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Rob B.

As with everything I do it's situtational on what I know about that belief. If it's Christianity, which I'm fairly familiar with, I tend to approach it factually first. Normally, I aquire as much information as I can and almost immediately begin to contrast and compare with what I already know to be true. In essence, I want to dump out all the blocks and see if they fit in the holes. After that I usally make more of any effort to understand it. If too much of a concept doesn't pass that filter, I'll still try to grasp what I can about it from a intellectual standpoint but I won't worry about understanding it for the purpose of practical application.

On the other hand, if it's a belief that I'm unfamiliar with, I start with just aquiring as much data as possible and then focus on trying to make senes of it. After I feel as though I have a understanding of it, I'll look to see how it stacks up with what I already know to be true and how any practical application of it would effect me. Those two things determine whether or not it's something that I just file away as knowledge or if I adapt to it.

In both cases though, I usally rely on logic and data first. Comparing what I know to what I learn. However, at any point in the process, when were discussing spiritual concepts, I try to be aware of the Holy Spirit. When that voice in your head says "yeah" or "nope", I pay attention.

As a example, when I decided to read the Koran, or Q'uran, there were several sections that were clearly true, in the sense that the path they were extoling was a path that is consistant with what God commands. It was, for lack of a better phrase, "God's own truth." However, there are sections that are divergent enough that upon reaching them I knew that there was no way I would ever be able to accept Islam as a religion that I could ever convert to. I still read on with the intention learning what I could, until a few days later when reading it became unbearable. I couldn't focus, there were loads of distractions and I sat it down. To be honest, I was frusterated with myself because I pride myself on having a pretty good reading comprehension and a easy time with reading all types of books. A day or so later when I was praying God told me "I want you to stop readiing the Q'uran now, you've learned what I want you to know, give the book up." So, I did. (I make it a general rule to be obedient to God when I can help it.) I ended up giving it to a friend of mine that is a minister who had said he wanted to read it when I was done.

The only exception for those two is on a rare occasion or two I have had when a concept just hit me like a load of bricks. For whatever reason, it not so much as you learning the concept as much as it is that you are no longer blocked from grasping it. It's like understanding "simple gravity" for the first time. Suddenly you just "get it." When that happens, I 'll admit, I don't filter or compare it because it is appearent that the concept is true. I can say, however, all of those times it was a "revelation" that took place at a time where God was the active ingredient in me being exposed to the idea in the first place.


That makes sense for doctrine. But what about spiritual "things" or "places" like angels, demons, leprechauns, heaven, hell, Valhalla, nirvana, etc. How does one approach these things, as actual things/places, as metaphors, or as something else?

Rob B.

As far as that, I'm still in that boat of just accepting some things on faith.

For example, Vahalla, I don't believe in. Sure, I'll learn about it because it's interesting but it doesn't jive with what I know to be true.

The Devil, on the other hand, I most certainly believe in. I know he's real. First, it's logically consistant with what I know to be true. Secondly, because it "feels" true in a spiritual sense as well. It doesn't hurt that just like God has told me things, and I know it's God, the Devil has tried talked to me, too.

Angels are in the same boat. I can rationalize whether or not they logically consistant with what I know about the world and what I believe. I can also say that it feels "spiritually true." But, my faith is based on God and the fact that I have encountered an Angel in real life. Actually it was in Colorado, so JWebb needs to be a good boy because they are in his neighborhood.

I know that it makes me sound crazy to say "I have spoken with God, the Devil and an Angel." But... I have. It makes a lot of metaphysical stuff a lot easier to deal with in terms of believing it, however it makes you look like a nut to the rest of the world. I've accepted that. I know it to be true because it is true and it has been made appearent to my in a unverifibile fashion. Sorry. I can't "prove" God to anyone, God chooses when to prove himself.

So as far as a list I can't say I've experienced a lot of the places and things of the metaphysical world but I feel as though I have a good bead on how I approach them.

So something like Dragons or pixies I don't know for sure about, but since I believe my bible and Dragons are mentioned in Revelation I believe that they existed in some capacity. Pixies, I don't know. Demons, pardon the pun but "Hell yes they exist." Dyriads, I don't think so but I'm not sure. Ect, ect.


I think your take on this is kind of similar to mine, but when you say that something is factual because you accept it on faith, are you saying you actually understand the nature of the thing you believe to exist? For instance, you might believe in the angel you saw in Colorado, but do you know what you were actually seeing? It was a spirit, but what is a spirit? Matter, energy, pure thought? Could you take a picture of it? Could you gather an ectoplasmic sample and run a test on it? And, if not, in what sense is it real? And if you don't know precisely what it was, how do you know it was an external reality rather than just something you dreamed up?

Rob B.

In this case, to give the readers digest version, we had an impossible job to do in reroofing a house on a mision trip. We were under-equipped, under-maned and under-funded. As we tried to tackle this task, for which we were sorely outclassed, this construction worker showed up. By showed up, I mean just that, suddenly there a guy up on the roof asking us if he can help.

