Sunday, November 19, 2006

Spiritual Experiences and Observations

[Crossposted with minor changes from Street Prophets]

Starting with Simplicio's "Religions Don't Deserve Special Treatment"; continuing with my "Science, Reason, and Faith"; and then NoJoy's excellant question in "gedankenexperiment 0: religious experiences" - there has been some interesesting discussion about the line between faith and science

NoJoy got my position slightly wrong in her diary:

JCHFleetguy makes the case that because religious experiences are so pervasive, the burden of proof should fall to the areligious when it comes to the existence or nonexistence of God/gods/etc
"Burden of proof" implies I think proof is possible - either for or against the existance of God - and I do not think such a silliness. Indeed, my reason for dissing on brothers Harris and Dawkins is that they are silly enough to think that such proof is possible. What I said is that the huge number of people who have had religious/spiritual experiences on the planet deserve respect for what they have experienced; and that earning respect from society doesnt't require me to prove scientifically the basis of what I have experienced.

However, God proved Himself to me . . .

This is a post for those who have experiences outside the "natural" - the supernatural, the spiritual, religious, etc. to post those anecdotes. This is to be a safe place. I am not going to answer the "Couldn't that be swamp gas?" kind of questions because the Holy Spirit has shown me that what it "could have been" is irrelevant - God touched my life in these areas. I am the first to admit that others could have had very similiar experiences from purely naturalistic causes. Again, irrelevant.

So, this is a place for folks who wish to offer up those experiences that you "just know" are supernatural. You are not required to offer "proof"; nor should proof be asked of you. If you wish to do this at your own blog, please leave a link in the comments below.

I will start with myself:
  • Anti-racism: This is one of my "orientations" that had nothing to do with choice; or apparently upbringing (as such). I was raised in SW Missouri in a segregated community with segregated schools. My mom was from Texas; and my sisters say everything they took from my mom and our upbringing was to be racist - I think my mom taught me not to be racist. I think God took a hand in how the same inputs that my sisters viewed one way struck me entirely differently. I have, from the earliest of ages, known racism was wrong. Thank God

  • Wife's first child: My wife had a horrendous PID as a teenager that fried her fallopian tubes. The doctor at the time said that with surgery she would have a 10% chance of having children. No surgery, and she got pregnant. Then, under pressure from her boyfriend who said he would not support the child, or her, if she gave birth - and her father who said he wouldn't either - she went to our local abortion clinic. After the initial interview, the intake worker sent her home because her head wasn't right. She gave birth, and the boyfriend picked up the baby and became the best father on the planet (thankfully, still not a great boyfriend or I might not be in this story). God wanted her to have this child against the physical odds, and touched the intake worker, her father (who entirely came around), and Les.

  • My first date with my wife: At one point in the movie I held her hand and we both felt electricity (aw, how romantic) - and we both believe God welded us together at that point. More about how that immediately changed us is here

  • The whole process of my finding God again. There were a series of people, places, and experiences that drew me back to Him. I will not try to re-outline that here - but you can read about it here

  • Our child: Remember those fried fallopian tubes - a pregnancy got stuck in one, it exploded, and my wife nearly died. Down to one tube. Folks around here know my wife has a mental disability and takes the plethora of medications that go with that. Some she was taking for a while made her think she was pregnant all the time; and we had a pregnancy test done like every two months (exaggeration probably). The irony was, as her doctors kept telling her, that the medications stopped her from ovulating. Anyway, she goes in for another pregancy test and:

    • after the urine test they did a blood test
    • Hey, while you're here we might as well do a cervical examine
    • Do you mind if we do an ultrasound, we thought we might check out the condition of your uterus
    • Hey, we have no idea how this happened, but you're pregnant

    The funny part: she tells her psychiatrist she is pregnant, gives him her doctor's name, phone number. Later, right after her 21st week ultrasound; she goes in for her psychiatric appointment and the doctor tells her that usually in a case like hers (someone with her medications and history thinking she was pregnant) they assume some kind of delusion is going on. He had never even contacted the baby doctor to check. She showed him the 21 week ultrasound picture in her purse. My wife, incidentally, caught me during our Bradley birthing class referring to our daughter's conception as a miracle - and knew for the first time that her continous prayers for me were beginning to work.

  • Lupus: my wife was diagnosed with Lupus - confirmed by three out of the four tests normally given to detect its effects. Pat contacted her prayer list, the church, etc. She went in to take the fourth test, the most expensive and most accurate, and it was negative. Hmmm. They re-took the first three: now all negative. The doctor had never seen this before - ever.
There are more, but that is enough to get the postings going.

So, what experiences and observations have you had that confirmed the existance of the supernatural to you? Again, if you wish to post this at your own blog leave a link in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. When my wife was pregnant with our daughter, she was exposed to Rubella (German Measles). We found out when she when she went for her blood titer (she is B neg. and they needed to check for antibodies to see if a problem was developing for the baby). After some simple research we discovered a baby that had come to the Sunday nursery where my wife was ministering, did have Rubella.

    They took the new titer and rushed the processing and it too showed Rubella exposure. This was the middle of the first trimester when Rubella is known to cause very serious birth defects. They wanted us to have an abortion. We said no.

    We went to our church at the time, which had a vibrant healing ministry and had my wife anointed with oil and prayed for. We then went back for the next titer they again tried to get us to have an abortion. They rushed the titer. It came back negative for Rubella. They retested the previous two (they always kept the previous two) and they were positive.

    They thought the first two may have been contaminated. We said my wife was healed.

    We are very happy we stuck to our Christian principles and sought out healing, since my wife was not able to have any other children and our daughter became, because of other godly interventions, our miracle child. We would have been childless if we had listened to the doctors.

    God is good.


How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly