Author Topic: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?  (Read 44859 times)

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Offline junebug72

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #58 on: May 05, 2013, 05:49:04 AM »
When I was young, I had extremely vivid imaginings (frankly, I never stopped having a vivid imagination, I just learned how to not let it run away with me).  Vivid enough that they seemed "more than real", and the emotions I got from them were, in fact, real emotions I felt, but they were because of experiences that only existed in my mind.

As a thirty-something adult, I can still have powerfully vivid imaginings, that inspire or empower strong emotions.  However, I know that they aren't based on anything that really happened.  And that's why I don't accept "I get these really strong feelings because of visions I see, so my religious beliefs are valid" as an argument.  Because I know that they come from within me, and have for a long time.

That doesn't mean those imaginings don't help shape the person I am, or that I ignore the feelings I get from them.  I just don't let myself fall into the trap of believing that my imagination accurately represents reality.

Why do you think we have imaginations?  When you say they come from within you, what part of you is that?
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline junebug72

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #59 on: May 05, 2013, 06:06:44 AM »
Let's see, what would make me change my mind?  It's difficult to articulate but I'll try. I'm having a real hard time coming up with anything.  It's not that I'm not willing, I'm very open minded, I just can't put what I feel into words. I define God as the way in which we came from nothing. Something "magical" happened and life began. Right now I have nothing else that fills that massive void. The big bang explains earth and life forms but it does not explain where or how space began. I'm sure there are some theories but w/o the ability to see a universe born I see no possible way to ever know for sure.  With that kind of unexplainable power in existence, I would like to think it is controlled by WISDOM AND LOVE in a form that I refer to as God.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #60 on: May 05, 2013, 06:13:25 AM »
Why do you think we have imaginations?  When you say they come from within you, what part of you is that?

It's the brain. The brain stores information. You make your brain put pieces of information together and this creates a picture. That picture has no real existence, although it seems real to you. "To imagine" = to create an image in your mind. You can imagine a dog with a fish's head or you can imagine what you did yesterday. Sometimes these things are funny, sometimes, they are sad. Sometimes things go wrong, and you cannot stop yourself imagining things. This is known as schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

Sometimes the information in your brain is wrong, so you put things that are right with things that are wrong, and you get a wrong answer.

That's how it works. But you must not forget, "Just because we can imagine something, does not mean that it is real."

Let's see, what would make me change my mind?  It's difficult to articulate but I'll try. I'm having a real hard time coming up with anything.  It's not that I'm not willing, I'm very open minded, I just can't put what I feel into words. I define God as the way in which we came from nothing. Something "magical" happened and life began.

But if you did understand that, it would not be "magical", right?"
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 06:15:29 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #61 on: May 05, 2013, 07:50:11 AM »
Even if we did find out that the universe has a creator, it would be an entity on its own right, with its own properties, not a mythical creature with human-invented properties.
I missed this earlier.

Are you saying that if the universe had a creator, and therefore a designer, that this creator would be what you, the designed and created person, say it would be? Really?
VERY, VERY GOOD POINT!!!  Please don't dodge this question. I can't wait to hear the answer. WOW!!! GREAT QUESTION!!!
Both of you (junebug and magicmiles) need to look at what he said a little more closely (assuming that this wasn't a disingenuous attempt to play 'gotcha!' with an atheist).  He said that this hypothetical creator would have its own properties, rather than the ones humans say it has based on myth and legend.  Which is certainly true.  We have similar myths and legends about other entities, including people who presumably actually lived, which claim for them powers and abilities beyond human ken.  Thus, we have evidence that ancient peoples were clearly capable of making up stuff about their heroes and leaders that didn't accurately reflect those people[1].  If people did that with larger-than-life figures who actually lived, then there is no reason to assume that they did not do it with their gods as well (especially if those gods were imaginary to begin with).
 1. Frankly, we see that today with tabloids and gossip.

Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #62 on: May 05, 2013, 11:26:13 AM »
Let's see, what would make me change my mind?  It's difficult to articulate but I'll try. I'm having a real hard time coming up with anything.  It's not that I'm not willing, I'm very open minded, I just can't put what I feel into words. I define God as the way in which we came from nothing. Something "magical" happened and life began. Right now I have nothing else that fills that massive void. The big bang explains earth and life forms but it does not explain where or how space began. I'm sure there are some theories but w/o the ability to see a universe born I see no possible way to ever know for sure.  With that kind of unexplainable power in existence, I would like to think it is controlled by WISDOM AND LOVE in a form that I refer to as God.

So basically, your belief (i.e. - "faith") is in wishful thinking - an "I would like this to be true. So I believe it." Can you see why this is making it difficult (indeed likely impossible) for you to imagine a scenario where you would change your mind?

Your argument regarding what "God" is (i.e. - "the way in which we came from nothing") is based upon this same wishful thinking. How do you know we came from "nothing"? Big Bang cosmology does not claim this. Wouldn't you be more honest in admitting that you simply don't know how we got here exactly, and that you should withhold judgment until further evidence comes in? Why jump to conclusions that aren't supported by evidence while holding a conclusion which you started with from the beginning (aka - one which you can think of no possible falsification method)? This seems like dishonest discourse.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #63 on: May 05, 2013, 05:11:24 PM »
Even if we did find out that the universe has a creator, it would be an entity on its own right, with its own properties, not a mythical creature with human-invented properties.
I missed this earlier.

Are you saying that if the universe had a creator, and therefore a designer, that this creator would be what you, the designed and created person, say it would be? Really?
VERY, VERY GOOD POINT!!!  Please don't dodge this question. I can't wait to hear the answer. WOW!!! GREAT QUESTION!!!
Both of you (junebug and magicmiles) need to look at what he said a little more closely (assuming that this wasn't a disingenuous attempt to play 'gotcha!' with an atheist). 

No, just an honest question, based on my understanding of his POV.


He said that this hypothetical creator would have its own properties, rather than the ones humans say it has based on myth and legend.  Which is certainly true. 

But what if God shows up and clearly demonstrates that He is the God as revealed in the bible? The POV expressed seems to eliminate that possibility - that seems an incredible position to take, and it's what I'm questioning.

Go on up you baldhead.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #64 on: May 05, 2013, 05:59:31 PM »
Magicmiles, even if that were the case, would our understanding of this god already be perfect?  Or would it, as Hierophant says, have its own properties that we did not predict?
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #65 on: May 05, 2013, 06:17:34 PM »
Magicmiles, even if that were the case, would our understanding of this god already be perfect?  Or would it, as Hierophant says, have its own properties that we did not predict?

I'm sure our understanding is far from perfect. What Hierophant seems to suggest (and I am willing to be corrected) is that God will be totally different from any perception we have of Him.
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #66 on: May 06, 2013, 12:59:16 AM »
When I was young, I had extremely vivid imaginings (frankly, I never stopped having a vivid imagination, I just learned how to not let it run away with me).  Vivid enough that they seemed "more than real", and the emotions I got from them were, in fact, real emotions I felt, but they were because of experiences that only existed in my mind.

      I am assuming that you are sincere in your beliefs, and as such I don’t really blame you for looking at my claim to have experienced a relationship with Christ with a great degree of suspicion.  When I talked about what I thought I could give up before becoming an atheist I wasn’t necessarily trying to say that you should become a theist based on my claimed experience.   All I was saying was that for me, my experience constitutes a type of positive evidence for God’s existence that would remain regardless of the fate of other theist arguments.  It would be a different story, however, if you could present me with evidence that shows that God does not exist – I would then have to balance it against my experience and come to a conclusion at that time. 
      I would say that my relationship  with Christ has caused me to experience a spectrum of emotions that is very similar to the emotional response that one would experience in a relationship with a best friend.  So you say that my emotional experience is just the result of something that I have imagined – let’s try a thought experiment.  You told me that you have a ‘vivid imagination’ that can make imaginary things seem ‘more than real’ – let’s see if you can imagine one of the best kinds of friends, a significant other.  If you are not single, then imagine that you are (it shouldn’t be too hard, we’ve all been there before).  Now imagine the significant other of your dreams - have you imagined that person so that he or she seems ‘more than real’? Now for the crucial part: imagine having a relationship with that realistic figment of your imagination so that you experience the emotional fulfillment that ideally goes along with finding that someone who ‘completes you’. 
     Assuming that you don’t plan on having children and you already have other friends to do things with, do you have any need to go out and search for a real mate?   Keep in mind all that advantages of an imaginary significant other: no arguments, no need to buy real flowers, no need to remember birthdates or anniversaries, no need to worry about splitting up or getting divorced, etc.  It’s really odd that despite our amazing powers of imagination and the large numbers of people who have real relationship issues that more singles haven’t figured this trick out – isn’t it?  It seems to me that some emotional experiences are unlikely to have been generated by way of imagination.  I therefore submit to you that my relational experience initiated in response to my acceptance of Christ constitutes legitimate non-communicable evidence. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #67 on: May 06, 2013, 01:02:26 AM »
So, if you likely would be a follower of allah today had your mom indoctrinated you that way, it clearly suggests that you would not know that you believed in something false. Is it far fetched to assume that this is also true for any other set of beliefs unsubstantiated by reality?

