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Author Topic:   Christian conversion experience: descriptions/analysis/links: input invited
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 528 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 61 of 199 (215465)
06-08-2005 7:49 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Gilgamesh
06-06-2005 9:33 PM


Re: fear
I've spent over 10 years trying to identify a intellectual path to belief, and have failed to find it. It is my experience that there is no such path and that conversion (whether it be a born again process or a slow evolution of thought) is an emotional process. A degree of intellectualisation occurs after conversion, or what I call "backrationalisation", only to the extent that is necessary for psychological comfort. Compartmentalisation is then used to ensure that the emotional need is not compromised by rational analysis. Many Christian faiths have processes/rules/tenets that assist with this process.

oh dear. this is a semantics problem. by "intellectual" i only meant the change in thought patterns, not that the conversion itself was intellectual. the are certainly almost, if not always, emotional experience by definition.

although, i reserve the option for the occasional intellectual conversion, especially into the less fanatical "faiths." for instance, a taoist "conversion" might be strictly intellectual. but that's generally not what we're talking about here, is it?

but what i meant was that i'm talking about the ritual, but the transition to the mindse:, the initial accepting of the belief system that prerequisites the ritual.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-06-2005 9:33 PM Gilgamesh has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-08-2005 8:55 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 528 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 62 of 199 (215467)
06-08-2005 8:01 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Faith
06-08-2005 2:22 AM


Re: charismatic experiences
Oh I don't think they are alien abductions, but I think it's possible they are some kind of demonic deception.

i fail to see the difference. why should one mythology be accepted over the other? it has a perfectly rational explanation, and more importantly can be replicated in a laboratory setting.

I don't doubt those cases myself. There it's individuals coming in many years after the fact, as adults, not the same thing I'm thinking of.

actually, it is. most of the people in the satanic ritual abuse witchhunt were adults, although some were children. it seemed to make no difference, really. it was all about the religious and/or psychological atmosphere.

Yes, that's the point. They were seeing this apparition, which the people following them couldn't see.

yes, but as far as i know, they don't accept it with the same degree of reality people in christendom do. they percieve a disjoint between spiritual and physical. and that the physical is fake.

i'm not really arguing with your point though.

It's a matter of what the Bible says. God told them they would die if they ate of that fruit and they died. Paul simply emphasizes that when he says in Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned...."

paul says all have sinned. he's talking about the concept i am: we can't escape our nature. not that we are punished for adam's sin.

paul's also wrong. according to the bible, there are people without sin.

But now in these last few statements you are not even pretending to follow the Bible, not even interpreting, you are simply making up what you want it to mean.

look up the orthodox jewish position on the matter. i bet you'll find it says the same thing. and they're dealing with the same exact text paul is - genesis 3. paul is interpretation, and you quote him as scripture.

You just throw out those parts you don't like.

when the pieces don't fit, some of them have to be from the wrong puzzle.

Same with your speculations about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are simply pondering it from your own feelings rather than what the Bible actually says.

look up the orthodox jewish interpretation on that too, while you're at it. i bet you'll find that says the same thing too. wonder what they're basing it on?

but here, we'll follow logic for a second. did god want jesus's sacrifice to happen?


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Faith, posted 06-08-2005 2:22 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Faith, posted 06-08-2005 9:32 PM arachnophilia has responded
 Message 77 by Faith, posted 06-09-2005 12:33 PM arachnophilia has responded

  
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 63 of 199 (215479)
06-08-2005 8:35 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Faith
06-08-2005 1:56 PM


Re: Explaining the phenomena
If there are such terms: the pro-superntaural and anti-supernatural, both can agree that we have a method of knowledge gathering that can exclude subjective bias and come up with findings which we regularly trust with their lives. Three examples of how we are prepared to trust it with our lives: we can trust that plane travel is safe, that an engineering masterpiece such as a tall building or bridge wont collapse or that, for instance, insulin can save to life of a diabetic.

The method of knowledge gathering is science and in has in built mechanisms to exclude subjectivity and bias.

And we can use it to scientifically test the validity of the supernatural, such has claims of the efficacy of prayer....

This message has been edited by Gilgamesh, 06-08-2005 08:35 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Faith, posted 06-08-2005 1:56 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Faith, posted 06-08-2005 9:28 PM Gilgamesh has responded

  
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 64 of 199 (215485)
06-08-2005 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Phat
06-08-2005 6:41 AM


Re: Quite an interesting topic!
Hello Phatboy:

First off, in my Admin mode, I will have to agree with Gilgamesh, Faith. You need to respect his topic, here. This admonition is coming from a fellow believer.

