Researching How People Come To Faith

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Irene, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Frrostedman

    Frrostedman Keepin' it cool

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    Lincolnspector I read your story. I can see how after associating with Pagans and living in Berkeley, you would feel very comfortable in your Agnosticism. I have respect and appreciation for Agnostics. Thank you for your contribution.

    I don't want it to seem like I'm trying to draw attention to myself but I just finished my next "chapter" and it took a while to put together.

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    It should be noted that at this time I had recently reread a book I thought profoundly interesting, "The God Hypothesis: Extra Terrestrial Life and Its Implications on Science and Religion," by Dr. Joe Lewels. The book went deep into the discussion of the ET influence on human history. But there was a single chapter, chapter 4, that stood apart. This chapter delved into the mysteries of the nature of our reality, and introduced me to the holographic model; exploring the possibilities starting with the precept that our universe--our reality--is a holographic illusion which comes to life only while observed. The work of several experts in their fields of study were triangulated and brought together, presenting an intriguing case--backed by scientific proof in the fields of biology and quantum physics--that our reality is holographic in nature. I found this to be incredibly interesting. I was already introduced to the concept of such a reality by having seen the movies I mentioned before (The Thirteenth Floor and The Matrix).

    So a couple nights or so after that powerful dream and asking the people in the forum to give their opinion on it, I was sitting in my high-back, black leather office chair, facing the computer... but thinking. My first thought was on our reality being virtual. My next thought was, assuming this is true, there must be a programmer who wrote the code... the reality program. Then in my mind's eye I pictured a figure in a small, very dimly lit room (almost dark). On all 4 walls of the room were banks of what looked like controls, and differnt colored crystalline knobs that emitted different colored lights. In the middle of the room was a square apparatus of some kind, standing on a pedestal. This square instrument was like a computer monitor. But instead of looking at the monitor like we do, this one was made like a table with a flat, transparent top, and you would look down into it at the image. It might have even been liquid, I couldn't tell. So, looking down into it, was the holographic image of our universe. My mind quickly demonstrated to me how it works. You could zoom out to see the entire universe, or zoom all the way in to the smallest point imaginable. Obviously this was the main apparatus to provide the programmer with information and allow interaction. The figure was sitting in a chair and wheeling back and forth from one bank of controls to another.

    My mind's eye then showed me some kind of interaction between the programmer and his son. The programmer was ready to wipe the slate clean on humanity, but his son intervened on our behalf. The son agreed to be transported into our realm, to demonstrate that a perfect life really could be achieved, and to die for us by our hand. The programmer agreed that if this was achieved, man would be given a path to heaven. My mind introduced this to me as a possibility; a way in which the bible really could be true, but in a purely "scientific" way, which was palatable to me.

    I fell back in my chair and closed my eyes. My mind flashed. Like sparks or fireworks. Then I started falling. Faster and faster, my mind gave me the sensation of falling, and being transported through winding tunnels. I didn't physically feel the sensation of falling but my mind somehow painted the idea into my imagination. Have you ever had an epiphany? If you have, then you know the powerful feeling that hits you as soon as you have it. An epiphany is where you suddently realize or discover a powerful truth that never occured to you before. When it happens, a normal reaction would be to have your "mind blown," as some might say. An adrenaline rush would normally accompany such an event. Well in my case, with the sensation of my mind falling and traveling quickly (similar to an astral projection?) I was also experiencing the senstion of having multiple, powerful epiphanies, one after another. It was incredible and hardly describable (I did my best). The experience lasted probably about 10 seconds. When it stopped, I slowly opened my eyes. Whether anyone else believes this is irrelevant to me, but, I opened my eyes as a full-fledged believer. A Christian.

    I was rattled by the whole thing and at first just whisked it away to the back of my mind. I scrambled to do something that was normal and routine. I went for my computer and got on the web forum. I just wanted to do something and get back to my routine and sort of forget what just happened. I got to the web forum and a private message was waiting for me. I went to open it up. It was a message from the Christian fellow in the forum named "Beeltegunz." All he said in the message was, that the dream I had described of being in the classroom and then the short blonde putting me on my back, etc. was, in his opinion and he had prayed on the meaning for it, the act of God "annointing" me. He said he didn't really want to tell me this because he knew I wouldn't believe it. But he was convinced; God had annointed me (the short blonde was apparently an angel) and I would soon be part of the family.

