moroni's promise

There are a few questions that I almost always hear posed by still faithful LDS members to those of us who have decided to part ways with the Mormon faith, which are normally a combination of the following:

  • What about the spiritual experiences you had?
  • What about the testimony you received?
  • How can you abandon your testimony?
  • How can you deny those things happened to you?

I think this is a valid concern and I’d like to address it.

Background Information

When you’re a part of the LDS community, a huge amount of importance is linked to your “testimony.” Having a testimony is basically the probability you feel that certain statements, events, or books are true. While a lot of religions stress faith, Mormonism stresses “knowing.” You don’t get up on Fast Sunday to say, “I have faith that the Church / Book of Mormon / Joseph Smith is true and/or was a prophet.” Rather, you say, “I know the Church / Book of Mormon / Joseph Smith is true and/or was a prophet.” The denial of receiving such a testimony from the LDS god after having received it, is considered a very grave sin. Therefore, it stands to reason that our Mormon friends and family are really worried about our departures. Depending on how we received our witness that Mormonism was true, we could be guilty of a sin worse than murder!

Moroni’s Promise

One of the cornerstone’s to receiving this witness is the promise written about in the Book of Mormon. Moroni, one of the Nephites who, according to the narrative, helped create the record, writes a promise. He promises that if anyone reads the book and asks the LDS god in the name of Christ whether or not the book is true, that an answer will be received in the affirmative.

Millions have read the Book of Mormon, tried the promise, and swear they felt something tell them it was true. I would venture to say most ex Mormons tried the experiment and became or stayed Mormon’s as long as they did because they felt something. Which means everyone is wrong, Mormons are right, and we all need to go get baptized, right?!

Well… not so fast.

Religion, Faith & the Spirit

One common thread found among all religions and faiths is some sort of confirmation experience. Voices, dreams, burned images on toast – you get the picture. Everyone looks for some sort of sign from the divine that they’re on the right path. Which then begs the question, why can you get divine confirmation within almost every religion? Are some better than others? Is there a possibility that our brains create this sensation when we hope something is true?

The same feeling that I felt when I prayed and asked the LDS god if the Book of Mormon was true, is a feeling I’ve felt time and time again since I’ve left. I’ve felt it while hiking in the mountains. I’ve felt it while listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. I’ve felt it while drinking alcohol (traditionally taught to drive away the Spirit) with good friends while discussing life and future goals. For me, the “Spirit” is nothing more than a feeling of human emotion. It’s the feeling I get when I’m happy.

Conclusion

I don’t have the answer to all of life’s questions. I’m not a theologian nor a neuroscientist; however, I do think the answer to our LDS friends and family is quite simple. Our experiences within the framework of Mormonism were often great. They were often amazing. However, more likely than not, they were a result of confirmation bias and more importantly, we continue to feel those same great feelings after we’ve left. We even continue to feel those same feeling and have great experiences while participating in things banned by Mormon dogma.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about these types of feelings and emotions, I found the following TED talk by Jonathan Haidt useful:



Porter Rockwell
Porter Rockwell
Porter Rockwell was the personal bodyguard of Joseph Smith. He's sort of like the Wyatt Earp of Mormonism. He writes for Zelph so others know it's not the end of the world to leave the LDS Church.
  • Matt Bennett

    As someone who’s felt the experience described (the spirit) a lot over the years, I have to also offer up, as a counterpoint, the fact that other spiritual phenomena exist outside of the realm of just subjective feeling. In my life, I’ve had two specific instances where I received something from the Spirit that was more than a “feeling”: there was a significant psychological or physiological change that accompanied it. I can think of neurological reasons for the first but not for the second.

    1) After being on the antidepressant Paroxetine (a generic form of Paxil) for about ten years, and after multiple failed attempts to get off of it (because of the psychological and physical difficulties in doing so), I received an experience that I interpreted as a visit of Christ through the veil. This was accompanied by receiving a commandment to get off of them permanently. Despite severe nausea and physical side effects that lasted for 2 1/2 months, I ended up getting off of them completely. Soon after the effects ended, I broke through other psychological barriers to personal growth that had been in place for about 5 years. The spiritual experience ultimately proved to be a major pivot point in my life.

