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First hand Experience with God

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steven1972
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Hello all,

I have one argument to prove the existence of God absolutely:

Two months ago, in a very humble moment, I actually felt the Holy Spirit descend into me and indwell me for the space of about one to two minutes, off and on.

My journey of faith has been long and deep, passionate and arduous, more deep than my passion for selfishness once was. God has rewarded me by letting me feel the Holy Spirit, evidence, a great gift, one I thank him for often now. I am still in shock even now two months later, trying to encompass this sheer and immense gift he gave me, letting the implications of it spread through me. He is really there.

For those who don't know, when Christ ascended, he sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost to the original believers. It is the Holy Spirit who helped them, counseled them, and probably allowed miracles to happen. I believe all of this now. I have felt the indwelling Holy Spirit, who isn't often spoken of by this unbelieving generation. He exists.

To explain what it felt like: I was in my bed, curled in the fetal position in a moment of brokenness. I shrank myself down to be like an infant in consciousness for a moment before God, humbling myself. I felt then a spirit descend upon me and into me from behind, as if superimposed in my mind and body. When he was in me, I felt more love, more keenly than I usually do. Specifically, I was directed to and able to cry, about something that was going on in my life, that a second before, I had been too weary and jaded to cry about. The presence of the Holy Spirit, and his love, was keen and quite evidenced to me.

Believe me: I have felt the Holy. I was once just as much of an objectivist as any of you, or more. I was once poised to take Rand's philosophy and develop it in my lifetime, by writing passionate novels in the same format as hers, same style, but even more consistently selfish...Now, I am turned 180 degrees.

What has happened to me is a miracle. Please don't argue shallowly with me. I am rational and given intelligence. How would any of you explain this miracle, for I am not lying? But I ask you to believe me and turn to God as I have.

For background, I am a newbie to this site, so hello. I was a passionate individualist atheist, and a spoiled suburban child, who believed in objectivism between ages 15 and 22. I did not believe in God at all, and I hated religion.

I have gradually been brought back from believing almost the doctrine of a demon, to wanting to love God. He has rewarded me, though I am still learning to really love.

Have faith, and you will be rewarded. This is my answer to you. The hard hearted and the proud, God opposes. If you want evidence of God, approach him as a humble creation.

As for God's origin, I think he always existed, just as I once believed existence always existed, as an objectivist. The spirit, and the angels exist. This is a new life to explore, for those who believe.

Miracles are real. Believe this, from a sane man.

from Steven with love

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I was in my bed, curled in the fetal position in a moment of brokenness. I shrank myself down to be like an infant in consciousness for a moment before God, humbling myself. I felt then a spirit descend upon me and into me from behind ...

What has happened to me is a miracle. Please don't argue shallowly with me. I am rational and given intelligence. How would any of you explain this miracle, for I am not lying? But I ask you to believe me and turn to God as I have.

You have admitted to being in a state of emotional breakdown during this alleged divine rape. People don't think rationally in such states. Therefore, we cannot even assume that you have accurately described the most basic circumstances of your experience. Your word is worthless. I suggest you seek professional help.

Besides, if it took bodily invasion from God for you to know his existence, why should we believe in him merely from your hearsay?

You clearly lack an element of intelligence if you thought that your personal story would persuade a rational person. A rational person has heard such stories over and over. You must know that. I'm pretty sure that everyone who has watched TV, listened to the radio, gone to the movies, gone to a bookstore, talked with a few Christians, etc., everyone who pays attention to the dominant ideas in our culture knows about the alleged indwelling Holy Spirit and his habit for squatting inside the flesh of the Sons of Adam. Evangelists tell us this bedtime story every chance they get. For you to think that our hearing this nonsense for the millioneth time would suddenly convert us is truly an odd, if not dishonest, belief to have.

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Response to Mr. Swig,

Sir, I used to argue very forcefully as an objectivist rationalist, probably as passionately as you, having devoted 8 years of my life to that thinking. Keep this in mind as we dialogue, I ask you.

In answer to your forum, I have the following answers to your thoughts, for your consideration:

1) I was not happy when this experience I described happened to me, you are right, but I was not delusional either. There is a difference, and as a person who has studied psychology and the DSM deeply, I ask you not to blur those diagnoses.

