What you really mean is that you don't want to read between the lines. Or because of your religious bias, you are incapable of recognizing his bias, because it is similar to yours. Functionally it is the same.
People have experiences that are false on a regular basis, whether from exogenous chemicals or endogenous chemicals brought about by prayer/meditation/flagellation it does not make the experience true. Sometimes just because that is the nature of our brain. Amputees have 'direct experience' of their missing limbs, but it does not make their 'limbs' any more real. People - especially those that delve in the supernatural - are capable of convincing themselves of almost anything - such is the case with your claims. Drug induced stories can be very compelling - which make them very appealing and believable to their audiences.
Every experience, I or anyone else can have must is a direct experience. Unless you can download memories?
Science is not my nor anybody's religion. Science can be toppled, by and inconvenient truth. It must always adapt to knew discoveries, it grows, changes. Religions are static, like your beliefs. They are based on religious beliefs. Religion sooths, comforts, dulls. It is why it has been called opiate for the masses. It dulls the pain of reality, alays fears for those that cannot face them.
Your story about the rowers describes the religious to a tee. They and you are afraid that Science will destroy your boat and you will find yourself alone without any support. It is why they fight Science and rationality so fervently, they really have no choice.
Me, I would have learned to swim.
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today". Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992)