Atheists, why are there so many 'personal experiences' of God?
I myself am an atheist and I think the scientific errors in Christianity outweigh the 'personal experiences' that Christians tell. But why are there so many people claiming to have had a warm feeling or heard a voice or had a dream and then 'knew' that God was real? Are there any accounts like this coming from Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.?
- DiogenesLv 76 years agoFavorite Answer
In ancient times, Aristotelian Solipsism and Platonic Idealism defined how people understood reality. In those days, every person's subjective mental experiences were considered to be reality itself and humanity's collective thoughts were thought to shape reality. For thirteen centuries, the tyranny of Catholic Scholasticism guaranteed that persons whose opinions strayed outside Greek philosophy would be tortured and executed.
The seventeenth century changed everything. Rene Descartes was the first to explain (see Dualism) that mental experiences were seperate and and distinct from physical reality. Then Galileo Galilei used physical experiments to prove the physical realm was actually real. Finally, Isaac Newton published his "Principia Mathematica..." which proved that the physical realm always behaves predictably and with mathematical precision. Meanwhile, the Church continued to insist that mental experiences actually were reality itself and that the physical realm was a delusion common to heretics who dared to think for themselves. Countless harmless people were burned at the stake because they expressed opinions contrary to the notion that mental experiences are actually real.
The Bible was written by and for people who embrace ancient Greek philosophy, which is why the Bible is far more comprehensible if read with the assumption that subjective mental experiences are actually real and that thoughts are capable of shaping reality.
People with an adequate modern education know that, contrary to absurd Christian doctrine, the physical realm actually does exist and is the true basis of objective reality. They also know that their subjective mental experiences are unreal abstractions which are the result of natural processes operating within their own living brain.
Meanwhile, ignorant people continue rely on ancient superstitious beliefs rather than modern factual knowledge and stubbornly insist their mental experiences are actually real. It's just a small step from "believing in" an imaginary God to believing He is actually speaking to you.
- GregLv 76 years ago
There is a whole lot of mental illness in the world.
Any other brain busters today?
Why are there so many Loch Ness Monster sightings? (And notably NONE since the advent of cell phone cameras).
Why do so many children believe in Santa Claus?
The Easter Bunny?
- Toke LoverLv 76 years ago
we all have internal dialogues. not every body realizes that they are INTERNAL.
Then you have confirmation bias - where peeps interpret crap as what they hope it means.....
THEN - add all the group dynamics that kind of force this sheet.....everybody else is talking in tongues, why aren't I? And you stress & worry about it until you neurotic yourself into flopping around on the floor like you're having a seizure.
- TammyLv 76 years ago
I don't have any reason to doubt them. My lack of believe, and a basic lack of proof, doesn't mean that they are suffering insincere feelings. I can't accept a personal truth as proof of god, but I cant' discount it as a "real event" for the believer. It doesn't harm me for them to feel close to god.
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- gilesLv 66 years ago
If someone truly believes in something, they can misinterpret or even imagine something as a "personal experience". It's like the placebo effect- you think it's really medicine and trick yourself into feeling better.
- sandy dLv 66 years ago
Did you ever think for one second that people might be lying just to make a spectacle of them selves!!! There is nothing at all that proves any actual gods or devils exist and then you want to believe a hysterical oxygen deprived account of a trauma victim!!! Get real!!! Unlike your gods!!!
- interested1208Lv 76 years ago
Because they either want to, or need to....
Many have been taught and are afraid of the teachings, to not 'believe' and go to their 'hell' place...
Fear of the unknown and created a great many imaginings in humans...
The human brain is very susceptible to suggestion and manipulation, which has been proved time and time again... labs have even been able to create the 'god' feeling in people by stimulating certain parts of the brain...
- God of ThunderLv 76 years ago
Those "personal experiences" happen in every religion. They can also be produced by stimulating a particular part of the brain, and subjects in those experiments say that if they didn't know the experiences were produced artificially they would have been life-changing. Those experiences are not external. They originate inside the human brain.
- oikoσLv 76 years ago
There are also personal experiences with alien abduction, UFOs, etc. Some people have very vivid imaginations and like the attention the story brings.
- 6 years ago
It has been proven in a lab that you can produce a feeling of someone else being in the room with you without someone actually being in the room...
So these claims of feeling god is probably nothing more than chemicals in the brain....