2) Objectivists like I used to be often demand evidence of what they will choose to believe in, just as I once did.

I actually felt this spiritual experience consciously, and so I now have evidence.

Why do you immediately deny evidence from someone who once was as demanding as you were about such criteria? I have no ulterior purpose but giving you truth, what I was given, and I don't demand you believe me. Why not give me the benefit of doubt for being someone who seeks honesty.

Why not instead look at this as a gift from someone who invested the time to find out, as if I had done an experiment, the results of which you can freely study, without doing it yourself. God allowed me to feel the Holy Spirit only after nearly 10 years searching for him, 7 of those years living as a Christian in humility and faith...Perhaps you don't know me well enough to take my word, but I don't know why you would automatically be skeptical either. I vouch to you that I felt what I felt. While you don't have to believe my word, I have no reason to be here on this site but to help you by giving you something I found.

3) This experience I had also backs up the experiences as described by New Testament writers exactly, so this is a repeatable experience which you also could experience, if you took the time to investigate, as I have. Repeatability is something scientists demand, isn't it? It isn't just something I myself experienced alone, asking you to believe just me. However, you would have to believe it is possible first and show faith....I know you will scoff at that. But that is why God opposes the proud. He allowed me to feel the Holy Spirit, to me after 7 years of humility.

4) This experience gave me more love, from God. Also, it gave me more conviction. So, it has helped me.

5) This direct experience of the Holy Spirit, as opposed to what you said about other evangelists, is not common or talked about in any reality among most Christians, whom I've spent much time with. Some of them think the Holy Spirit is in them, but truthfully He is not. It is a powerful experience when he is, something you put on the front pages of newspapers and talk about for generations, not just coffee table chit-chat. I'm talking about something real! I am saying I felt his actual presence in an undeniable way, deep, powerful, real. That is the only reason I took the time to share this remarkable experience.

6) Related, to (5), I am a very commited and convicted person when I believe. I am sadly mostly quite frustrated by other shallow though well-meaning believers who give God a bad name, and feel nothing real in their faith, but act just like the rest of the world. So, I probably don't get along with them any eaiser than you would. For me, a person who has faith does what scripture says, just as when I was an objectivist, I had conviction, and lived by it. None of them listen to me either, however.

I 've sold all my possessions for God. I've preached the gospel in the countryside. I've been homeless in a cemetary in the pouring rain, admitting I am defeated, to God. I've used all my intelligence to write for God. I've humbled myself. I've prayed real prayers, having faith that God will be faithful. I believed he lives. I wept for his prophets, deep tears, for their suffering. I had mercy.

Because I sought a real, deep experience of faith, I was rewarded, I believe, and he has helped me. God has helped me. God showed me he is real. My conviction is very deep now, absolute even.

I am not run of the mill, or ordinary, though I hope other people have the same experience I did. Maybe even you will. Would you scoff if you actually felt or saw a real miracle, and I mean a powerful one? Maybe you wouldn't be quick to do so then, but who knows?

But the truth is, some people actually watched Jesus, or Paul, resurrect dead people, and still didn't love God or believe in him...How much less this generation is blessed, for they don't believe, and have no miracles either.

Don't you sense the intelligence behind the person writing this to you? My mind is clear, and the only thing that frustrates me in life is I can't get anyone to listen to me, either Christian or non-Christian.

I scoffed at religion from the time I was 10 to the time I was 24, and demanded evidence, just like you. I visited your website. I was much like you. Let this sink in, and feel the irony of what God has done to me.

Now, I have evidence, and my mouth is shut.

I used to love Ayn Rand as much as you. She was like a mother to me. But I found more truth. Do you believe me, even a little? Drop the bitterness and wit for a moment, all of which I get, but none of which really go toward truth, and just talk real with me.

So, I guess my argument stands simply as it did: I had direct evidence (scientific? repeatable?) and my word is what you must believe. Why doubt a man, and how do you judge, if someone rational tells you of an experience beyond your own certainty? Do you scoff immediately, or seek to find out if he is right, or isn't it worth the time? This is a new question I guess.

thanks for the forum

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Because I sought a real, deep experience of faith, I was rewarded, I believe, and he has helped me. God has helped me. God showed me he is real. My conviction is very deep now, absolute even.

