"Bad" Born-Again Experience - Anyone?

A couple times on this forum I’ve brought up my Born Again experience, giving a very
paraphrased version of the story, and every time it was described as UNPLEASANT*!

Now I’m not going to even give a paraphrased version of my story here, just going to
ask everyone; Has anyone else had a “Bad” Born-Again Experience? I’m talking like
that kind of thing when you live your life, going in the wrong direction, then some ran-
dom event happens that changes your life for the “better”, but only after a distressful
inner-crisis of sorts.

You’re walking in a cave deep under the Earth, walking confidently with your flashlight,
torch, lantern, whatever. Soon the lights go out, your personal source of light has just
failed, and you’re now in utter darkness! You are their for a while, you now know what
the Truth is, and it takes a long time to get back and feel safe once again.

Does that analogy relate to anyone’s Born-Again Experience?
[RIGHT]*(I’m fine now, thanks for asking. :p)

I really do not understand what you mean.Catholics are born again through the waters of Baptism and we are sealed at our Confirmation.

I believe the OP is referring to being “Born Again” in the Evangelical Protestant definition. Where you have this horrid experience something like St Paul had on the way to Damascus where he got knocked for a loop and temporarily blinded and when he got to Damascus, this guy named Ananias came and laid hands on him. Whereupon Paul regained his sight and was “Born Again”. Reminder, many Protestants don’t believe one is born again by baptism, but by "accepting Jesus as their personal Savior " in a prayer service.:shrug:

I had a “born-again” experience when I was a Protestant. I was walking in ignorance or darkness until I realized I needed Jesus as my Savior. Unfortunately I was raised as liberal Protestant and believed I was suppose to be basically good. So when I discovered I wasn’t I had a spiritual crisis.

:smiley: Yes, I had to reconcile the experience with my current beliefs.

Sorry,I did not know Judas was speaking from a Protestant perspective.I thought he was always Catholic…

What does the part about walking in a cave, and all the lights go out supposed to mean? When most protestants say they have been “born again” few of them convert back to their old faith, but am glad that you have found Christ’s true church. You said you have described your experience a few times, but can you give a few examples of how it was unpleasant.

I am just going by what he posted. It just seemed from what he wrote that he was referring to a Protestant perspective.:shrug:

I can relate to the cave analogy. I was spelunking and decided to experience the darkness of being a mile underground. When I extinguished my light, the darkness had weight,and it was crushing. I was immensely glad when my light came back on. It was not a bad experience, though and did not change my way of living.

What brought me back to Jesus was an experience in Lynchburg, Virginia. There is a wonderful bike trail that is about 7 miles long. When I worked there, I would often ride the trail after work to unwind. I was about 3 miles down the trail when my front tire flatted. I did not have a patch kit, so I started to push it back to the car. A thunderstorm hit and got worse as I walked along. I had to cross two metal bridges and walk under one trestle, then along a ridge in the woods. I considered myself an atheist at the time, but by the time I got to the trestle, I was praying fervently. Lightning was striking along the ridge and limbs were breaking out of trees. I was so wet that water was squirting up out of my shoes when I took a step. As I prayed, I experienced a profound peace, and my fear of injury or death subsided. I had to carry the bike over several downed trees and the storm continued well after I got to the car. Power had been knocked out and water was running down the road almost overflowing the curbs. Had something happened to me on the trail, I would not have been found until the next day.

It was a bad experience, but led to a good outcome. I look back on it as one of the most important things that ever happened to me and give thanks to God for it.

My experience was quite profound, I thought I was having a heart attack and I cried out JESUS HELP ME! I’ll never forget it.

This is a conversion experience not a born again experience. We are made a child of God through the ‘water and spirit’ in our Baptism that’s how we become ‘born again’. We can have profound ‘conversion’ experiences or smaller ones each one bringing us more grace and closer to Christ which helps us to become more like Christ/God so that we will one day share in full knowledge with God. But part of that knowledge is having the truths revealed about ourselves which can be unpleasant. Faith is a journey and those profound experiences like the previous poster said, are a blessing. Purgatory is another time where we will experience some suffering in order to be washed clean of all our sins before entering into heaven, because no sins can enter heaven. God doesn’t have sin, and we can’t either and we want to co-exist with the Father.

The trials of life cause us to suffer, and it is our sufferings that bring us to the truth and to the better good so sufferings are a good thing. Just look what happened to Jesus on the cross He suffered and died for all of our sins so that we all can receive the mercy of God and eternal life. .Peace…

Those are acts of faith. I was baptized as a baby, then when I was 17 was confirmed, being
enthusiastic about the faith, but not really knowing too much. The acts were valid, not say-
ing they weren’t, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I was finally made truly alive by the
Holy Spirit.

