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Offline jammindude

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #105 on: May 24, 2012, 09:01:21 AM »
Suppose a person already has a belief in God. They pray for something. The prayer gets answered. Either (1) it was a coincidence, or (2) God made it happen. Because that person already has a belief in God, (2) is a viable option. Given their conception of God, it's reasonable to attribute the answered prayer to God.

Now your doubling down with the post hoc fallacy .



I'm very aware that correlation does not mean causation....and I'm often very skeptical of such things.   But some things are just *FAR* beyond simple correlation.

My personal experience.

I was at a point in my life where the more research I did into The Bible (as well as all arguments for and against from several outside sources) the more it was aggravating me that The Bible DID, in fact, have all the answers.   I was convinced that the Bible was truth.    But I really didn't want to take the next step.   I hated religion with every fiber of my being and I didn't want to make any move toward being a "suit and tie guy".     Everyone I knew who was following Bible principles were people I just could not relate to at all.   They didn't swear, smoke, drank only in moderation, were always peaceable, always loving.   I was an unstable long hair, heavy metal maniac who didn't even own a suit. 

I prayed ALL night to a God I knew must exist.  "Please, I cannot relate at all to these people.  But I know that that is the direction I need to go in.  I'm just too far away from that right now.   I need someone on my level...someone I can relate to.  Someone who is where I am at, and we're going in the same direction.  It would mean so much to me because it would make me feel like I had someone who has been where I have been so that we can relate to each other along the journey of cleaning up our lives."   

The next day, I arrived at a special Bible assembly and went to the back cafeteria so I wouldn't have to interact with anyone and sat down at a table to wait until the service started.   The cafeteria was mostly empty...but a man I never met walked up to me and introduced himself.   He said he and his family had just moved into the area from Maine...   He then introduces me to his son.   His son is my age, the lead singer of a heavy metal band (so was I), trying to get off drugs and smoking (so was I), had never been religious but had recently done some research and was thinking about turning his life around (as was I), was skeptical (so was I)....and of the dozens of congregations in the local area, their whole family just happens to have recently been assigned to the congregation I had just recently become associated with.  We became friends, and I started progressing rapidly. 

You may call that "reading too much into it" or "correlation does not equal causation"...but to me, everything added up to more than just correlation.   It was more than *JUST* "B happened after A, therefore A must have caused B."    I believe that God answered my prayer...right down to the minute detail. 

But we may have to agree to disagree once again.   I can only testify as to what happened to me, and what I believe to be true.   
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Offline tofee35

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #106 on: May 24, 2012, 09:17:05 AM »
But we may have to agree to disagree once again.   I can only testify as to what happened to me, and what I believe to be true.  

I love the story! That last line is very true. Sometimes people have to realize that it all comes down to what you have faith in. The faith can come from a religion or it can come from the latest scientific theory. It's all about what individuals believe to be true to have meaning in their lives.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #107 on: May 24, 2012, 09:42:21 AM »
How many people pray for the same thing, and nothing happens?

Were gonna have to disagree. I can think of several factors that influenced that outcome, which aren't supernatural.

Offline jammindude

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #108 on: May 24, 2012, 09:54:23 AM »
How many people pray for the same thing, and nothing happens?

Were gonna have to disagree. I can think of several factors that influenced that outcome, which aren't supernatural.

And that's fine.  But I want to clarify on this point...   I can't just snap my fingers and God answers my prayer.   He always hears me, but he always knows the best time to act, or not act.   To pretend that God is obligated to answer my every request would be to imply that God is MY servant....not vice versa. 

Also...I cannot speak for every case.  But the Bible does say that God *DOES NOT* answer all prayers.   He *HEARS* all the prayers of honest hearted ones.   Who is honest in their heart and who is not?  That's not for me to judge.  Only God can judge hearts.    But even when he does hear a prayer, we are sometimes asking for something that is not in our own best interests.    My core belief is that God has something that humans lack...*ABSOLUTE PERSPECTIVE*.   Therefore he always acts in the right way, and at the right time.

EDIT: Additionally...he has not answered *ALL* of my prayers....and often, that's been for the best.   Later perspective (there's that word again) makes me realize that getting what *I* thought I needed, would have not really been what I needed.   
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #109 on: May 24, 2012, 10:02:31 AM »
And with the above explanation, you cant possibly be wrong. Every possible result is given a justification. Ones heart isn't pure enough. God just didn't want to act. There's no way to falsify the proposal.

