Ok, time to trim down again. If I skip something, it's probably because I felt it was too similar to something elsewhere in the reply (or that we were just degenerating into banter). And I have a feeling that trimming down will still leave a ridiculously long post.
My point was that there have been millions of people around the world for thousands of years who have believed in a god or gods, and that in the absence of evidence, your belief is no more or less likely true than theirs (and I would be willing to bet you don't think they were all correct). In light of that knowledge, is it more likely that your personal version of belief is correct and everyone else that differs from you is wrong (keep in mind, your evidence is the same as theirs), or that you all suffer from the same sort of deluded belief in the supernatural?[. . .]Again, my point is that given the fact that millions of people have believed just as strongly in things that everyone else has come to find ridiculous, means that it is more likely that your belief falls into the exact same category with all that have come before.
Neither. Other people's beliefs are independent of mine. Regardless of whether theirs is true or false, or they have evidence or not, it has no bearing on the veracity of my beliefs. If you're imagining this as some sort of religious roulette wheel, the fact that the last 100 bets lost (or won) has no bearing on whether my bet will win or lose. The only way to correctly assess the odds is to determine the odds for my bet, and my bet alone.
What you're claiming here strikes me as a form of inverse gambler's fallacy.
I'm not arguing for iron clad evidence here... I'm asking which is the more likely situation? We are talking about reasonable doubt here, remember. The likelihood that you're right versus wrong.
I don't think there's enough evidence to determine the likelihood of God's existence.
In light of that, is it more likely that some people were gullible and believed the stories about Jesus and passed them down, even though the stories weren't true, or that the very laws of nature were overturned in one section of the ancient middle east some 2000 years ago? I'm talking again about reasonable doubt here. Which is the more likely situation?
The supernatural, by definition, defies the natural rules of probability. Attempting to apply those rules to assess whether those rules applied is circular reasoning.
In terms of liklihood, is it more likely that everyone else in the world is fooled except you, or that you are just as fooled as everyone else? Of course it is possible that you are right and everyone else is wrong, but is that likely?
If we're working under the hypothetical assumption that only one person in the world is right, then I am almost certainly wrong, as are you, as is everyone else. Yet someone is right, but I don't know who. If you're asking whether it's more likely that 1 person is right rather than 0 (or 10 or a billion) people being right, I don't have enough information to assess that. So I'm not 100% on what you're asking; are you thinking sort of like a lottery? You're individually almost sure to lose, yet someone eventually wins?
Do you consider even one other god to be imaginary?
Yes and no. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I think of most gods as man's various attempts at modeling God. So while parts are undoubtedly mythical, I don't think the gods themselves are necessarily imaginary.
Is it because the likelihood of the stories about leprechauns being true is far less than the likelihood of them being false? Does a lack of solid evidence for leprechauns play a part as well?
Mostly the latter. And I don't know how I'd argue for leprechauns if I believed in them, because I don't know what my basis for belief would be.
Is Charlotte's Web more likely a fictional tale and why? Then ask the same question about the resurrection and the other biblical stories.
Charlotte's Web was clearly written and published as a fictional creation of E. B. White. We can't say the same for the Biblical stories.
In the absence of evidence to back up the claim (and hence your agnostic standing), the likelihood that you're particular version of god exists is infinitesimally small
No, we don't have enough information to reach that conclusion. We'd have to know something about the probability of God's existence before we could make that assumption.
For instance, let's say Disease A affects 50% of the population, and is asymptomatic in half of people affected. In this case, an absence of evidence you have Disease A still leaves you a 25% chance of being affected. On the other hand, Disease B affects 1 in a million people, and is asymptomatic in half of people affected. Here, an absence of evidence means your odds of being affected are 1 in two million.
Again, how do we know the likelihood of God's existence?
You just don't know what's in the box, Mooby. Living your life believing that you do know what's inside the box is a ridiculous position to take.
But I believe I don't
know what's in the box. That's my point. Yet, in the absence of concrete knowledge, believing that there's something
in the box is not any more ridiculous than believing that there's nothing
in the box. And depending on the circumstances, the latter might be quite unreasonable to take. After all, why would it be most reasonable to assume you presented an empty box for guessing?
Which brings me to the most interesting implication of your analogy. If I think there's almost certainly something in the box, and there's an impractically large number of ways something
could be in there, but only one way nothing
could be in there, is it better to:
- Guess something random and be closer to being right, yet with lower probability of success,
- Guess "nothing" which I think to be almost certainly wrong, yet with higher probability than a random something?
I'm not stupid; I can see everyone else's guesses, some more reasonable than others, some similar, some not. But when it's my turn, their guesses are independent of mine. So then I have to decide: Do I choose the right thing for the wrong reasons, or the wrong thing for the right reasons? Do I say, "Lol, none of you know what it is, so I'm just going to say nothing's there," or do I play the game and make the most reasonable guess that I can based on what I currently see?
Now, of course, an obvious response could be that you don't
think that "something" is more likely than "nothing" in reality's box. But that's not what I currently see when I look at the universe. So why should I lie to myself and become an agnostic atheist when I think atheism is a marginal choice?
In light of your self expressed agnosticism, please tell me what information you are looking at that allows you to make a different conclusion than me.
Just the sum total of my knowledge and experience thus far in my life. There's nothing specific and jarring that jumps out. To return to your box analogy, I'm just saying, "From where I'm standing in the room, it looks like there's something in there." Maybe the view is a bit different from where you're standing. I don't know. It's not like I'm claiming to have x-ray glasses or anything.
Yes, there are multiple types of evidence with some more rigorous than others. So far, you haven’t produced any evidence at all—sound or otherwise—that your God is real or that you have an actual relationship with it.
I have not offered evidence of the former, nor do I intend to in this thread. I am not arguing God's existence in my posts. I'm not even getting into my reasons for believing in God.
Much as some creationists conflate abiogenesis with evolution, you are conflating my beliefs with gnostic theism. My reasons for not getting into the above are similar to the reasons one discussing evolution might not want to get into abiogenesis: it's tangential and will muddle an already complex topic.
Anyways, the latter is evidenced by my personal testimony. As I am in a unique position to evaluate my own internal state, this should actually be fairly decent evidence that I at least think I have a relationship with God.
So we just have to take your word for it, is that it?
Testimony is admissible evidence in courts of law. And I'm a primary source for my own experiences, which puts it on the high end of personal testimony. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.
No, because one statement contradicts the other. Please explain how you can have an actual relationship with something you don’t believe is real?
I'm pretty sure I've said multiple times that it is something I do
believe is real. Which is why I identify as an agnostic theist
rather than an agnostic atheist.
LEPRECHAUNS EXIST. So sayeth I.
There, now you have a reason to think they exist. Now why don't you believe that leprechauns exist?
Well, for starters, your claim doesn't give me much of a basis on which to reconsider my position on leprechauns. I can't simply accept it on your authority--that would be fallacious.
For clarity, I'd like to know if you feel the following two points about your position are true.
a) I do not know if god exists.
b) I have a personal relationship with god.
Do these two claims apply to you?
b) might be better stated as, "I believe I have a personal relationship with God," but otherwise they're fairly accurate.