      I think it is definitely possible to believe something false and not know it, but I do question whether it is possible to believe something false and not have any way of knowing about it in principle.  I said in my original post: “I could conceivably give up every single one of the theist arguments and so long as I still was experiencing Christ it wouldn’t matter.”  I did not say anything about possible evidence against God’s existence; I only described a hypothetical lack of evidence for God’s existence.  If all other arguments for God’s existence were to be taken out of the picture except personal experience, I still think that personal experience would constitute a type of valid evidence.  If I was presented with evidence against God’s existence then I would have to weigh the strengths of that evidence against the strength of my experiential evidence.  I apologize for neglecting to mention the role of possible negative evidence against God’s existence in my original post.

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #68 on: May 06, 2013, 01:04:16 AM »
Agreed.  If my mother had introduced my to Allah when I was five it is highly likely that I would be a follower of Allah today; however, I think that when judging the truthfulness of a belief one should look at the content of the belief not the origin.

And yet, that is not what you did when you adopted your belief, nor what your mother attempted to justify when she conveyed it to you.  Why is that?

     I would say that as a child I did not critically question my mother’s beliefs when she asked me if I wanted to put my faith in Christ because I had good reasons to trust her.  I don’t think that a child can be faulted for adopting the beliefs of a good parent – if in my experience my mother had lied to me repeatedly then I probably would not have been so inclined to follow her lead in putting my faith in Christ.  At any rate, the fact that I didn’t critically examine my beliefs as a child doesn’t mean that I haven’t done so since then or that I am not in the process of doing so right now (hence my presence on this forum). 
     As for my mother’s failure to provide me with apologetic justification for her beliefs, what would you have had her do?  Should she have read her five year old son the chapter discussing the kalam cosmological argument from William Lane Craig’s book Reasonable Faith before asking if I wanted to accept Christ?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #69 on: May 06, 2013, 01:33:55 AM »
Please don't dodge this question. I can't wait to hear the answer.

QFT.  Junebug hates dodging, and always answer the questions that are asked of her.  No excuses, she just answers them, immediately, fully, and clearly.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #70 on: May 06, 2013, 01:36:35 AM »
screwtape wrote:
      If a god, afterlife, or spiritual realm, cannot muster the same level of evidence as the chair I'm sitting in, then it has not earned my conditional agreement.
      Now, if I was presented unambiguous evidence of a god, I could never get near 99 percent because I would have to be omniscient to determine if the thing was omniscient, omnipotent, or omnibenevolent. I would be able to agree that its a powerful thing, but there's no way I could reliably identify it without being omniscient myself.
      Throw in evidence for a "Father of Lies" creature, and all bets are off. Because if a supernatural being with unknown powers of persuasion existed, the very concept of knowledge itself would die a horrible death. Hell, the evidence of a god would cause the same thing. A being that can invisibly interfere with each and every observation ever made? Knowledge would be dead.