    2) About 2 years ago, in the midst of struggling with another onset of severe depression and some psychological dependencies to unhealthy habits, I had an experience where I experienced severe alopecia, losing about 30-40% of the hair on my head. It had never happened before and hasn’t happened since. The realization was initially met with panic but, a day after the occurrence, I was reading old journals where a vision I had seen as a teenager was recorded. It concerned my future, and hair loss was a critical part of that dream. The onset of alopecia was directly accompanied by a complete removal of those psychological dependencies in my life. Eventually the hair grew back (except for a spot on my chin).

    In both cases a singular, dramatic instance (one that had effects on the hair on my head and beard) was accompanied by profound, instantaneous psychological change. I have often wondered, especially lately, whether I could come up with some kind of psychoneurological explanation that doesn’t include some kind of higher power (particularly for the second example). I’ve done some research into the subject and haven’t found anything that explains what happened to me. I think my experiences show that humans don’t know much (if anything) about these types of self-transcendent experiences, and that the fact they’re universal may only prove that we don’t understand the principles on which they operate or their full meaning.

    • Zelph on the Shelf

      Hey! Thanks for your insights! That’s so awesome that you managed to get off antidepressants and that you experienced positive psychological changes. 🙂

      I guess my questions for you would be:
      Do you not think humans are capable of such things? Breaking through psychological barriers and overcoming antidepressant dependency etc.?
      And do you think Mormonism has to be the answer, if a higher power is involved?

      • Matt Bennett

        I do think that humans are capable of breaking through psychological barriers. The ones in question, though, were things that had held me back for about 6-7 years and had been matters of serious prayer, fasting, and endless work to try to break (without success). Their co-incidence with significant events (a dramatic spiritual experience in the first instance and a physiological phenomena coupled with the partial fulfillment of a vision in the other) has led me to conclude that mere coincidence is impossible. I believe the root cause of the changes in both instances was spiritual in nature and was the result of a type of ministration of the Holy Ghost.

        As far as Mormonism–no, I don’t think that Mormonism “has” to be the answer. I do believe, however, that Mormon theology and doctrine explains both my personal experiences and the phenomena of many people getting spiritual confirmations of different religious beliefs. Ultimately, I may be wrong about that. In my mind, what it does prove is the existence of a higher power that plays an active role in our lives.

        • Zack Tacorin

          Matt,

          Thanks for sharing. I’m sure that your spiritual experiences helped you, and that Mormon theology and doctrine does explain your personal experience in as much as it informs and motivates your efforts to transcend yourself.

          However, have you ever wondered that many spiritual experiences (from the mild to those that seem to consume a person’s soul) convince people of certain truths that contradict what you believe is revealed truth? For example, many Muslims are convinced that the Spirit of God has revealed to them that Islam is the only religion established by Allah, and that Jesus was not God or the Son of God, but a mere prophet. How would you help someone like me differentiate between what you believe has been revealed to you by the Spirit, and what someone else believes has been revealed by the Spirit that happens to contradict what you believe to be revealed truth?

          I hope all will continue to seek spiritual experiences. These experiences seem to bring true joy and motivate us to be better people in many ways. However, these experiences seem to be completely unreliable in determining truth, at least in part because they are completely subjective, and indistinguishable regardless of truth a person believes is being revealed to them, at least as far as I can tell.

          Thanks for any insight you can offer,
          Zack

          • Matt Bennett

            Zack, you ask the good questions. I like that. I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

            I’m not an expert, but I’m well aware of the phenomena of spiritual experiences ultimately being only a physiological manifestation of confirmation bias. I’ve experienced that in my own life. There is a different “harmonic resonance”, if you will, between that kind of feeling and the feelings accompanying the experiences I’ve listed above. There is as much a qualitative difference between “real” and “fake” spiritual experiences as there is between salt and sugar. But you can’t explain what that difference is to someone else–all you can do is say how you experienced it and encourage others to try the same thing you did. It is as much a deep feeling as it is a cognitive awareness of that feeling. It is a perfect connection of mind and body, of reason and matter; intelligence and element.