I am not run of the mill, or ordinary, though I hope other people have the same experience I did. Maybe even you will. Would you scoff if you actually felt or saw a real miracle, and I mean a powerful one? Maybe you wouldn't be quick to do so then, but who knows?

Ok...here's an excellent question to decide whether or not we have grounds for meaningful communication. Is there anything I can say or do that will make you stop believing in what I, and most here, believe is no more then a fairy tale?

In fairness, my answer to the question is, yes. Simply have god show up at my front door and perform some miracles for me. If I am sufficiently impressed, I will contact a friend of mine at the James Randy Foundation who will conduct a battery of tests if necessary to verify his supernaturality. After that we could include some scientists in the mix to attempt to account for his alleged powers. And no, I am not willing to devote 7 years of my life toward depravation and self-loathing in order to find this "truth" of yours. It is truly doubtful if after that much time spent with the philosophic outlook you describe, I would be in any kind of mental state to know the difference between reality and my delusions anyways.

If you have no criteria of evidence which would cause you to doubt your belief and cannot provide the evidence I and any other rational person would require then there is really nothing for us to talk about. If that is in fact, the case, my advice is that you wrap this up with a quick farewell before I and everyone else get annoyed enough to actually sit down and tear apart your post point by point and then illustrate the large number of fallacies inherent in your commentary with all the sarasm that we can muster.

edit: to everyone else of more rational bent; an interesting illustration. Notice the "I am not run of the mill or ordinary" comment? That is direct from the witchdoctor's wardrobe, folks. In other words, "I am special and can see things you can't so you must take my word for it that it exists and do as I "suggest"." It also doubles as the escape route for him. If you don't see it it is cause your not believing hard enough and when that ploy stops working we can always fall back on, "god, works in mysterious ways....who knows why he chose me and not you...?"

Edited by aequalsa
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I see no more reason to have any more faith in your experience than I do any other Christian who tells me to believe them. "You can trust me" and "the Bible says so" just doesn't cut it.

I will not "kiss Hank's ass". :lol:

Edited by RationalCop
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I was not happy when this experience I described happened to me, you are right, but I was not delusional either.

...

God allowed me to feel the Holy Spirit only after nearly 10 years searching for him, 7 of those years living as a Christian in humility and faith...

...

I 've sold all my possessions for God. I've preached the gospel in the countryside. I've been homeless in a cemetary in the pouring rain, admitting I am defeated, to God. I've used all my intelligence to write for God. I've humbled myself. I've prayed real prayers, having faith that God will be faithful. I believed he lives. I wept for his prophets, deep tears, for their suffering. I had mercy.

So let's see. Seven years living in humility, selling all possessions, homeless in cemetary, weeping for prophets with deep tears for their suffering. Then one day you are curled up in a fetal position. And we're to believe that you were of completely sound mind when God decided to finally do the deed and reveal himself within you?

By the way, what is your purpose in posting here, if you understand even a word of Objectivism?

I will not "kiss Hank's ass". :lol:

May I remind you of Item 11 in Hank's letter to Karl: Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the shit out of you.

Enough said.

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As an aside, the interesting variant of argument from authority goes something like this: "I used to think exactly the way you think; then I changed".

It is convincing, if there is an argument to back it up. However, at over 40 years old, I've met a few people who have told me they are or were Objectivists, who had read a lot of Rand, and who could use all sorts of words that an Objectivist might. Yet, in all real terms, their philosophy was not the same as mine. For instance, there was the guy who said he was a practicing Objectivist and told me that identity was bogus and that the only reason he could not bend spoons, simply by thinking about bending them, was that he was not concentrating hard enough!

The moral of the story,Steven1972, is this: stop telling us that you agree with this or that part of Objectivism, or that you were an Objectivist, or that you are one, etc. I see no purpose in allowing an argument from authority.

If you want to argue for God, do so in this debate forum... but stick to the argument.

At this point, all you;ve said is: you experienced something and have concluded that it is God. Well, I do not doubt you experienced something. However, I doubt anyone here is convinced that what you experienced was God.

Present a case.

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This seems like a trolling post.

