long to be justified as my own subconscious coming to decision. – jennypo

Often God gives me understanding of things that I didn’t understand. I ask Him and they become clear to me with no other outside influences. One could argue that I “discovered the knowledge I needed inside myself”, but I find that takes as much faith as believing the clarity comes from God. All of my experiences with communication from God are very easy to “explain away” and yet, I am certain they are from Him. – joeyanne

How would you answer this question?

- The de-Convert


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Entry filed under: The de-Convert. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Jesus: Man, Myth, or Misunderstood Which God is “clearly seen” in creation?

72 Comments Add your own

  • 1. adwin  |  August 1, 2007 at 4:07 am

    One thing I belive that God still speaking and He could speaking using anything He want. He could speak through our consience, our mind, our ear, thru the word of God that we read or remember as we called it rhema, as mentioned that faith is comes from hearing of word of God (notes that it is rhema not Logos in the real language, hebrew).
    Even God still speak from the nature (like earthquake, famine, etc)

    I belive He is still speaking because He is living God, not deaf and mute like other gods ….

  • 2. Louis Marlowe  |  August 1, 2007 at 4:24 am

    Love the cartoon. I’m going to link to this page on my blog if that’s okay with you. Best, Louis

  • 3. Louis Marlowe  |  August 1, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Oops, here’s the blog page: abstractconcept.blogspot.com

  • 4. Epiphanist  |  August 1, 2007 at 7:44 am

    It would be very naive to expect that all human action stems from logical human thought. Thought itself can be quite shallow as anyone woken by a barking dog in the early hours of the morning can tell you. The precursors of thought occur at a deeper level, normally we assume that this is in the subconscious, but we don’t really know for sure. We do know that we usually have a sense of whether an action or an idea is preferable or desirable. Sometimes we have a strong sense of purpose or direction. If our sense of purpose has common threads with a spiritual tradition which we agreed with, we might feel more justified in following that direction rather than choosing another. Has God spoken to us? That depends on how you interpreted that sense of purpose or direction. I think if the sense of purpose is manifesting as voices talking in your head, it is time to get a second opinion please.

  • 5. kramii  |  August 1, 2007 at 7:56 am

    The de-Convert:

    Brilliant post!

    Of course, many Theists do have just what you suggest – an imaginary friend – to the extent that their understanding of God differs from the way the God really is.

    Given that I have been mistaken about God in the past, it seems reasonable to suppose that at least some of my ideas about God are wrong now (if I knew which ones, I’d change them). I must conclude, therefore, that I am at least somewhat guilty as charged of having an imaginary friend in God.

    But is God just an imaginary friend? When I was first converted to Xianity, I agonised over this very question.

    Having had imaginary friends and having heard God’s voice, I simply can’t equate the two. The basics of my evidence for this are:

    1) Imaginary friends never reavealed anything to me that I didn’t know already. God does so.

    2) Imaginary friends never ‘said’ the same things ot other people as they did to me. God does so.

    Of course, I could still be mistaken. Theoretically, we Xians could just be involved elaborate self-deceiption. If this is so, then (1) Christ compels us to seek the truth. Even if that truth is that Heis no more real than Yogi Bear. (2) In the mean time I have no choice but to trust my current perception of reality: that God is alive and real and chooses to speak to me.

    So how does God speak to me? In no particular order:

    1) Through scripture.
    2) Through nature (the big things and the small).
    3) Through other Xians.
    4) Through other people (all truth is God breathed).
    5) Through impressions in my Spirit.
    6) Through dreams (very rarely in my case).
    7) With an audiable voice (extremely rare in my case).
    8) Through seeing things with my eyes that are not actually present in the physical world (rare, but it has happened).
    9) Some things I just “know” without having perceived them.
    10) Through miracles.
    11) Through peace, joy etc. (deeper tham mere emotion).
    12) Through things I have written.
    13) Through science, mathematics, philosophy.
    14) Through all expressions of love.
    15) Through reason.
    16) In music, especially (but not exclusively) gospel / worship music.
    17) Through d-conversion.com (!)

    Basically, any way that I can perceive truth, beauty, life, justice, love, creativity or any of the other attrubuted of the divine.

    So, how does God speak to me? The simple answer: In any way I am prepared to listen.

    BTW: Some would say that all my friends are imaginary. ;-)

    Regards.

  • 6. Thinking Ape  |  August 1, 2007 at 10:56 am

    I completely agree with Kramii’s list of 17. It also explains why Christians can’t understand their own god.

  • 7. Heather  |  August 1, 2007 at 11:18 am

    I think Kramii’s list is something that most Christians would agree on — and if things were altered, such as the Qur’ran instead of the Bible, almost any religion would agree on this.

    The difficulty in finding any objective answer, though, is that there isn’t one. People interpret the Bible differently — what one verses says to person A is completely different than what it might say to Person B. There isn’t any way to point to something and say “God spoke to me” in the way we could with a person speaking to us.

    Imaginary friends never reavealed anything to me that I didn’t know already. God does so.

    It might depend on how the imaginary friend is used. ;) I know a few people who have new things revealed through talking to themselves out loud. It gave a fresh perspective.

  • 8. Brad  |  August 1, 2007 at 11:21 am

    TA,

    “It also explains why Christians can’t understand their own god.”

    *raises eyebrow*

    That seems rather cryptic… care to explain?

  • 9. Silly Old Bear  |  August 1, 2007 at 11:44 am

    The de-Convert- I am stealing this – not verbatim, and I will leave trackbacks, this is so good – it’s a pity that it is written with Xtians in mind, because I think the idea is valid for any religion.

    Thanks for providing me with inspiration :-)

  • [...] From God: An imaginary friend for grown-ups? [...]

  • 11. Thinking Ape  |  August 1, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Brad,

    Maybe purposely cryptic :P – but not any more cryptic than Kramii’s list. I just have the aching feeling that you, as a human being, are doing more “speaking” to yourself than god. But once again – reason vs. faith. There will be no conclusive or debatable subject here. I could take the time to refute every single one of Kramii’s claims, but with nothing new, and nothing that Kramii probably couldn’t see as he wrote them, and nothing that would entail much more than flapping of fingers.

    The point I made about Christians not understand their own god? Well – there have been sects and denominations, crucial differences and persecutions since the dawn of the Jesus movement, which in itself was only a part of the sects and denominations, crucial differences and persecutions from the dawn of the Judaic tradition, which in turn had its own ancient influences (Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, etc.).

