Is J. Neil Schulman justified (logically) in believing in God?


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Thank you Mr. Schulman for your detailed answer (in # 37) to the questions I had asked you, and for the link to the full text of your book. I have not read it yet but will do so as soon as I can.

(bolding mine)

I was making living my life conditional on demands I was making through prayers and attempts at psychic control. God wanted me to stop doing that, and telling me "I can take you now" was his way of shaking me loose from my demands.

So you were already, shortly before your 'encounter with God', in a situation where you prayed to a God, i. e. you were no longer an atheist denying the existence of a God?

On the other hand, you also wrote:

In 1975 when we first met I was a firm atheist and would say I was until late 1983, when I'd say I became an agnostic about four years. I wouldn't say I was a theist until 1988. To tell you the truth, I think the best description of me is that I'm an atheist still -- except that I've met God and regard the experience as real.

But how can you be an atheist while at the same time regarding your God experience as real? This is like saying A is non-A.

George, I haven't had anything I'd classify as a "religious" experience.

You claim to have had an encounter with God but at the same time deny that this was a religious experience?

From your interview with Gary York: http://www.pulpless.com/jneil/libertarianprophet.html

GARY YORK: I've heard you claim that God is a libertarian. On the face of it, this seems absurd; what do you believe that makes this seem true to you?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: God gave up being the only person who existed so he could live forever after as a less-than-omnipotent person within an existence containing other individual persons. And those he created with the power to disagree with him. How fucking libertarian is that?

"God gave up being the only person who existed" (Neil Schulman)

Your God encounter led you to think of God as a person?

"so he could live forever after as a less-than-omnipotent person within an existence containing other individual persons. And those he created with the power to disagree with him. How fucking libertarian is that?" (Neil Schulman)

This God looks more like an "altruist" (in the Objectivist sense) to me.

For giving up splendid solitude in exchange for an existence in a messed-up world may well be regarded (by Objectivists) as exchanging a higher for a lower value. :o

But considering the premise which conceives of God as a person, then conceiving of God as a group animal, a group person, is only 'logical'. ;)

"Is J. Neil Schulman justified (logically) in believing in God?" is the title of this thread.

"Absolutely", is the answer. For one can logically justify anything which is correctly derived from a premise.

Example:

Major premise: All bears belong to the class "fish"

Minor premise: I saw a bear in the zoo.

Conclusion: This bear belongs ings t the class is a fish

Am I 'logically' justified in belieiving in my conclusion?

Absolutely. For logical conclusions can be derived from any premise, regardless of its truth value.

Therefore let's check premises, folks. This joint venture will unite all those of us (regardless of where we philosophically stand) thirsting for water from the fountain of truth.

"So you were already, shortly before your 'encounter with God', in a situation where you prayed to a God, i. e. you were no longer an atheist denying the existence of a God?"

Correct. I was an agnostic who was praying as an experimental means of discovering whether there was someone on the other end of the attempted communication.

"But how can you be an atheist while at the same time regarding your God experience as real? This is like saying A is non-A."

Since I don't regard God's existence and actual identity as in any way conditional upon human scripture, stories, dogma, traditions, or religious institutions, I can deny any and all of these as sources of reliable and accurate knowledge about God -- and aside from reporting on my personal experience which convince me of God's reality, I'm still without any "theology."

"You claim to have had an encounter with God but at the same time deny that this was a religious experience?"

By George Smith's preferred usages based on traditions he believes should control this discussion it's a religious experience; by my preferred usages based on my hostility to and independence from religions it isn't.

"This God looks more like an "altruist" (in the Objectivist sense) to me.

For giving up splendid solitude in exchange for an existence in a messed-up world may well be regarded (by Objectivists) as exchanging a higher for a lower value. :o

But considering the premise which conceives of God as a person, then conceiving of God as a group animal, a group person, is only 'logical'. ;) "

If you have to live forever and suicide isn't even an option, "splendid solitude" might well be a formula for boredom, solipsism, and being chased by "monsters from the Id." Creating others as a reality check might have been an escape from narcissism into being centered. It's like the decision to have children. You just never know what they'll do. Kids say (and do) the darndest things.

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Ghs: So you're saying the effects on a young Rascal's Wanker negate the effect of Pascal's Wager?

If you have to live forever and suicide isn't even an option, "splendid solitude" might well be a formula for boredom, solipsism, and being chased by "monsters from the Id."

Ah! Forbidden Planet.

--Brant

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It's quite interesting to observe the current emergence of believers (in whatever religion) posting here. Now wouldn't that give Objectivists the opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of their philosophy by going for the believers' premises? But for some reason this does not seem to happen. Why?

