A question of experience

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A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of sitting around the table with a group of 10 Year 13 students for an hour and a half, discussing religious experiences whilst chewing on Haribo and Starburst!

The students had prepared some fascinating questions for myself and the team. These are just a few of their questions:

·     Do you believe in the Toronto Blessing being something religious or psychologically caused, and why?

·     How do you think religious experiences help to prove the existence of God?

·     Do you think there has to be a specific reason or circumstance for someone to experience a religious experience?

·     Do you believe religious experiences are everyday experiences of God or once-in-a-lifetime experiences with God, and why?

·     How do you know that the experiences you have experienced are religious experiences of God?

·     Why do only some people have a religious experience when God is omnibenevolent?

·     In what way do religious experiences further our understanding of God?

Our conversation weaved in and out of the questions and linked up with many of our personal experiences including answered prayer, healings, sensing God’s peace and dealing with disappointment, giving us an opportunity to illustrate God’s love for us and his involvement in the world.

We were challenged that some of the students felt that God is inconsistent. We explained that God doesn’t choose to be tied down to a formula, but the most notable pattern is that he seems to respond to people’s faith rather than to any sense of entitlement.