Monday, January 24, 2011

Taken for a Ride

Continuing now with our look at some comments from Loftus’ collection, we have this from one styled “Juno Walker”:

I voted "Other" because it was a lack of personal experience of Jesus or God, or any of the things my congregation was saying they felt, even though I was born into born-again Christianity.

Nick noted on this one: “Personally, I don't know what they mean by a personal experience, but I do understand most Christians have made it normative.” Well, I don’t know what they mean either, but I suspect it’s all manufactured, whatever it is.

Some people wonder why I’m so hard on “too personal” views of God – even against such things as reading overfamiliarity into texts like the Prodigal Son parable and the “Abba” title. This is an example of why. There’s no Scriptural basis for this “personal experience of Jesus” stuff – epistemically, it’s just the Mormon “burning in the bosom.” My estimation is that it is a thoroughly manufactured artifact – people (notably extroverts) hyping themselves up the way someone would at a rock concert. No, that’s not the Spirit you’re feeling, folks – that’s adrenaline.

If these experiences were real, I’d be a good proof for it – because as a hardened introvert, I just can’t manufacture these experiences. But I have none to speak of. I don’t “feel” the Spirit “moving” anyplace. Even what I regard as my ministerial calling did not come of such subjectivity; it came of a combination of circumstance, opportunity, and desire – which I might guess some of these folks mistake for the “Spirit” moving too.
I’ve seen plenty of apostates like Juno here, who complain that they left the faith because they didn’t “feel” or “experience” God the way others did.

We’d just better hope there’s not a price to pay for those of us who misled such people for no other reason than we wanted an “experience”.
My suggestion: The next time any of you “experiential” folks want an experience…try a roller coaster at Busch Gardens.

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