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16-01-2012, 01:21 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(16-01-2012 01:05 PM)TalladegaTom Wrote:  Again I offer you the witch argument for your consideration.
If a loved one is accused of being a witch, what is your defense?
Think it through. It is a worthy thought experiment.

I would say to the person who accused a loved one (we'll say my wife) of being a witch "Is it your desire that my wife remain a witch ? I know a powerful magical shaman, who for $500, per person who believes she's a witch can de-witch my wife permanently. I am perfectly fine with her being a witch, but if of you don't like it, it's going to cost you $500 bucks for the Shaman to do his work. Now I ask you again, is it your desire that my wife remain a witch or are you willing to put up $500 bucks to remove the witchery from her" ?

She's already told me that she has a spell started to turn you all into frogs, so really, coughing up $500 is a much better deal that being turned into a frog, don't you think ?

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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16-01-2012, 01:40 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(16-01-2012 01:17 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(16-01-2012 12:49 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I like Lucradis' post. The problem is that most atheists on this forum want to debate a fundie and not someone like KC. That is the reason I have not got on here to ask KC questions, because I know that his answers won't be fundamental BS and that I still won't agree with them. What the atheists who are trying to convert KC want is a YEC fundamentalist evangelical to start a thread with this title.

I was thinking this as well. You see, there are actually a good bit of Christians that believe the way do; however, they are not tenacious like a fundie. These type of Christians tend to stick around the scholarly theological world and usually only converse with others who are scholarly and theological. It's not because they're afraid to debate non-believers; it's simply because it isn't efficient. Both sides aren't going to be converted, so it becomes a Mexican stand-off. What you'll also find is that a lot of these Christians have, indeed, done what I'm doing and grew tired of it; thus, returning to debate fellow Christians on theology.

Quote:I will concede and ask KC a question though, just to keep the purpose of the thread alive. This is something I have been thinking about quite a bit lately and something I have conversed with my office mate about and I want to see what a theist thinks about it, so, KC, here we go (and I hope that this has not already been asked but I don't have the patience to wade through 42 pages of responses)

lol I still don't know everyone doesn't do the 50 posts per page option.

Quote:You cannot prove the nonexistence of something that does not exist. It is easy to prove the existence of something because all you need is evidence of it. I can go out into the woods and find evidence of the existence of a raccoon, tranquilize it and bring it back to the lab and prove it exists. If I go into the woods to prove that bigfoot exists, I will come out with no positive evidence that it exists, but I will also be unable to find evidence that it does not exist. The reason is simple, something that does not exist, cannot leave behind evidence. This is why the myth of bigfoot continues, because scientists can't say that it 100% does not exist, all they can say is that there is no evidence to support the claim that it does exist and therefore is unlikely to exist.

So, here is the question KC (after a setup paragraph). I am going to ask you to stop believing in God for a few minutes and pretend that you do not believe in his (or her) existence (I hope that is a reasonable request). How does one assert the existence of god, from the perspective of skepticism? In other words, how does someone draw the conclusion that God must exist, in the absence of evidence that it exists? This question is one that I would also pose to any bigfoot believers as well.

I am also going to ramble on here that I did this myself for a variety of topics and found myself in the process. I stopped believing in the existence of an alien presence on Earth, bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and eventually god in this manner. I am not expecting KC to convert, I am merely trying to say that I am only asking KC to do something that I also did (it is not really fair to ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself). Julia Sweeney has a book/speech where she talks about this as well. She talks about putting on the "no-God" glasses for a few minutes each day and seeing how it worked. If no one has read/heard her book/speech called "Letting go of God" you should check it out.

I have alluded to this question, but I have not directly answered it. And, you know what? Your Bigfoot analogy works well.

You see, there is no conclusive evidence for Bigfoot, so how would one go about believing in Bigfoot without evidence? There are 3 ways:

1) Be indoctrinated into believing he exists.
2) Be willfully ignorant at the lack of evidence and choose to believe against reason.
3) See/experience Bigfoot.

As a caveat, though, none of these can be proved to anyone else but yourself.

For the belief in God, I feel that for many religious people #1 and #2 seem to be the most dominant. #3 is much rarer, and undoubtedly produces the strongest type of belief. For me, #3 happened. I can't deny it; I won't deny it.

As a former skeptic, my assertion that God exists is the fact I now believe God exists. Now, this assertion is real to me, but I cannot prove it via evidence.

Coincidentally though, my belief becomes a strong form of relative anecdotal evidence. How? Because there is no way that a person who embraced logic and reason would ever adopt the belief of Christianity because it relies too much on faith - something that is in direct conflict with the aforementioned two. But, it happened... and, you won't convinced me otherwise.

