Author Topic: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please  (Read 1103 times)

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Offline Brakeman

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I would like to hear and discuss Muchlove's explanation on how god speaks to him and perhaps other christians but would never speak to me, a former christian now atheist.

I request that other commenters on the thread to please keep comments to the specific discussion points at hand and not to add any additional questions so as not to overload the willing theist.
Elaboration is fine, but please wait your turn to be "tagged" before you bring additional sub-topics to be addressed by Muchlove. And of course please be as courteous as he is.
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Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 06:01:58 PM »
I would like to hear and discuss Muchlove's explanation on how god speaks to him and perhaps other christians but would never speak to me, a former christian now atheist.

I request that other commenters on the thread to please keep comments to the specific discussion points at hand and not to add any additional questions so as not to overload the willing theist.
Elaboration is fine, but please wait your turn to be "tagged" before you bring additional sub-topics to be addressed by Muchlove. And of course please be as courteous as he is.

Brakeman,

Thanks for attempting to create a "safe" thread for discussion.  I appreciate your desire to pursue dialog with me regarding what questions you have regarding my faith.  I spent some time here the past couple of weeks just reading through some threads and quickly realized that I wasn't really that interested in contributing much to the discussions because I had seen so many theists overwhelmed and bombarded with questions and/or aggressive posters who were relentlessly challenging them.  I don't mind having my beliefs challenged, and I am thick-skinned, but it didn't appeal to me to engage in argumentative debate rather than conversational one-to-one discussion.  I've enjoyed reading many of the posts here, but I've been hesitant to contribute to any of the topics.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 06:16:07 PM »
First of all, welcome muchlove.

Please don't be hesitant to post.  We are a diverse bunch, and honestly, I am very interested in hearing your response to Brakeman's question.  There are many people here who are former Christians.  But although a large percentage of my friends, and even some of my family are Christians, I have never been drawn to the belief.  I have read the Bible, and I have spoken with countless people about religion, and I am often surprised how people who claim to believe in the same God, have such vastly different interpretations.

So, I am genuinely interested in the question, and I'd love to hear your response!

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2012, 06:24:38 PM »
Muchlove,

Can you describe a couple of your conversations with god for us? Perhaps either your first one or maybe the most in depth.
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Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2012, 06:50:27 PM »
Muchlove,

Can you describe a couple of your conversations with god for us? Perhaps either your first one or maybe the most in depth.

Brakeman,

Let's start with the first and most obvious one that I believe most Christians identify with, and should resonate with you as a Baptist preacher's kid...the Bible.  As a Christian, if I accept that it is "God-breathed" as Paul proclaims and Christ teaches, then I accept that it is the Word of God, and thus God speaks to man through this primary mechanism.  As a Christian, it seems you did hear from God, at least at the point in time when you identified as a Christian, because you heard Him speak through others and his Word every time you read or listened to scripture.  I realize you no longer accept the Bible as the word of God, but surely when you did, you must have realized at the time that God was speaking to you?  Maybe you didn't think of it that way?

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 09:45:01 PM »
I was young and innocent when I was a christian. I did believe at the time that the bible was from inspired writings, but at the same time, it was a mass printed book that made no sense to me and it was only the preacher's and the choirs emotional pleas that really struck a chord in me. I had a lot of guilt even as a young boy, and the emotional pleas worked their magic and brainwashed me.

I prayed hard for years, especially when I was going through my rough times, and although I never heard a voice or a burning bush or a talking donkey, I believed that I did get some emotional relief from pouring my heart out to god as it were. I didn't then know that I would feel the exact same relief pouring my heart out to my pet dog in later years.  I always knew that I never had received any personal response from god in any way, but during my christian years I willfully ignored the obvious.

You seem to be very satisfied with god only speaking to you via a translated and transcribed book that didn't even exist in the forms you know it until the medieval ages. I must take it from your answer that god does not really talk to you individually and personally. That's not what I thought you were alluding to in the start of the conversation, am I missing something?

So am I correct in saying that god has never said your name in a booming voice, or verbally confirmed that he was taking you into his fold, but that you willingly take other men's word for it that the bible is the only voice that you ever need hear from god? Despite the multitudes of examples in both the new and old testaments of god actually conveying real discrete information to his followers you never hear such things because god hasn't got anything to say to you? He can't confirm that he is ever listening to you or me with a discrete. "yeah brakeman, I'm listening" but that we must rely on our emotional state to know whether or not we got through?

When I prayed "God save my soul," shouldn't I have gotten a confirmation, since I was before this a heathen sinner and did not know how jesus would speak to me? Why would the holy spirit not make his presence clearly known to me? Desperate as I was, was I not the equal to saul before he became paul? Why could the prophets actually talk with god yet todays christian cannot and must rely on faded wordspeak of "god speaking through a book?"

I must say that to me, it's like having a fancy cell phone with no service, you can look like you're talking up a storm, but in the end, there is no one else on the line and you are making up the whole conversation.
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Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2012, 09:50:16 PM »
You seem to be very satisfied with god only speaking to you via a translated and transcribed book that didn't even exist in the forms you know it until the medieval ages. I must take it from your answer that god does not really talk to you individually and personally. That's not what I thought you were alluding to in the start of the conversation, am I missing something?

There is more to my story for sure, I just wanted to start with the basics as I was/am pressed for time with a massive project.  I will read your post in more detail and get back to you later tonight.


Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 12:37:09 AM »
Brakeman,

I think that I, and many many others (this forum is full of them), can identify with exactly what you are saying.  In many ways, our backgrounds are also somewhat similar.

  • Live in the USA
  • Raised in a Christian family
  • Have family members who are in some sort of preaching ministry

I don't know about you, but I grew up going to youth group, summer camp (although that was mostly about meeting new girls), and going to church almost every week.  Our family was certainly a "religious" family, at least on Sundays.  But to say that my focus was on God most of the time probably isn't a very accurate assessment.  But I "loved" God, at least I thought I did.  But I didn't really "know" God at all.  I knew about Him.  I had heard every popular Sunday School story probably 3 times before I entered Jr. high.  I had listened to hundreds of Sunday sermons. 

Yet, I didn't really know God the way I read in scripture.  I didn't hear him audibly speak to me.  I didn't have any visions.  I didn't have any direction in my life.  I can remember trying to decide what I wanted to do for college and feeling completely lost and without any direction.  I had sensed God speaking to me before then a few times (not so much audibly, but in my mind through the Holy Spirit), but I was completely lost on where to go, what to do, etc.  That is one of the first times I remember God speaking to me very clearly, and it kicked off a period of time in my life where I had a few such experiences. 

Interestingly enough, it was at a time in my life that I was pursuing God maybe more closely then other times.  I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it or not.  I've come to realize (believe?) that it is more about God's sovereignty and desire more than it has anything to do with intensity of my efforts.  Especially because my life was full of sin at that point, and my mind was on so many worldly pursuits such as fame, making money, business, etc.  I loved God, but I gave Him only those parts of my life that I wanted to.  And looking back, that wasn't really very much, even though I thought it was because of my religious devotion to making sure I went to church and youth group and prayed once in awhile.

So, I'll kick it off with the first time of my "young" adult life that I really felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me...it was about going to college.  I was fairly smart.  Not saying that to brag, I'm just wanting to paint an accurate picture for you of where I'm coming from.  I had a near perfect math SAT, had taken 3 years of calculus in high school before ever entering college.  My high school counselor kept trying to get me to apply to Stanford, Harvey Mudd, Cal Tech, etc.  But even still, I was completely at a loss.  Even with everything I had going for me, which seemed like the world, and all the expectations and "puffing up" from others (friends, family, etc.), I couldn't decide where to go or what to do.  So, I applied to several schools that seemed like a good fit for various reasons, but I was completely unconvinced that any of them were the right path. 

Then I got a call.  Not from God  (it might has well have been), but from a little old lady named Darlene Little.  I didn't know her at the time, but she asked me if I had ever thought about coming to Bethany College.  It was a little, no-name Christian school (now defunct), in the Redwood trees on the Central Coast of California near Santa Cruz.  I didn't know anything about the school, I didn't know anything about Santa Cruz (although being close to the beach sounded nice), and I knew it was not a well-known school that would be of any use to me in any of my future career plans.  That was the "smart" side of me speaking, it made ZERO sense for me to go there...and I thought just as much while we were talking.  But, right before we hung up the phone, she asked me to pray about it.

I actually didn't really pray about it this time.  In fact, I really didn't pray much at all (because it had never worked for me per se), but that didn't stop God from speaking to me about it through who I believe to be, and now recognize as, the Holy Spirit.  I couldn't get Bethany out of my mind.  Hard as I tried, I "knew" that was where I was supposed to go.  I really can't explain it, but I knew it was God.  So, within the week I withdrew my applications from every other school and prepared to go to Bethany. 

It was the greatest feeling in the world, knowing that it was God.  It was so freeing, so full of peace.  On paper, it was the worst decision (I don't think my dad liked it at all), but God knew exactly what He was doing.  Everything that has happened in my life, including now, has been a result of being obedient to that very first decision.  And it hasn't all been good, either.  In fact, there have been some very dark times that followed soon after.  Yet, through it all, I have seen God's hand.  That was the first time I heard God, and really listened, but it certainly is not the last.  As I said, that was the beginning, and it has been an interesting walk since then to say the least. 

I'm sure we will have much more to discuss from here.  Hopefully I haven't set off the "this person is crazy" bells for those looking in, but even if I have, that is ok.  I have much more to share, as this was simply the beginning of a very interesting journey, at least for me.  But I want you to know, I have felt much of what you feel.  Even after this, I went though some dark periods.  No voice from God, no understanding, just silence and frustration, and painful experiences.  If it were not for a few things God did during those early years, I suppose it could be me writing the same things you are to me. 

Anyway, we can talk more about that later.  I've already rambled enough, and I am certain you probably have some questions.  But as I close out this post, I want to thank you in advance for taking the time to discuss and not just rush to judgment.  I appreciate your willingness to start a thread where we could converse without jumping into a heated debate.  I think some of the greatest learning comes from our experience, our observations, and not just pointing out the gaps in logic or the "book" knowledge we've gleaned through years of diligent study.  The truth is, my relationship with God is not logical, practical, sensible or rational.  It is to me, now, but I understand it will not be to the one outside looking in.  Tt has come from a lifetime of experiences with the God I now serve in a way I never could while growing up.

 I hope you will continue to converse with me, and that this monstrous post has not scared you off or taken you to a place of judgment regarding my "simple" faith and inability to reason through belief.  I have had some dark struggles with my faith and dark times that I hear in so many of the stories on here, and I know I'm not alone in that.  If anything, even though we are on opposite sides of belief in God, it is the common thread for me to those stories, and it resonates with me very personally.  To call out to God and not hear His voice is a very difficult thing to process, and it seems to be a major part of why so many on this forum initially doubted their faith to begin with.

