Author Topic: Gut instincts  (Read 1956 times)

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Offline magicmiles

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Gut instincts
« on: May 01, 2012, 06:02:11 AM »
Have you ever had a 'gut instinct' that God is real? Something removed from upbringing, teaching etc...just a powerful awareness that He exists? And if so, how did you deal with it? Did you dismiss it out of hand? Or did you allow yourself to dwell on it a little further - perhaps even pray and openly asked God to make Himself known?

You see, if I've learnt anything from my time here it's that nobody is ever going to find God by relying on a strict scientific methodology. I'm willing to concede that there's a vast amount of very sound, logical arguments that lead one to reject God (although I don't, and never will, concede that there are no good arguments for God's existence). But to me, the straight up logical and scientific arguments against God seem stronger.

So I've been recently pondering, if you subscribe to all the anti-God evidences, but have experienced a moment as described above, how do you reconcile the two? Have you ever found that a gut instinct about some other matter ended up trumping what the evidence pointed to?

I'll lay my cards on the table: I very strongly suspect that most of you have at some point, by some means, felt that God might be real. And in those moments, I want to encourage you to ask God openly and sincerely to make Himself known  - and if you have, do it again. What have you got to lose? It'd be entirely private, after all.

I'm hoping for some honest responses here.  And if you simply never have had such a gut instinct or feeling, I'll believe you.

I hope I'm not crossing the line into preaching here - but remember the rules: if I have, tell me nicely...( pretty sure you can still smite me, so do that if you feel I've crossed a line )

And remember - just 2 responses at a time.

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Offline Brakeman

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 06:25:53 AM »
I have never had the gut instinct that god was real, not even during my time as a christian.
I self deluded myself into thinking he existed during my younger years, but always new he didn't actually talk to me or let himself become known as a presence. Ultimately, this lack of answer, and the realization that my emotional feelings that passed for an answer were ultimately my own and were fallible, led me to doubt, discovery, and atheism.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 06:27:48 AM »
Thanks Brakeman.

I'm off to bed now, I look forward to seeing the next response(s)
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 08:49:25 AM »
Moderators Note: In the controlled environment of The Shelter, It is probably not necessary to do much quoting. Or if you do, it can be very abbreviated.

The OP has a question that can be answered by a one word answer (yes or no). But of course, this is a discussion, and a response is also an opportunity to inform/clarify/state opinions as well. Given that we have artificially limited the number of responses and applied other strict rules on this section of the forum, I am thinking that very short responses, such as this one by Dante (don't take this personally Dante, you did nothing wrong and I am simply using your post as an example in hopes that we can all give this some thought) might cause some frustrations.

Dante's second sentence clearly states his opinion, but gives little else for magicmiles to go on. This particular thread will be pretty boring if all respondents keep it equally short. This new section is an opportunity to concentrate efforts on one particular subject, and using up limited resources with low energy responses will probably end up being a source of frustration.

There may be others that are inclined to answer similarly, but other equally short responses would take up the space and deny someone else a chance to write a longer post. And if I were wanting to write a longer entry and the two response limit was already met, I'd be very frustrated if they were short responses that didn't say much and robbed me of a chance to say much more.

Remember that this section is a work in progress. We will probably endure a number of frustrations as we design and redesign it. Those of us who put effort into making this section available are hoping that it adds to the forum. So please be patient as we go through whatever process is required. And note that there is a feedback thread where you can add your own comments.

(Don't worry, this does not count as one of the two responses. As I write this, there is room for one more.)


Edit: Fixed a terrible paragraph
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 08:51:57 AM by ParkingPlaces »
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 09:25:56 AM »
I have never had a gut feeling that any version of the monotheistic god is real.

I have had “gut feelings” that death does not exist, when faced with the death of people I loved deeply.   Every inch of my being rejects the fact that my beloved father and my beloved mother exist no more, even now, years after their deaths. 

Sometimes I look at my phone, and I just can’t believe that I can’t just press my mom’s phone number and tell her about my day.  Sometimes, when faced with an ethical dilemma, I have an imaginary conversation with my dad, to help me make the right decision. 

I understand the drive to stay connected with loved ones who have died.    I understand ancestor worship, and the idea of angels of dead relatives looking over you, and dead loved ones listening to your prayers.  I understand the urge to sit on the grave of a loved one, and imagine them close, and love the Mexican practice of creating an altar in your home to honor your dead and leave flowers and sweets by their pictures. 

