Was there a "cognitive disconnect" in my post? Either I'm not very good at expressing myself or I'm not logical. Take your pick! Where I do agree with you, is that I do genuinely question whether some experiences I had in struthers were from God or whether it was psychological manipulation. Another point of agreement is that I have often wondered whether the anti-pentecostal groups are right. Fortunately my faith now is built on the Word of God and not on any experiences I have had be they at struthers or any other church. (Sorry haven't yet embraced atheism!). Twice in your contribution you used the phrase "you people" suggesting there was a lot of support for my views when actually NO ONE posted ANY support for my statements whatsoever!
Thanks for clarifying things. I have no interest here in “converting” people to atheism. What concerns me instead are beliefs and practices that cause harm. So I DO encourage a healthy and robust scepticism of every claim that fervent believer A will have fellow believers B sign up to. One needs always to be continually on the lookout for naked emperors.
See the thing is, its one thing to believe in god and that he cares for us , quite another to believe that to have unquestioning trust and belief in the teachings and practices of a fellow human being who claims to have some privileged access to the almighty, or who claims to have a revelation from the same, or claims to have the “true” interpretation of the deities scriptures. Down that way we get not only the worsts of fundamentalism but also the kind of cult behaviour we discuss here.
It has been noticeable for example that quite a few posters here who have left SMC, seem to me to have softened their positions on “how to believe” and have become - maybe a little more humble and open to the idea that their own pentecostal view of christianity maybe needs to make room for other ways of being a follower of christ or a “believer". To quote a controversial title from an old BBC drama - Oranges are not the only fruit !.
As to your point regarding my use of “you people” this wasn’t intended to refer to support by others here on your views, but instead the many many posts I read here that seem to suggest that in some way SMC has been a gateway for experiences of gods “presence” etc in a way not found in other pentecostal or non-charismatic churches. First of all I doubt this assertion was ever true. I suspect that many many charismatics have in fact had similar experiences in other churches but what instead has happened is that the SMC leadership - right the way back to Miss Taylor and Mr Black - endlessly planted a “mantra” out there that their church was special, that this was the place to come to when seeking these things.
And of course as is common we have what is called selection bias taking place. Namely we find that al those who attended SMC and did NOT report ANY such experiences don’t tend to go on about it , so their NON experience does not get counted or registered. At the same time those who did experience something special will of course recount this fact endlessly.
And my main point addressed to “you people” was - maybe these experiences were not from god, maybe they weren’t real, and lastly, maybe it isn’t actually healthy to be so obsessed with seeking deep mystical experiences if that requires one to become a “true believer” in a fellow human.
I had the most powerful experience of what one might call the “presence of god” amongst muslim worshippers inside a giant mosque in Istanbul. I’ll leave others here to ponder a while on that.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2012 11:12PM by Clive.