Objectivists may not have the specialized chops, nor the desire to spend a lot of time rooting around in difficult material. For example, AA posted a long discursion on probability, mostly derived from Berlinski, and further derived from materials put forth by the Discovery Institute. I spent a few days reacquainting myself with the immense material elsewhere that has developed in response to the DI bumf.

AA was mostly regurgitating arguments that had been debunked elsewhere by folks with a stupendous advantage over me on the subjects. I think if AA had good faith, he would be acquainted with those debates and debunkings and raised his game. Instead his eructions increasingly took the form of Trollery.

Imo what could make it diffcult for the Objectivsts are assertions by several of the believers that their belief can be reconciled with the principles of Objectivism. Now that's quite something, given the fact that atheism is one of the pillars Objectivism rests on. It is one of its root premises actually.

Now if Objectivists don't even try to challenge the believers by pointing out the incompatibility of such contradictory premises, they are not checking premises. Instead they are abandoning premises. Their philosphy's very own.

I don't think this fits. You have to estimate the gravity and engagement of the interlocutor. It is up to the claimant to lead the discussion. Chu Hua for example announced she considered herself an Objectivist who practiced Dianetics.

Where do you start with something like that?

Maybe I am rude and dismissive and awful and emotional, but the pings from my BS meter led me to view AA and Chu Hua as cranks. There is no good argument to be had from a crank, since the opinions are so robust and implacable. I actually view those two (and on the subject of his prophesies and revelations, Neil Schulman) as kooky ranters who aren't actually on the field to advance knowledge per se, but are on the field to find confirmation.

Here, now, we have Neil asserting that his experience of the divine shares not a tottle of similarity with other experiences. Where do you go with something like that? How fruitful is engagement likely to be?

And presently we have another set of kook rants from Mr Wissler on the subject of The Conspirators.

It is like watching someone play 'connect the dots.' You and I see five or ten dots. The cranks see a constellation, a Crab Nebula, engrams, invisible spirits and sundry truckloads of woo.

Where do you start, knowing how it will likely finish?

Incidentally, Chu Hua left SOLO after a bit of a trainwreck. The US Government is a criminal cabal, Dianetics is Truth, rant rant rant blah blah.

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WS wrote: " 'It's quite interesting to observe the current emergence of believers (in whatever religion) posting here. Now wouldn't that give Objectivists the opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of their philosophy by going for the believers' premises? But for some reason this does not seem to happen. Why?'

"Objectivists may not have the specialized chops, nor the desire to spend a lot of time rooting around in difficult material. For example, AA posted a long discursion on probability, mostly derived from Berlinski, and further derived from materials put forth by the Discovery Institute. I spent a few days reacquainting myself with the immense material elsewhere that has developed in response to the DI bumf.

"AA was mostly regurgitating arguments that had been debunked elsewhere by folks with a stupendous advantage over me on the subjects. I think if AA had good faith, he would be acquainted with those debates and debunkings and raised his game. Instead his eructions increasingly took the form of Trollery."

Where are you guys getting the notion that there has been no criticism of the basic notions of either AA or Schulman? AA was smashed repeatedly and kept evading what was said. Schulman can't say why the god he spoke to is even possible, let alone why the most reasonable explanation of his experience is that it was a communication from this impossible god. The fact of his conviction is his primary argument. But as we all know, people can have and have had throughout history very rock-solid, firm, imperturbable convictions that completely contradict each other. I understand why Xray would make baseless assertions just to annoy, as that's his stock in trade, but Scherk should know better.

With regard to AA's disquisitions, I don't think it's necessary to know every in and out of the improbable probabilisticalism of the unintelligent design argument to understand why it's a fabrication and dishonest. His underlying assumption was in fact refuted, and that refutation was ignored.

Deliberate, cavalier obscurantism can't really be answered per se. If you ask, "What do you mean by X?" and the purported expositor just doubles down on his impenetrability, or skips immediately to some unrelated assertion, you know he doesn't even understand his own claims himself.

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Perhaps pantheism can bridge the gap. Make God reality itself, in all its manifestations.

--Brant

First, if God is real, you can't make him anything merely by playing with words.

But the concept of God I've been trying to explain is sort of pantheism in negative relief. It's the idea that Existence and Consciousness are eternal, that consciousness is not a result of evolution and biology leading to brains, but precedes all of that. Now, if there were but a single Consciousness the idea of "pan" theism would be accurate. I suggest that prior to a multiplicity of conscious beings there was a single Primal Existent which encompassed everything, and it was conscious, therefore self-conscious, therefore omniscient of all that existed, omnipotent over all that existed, and omnipresent in all that existed. The tag for that existent/existence is God.

