What do you do with personal spiritual evidence?

My response to the following question (taken slightly out of context).

“What do you do with personal spiritual/numinal evidence? I have personally experienced what would be called a “spiritual” moment. The experience itself was utterly overwhelming, totally indescribably, and absolutely neutral. Indeed it was probably neutral precisely because it was so intellectually overwhelming. Only afterward, when I was trying to make sense of the experience, did I realize that I kept trying to make the blank slate of the experience conform to certain cultural and religious concepts. I believe religion takes advantage of this “empty space” by telling those who have had these experiences what they mean; by presenting ready answers to those desperate for something which can be grasped easily. I think religious dogma, iconography, etc are mapped on to these experiences after the fact, sometimes immediately after the fact for those heavily influenced by such ideas. On the other side of the coin however we have science. A scientist would likely say that I had some sort of psychological/physiological episode, and indeed I may have. I tend not to think so however as I have no history of such events, I’ve not had one since, and I was utterly lucid during the whole experience. The event was wholly phenomenological, i.e. personally experienced, and completely outside of my control. I have no evidence to show and I cannot reproduce the results. Dismissing personally experienced evidence because it is unable to be reproduced and peer-reviewed seems similarly dogmatic as letting religion hijack your experience. Obviously I could not use the experience to try to convince others of anything since I have nothing concrete to offer them, but that still leaves me with my experience. I have struggled with this for years. In the end I am forced to accept the experience as genuine (whatever that means), I have no reason to believe I was having abnormal brain chemistry or a powerful psychological break. Anyways, back to the main question, if you want to maintain a purely atheistic/scientific/materialist worldview how do you deal with what I will call “private” evidence?” -Anyonymous


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