    Man, o Man. That one hit hard, after what I had just experienced. I was pretty jaw-dropped, awe-stricken by the whole thing. BUT... at the same time, I thought this whole thing would pass. I would return back to my normal self and be the Agnostic I always was. I was sure that this would go away eventually. I don't remember what I did next, but that's it for that episode. The next couple of days, I went about my normal routine.. work.. home... dinner.. sleep. But all the time I was concentrating in the back of my mind. I was waiting for this "believer" part of me to melt away. I was sure it would. But it didn't. It wouldn't go away. And so after a few days, knowing this wasn't going away, I asked my wife for a talk. I sat her down and told her, "You're not going to believe this. Heck, I don't even believe it. But for whatever reason... I am a believer now. I believe in God. I believe Jesus is our Lord. I'm a Christian now." She was shocked. Her instant reaction was to smile, kind of smugly, and say, "Yeah. Ok." In other words, she believed it was a phase. A fad. It would go away.

    And so life went on for the next several weeks. I was a believer, but, my wife and I both were 100% certain that this wasn't for real. Eventually, it would come to pass and my old self would come back. What happened over the next weeks and months would convince us otherwise. In an undeniable way.


    More to come.
     
  2. Frrostedman

    Frrostedman Keepin' it cool

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    I was working for Southwestern Bell, on site at Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, in Indianapolis, IN. The Eli Lilly campus it's absolutely enormous. Lilly bought many dozens of buildings in “Indy” and connected them all with a patchwork of tunnels, building extensions, breezeways, above ground hallways, etc. I would say there were close to 100 buildings in all, of various sizes, from 2 floors to 40 floors each. Since everything was interconnected, from the inside, it seemed like you were always in one huge building. And there were always at least half a dozen ways if not more, to get from A to B. As someone who is obsessed with doing things as efficiently as possible, I would try to find the quickest, most efficient way to travel between locations on campus.


    Another Strange Dream
    As far as the trip from my office to the Lilly cafeteria, I always took the same route. It's because the route was absolutely direct. Any other route would deviate from the straight line and thus, obviously, would be less efficient. One day I left the office to go grab lunch at the cafeteria. I ordered my food, received it in the usual Styrofoam container, and I started walking back to the office. Except this time, I decided to try a different route just for the heck of it. Instead of going straight in the direction toward the elevator that would take me up to my office, I turned left and headed to a different group of buildings. I just wanted to see what it was like, maybe it was more aesthetically pleasing. I had never been this way before, for any reason. It was completely new territory. I started along the large hallway and we entered building 78 or whatever it was. The hallway was about 50 feet wide. I noted that to my right were a long stretch of windows to the outside. This was nice! Some sunlight for a change. Nothing to the left of this but a wall. I also noted a slight uphill grade to the hallway. Anyway, I was just taking it in when... something suddenly occurred to me. I actually had been here before! But not physically. I dreamed about this area. Yes! I remembered! I dreamed that a group of people and me raced through the building on large, skateboard looking things. They were platforms with wheels and we traveled quickly. It seems we were doing “laps” around the hallways of the Lilly building, racing each other to see who could do it the fastest. So it was mind-blowing to me. I had never been here, but somehow the place was revealed to me in a dream just a few nights before! Ok so at that point, one would probably just chalk it up as weird, and pretty much impossible. But as I was walking, I remembered... “Wait a second!” I said in my mind. "If I really dreamed about this place, then up here at the top of this incline, there will be a hallway on the left and double doors just 20 or 30 feet down the hall.” And so I sped up my pace. As I approached the top of the incline, it was just as I remembered. Yep, there was the hallway! And when I made it to the hallway, I looked down the hall and sure enough! There was the set of double doors, exactly as I had remembered! Well, that was the proof I needed. I didn't tell anyone about it at work because I knew how crazy it would sound. But I was convinced: Either I had a clairvoyant dream, or, I had really visited this place via an out of body experience. Wow. Just incredible.


    Prayers Answered
    Other things started happening after my conversion. These things happened in such an incredible, immediate manner, they were utterly convincing to me: God was working in my life. On one occasion, I prayed to God for financial relief, and my wife and I received a check in the mail that day, from an unexpected source. (that one I'm going to leave at that) And then there was the instance where we had an old car for sale. We had it parked on the curb in front of us. We bought it for my wife's son to drive, but it turned out not to be “cool” enough for him so he didn't want it. We decide we might as well sell it because we needed the money. Well, we never got a single offer. Week after week after week, not a single person slowed down to look at it, or called us, or anything. Finally, one day when we were totally desperate for money, I looked out the window at that old car, and then closed my eyes in prayer. I prayed to God that the car would FINALLY just get sold and be gone from our lives. About 30 minutes later, a car pulled into our driveway. A man got out of the car and walked staright to our front door and knocked. I answered the door, and he said, “Hi. I live down the street and I've been passing by this car you have for sale. How much do you want for it?” I told him the price and he said he would be right back. He backed out of our driveway and drove off. I was getting the chills.... I had JUST prayed for this to happen! But... don't get excited yet. Maybe this guy wouldn't come back. Nope! About 5 minutes later, he knocked on our door again. This time he hadn't driven, he walked. Well, he had exactly the money we wanted … cash in hand. He asked us to sign the title over which we did, he handed us the cash, we handed him the key, and he left. He got in the old car, cranked it up, and sped off. Wow! The guy never test drove it or anything! It's like he was (pardon the pun) "driven" to buy that car! Sheesh. Well, another prayer answered. And then, on yet another occasion, I was at work, lamenting about our continued financial woes (we didn't make a lot of money but were also fighting a legal battle involving my wife's son and her ex-husband. So we were always strapped for cash. So I decided I would pray. I prayed for something to happen. Anything, be it a raise, a promotion.. where I could make more money. No less than 5 minutes later, my cell phone rang. I answered it, and, on the other end of the phone was an ex-employer of mine. “You're hard to find,” he said. We got to talking and he explained that he had been looking for me because he wanted me to come back to work for him. He had a job in Indiana that would be perfect for me, and he thought since I was there, it would be a perfect fit. Well THAT one blew my mind, since I had just prayed. It gave me the chills for sure. And as it turned out I was able to work from home, and I named my salary. It was way better than I could have hoped for, certainly more than I was asking for, and I thanked God for it countless times.