How do I reconcile these feelings with my greater belief system?   I am gentle on myself. 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 09:28:19 AM by Quesi »

Offline Traveler

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 10:05:01 AM »
Although I've never had a gut feeling that a biblical-type god exists, I have had some experiences that some might interpret as spiritual. For instance, I'm a big fan of certain types of meditation, and in one spontaneous type, where one asks for a guide to appear, I've had some amazingly healing and powerful experiences. Everyone interprets these experiences differently. Some interpret it as our subconscious mind in a creative psychological method, some as spirit guides, some as god or angels. Personally, I don't care what the actual reality is. What matters to me is that these images, these meditations, these inner conversations, are helpful to me. I've emotionally healed from divorce and other things, and they helped me through cancer treatments. I have no doubt that christians, and other religious persons, can and do have "spiritual" experiences. I merely differ on my interpretation of those events. Personally, I lean toward the psychological interpretation.
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Offline HAL

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 11:19:29 AM »
Everyone needs to read the rules of this new board - clearly several of you either haven't read them or are ignoring them. It clearly says no more than two (2) responses are allowed each time the OP comments in the thread. After this notice we will start enforcing the rules and deleting posts. If you don't like the rules of this new board then simply do not participate here.

Thanks.

Offline HAL

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 12:01:04 PM »
Last post deleted. Please read the rules people ...

Offline HAL

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 01:20:57 PM »
Last post deleted again. Is anybody actually reading what I'm posting or the rules of this board?

Offline magicmiles

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 02:46:25 PM »
Thanks Dante. Maybe you will, one day.

Quesi, thanks for your honest response. I imagine many people experience what you describe, that unwillingness to let something or someone go. I know that feeling, and I can honestly say I can clearly distinguish it from the many times I have felt deep within myself that God is real. I guess it is kind of hard to describe, and maybe it's different for different people anyway. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree entirely  :o

Traveler, thanks for sharing also. Glad to hear that whatever you have experiences seems to have been positive. And it sounds llike you aren't totally closed to the possibility of something supernatural (even God)?
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 02:51:42 PM »
I can say I feel like I've had a gut instinct that there's a God. I've had a gut instinct that there were electrical fire snakes that lived in the walls. Gut instincts, while useful, are not a foundation of understanding reality better than a caveman.

 
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline EV

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 05:04:07 PM »
I was brought up to believe that there was a God- the Jewish one; and told by my father, who is an atheist that there was not one. I had a feeling that there was a God when I was younger, as I believed it without any idea of it being wrong.

There was one point last year, when one of my school friends died in a collision with a train, that I had a religious experience, and had this 'Gut Feeling' of a God. It was on Valentines day, and we were all called out of lessons, and into the Chapel. The headmaster told us that our friend had been killed, and the entire school pretty much started crying. I stayed behind and prayed afterwards that he would be okay in Heaven and that his family would be okay. I asked God to reveal himself to me and to help me through it. It sort of felt like someone was listening. I've never really told anybody about it before, and this was fairly hard to type, but looking at it retrospectively, I have considered that event a number of times since then.

I know that because I was reaching out, and expecting somebody to listen so much, that I convinced myself that there was someone there. I could look at it like it were a genuine moment with God comforting me, or as a crowd-based mass emotional outpouring that affected my judgement, and made me want the same consolation they were seeking from God. I had the gut feeling, but whether it was mine or not is the point I am discussing.

Either way, it makes no difference whether God is the Christian God or not, because what I experienced is actually what the idea of God probably is- a collective idea of Mankind's emotions projected onto an all powerful father-figure (bit of Freud there). I believe that I experienced what some may call God there, but there is no evidence to show which one it was.

As a result, I spent a long time re-assessing my beliefs, but still could not justify my potential belief, so discarded it as psychology. Music helped me to express my sorrow. If I had never heard of God, I would not have prayed to him. It was a spiritual experience, and I appreciated it for what it was, much like Traveller's experiences with his Spirit Guides through Meditation. It is deep rooted subconscious psychology, and asks a very important question- that if someone had never heard of God, would they form an idea of God in a situation like that?

I hope this is helpful to you MagicMiles.
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« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 05:05:47 PM by EV »
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2012, 02:54:43 PM »
thanks again, those who responded, especially EV and Traveler for your more lengthy posts.

I don't think I have much more to say on the matter at this time.
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Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2012, 04:49:07 PM »
magicmiles, how's it going? I hope you are doing well since our last chat. I saw that you didn't have anything further on this topic at this time, but I would like to throw my two cents in, and possibly give you something to muse on. 