    The way that Protestants view their god is more akin to occultists and hindus rather than the long-standing tradition of church hierarchy (which was developed extremely early in some trajectories). The way the prayers have moved from thanksgiving to demand/request is simply one example of this. Essentially, protestantism took the power away from one pope and his minions and created 500 million popes, all with their own authoritative ideas on god and what he is saying.

  • 12. tobeme  |  August 1, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    The comedian Lilli Tomlin put it best, she asked “why is it when you speak to God, it’s called prayer but when God speaks to you it’s call Schysophrenia?

  • 13. Thinking Ape  |  August 1, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    tobeme, I struggled with Schizophrenia in my late teens and early twenties – trust me, most schizophrenics don’t believe it is god talking to them, if anything, it is usually the devil.

  • 14. Dan  |  August 1, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    TA said: “Essentially, protestantism took the power away from one pope and his minions and created 500 million popes, all with their own authoritative ideas on god and what he is saying.”

    Ouch, how true that observation is, so when are we going to give that authority back to God himself. Jesus is Lord, man is not. tinyurl.com/25yvuf Religion=good fruit? I would say not. Look how many smart souls turned away from God because of man’s influence. It truly makes me sad to think how many self proclaimed atheist once understood the majesty and glory of God. God help us all.

  • 15. preechaman7  |  August 1, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Great post. New here but will be visiting often. I used to say that God said this or God said that, but in all honesty, who was doing the talking? Recently I have concluded that more accurately it was probably my own inner “voice” leading me in one direction or another. Just me though, not denying that God may speak to somebody.

  • 16. Dan  |  August 1, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    sorry that didn’t work but this should tinyurl.com/25yvuf

  • 17. Thinking Ape  |  August 1, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Dan,

    so when are we going to give that authority back to God himself. Jesus is Lord, man is not

    Would you not agree with Kramii’s points about how a Christian is to know what god is saying? My entire point was that no matter how “god communicates”, it will always be ambiguous. I have been in Pentecostal churches where two “translations” of two men “speaking in tongues” were completely different.

  • [...] Voices… ? I was reading over at “de-conversion“, and saw a post by “Thinking Ape” where he mentioned that;   “most schizophrenics don’t believe it is god talking to them, if anything, it [...]

  • 19. Dan  |  August 2, 2007 at 12:36 am

    A common claim made by atheists/skeptics is that they do not have enough proof of God to actually believe, and that one doesn’t need absolute knowledge to deny the existence of a deity. Well, to be right, you do. You are, however, content with making absolute claims without absolute knowledge.

    The atheist would likely then reply: “You seem to believe 100% that God exists without absolute knowledge to substantiate your claim.”

    Let’s look at the following verse, which I’m sure many of you have read several times but now overlook: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they [unbelievers] are without excuse.”

    Essentially, this points out that proof of God is in the things he has created. Consider just how important of a statement that is. When you die, and if God (specifically, the God of the Bible) judges you, can you claim in all fairness that you didn’t believe because there was no proof of Him? Do not be fooled, you have been brought into existence and into this world for a reason. You have been shown God through the love you are able to feel, and the priveledges are able to have. You have clearly seen the universe He has made, as well as the beautiful world you have been provided so as to experience life. Consider that it was once possible for you to never exist. Do you honestly believe that all that you are, all that you are capable of, is the result of vibrating matter that somehow created itself?

    For those looking for scientific proof of God, I highly recommend the following site – http://www.godandscience.org

    Remember, you can still make the decision to follow Christ, either for the first time or again if you have turned away. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance.

  • 20. smellincoffee  |  August 2, 2007 at 1:12 am

    I have never had a religious experience of any kind, not even in dreams. This contributed significantly to my deconversion.

  • 21. StaCeY  |  August 2, 2007 at 3:47 am

    The great loss as I have come to see it…
    is not that God is not speaking with us…
    but that we… as a race of human individuals…
    do not know Him in each moment of existance…
    do not know how to see and hear Him there.

    I do not know How He is speaking with you.

    He speaks to me most often in
    1.syncronicities…
    2.impossible “coincidences”…
    3.things that oddly catch my attention…
    4.unfolding chains of events
    5. SYMBOLS symbolisms found in my dreaming and my waking!
    6. “double” meanings and “life signs”…
    7. creation. everything existing in the physical world… speaks of the Spirit. everything.
    8. supernatural heightening of the senses.
    9. out and out “impossibilities”
    10. simple spiritual intuition.

    He reaches deep in… right where we are…
    and speaks to each and every one of us…
    in whatever ways we are most inclined to hear….
    at a given moment.

    But we can’t see (or hear) beyond the “ordinary”.
    Or we refuse to listen for Him in more than one or two “given” places. (the bible, the pastor, church doctrine, feelings). Oh what we forfiet for listening to the boxed in teachings of men…. instead of hearing God in all freedom.

    If life in Christ Jesus/Yahshua is supposed to be SUPERNATURAL…
    I ask you? R U living a supernatural life?

  • 22. kramii  |  August 2, 2007 at 5:06 am

    Heather:

    In #7 you said:

    I think Kramii’s list is something that most Christians would agree on

    Actually, I doubt this. Some see the age of miracles as having passed. Others that he only speaks through scripture and the Church. Of course, there are a great many who would accept my 17 and add many more of their own. StaCey’s 10 all seem good to me. I am sure that there are many others.

    things were altered, such as the Qur’ran instead of the Bible, almost any religion would agree on this.

    I do not doubt that many non-Xians (even atheists) have religious experiences. Some Xians seem very quick to assume that they must be “of the devil”. I think that it is foolish to be quick to judge what we do not understand. A great deal of harm has been done to Xian credability as a result. Not that I assume everything must be “of God” either. I would be very interested to find out more about non-Xian mystical experiences.

    The difficulty in finding any objective answer, though, is that there isn’t one.

    What are your reasons for believing this? Or is it an assumption? As you know, I do not believe it to be correct. It may not be possible to detemine what the objective answer is, but that does not mean that such an aswer does not exist. As you know, I believe that there is such an answer, and that we can know it with a reasonable degree of certainty.

    People interpret the Bible differently — what one verses says to person A is completely different than what it might say to Person B.

    Agreed. But that does not mean that there is not a correct interpretation of any given verse. I think that it is reasonable to assume that the author of any given portion of scripture intended to communicate something through their writing. It is that intention that we seek when we interpret any writing.

