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Featured Can a Religious Experience of a God Produce Certain Knowledge of That God?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    In your beloved and honorable opinion, are there any reasonable grounds for asserting that any knowledge of deity imparted during a religious experience[1] is certain to be true knowledge of deity?


    For example: Let us suppose, you and I, that one day you were hiking in the mountains when suddenly your most favorite god in the whole big, wide world spoke to you in a booming voice, saying "Go now to the peoples of the earth and proclaim to them, 'The Lord your God has spoken to you, and She is an atheist who practices Tibetan Buddhism'."

    If something along those lines actually happened, would you have reasonable grounds to conclude that it was certain your god was an atheist and Tibetan Buddhist?


    As for myself, I think the answer is that you can NOT be certain that anything you learn during a religious experience is true knowledge of deity. I think there are several reasons why that is so, but one of those reasons is this: You are somewhat in the same epistemological relationship to the deity that you are experiencing as you are in to a photon that you are experiencing.

    You do not experience the photon as it really is: That is, as a photon. Instead, you experience the photon as light. In the same way, it is possible when having an experience of your favorite god that you do not experience the god as he or she really is (which we will call here "X"). Instead, you experience them as "God".

    Put a little differently, just as a photon does not have a color, but instead color is only a property of our experience of a photon, X might not be an atheist who practices Tibetan Buddhism, but instead our experience of X as an atheist who practices Tibetan Buddhism might only be a property of our experience of God.

    Thus, one cannot be certain that a religious experience imparts true knowledge of deity.


    EDIT: This argument is further laid out in post #30 in this thread.

    EDIT: Anyone genuinely interested in this argument should take a look @scott C's posts #24, #35, and #58, and my post #66. Scott C raises an important point (An omnipotent deity could theoretically create a state of affairs in which it imparted true justified belief [knowledge] about itself to someone) that I believe qualifies and informs my argument, but does not refute it.






    [1] A religious experience is not to be conflated with a mystical experience. A religious experience is distinct from a mystical experience in several ways, not the least of which is that a religious experience is an experience of something that's of a religious origin or nature. For instanc e, Jesus Christ is a deity according to the Christian religion. Therefore, to have an experience of Jesus Christ as a god is to have a religious experience.
     
    #1 Sunstone, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
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  2. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    If by "true" you mean factual, something indisputably to be the case, then No.

    .
     
  3. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    Not one experience on its own; which is why we have multiple religious texts to corroborate that it has the same statements as others had...

    Then we can use a scientific method of analysis to verify logically what happened...

    Where we can weigh up all the collected data, to use probabilities for the most logical understanding available to us.

    Like even after having many experiences, including seeing God in my NDE; still have a great faith i do not know, as there is always more that we can understand.

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
  4. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    It can produce certainty in the individual.

    We have to rely on the reality that we personally experience. Maybe what some folks don't realize is how real these experiences are.

    How does one come to question the reality of what they've experienced for themselves?

    I don't know. I'm an engineer, validation is a necessary part of my job. I tried to validate my "experiences" and found I honestly couldn't. Doubt of what is claimed to be true came to be part of my nature.
     
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  5. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    If it is an authentic experience, then yes. But your example I would dismiss as a false experience.

    Even there, an "experience" is not "realization" and thus the limited human mind can only grasp small piece of the reality (see the "Three Pillars of Zen" excerpt from the earlier thread to get a glimpse of what I'm referring to here).
     
  6. InChrist

    InChrist Free4ever

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    While a religious/spiritual experience may feel good and be real, I don't think this is enough to prove truth or the reality of God.
     
  7. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I'm going with "NO." Humans are just little beings in a big, wide universe...or so it appears...

    And so far, I haven't seen any proof that we aren't...I've seen some evidence, and some arguments, but nothing to prove we aren't really just computer programs in a matrix, or brains in a vat...

    And in fact, I don't think, based on what I've seen and understand, there is any way for humans to EVER truly know...
     
  8. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    I have an issue with - Seek and ye shall find - where this is likely to result in confirmation bias, such that those who are looking for a religious experience might see it in some way in all manner of things. Whilst the rest of us - not seekers after God, but perhaps seekers after knowledge and/or any truths - just do not get to have such experiences. I wonder why. I simply can't believe that any sort of creative power/god/whatever would actually do this. It just makes no sense (to me) at all. :(
     
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  9. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Active Member

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    Most of my spiritual experiences could just be the result of the brain. But there are a few that transcend that and show me that what I believe is true. A religious experience can mislead, though.
     