I severely doubt the starter of this thread is at all familiar with the works of Ayn Rand. I think he/she just googled "Objectivism" and threw in a few words about writing novels and selfishness just to confuse us.

It's pretty transparant.

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To explain what it felt like: I was in my bed, curled in the fetal position in a moment of brokenness. I shrank myself down to be like an infant in consciousness for a moment before God, humbling myself. I felt then a spirit descend upon me and into me from behind, as if superimposed in my mind and body. When he was in me, I felt more love, more keenly than I usually do. Specifically, I was directed to and able to cry, about something that was going on in my life, that a second before, I had been too weary and jaded to cry about. The presence of the Holy Spirit, and his love, was keen and quite evidenced to me.
Hi Steven,

I am not a psychologist, and I do not know you personally, but consider the following possible explanation for this event. Suppose, prior to this experience, you had been severely repressing certain emotions. It could be, for some reason, you had acquired a defense mechanism which would not allow you to experience the full spectrum of your natural emotions. But, you describe the onset of your spiritual experience as a "moment of brokenness." Could it be that what had "broken," was in fact, the process of emotional repression? Could it be that the ensuing flood of emotions you experienced was, in fact, your own previously buried emotions, engulfing you with such intensity, and from such long forgotten or hidden areas of your psyche, that you experienced it as though it came from an external source (i.e., God)? Could it be, also, that whatever deeply rooted fears caused you to repress your emotions initially, are to this day forbidding you to claim ownership of the experience, and to acknowledge its origin from within you? Is it possible that your defense mechanism has made a shift from repression to projection, and that this "God" is an entity you have created in order to project your threatening feelings away from yourself, and onto Him?

Your description of the spirit descending "upon me and into me from behind, as if superimposed in my mind and body," creates a very violent mental image. Perhaps this "behind" is a metaphor for your past.

That's just one explanation that seems at least as plausible to me as the idea that you've been visited by a Heavenly Ghost.

I was not happy when this experience I described happened to me, you are right, but I was not delusional either. There is a difference, and as a person who has studied psychology and the DSM deeply, I ask you not to blur those diagnoses.

Again, I'm not a psychologist, and I wouldn't attempt to make any diagnoses of psychological disorders. But just because you were so dismissive, and almost defensive about the suggestion of seeking professional help, or the possibility that you might have been delusional, I thought I'd look through the DSM-IV myself, to see if I could find anything that sounded similar to what you've described. Consider the following entry from the section on Schizophrenia (starting on page 299), with the bolds being my own addition, and an ellipsis in brackets added wherever I omitted text. (And I'm not trying to make an argument that you have schizophrenia, just that your experiences have at least some similar features to one type of psychosis, and that you really might should consider talking to a professional about it).

Delusions (Criterion A1) are erroneous beliefs that usually involve a misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. Their content may include a variety of themes (e.g., persecutory, referential, somatic, religious, or grandiose). [...]

Delusions are deemed bizarre if they are clearly implausible and not understandable and do not derive from ordinary life experiences. [...] Delusions that express a loss of control over mind or body are generally considered to be bizarre; these include a person's belief that his or her thoughts have been taken away by some outside force ("thought withdrawal"), that alien thoughts have been put into his or her mind ("thought insertion"), or that his or her body or actions are being acted on or manipulated by some outside force ("delusions of control"). If the delusions are judged to be bizarre, only this single symptom is needed to satisfy Criterion A for Schizophrenia.

[skipping to page 302, but still in the same section...]

Some signs of the disturbance must persist for a continuous period of at least 6 months (Criterion C). During that time period, there must be at least 1 month of symptoms (or less than 1 month if symptoms are successfully treated) that meet Criterion A of Schizophrenia (the active phase). Prodromal symptoms are often present prior to the active phase, and residual symptoms may follow it. Some prodromal and residual symptoms are relatively mild or subthreshold forms of the positive symptoms specified in Criterion A. Individuals may express a variety of unusual or odd beliefs that are not of delusional proportions (e.g., ideas of reference or magical thinking); they may have unusual perceptual experiences (e.g., sensing the presence of an unseen person or force in the absence of formed hallucinations); their speech may be generally understandable but digressive, vague, or overly abstract or concrete; and their behavior may be peculiar but not grossly disorganized (e.g., mumbling to themselves, collecting odd and apparently worthless objects). In addition to these positive-like symptoms, negative symptoms are particularly common in the prodromal and residual phases and can often be quite severe. Individuals who had been socially active may become withdrawn; they lose interest in previously pleasurable activities; they may become less talkative or inquisitive; and they may spend the bulk of their time in bed. Such negative symptoms are often the first sign to the family that something is wrong; family members may ultimately report that they experienced the individual as "gradually slipping away."

