“What are the chances that God would speak only to and through this particular group of people (who just happen to be our group of people)? …it became impossible for me to believe this.”
-Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again (p. 37)
Ranging from Atheist to Fundamentalist, there are many ways people may attempt to make sense of this the phenomenon – in which apparently equally compelling spiritual experiences are happening across the many different religious traditions of the world. I will try to boil these interpretations down to 5 approaches that might be seen as lying on different points of a spectrum.
1. Dawkins-Atheist – "All of your spiritual experiences are really just delusions, ignore them, or have yourself institutionalized."
2. Atheist/Agnostic – "Your spiritual experiences don’t really prove anything relative to the claims of a particular religious tradition, but they could be meaningful as they represent you discovering something about yourself and finding your place in the world."
3. Moderate/Progressive Mormon – "God needs people in every age and in every part of the world and in every religious or ethnic community who can reflect his love and teach those essential, universal truths of empathy, compassion, the connectedness of humans to all others and the connectedness of humans to rest of the universe. God inspires some to more or less ascribe to and serve in one religious community, and others to another (or none at all)."
4. Traditionally-believing Mormon – “Others feel the spirit testifying of their pieces of the truth, but we feel the spirit testifying that we have the whole truth.”
5. Fundamentalist Mormon – "Our spiritual experiences are the only legitimate ones, every else’s spiritual experiences are either delusions related to mental illness or 'the devil'."