    There isn’t any way to point to something and say “God spoke to me” in the way we could with a person speaking to us.

    True. There are very important differrences.

    In #5 I wrote:

    Imaginary friends never reavealed anything to me that I didn’t know already. God does so.

    You replied:

    It might depend on how the imaginary friend is used. I know a few people who have new things revealed through talking to themselves out loud. It gave a fresh perspective.

    Very insightful: I had not thought of that. An imaginary friend could reveal something that I can know through reflection. God, OTOH, can show us things that we could not possibly know any other way.

  • 23. owen59  |  August 2, 2007 at 6:18 am

    The Baha’i Faith believes that God speaks to the human society through His Manifestations of God such as Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammed, and Baha’u’llah. “O friend! It behooveth us not to waive the injunction of God, but rather acquiesce and submit to that which He hath ordained as His divine Testimony. This verse is too weighty and pregnant an utterance for this afflicted soul to demonstrate and expound. God speaketh the truth and leadeth the way. He, verily, is supreme over all His people; He is the Mighty, the Beneficent.”
    (Baha’u’llah 1817-1892, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 205)
    Prayer is also for our benefit, to focus our minds on the highest order of things. “There is nothing sweeter in the world of existence than prayer. It creates spirituality, creates mindfulness and celestial feelings, begets new attractions of the kingdom, and engenders the susceptibilities of the higher intelligences.” Abdul-Baha 1844 – 1921

    For the essence of the Creator is unknowable and unattainable.

  • 24. kramii  |  August 2, 2007 at 8:49 am

    TA:

    In #11 you wrote:

    I just have the aching feeling that you, as a human being, are doing more “speaking” to yourself than god.

    A POV worth serious consideration. There are several possibilities here:

    1) Everything I think I hear from God is actually me.
    2) Some things I think I hear from God are actually me.
    3) Some things I think I hear from God are actually from God.
    4) Some things I think I hear from God are from another source entirely.
    5) Everything I think I hear from God is actually from God.

    From a Xian POV, I think (2) is the safest assumption, possibly some of (4), too (if you believe in other spirits).

    But once again – reason vs. faith.

    A false dichotomy, IMHO. I prefer reason vs. faith + reason.

    There will be no conclusive or debatable subject here.

    True, but the conversation might be interesting nonetheless.

    I could take the time to refute every single one of Kramii’s claims, but with nothing new, and nothing that Kramii probably couldn’t see as he wrote them, and nothing that would entail much more than flapping of fingers.

    I think you give me too much credit: I am sure you could come up with refutation that would never occur to me. Perhaps I’m better off not knowing!

    The point I made about Christians not understand their own god? Well – there have been sects and denominations, crucial differences and persecutions…

    This is quite true. In fact, I suggest that every Xian has a somewhat different view of God – just as everyone has a slightly different view of family, friends etc. That’s just human nature for you.

    The way that Protestants view their god is more akin to occultists and hindus rather than the long-standing tradition of church hierarchy

    Thankfully, yes. Sometimes, church tradition has got in the way of a proper understanding of God, sometimes it has aided it.

    To characature (very unfairly): The traditional church is like an armchair traveller who gets their knowledge from books, but never knows the taste nor smell nor feel of the places they ‘visit’. The modern protestant church is like someone who visits places, but never understands what they see because they can’t be bothered to look at the guide book nor the map nor even ask the locals what is going on.

    IMHO, both tradition and for experience are vital to the life of the Church.

    The way the prayers have moved from thanksgiving to demand/request is simply one example of this.

    Interestingly, that is exactly the direction that the Lord’s Prayer seems to take. From praise “hallowed be”, to request “give us this day”.

    Essentially, protestantism took the power away from one pope and his minions and created 500 million popes, all with their own authoritative ideas on god and what he is saying.

    Again, there is an up side and a down side to this. Many of us long for the day when the Church will be reunited as one. In order for that to happen, there needs to be both change and forgiveness on both sides.

    As you say, there have always been divisions in the Church. But there have always been reunions, too.

  • 25. Heather  |  August 2, 2007 at 8:55 am

    Kramii,

    What are your reasons for believing this? Or is it an assumption? As you know, I do not believe it to be correct.

    You asked this in response to my saying that there isn’t a way to objectively determine. My reason for saying this ties back to you saying most Christians would not agree with your reasonings listed earlier — the 17 points. There’s no 100% agreed upon way to determine if God is speaking (and this is different than an agreed upon method that God uses to speak. God could use the Bible to “speak,” but that doesn’t happen every time someone reads a Bible). It’s pretty much left up to subjective experiences. Even with the list you used — Muslims could use the same “proof” that Allah is the one speaking.

    It’s along these lines — if I say that Person A spoke to me, I can record that incident. I can say what Person A said, and others could find Person A for confirmation. For someone who says to hear from God, there aren’t the same groundrules. Even if it’s an audible voice, we can’t go hear that audible voice again.

    The common response I see is that if it contradicts the Bible, it doesn’t come from God, or it’s not God speaking. But that
    doesn’t work, because 150 year ago, a lot of Christians would’ve said anti-slavery contradicted the Bible. Or even the idea that the Earth was flat — that “contradicted” the Bible for quite a while, which is why I say there’s no objective way to determine.

    Even with your point that the authors in the Bible had a purpose in writing — I agree, but even the purpose isn’t 100% consensus. Take Paul’s writings. A lot of what he says point to a belief that the second coming would occur in his lifetime. Yet many who read Paul don’t hold to that. So what’s the objective viewpoint there?

    I do not doubt that many non-Xians (even atheists) have religious experiences.

    I would rephrase this to “spiritual” experiences, rather than religious. Religious tends to be associated with creeds and dogma. Spirituality is more an encounter with something beyond the self.

  • 26. Brad  |  August 2, 2007 at 10:52 am

    TA said,

    “The way that Protestants view their god is more akin to occultists and hindus rather than the long-standing tradition of church hierarchy (which was developed extremely early in some trajectories).”

    Considering the events leading up to the reformation, is it any wonder we have fractured denominations? If nothing had changed and we still had “one pope,” I imagine your critique would look much different. Tell me, what would be the right/ideal situation in this context?

    “The way the prayers have moved from thanksgiving to demand/request is simply one example of this.”

    That is FAR more a reflection of modernist/individual culture and arrogance than a true reflection of the Christian faith.