I'm looking forward to pursuing this conversation further as time allows...

-Muchlove

Offline Karl

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2012, 12:42:42 AM »
I would like to hear and discuss Muchlove's explanation on how god speaks to him and perhaps other christians but would never speak to me, a former christian now atheist.

I request that other commenters on the thread to please keep comments to the specific discussion points at hand and not to add any additional questions so as not to overload the willing theist.
Elaboration is fine, but please wait your turn to be "tagged" before you bring additional sub-topics to be addressed by Muchlove. And of course please be as courteous as he is.

Brakeman,

Thanks for attempting to create a "safe" thread for discussion.  I appreciate your desire to pursue dialog with me regarding what questions you have regarding my faith.  I spent some time here the past couple of weeks just reading through some threads and quickly realized that I wasn't really that interested in contributing much to the discussions because I had seen so many theists overwhelmed and bombarded with questions and/or aggressive posters who were relentlessly challenging them.  I don't mind having my beliefs challenged, and I am thick-skinned, but it didn't appeal to me to engage in argumentative debate rather than conversational one-to-one discussion.  I've enjoyed reading many of the posts here, but I've been hesitant to contribute to any of the topics.
To me your existance is fake, you are an atheist placing the ball for the penalty. You're fake.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2012, 02:44:02 AM »
I actually didn't really pray about it this time.  In fact, I really didn't pray much at all (because it had never worked for me per se), but that didn't stop God from speaking to me about it through who I believe to be, and now recognize as, the Holy Spirit.  I couldn't get Bethany out of my mind.  Hard as I tried, I "knew" that was where I was supposed to go.  I really can't explain it, but I knew it was God.  So, within the week I withdrew my applications from every other school and prepared to go to Bethany. 

Muchlove, this paragraph is the crux of your post - but unfortunately it explains nothing.  I realise that it is hard to explain, but consider simply the part I have bolded.

What exactly made you "know" it was Yahweh, as opposed to (for example) Satan, or Odin?  I appreciate that there were things happened after, that made you convinced that it was Yahweh's intent that you go to Bethany, but at the time, what exactly was it that made you positive Yahweh was speaking to you, as opposed to any other supernatural source?  Or simply an idea stuck in your head that you couldn't shake?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2012, 03:36:31 AM »
To me your existance is fake, you are an atheist placing the ball for the penalty. You're fake.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean?

Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2012, 03:58:29 AM »
What exactly made you "know" it was Yahweh, as opposed to (for example) Satan, or Odin?

I am not familiar with Odin (in the sense of relationship), but I tend to reject that notion because the God I serve claims He is the only one, and I am not to have other Gods before Him.  So, I start from the premise that He alone is God. 

Quote
I appreciate that there were things happened after, that made you convinced that it was Yahweh's intent that you go to Bethany, but at the time, what exactly was it that made you positive Yahweh was speaking to you, as opposed to any other supernatural source?  Or simply an idea stuck in your head that you couldn't shake?

Would it be better to say I believed it was God, rather than I knew it was God?  In my mind I was convinced it was, but can we ever know with absolute certainty?  As you said, looking back has shaped that belief as well.  But, at that moment, there was a very clear understanding and a very real peace about going.  It was just "knowing", have you ever experienced that type of confidence in something without it being specifically related to the data?  Perhaps you haven't, and it might be difficult to try and understand exactly the confidence of which I'm speaking.

And sure, I've had ideas "stuck in my head" before, many times.  We all have.  Although, I've learned not to discount the possibility that an idea I can't shake might be "unshakable" for a reason.  In the past, I didn't pay it much bother (it's not like this was a common experience for me), but now I've learned to pray and at least attempt to seek that answer.  This has become more of a reality to me the more experiences I've had, especially with people.  When I believe that it's God, it usually is confirmed in some way that leads me to believe it with confidence, even if I don't "know" for certain.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 04:00:30 AM by muchlove »

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2012, 06:00:05 AM »
When I believe that it's God, it usually is confirmed in some way that leads me to believe it with confidence, even if I don't "know" for certain.

Please tell us what, if anything, distinguishes your belief from self-deception?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2012, 06:30:03 AM »
What exactly made you "know" it was Yahweh, as opposed to (for example) Satan, or Odin?

I am not familiar with Odin (in the sense of relationship), but I tend to reject that notion because the God I serve claims He is the only one, and I am not to have other Gods before Him.  So, I start from the premise that He alone is God. 

Yes, but that wasn't what I was asking.  What aspects of the feeling are there that could ONLY have been caused by the intercession of your particular deity?  It sounds like you discount all other possibilities because you have the a priori assumption that only one particular being could give the message.

It's like.....imagine that your only communication with the outside world comes via typed text on a screen.  The first message that comes through says "I am the only person with access to your screen".  By what method would you actually establish that subsequent messages all come from that same person, as opposed to someone impersonating him?

I appreciate that there were things happened after, that made you convinced that it was Yahweh's intent that you go to Bethany, but at the time, what exactly was it that made you positive Yahweh was speaking to you, as opposed to any other supernatural source?  Or simply an idea stuck in your head that you couldn't shake?
It was just "knowing", have you ever experienced that type of confidence in something without it being specifically related to the data?  Perhaps you haven't, and it might be difficult to try and understand exactly the confidence of which I'm speaking.