            One of the reasons I keep coming back to Mormon theology is because I think it best explains what you’ve described, where people swear up and down that God has revealed truth to them even though their revealed truth differs from others’ revealed truth. A true understanding of the human experience would need to be able to explain it. For me, this is what I believe, and this answers the questions in your third and fourth paragraphs:

            I believe God is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), but that “the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God” (1 Nephi 17:35). I believe that “[m]an was… in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” (D&C 93:29-30) In other words, man’s real nature is light and intelligence which is co-eternal with God’s. We are unrefined, as little children, and we all exist in spheres in which God has placed us and given us the agency to act for ourselves.

            How we use that agency determines whether we are righteous or unrighteous. The righteous don’t reject the light and intelligence; people are condemned for rejecting truth (D&C 93:31). Therefore, those who accept light and truth are the righteous who are accepted by God. In Abraham 3:19, the Lord tells Abraham that “[t]hese two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all”. Not only are some people simply more intelligent than others, even those of roughly equal intelligence are intelligent in different ways. In this world, everyone acts and operates independently within a sphere of knowledge and existence that God placed them in. Everyone is exposed to different truths, and it is the way they deal with the truth they have (not the truth they don’t) that God cares about. God rewards obedience to true principles with more light and truth. However, because we exist in different spheres, the path that will lead us to more truth isn’t the same for everyone. So, when the reward of more light and truth comes (in the form of bona fide spiritual experiences) people will interpret them different ways and come to different conclusions about what they’ve received.

            Because man is light and intelligence, and reasoning is a tool to dissect raw information and discern truth, then reasoning informed by light and intelligence (or, enlightened reasoning) becomes the way in which man comes to a knowledge of the truth. It’s the way we find a greater appreciation and understanding of truths we already know. Therefore, if you want to learn more truth, you need to use your powers of reasoning and agency to live your life in a way that is in harmony with the truth you already have. As you do that faithfully, you will learn truth.

            I believe that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [m]eekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, you’ll know you’re living according to the truth if you see those things manifest in your life.

            I hope that helps you understand where I’m coming from. I believe people will be judged according to what they did with the knowledge and experiences they had, not the knowledge and experience they didn’t have.

            Peace,
            Matthew

          • Zack Tacorin

            Matt,

            I appreciate your attempts to explain or differentiate your “real” spiritual experiences from the “fake” experiences others have that convince them they have found truths that contradict what you believe to be revealed to you. As you might have guessed, this has raised more questions for me.

            You wrote:
            “There is as much a qualitative difference between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ spiritual experiences as there is between salt and sugar. But you can’t explain what that difference is to someone else–all you can do is say how you experienced it and encourage others to try the same thing you did. It is as much a deep feeling as it is a cognitive awareness of that feeling. It is a perfect connection of mind and body, of reason and matter; intelligence and element.”

            I don’t see how this helps. For example, the son of my former stake president served an honorable mission, married his wife in the temple, started down the path of raising his children to be devout Mormons, etc. While in Europe many years ago, he visited a Catholic cathedral. While there, he had an overwhelming spiritual experience. He believes it was God telling him the Catholic Church is the only church with apostolic authority, and that its creeds are truth given to man from God. Obviously this contradicts some major tenants of what the LDS Church claims to be revealed truth. I’d be willing to bet my now-Catholic friend would say, regarding his experience in that cathedral, something to the effect of “There is as much a qualitative difference between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ spiritual experiences as there is between salt and sugar. But you can’t explain what that difference is to someone else . . . “ He could also say something like, “The righteous don’t reject the light and intelligence” as revealed through the Catholic Church. I’m certain he also believes, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [m]eekness, temperance” but feels that the Catholic Church has provided this to him at an even greater level than the LDS Church ever did. Don’t all of your arguments work just as well for those that believe they’ve received God-revealed truth that contradicts LDS truth claims?

            Why would I accept that spiritual experiences are a reliable indicator of truth when the contradictions of these apparent revealed truths are the norm and you admittedly cannot provide differentiation of the experiences for us?

            Clearly LDS doctrine expounds that God reveals many things to many individuals regardless of whether they believe LDS claims or even know of them. That isn’t the issue (isn’t that another red herring?). The LDS Church also teaches that God reveals only the truth, and yet millions of persons throughout the world believe a myriad of things that contradict all sorts of LDS truth claims. Yes, you’ve explained that perhaps these contradictions are the result of muddling human understanding or perception or, worse yet, the influence of an evil force. So, how do you know your perception of spiritual experiences is not confused or muddled for the reasons you’ve provided for these contradictions? From what you explained regarding the inability to explain the difference, how would you ever know?