I did have a few experiences as a believer that, at the time, I took as being an experience of God.

I remember during one particular time of struggle, I asked for a sign that God was listening. It immediately started raining, as in simultaneously with the end of the request. It seemed quite impressive at the time, and I suppose that you could say that I had a gut instinct about God at this time.

However, as I became more and more confident in my skepticism, it occurred to me that perhaps such things are merely the result of coincidence. After all, coincidental events are often considered to have a causal relationship, even if there is not necessarily any reason to believe so.

Additionally, I could not help but notice that members of different faiths all claimed to have similar types of experiences. It seemed to me odd that such an experience could be considered a validation of my faith, but not equally validating of others faith. It seemed that the standard for faith ought to be consistent all around, and that either all of those people of different religion have valid belief in their God, or none of them do, or just one of them does. The last option seems the least likely to me, and the second option most likely.

Gut instincts can certainly be wrong in other ways. In my case, it's usually in regards to my love life. I certainly had a “gut instinct” about my now ex wife. Turns out, I misread it. I took it to mean “Hey, you might like this one!”” when what it really said was “Hey, you might want to run”. Our intuition can be useful at times, but not as a tool to override our reason.

Therefore, I have since come to believe that while people certainly do experience "gut instinct" type feelings regarding God, that such feelings, in my view, do not automatically demonstrate any actual relationship with or evidence of the divine. To me, there are merely indicative of a sense of transcendence, a state of overwhelming awe, that is, to me anyways, wrongly attributed to any number of deities, spirits, angels, demons, or Hobbits (even if it's one of the awesome ones, like Sam, I still can't buy it). I would merely consider it a state of awe and admiration for something even as we humbly admit that we don't understand it.
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 05:02:28 PM »
Although you don't have much to say at this time you have freed up space for me to make my response if you're still interested in people's testimonies on this. ;) I think when I was a believer there was a level of gut instinct, I was a kid when I became a non-believer so it's kind of hard to say, maybe it's because I was told God was real and believed it and felt it to be so, which wouldn't really apply to what you're asking. I can't say as a believer I was that strong anyway. Since being an atheist, there have been things I have questioned about my non-belief, just because of things I wasn't able to explain myself or something coincidental that I asked myself, "what if it wasn't a coincidence?" But then I'm a sceptic, so I find I will be sceptical of my own judgements.

Moments like that don't tend to happen any more as I've thought a great deal on the topic. As you can probably see on the forum I really try to break it down to the specifics; so if it is how you claim, then there's the possibility I may scrutinise the claims a bit too much. A pastor did tell me that the bible is all allegorical, it's a book written by ancient men, it tells us about God, but it doesn't tell us as a Historical account and he treated it as a narrative, a piece of literature. I can't really deal with his beliefs with a strict scientific methodology or even with my understanding of the bible.

I will admit that a part of me wants somebody to come out with an argument that sounds reasonable to me, the main thing I don't understand is faith. I can see perfectly sane, intelligent people with decent critical thinking skills tell me they believe in God. I don't think I'm in a position to say exactly what it is they've experienced or why they've come to feel that way. I am able to take an educated guess, but not give a definite answer.

I did pray to God once as a kid after I stopped believing. (This is going to embarrass me) One of our cats had kittens; she had some trouble and a few fell ill as a result. When one of the kittens died I prayed that God doesn't let any more die. I was pretty upset because we tried really hard to keep it alive. I guess that also counts towards what you asked. I am sad to say my prayer didn't work. I had lost my faith a couple of years before that, so I kinda had to start with the line, "Please God, if you exist". But as far as 'God not answering prayers' stories go, that one's pretty pathetic. But it's the only occasion I can think of where I genuinely opened up to Him as a non-believer.

This is exactly 500 words.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2012, 04:54:02 PM »
magicmiles, how's it going? I hope you are doing well since our last chat. I saw that you didn't have anything further on this topic at this time, but I would like to throw my two cents in, and possibly give you something to muse on. 

Hi KB, not doing too bad. I don't have much more to add, it's true, but seeing you made the effort to respond to my OP I will at least comment on some of your post.


I did have a few experiences as a believer that, at the time, I took as being an experience of God.

Can I infer that you were a believer before you had any experiences of God? As in, you were a believer more via upbringing etc? I'm just curious more than anything - don't feel compelled to respond.