Quite the contrary - I have had that kind of feeling before, the "gut feeling" that something is the way to go.  However, having studied psychology and the biology of the brain and senses, I know that we experience FAR more input than we consciously register.  All around me at my desk are books and folders, there are a couple people in my field of vision....but I'm focussed on the PC screen.  That doesn't mean that if one of those people threw something at me that I perceived in my peripheral vision, that I wouldn't automatically flinch. 

Point being, there are many, many reasons why we will often experience disparity between what we "feel" is right, and what we "know" is right - but this disparity is not, in itself, any reason to suppose that there is a supernatural input that needs considering.

.....now I've learned to pray and at least attempt to seek that answer.  This has become more of a reality to me the more experiences I've had, especially with people.  When I believe that it's God, it usually is confirmed in some way that leads me to believe it with confidence, even if I don't "know" for certain.

Are you aware of the phenomena known as "confirmation bias"?  It is where you are more likely to choose a particular option because you are predisposed to seeing the world that way.  In this case, it could be argued that because you first believe that something is, you then interpret all future happenings in a way that confirms your original belief. 

Although - interestingly - you say that it is only "usually" confirmed, which seems to imply that sometimes you get this feeling that a message comes from your god, which later proves NOT to have been.  If you are unable to reliably determine at the time of the feeling whether the feeling is a message from god or not, what basis can you have for ascribing ANY of them to your god?  As the expression goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day!  To paraphrase, it appears you are saying that:

"Sometimes I have feelings about things.  Sometimes those feelings prove correct, sometimes not.  I therefore choose to believe that the feelings that prove to be correct are communications from god, despite there being no difference at the time between feelings later proved true, and those that are not."

It seems, from what you have been saying here, that you decided your god exists, and then choose to interpret everything you later experience as either proof of that existence, or a mistake on your part.  I'd like you to consider the very real truth that - had you been raised in India, say - your upbringing would have led to you making exactly the same claims, with exactly the same honesty and emphasis, about the Hindu pantheon. 

And that you do not in fact have any verifiable way of determining if a particular feeling you might have today comes from Yahweh, or Krishna, or from your own subconscious.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2012, 01:53:54 PM »
Ha, exactly what I did't want to happen has happened...multiple people wanting to ask multiple questions.  But, since Brakeman hasn't responded yet, I will attempt to answer a few of those.  If I don't get back to your question, please don't take it personally, it is simply a function of time (or lack of it).  But if I can, I will.  But I don't want to distract from my original discussion with Brakeman, so I may not be able to get back to all of you.  Since I engaged in a little dialog with Anfauglir already, I'll respond to a few of his questions first.

Offline muchlove

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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2012, 02:39:46 PM »
Yes, but that wasn't what I was asking.  What aspects of the feeling are there that could ONLY have been caused by the intercession of your particular deity?  It sounds like you discount all other possibilities because you have the a priori assumption that only one particular being could give the message.

Well, this isn't entirely the case.  To discount the possibility would mean I have absolute proof or certainty, and that is simply not the case.  Anything is possible.  But over time, comes familiarity and familiarity reinforces faith, and that faith and experience then breeds confidence.  With my primary guide being scripture, I have to take into account the possibility it can be any other "spirit", be it demonic, Satan, etc.  But, for the baseline, I do begin with God being the source, which precludes Odin being the one speaking to me.  Is that 100% certain?  No.  Could something I can't see actually be something else entirely?  Of course.  To suggest otherwise would be foolish.  But the confidence comes from experience, from lining up my experience with others, with outcomes, with history, etc. 

Quote
It's like.....imagine that your only communication with the outside world comes via typed text on a screen.  The first message that comes through says "I am the only person with access to your screen".  By what method would you actually establish that subsequent messages all come from that same person, as opposed to someone impersonating him?

This is exactly correct, and a great example.  Which is why all these factors work together to "know" someone.  When you and I interact even now, either one of us could be impersonating someone else entirely.  It's anonymous.  Over time, though, your actions, your speech, your responses can become "known" by me, and mine to you, because of consistency and knowledge.  Relationship can exist apart from physical sight or contact.  We can build relationship and never ever meet in person, and does that make it any less real?  Only if one of us is being deceptive.  And in truth, I might never know if you're being deceptive and masquerading as someone else or not.  But if we get to know each other well enough, I'm likely going to be able to tell if someone else sits down and types out a letter to me and signs it Anfauglir.  Will I know for certain?  Of course not, but I'm going to be better prepared to spot a counterfeit by picking up on things that are out of step with the relationship we've built.   Yet, nothing is 100% full proof.  The Bible talks about Satan as the great deceiver, masquerading as an angel of light and a double-talking serpent.  It also talks of men who are wolves in sheep's clothing, masquerading as truth, but leading others astray.

Quote
Quite the contrary - I have had that kind of feeling before, the "gut feeling" that something is the way to go.  However, having studied psychology and the biology of the brain and senses, I know that we experience FAR more input than we consciously register.  All around me at my desk are books and folders, there are a couple people in my field of vision....but I'm focussed on the PC screen.  That doesn't mean that if one of those people threw something at me that I perceived in my peripheral vision, that I wouldn't automatically flinch. 

Point being, there are many, many reasons why we will often experience disparity between what we "feel" is right, and what we "know" is right - but this disparity is not, in itself, any reason to suppose that there is a supernatural input that needs considering.

