I've been meaning to address the negative result. I hope this will answer jetson's question and a few others as well. <snip>
fiz, did you forget something? Like, something that addressed the negative result? I don't mean to be hard on you, fiz, but how does what you posted address either the negative result or my question about what you mean by "evidence".
That's certainly unfair. I think I've done well sticking to one definition, but nobody's perfect (present company excepted). If you have objections to specific things I've said, I'd be glad to hear about it.
I pointed out where you went awry in the previous post. The faith in god vs faith that god exists vs faith in my wife vs faith to my wife vs blind faith. You need to use more than one of those. I am not being critical of you when I say that. It is just a matter of fact about modern xian - or in your case quasi-xian
- theology. There is nothing wrong with that, I think, as long as it is clear which mode of faith is being discussed. It is my experience that xians, jews, muslims and quasi-xians will shift modes without warning.
This is what I'm trying to say in that blog post. Faith, meaning access to the evidence of things you can't see with your eyes, is critical because it empowers us to not only hear God's will for us, but to follow it.
I don't think we are on the same page. I still need to know what you mean by evidence.
Also, you seem to be trying to explain what faith is. I want to know why god requires it. Some flavors of xian believe that god requires blind faith
to get to heaven. To them, faith is the criterion of god's judgment. They have never explained to me why god is so hot to trot on blind faith.
You are saying faith is how people learn and follow god's will. I want to know why faith is the mechanism god has chosen to trigger that "evidence" or communication. Why faith and not the ability to eat chocolate, or the ability to do push ups. Or something practical, like why not have god's will written in flaming letters in the sky? Why blind faith.
You see, in all other areas, faith - the blind kind we are talking about - is not a virtue. It is a sign of a nincompoop. Blind faith in other facets of life identify you as a rube, an easy mark. Why would a god create a person that is capable of reason ask for that person to not use reason to understand what the god wants? How on earth does that make sense?
And God demonstrates his presence to then both in increasingly visible ways.
I was not that fortunate.
So, I submit that the reason god does not provide visible evidence of his presence is to make us listen to the Holy Spirit.
But that brings us right back to my case. I listened. I prayed. The holy spirit did not talk to me. What now?
A question well worth considering. There are plenty of people using concepts of god to get rich, oppress people and "grind the face of the poor".
Good. The answer is Con Men. Right conclusion.
It's critical, when you begin tuning in to your spiritual sources of truth, that you don't turn off your brain.
It was my argument several paragraphs up that it is
required that you turn of your brain. If your brain was on, you would not be engaged in such nincompoopery.
I realize we're not talking about the Mormon church specifically here, but it's important to know that clergy in the Mormon church are not paid. When you go to a Mormon service, the man running the meeting is a volunteer. So is everyone speaking and teaching. I think you'll agree it's a better way to run a church.
Neither are catholic priests. However, there is other currency than gold that motivates people, like power. If you think Tom Monson does not live like a king, or get off on dictating how millions of mormons will live their lives, you are nuts.
Someone else brought up the fact that miracles are more scarce these days, but I don't think that's necessarily true.
I disagree, but this is not an important point, I think.
The reference is Acts 17:29. We've been talking this whole time about how God communicates with us. Sometimes it's through the scriptures. The way to discover whether Luke was just making it up is to read Acts and pray for God to make the truth of it know to you. When you do so, make sure you really intend to follow what you read there. God will not answer a purely academic question.
So the answer to every question about the validity of xianity or quasi-xianity is that prayer will verify. fiz, the is literally the lamest answer I have ever heard. It is throwing in the towel. It says, "I have not a flipping clue. I have no rational answer for this question." That right there is the very core of religious faith. It shuts up every critical question. It short circuits them and puts them beyond scrutiny. Fiz, in this day and age, that sort of thinking is literally putting all life on the planet in jeopardy.
If you really are a physics guy, I hope you can look at how you handle questions in science and compare them to how you handle "spiritual" questions and see the problem.
These are very good reasons not to trust any belief system that requires you to listen without independent verification. I think you'll grant that, even without God, humans have found plenty of stupid reasons to do cruel and malicious things to one another. Here's an example.
Does that mean you have
heard of Ron & Dan Lafferty?
My point is not that people need religion to do stupid or cruel things. My point is that kind of magical thinking, that blind faith, is deeply flawed. There is no way to know whether the still, quiet voice is the holy spirit or a government receiver planted in your head or your Id. And if you have talked yourself into thinking it is god talking to you, then there is literally nothing you cannot justify to yourself.
Ron and Dan were mormons too, of the fundamentalist flavor. They had a falling out with their brother Allan, mainly over his wife. Ron listened to his still, quiet voice. It told him to murder Allan's wife and 18 month old daughter. Dan's still, quiet voice confirmed it. So they did. Right up until he was executed, Ron believed he was doing what god wanted him to do. Dan still thinks he was following the will of god too. You have no argument whatsoever against them. As far as you know, their prayers were answered and they were moved by the holy spirit.
For me it is easy. Anyone who claims to be talking to god is either a liar or delusional.
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oh jesus christ...