I wasn't initially going to watch the 2nd part of Derren Brown's Fear And Faith series, because, I suppose, I didn't want to watch an atheist explain God away as a 'placebo'. But curiosity got the better of me and I have now watched it. It was in no way as offencive as I had feared it might be, in fact it was very interesting and proved again that Derren is a master manipulator of suggestion to the human mind.
The atheist he 'converted' wasn't looking for anything missing in her life, and all she described was an overwhelming emotion of love, this had been brought about, as Derren explained afterwards, by his tapping at certain points in the conversation to make a connection of all the correct emotions at the end when he left her and made his final tap.
Correctly he assimilated some faith conversions to an overwhelming emotion and hyped up activity, such as were seen in the Billy Graham meetings a few decades ago.
I was listening to the Unbelievable pod cast recently, they were reviewing their Atheist Prayer Experiment in which they had asked Atheists to pray daily for God to reveal himself to them and to report back anything which they had considered a sign or a reveal from God.
A couple of ladies had described their experience of a Rainbow they had seen during the experiment. This didn't lead them on to become full blown Christian believers in God, but they thought it was a sign to them during the time of the experiment.
The point is everyone's experience is unique to them, whether it is attributed to God or suggestion from a person or group, it is unique to you. What we as individuals have to decide is, what we are going to do as a follow on from that experience.
On the Derren Brown programme, the atheist said she 'wished she could have known about that love sooner, why couldn't she always have felt like that?' although the trigger to that overwhelming emotion was planted by Derren, if she does want to investigate finding that feeling again further and chooses to go down the God route to do it, she may well find God for real; or she may choose to look for it elsewhere in relationships or material things.
With the atheists in the Unbelievable experiment, they are left mulling over what they understood to be a sign as a result of their prayers to ask God to reveal himself. They can either just put it down to a phenomenon that they don't quite understand and forget about it and move on, or perhaps they can continue with their prayers for God's revelation and take their quest to find him a step further.
Derren concluded his programme with the thought "if you believe in god, it's probably because it makes you feel happy."
I think any Christian will tell you it is so much more than happiness that our belief brings us, it is forgiveness, it is eternal existence with God in Heaven, it is peace.......
Have you had an overwhelming 'Religious' experience? Or encountered God in an unexpected circumstance?