            Peace back at you brother,
            Zack

          • Matt Bennett

            Zack,

            When I used “real” and “fake” I didn’t mean that my experiences are “real” and others’ experiences that seem to contradict mine are “fake”. I meant there’s a difference between real spiritual experiences that originate from a higher source than us and there are “fake” spiritual experiences that amount to nothing more than a confirmation bias. This video describes what I meant when I say “fake” spiritual experiences (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUvC9s4VYA&safe=active). I believe people have bona fide spiritual experiences that seem to contradict what I’ve received. And, for the record, I’ve never received a “true” spiritual manifestation saying the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet, etc.–but those real spiritual manifestations came as a result from believing in Joseph’s divine calling and the Book of Mormon, so I see no reason to disbelieve either at this time (even after weighing the historical evidence).

            If what I wrote in my last post is correct (about different spheres and intelligences), then the logical conclusion is that God reveals different things for different reasons to different people. If you were trying to reach a mountain’s summit and were on the south face, the exact directions on how to reach the top would be different than the exact directions given to someone on the north or east faces because of the mountain’s complex topography. If you followed the directions, however, the end point would be the same as if those on the north or east faces followed their own directions. Individual experiences are tailored to what people need to know to help them reach the summit, and running sideways around the mountain to compare notes often results in more confusion than clarity.

            Regarding your former stake president’s son: that kind of thing does happen. Sometimes those experiences are “real” and sometimes they’re “fake”, and it doesn’t simplify matters that so many people mistake “fake” spiritual experiences with “real” ones (and if you add in the idea that there is an intelligent, evil force that can also give revelation you further complicate the matter). When you take individual arguments out of context or apply them in a different manner, of course they can be used to arrive at a different conclusion–and sometimes that conclusion can be false. That’s the nature of reasoning.

            The nature of how God works with man isn’t something that can be explained or proven via empirical evidence because individuals are inevitable parts of the equation and the nature of how we communicate is fallible (if we could communicate directly from mind to mind, that problem might be avoided). As Paul said, in this world we see through a glass darkly. We must become the scientists in our own lives, experimenting on ideas and faith. To be true to ourselves, we must learn how to act in harmony with the things that we’ve proven true by our own experiences and experimentation and not rely completely on others for guidance. Spiritual experiences are only useful for guiding us down a path we should go, but we must come to a knowledge of the truth for ourselves, using our own powers of reasoning that have been expanded by experience and enlightened through connection with a divine source.

            If you (general ‘you’, not you specifically) have received your own spiritual experiences, act in concert with what you’ve received. If you haven’t, then act in concert with what you believe to be true. I believe that’s the only formula that will produce the experiences ultimately necessary to be able to tell truth from the lies. You can’t get that ability from someone else. Mankind, in its present state, will never be able to universally come to the same conclusion regarding God or the nature of how He communicates. I believe there’s good reason for that, and that it shouldn’t be seen as an argument against the existence of God. This is the paradigm I use to approach the matter, and so I try to stay consistent and true to the experiences I’ve had and what they convince me is true. I won’t “know” if it’s right or not until I meet God again face to face (or, conversely, if I’m wrong and there is no God, I’ll never know I was wrong).

            Peace (again! Hopefully you’ve had a peaceful week, having been wished it so often),
            Matthew

          • Zack Tacorin

            Matt,

            Though I’ve seen this video at least two times previously, I just watched it again in case I had missed something in previous viewings. Do you realize the maker of the video is asking a question similar to the question I’m asking? The last sentence of the video is “How can we know which promptings are from God and which promptings are from ourselves?”. Did you know this is only one in a series of videos he’s made called “Why I Left Mormonism – My LDS Journey”?

            I did not catch any use of the terms “real” or “fake” in the video regarding spiritual experiences. Can you point me to the part you’re referring to? Was it the Muslims’ testimonies, the FLDS testimony, the teachings of Marshall Applewhite, or some other part of the vid?