I guess we’re all born again in different ways, sometimes the waters are suffic-
ient, if not that then confirmation, but if that still isn’t enough, I guess God will
find a way to draw one back into saving grace.

We are made a child of God because as we receive the waters of baptism we are cleansed of any impurities and receive initial graces from God to help us grow in the faith. Jesus initiated this sacrament and told everyone to do this in the name of the Father and the Son and The Holy Spirit.

We are first born from our mothers womb and secondly born again in our baptism. Parents have their children baptized to make them a child of God with taking baptismal vows promising to raise their children Catholic, because it’s also welcoming sacrament into the church community, and then confirmation is second and seals baptism because it’s the child accepting the faith that was given to them by their parents so it becomes their ‘owned’ faith and completes the sacrament of baptism. They are both called sacraments of initiation.

I don’t think he’s entirely correct, can’t be exclusively Evangelical
Protestant, because I never was one, I was actually a Pagan for
a time then was suddenly reborn.

It appears to me that there are many kinds of Born-Again Experiences following a “distressful inner-crisis of sorts.” But I am not so sure that they are totally due to some “random event.”

In my childhood neighborhood, the “going in the wrong direction” would have been called “hitting bottom.” I remember a man coming back to his family after 20 years on Skid Row when it was real in Chicago. I am sure that people looked at that as a Born-Again type experience. My parents talked about how his wife had waited for him and they gave her credit for his return. Somehow, I would not consider his prayer-filled wife a random event.

Grace flows from God through these sacraments, you didn’t realize you had these graces until you underwent a conversion experience and allowed the graces to take over your being. God does not take any one unwillingly, they must come over to Him willingly. That’s why there is the scripture.

Mark 16:16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.

So you were baptized, but you did not believe. Now you believe as well. You’ve let go of any doubt and given your life to Jesus.

What you see as being reborn was actually a conversion experience. You always had the spirit of God with you through your baptism and confirmation though you didn’t see it.

Okay, maybe my story would have helped, just wanted to spare you all the details, but
I was never a Protestant, I was a PAGAN, but I’m glad I found Christ’s true church too. :smiley:

Anyway, to be as brief as possible, I was young, searching, eventually held a grudge
against Christianity (mostly due to it’s bad history, witch-hunts and blah blah blah) so
I became a Pagan, got into very gnostic things, radical feminism, Goddess worship…
I became so convinced of my path, I literally brainwashed myself, that’s how powerful-
ly I strayed from the Truth.
Then one day, was flipping through some stuff on the web, was kinda reminded of Hell,
blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and so forth, other things and so on, and like open-
ing a door on a very gusty day or the door of a submarine deep underwater, the Holy
Spirit just FLOODED in me, and it felt so terrifying (looking back now I find it almost
funny). It took some time, but I eventually got back into the Faith in one piece.

I hope that story I gave is much more clarifying.

I believe the ones who have the most powerful conversion experiences become the most ernest Christians who do great evangelical work.

Hello there - I would say your light went out a long time ago (you had no flashlight, torch, lanter, etc) and the light that did shine revealed your state and what is truly around you. No matter how horrific it is, keep striving forward, don’t look back, and you’ll get out. Also, being that you’ve delved into paganism and gnostism, would recommend you spend time refuting its concepts and beliefs that you hold and will keep you chained. There are a couple of Saints I can think of that have done this: Hippolytus of Rome and Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

I think what the OP is describing is those intense encounters with the living God. We can be very Catholic, go to Mass and confession, say our prayers and write a check to help the poor. But we are not in relationship in the true sense of the word. Many times Jesus reminds us that he really is alive and well and yearning for a relationship with us. This happens, for some, in the midst of their greatest darkness. He comes to meet us and reveal himself to us in those times in a very personal way, when the things of this world are stripped away and we are left with God as our only hope. This has been my experience as well.

Bad Experience: At age 8, me parents signed my up Christian bible-camp - probably to put just enough religion into me so I could tick off the ‘christian’ mark on the census form. At the camp, I was coerced to ‘accept Jesus into my heart’ and was only let alone when I grudgingly mimicked what was expected. I was agnostic, and the experience made me churlish when it came to Christianity.

Good Experience: I hanging my feet over the edge of the roof of the small cabin we were building and looking at the view. I saw my insignificant place on the ground, on the earth, in the universe and yet I knew someone loved despite my ultimate insignificance. I became a Diest - I understood that this ‘place’ and even the hairs on my head were created.

Best Experience: The first time I was at the communion rail after understanding what was really going on. God was giving his own Body and Blood to me… I was violating all the taboos and intellectual arguments society had created. I then knew that I relied on God’s Grace even for the air we breath.

Just like the example of St Paul in Acts.

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