Agreed.  Which is why consistency/history/experience also play a role in our lives in building this kind of confidence.  It may still be false confidence, but such things serve to build confidence and faith over time.

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Are you aware of the phenomena known as "confirmation bias"?  It is where you are more likely to choose a particular option because you are predisposed to seeing the world that way.  In this case, it could be argued that because you first believe that something is, you then interpret all future happenings in a way that confirms your original belief. 

Absolutely, this is strongly related to what I just mentioned above.  And I recognize that this is entirely possible.  But I believe that God has been remarkably faithful and consistent in the events in my life, in learning to hear His voice and the Holy Spirit, and this has led to the confidence and faith that comes from experiences that have reinforced my faith. But you've actually hit on another very important point.  The preconceived ideas we bring to the table actually shape our views about many things, including how we feel about God.  If I think God is distant, far removed from humanity, then my view of God influences my interaction with Him.  If I believe God is personal, involved in my life, it, in turn, also shapes the way I interact with Him.  If I don't believe that God exists, it influences my view about God and those who do believe.  Everything we do is somehow precluded by assumption until proved otherwise or that paradigm is somehow shattered.  And, our individual and collective experiences then serve to reinforce those beliefs / positions / assumptions / worldviews.  If I don't believe God exists, and nothing I experience changes that, then that original belief (or lack thereof) is reinforced.  If I start with a belief in God, and things happen consistent with that belief, it is also reinforced.  This continues until something significant shifts or upsets that paradigm, and those beliefs or positions are shaken up and we're forced to re-evaluate.

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Although - interestingly - you say that it is only "usually" confirmed, which seems to imply that sometimes you get this feeling that a message comes from your god, which later proves NOT to have been.  If you are unable to reliably determine at the time of the feeling whether the feeling is a message from god or not, what basis can you have for ascribing ANY of them to your god?  As the expression goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day!  To paraphrase, it appears you are saying that:

"Sometimes I have feelings about things.  Sometimes those feelings prove correct, sometimes not.  I therefore choose to believe that the feelings that prove to be correct are communications from god, despite there being no difference at the time between feelings later proved true, and those that are not."

I think (read: I don't fully understand)...oops, going to have to cut this thought short, but I will return later.  If Brakeman hasn't responded, I will pickup here.  Unfortunately, time is not on my side and I have to take care of an important issue.  Have a good afternoon :)

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2012, 05:27:40 PM »
..  That was the first time I heard God, and really listened, but it certainly is not the last. 

..
 The truth is, my relationship with God is not logical, practical, sensible or rational.  It is to me, now, but I understand it will not be to the one outside looking in.  It has come from a lifetime of experiences with the God I now serve in a way I never could while growing up.


Correct me if I'm off base, but it seems that you continue to use the words "heard" and "listened" metaphorically, since you don't mention ever hearing a voice. Could you try to avoid the metaphor and be a precise as possible, since I want to understand you and need the extra clarity.

Other christians of today will steadfastly state that god speaks to them as clearly in voice as you or I could. Again, the bible is replete with examples of god speaking clearly to mortals, yet I don't think you've explained why he doesn't speak this way to you? Using Saul /Paul as an example, do you not think that his story would have lost a lot of directness if god had simply planted suggestions in Saul's head and given him feelings of peace? Where did christians get the idea that mental telepathy is the new method of god's interface with man?
There is an easy "No-God" explanation, but assuming god were real, why would he perform such an abrupt communication change without foretelling of the change? If you had a friend call you every day on the phone for years but suddenly he took to messages by post without signing his name, wouldn't you take that as odd?
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Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2012, 08:16:27 PM »
Correct me if I'm off base, but it seems that you continue to use the words "heard" and "listened" metaphorically, since you don't mention ever hearing a voice. Could you try to avoid the metaphor and be a precise as possible, since I want to understand you and need the extra clarity.

Other christians of today will steadfastly state that god speaks to them as clearly in voice as you or I could. Again, the bible is replete with examples of god speaking clearly to mortals, yet I don't think you've explained why he doesn't speak this way to you? Using Saul /Paul as an example, do you not think that his story would have lost a lot of directness if god had simply planted suggestions in Saul's head and given him feelings of peace? Where did christians get the idea that mental telepathy is the new method of god's interface with man?

Well, let's discuss.  We see many instances both of God speaking audibly, and of God conversing with men in visions, dreams, through the Holy Spirit, etc.  I have had the sensation of hearing such a strong voice, it was as if it were audible, so I understand what many other Christians the world over also testify to having experienced.  And, I've learned to recognize that voice.  Yet, is it audible? Meaning, is it heard directly through the auditory canal and the ears?  No, not for me.  But it is often just as clear as if it were.  Would others sitting next to me hear it?  I believe not, as it appears to be God speaking very directly and inwardly. 

I don't think it is anything "new" that God is doing, I think it is remarkably consistent with how we see God move.  Something else to consider is that we see but a few instances in the Bible where God is shown to audibly speak to a man, especially within the context of thousands of years of written history.  God with Moses, Jesus with Paul, even an angel with Daniel, you get the idea.  So few, in fact, that it seems it would be silly to suggest this is God's primary mechanism to speak to mankind.  That doesn't seem consistent at all with what we see in the Bible, it just isn't there. 