    “Essentially, protestantism took the power away from one pope and his minions and created 500 million popes, all with their own authoritative ideas on god and what he is saying.”

    Again, sadly, this is more of a reflection of modernist culture (and largely why postmodernism is catching on so quickly). This is not the way it was in the first couple centuries following the reformation, and was much more a reaction/adaptation to the enlightenment and Cartesian philosophy.

    I greatly understand and wholeheartedly agree with your points and/or concerns. The cause behind most of these very legitimate complaints have more to do with Christianity’s uncritical marriage to culture than it does the faith itself. We must be discerning in claiming which is the root of the other (admittedly, a very difficult task).

  • 27. mentalimaging  |  August 2, 2007 at 11:34 am

    “We all have the power to draw out of the depths of ourselves our own spiritual scriptures, each human soul contains a Bible within itself, each person contains the possibility of new spiritual events and awarenesses taking place in his and her own experience. A bible is not a book that comes into existence by means of a single individual. It is the product of many experiences and numerous lives. It reflects the experiences of many persons as they reach toward a contact with divinity in the harsh social and economic facts of history.”

    Excerpted from: At a Journal Workshop, Ira Progoff

  • 28. girlwithnoname  |  August 2, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    I know this may not be the post to ask this…because it goes off topic of the post a little bit…but why does there have to be lines? I mean…you have Quantum Physics, Aliens, Science, God, etc…don’t we all chose to believe in something to help explain the unexplainables? So I guess that would be my question with the voice of God. Random thoughts, ideas, feelings…what do want them to be? I guess it is a bit confusing for me because whenever I read something from an atheist perspective…I can agree, yet I can’t be an atheist because I beleive in a god…but I can’t be a christian because I don’t believe in Jesus as god and I like to think for the most part rationaly. I think you could drive yourself crazy at this point. I don’t need a title…I guess what I’m wondering is the only difference between atheism and christianity, god? or is it Jesus…or just plain religion? It seems somewhat amusing when you say something like “Jesus never claimed to be God” it causes quite the stir…hostility with the christians and a little anger (like you’re just plain stupid) with the atheist. So now the voice of God…I guess if you believe in God you believe that it is all around you, and if not, than I guess you just see a tree or another person…I don’t know. I do know that I talked to myself at play time as a child and I have to be honest…I miss that sometimes in being such an adult…losing the child. So maybe I like God as my imaginary friend? I like the quote from mentalimaging…”We all have the power to draw out of the depths of ourselves”

  • [...] Faith=imaginary friend. [...]

  • 30. Dan  |  August 2, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    God does speak to many people as you read here in even this blog. Are all these people crazy, are they off their rocker? We don’t know these people and we don’t know their fruit but people like kramii, Brad, StaCeY and yes even myself have an understanding of God that is difficult to explain. He speaks to us in a different language then our own.

    It is like Chinese to some of you. Give someone in the U.S. a book written in Chinese and they don’t understand any of it. If you give that same book to a little 4 year old Chinese boy and he can read it no problem. That is why we must be born again to truly understand his word for what it truly means. Once you understand that other language, it is easier to recognize when we hear it. We must be born again into the language of the Lord to understand his book. To the unsaved it is just Chinese. Seek and you will find. Matthew 7:7: John 14:21

  • 31. Thinking Ape  |  August 2, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Brad, don’t get me wrong – I would rather have 500 million weak popes than 1 powerful one, but I would like even more so no popes at all. Since there are very few Roman Catholics influencing my life, I haven’t developed a personal critique of the pope, although I am sure it would be no different than that of my Anabaptist ancestors.

    Brad, have you read “Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus” by Robert Capon? I would heavily recommend it. It isn’t easy to get a hold of, but I believe you can get it through amazon on paperback now for under 15 bucks. I think you would enjoy it.

  • 32. Thinking Ape  |  August 2, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Kramii,
    Sorry, the faith vs. reason comment was rhetoric. What I meant by it was that it falls into that sort of discussion – I must take it on faith that the Christian who left his pregnant girlfriend to go on a mission trip and find a new wife was told to do so by god. Sorry if that sounds cynical, but these are pretty regular cases within “the bubble,” and this is only the most recent example. The problem is that you can say pretty much anything you do is “because god told you so,” and hence JUSTIFY any action (even something as atrocious as child sacrifice – see Abraham, Jephthah, and God the Father). This, of course takes some audacity in our contemporary world, but their certainly isn’t a shortage of people doing crazy stuff. Yet, it isn’t even the crazy stuff I am really concerned about (although yes, the above mentioned guy pissed me off more than a bit, as it should with anyone) – it is the fact that this is how people make important life decisions that affect more than just themselves (esp. voting, condemning others, acts of “moral superiority”, etc.) on a regular basis.

    I remember this got to the point at Bible college where I started telling people stop blaming god for getting what they want or doing something that seemed like the right choice, because more often than not, it was an egotistical choice that would either come back to haunt them or it hurt someone else: THANK GOD I got that job – who gives a $#%! about the guy with a family who didn’t get it (maybe you got the job because you were better qualified, or, more likely, better connected – but if it was actually god’s fault, you’re both jerks). Again, more “sophisticated” Christians will realize this isn’t what prayer and god’s influence is all about, but “sophisticated” Christians are a minority (see Prothero’s new book on the ignorance of Americans on religion).

  • 33. Brad  |  August 2, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    TA,

    Your last comment in reply to Kramil, I agree with 95% (and really, the 5% is just a disclaimer in case I missed anything). Your comment is exactly why experiential/personal revelation (or whatever we are talking about) must be critiqued against the character of God and scripture.

    If you have a pregnant girlfriend back home, there is no way God would “tell you” to marry someone you met on a missions trip. Will he bless that marriage later on? It is entirely possible, as God is forgiving. However, God will not tell or ask anyone to do something that is contrary to His character (a good example of this is Nehemiah 6: 10-14).

    As jacked-up, abysmal, only-our-mothers-could-love-us, sinful, totally depraved human beings, we often hijack God to suit our wants and desires. It sucks, and we must be very discerning, but we also cannot throw the baby out with the bath water.

    And the book you recommended looks really good…. I will have to add it to my wish list (already a couple dozen long…)!

  • [...] simply discard it.  This is a common modernist response.  Examples of this are in conversations here, and here (and the post itself on this [...]

  • 35. Lucas Knisely  |  August 2, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    I’m unsure how someone would prove God doesn’t speak to His people.