But God created other continua ("universes" -- a self-contradictory plural) within existence, and such created continua or multiverses contained the seeds to evolve free spirits with their own independent minds and wills -- and post this creation God was no longer everything that exists -- no longer the PanDiety, no longer Omnipresent, no longer Omnipotent, no longer Omniscient -- but a member of a community of creations of the same kind as himself, with the sole difference in nature being that they had beginnings. Now there were additional gods. When they merged their minds into physical bodies they became men.

If I have any theology, I guess it's that. It's not exactly pantheism; it comes closest to being Kaballistic or Gnostic, with the exception of the story of what and who God was before creation.

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"Schulman can't say why the god he spoke to is even possible, let alone why the most reasonable explanation of his experience is that it was a communication from this impossible god. The fact of his conviction is his primary argument.

I've negated the reasons why God is impossible -- eliminating the contradictions of "omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent"; eliminating the objection that the definition of God is a floating abstraction; eliminating the objection that the concept of God violates the law of identity or known natural law; eliminating the objection that the theories of evolution and natural selection eliminate intelligent design; and offering a concept of God as Existence Itself with Consciousness being an unconditional aspect of that Existence.

I think the idea that Consciousness is as Eternal as Existence is just as reasonable an assertion as that Consciousness is an Accident of Evolution.

I can't prove mine. You can't prove yours. Occam's Razor is of no fucking use in making one side or the other asssume a burden of proof. Prior to presentation of a case to prefer one to the other, all we know is that Consciousnesss Exists -- which we know because we are conscious. Whether that state of affairs has a beginning is a matter that I think requires an open mind if one is to claim to be rational.

That's where I was when I was presented with experiences that biased me in one direction. Can't prove them. Yet.

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If I have any theology ... it comes closest to being Kaballistic or Gnostic, with the exception of the story of what and who God was before creation.

Have you studied Kabalistic theory much? With what specifics other than what you mentioned above do you agree or disagree?

Judith

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There was nothing about my contact with God that was ineffable to me.

James makes it clear that, by "ineffable," he means the inability of adequately expressing one's experience to others. You have also made it clear that this was a characteristic of your experience.

Now. I can't perform or invoke miracles on demand....

A lot of us have this problem

I likely don't know any intellectual proofs for the existence of God that haven't already failed to convince you. It's like saying that I met Ambrose Bierce last week, and he's still alive and well over a century old and still thriving. Let's say I even managed to set up a meeting. He's not going to have a driver's license or social security ID that shows his true age. He could be an actor and an expert who has studied Bierce and the period. Do you have a source for Ambrose Bierce's DNA to check this guy against?

If you presented your Ambrose Bierce, we would have a person standing before us whom we could question in order to ascertain his credibility. So present your god so we can question him, her, or it.

Moreover, there are ways to ascertain whether or not your Bierce is who he claims to be. One method is photo analyses of facial characteristics. This was the method used to debunk the claims of some guys who claimed that Jesse James faked his own death, and that they were really Jesse James.

At least you believe that Bierce existed. And that would be a hard assertion to prove. For someone you don't even believe is possible, the problem is amplified several orders of magnitude.

Photos of Bierce are plentiful on the internet. Yeah, yeah, I know what you will say: But how do we know that these are really photos of Bierce? I tell you what, Neil: When you produce comparable photos of a being you believe to be God, we will then debate the veracity of your photographic evidence versus my photographic evidence. Then we can get into issues like parentage, siblings, school and/or military records, wives and children, and so forth.

So given I can't bring God to a dinner party and introduce him around, how, precisely, would you expect me to prove to you that God exists?

How do you know that God wouldn't come to a dinner part if you invited him? You are one of his chosen few, after all, so he might respond favorably. And if he declines, he might do so in writing, in which case you could post a sample of God's handwriting on the internet.

Ghs

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George, let's say for a moment that people tell you about their "flight." One person describes a voyage in a hot air balloon. Another describes recreational sky-diving. Another tells of his experience as a bombadier dropping bombs over Dresden. Still others tell of their experiences going through airport screenings, piloting a Piper Cub, being a passenger on a jetliner landed on the Hudson River, hang gliding, being a traffic reporter over L.A. in a news chopper, getting a ride in the Goodyear Blimp, being shot down over North Vietnam.

The nature of the experience I had -- having God merge his identity and multidimensional view of human psyches, sharing information with me via "mindmeld," -- is as different from other descriptions of "mystical" contacts with God as between falling off a ladder and three orbits around the earth.

I cannot figure out why you are so intent on denying the fundamental similarities between your experience and the mystical experiences of other people. This is especially curious in view of your previous insistence that people interpret events in terms of their own life experiences. It should therefore come as no surprise that the mystical experience of a 13th century mystic, such Meister Eckhart, will not conform in every detail to yours.