    The Dream of All Dreams
    As a Christian, and one who was literally obsessed with NFL football (being from Atlanta, I am a big time Falcons fan), I had a serious issue. When the football games I wanted to watch would come on, Church worship service would be in full swing. And if my wife and I felt like we should stay after worship to talk with anyone or congregate, I would end up missing almost the entire game. There was definitely a scheduling issue there and I outwardly expressed my major disappointment that I would often miss football action due to worship service being at the same time football was on. Let's suffice it to say, I was getting ready to tell my wife I'm going to stop going to church until football season is over. I knew that wouldn't go over well.

    And then I had a dream. The dream started off with me sitting on a carpeted floor. Sunlight was coming in from behind me. I was in a fairly large room inside a house. Sitting in front of me on the floor, was a closed cardboard box, about the size of a microwave. I was focused very intently on this box, but out of the corner of my eye to the right, I could see a group of people sitting in chairs with their backs to the wall. So, on my hands and knees I started pushing this box. It was extremely heavy and I could barely move it. It took all of my strength to slide it just a foot or so. And so, there I was, evidently with the goal of getting the box to the other side of the room, nudging this box little by little along the floor, and obviously struggling quit a bit. A voice came from the group of people on the right (I don't know who they were). Someone asked, “What is in that box that makes it so incredibly heavy? So I stopped, and opened the box. I told the person what was in the box. There were just 2 items. I said to him, “There is a coil of white electrical wire, and a transformer.” The transformer was what you woud expect. Just a nondescript metal box, about the size of a small book. Anyway, so then I woke up to my wife calling my name. I got out of bed and she called me some more and I told her I was coming. I found her in the laundry room. She said something was wrong with the dryer. It had just stopped working that very minute. I've never done dryer work before but in no time I could tell it wasn't getting power. I checked the circuit breaker and that wasn't the problem. So I took the screws off of a cover in the back of the dryer and sure enough. For whatever reason, the wiring inside the dryer had come loose. It was black around the junction box where the sparks must have flown, but anyway all I had to do was put a new end on the wire, clamp it back down tightly with a screwdriver, and voila! The dryer worked again.


    Immediately after that, we got dressed for church and off we went. When we got there, we were handed a pamphlet (which always describes the subject of today's service) and we went to sit down. To the soft, soothing sound of music, the congregation all made it in, and everyone sat in their seat. The minister came out, laid his bible and some other papers on his podium, and spoke. He said to all of us....”I have come up with a new subject I want to speak about, and we will be following this theme for a while." I sensed it would be something special so I lowered my eyes to the pamphlet my wife had in her hand. What was this special service going to be about? As he was speaking, I focused in on the pamphlet. He continued, “Today, and for the next 3 Sundays, I want to talk to you about Jesus Christ,” I looked at the pamphlet, and he and I said together, at the same time, in unison... “the Transformer!”


    Let that sink in. It doesn't sound Earth-shattering in writing, but, can you imagine what went through my mind at that instant? My wife looked at me, wondering why I said in an excited voice “The Transformer” at the exact time the minister said it. I immediately thought back to my dream—where I was struggling with the heavy, cumbersome weight of a transformer in that box I was trying to move. And then another epiphany hit me because in my heart I already understood the message: Perhaps it was Jesus Christ Himself who asked me what was in the box that was so “heavy.” The message was, could I not see that with my constant disappointment, almost resentment, of missing football so I could go to church, I was treating Christ like a heavy burden. That may seem far fetched to you the reader, but all of this hit me instantly. I knew it was precisely the message of my dream. I fell to my knees in prayer, and my wife looked at me, astounded. She tried to pull me up because she thought I was making a spectacle of myself. No one really said anything though and my prayer was short. I just asked for forgiveness that I treated Christ like a heavy burden and vowed not to let it continue. For the rest of the sermon, my mind was completely blown, and when it was over, I rushed down to the minister and told him what happened. Surprisingly, he didn't seem all that impressed and just said something about the Lord using various ways at His disposal to speak to our hearts.