Oh bugger it. I'm not getting that much information of topic here, so let it run wherever. I myself was guilty of intertwining pro-evolution mantra amongts my on-topic posts, so I probably provoked Faith.

Are you suggesting that I accept things empirically? Skeptically? Cautiously? If so, I probably agree with you. I would caution you to be careful at rejecting things totally. Completely. Obviously. Because truth is often anything but obvious.

I have tended to find quite the opposite.

The church was a non-denominational newly formed group of Charismatics. The Pastor was flashy and had a flare for the dramatic. People had demons cast out of them and showed emotional catharsis of a wide variety...from throwing up to screaming. I was always skeptical, but there was a sense of power and mystery in this process. I know that you may say that I am too quick to label the unknown as "supernatural", but I fear that you have ruled this option out entirely. I will tell you some more stories later...gotta go for now. Thanks, Gilgamesh!

This is fascinating and I would love to hear more.

I haven't ruled out the supernatural entirely. After searching for evidence of it for 15 years, I am nevertheless now exceedingly sceptical of ever finding any evidence of it. Historically what we have associated with the supernatural has turned out just to be something that we couldn't yet explain yet with our growing knowledge of the natural laws of the universe.


This message is a reply to:
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Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 65 of 199 (215486)
06-08-2005 8:55 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by arachnophilia
06-08-2005 7:49 PM


Re: fear
arachnophilia wrote:

oh dear. this is a semantics problem. by "intellectual" i only meant the change in thought patterns, not that the conversion itself was intellectual. the are certainly almost, if not always, emotional experience by definition.

although, i reserve the option for the occasional intellectual conversion, especially into the less fanatical "faiths." for instance, a taoist "conversion" might be strictly intellectual. but that's generally not what we're talking about here, is it?

Agree on all.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by arachnophilia, posted 06-08-2005 7:49 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 66 of 199 (215488)
06-08-2005 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Gilgamesh
06-08-2005 8:35 PM


Re: Explaining the phenomena
I'm sorry, I have to disagree. The reliability of physics and medicine and other physical ("hard") sciences cannot fairly be extended to the study of mental and psychological and spiritual events where the subject matter is invisible and its connection with behavior subject to interpretation.

I'd have to see your criteria for judging answer to prayer, for instance, if you have any idea of the lawfulness of the prayer in the first place for instance (yes, there are biblical standards), the fact that God may say No or answer a prayer in an unexpected way, and the likelihood that He has no interest in being the object of your scientific testing.

This message has been edited by Faith, 06-08-2005 09:29 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-08-2005 8:35 PM Gilgamesh has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-08-2005 10:23 PM Faith has not yet responded
 Message 74 by Phat, posted 06-09-2005 4:12 AM Faith has responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 67 of 199 (215489)
06-08-2005 9:32 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by arachnophilia
06-08-2005 8:01 PM


Re: charismatic experiences
I'd be happy to answer your post but it's off topic here I believe.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by arachnophilia, posted 06-08-2005 8:01 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-08-2005 10:04 PM Faith has not yet responded
 Message 72 by arachnophilia, posted 06-09-2005 1:32 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 68 of 199 (215499)
06-08-2005 10:04 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Faith
06-08-2005 9:32 PM


Re: charismatic experiences
Faith wrote:

I'd be happy to answer your post but it's off topic here I believe.

Go for it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Faith, posted 06-08-2005 9:32 PM Faith has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Nighttrain, posted 06-08-2005 10:19 PM Gilgamesh has responded

  
Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 2544 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 69 of 199 (215503)
06-08-2005 10:19 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Gilgamesh
06-08-2005 10:04 PM


Re: charismatic experiences
Hi, Gil, dunno if these sites wil help you but interesting reading:

http://skepdic.com/apophenia.html

http://www.igpp.de/english/counsel/project.htm

http://skepdic.com/pareidol.html

Side dish: 'touch--falling back' is a well-recognised, fast inductive method of hypnosis.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-08-2005 10:04 PM Gilgamesh has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-08-2005 10:25 PM Nighttrain has responded

  
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 70 of 199 (215506)
06-08-2005 10:23 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Faith
06-08-2005 9:28 PM


Re: Explaining the phenomena
Faith wrote:

I'm sorry, I have to disagree. The reliability of physics and medicine and other physical ("hard") sciences cannot fairly be extended to the study of mental and psychological and spiritual events where the subject matter is invisible and its connection with behavior subject to interpretation.

Well do these supernatural claims have an affect that can be distinguished from natural processes? If so, we can test and measure them. If not then we might as well assume they are natural events and not supernatural at all.

I'd have to see your criteria for judging answer to prayer, for instance, if you have any idea of the lawfulness of the prayer in the first place for instance (yes, there are biblical standards), the fact that God may say No or answer a prayer in an unexpected way, and the likelihood that He has no interest in being the object of your scientific testing.