Thanks for the reply. #1 and #2 obviously don't prove anything (as you pointed out). I was really hoping your response would not be #3 (only because I was hoping to hear something new), but alas, that is your answer then.

I think we may have conversed about this before, but I don't see personal experiences as evidence of anything other than what one wants it to be. When I identified myself as a Christian, I would have alluded to some event being inspired by god, but that did not make it true. People have had personal experiences that have led them to believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster but these can often be explained as misidentification and/or tricks of the mind.

As I said before, I went through this thought experiment myself and realized that my desire to believe in something influenced how I interpreted certain events. I was convinced aliens were real and that they had visited Earth after a personal experience riding in the truck with my dad and seeing a passenger airliner hovering over a house in the middle of nowhere and a 100 miles from the nearest commercial airport. That personal experience caused me to tote around "evidence" for the existence of extraterrestrial UFOs but once I did this thought experiment, I came to realize that a more logical explanation for it was probably one of a biased memory and was more likely the result of being tired (my dad and I were driving back from the mall, which is 2 hours away from our house, and my dad had taken a detour and it was very late at night in the middle of nowhere).

As you have already said, I cannot convince you that your personal experience was not god and you can't prove it was. I am rather curious though, because even as a believer I never had any experience that I can remember saying or thinking had to be god. Would you mind telling me what it was (if you are not comfortable putting it in the thread you can pm me or tell me to fuck off, either way is fine)?

And an additional question in the event that you do not feel comfortable telling me the story, is; have you considered the other possible explanations for your personal experience that would explain it without the need of god or the supernatural? I ask because I genuinely want to know if the default answer was god and if any other explanation ever crossed your mind. When I was a believer I too would have went to the default of god and even when I was in the transition phase between belief and non-belief I would have been likely to say it was god (depending on what it was obviously, I would have been very unlikely to ever say that Tebow won because of divine intervetion).

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16-01-2012, 01:58 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(16-01-2012 01:40 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Thanks for the reply. #1 and #2 obviously don't prove anything (as you pointed out). I was really hoping your response would not be #3 (only because I was hoping to hear something new), but alas, that is your answer then.

I think we may have conversed about this before, but I don't see personal experiences as evidence of anything other than what one wants it to be. When I identified myself as a Christian, I would have alluded to some event being inspired by god, but that did not make it true. People have had personal experiences that have led them to believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster but these can often be explained as misidentification and/or tricks of the mind.

As I said before, I went through this thought experiment myself and realized that my desire to believe in something influenced how I interpreted certain events. I was convinced aliens were real and that they had visited Earth after a personal experience riding in the truck with my dad and seeing a passenger airliner hovering over a house in the middle of nowhere and a 100 miles from the nearest commercial airport. That personal experience caused me to tote around "evidence" for the existence of extraterrestrial UFOs but once I did this thought experiment, I came to realize that a more logical explanation for it was probably one of a biased memory and was more likely the result of being tired (my dad and I were driving back from the mall, which is 2 hours away from our house, and my dad had taken a detour and it was very late at night in the middle of nowhere).

As you have already said, I cannot convince you that your personal experience was not god and you can't prove it was. I am rather curious though, because even as a believer I never had any experience that I can remember saying or thinking had to be god. Would you mind telling me what it was (if you are not comfortable putting it in the thread you can pm me or tell me to fuck off, either way is fine)?

And an additional question in the event that you do not feel comfortable telling me the story, is; have you considered the other possible explanations for your personal experience that would explain it without the need of god or the supernatural? I ask because I genuinely want to know if the default answer was god and if any other explanation ever crossed your mind. When I was a believer I too would have went to the default of god and even when I was in the transition phase between belief and non-belief I would have been likely to say it was god (depending on what it was obviously, I would have been very unlikely to ever say that Tebow won because of divine intervetion).

It's cool man. I'm pretty much an open book. This is from post #210:

Evidence for me being elect:

Growing up, I was always embarrassed of Christianity and whenever my parents talked about Jesus. I thought church was silly, and I found the stories nothing more than fantasy.

I finally accepted agnosticism in college as my official belief, and I began to rip Christianity apart with the use of logic and rationality. I would combat Christians on the Internet via forums and use the aforementioned tactics against them to make them look like fools. I was good at it.

Driving home from work one day, my life changed. My heart was opened to a higher power; even though I didn't know whom. I'll try my best to explain this: I found myself suddenly and sincerely praying and listening to this higher power for guidance. This was wholly strange to me because up until that moment I didn't believe in a God that I could talk to.

My beliefs so drastically changed than I began to get angry with myself. I didn't understand how I could rationally accept that there was a higher power that I could converse with. It wasn't logical. Also, I never wanted to talk to a higher power, and I didn't understand how I was doing it if I didn't choose to. My knowledge of religion pre-empted the idea that I had to choose it.