But, we are assured that He speaks in many ways, and that He sends the comforter (The Holy Spirit) who leads us into all truth, who guides us, and who I believe is the primary vehicle by which God speaks to man.  In fact, I believe this was one of the reasons Jesus was so concerned with the ministry of the Holy Spirit after He left.  The Bible speaks of man being a temple and a dwelling of the Holy Spirit.  And it talks in detail about being "led" by the Holy Spirit.  It even speaks of the Holy Spirit audibly speaking through us, such as in prophecy or a word of knowledge that could never be known unless revealed by God.  This is a very "audible" means by which God speaks to and through people. 

All of this implies some sort of perceptible communication, and we see this manifested in numerous ways in the New Testament.  So, if we are "led" by the Spirit, then we must be being communicated with.  and I believe that voice is very clear, even though it is not necessarily "audible" for all around us to hear (although it can be).  On a related level, have you ever "voiced" your thoughts in your mind without speaking them?  Surely you can relate "hearing" the voice of your own thoughts even though you didn't utter a word verbally.  The mind is a remarkable mechanism capable of communicating many things with or without an auditory component.  What about the person who is deaf?  Even though they can't "hear" are they any less capable of experiencing communication with others (auditory, yes, but they still communicate!)?  What about "hearing" the voice of their own thoughts?  Can they not do that?  I think they can.  What about those deaf who learn to speak, isn't that a remarkable example of communication?  I just think your putting some pretty severe limits on how you perceive God communicates when we don't really see that many examples of God speaking to everyone in scripture.  Even with Moses or the prophets, we don't see God holding an open "forum" where He consistently speaks audibly to all the people corporately, or even one-on-one for that matter.  Just something to consider...

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There is an easy "No-God" explanation, but assuming god were real, why would he perform such an abrupt communication change without foretelling of the change? If you had a friend call you every day on the phone for years but suddenly he took to messages by post without signing his name, wouldn't you take that as odd?

Again, I think you are taking what we actually "don't" see commonly in scripture, and making it seem as if it is the normal way God speaks to all humanity through the ages.  I just don't see that at all, but you're welcome to discuss it further if you think I'm wrong.   I didn't have time to preview or spell check as I am again running out the door.

Online LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2012, 09:21:14 PM »
bm
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2012, 09:33:46 PM »
Well, let's discuss.  We see many instances both of God speaking audibly, and of God conversing with men in visions, dreams, through the Holy Spirit, etc.
and
.. I think it is remarkably consistent with how we see God move.  Something else to consider is that we see but a few instances in the Bible where God is shown to audibly speak to a man, especially within the context of thousands of years of written history.  God with Moses, Jesus with Paul, even an angel with Daniel, you get the idea.  So few, in fact, that it seems it would be silly to suggest this is God's primary mechanism to speak to mankind.  That doesn't seem consistent at all with what we see in the Bible, it just isn't there.   

Your paragraphs don't sound very consistent here. Can you quote any scripture that describes the telepathic method that you converse with god?  I just started a list of searching in the bible for god speaking to people audibly and I've already got quite a list several pages long. Do you have a longer list of god speaking to people telepathicly especially without without distinct words?
But, we are assured that He speaks in many ways,
Who is the assurer? The writers of the bible that claimed that god spoke verbally to them, or the writers of the bible that god spoke telepathically to?

When god spake audible to the entire tribes of Israel, that was several hundred thousand people at one time, why didn't god send his message just to their minds?

I don't agree with you that the Telepathic method is historical mainstream. It doesn't seem to be as common as you claim in my readings of the bible.

.. It even speaks of the Holy Spirit audibly speaking through us, such as in prophecy or a word of knowledge that could never be known unless revealed by God.  This is a very "audible" means by which God speaks to and through people. 

Excellent, has god ever spoken through you? If so what did god say?


All of this implies some sort of perceptible communication

Yes, communication, the transmission of a distinct idea via a medium. If god really wished to tell you what school to go to, say Bethany College, why didn't god tell this to you directly? I mean it would really be more impressive if you had never heard of Bethany College from any source and he told you to go there, that way you would be sure that someone supernatural had given you the message and not just a name that you heard and decided to fixate on. Why is it that Christian "conversations" with god never have truly new information in them? Well a few I've seen claim to have personalized new information, but those same people don't seem stable enough to be reliable.

For instance, glance through this video on youtube,


Do you believe these men are telling the truth? Can you ask the holy spirit inside of you to give you knowledge whether the men in the video are honest christians or charlatans?
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Offline muchlove

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2012, 12:11:52 AM »
Your paragraphs don't sound very consistent here. Can you quote any scripture that describes the telepathic method that you converse with god?  I just started a list of searching in the bible for god speaking to people audibly and I've already got quite a list several pages long. Do you have a longer list of god speaking to people telepathicly especially without without distinct words?

Brakeman, first of all, I need to "retract" a word from our discussion.  I said it seems "silly to suggest" and that really isn't a very respectful way of speaking after reading back through my comments.  When in such a hurry, and without any proofreading, it is easy for me to make errors and/or use a poor choice of words from time to time. 

But, I'd like to address what I believe is an important thing here.  You seem to be implying that God speaking to someone internally somehow implies that it would be without distinct words.  Not so, at least not in my experience.  The examples we see in scripture, I think are also contrary to that assumption/assessment.  Starting in Genesis, we see Joseph given very distinct dreams relating to his future.  We also see the Joseph is given the ability to interpret dreams.  This is a common means by which God seems to speak to man as well, even from the early days of the old testament.  God is explicitly choosing in these instances to speak in a "non-audible" manner prophetically.  Daniel also interprets the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar.  We see Daniel as well as his friends pray, no mention of an "audible" voice from God, and then that night God reveals it to him in a vision.  In a few instances we see God's messenger (and angel) deliver a message as well, but again, very rare.  In the prophets, we don't always see an audible conversation going on between man and God, but again powerful visions. 