Perhaps you wish to claim not only that God talks to you but that he talks only to you. This would promote you from the rank of mere prophet to that of messiah.

Ghs

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If I have any theology ... it comes closest to being Kaballistic or Gnostic, with the exception of the story of what and who God was before creation.

Have you studied Kabalistic theory much? With what specifics other than what you mentioned above do you agree or disagree?

Judith

My sister studies Kabbalah with a rabbi -- and had to learn Hebrew to do it, so it's not Kaballah Center wear-the-string like Madonna stuff -- and she's told me that the Kabbalistic view of a lot of things is a lot more like science fiction than it is Biblical -- humans being created as multi-dimensional beings in a multi-dimensional universe that collapses into the three-dimensional linear time universe in which we live now. Anything I know of either Kabbalah or Gnostic Christianity was something I picked up after I wrote Escape from Heaven at the end of 2001 -- and after my "experience."

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George, let's say for a moment that people tell you about their "flight." One person describes a voyage in a hot air balloon. Another describes recreational sky-diving. Another tells of his experience as a bombadier dropping bombs over Dresden. Still others tell of their experiences going through airport screenings, piloting a Piper Cub, being a passenger on a jetliner landed on the Hudson River, hang gliding, being a traffic reporter over L.A. in a news chopper, getting a ride in the Goodyear Blimp, being shot down over North Vietnam.

The nature of the experience I had -- having God merge his identity and multidimensional view of human psyches, sharing information with me via "mindmeld," -- is as different from other descriptions of "mystical" contacts with God as between falling off a ladder and three orbits around the earth.

I cannot figure out why you are so intent on denying the fundamental similarities between your experience and the mystical experiences of other people. This is especially curious in view of your previous insistence that people interpret events in terms of their own life experiences. It should therefore come as no surprise that the mystical experience of a 13th century mystic, such Meister Eckhart, will not conform in every detail to yours.

Perhaps you wish to claim not only that God talks to you but that he talks only to you. This would promote you from the rank of mere prophet to that of messiah.

Ghs

I've already answered this question several times in this thread. I have yet to find in any of my readings or discussions anyone else who claims that God entered his body for eight hours and conflated our personal identities, shared multi-dimensional cognition including the ability to look at other people's past and "central motivating factor" future; and uploaded to me a database of information which ended up unfolding over the subsequent years.

That description of my 2/18/1997 12:00 noon PST to 8:00 PM PST seems pretty fucking specific, George, which I think eliminates it from the "ineffable" category, and I think makes it fundamentally distinct at the core.

As for me claiming to be the messiah, I'll answer you when I see the opening weekend box office on Alongside Night. :-)

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I have yet to find in any of my readings or discussions anyone else who claims that God entered his body for eight hours and conflated our personal identities, shared multi-dimensional cognition including the ability to look at other people's past and "central motivating factor" future; and uploaded to me a database of information which ended up unfolding over the subsequent years.

I haven’t been posting on this thread because I feel I should read the linked interview first, so I don’t mean to be rude just popping in and asking a couple basic questions. First, in allowing you to learn about the future, did God give you some winning Powerball numbers? Why not? That’s the database field I’d really like to have uploaded when it happens to me. Whatever the supernatural voice tells me to do, I’m game so long as it’s accompanied by winning lottery numbers. Hear that, Mephistopheles?

Second, where you on drugs? LSD or mushrooms, particularly? Had you used them before, and maybe had a flashback?

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There was nothing about my contact with God that was ineffable to me.

James makes it clear that, by "ineffable," he means the inability of adequately expressing one's experience to others. You have also made it clear that this was a characteristic of your experience.

Now. I can't perform or invoke miracles on demand....

A lot of us have this problem

I likely don't know any intellectual proofs for the existence of God that haven't already failed to convince you. It's like saying that I met Ambrose Bierce last week, and he's still alive and well over a century old and still thriving. Let's say I even managed to set up a meeting. He's not going to have a driver's license or social security ID that shows his true age. He could be an actor and an expert who has studied Bierce and the period. Do you have a source for Ambrose Bierce's DNA to check this guy against?

If you presented your Ambrose Bierce, we would have a person standing before us whom we could question in order to ascertain his credibility. So present your god so we can question him, her, or it.

Moreover, there are ways to ascertain whether or not your Bierce is who he claims to be. One method is photo analyses of facial characteristics. This was the method used to debunk the claims of some guys who claimed that Jesse James faked his own death, and that they were really Jesse James.

