This is sort of an extension to my last post on my personal experiences in a charismatic church and the beliefs that led me to behave as I did. It has been my experience that most churches that put great emphasis on the so called gifts of the Spirit and the miraculous, do so from a position of faith. Their faith is derived from a literal interpretation of the scriptures. My excuse for all the inconsistencies in the bible were based entirely on 1 Corinthians 13:12 " Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known."
Christians believe that God is ineffable (indefinable) in that we as mere mortals clothed in imperfection cannot fully know or comprehend him. Once one is fully committed in their beliefs about God, especially hardcore fundamentalists there is literally nothing that can shake their faith. The bible literally has answers or shall I say nonsensical rebuttals to logic and reason. Whether this was done knowingly by its authors it's hard to say. As a former fundamentalist myself, I can say that the above cited verse of scripture was my defense against non-believers who sought to shake my faith. I could easily chalk up all of the bibles inconsistencies to human error and blame it on the varied authors imperfect state. It's never Gods' fault it's always our fault when we interpret a text incorrectly, or come to wrong beliefs due to our lack of properly comprehending the scriptures.
It is because of this, that many atheists who have never experienced charismatic Christianity find it mind boggling and hard to comprehend why theists are so adamant about their beliefs. Couple this deep indoctrination with the subjective experiences that accompany it and you will easily see why theists are so sure that they are right to believe as they do. They speak in tongues, believe that the Spirit of their deity resides in their body, prophesy, are slain in the Spirit regularly, etc. Just like a witness to an accident states "I know what I saw" the theists states "I know what I feel."
While I was a believer I had many visions, dreams, and even on one occasion a visitation by Jesus himself! I never faked being overcome by the Holy Spirit or spoke in tongues just to assert my position in the congregation. I am sure that there are plenty of people in the church who actually do those things. I myself can say that I was 100% deluded and got caught up in a web of lies and deceptions.
I had people come up to me during and sometimes weeks after a service I had led with testimonies about how they were healed from this or that ailment. When things went right for me about something I had prayed about I would take it as confirmation that I was within Gods divine will at that time. The best way to describe what I felt when I was speaking in tongues or sensing the Spirit coursing through me as I fell to the floor in ecstasy is that it was like being in a trance like state. A popular slogan in our church as it is in many churches was to "let go and let God."
To get to the levels of spirituality that I experienced it was necessary to surrender completely to my beliefs. I had to surrender mind and body alike to get closer to God; that was my quest as a believer. I had to be one with God. When I became a believer I was going through some things and I now believe that it was those things that served as a catalyst and made me susceptible to Christianity. It's similar to a boy or man who catches a girl or woman who has just had a bad break up. If you catch them in their moment of weakness and say the right things at the right time you might get laid and become that woman's rebound boy.
Christians prey on the down trodden and those of us in society that may be going through a rough patch in our lives. They offer them hope beyond all hope, and make promises that they obviously can't keep. But most of them are not even aware that they are doing it. They are so deluded that they are not faking when it comes to what they believe and their own personal religious practices. Unlike us, they don't acknowledge this as the real world. Their world is up in the clouds somewhere where they believe that they will spend eternity with their imaginary guy in the sky. They're not faking it; they're deluded!
Note: Bible quote is taken from the New Jerusalem Bible
Delusion: An erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary.
Sage English Dictionary and Thesaurus