Surely we can agree that throughout the entirety of the Bible we see God speak audibly to a select few, usually a leader or prophet, and then that man would speak the words of God to the people.  We don't see a biblical precedent for God just interacting with all of mankind in regular, audible communication.  We just don't see that.  But, we do have the "promise" of the Holy Spirit, which I briefly mentioned, but which I think brings much of my position into focus, and perhaps explains, from a Christian perspective, the answer to your original question.  It is also the source of how I believe God speaks to most Christians.

When Jesus left, he spoke of the Holy Spirit, the comforter, being sent to dwell with and "in" us.  For the sake of brevity, I will abstain at the moment from quoting too much scripture, but we have the following examples you can look up if you're interested:

  • John 16:4-15
  • Acts 8:29
  • Acts 16:6-9
  • Acts 10
  • Acts 2
  • Revelation 1:9-20
  • Romans 8:12-20


The list goes on and on, but I wanted to give you a few selections that speak of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Paul deals so much with the ministry and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, of being "filled" of the Holy Spirit, of Him dwelling inside us and ministering to us and leading us.  Jesus speaks of this as well.  If we accept that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, and dwells in us, and leads us, and intercedes for us, why would we be surprised that He speaks to us just as Romans says as "Spirit to our spirit?"  Being "led" by the Spirit means we have a constant companion guiding us, leading us, speaking in and through us.  When the Spirit of God dwells in us, we have fellowship with Him, and He with us.  Rarely do we see the ministry of the Holy Spirit expressed or described as a necessarily "audible".  But if you are truly a "spirit-filled" believer, then it seems reasonable to assume that the presence of God in your life is expressed and manifested in many different ways, just as it is in scripture. 

But does God still speak audibly?  My answer is, He still does.  Although, I believe, just as with Paul, that it is a rare occurrence.  Paul, for example, was not a Spirit-filled believer of Christ on the road to Damascus, in fact, he was persecuting the church.  Could God have spoken to Paul in any way possible?  Sure, if He really is God, then He can do anything.  We see his companions here the voice too, so clearly this is some sort of audible encounter.  But again, this isn't the Holy Spirit in Paul, this is clearly an encounter with Jesus, whom He is persecuting.  Perhaps, when Jesus speaks to man, he prefers audibly...we just don't know :)

But when the Holy Spirit speaks, since He dwells in the believer, it makes sense that it is often in dreams, or visions, or direct communication, or ____?  If God dwells inside a believer, intercedes for a believer, guides them, leads them into righteousness...why would something that is "inside" need to communicate from the "outside"?  Does that make sense?  Before the Holy Spirit was sent to the world, he didn't necessarily dwell in men.  In the OT we see a few examples of him coming "upon" a man or prophet at specific points in time, but nowhere are we told this is common until the time comes when Jesus leaves the earth.  So, to get back to your original question, is it entirely possible you didn't hear God speak to you because:

A) You were never filled with the Spirit?
B) You discounted his guidance as your own?
C) That you simply never learned to hear his voice because many Baptists don't teach about the Holy Spirit in depth?

Just a few questions to ponder... I know your answer is going to be that there is no Holy Spirit, but I still want you to understand the Biblical basis upon which I build some of the foundation for my theology that God speaks to us through the Spirit, and that the Spirit dwells in us as believers and that He, in turn, leads us and speaks to us, and intercedes for us.

But, we are assured that He speaks in many ways,
Who is the assurer? The writers of the bible that claimed that god spoke verbally to them, or the writers of the bible that god spoke telepathically to?
[/quote]

Yes, both.  As well as the agreement of the Holy Spirit and his work in our lives confirming and giving us the confidence to believe that we are indeed experiencing God and hearing his voice.

When god spake audible to the entire tribes of Israel, that was several hundred thousand people at one time, why didn't god send his message just to their minds?

Yet most of the time, when delivering his message to Israel, we still see Him speak to Moses or to a prophet, not to Israel.  But, to answer your question, the Israelites were not filled with the Holy Spirit, at least not to our knowledge, that came after, as discussed above.  That's why Jesus, when speaking to his disciples, refers to his need to leave so the Holy Spirit can come and begin his appointed ministry.  From that point on, we see believers being filled with the Spirit, just as Jesus described and promised, and what Paul preached to the churches.  The Holy Spirit has a very specific and "personal" ministry.

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I don't agree with you that the Telepathic method is historical mainstream. It doesn't seem to be as common as you claim in my readings of the bible.

I don't either, in the context of what I have described above.  But then again, I don't believe God spoke to many at all during those early years of history...audible or not.  The Holy Spirit is a gift to believers in Christ as we see in the New Testament AFTER Jesus leaves.

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Excellent, has god ever spoken through you? If so what did god say?

Yes.  We can discuss that later, but there is a lot here already to go over and chew on before we jump into more diverse discussion.  Although, I'm sure it is of some interest to you given your interest in my belief that God does indeed speak to us.