At least you believe that Bierce existed. And that would be a hard assertion to prove. For someone you don't even believe is possible, the problem is amplified several orders of magnitude.

Photos of Bierce are plentiful on the internet. Yeah, yeah, I know what you will say: But how do we know that these are really photos of Bierce? I tell you what, Neil: When you produce comparable photos of a being you believe to be God, we will then debate the veracity of your photographic evidence versus my photographic evidence. Then we can get into issues like parentage, siblings, school and/or military records, wives and children, and so forth.

So given I can't bring God to a dinner party and introduce him around, how, precisely, would you expect me to prove to you that God exists?

How do you know that God wouldn't come to a dinner part if you invited him? You are one of his chosen few, after all, so he might respond favorably. And if he declines, he might do so in writing, in which case you could post a sample of God's handwriting on the internet.

Ghs

"How do you know that God wouldn't come to a dinner part if you invited him?"

If God showed up using another body and identified himself to me convincingly, it would be a new experience I've not yet had. You apparently think God is someone I can summon like a Genie by rubbing a lamp. Nope. I did't call him; he called me. And I don't have a bat signal to shine into the sky, either.

God went to all the trouble of contacting me and what did he get out of it? A novel that didn't get published by any major publisher and has probably been read by under 500 people total, and an unproduced script adaptation; a personal book-length memoir that's equally obscure; a few online debates like this where I convince nobody that it happened. Not a lot ended up on his plate. And you expect God's going to show up to prove me right like George Burns at the end of Oh God! and go "Tada! Here I am!" when I haven't even gotten my experience written up in a single newspaper paragraph, much less any high-profile TV controversy?

You have a better chance to get God to make a personal appearance than I do, George.

Edited by J. Neil Schulman
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George, let's say for a moment that people tell you about their "flight." One person describes a voyage in a hot air balloon. Another describes recreational sky-diving. Another tells of his experience as a bombadier dropping bombs over Dresden. Still others tell of their experiences going through airport screenings, piloting a Piper Cub, being a passenger on a jetliner landed on the Hudson River, hang gliding, being a traffic reporter over L.A. in a news chopper, getting a ride in the Goodyear Blimp, being shot down over North Vietnam.

The nature of the experience I had -- having God merge his identity and multidimensional view of human psyches, sharing information with me via "mindmeld," -- is as different from other descriptions of "mystical" contacts with God as between falling off a ladder and three orbits around the earth.

I cannot figure out why you are so intent on denying the fundamental similarities between your experience and the mystical experiences of other people. This is especially curious in view of your previous insistence that people interpret events in terms of their own life experiences. It should therefore come as no surprise that the mystical experience of a 13th century mystic, such Meister Eckhart, will not conform in every detail to yours.

Perhaps you wish to claim not only that God talks to you but that he talks only to you. This would promote you from the rank of mere prophet to that of messiah.

Ghs

I've already answered this question several times in this thread. I have yet to find in any of my readings or discussions anyone else who claims that God entered his body for eight hours and conflated our personal identities, shared multi-dimensional cognition including the ability to look at other people's past and "central motivating factor" future; and uploaded to me a database of information which ended up unfolding over the subsequent years.

That description of my 2/18/1997 12:00 noon PST to 8:00 PM PST seems pretty fucking specific, George, which I think eliminates it from the "ineffable" category, and I think makes it fundamentally distinct at the core.

As for me claiming to be the messiah, I'll answer you when I see the opening weekend box office on Alongside Night. :-)

I would like you to be very clear about something. Are you claiming that, to the best of your knowledge, God has talked only to you?

If this is not what you are claiming, if you concede that God has talked to others has well, then by what criteria do you distinguish between authentic mystical experiences and those that are not authentic? What cognitive standards to you use?

This is far more than an academic question. If you reject (say) 99 percent of the mystical experiences reported by others, then you have given the rest of us good reason to be skeptical of all such claims, including yours. Thus does this question naturally suggest itself: Why should we grant any more credibility to your claim than you are willing to grant to similar claims by others? Why shouldn't we lump your claim in with all the rest, rejecting each and every one of them as untrustworthy? This is the natural conclusion for us to draw unless you provide some criteria by which we can separate your experience from the rest of the pack.

Ghs

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George, let's say for a moment that people tell you about their "flight." One person describes a voyage in a hot air balloon. Another describes recreational sky-diving. Another tells of his experience as a bombadier dropping bombs over Dresden. Still others tell of their experiences going through airport screenings, piloting a Piper Cub, being a passenger on a jetliner landed on the Hudson River, hang gliding, being a traffic reporter over L.A. in a news chopper, getting a ride in the Goodyear Blimp, being shot down over North Vietnam.

