Ugh, yet again I find a believer who is willing to speak as if they know something is absolutely, definitely true, because of “personal experience”.
I cringe and yawn at the same time when, once again, a theist or a believer in ghosts uses a real world example as “evidence” that they know more than my tiny unbelievers mind cannot comprehend.
“I could tell you all about the rollercoaster I just went on, but you would have to experience it for yourself to really understand”, they spout, happily expecting me to concede the point. They’re always disappointed.
For the sake of full disclosure, I used to believe in ghosts, even after I accepted that my belief in gods was unfounded, my personal experience of a “ghost” was all the convincing I needed. A ghostly figure would appear in the corner of my eye, every evening as I worked, but was gone as soon as I looked up. It really spooked me.
That was until one day, standing in a slightly different position to usual, I looked up and it was still standing there, staring straight back at me from one of the eccentrically positioned windows of an office extension, the building is over 80 years old, so all sorts of odd bits and pieces have been tacked on here and there. It was my own reflection.
I felt a proper tit, basing an entire belief in the supernatural realm on a sodding reflection of myself!
The reason it disappeared when I looked directly at it, was the fact that my perspective changed when I turned my head, my willingness to believe had allowed me to bamboozle myself into a false belief. Personal experience is not a reliable witness, and it sure as hell isn’t evidence.
As it happens, more coordinated, sophisticated and intelligent people than myself have made a living out of bamboozlement, magicians, conjurors, illusionists, mentalists, call them what you will, they often make a good living from exploiting the follies and foibles of the human brain, but they are at least honest about it, unlike the other kind of bamboozler, the conman, evangelist preacher, the cult leader, embezzlers, frauds and cheats, or deluded maniacs, take your pick, using their abilities to parasitise humanity for their own ends.
Anyone who doubts that evangelist preachers aren’t fast talking scumbags would do well to seek out information regarding Marjoe Gortner, who as a child was forced by his parents to act the part of a child prodigy, one to whom the Abrahamic god spoke directly and invested with special powers. Eventually he had had enough and dropped out, returning only once, with a documentary film crew, to exact what he presumably hoped would be a delicious revenge upon the parents who tortured him into compliance as an infant. He feigned a return to the fold, described to the film crew what he would do, and how, then went out and did it. It should have been the death knell for evangelism, but somehow, the scam continues today, almost entirely unchanged, despite a number of other expose’s and takedowns by sceptics, including James Randi, who undermined Peter Popof by tuning into his radio channel, over which his wife fed details of desperate believers, hoping for a blessing and willing to pay handsomely for it, in order that Popof might extract cash from the credulous by pretending to have a hotline to a deity.
Needless to say, evangelists disgust me.
If, by some odd quirk of the internet, you happen to be reading this, and happen to be convinced by preachers, I challenge you to look up the videos and documents about Gortner and Popof, if you come away from either with your faith intact, or stronger, then there’s no hope for you, you poor, gullible nitwit.
Anyone at one of Gortners’ sermons would swear that a cross appeared on his forehead, as if by magic, anyone privy to the behind the scenes footage, would see how he applied invisible ink, in the shape of a cross, which would only appear when it reacted with the sweat produced by his exuberant preaching.
Personal experience can be useful, but as evidence, it’s very little use without corroborating evidence.
And that’s one reason why I’m not convinced by claims about gods and ghosts anymore.