      Just had a few thoughts.  First, how do we determine if our certainty in a spiritual realm approaches or certainty that a chair will hold us? When determining the sturdiness of a chair one appeals to inductive evidence; when examining the possibility of an afterlife one is usually dealing with logical syllogisms - how do you compare certainty gained by the two methods?
      If it is not possible to determine that a being is omniscient without also being omniscient, then wouldn't the same difficulty arise if I were comparing my knowledge to Albert Einstein's?  I always thought it a fair assertion that Albert Einstein knew more about quantum physics than did I, but how can I actually know that unless I know as much as that he does?
      If an omnipotent God can interfere invisibly with every observation ever made, then it would be impossible to know anything for sure.  Would knowledge also be dead if it was theoretically possible for there to exist a super intelligent alien being who could also interfere invisibly with every observation?  Is this type of alien being in fact possible? If so, then don't we have to look at what we 'know' as if the alien being is in fact actual?

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #71 on: May 06, 2013, 02:39:24 AM »
  Is this type of alien being in fact possible? If so, then don't we have to look at what we 'know' as if the alien being is in fact actual?

Yes, it's possible. We could be in a simulation, which just pays special attention to details, when it needs to fool us. You get into this kind of problem real fast, when believers take consciousness altering drugs, such as DMT and LSD. People believe what they see on the trip is true, and that consciousness comes from the plane above us, because it could not exist inside our brains. If what they saw on the trips was true, then the world is set up to fool us, because there is no way for our brains to evolve, such that they can come in contact with this consciousness outside our apparent physical self. (It would have no use to evolution, and if it did, then lots of processing power could be offloaded onto the spiritual plane above us.)

It's like a computer game character slicing his head open, and finding nothing inside; he has to come to the conclusion that something outside his brain is doing all the real thinking, and creating his self. However, in a simulation which is set up to fool us, some slushy stuff would be put inside our heads, to give us something plausible that does the thinking. When we developed super MRI machines that could analyse the function of the slushy stuff, and find out how fake it was, then the simulation would have to either finish, or get more complicated.

Being totally fake, a simulation would detect that you were about to smoke DMT, and give you a fake experience. Unfortunately, once you start down the fake rabbit hole, then everything could be fake; and the only thing that made us think there was a rabbit hole, was something fake. In this case, the fakeness of it all, is an indication that it's all fake, but gives no clues to what isn't fake.

If you can think of a way for our brains to evolve, to connect with another spiritual plane, which does all our consciousness, then you can make a model where it's not all fake. Too many permutations.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline Samothec

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #72 on: May 07, 2013, 12:24:46 AM »
... because there is no way for our brains to evolve, such that they can come in contact with this consciousness outside our apparent physical self. (It would have no use to evolution, and if it did, then lots of processing power could be offloaded onto the spiritual plane above us.)

I think this is the important part. Evolution/natural selection is regulated by energy needs. More speed or endurance, larger teeth or claws, thicker fur, etc all require more energy. But each animal has a limit on how much energy it can acquire. So the economics of biology regulates evolution/natural selection.[1] This means that if the brain is not needed for thought – if the seat of consciousness is the soul – then the body does not need to spend the energy in creating and maintaining a brain. If there were a soul that connected to our bodies and was the seat of consciousness then the only structure that would develop would be the attachment point within the body.

But no such structure exists where damage to it and only it makes clear that it is the organ connected to our consciousness, our soul. Damage to portions of the brain create impairments but none totally sever the connection to our consciousness/soul without killing us. But even then, we have determined why those damages kill us and they have nothing to do with some mystical connection; there is a biological reason for death.

The only way a soul can exist is if it is not a driving force in our thoughts/emotions/imaginations. And that describes a mystical life-force concept that is just wishful thinking.
 1. This is why the analogy between biological economics (evolution) and financial economics breaks down: there are no built-in regulations that are always there within each business – most regulations are imposed externally and they can be changed and even eliminated by society. For economics to be "Darwinian", uniform regulations are required.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #73 on: May 07, 2013, 01:18:29 AM »
      How do you know your experience was "with Christ"? Isn't this just making a big assumption (just like Muslims or Hindus do with their alleged subjective experiences)? Wouldn't it be better to say that if you were convinced that your experience was not actually with "Christ", but was actually just you having a misapprehension of what you thought you were experiencing (based on what you were already preconditioned to believe in your family/culture) that you might change your mind?