    A few weeks later, my wife and I agreed to join a bible study group. One of the people in the congregation was a friend of my wife's and he asked us to join him at his house the next Monday night. We agreed and we drove to his house for the meeting. It was a pretty cool arrangement.. everyone brings a vegetable or dessert, and our friend Mark would cook the main course and supply drinks. We brought roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Yum. Anyway, we made our way to the front door and knocked. Mark greeted us at the door, and ushered us in, and pointed to the kitchen to our left. We walked into the kitchen, placed our food on the counter, shook a few hands, and continued on to the dining room. A few people were there, sitting at the dining table, chatting. To the right was the living room. We entered the room and there was no one in there. I looked across the living room and there was a set of french doors, with panes of glass, top to bottom. To the immediate right was the TV, and a pit group was in the middle. To the side of the pit group were several wooden chairs, arranged in a curve so that the all focused on the middle of the room. But there was something strange about that room. Not ones to take the best seat in the house as newcomers, my wife and I decided to sit in 2 of the wooden chairs. I sat with my back to the french doors, facing the TV. And then it hit me. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It hit me just like the minister's words “The Transformer” hit me. Right square in the face. I realized. There was a reason this room looked familiar. It's because it was the very room that I was in when I had the dream! This carpeted floor was the same color of the carpet I was pushing that heavy box across! And in the chair, I was sitting at the same place, and facing the same direction as I was in my dream! Oh man. Another crazy epiphany. This one sealed it. Completely awe-struck, I whispered to my wife what happened. She was awe-struck.

    And so that is it. This last dream, the dream of Christ the Transformer, is what I personally believe I can hang my hat on as solid personal proof of the existence of Christ, and that God is personal to us, and actively working in our lives. Whenever my faith weakens, all I have to do is remember this whole sequence of events, and my faith gains full strength again.


    Funny. As an Agnostic, I always said I would not believe in Jesus as Christ unless I was shown indisputable proof first. Well, I was wrong. I transformed to Christ first, and that was something I neither asked for, nor wanted. And after my transformation, I got my indisputable proof. So when a skeptic asks me to provide them proof, I can honestly say, “Yes I do.” But what I mean is, I have the proof I need in order to have faith and belief. This isn't the kind of "proof" that I would expect to change someone else's life.


    Thank you for listening. This was my first, and probably last time I will share such a long and personal story. I hope that at least 1 person was effected in a good way by it.


    God Bless you, everyone.
     
  3. Frrostedman

    Frrostedman Keepin' it cool

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    I have come to find out as a Christian, upon review of the whole string of events; what I experienced is actually quite a "textbook" conversion. Another substantial validation.

    Even the weird feeling I had at the beginning, where I knew something big was about to happen, completely describes what is called "the quickening"; the receiving of the Holy Spirit prior to transformation.
     
  4. Irene

    Irene New Member

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    Frosty, what a series of omens!!! I've never heard of anyone having this many vivid dreams one after another ... I know of several people who had a dream like that, but only once and not three times in succession ... and I don't know of anyone who had that clear vision of Christ coming down to earth to save us ...

    Thank you very much for sharing your story, and the most powerful story I have ever heard ... also the time and energy you put in to give the full account of your memory with such great detail ... I feel honored, indeed.

    God bless you,
    Irene
     
  5. Irene

    Irene New Member

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    Thank you very much also, wil and LincolnSpector for sharing your stories ...

    What we think as God may be different from each other, but I truly appreciate that you embrace and practice your religion in your own way. It was Keith Ward (a British philosopher, theologian) who said this [if my memory serves me right], and I hold this idea dear to my heart.

    "I am committed to belief in God, as the most morally demanding, psychologically enriching, intellectually satisfying and imaginatively fruitful hypothesis about the ultimate nature of reality known to me ..."

    Blessings to you all,
    Irene
     
  6. Shibolet

    Shibolet Member

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    To believe in God does not come as a result of a commitment but of how much we know of God although the more we know Him, the less we need faith. Soon enough we find ourselves walking by sight and not by faith, exactly the opposite of what Paul required of his followers: To walk by faith and not by sight. (II Cor. 5:7) In fact, although involuntarily, by juxtaposing faith to sight, he had revealed that, being sight akin to understanding, to walk by faith would be the same as to walk in the dark. Then, why would he prefer that Christians walked by faith and not by sight? Probably because he wanted them to accept his gospel without questions.
     

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