  • 36. Alex  |  August 2, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    “Jesus will never leave you” – – Don’t you think this is a reference to a persons inner-strength. In essence, believe in your -self and resuse to depend on someone else for personal bliss. It is all inside you and it always will be. Right?

  • 37. Silly Old Bear  |  August 2, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    “Again, more “sophisticated” Christians will realize this isn’t what prayer and god’s influence is all about, but “sophisticated” Christians are a minority (see Prothero’s new book on the ignorance of Americans on religion).”

    Thank you Thinking Ape, for putting this out there!
    This is exactly the reason why Jewish Tradition forbids what it labels “frivolous prayer” – such as asking G-d to fix the outcome of a football game, praying that a child turns out either gender or even that a terminally ill person recovers, (as that would be a futile prayer) – but we can very well pray that the terminally ill person is as comfortable and pain free as possible.

    Prayer where the outcome is either fixed, or for our own benefit, or directly in violation of natural laws are eventually only going to lead to some sort disappointment. That’s why Jewish prayer focuses on Praise, Thanksgiving and Petition for Forgiveness.

    Again thank you for bringing this point!

  • 38. cragar  |  August 3, 2007 at 12:01 am

    ok, I have been gone for a week and have slept about 4-5 hours a day for 4 days in a row. Did I miss something has The de-Convert been Aa all this time?

    If that is the case it all makes sense now…..
    :-)

  • 39. kramii  |  August 3, 2007 at 7:39 am

    Heather:

    You said:

    There’s no 100% agreed upon way to determine if God is speaking

    There is no 100% agreed upon anything. In any case, 99% of people could agree, but they might be wrong. Agreement doesn’t actually prove anything. It might be good reason to take a position seriously, however.

    if I say that Person A spoke to me, I can record that incident. I can say what Person A said, and others could find Person A for confirmation. For someone who says to hear from God, there aren’t the same groundrules. Even if it’s an audible voice, we can’t go hear that audible voice again.

    Why not? Couldn’t two people ask God the same question?

    The common response I see is that if it contradicts the Bible…it’s not God speaking. But that doesn’t work…a lot of Christians would’ve said anti-slavery contradicted the Bible. Or even the idea that the Earth was flat…which is why I say there’s no objective way to determine.

    I would say that that God will never contradict the “Spirit of the Bible”. Of course, I do see the “subjective” problem here, too. But, there are actually some powerful tools available to determine what the Bible’s authors intended to say. Most Xians (myself included) do not employ them very well. This is more far more Brad’s expertise than mine.

    Take Paul’s writings. A lot of what he says point to a belief that the second coming would occur in his lifetime. Yet many who read Paul don’t hold to that. So what’s the objective viewpoint there?

    We could argue:

    A) That Paul never said that Jesus would return in his lifetime.

    or

    B) That Paul was developing his understanding of what God said to him as he went along – just like the rest of us.

    We might also say:

    1) That we cannot know for certain.
    2) That it really doesn’t matter. We know Jesus has not yet returned.

    As with anything, we cannot be absolutely certain of the answer. But we can have a degree of certainty. Over something like this, I am far less certain than I am over other things.

    In #22 I said:

    I do not doubt that many non-Xians (even atheists) have religious experiences.

    You replied:

    I would rephrase this to “spiritual” experiences,

    Good catch! You’re quite right that I chose the wrong word here. I guess that just hints at my bias. I much prefer your version.

  • 40. kramii  |  August 3, 2007 at 8:08 am

    TA:

    In #32 you said:

    Sorry, the faith vs. reason comment was rhetoric.

    I appreciate your honesty.

    What I meant by it was that it falls into that sort of discussion – I must take it on faith that the Christian who left his pregnant girlfriend to go on a mission trip and find a new wife was told to do so by god.

    Absolutely not! You must take no such thing on faith! Quite the contrary, assuming the facts are as you say, there is no doubt that the young man in question is (1) unfaithful to his girlfriend, (2) irresponsible towards his child, and (3) a lier about his authority to do (1) and (2).

    these are pretty regular cases within “the bubble,”

    Sadly true. But then “the bubble” (as you call it) is rarely Christianity: it often has little to do with Christ. The only connection is that it gives Him a bad name.

    The problem is that you can say pretty much anything you do is “because god told you so,” and hence JUSTIFY any action

    Practically, this is sadly true. Morally, not so much.

    There is a reason I don’t have a position of leadership. IMHO, one of the problems is that some Church leaders lack the spirit to take their Members to task. They worry about making mistakes or upsetting people or looking “unchristian” or whatever. Sometimes these are legitimate concerns. It is not easy, either. I once had to ask a lodger (a fellow Xian) to leave my house because of the way he was treating his girlfriend. It was a miserable experience. Not a nice thing to have to do. I don’t envy Xian leaders their job.

    (even something as atrocious as child sacrifice – see Abraham, Jephthah, and God the Father).

    Do you really want to pull at that thread?

    … it isn’t even the crazy stuff I am really concerned about… it is the fact that this is how people make important life decisions that affect more than just themselves

    If they are actually listening to God, no problem.

    If they are really listening to their own voice – well, surely they will be votin (or whatever) based on their own preferences? Passing our descisons off as obedience to God is an issue for me. But in itself, the fact that people vote based on their own preferences is not a problem to me.

    I should say this: whatever the source of inspiration for a descision, the person who makes my descisions is me. I am completely responsible for them. I can’t blame anyone else. Credit where it is due, but in the end, I choose for myself. I don’t expect anything less from others.

    I remember this got to the point at Bible college where I started telling people stop blaming god for getting what they want or doing something that seemed like the right choice, because more often than not, it was an egotistical choice that would either come back to haunt them or it hurt someone else

    That can’t have been easy.

    Again, more “sophisticated” Christians will realize this isn’t what prayer and god’s influence is all about, but “sophisticated” Christians are a minority

    Indeed. For my own part, I am thanful for this blog. I trust I will learn a hint of sophistication by listening to people here.

    Thanks, TA, for your input.

  • 41. dgirle  |  August 3, 2007 at 8:46 am

    Actions speak louder than words. A means of great solace has been the beauty, diversity, wonder and grandeur of “creative” works, or nature.

    It’s like someone has invited me–with functional five senses–to experience everything that will make me happy. This speaks to me; and is one means I have experienced the most powerful and dynamic living force communicating with me. I just need to take some quite time to listen.