Thanks for your response.  I will try to be concise in my answer, but I do have a lot of thoughts in response to your post so please bear with me.  You asked me: “how do you know your experience was ‘with Christ’”.  I would say that there are a couple of reasons:
      First, while all religions claim some kind of an experience (heck, I have even talked to an atheist who told me about the extreme sense of happiness he felt while deconverting from Christianity) they most certainly do not claim the same kind of experience.  I have told Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons about my deeply felt personal relationship with Christ and they look at me with a bewildered look like they haven’t got a clue what I am talking about.  Now they are certainly eager to pray with me so that I can experience the same ‘burning in the bossom’ that they experience, but I have never had one say, “Oh, you have already had a religious experience; did you know you are actually experiencing the Mormon God rather than Christ?”
     Second, while I have sometimes mistakenly answered when another person was calling for someone else (some names like Randy and Andy sound alike), I have never forgotten my own name and answered to another name because I couldn’t remember my own.  Do you honestly think that if God exists he doesn’t even know his own name?  Imagine that a Muslim comes over to my house, and after we have a long discussion and find out that we disagree on practically everything except that there is an ‘uncaused cause’ he says to me, “you called out to Christ and had a religious experience so maybe Allah decided to answer you even though you prayed in Jesus’ name; therefore , I see no need to attempt to change any of your beliefs or behavior”.  Does this sound like something a devoted Muslim would say? If you have read the Qur’an, does it sound like something Allah would do?

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #74 on: May 07, 2013, 01:26:13 AM »
      Your answer here does not display that you are actually open to the possibility that you are mistaken in your interpretation of your experiences (which is really what this OP is all about). In a round about way, it sounds like you just came here to say, "No, I could never be convinced that I'm mistaken." Well sir, that is called being CLOSED-MINDED.

      You called me CLOSED-MINDED (bolding and capitals were in your original so I thought I would reproduce it here).  If you look again at my original post you will see that I said that in order to lose my faith in Christ “I would have to lose my experience with Christ first”.  I did not say that I could never lose my experience with Christ or that I thought it impossible in principle to be presented with evidence that would outweigh the evidential impact of my experience.  Now I certainly think it is highly unlikely that I could be presented with evidence that could overrule my experience with Christ, but that kind of sentiment is common to any person who believes something passionately.  I mean, I’m sure you would say that if you were given sufficient evidence you would convert to theism, but do you honestly think the chances of that are any better than vanishingly improbable? 
     Even if I was closed minded (and I don’t think that I am any more closed minded than anyone else on this forum – there are lots of passionate and sincere people who participate) I never said I was joining to find a conversion experience (check my intro).  In addition, I saw no caveat at the entrance to the forum proclaiming: “wavering theists only allowed”.  In fact, this forum makes no overt statement to the effect that converting theists is its primary goal; therefore I have to think that there are other purposes for its existence (e.g. so you can learn more about atheism and become better at defending it).  If this is the case then a “closed-minded” theist might be just the person you are looking for; after all, if you want to learn how to defend atheism against theists, you don’t want a theist who is going to fold like a house of cards in response to the first tough question you throw at him – do you?  If all you want is an “open-minded” theist with no conviction then that would make you closed-minded too.  Your accusation, sir, is therefore completely irrelevant and without warrant. 

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #75 on: May 07, 2013, 06:50:36 AM »
But what if God shows up and clearly demonstrates that He is the God as revealed in the bible? The POV expressed seems to eliminate that possibility - that seems an incredible position to take, and it's what I'm questioning.
I would be extremely suspicious if something showed up, claiming to be YHWH, exactly as described in the Bible, specifically because the Bible is more than a little contradictory on the nature of YHWH.  It would come across more as something that was slavishly copying the description of YHWH rather than the genuine article, at least to me.  And remember what I said about how people made up stuff about historical figures who actually lived?  That would hold true for a god as well, even a real one.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #76 on: May 07, 2013, 07:43:28 AM »
Second, while I have sometimes mistakenly answered when another person was calling for someone else (some names like Randy and Andy sound alike), I have never forgotten my own name and answered to another name because I couldn’t remember my own.  Do you honestly think that if God exists he doesn’t even know his own name?  Imagine that a Muslim comes over to my house, and after we have a long discussion and find out that we disagree on practically everything except that there is an ‘uncaused cause’ he says to me, “you called out to Christ and had a religious experience so maybe Allah decided to answer you even though you prayed in Jesus’ name; therefore , I see no need to attempt to change any of your beliefs or behavior”.  Does this sound like something a devoted Muslim would say? If you have read the Qur’an, does it sound like something Allah would do?