Of course, even if I were a psychologist, two posts on an internet message board probably couldn't provide enough information to make any kind of diagnosis. But, if it's true you are a person who has studied psychology deeply, I'm sure that you are aware of the seriousness of schizophrenia and similar disorders (Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, etc), and how important it is to get something like that diagnosed as quickly as possible if you are showing anything even remotely similar to the initial symptoms. Don't think it couldn't happen to you. Imagine if John Nash had only discovered it early on-- how much of his life could have been saved!

I find it extremely disturbing that you have sold all of your possessions, lost interest in what you previously valued, subjecting yourself to homelessness and awefull privations. I really hope that you are able to sort this out and come to your senses. I hope this doesn't come across as an ad hominem answer to your "argument," I'm really genuinely conscerned.

Best Premises,

David

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Response to various from Steven,

I'll try to keep this brief. Thanks for the interest from the forum. I'll answer with all seriousness.

Troll: First to the post concerned about my being a troll, from Inspector. I want to avoid that, being perceived as a troll. I'm a serious thinker. Truthfully, I've read Atlas Shrugged 6 times, including about a year ago, to study her style again while writing my own novel, which is 400 pages currently, and I respect her mind as the most intelligent and passionate of the 20th century. I read Fountainhead, Night of J16, Anthem, Capitalism..., Romantic Manifesto, Lexicon, We the Living, and almost all her published works, various biographies and scholarly studies (most of which I believe are shallow or foolish). I have genuine respect for the brilliance of what she did. Atlas was always the summative work however, what I was most interested in. I'm the real deal. I was the most passionate convicted objectivist among my generation, one of you. I worked to spread it....I believed her whole philosophy, and even added to it consistent applications to new cultural phenomenon from my time period, essays, etc. I scoffed at the same loose thinkers you all have. So, I don't want to be a troll or start an angry or meaningless forum, but I thank you for allowing these posts. I wouldn't post here if I weren't interested in talking to objectivists specifically. It is an interesting forum to me personally. My name, Steven Burky, was synonymous, even notorious, to my whole college campus of 5,000, with capitalism, because I wrote a much-read column in the newspaper every week--and to many other friends of mine, all who knew me, also to my community, who all thought I would change the world, in their words, not mine, because of my passion. All of this because I believed in Ayn Rand.

Argument from authority: But I concede to SWN, I can't argue from authority, and expect my brain, gifts or talents, or say-so to substitute for your personal judgment. I would love to convict you, but I can't Make you believe, and I wouldn't try.

To aequalsa: I did not mean that my knowledge is special or unknowable. Rather, it is my level of integrity and conviction that sets me apart from most, and this is just obvious to me from interacting with 1000s of people in my life. This would become more clear in a verbal discussion, from my tone of voice, eye contact, etc. Most people in this world right now don't know what it is to believe passionately in something, 100%, though I would probably exclude all of you from that comment, which is why this forum interests me. I feel commonality with you all yet. My mind has always challenged those around me to think more clearly, to be better. I believe I am one of the best among this generation at challenging people, just as Rand was. I hope to engage this whole nation, if I fulfill the promise of the intelligence I was given.

To Bold Standard: I have indeed seen a psychologist, so I have sought to find wisdom and guidance from counselors in this time. I'm not naive to the reality of mental illness, though I thank you for your concern, which I could really sense.

