So why do people with religious experiences assert that their feelings of God's presence are valid and believable, but when another person who has never experienced God admits this, they are told that they shouldn't trust their feelings, the implication being that their feelings are lying to them about the reality of God's existence and personal presence in their lives?
I'm intimately familiar with this line of reasoning. I used it.
There is no proof of God. For some reason I've always known that. But I've had experiences. These might mean something to me, but they provide no proof for others. And now, I realize, for me. In fact, I now know that our experiences can be shaped by our preconceived ideas. I respect the fact that our minds can concoct the most amazing experiential cocktails imaginable. Then these experiences confirm these preconceived ideas and construct more elaborate edifices upon them. Truly, the mind has the remarkable ability to create a closed loop of religious belief and experience that is completely convincing to the subject. These experiences I've had I catalog in the "Mystery" section.
These two friends will continue their philosophical discussion for a little while longer, talk about a couple of books they're reading one by Rob Bell and the other by Slavoj ≈Ωi≈æek and then they will return to work.
PS: I was interviewed by The Claremont Journal of Religion
on sexuality, gender, LGBT, etc. You can read it
The online community The Lasting Supper is full of people who talk about this stuff every day with each other in a peaceful, non-confrontational space. I invite you.