Personal Experience

Topher
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Personal Experience

Why is personal experience, especially for God and supernatural/religion issues, bad and how does it differ from any other types of personal experience (which is based on our senses).

I though this might be a good discussion since it’s one of the most common arguments for God. Usually when all other arguments have failed theists revert to the personal experience argument since personal experiences are inherently subjective.

Here a recent example from a theist:

********
Really now, a theist's belief derives from his experiences with God. To ignore that person's experiences is to ignore that PERSON. You're cutting off the very thing which makes him a human: his ability to EXPERIENCE the world around him. That ain't cool, amigo. That ain't cool.

From the point of view of a theist, right now you are saying, "You did NOT experience God."

You can disagree with that assertion all day long, but I'll say it again: From the point of view of a theist, you are saying, "You did NOT experience God."

That denial of experience is an outright subjugation of the theist's thoughts, feelings, and emotions. From his perspective you are denying him human autonomy.

Don't do that. Instead, affirm that he experienced something, and ask about it.
********

See, he asks that one must merely assume the theist had a personal experience with God, without any reason to. I played this game with this particular theist once and after I agreed with his assumption, heard what he had to say, and then disagreed… his reply (paraphrased)… “You can’t disagree after you already accepted the assumption. It’s too late. You must present your disagreement at the assumption stage.

So I asked him to present his argument again, and this time I disagreed with it… “why should I just accept the assumption.” His reply… “If you want an answer you must accept the assumption since my answer requires the assumption. No assumption, no answer/debate”

So essentially, to continue the debate with this person I must accept his assumption, then at not point disagree or call him on it. I refuse to do this. Now he ignores anything I say.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Vastet
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I usually construct my

I usually construct my response to the individual, but it's always useful to ask why he had an experience "proving" god when I never have. What's the point in god proving himself to one who already believes in him? Seems rather pointless.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Onion
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Given that God, from a

Given that God, from a Christian point of view, is a personal God (He is three persons in one essence, afterall), it makes perfectly good sense that He would deal with everyone on a personal, individual basis.


Yellow_Number_Five
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Topher wrote: Why is

Topher wrote:
Why is personal experience, especially for God and supernatural/religion issues, bad and how does it differ from any other types of personal experience (which is based on our senses). I though this might be a good discussion since it’s one of the most common arguments for God. Usually when all other arguments have failed theists revert to the personal experience argument since personal experiences are inherently subjective. Here a recent example from a theist: ******** Really now, a theist's belief derives from his experiences with God. To ignore that person's experiences is to ignore that PERSON. You're cutting off the very thing which makes him a human: his ability to EXPERIENCE the world around him. That ain't cool, amigo. That ain't cool. From the point of view of a theist, right now you are saying, "You did NOT experience God." You can disagree with that assertion all day long, but I'll say it again: From the point of view of a theist, you are saying, "You did NOT experience God." That denial of experience is an outright subjugation of the theist's thoughts, feelings, and emotions. From his perspective you are denying him human autonomy. Don't do that. Instead, affirm that he experienced something, and ask about it. ******** See, he asks that one must merely assume the theist had a personal experience with God, without any reason to. I played this game with this particular theist once and after I agreed with his assumption, heard what he had to say, and then disagreed… his reply (paraphrased)… “You can’t disagree after you already accepted the assumption. It’s too late. You must present your disagreement at the assumption stage. So I asked him to present his argument again, and this time I disagreed with it… “why should I just accept the assumption.” His reply… “If you want an answer you must accept the assumption since my answer requires the assumption. No assumption, no answer/debate” So essentially, to continue the debate with this person I must accept his assumption, then at not point disagree or call him on it. I refuse to do this. Now he ignores anything I say.

 

Replace God with Smurf and ask him how seriously they would take their own point.

 Emotional and purely anecdotal "evidence" is excluded from rational discourse for a very good reason. Deal with it. Wishing God to exist, hoping that He does exist and prancing around the cold facts won't change what is true.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Rigor_OMortis
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So, your theist invokes a

So, your theist invokes a strong emotional and quite moral argument against you. Does that mean he is entitled to have you shut up, just because you hurt his feelings? HECK NO ! Invoke the same argument against him: he's hurting YOUR feelings by stating that we were created out of pure earth, like a mold statue. Works better if you're a woman, thus stating that God created woman from the rib of a man (??? ??? ???)

My thoughts on personal experiences are as follows:

First off, a PERSONAL experience is a PERSONAL experience. It concerns YOU privately, and NOT anybody else. (argument of non-universality)

Second, we have a scientific explanation for most of these unnatural "personal experiences" (just take a look at the tunnel effect in NDEs), but I'm afraid I would really hurt feelings if I stated what that was... (argument of reality)

Third, presuming that these "personal experiences" are indeed coming from the off-worldly beings, how do you know FROM WHICH ONE? How do you know that they are really experiences with GOD, and NOT with THE DEVIL, trying to lure you away from belief? Stating "he did not say anything bad" won't do, since even the Bible describes the so-called devil a being much too sly and deceptive for the regular human. (argument of uncertainty)

Fourth, presuming that your vision indeed came from God, how come I don't have them? How come Mumbasa K'Chule, my native African peer from Zambia, never had one, since he has never heard of the terms "God", "Jesus", "Bible", etc.? (argument of denied plurality)

I believe these should be enough.

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/