They could not really help me understand better what has happened in my life however. The upheaval, despair, and doubt in my life, I brought on myself by change. I don't think it was mental illness. Yes, it is sad to give up that which was once valuable to oneself, and it has been difficult. However, I have found something beneath the abstract things I used to be, perhaps something more true to me at the core. Chasing possessions compulsively is not a healthy frame of mind, I see now. When I uncovered this trend in my habits, I realized I really did not love anyone very deeply, or caringly, when I was younger. I just insulated myself from all of them by surrounding myself with things that pleased me on an infantile level. I used other people to inflate my sense of self by disparaging them. Though I was more intelligent than them, this was immature, and not helpful to them. I found this shallow. I was not much more than a spoiled infant in my desires even by the time I was 22. I was not even a grown man. This is what caused me to take a look at more mature things, and to use objectivism to seek maturity. I didn't like who I was, and I wanted to be grown.

Some of you are willing to believe I may have experienced something unusual, so thanks. I only have about one or two more thoughts for you then.

To answer SWN and others: how do I know it wasn't the devil, and why should I expect you to believe this was the Holy Spirit specifically? A good question.

The truth is, the second before the Spirit entered me, I was feeling totally jaded and weary. However, I felt him descend into me, and in that very second, I felt more love within me, and life. Way more. This is subjective in my wording, I am sure it will sound so to you. But it was a striking encounter, a complete change in mind, and I could feel his Spirit in my body and mind. This lasted for about 2 minutes. He helped me to feel love toward myself that I had not felt a moment before, and to see my life in perspective. And then, I felt him lift away and be gone, after about two minutes. I was only alone and weary again then. This fits the description of Paul and Luke's writings in the New Testament precisely. I hope I have not jumped to a conclusion, but it is clear to me I experienced the real thing.

This is very important: This experience also leads me to believe almost no Christians in this time actually have the Holy Spirit, (though they could if they asked) which is crucial for you to understand. That is why they are so easy to scoff at. You observe there isn't anything going on in them worth your time, and so you easily discern how foolish or watered down they seem in belief.

I am hoping something about my manner and writing will lead you to draw an opposite conclusion about me, gentlemen, (and lady?)

This one last thing I will say:

Some of you, a few, have really very instantly called me a liar, (though some of you have not drawn that conclusion.)

If I have told you the truth to the best of my ability, as I have, then you have wronged me deeply and testify falsely against me, without even knowing me. This is a matter of personal grievance I have with many people right now. And let Spirit will testify for me, if you continue to say I lie. I believe he will convict you if you say I lied. I have not lied.

You wrong me. Doesn't this mean something to you?

That is what I leave you with.

As Aequalsa hinted to, I don't know how much more productive this conversation can be, so perhaps I should withdraw soon, for I suppose my post and idea was somewhat simple:

I, someone with conviction, and who once believed like all of you, everything you believe, seeking the best, have felt the evidence we all scoffed didn't exist. I tend to sympathize with you more than some others in the world, or I am still drawn to you, so I am not here to batter you with demeaning arguments or try to Make you believe me, which I can't do.

You can all file this away in your minds, that you met me, and maybe it will resonate with something else you one day experience.

So, I don't know what else to say to you. I could explain this experience of the miraculous in more detail, if anyone wants more detail or is actually skeptically interested. I could tell you more about my life, so you can make a more informed decision about my character. Or, if anyone wants to, there could be serious discussion or debate about why I believe the moral things I currently have gravitated to.

In deference to the purpose of this site, however, perhaps this could be done off-site, through e-mail to me, unless the moderator allows.

I am building a website, currently, to explain some of my beliefs, though it is still under construction. If allowed by moderator, I will post my e-mail or website in another post.

thanks for the forum, once again. Thanks SWN. Best wishes to you all, from a serious thinker, one of you in that way.

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Steven, you said that you felt broken after 7 years of searching for God, before which you were a staunch Objectivist. My question is: why did you start to look for God in the first place?

Hey Steven,

I'm not an Objectivist and I'm not a Christian. What I would tell you is to make sure you procede with caution. Faith in God doesn't necessarily have to mean the death of reason. If you do abandon reason, it may come back to bite you in the ass. There are certainly things we have no control over in life (this is where I can sympathize with those who have found God (determinism)), but there also things that we certainly do have control over.

However, if it helps you live a happier life, if you're better off now than you were then, and if your current philosophy works (on Earth) and enables you to function as you wish, all the power too you. I have no problem with that as long as you aren't trying to push your ideas upon me (your original post is borderline...) and as long as you realize that your faith belongs to you and you alone (an individual and not a collective - ie. as long as you don't team up with like-minded individuals and declare a Christian "Jihad" on non-Christians).