And no, that doesn't make it true. Solipsism is logically irrefutable as well. Falsifiability is a hallmark of science, and we all know what science can do.



Offline jammindude

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #110 on: May 24, 2012, 08:44:58 PM »
But we're talking about *A PERSON*...  Yes, God is *A PERSON*.   

When you inject an individuals free will and power to decide, you cannot possibly predict with unfailing inerrancy (is that a word?) whether a person will respond or not respond to any given situation.   If you know them *really well*, you can get a pretty good idea based on patterns...but there is still no *EXACT* science to human behavior (which, even in its flawed state, is originally based on God's own traits....so no, I'm not saying God is human.)

It's like saying that just because I don't know every play that the Seahawks are going to run next year, they won't play at all.    Even if a hypothetical perfect team were to execute every play perfectly and win every game by a massive shutout, and never make a single mistake all season...I still would not know what they were going to do from play to play....only that the team does, in fact, exist, that they are playing football, and that they would win.
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Offline theseoafs

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #111 on: May 24, 2012, 09:08:05 PM »
^I don't understand how this post refutes Scheavo's most recent post, which made the (very true) point that the question of Christian prayer is fashioned in such a way as to be unfalsifiable -- which doesn't provide any evidence for the Christian faith.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #112 on: May 24, 2012, 09:42:50 PM »
But we're talking about *A PERSON*...  Yes, God is *A PERSON*.   

When you inject an individuals free will and power to decide, you cannot possibly predict with unfailing inerrancy (is that a word?) whether a person will respond or not respond to any given situation.   If you know them *really well*, you can get a pretty good idea based on patterns...but there is still no *EXACT* science to human behavior (which, even in its flawed state, is originally based on God's own traits....so no, I'm not saying God is human.)

It's like saying that just because I don't know every play that the Seahawks are going to run next year, they won't play at all.    Even if a hypothetical perfect team were to execute every play perfectly and win every game by a massive shutout, and never make a single mistake all season...I still would not know what they were going to do from play to play....only that the team does, in fact, exist, that they are playing football, and that they would win.

Or, God doesn't exist, and that's why there isnt any consistancy.

I would also say humans are much more predictable than you're implying, and if God is God, he wouldnt be marred by the imperfections which is usually the cause for human inconsistency. 

And what theseoafs said.

Quote
The next day, I arrived at a special Bible assembly and went to the back cafeteria so I wouldn't have to interact with anyone and sat down at a table to wait until the service started.   The cafeteria was mostly empty...but a man I never met walked up to me and introduced himself.   He said he and his family had just moved into the area from Maine...   He then introduces me to his son.   His son is my age, the lead singer of a heavy metal band (so was I), trying to get off drugs and smoking (so was I), had never been religious but had recently done some research and was thinking about turning his life around (as was I), was skeptical (so was I)....and of the dozens of congregations in the local area, their whole family just happens to have recently been assigned to the congregation I had just recently become associated with.  We became friends, and I started progressing rapidly.

1) You were at a Bible event, thus vastly increasing the chances of meeting someone with similar faith issues. If you were just minding your own business at the park, or something, would make this a little odder.

2) Looking like a singer of a metal group, which I assume you did, would have drawn the attention of the guys father, making him come up to talk to you. Add this with #1.

3) Most young people I know, especially those into heavy metal, are on drugs and smoke. Even outside this demographic, and youre still looking at a fairly common thing.

Was this in Seattle? Cause its a very large city, thus making all those things even that more likely.

And of course, now at least, youd say that if this didn't happen, it wouldn't mean anything.

Perhaps you are right, perhaps God is as you say, and works as you say - I'm not actually objecting to this right now - but it is illogical and irrational to claim that he does all of these things given your perspective, and what you have laid forth. You have shown correlation, but as science often shows, correlation does not equal causation. I could construe all sorts of silly conclusions with the logic you are using.

Offline jammindude

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #113 on: May 24, 2012, 11:26:09 PM »
^I don't understand how this post refutes Scheavo's most recent post, which made the (very true) point that the question of Christian prayer is fashioned in such a way as to be unfalsifiable -- which doesn't provide any evidence for the Christian faith.