The higher power led me to read and study the Bible. This was the first time that I’ve ever actually done it. It was at this time that I realized that the higher power I was talking to was the Christian God; however, I still didn’t understand why I didn’t get a choice. As my studying intensified, I began to learn about election. And then, it made sense. I realized that then reason I didn’t have a choice is because I was never planned to have a choice.

I knew that I was elect because I learned that those who are elect can hear the will of God and those that aren’t cannot even understand it.

So, that’s my evidence. I guess the most concrete part of it is the fact that my beliefs radically changed and became cemented by no choice of my own.

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16-01-2012, 02:01 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(16-01-2012 01:58 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(16-01-2012 01:40 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Thanks for the reply. #1 and #2 obviously don't prove anything (as you pointed out). I was really hoping your response would not be #3 (only because I was hoping to hear something new), but alas, that is your answer then.

I think we may have conversed about this before, but I don't see personal experiences as evidence of anything other than what one wants it to be. When I identified myself as a Christian, I would have alluded to some event being inspired by god, but that did not make it true. People have had personal experiences that have led them to believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster but these can often be explained as misidentification and/or tricks of the mind.

As I said before, I went through this thought experiment myself and realized that my desire to believe in something influenced how I interpreted certain events. I was convinced aliens were real and that they had visited Earth after a personal experience riding in the truck with my dad and seeing a passenger airliner hovering over a house in the middle of nowhere and a 100 miles from the nearest commercial airport. That personal experience caused me to tote around "evidence" for the existence of extraterrestrial UFOs but once I did this thought experiment, I came to realize that a more logical explanation for it was probably one of a biased memory and was more likely the result of being tired (my dad and I were driving back from the mall, which is 2 hours away from our house, and my dad had taken a detour and it was very late at night in the middle of nowhere).

As you have already said, I cannot convince you that your personal experience was not god and you can't prove it was. I am rather curious though, because even as a believer I never had any experience that I can remember saying or thinking had to be god. Would you mind telling me what it was (if you are not comfortable putting it in the thread you can pm me or tell me to fuck off, either way is fine)?

And an additional question in the event that you do not feel comfortable telling me the story, is; have you considered the other possible explanations for your personal experience that would explain it without the need of god or the supernatural? I ask because I genuinely want to know if the default answer was god and if any other explanation ever crossed your mind. When I was a believer I too would have went to the default of god and even when I was in the transition phase between belief and non-belief I would have been likely to say it was god (depending on what it was obviously, I would have been very unlikely to ever say that Tebow won because of divine intervetion).

It's cool man. I'm pretty much an open book. This is from post #210:

Evidence for me being elect:

Growing up, I was always embarrassed of Christianity and whenever my parents talked about Jesus. I thought church was silly, and I found the stories nothing more than fantasy.

I finally accepted agnosticism in college as my official belief, and I began to rip Christianity apart with the use of logic and rationality. I would combat Christians on the Internet via forums and use the aforementioned tactics against them to make them look like fools. I was good at it.

Driving home from work one day, my life changed. My heart was opened to a higher power; even though I didn't know whom. I'll try my best to explain this: I found myself suddenly and sincerely praying and listening to this higher power for guidance. This was wholly strange to me because up until that moment I didn't believe in a God that I could talk to.

My beliefs so drastically changed than I began to get angry with myself. I didn't understand how I could rationally accept that there was a higher power that I could converse with. It wasn't logical. Also, I never wanted to talk to a higher power, and I didn't understand how I was doing it if I didn't choose to. My knowledge of religion pre-empted the idea that I had to choose it.

The higher power led me to read and study the Bible. This was the first time that I’ve ever actually done it. It was at this time that I realized that the higher power I was talking to was the Christian God; however, I still didn’t understand why I didn’t get a choice. As my studying intensified, I began to learn about election. And then, it made sense. I realized that then reason I didn’t have a choice is because I was never planned to have a choice.

I knew that I was elect because I learned that those who are elect can hear the will of God and those that aren’t cannot even understand it.

So, that’s my evidence. I guess the most concrete part of it is the fact that my beliefs radically changed and became cemented by no choice of my own.

Evidence.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-01-2012, 02:02 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(16-01-2012 02:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  Evidence.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

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16-01-2012, 03:00 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
Interesting story KC. I suppose my story mirrors yours in a very similar way except mine was a revelation in completely the opposite direction. Needless to say, there is no way for me to prove that your story does not prove god, but it also does not prove one either. I suppose I must agree with Chas here in saying that your use of the term "evidence" in this case is incorrect (The Princess Bride is awesome) and is ultimately still a faith-based belief. A revelation can be a powerful thing, but does not necessarily mean that it is correct or true. We will almost certainly remain on polar opposites in our use of the term of evidence, but at least I am aware of what you consider to be the reason for your belief.