Edited by NewYorkRoark
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I have one argument to prove the existence of God absolutely:

OK, I have one argument to disprove the existence of God absolutely:

KIEV - A man shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in Kiev zoo after he crept into the animal's enclosure, a zoo official said on Monday.

"The man shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions," the official said.

"A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery."

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But, but, but, but David . . . this situation is contemplated in the Bible. See Luke 4:9-4:12:

The devil led [Jesus]to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Don't you see where this lion guy messed up? He put God to the test! He should have just believed! Don't test God. Don't ask him to prove anything. Just believe! After all, it's only your life we're talking about. Why would you need proof for a decision so insignificant?

You need to add a vomiting emoticon. For now I'll go with this: :rolleyes:

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Steven, you described your encounter with the holy spirit like this:

"I was in my bed, curled in the fetal position in a moment of brokenness. I shrank myself down to be like an infant in consciousness for a moment before God, humbling myself. I felt then a spirit descend upon me and into me from behind, as if superimposed in my mind and body."

Now that you mention it, I think I have felt something similar. Only, I was standing up, straight as one does when he or she is proud of the usefulness of their own body, and I was not broken, humble, or anything else. I was proud. Instead of shrinking away from something bigger than me, as an infant, I stood tall as my own measure of greatness, as an adult. And I lost my breath, too. I lost my breath when I thought of all of the potential, within me, the potential to create, to find beauty, to live. Maybe this is not the sort of experience you speak of, but I wouldn't trade that sensation of one's own worth for any number of your gods, who choose to "stoop" to our level, out of pity or anything else as unattractive.

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But, but, but, but David . . . this situation is contemplated in the Bible. See Luke 4:9-4:12:

As I recall, Jesus did prove his divinity with small things like walking on water, healing the sick, coming back from the dead, and ascending into the heavens. Also, Christian martyrs were immune to lions dens.

So putting two and two together, the lesson is that we are to take the Biblical miracles as proof on faith alone, since “we are not put our Lord to the test.” If only our modern-day martyr was thrown into the lion den, he would have lived!

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Steven, you said that you felt broken after 7 years of searching for God, before which you were a staunch Objectivist. My question is: why did you start to look for God in the first place?

Response to IamMetaphysical,

This is personal, but may be enlightening, or show where I began...

When I was 20, I became involved with a woman who had a severe mental illness, and who had been severely sexually abused as a child, but who was very intelligent and very beautiful and similar to me in creativity. At the time I became involved with her, I was at the height of my own pride.

She was suicidal, and had Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder, which is very rare and difficult to live with. I really cared deeply about her, and loved her, but I did not have the wisdom, even from all my philosophy and journal writings, to understand how to deal with her or to leave the relationship, which I eventually felt I had to. I hated what had happened to her as a child, and sympathized with her too deeply, and her needs.

I was more worried about her than about my own life after a while, codependent. Cracks in my integrity had been deeply exposed, and my abstract beliefs were not all there was to me or my character. I cared about her. I also allowed myself to be manipulated, because my integrity was shallow. I hadn't known much about codependence at that time, but I wrote a treatise on it in my journals over the next 2 and a half years. Yet, even understanding it fully, I felt powerless to leave her and do what was right.

I did not even believe in God at all at that time. I never had. And yet at the end of my wits, very unhappy about my life decisions, I ended up praying to God, to help me leave her and make the right decision. I was very unhappy by the time I came to that extremity, for I was a stubborn person. I felt an answer to my prayer. I told her the truth, that I had to leave her. I stopped worrying about protecting her feelings, and just did what was right. I suddenly had the power to do this, and the answer.

I suppose meeting someone who was really very needy, and who was not really at fault at all for her challenges in life, challenged my perspective, and revealed that I cared more deeply about people than I had been willing to admit philosophically. I also found the limits of my own intelligence in helping me.

Life threw something monumentally more deep than philosophy at me, a place where I and someone I loved were truly suffering, and I had no wisdom in myself, as smart as I was, to make choices that would affect someone else's life so deeply, someone I loved, who was worth loving. You might say I wasn't a good objectivist, who hadn't fully integrated my beliefs. But I loved the girl, and she was suffering.