Trouble is, if you follow that line of thinking, you must argue that NO Muslim has EVER had any religious experiences.  Ever.

If there was a god that only answers when addressed correctly, we should see a huge statistical clustering around that god's religion.  No other religion - even other subsets within that religion - would ever have experienced any contact with god at all.

But they claim they do.  So either they are all lying, or it is entirely possible that a person can have what feels like a religious experience without any god being involved at all.  (Actually that IS possible - Derren Brown showed quite conclusively that a religious experience could be instilled in only a quarter hour or so). 

And if you've conceded that a religious experience IS possible without god, then by what token can you be 100% positive that the experience you had was real?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #77 on: May 07, 2013, 08:16:20 AM »
      You called me CLOSED-MINDED (bolding and capitals were in your original so I thought I would reproduce it here).  If you look again at my original post you will see that I said that in order to lose my faith in Christ “I would have to lose my experience with Christ first”.  I did not say that I could never lose my experience with Christ or that I thought it impossible in principle to be presented with evidence that would outweigh the evidential impact of my experience.  Now I certainly think it is highly unlikely that I could be presented with evidence that could overrule my experience with Christ, but that kind of sentiment is common to any person who believes something passionately.  I mean, I’m sure you would say that if you were given sufficient evidence you would convert to theism, but do you honestly think the chances of that are any better than vanishingly improbable? 
     Even if I was closed minded (and I don’t think that I am any more closed minded than anyone else on this forum – there are lots of passionate and sincere people who participate) I never said I was joining to find a conversion experience (check my intro).  In addition, I saw no caveat at the entrance to the forum proclaiming: “wavering theists only allowed”.  In fact, this forum makes no overt statement to the effect that converting theists is its primary goal; therefore I have to think that there are other purposes for its existence (e.g. so you can learn more about atheism and become better at defending it).  If this is the case then a “closed-minded” theist might be just the person you are looking for; after all, if you want to learn how to defend atheism against theists, you don’t want a theist who is going to fold like a house of cards in response to the first tough question you throw at him – do you?  If all you want is an “open-minded” theist with no conviction then that would make you closed-minded too.  Your accusation, sir, is therefore completely irrelevant and without warrant.

Yes; re-iterating what Anfauglir just said, because it can be the only response. It's difficult for an atheist to know what to say to someone who claims some kind of personal experience, because their particular personal experience might be the only true one, and all the others are fake.

One thing we do know, is that this experience yields no information, otherwise there would have been a consistent religion developed in the last 3000 years, by all the mystics who have meditated on "God".

In other words, there may be two Christians who have a personal experience on Christ; one believes in hell, the other not. One believes he should fight for King and Country, the other, that he should be a pacifist. One says we should follow Jewish law, the other, not.

To which enlightened person do we go to, for information?
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline screwtape

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #78 on: May 07, 2013, 08:24:22 AM »
Let's see, what would make me change my mind?  It's difficult to articulate but I'll try.


I don't know if you realize it, but you didn't actually address the question.  You stated the question and then went on to talk about what you believe.  Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive, but you did not link them together in any way.

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #79 on: May 07, 2013, 09:51:50 AM »
My mom, in the popular parlance, “led my to the Lord” when I was five years old.  She came into my room one evening to tuck me in and read me the four spiritual laws booklet.  I can remember saying a prayer and experiencing an authentic feeling of joy like that which Christians often talk about.

What you are describing sounds like an epiphany, a term that originally referred to the manifestation of a divine being (eg: Paul on the road to Damascus) but now usually refers to a moment of sudden realization, which need not be divine in nature.  This can be accompanied by an emotional (and likely chemical) rush that may be overwhelming and which we read far more into than is really there.