I have a few additional questions about your story if you will entertain them. What made you so certain that it was the Christian-God? Did you feel compelled to read the bible and that is why? If so, do you think you would have still felt compelled to read the bible if you had been raised Hindu (or any other religion)?

As for your time as an agnostic, were your discussions with christians directed at the historical validity of the bible or the existence of god? I ask because agnostic means you do not know, but one can still believe in god and be agnostic and one can not believe in god and be agnostic. So, when you were agnostic, did you believe that absolute knowledge of god was not possible but god still likely existed or that absolute knowledge of god was not possible and that god likely did not exist?

I went through a period of this and went in the opposite direction as you and I wonder why that is so. I essentially woke up one morning after years of being in what I now realize was theistic agnosticism (that is, I believed one could not know with any absolute knowledge that god exists but I still believed one did) and asked myself one simple question I had been avoiding for over a decade. The question was simply "Do I believe in God?" and I remember saying "no" out-loud (as if to reassure myself that it was me talking) and literally feeling happier and better. That was a moment of revelation to me, but it did not prove to me that god did not exist, it simply caused me to realize what I actually believe and I wonder if this moment in your car was really nothing more than the theist inside of the agnostic you taking control. When I look back at my experiences now, I realize that I had always been avoiding that question because deep down I knew my answer to that question was always "no" but fear of rejection and being alone kept me lying to myself. My period of "agnosticism" was really nothing more than the logical side of me clawing its way to the surface.

I say this not really hoping to convert you but to try and figure out what led to your conclusion because my story could have very easily mirrored your own and this may be the closest I will ever come to seeing that version of me.

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16-01-2012, 03:12 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(16-01-2012 01:58 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  I knew that I was elect because I learned that those who are elect can hear the will of God and those that aren’t cannot even understand it.

So, that’s my evidence. I guess the most concrete part of it is the fact that my beliefs radically changed and became cemented by no choice of my own.[/b]

Hey KC,

Am curious about the process you went through, that helped you pick from the thousands of iterations of deities, (ALL of which developed through long historical processes), and by which you threw *almost* all of them out, and came to the conclusion that the "god" you were talking to, was the "Christian god", (assuming for the moment, there is only *one* of those...as certainly there are as many of THOSE as there are Christian's brains). Was there a "match-up" process ? The thousands year long DEVELOPMENT, in human cultural historical consciousness, of what came eventually to be called "Yahweh Sabaoth", (the "God of the Armies", and his wife Ashura, and their son Baal), was NOT UNIQUE. How did you decide to put your thumb down on one point in a historical process, and say "that's it..right there" ? Also by what process did you decide to place an ultimate significance to the *present* evolutionary state of that process, the "Christian god", (which is BOUND to continue to evolve) ? So first there is the historical problem.

Second is the Epistemological problem. You say you *understand* the "will" of your particular deity because you have been "elected". Don't you see that as a teensy-weensy bit of a cop out ? ...a.) why doesn't a "loving deity "elect" all it's creatures ? (You DO describe an event driving home that day which was passive...so why one and not another "elected"? Doesn't the randomness of that bother you ? ). b.) If you had never had a "Western" background, would you have interpreted that experience, in the car, in the terms you have ? (BTW, theists keep talking about "will" on this board, and never define that term). Anyway, you say "My heart was opened to a higher power". Certainly that is a metaphor for an event that occurred in your brain cells. Can you talk more about what you think that actually was, specifically, neurologically ?

Third, is the theological problem. The salvation/redemption paradigm was not spoken of by Yeshua bar Josef. It was introduced in the Pauline letters. Does it make sense that the principal actor in the "Jesus event" would have forgotten to mention the basic tenet of what came to be the movement which was named for him ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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16-01-2012, 04:49 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(16-01-2012 02:02 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(16-01-2012 02:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  Evidence.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

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Laughing off the value and importance of evidence? I don't get it. Sorry.
I guess that is a natural theist reaction in order to keep the faith.
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16-01-2012, 04:53 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
You know, it's getting kind of creepy that you're stalking all my posts to try and add a negative spin to everything I write. Obsessed much?

Also, Bucky and TheBeardedDude, I'll respond soon... about to head home from work. I'll try to get an answer for you tonight.

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16-01-2012, 04:57 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(16-01-2012 04:53 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  You know, it's getting kind of creepy that you're stalking all my posts to try and add a negative spin to everything I write. Obsessed much?

Also, Bucky and TheBeardedDude, I'll respond soon... about to head home from work. I'll try to get an answer for you tonight.

Are you talkin' to me?

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