The story goes like this.

The apologetic had a religious experience. An intimate, honest, intensive experience. Most probably, this experience happened in a certain context - at a church or a mosque, alone in a cave at sunrise, with her bible in her hand alone at home... and probably, the apologetic had a specific, probably religious upbringing.

So, given the situation, it was just the obvious choice to interpret her experience in the terms of a certain religion. The words other members of this faith use, the words from a holy book, the words from the tradition of that faith.

From that moment on, the apologetic most certainly had lots of similar experiences. And of course, she interpreted those in the framework she got used to, as well. That's not bad. That's not a fallacy. That's just the way we human beings operate - an interpretation has worked in the past, why not use it from now on?

So... our happy apologetic meets our happy skeptic.

The skeptic, of course, has made his own experiences, and he has formed an opinion about what he believes is the apologetic's creed. Either he was once a believer himself, and has gotten skeptical because the words of this faith failed to convince him, or he has read the holy books without being a member of said faith.

So. The two meet, perhaps at some outreach. The start talking.

And almost by necessity, the apologetic will use the words of the holy book to convince the skeptic. She thinks those words are convincing - after all, they seem to match her experience perfectly! So she cannot grasp why the skeptic won't believe her.

The skeptic, on the other hand, will use the same holy scripture, pointing out logical flaws and inconsistencies, to show that this cannot be a good, qualified basis for a religious faith.

Well, it isn't. And it needn't be. The holy book consists of the experiences of other people, long dead, who were equally trying to express an experience that is, by definition, impossible to put into words.

But both our heroes fail to see that. They're talking about a whole lot of interesting, challenging intellectual questions - but they're not communicating about the one and only thing that can really create or destroy faith: personal experience.

They're like an old married couple who quarrels about whether that ship in her honeymoon was yellow or blue. They have talked about it for ages, never agreeing, never able to agree, and completely missing the point, namely how they loved each other then and love each other still.

It's kind of amusing, really, in a very, very sad way.

[xposted a bit]