            So if “real” doesn’t mean something like “guiding to the truth as you understand it”, are you indicating that “real” spiritual experiences can lead a person to believe that Jesus was not the Son of God (Islam)? Can a “real” spiritual experience convince a previously devout Mormon that the Catholic Church is God’s only true church? Can a “real” spiritual experience convince a person that the Reverend Sun Myung Moon is a Messiah (Unification Church or “Moonies”)? What about the racist teachings of Brigham Young and many other LDS apostles and prophets (https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood )? Were those theories, taught as the word of God, inspired by “real” or “false” spiritual experiences?

            Thanks,
            Zack

          • Matt Bennett

            A “real” spiritual experience can only give you what you need to receive to come to a knowledge of the truth. It won’t give you something that convinces you a lie is the truth.

            In the experience where I felt Christ visit me and command me to get off the antidepressants, I felt an awe, peace, and dread I had never before felt. It was as if every autonomic process in my body was perfectly still; perfectly at peace. My mind was completely focused in that moment, and I received a very, very clear impression in my mind to get off the antidepressants.

            In the second case, the combination of alopecia, (something I had never before experienced) a complete removal of a very strong psychological dependency I had been struggling with for years, and a partial fulfillment of a vision received ~7 years earlier makes it impossible to label a coincidence.

            Physical reality had been altered in my life. They were miracles. As is the case with all miracles, however, I can’t prove that they happened to anyone who wasn’t there. Hence, the ability to accept these things as feasible starts with a willingness to shelve our own prejudices about what is and isn’t possible and what reality is and isn’t like–to put ourselves in the position of the person climbing the mountain (from my last comment), not someone at the top who already knows what the journey’s like.

            Hopefully that’s more of what you’re looking for. There is no foolproof method for telling when others’ spiritual experiences are valid or not–only your own.

            Best regards,
            -Matthew

          • Zack Tacorin

            Matthew,

            From your last post, how is this not saying that your experiences are “real” and others’ experiences that seem to contradict yours are “fake”?

            Aren’t you telling us you can know the spiritual experience is real if it confirms truth, but you can’t know if something is true unless it’s revealed by the Spirit? Isn’t this a form of circular reasoning called begging the question? (See
            http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/61-begging-the-question ).

            Regarding the second miracle you experienced, you say it is “impossible to label a coincidence.” Improbable events occur all the time. What precludes coincidence in this case?

            So there is no way to know about the validity of others’ spiritual experiences, only your own? Don’t you think that explanation works just as well for my Catholic friend (the convert from Mormonism) as it does for you? How would you explain that his spiritual experience was “false” since it revealed to him what you consider un-true?

            Thanks again,
            Zack

          • Matt Bennett

            Quoting what I’ve already written, with asterisks for emphasis:

            “I’m well aware of the phenomena of spiritual experiences ultimately
            being only a physiological manifestation of confirmation bias. **I’ve
            experienced that in my own life. There is a different “harmonic
            resonance”, if you will, between that kind of feeling and the feelings
            accompanying the experiences I’ve listed above.** There is as much a qualitative difference between “real” and “fake” spiritual experiences as there is between salt and sugar.”

            “I don’t think that Mormonism “has” to be the answer. I do believe,
            however, that Mormon theology and doctrine explains both my personal
            experiences and the phenomena of many people getting spiritual
            confirmations of different religious beliefs. Ultimately, I may be wrong
            about that. In my mind, what it does prove is the existence of a higher
            power that plays an active role in our lives.”

            “There is no foolproof method for telling when others’ spiritual experiences are valid or not–only your own.”

            At this juncture, I’m convinced that you discuss with the motivation of pursuing an agenda. You misunderstand my position, make a straw man out of it, and then claim I commit logical fallacies. You seem to want to try to prove your own opinion, not understand why I hold mine. You seem to believe it inherently flawed (even though you don’t seem to understand it) and intent on proving that to me. I’m not interested in such an exchange.

            You’re welcome to make Aristotelian (or some other man’s) logic your god and let it inform you of how to live your life. May that bring you peace.

            Best regards,

            Matthew

          • Zack Tacorin

            Matthew,

            You are correct that I have an agenda. My agenda is to try to best understand the truth.

            You’ll note that when I call you out on what I believe to be fallacies I identify the specific language of the apparent fallacy. You’ve asserted that I’ve use a straw man argument but fail to identify what it is specifically you refer to. How specifically do I misunderstand your position? How could we ever get past this if you won’t clarify what that misunderstanding is?

            Have you also noticed that you have not address the fallacies I point out? Why is that?