I remember during one particular time of struggle, I asked for a sign that God was listening. It immediately started raining, as in simultaneously with the end of the request. It seemed quite impressive at the time, and I suppose that you could say that I had a gut instinct about God at this time.

I bet...impressive timing. Having said that - do you remember what the forecast had been for the day? If the rain came out of a clear blue sky then that would be more awe-inspiring than if it was cloudy (for me, at least. )


Additionally, I could not help but notice that members of different faiths all claimed to have similar types of experiences. It seemed to me odd that such an experience could be considered a validation of my faith, but not equally validating of others faith.

By different faiths, do you mean they had faith in a God other than the God of the Judeo-Christian bible?


Gut instincts can certainly be wrong in other ways. In my case, it's usually in regards to my love life. I certainly had a “gut instinct” about my now ex wife. Turns out, I misread it. I took it to mean “Hey, you might like this one!”” when what it really said was “Hey, you might want to run”. Our intuition can be useful at times, but not as a tool to override our reason.

Sorry to hear that. And a slight digression here, which I hope doesn't offend or sound judgmental:

I certainly had a gut instinct about my wife, and vice versa. We knew we loved one another and we believed God was leading us together. We were married a year later. And boy did we have some struggles (and still do). No need to go into details, suffice it to say I was probably the cause of much of our angst. The thing we both always continually reminded each other when we were having a rough patch was that we could absolutely rely on the fact that our initial feelings of love and devotion had not been false - rather, it was our (mainly mine) attributes of selfishness which was undermining that true love. And that was something we could work on, and we have. Still not a perfect marriage, but it's one we'll never give up on because we are both convinced that when we promised our lives to each other we were doing so on a true basis of love. Sometimes you don't feel love but need to remind yourself that feelings are often badly distorted by selfish emotion, and in those times we need to go back to what you still know deep down is true. And I know the question arises: how do you know your initial feeling of love wasn't somehow distorted? And I wish I had a better answer than "you somwhow just do, and will recognise it when you feel it", but that is I think the best way i can describe my own experience.

Again, not meaning to preach or anything, and I know we're all unique with unique experiences which we try and deal with best we can.

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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2012, 05:24:14 PM »
Although you don't have much to say at this time you have freed up space for me to make my response if you're still interested in people's testimonies on this. ;) 

Well, it turns out a managed a few words in response to KB afterall...and of course I am interested in what you wish to share.


I think when I was a believer there was a level of gut instinct, I was a kid when I became a non-believer so it's kind of hard to say, maybe it's because I was told God was real and believed it and felt it to be so, which wouldn't really apply to what you're asking.

It sort of does...I don't think you can really put too much of an age limit on when you might recognise something as being true and real. Do you remember what specifically about what you'd been taught you 'felt' to be real?



I can't say as a believer I was that strong anyway. Since being an atheist, there have been things I have questioned about my non-belief, just because of things I wasn't able to explain myself or something coincidental that I asked myself, "what if it wasn't a coincidence?" But then I'm a sceptic, so I find I will be sceptical of my own judgements.

I think that's sort of the point I'm trying to make, unpopular as it is to pretty much the entire human race: our own judgements are often crap, and personally I believe in real 'gut instinct' moments the things we suspect and feel to be true are much more likely to be, and personally I believe it is God behind it.

But...knowing that for sure? It's a reality for me, and I guess the whole point of this thread was to get people honestly asking if it might be for them.


 A pastor did tell me that the bible is all allegorical, it's a book written by ancient men, it tells us about God, but it doesn't tell us as a Historical account and he treated it as a narrative, a piece of literature. I can't really deal with his beliefs with a strict scientific methodology or even with my understanding of the bible.

Allegory or literal historical account (or a mixture of both), the bible is amazing in it's consistent message as far as it's major themes are concerned ( I know there are many many apparent inconsistencies, but now isn't the time to delve into them ). But in terms of the main message it is absolutely the same story unfolding from beginning to end: perfect world created with men in perfect harmony with God, man thinks he can be like God and tries to achieve that, we have thought this and tried to acheieve this ever since, God promised early on that he would bring about a means of bringing man back into perfect relationship with Him, and does through Jesus. The bible in a nutshell. But I digress...sorry


I will admit that a part of me wants somebody to come out with an argument that sounds reasonable to me

I have far too much to say in response to that to stay within my 500 word limit...plus I would almost certainly get done for preaching. So..if you want to hear my thoughts specifically related to your comment there, please PM me.