The nature of the experience I had -- having God merge his identity and multidimensional view of human psyches, sharing information with me via "mindmeld," -- is as different from other descriptions of "mystical" contacts with God as between falling off a ladder and three orbits around the earth.

I cannot figure out why you are so intent on denying the fundamental similarities between your experience and the mystical experiences of other people. This is especially curious in view of your previous insistence that people interpret events in terms of their own life experiences. It should therefore come as no surprise that the mystical experience of a 13th century mystic, such Meister Eckhart, will not conform in every detail to yours.

Perhaps you wish to claim not only that God talks to you but that he talks only to you. This would promote you from the rank of mere prophet to that of messiah.

Ghs

I've already answered this question several times in this thread. I have yet to find in any of my readings or discussions anyone else who claims that God entered his body for eight hours and conflated our personal identities, shared multi-dimensional cognition including the ability to look at other people's past and "central motivating factor" future; and uploaded to me a database of information which ended up unfolding over the subsequent years.

That description of my 2/18/1997 12:00 noon PST to 8:00 PM PST seems pretty fucking specific, George, which I think eliminates it from the "ineffable" category, and I think makes it fundamentally distinct at the core.

As for me claiming to be the messiah, I'll answer you when I see the opening weekend box office on Alongside Night. :-)

I would like you to be very clear about something. Are you claiming that, to the best of your knowledge, God has talked only to you?

If this is not what you are claiming, if you concede that God has talked to others has well, then by what criteria do you distinguish between authentic mystical experiences and those that are not authentic? What cognitive standards to you use?

This is far more than an academic question. If you reject (say) 99 percent of the mystical experiences reported by others, then you have given the rest of us good reason to be skeptical of all such claims, including yours. Thus does this question naturally suggest itself: Why should we grant any more credibility to your claim than you are willing to grant to similar claims by others? Why shouldn't we lump your claim in with all the rest, rejecting each and every one of them as untrustworthy? This is the natural conclusion for us to draw unless you provide some criteria by which we can separate your experience from the rest of the pack.

Ghs

George, I'm attempting to be rigorous in my claims, and I apologize if it comes across as solipsistic or reductionist.

1) I make no claim to exclusive contact with God.

2) I've been looking for someone else I can point to and say, "Yes, this person had the same experience I had so I regard it as a genuine contact." I haven't found a description by someone else of an experience that matches up point-by-point with mine.

3) That doesn't eliminate contacts using other methods than the one used with me. It just means I can't personally affirm other contacts as genuine.

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"How do you know that God wouldn't come to a dinner part if you invited him?"

If God showed up using another body and identified himself to me convincingly, it would be a new experience I've not yet had. You apparently think God is someone I can summon like a Genie by rubbing a lamp. Nope. I didn't call him; he called me. And I don't have a bat signal to shine into the sky, either.

God went to all the trouble of contacting me and what he get out of it? A novel that didn't get published by any major publisher and has probably been read by under 500 people total, and an unproduced script adaptation; a personal book-length memoir that's equally obscure; a few online debates like this where I convince nobody that it happened. Not a lot ended up on his plate. And you expect God's going to show up to prove me right like George Burns at the end of Oh God! and go "Tada! Here I am!" when I haven't even gotten my experience written up in a single newspaper paragraph, much less any high-profile TV controversy?

You have a better chance to get God to make a personal appearance than I do, George.

As luck would have it, I invited God over to my place 10 minutes ago, and he actually stopped by. God is still here, mind-melding with me as I write this, and he wants me to convey this message.

God wants me to tell you that he never talked to you and that he would appreciate it if you stopped claiming that he did. When I asked God about your experience, he replied: "Oh, you know how those science fiction writers are; they are all nuts. I thought about including an 11th commandment, Thou shalt not write science fiction, and now I wish I had. "

Is there anything you would like me to ask God, Neil? He said that he can stick around for most of the day.

Ghs

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I have yet to find in any of my readings or discussions anyone else who claims that God entered his body for eight hours and conflated our personal identities, shared multi-dimensional cognition including the ability to look at other people's past and "central motivating factor" future; and uploaded to me a database of information which ended up unfolding over the subsequent years.

I haven’t been posting on this thread because I feel I should read the linked interview first, so I don’t mean to be rude just popping in and asking a couple basic questions. First, in allowing you to learn about the future, did God give you some winning Powerball numbers? Why not? That’s the database field I’d really like to have uploaded when it happens to me. Whatever the supernatural voice tells me to do, I’m game so long as it’s accompanied by winning lottery numbers. Hear that, Mephistopheles?

Second, where you on drugs? LSD or mushrooms, particularly? Had you used them before, and maybe had a flashback?

