Wednesday 17 September 2014

Personal spiritual experiences and evidence for the truth of religion - Blake Ostler


I have added emphasis in bold.

Q: What should you conclude when your spiritual experience conflicts with logical and tangible evidence?

A: This is a very good question. First I would suggest this, there’s nothing more immediate than your own experience. Only you know what your experience is. If it conflicts with logic? Trust me, I’m very good at logic and I know there are a lot of ways to do logic to make it conflict with just about anything I can come up with, that’s what I do for a living {laughter}. 

And tangible evidence? We don’t know what evidence is until we have all of our basic premises and axioms in place to begin with. You see, when I see through the lens of faith what counts as evidence is different than when I don’t see through the lens of faith.

In fact, I found something very interesting among people who have lost testimonies. Almost invariably they will say, “I had a testimony and then I decided, ‘I’m going to take a look at this without relying on spiritual experiences or the way that I see things when I trust the Spirit. I’m just going to see what logic or evidence provides.'”

The fact is that evidence isn’t self-interpreting, and logic is only a very useful tool for arriving – and I am very “Humean” about logic. All logic is ex post facto to prove what we already feel is true; how’s that?

Q: How can one find the truth when two people experience two opposite things while praying about the Book of Mormon? One gets the feeling it’s true, the other gets the feeling it’s wrong?

A: Well, I say trust your experience...

Trust your Heavenly Father. What I said was that the experience that anybody else has is not evidence for us. If somebody else has a different experience, I think I have good prima facia reason for believing my own experience as opposed to theirs. What else can I do?

And it comes down to faith. Am I going to trust my heart or not? Am I going to have an open heart or am I going to close it? That’s the bottom line. 

So trust your own experience and if your own experience tells you that the Book of Mormon just can’t be, and God confirms that, then go with God.


Bruce Charlton said...

@TE - Rather than posting your long set of questions - I suggest you read the transcript of Blake Ostler's whole talk which I linked at the beginning of the article. I think you will find the answers there.

TE said...

Indeed. Thanks for this reply; it was quite helpful. Especially in that it serves as a reminder that I'm still far too "addicted to distraction."