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Spiritual Experiences


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Showing 1-25 of 94 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Jul 2012 14:21:44 BDT
G. Heron says:
As an atheist I don't claim to understand what theists mean by a spiritual experience so I thought it would be interesting for us all to compare notes about what we could call in the loosest of definitions, spiritual experiences.

To start the ball rolling I will give a couple of examples.

1. Sitting in Glasgow Royal Concert hall with tears running down my face listening to kd lang singing hallelujah.

2. Standing in my back garden looking at Jupiter through a pair of binoculars for the first time and seeing not just Jupiter but its moons and knowing that the first person to ever see that sight was Galileo.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 14:27:39 BDT
Jim Guest says:
Oh dear. Oh dear.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 14:36:17 BDT
G. Heron says:
Jim Guest
but he guest wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 14:37:23 BDT
I'd agree that those are emotional experiences, inspiring, satisfying, many other descriptions, but spiritual is such an ill-defined term that I don't know how it can be applied.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 14:39:13 BDT
Ask them in the cooking forum they might suggest a spatula or something.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 14:41:37 BDT
G. Heron says:
Sam,

I agree, that it is why I thought it might be interesting to compare experiences from atheists and theists to see what they have in common and how they differ.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 14:46:17 BDT
It's difficult to know, though, what experiences to contribute. If they are along the same lines as you've posted, then aren't we just assuming our conclusion? These experiences are spiritual because we've defined them as spiritual.

Should the experiences always be positive ones? Can hardship and suffering be spiritual?

Posted on 2 Jul 2012 14:48:45 BDT
I don't think theists have to have had a spiritual experience at all.

Posted on 2 Jul 2012 14:51:48 BDT
Thank God you told me!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 14:52:20 BDT
G. Heron says:
Sam

I think people should contribute whatever experiences they consider spiritual and then we will see how different people apply the term. As for suffering all I can only say is that I have never had a spiritual experience that included physical suffering, however in the experience I quoted of hearing kd lang it was the emotional suffering in the lyrics of the song that kd expressed so wonderfully that made the experience spiritual for me.

Posted on 2 Jul 2012 15:06:03 BDT
Usually I love K.D. Lang, but I prefer Alexandra Burke singing that song - she sings it like and angel.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:10:33 BDT
G. Heron says:
C.E. Statham

Have you heard kd sing it live?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:11:49 BDT
Couldn't disagree more. While the song Hallelujah is somewhat overused now, Leonard Cohen's is the best. I found Burke's a little weak and unconvincing.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:12:31 BDT
Fair enough. We'll see what people come up with.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:18:42 BDT
I haven't heard of K D Singit is he/she an American artist ?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:23:22 BDT
Spin says:
G; I think your examples concern the phenomena of "being touched" rather than that of "spirituality" ie: an aesthetic appreciation rather than a religious one. A spiritual experience is devoid of materialistic input. It is such that it alters ones experiences, but is not based on them. To be sure, common parlance employs the term "spiritual experience" to define even the most mundane, (from meeting a celebrity to discovering a new species) but in essence, a true spiritual experience is incommunicable. At least thats what God tells me....=)

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:26:19 BDT
I've just listened on Youtube. Haven't the words got two Biblical stories mixed up though? They talk about David (and Bathsheba), but then there's the bit about cutting his hair, which would be Sampson and Delilah.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:26:43 BDT
I'm sure you're right.

Posted on 2 Jul 2012 15:27:44 BDT
Jim Guest says:
A spiritual experience often deliberately confused with an aesthetic one. For instance, people emerge from cathedrals, or even caves, saying, and perhaps actually supposing, that they have had a spiritual experience, whereas all that has been affected are their physical senses, usually visual and auditory, though temperature, humidity and chemistry may also be involved. The effect tends to wear off, in most cases. All humans who have normal responses and affections are susceptible to aesthetic experiences. These can confuse the young, and growing up is partly the process of sorting the genuine from the specious.

Whether k.d. lang is capable of stimulating either an aesthetic or spiritual experience is one question. It is definitely a question, though. Gazing at the night sky, with or without optical assistance, is not a question, because it is on record as having long been a source of spiritual experience for humanity.

Even before the size of the universe was known, men looked up and saw something very big, that they could not explain, that they did not make, could not make. This phenomenon was added to other natural, but earthbound phenomena. Together, they helped to form the impression that a creator had created not only the cosmos, but also themselves in it. A spiritual experience, that, before Jesus, went pretty well undoubted.

In this case, though, such a thought is discarded, and reference made instead to a scientist, Galileo, which reference is presumably intended to give escapist readers here a warm feeling that science conquers all.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:27:54 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
Jeff Buckley for me.

Posted on 2 Jul 2012 15:30:43 BDT
Did you know Leonard Cohen was a pro boxer before he became a singer songwriter he was known by the nickname K O Cohen.

Posted on 2 Jul 2012 15:33:57 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
I don't think I've ever experienced anything I'd describe as 'spiritual'.

I've had very emotional experiences, both in reality and caused by fiction (The Green Mile affected me ridiculously - I actually sobbed through about half that film (although please bear in mind that I do cry easily at films!)). Music often affects me physically, with hairs standing up etc (often happens with Paganini Concerto No.2 in B Minor). I do experience awe and joy in the world (seeing the Milky Way for the first time in NZ, all splashed across the sky, for awe - high winds often makes me feel exhilaration and joy).

I just wouldn't call any of that spiritual.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:37:23 BDT
Jim Guest says:
One of them, you would.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:39:47 BDT
G. Heron says:
Spin

"G; I think your examples concern the phenomena of "being touched" rather than that of "spirituality" ie: an aesthetic appreciation rather than a religious one"

You could well be right, I certainly don't claim to have had an experience of god.

"A spiritual experience is devoid of materialistic input. "

Is it possible that a spiritual experience is devoid of external materialistic input but does involve internal materialistic input, that is, could it be a product of the brain? I am sure I have heard about experiments which tried to induce spiritual experience in people using electrical impulses and magnetic fields, I can't remember if they had any success but I shall try and find out.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 15:49:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jul 2012 15:49:54 BDT
G. Heron says:
Jim Guest

"Even before the size of the universe was known, men looked up and saw something very big, that they could not explain, that they did not make, could not make. This phenomenon was added to other natural, but earthbound phenomena. Together, they helped to form the impression that a creator had created not only the cosmos, but also themselves in it. A spiritual experience, that, before Jesus, went pretty well undoubted."

The best view i have ever had of the night sky was when I was on the Isle of Lewis. Looking at the amazing array of stars I felt it was amazing that I was part of this vast universe and that through me the universe was in part aware of its own existence. I had no impression of a creator.

" In this case, though, such a thought is discarded, and reference made instead to a scientist, Galileo, which reference is presumably intended to give escapist readers here a warm feeling that science conquers all."

The reference to Galileo was as I have said because he was the first human to see the moons of Jupiter and it was one of the great discoveries since it helped break down the geocentric view of the universe. Knowing that I was now seeing what he had seen was amazing, it was like the centuries between us disappeared.
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  16
Total posts:  94
Initial post:  2 Jul 2012
Latest post:  4 Jul 2012

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