During the experience I had no sense that it was going to be only for a few hours. I thought these new cognitive abilities were a new and permanent feature of my life, and that my old cognitive limits were finished with. So I felt no urgency to ask for anything like tomorrrow's Lotto numbers; I didn't think conjuring up anything I'd need would be an issue. I've said that the experience ending was as shocking to me as it beginning.

I have never used any hallucinogenic substances, and the closest I'd come to anything mood enhancing was Ritalin prescribed for me at age 16 which I used for only a couple of weeks because it gave me excruciating leg cramps; a couple of joints I took hits off of at parties in the 70's and 80's (then I stopped because even a few hits of pot gave me hangovers) and maybe coffee. Even the Terpenhydrate with Codeine my dad gave me for a bout of bronchitis as a kid didn't have any recreational side effects. Never injected any drugs; never sniffed or snorted any drugs. No peyote, marijuana brownies, lines of coke, or any of the later designer drugs, either. I've enjoyed an occasional brandy, beer, bourbon, or scotch. But none of the above within weeks of my experience.

Compared to the rest of my generation, I could have been a poster boy for Nancy Reagan's "Just say no."

Edited by J. Neil Schulman
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George, I'm attempting to be rigorous in my claims, and I apologize if it comes across as solipsistic or reductionist.

1) I make no claim to exclusive contact with God.

2) I've been looking for someone else I can point to and say, "Yes, this person had the same experience I had so I regard it as a genuine contact." I haven't found a description by someone else of an experience that matches up point-by-point with mine.

3) That doesn't eliminate contacts using other methods than the one used with me. It just means I can't personally affirm other contacts as genuine.

If you cannot confirm the genuineness of other reports, how do you expect others to confirm the genuineness of your report? If you reject other reports because they don't conform "point-by-point" to your experience, then why should anyone who has not had an experience that conforms point-by-point to your experience grant any credence whatsoever to your report?

I am not talking about rigorous proof here; I understand that you don't claim to be able to prove to others that you talked to God. Rather, I am talking about a minimal degree of credibility. We normally don't spend much, if any, time examining a report if we don't first assess it as credible.

All of this is academic, however, since God has personally informed me that he never talked to you.

Ghs

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"How do you know that God wouldn't come to a dinner part if you invited him?"

If God showed up using another body and identified himself to me convincingly, it would be a new experience I've not yet had. You apparently think God is someone I can summon like a Genie by rubbing a lamp. Nope. I didn't call him; he called me. And I don't have a bat signal to shine into the sky, either.

God went to all the trouble of contacting me and what did he get out of it? A novel that didn't get published by any major publisher and has probably been read by under 500 people total, and an unproduced script adaptation; a personal book-length memoir that's equally obscure; a few online debates like this where I convince nobody that it happened. Not a lot ended up on his plate. And you expect God's going to show up to prove me right like George Burns at the end of Oh God! and go "Tada! Here I am!" when I haven't even gotten my experience written up in a single newspaper paragraph, much less any high-profile TV controversy?

You have a better chance to get God to make a personal appearance than I do, George.

As luck would have it, I invited God over to my place 10 minutes ago, and he actually stopped by. God is still here, mind-melding with me as I write this, and he wants me to convey this message.

God wants me to tell you that he never talked to you and that he would appreciate it if you stopped claiming that he did. When I asked God about your experience, he replied: "Oh, you know how those science fiction writers are; they are all nuts. I thought about including an 11th commandment, Thou shalt not write science fiction, and now I wish I had. "

Is there anything you would like me to ask God, Neil? He said that he can stick around for most of the day.

Ghs

Ask him who I can call to get the money I still need to set a start date for Alongside Night.

Edited by J. Neil Schulman
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Is there anything you would like me to ask God, Neil? He said that he can stick around for most of the day.

Can I get in on the action? First, the winning powerball numbers for Wednesday, and, while your at it, ask if he can or can't make a weight so heavy that he can’t lift it. I've always wanted to know how he answers that.

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Well, Neil, my pantheism is "sexed up atheism" and is nothing like you've got going.

"Sexed up atheism"? Now what on earth is that?

WS wrote: " 'It's quite interesting to observe the current emergence of believers (in whatever religion) posting here. Now wouldn't that give Objectivists the opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of their philosophy by going for the believers' premises? But for some reason this does not seem to happen. Why?'

It was me who wrote that, not William Scherk.

Where are you guys getting the notion that there has been no criticism of the basic notions of either AA or Schulman? AA was smashed repeatedly and kept evading what was said. Schulman can't say why the god he spoke to is even possible, let alone why the most reasonable explanation of his experience is that it was a communication from this impossible god. The fact of his conviction is his primary argument.