  • 42. KD  |  August 3, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    To me, the voice of God is a still, small voice, one distiguishable from our own thoughts, it’s spontaneous and not just ourselves. Sometimes I’ll feel a tug or you could say a conviction. He can use the Bible, speak the truth through someone (but it can’t be just their message with “God” attached to it). It can be a peaceful experience or a warning that we’re straying from benevolence and need to repent. As the verse goes, “my sheep hear my voice and follow me.”

  • 43. societyvs  |  August 4, 2007 at 3:27 am

    Thank you for mentioning me and my experience – but like I said before this was ‘a one time thang’. God never spoke more than once to me – and we are talking a lifetime here (32 years). But I cannot discount that experience no matter how I cut the moment.

    Here is the story. I was in the middle of a boring youth lecture (with pizza) and they asked us to bow our heads for prayer – so I did just that. As the pastor dude was praying I had my head hung low – then I heard a whisper in my ear (that actually meant something to me) – as I heard it my head immmediately rose – everyone’s head was bowed ( I was shocked – I was at least 2 feet to 3 feet from the next chair to me). After that meeting we had some pizza and I was a different person.

    I had no fear of the things around me (even death or heights). I walked out of that meeting like I had purpose,meaning, something to do, and you know what – the voice never mis-lead me – but gave me courage to be me. I have never looked back since then and not a single bad thing has happened to me – even when in harm’s way (harm calmed down). I was given a mission – and what is wieird – I am doing it now – YAY!

  • 44. Stu  |  August 4, 2007 at 6:38 am

    When I was a Xtian I struggled with this big time. Other people seemed to have this certainty that God was speaking to them. They would say that God “gave them a word”, and I would always wish God would give me a word like that. They seemed so sure about it. I would just have thoughts. The thoughts which agreed with what I thought God might say given my knowledge about the kind of things God would say I thought were possibly from God, and the thoughts which didn’t agree with what I thought God might say were probably not from God, although there was always the possibility I could be wrong about the kind of things God would say in the first place!

    If I prayed for guidance I never received anything I would have recognised as guidance, so after waiting for some kind of response and not receiving anything I ended up doing what I wanted to do anyway, and hoping it was the right thing to do. People ask me to define what I would have recognised as guidance and I can’t tell them. Suffice to say, God knows what it would have taken for me to recognise something as from him, and the fact that I never did recognise it surely proves that

  • 45. Stu  |  August 4, 2007 at 6:39 am

    … he never did respond.

    Sorry, pressed submit by accident.

  • 46. Anonymous  |  August 18, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    To the people who claim God communicates to them – You are deeply disturbed, seek help before God tells you to do something bad.

    You all “Believe” in all kinds of crazy things that are not logical, or even POSSIBLE.

  • 47. Anonymous  |  August 18, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    You’re also all just a bunch of NewAge Hippies, old school religious people would BURN YOU AT THE STAKE for talking nonsense like this, you’d be classified as witches.

  • 48. Laura  |  September 18, 2007 at 6:47 am

    I’ve just found this page through StumbleUpon. I am an atheist, no deity has ever spoke to me, communicated with me through dreams or anything else.

    I have some religious friends who see their deity as guiding them, but not as a big booming voice with a beard coming down from the skies, more as sort of like a conscience. Which to me sounds just like the inner monologue we all have anyway.

    I think the whole “God told me to do it” excuse is a bit lame. We’re all ultimately responsible for our own actions.

    On the imaginary friend note, I used to have an imaginary friend (as a very small child) called Laura Ashley. I was gutted when I found out her name was also that of a clothes shop, but it does show me where people get the inspiration and idea’s for imaginary friends. I think perhaps if all your life you had been told “God made this world and he is watching over you” (that actually sounds a bit creepy, I didn’t mean it to!) you’d find a god everywhere. In nature, in the actions of other people and yourself. In nature I see the wonders of science and in other people I see the amazing world of human generosity and caring, and sometimes the way the human brain can go “wrong”. I just don’t attribute it to a god.

  • 49. mewho  |  September 19, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    We are a scared, insecure species and it’s comforting to think we’re being guided. Nobody wants to be alone…so we imagine Him to be there. You have created God in your own mind because it helps you face the unknown. Unseen agents working on your behalf…how quaint.

  • 50. mewho  |  September 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I can see, however, that this notion of “unseen agents working on your behalf” would benefit in natural selection. Not because it’s true but because the whole idea makes a person more confident and self-assured.

  • 51. Amy  |  March 30, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    I assure you, I am not scared or insecure or lack anything mentally, or profiting (financially) from God’s Word. Read my story…

    http://www.theilluminatedmind.com

  • 52. Jim  |  December 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I thought I heard god talking to me one time. But then I realized that I was just crazy. I feel better now.

  • 53. William  |  December 31, 2008 at 1:20 am

    God is real. Miracles happen. There is plenty of evidence. Check for yourself. Don’t get fooled or put in a box.

  • 54. Quester  |  December 31, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Up is down. Green is scrumptious. Short, declarative statements without support are convincing. Don’t bother sharing the evidence; we’ll beleive you if you say it exists.

  • 55. LeoPardus  |  December 31, 2008 at 10:58 am

    William = another drive-by. Dang I hate those kind.

  • 56. Sojourner  |  December 31, 2008 at 11:20 am

    William,

    Box? What Box?

  • 57. CincyAtheist  |  October 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Wow. It amazes me at how people argue that God exists because “look around you at the wonders of nature, and all the strange coincidences and ‘impossibilities’ that exist in the world”. I see all the wonders of nature, but I don’t need to assign a “God” to explain it all. I notice all these bizarre coincidences, but recognize it as chance occurrence. For every occassion you roll the dice and get a strange coincidence, you’ll get thousands of dice rolls that don’t yield a coincidence. That’s why it’s a COINCIDENCE. Do not try to explain random chance with “God”. If you can’t see the flaw in that logic, I feel sorry for you and whatever education system you were put through. It’s like the people who say that life is so complex that, even if evolution is true (it is scientifically proven) then God must have put it all in motion. They fail to realize how ignorant that sounds. If God created the first life form… then the first life form, WAS NOT THE FIRST LIFE FORM, GOD WAS THE FIRST LIFE FORM!! And who created God? …. so anyway, I can understand ignorant primative people using “God” as a way to explain the sun, moon and stars, and other natural phenomenon… because they were ignorant. Science has helped us understand enough about those things today that saying “God waved his magic wand and it was so” seems ridiculous. But people still cling to that belief system! “Oh it’s so complex and miraculous… it is evidence of God”. No, it’s evidence that it’s complex, and hard for us to understand and explain. In 1000 years, if we don’t blow ourselves up, future societies will look back on us and laugh at all the superstitious bullshit we just couldn’t let go of during our age. You know what’s waiting for you after death? I’ll explain it, and you don’t need the concept of a magical being in the sky to make sense of it all. Remember what it was like before you were born? It will be like that. True nothingness, because you as a being won’t exist. You have no soul. You only exist right now because of complex physical structure that is your body, and you’re only self aware because of your brain and all teh complex chemical activity going on in there. God will not save you, and while you love the idea of it, just like people love the idea of ghosts being real, I think deep down inside you KNOW it’s bullshit. That’s why you will go to your local HOSPITAL when you get injured, and not your church. Because Science can help you, but praying to your imaginary friend cannot. Because “He” isn’t any more real than the tooth fairy.