All of this implies some sort of perceptible communication

Yes, communication, the transmission of a distinct idea via a medium. If god really wished to tell you what school to go to, say Bethany College, why didn't god tell this to you directly? I mean it would really be more impressive if you had never heard of Bethany College from any source and he told you to go there, that way you would be sure that someone supernatural had given you the message and not just a name that you heard and decided to fixate on. Why is it that Christian "conversations" with god never have truly new information in them? Well a few I've seen claim to have personalized new information, but those same people don't seem stable enough to be reliable.
[/quote]

I believe He did tell it to me directly.  Why is it less impressive that a woman I don't know calls, and that turns out to be the catalyst that puts me on the trajectory for everything else that I believe God desired for my life?  Is it not impressive that perhaps God spoke to and through her?  I actually see it quite the opposite as you, I see it as a remarkable, and a very personal manner that God chooses to use us in others lives, and I believe that Darlene was as much an instrument of God as Him speaking to me directly.  I realize we see things differently, but I'm looking at it from hindsight while you're looking at from sensationalism.  I have grown to love the way God has used people, relationships, etc. to affect my life and vice versa.  I don't know why God chooses the mechanisms He chooses, but I have grown to appreciate them when I've had the opportunity to experience them in my own life, or through the lives of others.  And remember, it's not like this was the "trajectory" I was one.  Without the influence of the Holy Spirit, I don't believe I would have ever ended up at Bethany anyway, even in spite of the call.  It just didn't make sense to where "my" life was going, as much as it did His plan for my life.

And yes, as a side note, people by themselves are not stable enough to be reliable.  We see that CONSTANTLY in the scripture, and I believe men do mess things up to this day all the time.  Even with the Holy Spirit, we are still fallible and get things wrong from time to time.  Usually for the same reasons men failed throughout history - pride, adding to what God asked, subtracting from what God asked, self-seeking, etc.

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For instance, glance through this video on youtube,


Do you believe these men are telling the truth? Can you ask the holy spirit inside of you to give you knowledge whether the men in the video are honest christians or charlatans?

I haven't had a chance to review the video, but I can say that yes, often the Holy Spirit inside us does speak or give us knowledge and discernment.  I think most Christians can resonate with what I am saying.  I personally have had this happen, and I will share more with you as time allows and as we get done conversing about some of these other items.  Just trying to keep this thread manageable.  Even within the context of a single post, there can be multiple questions your asking me to address...

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2012, 06:06:47 AM »
The preconceived ideas we bring to the table actually shape our views about many things, including how we feel about God. 

Quite.  There was a time, way back when, when you had no conception of god.  From what you have said, it appears that at no stage have you learned (through experience or through teachings) anything that altered the conceptions you previously had.  Is that correct, or have you ever thought "X" about your god, which you later discovered was wrong?

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Although - interestingly - you say that it is only "usually" confirmed, which seems to imply that sometimes you get this feeling that a message comes from your god, which later proves NOT to have been.  If you are unable to reliably determine at the time of the feeling whether the feeling is a message from god or not, what basis can you have for ascribing ANY of them to your god?  As the expression goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day!  To paraphrase, it appears you are saying that:

"Sometimes I have feelings about things.  Sometimes those feelings prove correct, sometimes not.  I therefore choose to believe that the feelings that prove to be correct are communications from god, despite there being no difference at the time between feelings later proved true, and those that are not."

I think (read: I don't fully understand)...[/quote]

No worries.  Basically, it is the "usually confirmed" that I am interested in, given what we have been saying about confirmation bias. 

You get feelings that god is helping you.  At the time, you are convinced that this is the case - that it is really your god.  Later, sometimes events seem to confirm the feeling was correct, sometimes that the feeling was incorrect. 

It appears that when the feeling "proves" correct, you take that as evidence that it was your god helping you.  When the feeling proves INcorrect, you ascibe that to you being mistaken - in other words, no matter what the outcome, there is no way that you would ever accept a falsification of the prior belief - no way you would think "I was convinced that was god, but events showed it couldn't have been, therefore there was no god". 

No matter what the result, no matter how events transpire, there is no way you can accept your original belief could be wrong.  That is the point I am making, bsed on your "usually correct" line.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2012, 06:46:50 AM »

Surely we can agree that throughout the entirety of the Bible we see God speak audibly to a select few, usually a leader or prophet, and then that man would speak the words of God to the people.  We don't see a biblical precedent for God just interacting with all of mankind in regular, audible communication.
No, we don't agree on this point, and I don't think you've objectively appraised the actual words of the bible to judge that. Sure god didn't speak to everybody in the bible as far as is recorded, but of the number of times he did convey a direct message, he did it almost if not a 100% of the time. His voice was heard by nearly a half of a million people according to the bible, more if you count jesus' speech. That absolutely dwarfs statistically the number of telepathic communications.

Furthermore, you seem to have co-opted the holy spirit as a being that only "talks-in-your-head" that is not the normal nor probably the intentional description of a spirit or a ghost. They were then believed to be an apparition, with fade in fade out ghostly form like "Casper the friendly ghost," and we know he spoke verbally.

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Offline Brakeman

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2012, 06:01:36 AM »
While I don't agree that telepathic communication is the norm in the bible, we can agree to disagree on that point. Another key point in this discussion is the difference between our mind and our "soul."
Can you describe your soul? when god speaks to you does he speak to your mind or your soul or both? Where does the soul reside and how is it different that the mind? I'd love to know these answers.
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: Muchlove's and Brakeman's discussion thread - TAG Team only please
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2012, 06:05:28 AM »
Do you think Satan also speaks telepathically, to people, to you?
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