In the end, I am not the kind of person who can easily throw away other people, or abandon them. That is why I did not like Christianity when I was young.

Maybe it is not strange that I prayed to God in such a place of suffering.

thanks again for the forum guys; again, I don't want to be a troll, or disruptive influence to this site...

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Hey Steven,

I'm not an Objectivist and I'm not a Christian. What I would tell you is to make sure you procede with caution. Faith in God doesn't necessarily have to mean the death of reason. If you do abandon reason, it may come back to bite you in the ass. There are certainly things we have no control over in life (this is where I can sympathize with those who have found God (determinism)), but there also things that we certainly do have control over.

Hey, NewYork

I don't think I have abandoned reason. I think God is the biggest intellect of all, however, and he hasn't disappointed me that way. There is reason in believing.

I still use every ounce of reason and common sense I have to go about my purpose in life, or I try.

OK, I have one argument to disprove the existence of God absolutely:

Yes, that is sad. But I think another poster said the answer. Within the confines of believing in Chrsitian doctrine, it is wrong to test God. He is exalted, and not below humans.

Just an addition God helped me see: if he is absolutely good, there is no fault in submission to him. He always does good, and hates only injustice. This fits very well with my old objectivist search for justice and truth. God hates injustice more than me, it turns out, and loves truth. This is Christian doctrine though...

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Steven, you said that you felt broken after 7 years of searching for God, before which you were a staunch Objectivist. My question is: why did you start to look for God in the first place?

I would also add this, IAmMeta,

For me, one great reversal in thinking has been part of my reversal from Objectivism to Christianity, throughout the process.

Even before I was Christian: I came to believe, using reason, that procreation was a more sacred and beautiful reason to have sex than pleasure. This also gives more integrity, and is in line with natural law or rational humanism: it is obvious the function of sex is procreation. If you are practical functionalist, this fact stands. This belief, which I gained in my mid 20s, is part of how I grew to become more traditional and embrace faith.

I consider this belief to be a development of reason and objectivism, not contrary to it.

If you follow this belief in procreative sex, and love life and generativity most of all, more than material things or pleasure, you eventually find you are in agreement with God about most things. Objectivism was always sterile, starting with Rand, sadly. She gave no children, except her students, sadly. Even if I had stood as an objectivist, I would still have begun a sub-strain of it that embraced procreation much more deeply. Chasing pleasure I have found reduces integrity.

However, I still believe in freedom, and I would not force others to help one another or believe as I do. Christians submit, and use words only, those who follow true belief. I'm abhorred by religious justification of violence among men. God never taught this, nor did Christ.

So, you thought real hard about a difficult situation in your life and came up with a good solution. Then, instead of patting yourself on the back, you assumed that the solution came from God. Why?

I guess I felt that the real answer came when I prayed. I didn't see it as a coincidence. I suddenly just understood I had to tell her the truth, and I had the guts to do it.

I still didn't have faith right away even then. It took years before I prayed again, and I was still an objectivist for a while...

again, thanks for the forum. I don't want to go off-topic too much, but thanks for letting me respond to forum...

I can feel you seem despondent that I've been misled, SWN. But I feel I gained more truth. I don't think I gave up integrity, but I feel more centered now...Maybe you don't attribute this to God....Again, as you indicated, nothing I say can really pinch hit for your own decision making process. It just comes down to faith, which Rand hated, I know.

I'm not sure if there's much more produce in this thread, except to answer respondents. Thanks, this discourse is exciting to me and happy. I wish such a nice forum had existed when I was younger...

I'm taking off for supper, have a good evening....

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Have you actually read some parts of the Old Testament? I truly cannot even begin to imagine how someone could not hate a "God" like that...

(Numbers xxxi. 13)*:

"And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp; and Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle; and Moses said unto them, "Have ye saved all the women alive?" behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore, "kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him; but all the women-children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for Yourselves."

If this is not utterly reprehensible, then I do not know what is.

* (I quoted this from the second part of The Age of Reason, as I don't have a bible here at home)

Edited by Maarten
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