I kinda had to start with the line, "Please God, if you exist". But as far as 'God not answering prayers' stories go, that one's pretty pathetic. But it's the only occasion I can think of where I genuinely opened up to Him as a non-believer.


well, as the members on this forum may or may not have twigged to, God often doesn't seem to answer the most sincere prayers from those who have worshipped Him all their life. Something else I have opinions on, previously shared in other threads, and am willing to discuss more maybe via PM.

And sorry about your kitten...I love cats as well.
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Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2012, 05:57:21 PM »
Can I infer that you were a believer before you had any experiences of God? As in, you were a believer more via upbringing etc? I'm just curious more than anything - don't feel compelled to respond.
That would be correct. I was raised Catholic. I honestly couldn't tell you for sure what age I was, but teens. So it wasn't like I didn't believe, prayed, got reassurance and boom! I'm a believer. I already had been. It was more of a reinforcement or reminder I suppose you could say.
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I bet...impressive timing. Having said that - do you remember what the forecast had been for the day? If the rain came out of a clear blue sky then that would be more awe-inspiring than if it was cloudy (for me, at least. )
Oh geez, I have no idea what the forecast was! It was at nighttime, and I couldn't see the sky anyways. It rains quite a bit here anyways, and our weather varies in some crazy ways, so all of this lends me to believe that it was just a coincidence.
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By different faiths, do you mean they had faith in a God other than the God of the Judeo-Christian bible?
It depends on whether or not you consider Muslims and Jews to be followers of the same God. Either way, this would apply equally to all religions in my opinion, whether Hindu, Taoist or Asatru.
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Sorry to hear that. And a slight digression here, which I hope doesn't offend or sound judgmental: <snip>
Again, not meaning to preach or anything, and I know we're all unique with unique experiences which we try and deal with best we can.

Oh don't worry, it wasn't really something that was reconcilable. She is bipolar, has eating disorders, PTSD, and is just not a pleasant person to be in a relationship with. If someone has held a knife to your throat, reconciliation isn't really an option, and wouldn't be desirable even if it was an option. I realize that there are people who can work through marital issues, but sometimes you have to draw the line.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Gut instincts
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2012, 06:32:10 PM »
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Do you remember what specifically about what you'd been taught you 'felt' to be real?

I went to a CoE primary school, we were taught about God, it was a really good school and they weren't forcing us into the way of Christ, but with the promotion of God and His existence being spoken of as though he were real and people telling me that God is real, I didn't question it really - not until around age 10. It was nothing my parents put on me. I don't mean to offend, but it’s how I remember it but that gut 'feeling' wasn't much different to how I felt about Santa, which I also believed. The difference being is that past a certain age people still believed in God and I think that's what drove me to try 'prayer' as a non-believer. If so many people believe in God, they might not be that insane. It wasn’t something to set in stone my non-belief; it was an opportunity for me to be turn away from my non-belief. At that age, it wasn't something I had thought about in the depth I have since.

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I think that's sort of the point I'm trying to make, unpopular as it is to pretty much the entire human race: our own judgements are often crap, and personally I believe in real 'gut instinct' moments the things we suspect and feel to be true are much more likely to be, and personally I believe it is God behind it.

I understand that. Generally I consider the fact as finite beings with a finite understanding, we are flawed and as are our judgements. It's interesting that you rely on your 'gut instinct' whilst I believe in what can be observed - perhaps on the simplest level that is where our differences are. For me a 'gut instinct' has too much of a margin for error and is akin to making a judgement without basing it on something. Sometimes I've had gut instincts that were true. Other times, they were not. Sometimes I say, "I wish I went with my instinct there" This is where I put it down to chance and coincidence.

So I understand what you're talking about, but it's the margin for error for me that doesn't make it less flawed than judgement alone. Generally I find myself confirming my own judgements when I can see them backed up - at least when these statements are declaring something objective. For that, I stick to what can be measured. Obviously subjective things like love you can't really find back up for - you just tend to feel love because it is an emotion. Maybe I could sum it up as: objectivity is the world we interact with and subjectivity is how we feel about it. But even then I generally I keep my mind open and accept that my judgements could be wrong, but the more back up they've got, the more confident I am that they're not. It would have to take something more compelling for me to think otherwise.

Your belief is that your gut instinct is from God, my belief is that my gut instinct is from my subconscious. :)

Also, as for the PMs, as I'm replying now, I might as well just say it here: you're welcome to expand in PM, as I'd be interested in hearing what you've got to say.

Exactly 500 words again. ;)
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.