This brings up an EXCELLENT point...which I feel the need to clarify further.    I don't think it could be understated that this experience was followed by careful research.   It was deep research into the arguments for and against that built my faith that there *IS* a God...that he has given us a guidebook to live our life by...and that he is loves people and wants to help those who honestly seek to serve him.    The answer to my prayer simply convinced me that God had heard my prayer and chosen to answer it.    That incident, by itself would have been a brief emotional moment...but it would have had no substance without the deep digging and searching that I did.   The second chapter of Proverbs puts it this way: "...if, moreover, you call out for understanding itself and you give forth your voice for discernment itself, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God."   So a very earnest seeking of knowledge is required, or any miraculous answering of a prayer would just be a flash in the pan...and emotional moment that is transitory.     My faith is not based solely on that experience.   My faith is based on knowledge.   I detest "blind faith"...it goes against everything the Bible teaches.
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Offline tofee35

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #114 on: May 25, 2012, 07:06:22 AM »

I can, maybe shed a little bit of a different perspective on this. To go back a few posts...

The saying "God works in mysterious ways" can be attributed to the perceivably bad or tragic things that happen on earth. For example, when a family member dies at a young age, there is, in reality a bigger picture or reason why that family member had to die. For example, when my mother died at the age of 50, I can't tell you how many things changed for the better despite her being an incredible influence on earth. Details aren't really necessary, just trust me, they did. My cousin died at the age of 39 a month after my mother.While there is obviously a lot of pain because she isn't here, the positive affects it has had are much more prevalent to so many people. Again, I could write an essay on the positive affects of these two great women's premature deaths.

That leads into God answering prayers. God is all knowing. He knows the consequences of an answered prayer. I've found that prayers always do get answered for me, although they aren't in the way or shape that I imagine they would be answered. Here's a really basic example. Say an 8 year old boy prays for a bicycle. Well, maybe, the way it would work is, a situation would arise for the kid to make a few bucks delivering papers. Maybe the local paper puts an ad in the paper and his father sees it. Now, not only does the kid have enough money to buy the bike himself, but through his answered prayer, now has learned how to work for what he gets.

Anyway, of course there are all kinds of reasons for any of these situations. That's why we have faith. We have faith in God, we have faith in ourselves, we have faith in our technology and sciences. With all of this faith, there should be little room to argue about it. We're all different and have faith in different things. It's good to debate about it, but in the end it just matters what you as a person believe in.

Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #115 on: May 25, 2012, 07:45:51 AM »
What you attribute to faith and God in those examples of bad things happening, I would call optimism; something that comes from within, and not something that happens for a grand reason.

What you attribute to God in the bike example, I would attribute to personal goals and achievements, and self improvement, again not something that has any measurable intervention from a higher power.

While I don't believe in God, I believe your post does show a positive point of religion, with the strength and hope it can give people to improve their lives and deal with difficult situations, but I find it all relates equally well to my own belief system which has no God in the equation at all, and I don't agree that a higher power fits into it.

I'm not trying to discount your points entirely, I just want to give a different perspective on a different perspective. :P
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Offline eric42434224

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #116 on: May 25, 2012, 09:13:36 AM »
Agreed.  Take god out of the equation, and there are 100% valid and reasonable explanations for everything described.
But if putting god in the equation helps you in areas like healing, etc, then more power to you.

I personally feel that by attributing explanations to an outside influence, you lose a certain amount of control.  If you take responsibility or take credit, for dealing with situations and such, I feel you learn how to be a stronger and more capable person.  The only skills you gain from attributing a tragedy/success/healing etc to a god, is the skill to do that same thing again.
Obviously not exactly true in all cases, but I have seen it many times.  The lessons that can be learned are sometimes missed, when attributing it to god.  JMO
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #117 on: May 25, 2012, 02:52:36 PM »
What you attribute to faith and God in those examples of bad things happening, I would call optimism; something that comes from within, and not something that happens for a grand reason.

What you attribute to God in the bike example, I would attribute to personal goals and achievements, and self improvement, again not something that has any measurable intervention from a higher power.

While I don't believe in God, I believe your post does show a positive point of religion, with the strength and hope it can give people to improve their lives and deal with difficult situations, but I find it all relates equally well to my own belief system which has no God in the equation at all, and I don't agree that a higher power fits into it.