My point was that any notion of transcendence is incompatible with the premise of Objectivism (which is an atheistic philosophy), and that I'm surprised that several believers who have posted here seem to think it can be done. Imo if you believe in transcendence, you are no Objectivist, and vice versa.

As for Neil Schulman's God experience, as a religious agnostic, I'm interested in what he has to say.

But as we all know, people can have and have had throughout history very rock-solid, firm, imperturbable convictions that completely contradict each other.

I understand why Xray would make baseless assertions

What baseless assertions? Yes indeed, people can have ahve "firm, imperturbable convictions that completely contradict each other". I am merely pointing out those contradictions.

If you have to live forever and suicide isn't even an option, "splendid solitude" might well be a formula for boredom, solipsism, and being chased by "monsters from the Id." Creating others as a reality check might have been an escape from narcissism into being centered.

To me, the idea of having to exist forever in an afterlife even with company would not be appealing. It would associate it with being 'trapped in eternity'.

Untrue on both counts. But inasmuch as authors of scripture tend to be untraceable -- and likewise historical figures tend not to have Facebook accounts or email addresses much less listed phone numbers I can use to follow up if I find something of interest -- I've focused on searching for other living people. I've had a standing Google search on the phrase "I met God" for at least five years. I have yet to read anything that this search has found that even remotely approaches the "mind meld" I had, the specific features of which are being given the ability to look at other people in four dimensions and the "identity" conflation in which God was inside my body as much as I was.

Your experience was actually quite typical of mystical experiences reported by others.

But what is untypical is the long duration of N. Schulman's experience (8 (!) hours).

As William James wrote in The Varieties of Religious Experience (Modern Library ed, p. 410):

This overcoming of all the usual barriers between the individual and the Absolute is the great mystic achievement. In mystic states we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware of our oneness. This is the everlasting and triumphant mystical tradition, hardly altered by differences of clime or creed. In Hinduism, in Neoplatonism, in Sufism, in Christian mysticism, in Whitmanism, we find the same recurring state.....

So mystics belonging to different religions have experienced a state transcending all the differences between those religions.

Similarly, in Mysticism and Philosophy (p. 101), W.T. Stace writes:

Eckhart and St. Teresa...both speak of "union with God," and this is common to all Christian mystics. It is part of their common tradition....If one can imagine Eckhart and St. Teresa meeting across the centuries and comparing notes, it would surely be very surprising to find that in speaking of "union with God" they meant quite different things....It is quite evident that all [Christian mystics] suppose that there is some one supremely important great experience which they refer to as "union with God," and which they all believe themselves to share with one another --although perhaps in different degrees.

But Eckhart also spoke of God as "das lautere Nichts" ('the Pure Nothing'), and imo this transcends the Christian tradition in that it resembles other mystic concepts like e. g. "Shunyata".

I can't prove mine. You can't prove yours. Occam's Razor is of no fucking use in making one side or the other asssume a burden of proof.

You are correct about Occam's Razor not being of evidentiary value. While Entia non sunt multiplicanda since necessitate is an excellent argument, it cannot be used for conducting proof.

For something can of course still exist even if it is not necessary - from an epistemological point of view - to posit its existence.

Edited by Xray
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Ask him who I can call to get the money I still need to set a start date for Alongside Night.

God said that you can call him, if you can figure out his unlisted number. Then he laughed and said, "I was only joking. Tell Neil that he should wander aimlessly in the Sinai desert for 30 days. On the 30th day at exactly 1 p.m., all the money he needs will fall from the skies like manna from heaven."

Ghs

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Ask him who I can call to get the money I still need to set a start date for Alongside Night.

God said that you can call him, if you can figure out his unlisted number. Then he laughed and said, "I was only joking. Tell Neil that he should wander aimlessly in the Sinai desert for 30 days. On the 30th day at exactly 1 p.m., all the money he needs will fall from the skies like manna from heaven."

Ghs

My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

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Is there anything you would like me to ask God, Neil? He said that he can stick around for most of the day.

Can I get in on the action? First, the winning powerball numbers for Wednesday, and, while your at it, ask if he can or can't make a weight so heavy that he can’t lift it. I've always wanted to know how he answers that.

God got pissed when I asked him about the winning lottery number. He doesn't like people hitting him up for personal favors. He added that you would have won the Powerball if not for your inappropriate request. But now you won't win anything, ever.

As for your other question, God said that nothing is "heavy" for him; the concept is not applicable. He also seemed pissed-off by your mentioning this old canard, and though he didn't mention any specific retribution for this impertinence, God did want me to warn you not to venture outside for the next week.

Ghs

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