            I’m not sure what you mean by letting logic inform me of how to live my life. I see that as the role of my values. One thing I value is understanding the truth. Isn’t logic a useful tool to that end? Regarding making logic a god, you’re not suggesting that we shouldn’t use it, are you?

            Given what you have written, it seems to me we have no reason to think your testimony of LDS gospel is any more valid than a myriad of testimonies that contradict yours. Do you agree? And, why or why not?

            Thanks for any help you can give,
            Zack

          • Spencer

            How truly sad all of this is. I think it’s important to let others believe what they want to believe, but do you really need to go on hacking someone else’s beliefs? You say you are trying to help those who are leaving the LDS faith, while at the same time using it as an opportunity to attack the key beliefs of Mormons. You will undoubtedly deny any such thing, but it’s clear to me that this blog is also an attempt to challenge and make fun of the Mormon faith. That is unchrist-like, unreligious-like, unspiritual-like, or whatever your core beliefs are that are good or oriented to the light or whatever.

          • Zack Tacorin

            Spencer,

            Since you believe it is important to let others believe what they believe, I take it that you are not LDS. I mean, the LDS Church has 10s of thousands of full-time missionaries trying to convince anyone who will listen for a moment that their beliefs are incorrect, and let’s not forget their “every member a missionary” effort. Seems Mormons find it very important to not let others believe what they want to believe.

            Now if you are LDS (though I don’t see how you could be if you think one should let others believe what they want to believe), have you ever read this little piece by Orson Pratt?
            “Convince us of our errors of Doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the Word of God and we will ever be grateful for the information and you will ever have the pleasing reflections that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings” (“The Seer,” p. 15).
            If you are LDS, what do you make of that?

            Thanks,
            Zack

    • Zack Tacorin

      Matt,

      Regarding the second experience you summarized, you said, “I can think of neurological reasons for the first but not for the second.”

      Just because you cannot think of a neurological reason for this experiences does not mean there isn’t one. Even if you were a neurologist, this would only mean that you’re like the rest of us, you don’t know everything. If one were to assume that because we don’t know of a naturalistic explanation for an event, the reason for the event must be a miracle or the result of some supernatural power, we would be committing what is known as the argument from ignorance fallacy (see http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance ).

      Zack

      • Matt Bennett

        True. Although, it’s my experience that those who want to rationalize these experiences away almost invariably aren’t the ones who actually experience them. (I don’t mean happy feelings of oneness with everything, I mean more dramatic experiences like the one I experienced)

        If we must admit we don’t know everything, we must be forced to admit that our rules of logic might be wrong and that, therefore, the argument from ignorance fallacy is only a fallacy in certain cases (I don’t believe that, but it’s technically possible). We also must be forced to admit that there might be a God and that just because he hasn’t revealed himself to some of us doesn’t mean He (or She, or It, since we’re admitting we don’t know much about this stuff) doesn’t exist. Maybe the religionists are all correct and there are many gods who tell different people different things, or maybe there is one God and mankind is terrible at interpreting His messages to us. Maybe, as Mormon theology suggests, there is a God and His messages to us are distorted by an active power working in opposition to Him.

        • Zack Tacorin

          Matt,

          You wrote:
          “It’s my experience that those who want to rationalize these experiences away almost invariably aren’t the ones who actually experience them.”

          There are lots of these folks. However, there are lots of folks like me who have had spiritual experiences that accept the experiences as real but understand them quite differently than you do. Besides, I’m not really sure what this has to do with the idea that one’s ignorance is not evidence for one’s claims. Doesn’t bringing this up seem like a red herring fallacy?

          Regarding the argument from ignorance fallacy, it is a fallacy regardless of whether your conclusion is correct or not. Just because someone uses a fallacy does not necessarily mean their conclusion is incorrect. It means that their reasoning is faulty in as much as it relies on such fallacies.

          You also wrote:
          “If we must admit we don’t know everything . . . We also must be forced to admit that there might be a God and that just because he hasn’t revealed himself to some of us doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist.”

          I agree completely and have from before our exchange. My question is why would I accept the God that has been revealed to you rather than the truly monotheistic god, Allah? Or why should I accept any God when the revelations millions believe they have received about their God contradict each other?

          Thanks,
          Zack

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