  • 58. George  |  October 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Seems that you have it all figured out. Wow ! ! !

    You are very uneducated to you are. You are trapped and do not realize it. You believe Christian’s are deceived by the Bible?

    Guess again. Science is the god of this age, as you have stated. God is going to force you to deal with him, now, or in the future you claim does not exist. Israel is your biggest problem.

    You have no soul. You only exist right now because of complex physical structure that is your body, and you’re only self aware because of your brain and all teh complex chemical activity going on in there. God will not save you, and while you love the idea of it, just like people love the idea of ghosts being real, I think deep down inside you KNOW it’s bullshit. That’s why you will go to your local HOSPITAL when you get injured, and not your church. Because Science can help you, but praying to your imaginary friend cannot. Because “He” isn’t any more real than the tooth fairy.

  • 59. Joe  |  October 8, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    You are very uneducated to you are. (#58)

    George, just out of curiosity, do you live in the Appalachians?

    just kidding—I know it’s just a typo but couldn’t resist.

  • 60. Joe  |  October 8, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Post #57 5 + 7 =12

    cincyatheist = 12 letters

    Talk about coincidences!

    :>)

  • 61. Quester  |  October 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Welcome, Cincy. My apologies if we got any self-appointed prophet on you- we only got him a week or so ago and he’s hard to house-train.

    On to the subject of your comment, it’s unfortunate that not enough people know enough to go to the hospital when they’re sick– or worse, when their kids are sick. The “wonders of nature” are very poor evidence for a god; I agree. And tragic deaths caused by relying on faith instead of medical science may not be evidence against a god, but should be evidence against the sanity and rationality of the believer.

  • 62. Ngoo Nam  |  December 18, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Now nobody can burn people at the stakes for writing stuff like this.

    Or can they?

    Let them try, huh?

    Some imaginary friends have helped some people, though.

    Imaginary or not, it is how people used these “friends.” Is it for benevolent reasons or the opposite, for malevolence? That’s the bigger question.

    It has been said that imagination and dreaming have led to the countless contributions to human progress and human suffering..

    Used your “imaginary (or not) friends” wisely, beautiful people.

  • 63. Eve's Apple  |  December 20, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    When I was a child I used to have imaginary friends. I made up an imaginary world. It was a game I used to share with my brother. One day we got into a bitter argument about the nature of this world. During this argument a horrible, horrible thought came to me: Is this what grown-ups do when they argue about God and religion?

    You have to understand that at that age I did not fully understand the difference between reality and fantasy. I honestly believed that the world I “saw” in my mind was real. It came as a shock that whatever my brother “saw”, he was obviously not tapping into the same “world” or “reality’. He did not share my world, unlike other experiences we could and did share.

    I also understood enough at that age that the question that came into my mind was a terrible, terrible question, possibly put there by Satan himself, and not ever to be discussed with anyone, especially not my parents, my religious teachers, or–as i got older–believers in general. I did not have to wait until I died for God to punish me–His Representatives, in the shape of the adults who had authority over me, would see to it that I was punished right here on earth, I had a pretty good idea what these punishments would entail, so I kept my mouth shut and went to church each Sunday. For the Christians who may be reading this, especially those of you who are parents, I have a question. Why do you find it necessary to instill your faith in children by force? Why do you find it necessary to punish a child when he or she asks the same kind of questions (although in a less sophisticated way) as many of us on this site? Are your children truly free to ask whatever they want? Do they go to church and believe because they truly believe as you do, or do they go to church because they have no other option? If the latter, how well do you really know what is going on in your child’s mind? Trust me, my parents never knew (and still do not know to some extent) how I really felt about God and religion.

    As I said before, I used to have imaginary friends. But my parents and my teachers felt that this was unacceptable, and embarked on a program to eradicate this undesirable behavior. It was ok to talk to statues of Jesus and Mary but not ok to talk to my imaginary friend. Again, I could not ask what the difference was.

    All my life I have wrestled with this issue, fantasy versus reality. What is fantasy? What is reality? Is God reality because other people say so? Is my imaginary world fantasy because other people say so? Is my selfhood only to be defined by others?

    When my brother and I argued it was because we were only tapping into our own separate heads. There was no external Fairyland. Now, I have been told that there is an external God, that there is an external Jesus, and that these are all real.

    My challenge to those who would insist that I believe that this is so, give me some proof that you are tapping into some exterior reality. If God exists, as you say, and He knows everything, then tell me something about myself that I have never revealed to anyone. There is something very specific I am looking for; and it is nothing that can be known by guessing. This is how I will know that I can take someone seriously when they talk about having a relationship with God.

  • 64. GaryC  |  July 18, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Religion IS a mental sickness and ALL who believe in any religion are in FACT mentally sick, delusional, psychotic. There is reality and reality is the same for everyone. If it is not reality than it is a delusion, illusion or hallucination, dream, wish but NOT reality. That is a fact regardless of what anyone may psychotically believe.

  • 65. DSimon  |  July 20, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Gary, are you saying that there’s no difference between being mistaken and being mentally ill?

  • 66. Brian  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Alright you ignorant atheists… if there is no god, then HOW DOES THE SUN KEEP ORBITING THE EARTH? BAM!

    You see people, that’s how you deal with atheist skum. With LOGIC! Hit that bullseye and the rest of the dominoes will come down like a house of cards… CHECKMATE!

    And on that note…

    Dunt dun duuh DAAAAHHHH!

    !!!!!!!!!MY ATHEIST STORE!!!!!!!!!