I'm not trying to discount your points entirely, I just want to give a different perspective on a different perspective. :P
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #118 on: May 25, 2012, 03:00:33 PM »
^I don't understand how this post refutes Scheavo's most recent post, which made the (very true) point that the question of Christian prayer is fashioned in such a way as to be unfalsifiable -- which doesn't provide any evidence for the Christian faith.

This brings up an EXCELLENT point...which I feel the need to clarify further.    I don't think it could be understated that this experience was followed by careful research.   It was deep research into the arguments for and against that built my faith that there *IS* a God...that he has given us a guidebook to live our life by...and that he is loves people and wants to help those who honestly seek to serve him.    The answer to my prayer simply convinced me that God had heard my prayer and chosen to answer it.    That incident, by itself would have been a brief emotional moment...but it would have had no substance without the deep digging and searching that I did.   The second chapter of Proverbs puts it this way: "...if, moreover, you call out for understanding itself and you give forth your voice for discernment itself, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God."   So a very earnest seeking of knowledge is required, or any miraculous answering of a prayer would just be a flash in the pan...and emotional moment that is transitory.     My faith is not based solely on that experience.   My faith is based on knowledge.   I detest "blind faith"...it goes against everything the Bible teaches.

Your not responding to what I said, you just gave a huge non-sequitur.

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #119 on: May 26, 2012, 04:50:22 PM »
Suppose a person already has a belief in God. They pray for something. The prayer gets answered. Either (1) it was a coincidence, or (2) God made it happen. Because that person already has a belief in God, (2) is a viable option. Given their conception of God, it's reasonable to attribute the answered prayer to God.

I have to respond to this

This brings up the question, why would God help someone who doesn't have faith? He will, though, help you find the faith, the rest.is up to how much you really want it in your life. I've felt connections to something spiritual before, it may or may not be God, but it's a warm comforting feeling. Like dreaming of good things.

Also, a lot of "religions"(man,I hate that term) use prayer. Which helps me realize we are all one in the same, only we express our love differently. One time we all spoke and understood each other,then the tower.fell and he gave us different tongues
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #120 on: May 26, 2012, 06:14:59 PM »
Buddhists pray, but they don't have a God. For them its a matter of introspection.

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #121 on: May 26, 2012, 06:19:53 PM »
Buddhists pray, but they don't have a God. For them its a matter of introspection.

Buddah is their jesus though. Meaning they're real spiritual.

That's what i'm trying to get at, being spiritual isn't religious.
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Offline Adami

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #122 on: May 26, 2012, 06:22:52 PM »
Buddhists pray, but they don't have a God. For them its a matter of introspection.

Buddah is their jesus though. Meaning they're real spiritual.


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Offline theseoafs

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #123 on: May 26, 2012, 08:42:19 PM »
Buddhists pray, but they don't have a God. For them its a matter of introspection.

Buddah is their jesus though.
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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #124 on: May 27, 2012, 02:42:41 AM »
Hef is right on all things. Except for when I disagree with him. In which case he's probably still right.

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #125 on: May 29, 2012, 03:06:34 PM »
OK, listen to this and tell me what you think.

I was working my recovery program, and part of that is to take an honest and brutal look at my past, a dubious chore at best and harrowing and heartbreaking most of the time.  I was stuck, not willing to put my memories to paper.  Unrelated to this, I was looking for pics of the Sistine chapel to be clever here on DTF(something involving hef I'm sure) and searched 'god'.  In the middle of all these images of the sistine chapel was a cover of a book called "Can God Heal Me?'' or something like that. The author of the book had my name, freakiest shit ever. I finished my chore in the next two days after weeks of flaking on it. To me that was a personal encounter, God telling me to get off my ass and finish my talk, that the healing was at the end of it, and it was, I have been a different person since that moment.
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Offline theseoafs

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #126 on: May 29, 2012, 04:02:00 PM »
That's a pretty cool little coincidence. Was it your full name, by the by, or just your first/last?

But the thing is, that "encounter" was hardly unlikely. It's completely conceivable that a cover of a Christian book would pop up when you Googled the Sistine Chapel, and, statistically speaking, your name is probably pretty common. This happening is so likely and so readily explainable that it borders on the mundane.

