Friday, May 11, 2007

Confessions of an empiricist III

My empirical streak runs to religion too, for some of the major turning points in my life toward God have come as personal experiences.

Foremost among them, after high school I spent five months bumming around Europe. I spent most of the time by myself, but at one point, about four months in, I perceived God to be present. Wow, was I surprised. I certainly was not looking for Him, nor was I particularly thinking about Him. Have you ever heard noises in the background that don't come fully to your attention and then, in a flash, realize that someone is making those noises? That's what happened to me here, and at some level that has never left.

I've had other, inexplicable things happen regarding religion that maybe some day I'll post about, but, ultimately, my of how I understand God is based on experience rather than philosophy. I don't assume that this is a particularly good way to know God, or would I use it as proof to others that God exists. Still, the reality of it forms a foundation of how I function spiritually.

8 comments:

S.S.Stone said...

first of all, thank you for sharing that...and yes i've heard the "noises"(maybe i'll share that anther time)...i'd like to respond more to this post later on..rushing here right now...thanks for this post...just brings it all back home again.

S.S.Stone said...

another

Ben D. said...

Great post Brad. Thanks.

I love the philosophy, theology, apologetics, logic stuff--and I think that Christianity holds it own intellectually and I believe that theism is a warranted belief...

But for me personally, it is also about an undeniable experience of God. A couple times in my life God was simply there... and now that is a day-in and day-out experience.

I never presume to use that to convince others (since it isn't really my job to convince...) but it is pretty cool stuff.

BD

Ben said...

Great Post Thanks!! Paul had a lot of philosophy that suddenly got turned on its head when he got knocked off his horse. (Peter had to see a wacky dream.)

I for one would like to hear more. After my seminary degree, I had all the theory, but I had to sit out for a while. I somehow needed the voice to give me evidence of hope.

Brad Wright said...

I agree with both of you Bens... that philosophy/ intellectual stuff is important & Christianity holds its own with it, but that experiences do something that maybe can't be taught in class.

sarah said...

Hmmm...some of my more profound moments of "experiencing" God have come while deeply absorbed in what might qualify as intellectual activity. Not that I think that all of faith should be intellectual or philosophical, but I get a little bit wary when intellect and experience are pitted against one another. I think they're often united (e.g. Matthew 22:37). Surely no one here intended to do so, but I've heard/seen it done and it just doesn't ring true.

Ben said...

I hear you, Sarah. Anti-intellectual jargon bugs me too, so I hope I didn't sound too anti-intellectual in my previous comment. I've got three degrees in theology and I'm working on my fourth, so intellectualizing is my life. And some of my most profound "experiences" of God have also come in the midst of study or intellectual discussion. Still, I would say all reasoning is to some degree circular and the intellectual only takes you so far. I believe it takes some kind of divine intervention to make it meaningful. Whole, not either/or.

Of course I've probably said all kinds of things that Brad will have to repair, but hey . . . it's his blog and his problem.

Brad Wright said...

Three degrees in theology and working on a fourth?! Is that legal? Is that why you had to flee the country to Kenya?