posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 01:31 PM
I used to be an Atheist and still have quite a few friends in that circle of thought. Recently one of my friends left his atheist stance after this
correspondence. It is rather lengthy so please bear with me, as there is point to be made.
My original stance and position that I take when debating with Atheists, is that I have directly experienced myself as bodiless and non-local
consciousness and have experienced God as the source of Consciousness. I specifically leave all religious stances and belief systems behind (because I
find that many people have alot of mental/psychological baggage associated with these, which prevent them from further investigating), and solely use
the direct experience stance. Here's how it went:
Friend :If experience has any explanatory power on truth, then how do we distinguish between experiences? Since science and rational thought have
been demonstrated over and over to be the best way to find truth, that renders personal experience, useless.
Me: If there exist certain truths that transcend our modern collective version of science & rational thought, then they will remain unfounded. Yet
it is from your own personal subjective experience that u find personal experience useless in pursuit of truth paradoxically.
Friend: Yes, there are certain truths that transcend the knowledge we have now. We don't know everything, but we know more every day. And you're
right, it is by my experience that I find experience useless, but the evidence I have is the success of the scientific method and rational thought.
Me: U do understand that by your above statement, you are completely nullifying all of subjective human experience. By doing so, we can no longer
hold anything valid including rational thought, as that too, is within the confines of "experiencing rational thought". If by your experience, you
find experience useless, then by default your experience of "evidence" is also entirely useless.
Friend: Don't mischaracterize me. If you want to have a discussion on the rabbit hole problem of "if our experience dictates everything, how can
we hope to know what is true". It's always smart to stay away from absolutes. I'm not talking about subjective experience in the strictest
sense, but just personal experience. Especially personal experience that cannot be observed, tested, repeated, documented, etc.
Me: Im not saying that "our experience dictates everything". I am saying that all of us equally live within human experience and that itself is
scientifically valid, as nobody ever says that there is no such thing. And it is personal. Using rational thought to come to logical conclusions is
not the same as using intuition & awareness to experience an infinite beingness. If an experience or subject transcends rational thought, then how
will you approach said subject?
Friend: You'd have to demonstrate there exists an experience or subject that transcends rational thought, and further that it can't EVER be
known through rational thought. If ever I come across something that "transcends" rational thought, then I'd just say I don't know, and if someone
insists that they do, I'd ask them to demonstrate it in a way I can understand.
Me: Reality itself exists prior to & transcends rational thought. Sure we can take pieces of the whole, agree on labels, concepts, & write volumes
about them. However, something like nature has existed prior to us existing, and stands on its own devoid of thought. Yet we can both experience
nature and scrutinize it rationally. U can enjoy nature and be in the moment, knowing that moment, yet the moment transcends what you rationally think
Friend: I agree with you there. But personal experience should be able to withstand scrutiny. If the only way to know a certain truth is to
experience it, what do we do if some people don't experience the same way you do? Who are you to say that your experience trumps others?
Me: I am not saying that my experience of God trumps others. Others' not experiencing God is obviously commonplace and also valid. Just like in
science, we would have to be able to reproduce said experience. As a former atheist i had to test whether it can be reproduced in myself, it was,
hence i found it as credible. In turn i have brought others systematically to the experience, giving further credibility to said Beingness. What we do
from here on out leaves much to the imagination.
Friend: So can't I just say my experience is that of no God? Or I experience only the universe/my perception of reality, and nothing else?
Wouldn't I be just as justified in saying that as you are?
Me: Of course you can say that, but how do you know that the Universe & reality itself (prior to what anyone thinks of it) may actually be God?
Would you then still feel justified to say so? At the end of the day, we have those who say that they dont experience God, and those who say they do.
I have been in both, & now am of the latter. But realizing that an experience of God may be valid & considering everything we covered, can you still
continue to be an Atheist?
Friend: I can also turn it around on you. You're personal experience is telling me that my experience is telling you that personal experience
is useless. We can go on ad infinitum. So where does the line stop? The conundrum doesn't address the problem, assuming truth can be known, what is
the best method for obtaining it?
Me: We cant dismiss experience of something, if thats the only way something can be known. Your the one that initially said personal experience is
useless so there's no reason to go on ad infinitum. I cannot deny experience as it is the mode for everyone's reality. Sure we can trick
ourselves into beliefs and relative likes & dislikes. But in this situation, a God experience can be reproduced to someone who hasn't had it before &
the characteristics of it are surprisingly similar.
Friend: You haven't demonstrated why your experience trumps mine. The mere possibility of an experience being valid isn't enough for me to decide
on your version of God or anyone's. I operate in probabilities, and for me the probability is higher that a God doesn't exist, which is why I don't
Me: Its not about one experience trumping another, as that is based in duality, and the God Experience is Non-dual. Its like asking can an experience
of eating vanilla ice cream, trump the one eating chocolate. The difference is, I tested whether an experience can be had, and you didn't. The God
experience can be approached devoid of belief & w/ skepticism, but afterwards you walk away w/ no doubt about God's reality.
After this, he admitted that his idea of God was biased & loaded with baggage such as priests molesting children, religious wars, & his over all
dislike for organized religion.
However, he came to admit that I had made very crucial points to him & that he was now considering the possibility that God may exist, and what people
do in God's name may have nothing to do with God, and that if an experience of God is possible, then the only way to know for one's self would be to
experience God for one's self.
He's since taken up studies of mysticism, esotericism, meditation, going within, and nonduality. Through introspection and contemplating koans, he's
had his first glimpse of himself and reality as consciousness and has left his previous position of Atheist