We were up a creek, so any help was good. He had his tools on and he showed us a easier way to do our work. He corrected our mistakes and told us that me needed to "felt the roof before shingling it" and replaced some supports that we hadn't noticed we rotted. We asked him what and why he was helping and he just told us that he "was a builder and that he could tell we needed help." As we worked, he told us that he's check back with us tomorrow and left us working.

The next day he showed up just as we had ran out of roofing nail, on the roof, with a few boxes of felting neail and helped us finish most of it and leaft while we cleaned up. He helpeds up shingle the roof the day after that. And the last day he was there he helped us finish the roofing, since we couldn't pay him for all the help he had given us we gave him one to the expensive roofing hammers that the church had given us to repace the older normal hammer he had. He was thankful and left.

Now some people would say "Rob, that was just a helpful guy who felt sorry for you guys floundering." I couldn't prove you wrong.

However, in talking about this guy on out trip back we noticed a few things. No one ever say him come or go. We never saw him climb a ladder although he was up and down from the roof all day. No one could agree on what he looked like in terms of description. I saw hid as medium build with brown hair and a mustache. My friend said he was blonde and clean shaven. No one ever felt he was condesending in his knowledge of what he knew that we didn't but everyone remembered him complementing them for thier work and him telling them that God was happy with their efforts. And we all agreed that that job went from organized chaos to a peaceful effecient job that was hard but fun and rewarding after he showed up.

I know in this case, he was tactile and real. He effected the physical world in that he drove nails and handed me shingles. He caught my hand once when I slipped. But how do I know that it was an Angel not just some guy. I just know.

It's the same way I know God's voice when he tells me to say something, like he's doing right now. You just know, It's the same way that you know middle C when you play it, or the voice you hear is your kid in the middle of a crowd or that a sunset is more than just a sunset. You just know. I can't explain how it is, I just know that it is.

It like we live in a world that has several explanation for everything and we're like a box that takes all in and reacts to all of those things. But some truths don't pass through or occupy or make us react to them as much as the ressonate.

I know that it real because I've seen it shape reality. I've had God tell me things are going to happen on occasion and they do. I 've had him tell me that I need to tell someone something only to find that they have been praying that God would tell them that very thing. I've seen people healed and doctors be amazed. Even right now, I know a guy that his mother prays for him daily. He had a rock climbing mishap ad his friend fell on him. Now 4 weeks later he's still had some neck pain from it. They tested him and he has shattered the C3 bone in his spine in 3 places and yet for the last 4 weeks he's play football, ran daily, rockclimbed and swam. The bone around his spone is in three pieces and he's not dead or parapalegic. No one has a logical explaination for it because there isn't one. But everyone that knows him and his mother know that it's God.

So, while I have had Satan hammer me on my beliefs before (C'mon all the animals in an Ark) I know it to be true. It requires faith to suspend the desire to chalk things up to coincidence but I have to. For me, once you have learned the truth, I can't unlearn so that I could be more comfortable with what I know about sceince and data and conventional wisdom.

So, my relationship with God and my acceptence of the title of Christian" isn't even really about salvation or what happens when I die as much as it is about Once you come face to face with God your only left with the choice of accepting Him or running from Him. I commited to accepting Him and the relationship He wants with me so there isn't any way for me to know what I know, see what I've seen or do what Ive been allowed to do and not encounter all of the other spiritual concepts out there without that in mind.

And if, for the skeptic, I just dreamed all of this up then you need to give me really wide berth because what I am claiming to be true has done some pretty "out there" stuff in other peoples life around me when I have prayed so I might be a really powerful deranged psychic. Just think "Firestarter" but bigger and play hockey.

Rob B.

(quite possibly my most typo filled post...ever)

Rob B.

Might have been more clear if I would have just emailed in a "interprative dance."


I'm always open to interpretive dance, but I think I know what you're saying, too. You're basically saying that you subject your experiences to a kind of interior truth detector. Your ability to recognize spiritual truth is kind of hard wired.


Intuition, that's the word I'm looking for.


Maybe this is off-topic, but I've never shared this with anyone before. Rob's invoking angels in Colorado makes me feel a bit more comfortable that you guys won't think I'm nuts, so here goes. . .
In January 2000 I was a mess. I was managing a high-end grocery store in Telluride preparing to depart work several months for spinal surgery (the owners insisted when I'd lost all feeling in my hands). Anyway things in my life were basically falling apart to the extent that I was doubting the existence of God (whom I had been out of fellowship with for a while anyway).
Under these emotionally charged circumstances around 7:45pm, I stepped out to the back of the store for a brief respite. It was one of those incredible January clear mountain-air nights, no moon and billions of stars wherever you looked.
But I had frankly had it. I looked at one specific point in the sky and silently prayed, "Lord, if you exist, show me a meteor right THERE, right NOW."
A few heartbeats passed and then, unbelieveably a meteor streaked across the sky right where I was looking. And not just any meteor - a large fireball bolide covering several degrees of arc. I was frankly shaken. Had to call in another manager and turn store closing over to her. I went home. I've tried to rationalize this with everything from a pre-congnizance slash to holographic brain waves causing spooky action at a distance. Bottom line, I believe it was an answer to a reprobate's heartfelt anxious doubts.
So there, I've said it. Y'all can laugh at me now. G'head, I'll wait. . .

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