It can certainly move us to action and leave a very deep impression on our minds, but by its nature can be deceptive.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #80 on: May 07, 2013, 03:53:40 PM »
When people describe the personal relationship they have with Jesus, it sounds way too much like a crush on a movie star who sends out form letters in reponse to fervent emails.

Nobody who crushes on Katy Perry (or whoever) will get a personal visit or even a personal letter or phone call. It will be a member of her staff sending out standard form letters, but it might seem like a real relationship to the chrusher. And the chrusher will cherish the form letter as if it really came from the crushee. Even though the beloved object will never really respond personally to the fan. 

Like with prayers that are always answered yes, no, not yet. And some prayers are never answered yes, like growing amputated limbs back.....
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #81 on: May 07, 2013, 08:24:18 PM »
But what if God shows up and clearly demonstrates that He is the God as revealed in the bible? The POV expressed seems to eliminate that possibility - that seems an incredible position to take, and it's what I'm questioning.
I would be extremely suspicious if something showed up, claiming to be YHWH, exactly as described in the Bible, specifically because the Bible is more than a little contradictory on the nature of YHWH.  It would come across more as something that was slavishly copying the description of YHWH rather than the genuine article, at least to me.  And remember what I said about how people made up stuff about historical figures who actually lived?  That would hold true for a god as well, even a real one.

It will actually be pretty easy to know when Jesus returns to earth. If you have to ask if that's really Jesus, then it isn't.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #82 on: May 07, 2013, 09:55:35 PM »
^^^Same thing with Allah, Vishnu or Shango. If you have to ask, it's not them.

But you still have to account for the really savvy, powerful shape-shifting alien who can appear in any form. Maybe even put thoughts in our heads in any language: "I am Christ the lord, I have returned my children." A few bible quotes, a few nifty miracle healings and blammo. Christians will fall for it, hook line and sinker.

If that ever happens, you know who will save your butt from the alien hordes? Atheists, that's who. :D
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 10:00:45 PM by nogodsforme »
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #83 on: May 07, 2013, 10:00:14 PM »
For sure.
Go on up you baldhead.

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #84 on: May 07, 2013, 10:34:06 PM »
If you look again at my original post you will see that I said that in order to lose my faith in Christ “I would have to lose my experience with Christ first”.  I did not say that I could never lose my experience with Christ or that I thought it impossible in principle to be presented with evidence that would outweigh the evidential impact of my experience.  Now I certainly think it is highly unlikely that I could be presented with evidence that could overrule my experience with Christ, but that kind of sentiment is common to any person who believes something passionately.
You have gotten to the heart of the difficulties inherent in belief, G&W. Your "experience with Christ" is completely internal, and it is fueled by the enormous passion of your belief. Being internal to you, it is also impossible to falsify. There is nothing anyone can say that will invalidate the internal emotional response you experience from your passionate belief. I'm not saying this makes you closed-minded, per se, but please be aware that the one thing that convinces you that your belief is correct is something that cannot be logically challenged.

Also, FWIW, I don't think it is even possible to "passionately believe" in atheism. I am an atheist only because there are too many logical inconsistencies within religious belief. That's it. I want to believe that my dad and grandma will be waiting for me with open arms in the afterlife, but unfortunately an afterlife just doesn't make a lick of logical sense to me. Period. And I don't think it would to anyone who fully considered all it's ramifications, either. As far I'm concerned[1], the very notion that a singular consciousness can (or should) exist forever is simply absurd. This is only one example.
 1. as well as many others here
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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #85 on: May 08, 2013, 07:35:33 AM »
It will actually be pretty easy to know when Jesus returns to earth. If you have to ask if that's really Jesus, then it isn't.

Don't be so sure.  The jews thought it would be a slam dunk to know when the messiah showed up.  Yet, they are pretty sure he hasn't. On the other hand, you think he has, he just wasn't what they were expecting.   So I would say given that 100% of the the hebrew messiahs to show up thus far have not met their peoples' expectations, it's pretty good odds the next one won't either.

For all you know the second coming already came and went. 
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #86 on: May 08, 2013, 07:51:10 AM »
It will actually be pretty easy to know when Jesus returns to earth. If you have to ask if that's really Jesus, then it isn't.
Exactly.  Someone, probably lots of someones, will ask if it's really Jesus.