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Have you ever experienced, what you consider to be, a supernatural experience?
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Experiencing the supernatural this Wed. 2-17-10 in Beaverton at 7 pm
Posted: 15 February 2010 09:40 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Our next Sciligion (Science/Religion discussion) is this Wed. 2-17-10.  We will be discussing the supernatural… is there any evidence for it?  Do you have any ghost or Holy Ghost stories?  All details are here:

http://www.meetup.com/sciligion/calendar/11692519/

I wanted to share some of my experiences.  I don’t really have an explanation for it yet (well, maybe a partial explanation).

About 12 years ago I was a Christian and searching for ‘the filling of the Holy Spirit’ (for example, speaking in tongues).  I was with a group of Christians at church who were seeking spiritual signs and wonders.  For awhile (a few years previously) I had been seeking the ‘the gift of tongues’ and being ‘filled with the Spirit’ (speaking in a different language, heavenly or otherwise).

There was a group of Christians in a small circle, about 6 of us, praying over me and laying hands on me.  This is when the experience happened.

To back-track a little, I want to explain that in my spiritual training I had learned that not all spirits received are necessarily godly, so the spirits should be discerned.  We shouldn’t just let our body go to any spirit that came by.  So I was willing and ready to test any spirit that might come upon me, to make sure it was godly (although not sure of any test, but just being aware of the possible problem).

So then, here’s what happened.  As my eyes were closed and people were praying over me, it felt as though there was a tractor-beam (like in Star-Trek) coming down from above and scanning my brain.  After maybe 30 seconds of this, suddenly the beam went away and it felt like a curtain was raised from my mind, so I could think clearly.  Then I felt the impression of these words “Bernie, you know that feeling you had after you did those Christian TV shows? That’s the Holy Spirit!”  I thought, “Oh, so that’s what it means and feels like to be filled with the Holy Spirit… I don’t have to speak in tongues to be filled with the Spirit.  And I am (and have been) filled with the Spirit already!”

I’m looking forward to getting some ideas of how this can be explained naturally.  By the way, I no longer believe that god exists.

You can discuss this at the Sciligion message board here:
http://www.meetup.com/sciligion/messages/boards/thread/8588711

[ Edited: 15 February 2010 09:44 PM by Bernie_Dehler ]
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Posted: 15 February 2010 09:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, when I was about 16 or so I was considering becoming a priest. I went to see a charismatic Catholic priest named father DiOrio, who was, at least at the time, a Catholic faith healer on a speaking circuit. I had been praying hard about becoming a priest, and kept asking God to give me a sign of whether he wanted me to do that or not. At one point during his address, he called out that there was a young man in the audience who was asking God whether he should become a priest. So they brought a mic over to me after I raised my hand, addressed the crowd, etc.

Not too difficult to call that one out in an audience of a 1000 or so, which is what I believe the number in attendance must have been. During the same trip when he was whipping the holy water around I was “slain in the spirit”, a term for being knocked on your butt immobile. Now that one was somewhat more impressive, though again, I recall wanting to have it happen. Still, that’s what happened. Those are 2 of my “supernatural” experiences. The question was whether or not these were of paranormal origin. Emphatically, no. Like most such phenomenon, the far greater likelihood is that playing the odds and wishful thinking, plus the marvelous and surprising capabilities of the mind, add up to a wholly terrestrial phenomenon. grin

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Posted: 15 February 2010 10:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Did you listen to Joy’s link about stochasticity?  http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2009/09/11/segments/133396  That’s a good place to start.  Consider the smaller percentage of more salient experiences that we use for data in what J.D Trout calls the availability bias (we ignore the “misses”- also known as the gambler’s fallacy). 

I know that there have been studies about hyperventilating charismatic theists “slain in the spirit,” but I don’t have any links handy.  I think the whole idea of speaking in tongues is pretty funny.  ‘Seems pretty clear to me that the implication of the real “witness” of speaking in tongues is that the “tongue” is in some language that the speaker doesn’t speak yet witnesses do understand and perceive as a miracle. Nowadays it’s just a gibberish “spirit language.” Very convenient. I love doing it. It’s fun.

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“Mary is the Yoko Ono of the Holy Family… and Satan is the Ringo.  It wouldn’t be the same without him- sometimes they even let him sing”

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