  10. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion, zilch. The only true knowledge of the deity comes through Messengers of God that establish religions God does not speak directly to anyone else. God does not even speak directly to the Messengers, God speaks to them through the Holy Spirit.

    That said, it is possible that God gives people a sign the He exists but that can in no manner shape or form be construed as ”true knowledge of the deity.”

    “Immeasurably exalted is He above the strivings of human mind to grasp His Essence, or of human tongue to describe His mystery. No tie of direct intercourse can ever bind Him to the things He hath created, nor can the most abstruse and most remote allusions of His creatures do justice to His being. Through His world-pervading Will He hath brought into being all created things. He is and hath ever been veiled in the ancient eternity of His own exalted and indivisible Essence,and will everlastingly continue to remain concealed in His inaccessible majesty and glory. All that is in heaven and all that is in the earth have come to exist at His bidding, and by His Will all have stepped out of utter nothingness into the realm of being. How can, therefore, the creature which the Word of God hath fashioned comprehend the nature of Him Who is the Ancient of Days?”
    Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 317-318


    No matter how much we might want Him to be, God is not our associate. God is far too exalted to be anyone’s associate. We are not in God’s family since God has no family; God is one and alone,without peer or equal, self-subsisting. :D

    In my beliefs…
     
  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    I agree that is possible, even probably, and that is why religious experiences cannot be trusted to be proof of God’s existence. That is what we need to look at all available evidence, do research, IF we are interested in Truth.
    Don’t feel bad, I never had any such experiences wherein I believed that God was communicating to me. :( Some but not all of these people think they are special or chosen in some way although some of them pretend to be humble. :confused: I guess it is not really haughty if they really believe that God communicates to them. However, I have to believe that is a delusion, since I believe that God does not communicate to anyone except His chosen Messengers.

    What is humble about claiming that the Almighty God who created the universe talks to you on a regular basis? It is not that I am jealous, not at all, but rather I feel sorry for these people because often they believe that they do not need to look any further for God… They then miss what God does have to say.

    Dontcha worry… God does not play favorites, except when He chooses Messengers to receive His message and carry it to humanity. :D And why shouldn’t God choose them? After all He is God, and God has all knowledge and all power so He knows what He is doing and has all power to do it.

    This is one of those things I am outspoken about although I try to be courteous if I am addressing anyone in particular. :)
     
  12. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    One may be totally convinced that they know, but in reality all they have is an unshakable belief. We can see examples of this of people that believe strongly in totally different gods. And these people will go so far as to engage in acts of martyrdom at times. What demonstrates that they do not know and only have belief is the fact that their "knowledge" is not transferable. True knowledge is both demonstrable and transferable.

    You will run into people that claim to "know" without a doubt. But their failures to demonstrate their so called knowledge tells us that they only have belief.
     
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  13. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    Might your op have it the wrong way around? The example has a directional flow from experience to knowledge. Could it be that our experiences are a function of what we think we know?

    I'm inclined to thinks that when we (re)construct our experiences we are always trying to do something with them. I'm not sure that there is an essence to recalled experience. I'm not sure that it even offers an afterglow.
     
  14. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Can I record the voice in my cell phone?
     
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  15. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    How does one distinguish between certainty and delusion?
     
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  16. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Why not?

    Would you answer "NO" for the 'religious' and "YES" for the 'mystical' experience?
     
  17. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    Great. How do we go about doing such research - in an unbiased fashion?

    I never have felt bad. Religious beliefs just don't affect me. I am more interested in all the real problems that humans have without dealing with the imaginary ones. :D

    Nice for the messengers no doubt - but for the rest, they have to either believe they are true messengers or just charlatans and/or are just misguided. And who can tell when time effectively separates us from such individuals. :rolleyes:

    A bit tough though when one voice seems to contradict others. Why on earth are there so many different faiths if God was the one talking to each, or does God just love inter-faith friction - as in our past history - or is God just a bit careless and/or not bothered?

    Well it's nice to know that God works in mysterious ways so as to inform the believers as to the purpose of creation. Shame the message seems to have initiated so many faiths, and to cause such disagreement as to what the message really is. :D

    PS I try to be courteous all the time but I am often a sinner. :rolleyes: I do have a conscience too, which usually gets the better of me most of the time. That's when I usually endeavour to do better - next year.
     
    #17 Mock Turtle, Mar 9, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
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  18. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    By finding an objective way to test one's beliefs.
     
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  19. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    To me, that's a fascinating question, especially in the context of religious and mystical experiences. I confess though I do not myself have any assured answer to the question.
     
  20. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I'm not sure any such test is available or ever will be. At least, any such test that would prove conclusive. Perhaps, you might get consilient results from several sources.
     
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