I don't mean to devalue your spiritual experience -- if this helped you to complete your recovery program and has drastically improved your life in some way, more power to you. But you did ask for input and these were my first thoughts as I was reading.

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #127 on: May 30, 2012, 12:09:16 PM »
What you attribute to faith and God in those examples of bad things happening, I would call optimism; something that comes from within, and not something that happens for a grand reason.

What you attribute to God in the bike example, I would attribute to personal goals and achievements, and self improvement, again not something that has any measurable intervention from a higher power.

While I don't believe in God, I believe your post does show a positive point of religion, with the strength and hope it can give people to improve their lives and deal with difficult situations, but I find it all relates equally well to my own belief system which has no God in the equation at all, and I don't agree that a higher power fits into it.

I'm not trying to discount your points entirely, I just want to give a different perspective on a different perspective. :P

Oh ya, absolutely. That's what I'm talking about. Everybody's got their own perspective, and that's awesome. I think we all inspire each other because of our different beliefs too. It's great. My good friend is Buddhist and he's always recommending books and we're always inspiring each other to be better people even though our belief systems are different. It's just important to embrace different perspectives and not dismiss them.
Agreed.  Take god out of the equation, and there are 100% valid and reasonable explanations for everything described.
But if putting god in the equation helps you in areas like healing, etc, then more power to you.


I personally feel that by attributing explanations to an outside influence, you lose a certain amount of control.  If you take responsibility or take credit, for dealing with situations and such, I feel you learn how to be a stronger and more capable person.  The only skills you gain from attributing a tragedy/success/healing etc to a god, is the skill to do that same thing again.
Obviously not exactly true in all cases, but I have seen it many times.  The lessons that can be learned are sometimes missed, when attributing it to god.  JMO

I hear you. But, I think the control issue isn't exclusive to believing in God because personal responsibility and motivation (for example) are moral decisions that may or may not be attributed to religion. In saying that, there is definitely a difference between embracing your spirituality and using it. The difference being that embracing spirituality gives people the courage and confidence to be loving, hard-working individuals. Then there is using spirituality for hope exclusively( ie. in the form of prayer). I think this is what you're talking about because it can lead to people just sitting there relying on a god to do everything for them. Essentially, that extreme is the tendency to give all things bad or good to God (which is where I think you were going with it). I personally choose a bit of both. I'll pray, but my spirituality helps me to push myself to earn every inch of what I have (my family, my friends, the roof over my head, other cliches, etc) and be a better person every day. Like I responded above to Blob: it's great that we all have our own beliefs that push us, teach us, and can be shared with each other.

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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #128 on: May 31, 2012, 10:41:13 AM »
That's a pretty cool little coincidence. Was it your full name, by the by, or just your first/last?



First and last, and it was the name, not the initials I go by, R.J.  Turns out the guy is an evangelical preacher in the south.
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Re: Personal encounters with God
« Reply #129 on: May 31, 2012, 01:28:42 PM »
I had the most profound encounter recently at a lectureship.
There were about 5000 in the auditorium singing "holy, holy, holy."  The first verse was the sopranos only.  The second verse was the altos.  When just the women are singing I tend to close my eyes and just listen to the words.
As the lyrics refer to laying down our crowns before the Holy of Holies, accompanied by the beautiful voices of just the women, I felt like I went into a trance for just a half-second (I will admit I attribute part of it to the fact that I was exhausted from lack of sleep  :)) and thought I was literally there.  My entire body froze for that moment and was covered in goosebumps (literally).
I am generally very cautious to try and attribute experiences to being directly from God, and still won't in this case.
I do attribute it, though, to the fact that I have complete confidence that I will one day be in that place casting my crown down before Him.

[UFO mode]Are you sure that it wasn't just the fact that they had the air conditioning turned down so low?  I mean I know you think you know what happened to you, but there are plenty of similar accounts of this happening to people, where it turned out to be a stroke, narcolepsy, bath salts, or any host of other things.  There has to be a much more logical explanation for this.  Certainly you're open to the idea right?[/UFO mode]

I'm sorry, I REALLY couldn't help it.  lol

On topic, I don't think I've ever had a personal encounter with God.  I did the whole "I accept Jesus" thing and got baptized, etc., when I was a teenager and I DO believe in God, but I am very skeptical about a lot of things, the possibility of a personal encounter with Him being one of those things.