I feel strange posting on this blog because while I am not a believer in the Christian God I am not a true atheist either. I consider myself spiritual because of the near death experience I had over 20 years ago. I am sort of in the middle. When I post on religious message boards, they don't like me because I don't believe in their doctrine. I usually get called something with the word satan or devil in it. Then when I post on atheist blogs they believe I am delusional or at least misguided. Such is the life of a spiritual person like myself. I have hope that maybe someday the two sides would at least tolerate each other, not necessary to become friends, but I do have friends on both sides of the debate. I still consider it a debate because I don't think anyone can prove the existence or non-existence of God. I know I can't.

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Tags: in, middle, spiritual, the

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on July 15, 2010 at 1:33pm
HI!
A few things.
1) I'm sorry for your trauma, but I'm glad you didn't die 20 years ago.
2) I promise I won't ever call you satan or devil. My vocabulary is much more colorful than that, if I feel you warrant such abuse. :)
3) The burden of proof falls on those claiming that god exists, not those denying it. I can't prove that there isn't a magical carpet fairy in my closet that's invisible....(eh, I'll spare you. I'm sure you've heard this argument before.)
4) I don't care what you believe or don't believe, as long as you don't use those beliefs as a basis for infringing upon my rights, or the rights of any other human being on this earth.
Don't believe in abortion? Don't have one. Don't believe in gay marriage? Don't marry someone of your gender. We cool on that?
5) Welcome to the community!
I don't care if you worship cockroaches as long as you conduct yourself as a contributing, respectful member of TA!
Hope to see you around!
Comment by Radu Andreiu on July 15, 2010 at 5:01pm
Hello there, and welcome to T|A. I completely understand where you're coming from when you say that not being on a particular side of a debate makes both sides consider that you are on the other side. That's because people find it easier to label others with simple words, like theist, atheist, pro-life, pro-choice and so on. However, no two people are alike, so their ideas aren't either.

Anyway, I would like to know what exactly your near-death experience made you believe and why. What did you experience 20 years ago and how did you interpret it?
Comment by Galen on July 15, 2010 at 6:46pm
I'm not sure what you think a "true atheist" is supposed to be. If I ask you directly "Do you believe in a god?" and your answer is "no" then you're an atheist. No need to ascribe to some doctrine or dogma. The "no" answer to that question is what makes someone an atheist. Period.

You say that you're spiritual because of an experience you had. Well, I suspect that does indeed make it hard. While Nelson (and others) dismiss personal experience, I can definitely see how such an experience would make it hard on you. I will simply give you a question (quoted from Christopher HItchens) for your consideration:

"Which is more likely: That the laws of nature have been suspended - and in your favor, no less - or that you are under a misapprehension?"

People calling you delusional aren't intending to be insulting. That's something you should understand. A delusion is simply a false belief, nothing more. Nobody is saying you're insane, we're saying that you're mistaken. Now, nobody likes to hear that they're mistaken and it's damn hard to accept that an experience you had wasn't real. I do feel for you. When I was younger, I felt the presence of God. Indeed, my personal experience told me God was real. The critical and measurable data contradicts with the personal experience I had (GREATLY!) and it would be silly of me to think that my own personal experience (which could easily be deluded) outweighs the mountains of evidence contradicting it.

Welcome to T|A, nonetheless. I hope you'll find some friends here. I, for one, would be fascinated to hear about your near-death experience and what you saw, felt, etc. If you feel like sharing it, I'd love to read it.
Comment by James on July 15, 2010 at 9:41pm
I can understand that personal experiences can be powerful and sometimes difficult to shake. Thing is though... they're personal. While it may have struck you a certain way, there's no guarantee that someone else will react the same. We may see the same movie or concert, and review them differently. A theist winning the lottery will likely credit God answering their prayers. An Atheist winning the lottery may simply state that they were lucky enough to beat the odds. I for one don't take someone's personal experience alone as evidence for or against a God. But being personal, isn't it really something for your own personal reflection alone? Take what you will from your experience. Obviously, I didn't experience it. So I can't tell you that your interpretation is wrong. I could suggest other potential causes, but that is it really. So theists like to wave around a personal experience as definitive proof of why they are right and we are wrong. But I don't feel that is your intention. Rather, you are simply explaining why you feel as you do. We can take it or leave it, and that is fine with you. I am happy that you survived your near death experience, and hope you enjoy the site. Oddly enough, we recently had another new member join up that had a near death experience. But in that case, it lead him away from religion.

Cheers!
Comment by Mario Rodgers on July 16, 2010 at 8:24pm
The existence of something should always be proven. Asking someone to prove something's non-existence is sheer lunacy.

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