    Aristotle’s Muse

    This is my store. Maybe wearing an atheist T-shirt won’t change the world, but enough of them just might.

  • 67. stephanie  |  November 2, 2010 at 1:09 am

    I guess, having once been a Christian, I have stopped listening to fake voices I conjured up in my head. This learned pattern of behavior never really helped me at all. The bible is unintelligible to me and since it was written so long ago and retranslated so many times it is worthless to me. The only thing that truly sustains a spirit is self confidence and facing that what is, is. I suppose that makes me now an atheist but I do not celebrate it. I wish there were more to life than just our time on earth. I just don’t believe it anymore.

  • 68. Adrian Pierce  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    How does god teach you things you don’t already know? This is almost sick, It’s giving you an external personality that far out reaches yourself and you allow yourself to sink into a land of fantasy… I could say Vampires exist but i’d have to be lying to myself and everything reality has taught me to bring myself to that point of sickness.
    Like the Teletubbies and other teaching shows god only works as a imaginary teacher it’s when he’s taken out of context that reality exceeds itself and you just look crazy God is obviously not talking to you he is not a object or a physical or non-physical being he’s an IDEA and nothing more he helps only when you understand reality.

  • 69. nadia  |  September 30, 2011 at 5:53 am

    God is curently silent .Hi does not speak .Christians relationship with god is IMAGINERY they are deceiving themselves

  • 70. Alban  |  March 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Change the dynamic to better prepare for a possible clarification. For a few moments consider “God’ as an opportunity, a place to go in you that is free of imagination, free from the dictates of your emotion, free of judgement and free of expectation. See the theme there?

    Freedom is just that, the experience of being free…or freely being. Freedom is not license.Freedom is not demanding, nor is it threatening. It is not complex. Freedom is a simple feeling, a feeling that can be felt in it’s uniqueness.

    Simplicity to become aware of this feeling requires disrobing. Disrobing of what? All previous concepts of God, spirituality, fundamentalism, ‘facts’ you think you know, scientific analysis, reason including rationalization and hypocrasy. Think that’s easy? No, it is not.

    And all for what? One unique feeling? How good could that feeling BE, to drop for periods of time, all my concepts and their safeguards? (Praying is comforting, but how well you trust yourself, is critical here) And how amazing could that opportunity be, that when you hear about or see someone expert talking about it, even if you chose not to ‘disrobe” you would still be inspired in such a way to have faith that this feeling DOES exist. Although it is second hand to you. Some THING went thru your ‘attire’ of confusion and doubt and touched you like nothing else.

    Now here is the tricky part. Was the person telling you about this, creating something you don’t have? Was he or she giving you something you don’t have? Have to look a little beyond the words here. We all wear a humongous wardrobe that magnifies face value almost as though it was designed NOT to perceive or feel what lies underneath, a sad reflection on OUR CREATED REALITY.

    Nevertheless you felt some THING and it felt really good. (No Label needed) And you already have THAT within you! That is a great place to begin. Simple.

    Take that feeling 3 or 4 generations removed and what happens? Imagination and hope for something that can only take place in the afterlife. It is totally bizarre. And then even more bizzare, talking to an imaginary external being!

    But if the opportunity to feel seems like an imaginary friend, think again. HOW could I listen to, or perceive the opportunity of a lifetime? In the famous words from “Cool Hand Luke”, What we have here, is a failure to communicate”. A failure to feel what we already have inside.

    And saying it is not possible or is ‘woo’ is only an excuse. Just overriding laziness, judgement, arrogance or analysis paralysis. Pick whatever combination.

    We just need some help ‘undressing’ and some amazing inspiration to strike the notion of ‘imaginary’, to actually feel and see, (hear and taste as well) some THING exquisitely unique within each of us. Our civilization has heard about it before many times from a linneage of one gifted person (plural) and somehow it all disappears until 3 or 4 generations later when we ceate a new religion. However,taking advantage of that opportunity if (you and IT) are available could reawaken in us, direct access to the origin of freedom.

    Mm, could someone like that, be around today? To call it ‘opportunity knocking’ almost sounds familiar doesn’t it?

  • 71. Irreligious Org  |  June 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    It has been one of my enduring frustrations of 27 years of Christianity (now passed) that many around me would claim that God had told them this and that, but these claims faded under scrutiny and were indistinguishable from the desires and notions of the people concerned. I eventually gave up the search… and God.

  • 72. Alban  |  June 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Thankfully, Irreligious Org the actual wonderful journey/destiny is within you! You possess the ability to feel, see, hear (and therefore) know what it is you had been looking for. It doesn’t judge and it is very patient. Words heard within us have NOTHING to do with that search. There is a clarity which comes thru, that is more like being able to recognize itself, if that makes sense…?

    Once you feel that, you have positioned yourself to be a good acceptor/receiver of the presence. NOT MYSTICALLY. It’s not 6th sense and cannot be captured in any words or by a book. However, that feeling is able to be perceived within the words describing it, more like the essence.

    Unlike concentrated fruit juice, as those words become interpreted and or are handed down, the feeling is not diluted. It actually changes into something that is NOT IT at all. To claim that the hand me down message even resembles the original, is a stretch. So if you miss it first hand, you have missed it altogether. (the kind of reality that is struck from scripture and history books…mm, wonder why?)

    Fortunately there is an inspirer now who can literally, tangibly show people, themselves. This is not a movement to become a world changing belief or thinking process or clarify religious or secular interpretations of God. Rather to know one’s self empowers individuals to enjoy their lives without making that enjoyment conditional. From THAT everyday (effort) perspective, our understanding and our creativity could reflect an amazing, naturally occurring appreciation that hasn’t (seemingly) been available for some time.

    Feeling first thru the senses of hearing and seeing begins the process of being able to turn within with the same senses. So listening to or seeing such an inspirer is practical, and survives any scrutiny EXCEPT independent objective analysis. You cannot fully assess a house unless you can enter it. If you cannot enter YOUR OWN HOUSE, then how could you judge another’s? This is not about a building or what takes place within 4 walls.

    What happens in a building can be chocked full of imagination. To be able to perceive what is a major component within you CAN ONLY HAPPEN without imagination. Scrutiny can itself merely try to imagine that, but cannot prove it by any objective scale of measure or analysis…one of the ‘reasons’ there has never been a charge for it- the other being there is not enough money (anywhere) to ‘pay’ for it!!!

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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