For those who have had experiences that led them to believe in God, please share them here

In this thread a few people mentioned that they have had experiences that they say leads them to believe that God exists.

A couple of examples:

So as not to derail the other thread, can folks share their experiences here?

I hope this doesn’t become a place for people to diminish or ridicule any experiences shared here. It’s interesting for those of us who have not experienced such things to see what sorts of things drive people to their stated belief.

I’m on another break. I’ll post a lenghtier response when I get off at 5:30

I’m at work, so I can only share one right now. I might post more in this thread when I have the time:

The miracles that I’ve known or experienced were things that were - like most modern miracles - right on the border of naturalism/supernaturalism - so of course they are open to being picked apart by skeptics, which I welcome. Here is one:

  • Years ago, a Christian friend of mine in Taiwan (around age twenty at the time, I think) leapt roughly 25 feet (from the fourth floor, some sort of self-harm compulsion thing) directly onto hard concrete - nothing to break her fall midway, just a flat-out leap - but yet not only did not suffer the slightest injury, but didn’t even feel any pain (her neighbors, who had seen her leap, rushed over, but she described the sensation to them of impact as being like landing on a soft trampoline - to their great bafflement, “Errrr…this is concrete, you know?”) She credits it as a miracle. Granted, I am no physicist or doctor, so I don’t know if this could be natural, however, I’ve heard nurses say that the human body can suffer severe injury from even a fall of merely 10 feet onto concrete, and it seems hard from a medical standpoint how someone could fall 25 feet onto concrete without even pain.

When I shared that anecdote, people usually countered with tales about how some flight attendant fell 30,000 feet out of a plane and survived, but that was a snow-packed surface, the attendant was injured, etc. but like I said, such “miracles” like the friend’s I mentioned are usually right on the border of naturalism/beyond natural, which is why they invite skepticism (and I welcome people challenging them.)

Still at work, might share more later.

I very seldom click on these threads because they almost inevitably turn into snark-fests. This one really interests me, but I have to ask: is it in Great Debates because you expect people to debate the validity of other people’s experiences?

I probably ought to stay out of this thread. But if I may, I’d appreciate it if folk would also explain how/why - when they were confronted by an event they could not explain, they chose to attribute it to G/god(s)? Do you just assume some sort of unspecified powerful being chose to act in this way (such as keeping this leaper from getting hurt), or do you accept some detailed mythology/belief system attributing various attributes to this being? Do you feel you know why this being acted in this manner? Perhaps the being is evil, and saved the leaper because she would commit mass murder in future years. Why do you decide this proves the existence of G/god(s), instead of - say - some magician who was standing nearby and cast a trampoline spell?

I’m not denying anyone’s beliefs and don’t seek debate. Just knowledge. I’m comfortable/happy with my belief system, as hope you all are. Just curious how certain types of experiences led certain persons to various conclusions. Instead of, say, just thinking, “Hmm - that was odd.”

I needed answers. Explanations for why things had been as they’d been in my life and explanations for why things were as they were in a more generic universal human sense. I did the prayer thing and got clear answers shortly after — and, moreover, the answers shaped my subsequent understandings of what the whole God thing was all about.

No rules-of-physics violating miracles. No flash and glitz, sorry.

My notion of who or what God is — or how I use that three-letter word — may differ considerably from your use thereof. But I don’t use it ironically or sarcastically or anything, I really do consider myself to be theistic.

I almost drowned when I was a kid, and I’m convinced that I saw a white light and someone reaching out to me.

Also, one time when I was in the psych hospital and doing very poorly, my pastor came and gave me communion and my condition improved by the end of the day. I’m not saying it was the communion alone, but communion and medication work better than medication by itself. I don’t even remember receiving the communion. I don’t remember a LOT of things from my time in that hospital.

I have somewhere to be soon, so this will still be relatively short.

If you read The Screwtape Letters (great book regardless of your stance on G-d), there’s a line ‘Why offer a man eternal youth or world domination for his soul when he’ll sell it for half a can of beer?’ I feel the same applies to miracles. There’s a line in Futurama where G-d says "If you do things right, people will wonder if you did anything at all.’ I think there’s also a very personal aspect. A cheap piece of cotsume jewelry may be a precious heirloom to somebody. Yes, I believe G-d could suspend the laws of physics and do something spectacular. But, why?

As I’ve often recounted, I was doing street preaching for Cthulhu. I had been professing (often loudly) belief in another deity all day long. I was worrying I’d been a bad Jew. At that precise moment, I saw an actual street preacher in a Jews For Jesus shirt. I felt, and still feel, the Divine Hand in this. It was the Lord saying unto me ‘Maybe you’re not the greatest Jew. But, this bastard is truly evil.’

Yes, I’m serious. I’d say more but I have to go out for the weekend.

I’d be some kinda stupid to post my spiritual experiences in a forum like this. It’s like chumming the sharks.

Unfortunate you feel that way. I think the majority of posters would be respectful of the stated purpose of the thread, and would trust the mods to rein in the few jerks.

In fact, I apologize for my prior post. Please just ignore it.

I don’t share your conviction.

Exactly what I was thinking. Except I’d be one of the sharks.

I would like to think that this board is not the kind of place that would mock people’s reasons for their spiritual beliefs. I certainly would not, and I am either an atheist or an agnostic, depending one one’s particular definitions, but at any rate someone who is strongly aligned with objectively evidence-based beliefs.

What you might expect here is to get some suggestions of alternative explanations for the alleged phenomena. I don’t think that’s dismissive or disrespectful, and shouldn’t be a threat to genuine faith or to informative conversations about it.

I know exactly what to expect here, believe me.

I agree.

How long have you been here, again?

Long enough to know there are jerks on the board, but that’s why we have moderators. When a thread’s OP says “I hope this doesn’t become a place for people to diminish or ridicule any experiences shared here”, that should set the expectations.

At this point the conversation has drifted more into ATMB territory. Please drop the non-OP sidebar.

off topic

To put it most positively, when someone posts a point of view that almost everyone disagrees with, the Dope collectively exerts itself to change that person’s mind, get them to see the light, etc. That can work when a person is factually wrong, and has an earnest desire to get their facts right. It doesn’t work when it is a matter of spirituality. The only thing atheists can offer is wondering, pitying contempt, and the desire for believers to just SEE how STUPID they are, and get better. Join the side of the righteous, as it were.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Again, please stop with the off-topic sidebar.

See my note before your post.

I’m going to spoiler your post.