The usual Christian explanation that prayer is answered "Yes, no or later" is completely indistinguishable from random chance.

How about you define a "lawful prayer" for me? Is raising 1 million dollars in order to evangelise your Christian message a lawful prayer request? If so we can set up a simple test of supernatrual powers, like guessing hidden cards, for example. Pray for the correct answers and if you score at an agreed level above chance you score the million for your worthy cause, not to mention the phenomenal publicity you will generate.

Have a chat to James Randi: http://www.randi.org/

I know your early authors of doctrine were clever enough to instruct you guys to avoid testing your faith. Why do you think that little clause was added?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Faith, posted 06-08-2005 9:28 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 71 of 199 (215508)
06-08-2005 10:25 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by Nighttrain
06-08-2005 10:19 PM


Thank you!

This piece http://www.igpp.de/english/counsel/project.htm is more relevant than the other two, and although brief does provide a stepping stone for further research.

I note that some of the counselling techniques are those which I have myself independently identifed as being necessary and effective:

- Determine the extend of stress such unusual experiences cause and define the differences with respect to other disorders like Schizophrenia, Schizotypic Personality Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative Disorder etc.

- Reduce the dramatic and mystical nature of unusual experiences through providing information based on scientific research

- Lower psychological stress by offering help in coping with unusual experiences and helping people integrate such experiences into their self and world concepts

- Heighten the sense of control over unusual experiences

- Competent transferal of the clients to appropriate therapy

Emphasis added.

This message has been edited by Gilgamesh, 06-08-2005 10:39 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Nighttrain, posted 06-08-2005 10:19 PM Nighttrain has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Nighttrain, posted 06-09-2005 6:50 AM Gilgamesh has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 528 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 72 of 199 (215549)
06-09-2005 1:32 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by Faith
06-08-2005 9:32 PM


Re: charismatic experiences
it's ok, we should save it for another time.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Faith, posted 06-08-2005 9:32 PM Faith has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-09-2005 1:51 AM arachnophilia has responded

  
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 73 of 199 (215554)
06-09-2005 1:51 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by arachnophilia
06-09-2005 1:32 AM


Re: charismatic experiences
Feel free arachnophilia.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by arachnophilia, posted 06-09-2005 1:32 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by arachnophilia, posted 06-09-2005 2:21 PM Gilgamesh has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14145
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 74 of 199 (215566)
06-09-2005 4:12 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Faith
06-08-2005 9:28 PM


Re: Explaining the phenomena
Faith writes:

The reliability of physics and medicine and other physical ("hard") sciences cannot fairly be extended to the study of mental and psychological and spiritual events where the subject matter is invisible and its connection with behavior subject to interpretation.

As Believers, we often try so hard to convince everyone else to be agreeable to the absolute that we have embraced. This is human nature and is common among Christians. Consider, however, that it was God Himself who reached out to humanity...ourselves collectively in a total disagreeable state...and accepted (created) the possibility that ALL can be saved. Even though He basically says that many are called and few chosen, He never makes "many" or "few" an absolute value. He is thus saying that a majority will be called and a minority chosen. Similarly, we as Christians need to realize that there will surely be many others who will NEVER agree with us...and yet...like God...we must keep the door always open. It is not for us to warn them that it will soon shut! It is not for us to choose except to choose Him! (sorry, Gilgamesh...I wandered a bit off topic...PB)

This message has been edited by Phatboy, 06-09-2005 02:15 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Faith, posted 06-08-2005 9:28 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by Faith, posted 06-09-2005 12:12 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 2544 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 75 of 199 (215571)
06-09-2005 6:50 AM
Reply to: Message 71 by Gilgamesh
06-08-2005 10:25 PM


Hi, Gil, while there are undoubtedly individual epiphanies, I think the main point in considering conversions/deconversions is to weigh in group-think. Whether it`s religious, political, a member of a football crowd, or keeping up with community trends, group-think sets the pace. I guess wanting some support for our psychological needs means we have to compromise somewhere along the line. Until the stress of comforming becomes too great and we have to make the decision to bend or retreat.
I worked and socialised with quite a few JW`s and never failed to be amazed at the extent they could accomodate contrary evidence. No price too great to remain part of the circle. Of course, once a member had decided to escape, the full panoply of group-think anger was brought to bear--shunning by members, family, abuse, ridicule. It took a determined person to break away. Then they had to shed the accumulated baggage---Bible interpretations, mixing with evil atheists, even reading banned or discouraged matter. I salute those who showed their courage and made the transition.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-08-2005 10:25 PM Gilgamesh has not yet responded

  
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