Author Topic: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?  (Read 34225 times)

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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #87 on: May 08, 2013, 08:02:40 AM »
If you have to ask if that's really Jesus, then it isn't.

Have you thought that this would also be an excellent tool for a fake to use to discourage anyone asking too many questions?
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 median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #88 on: May 08, 2013, 11:23:19 AM »
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?

But this is missing my point almost entirely, and it doesn't really deal with the fact that many of us here (myself included) used to say the exact same thing you are claiming. "Oh I had an experience with Christ and I could never deny it." How do you know you had an experience with Christ? [You didn't answer the question] Did you see this "thing" with your physical eyes? Did you hear an audible, recordable, voice? Did you "feel" anything demonstrable to others? Your claim is no different (whatever) from those who claim to have "experienced" Krishna (or any number of other alleged deities of the past). It would be a good idea to do your homework on this because these claims to "personal experience" of the alleged "God" are not new. They predate both Christianity AND Judaism by thousands of years. Which is more likely, that you have misinterpreted an emotional response you had (falsely attributing it to a God, like so many in the past have done), or that you actually experienced the supernatural?

But notice how your response alludes to emotion. You claim this "deeply felt" thing. But that isn't any different (at all) from that of many other religions! Just claiming a different kind of "experience" doesn't give you any more credibility (especially when your claims cannot be demonstrated to anyone else). Now, doesn't that sound familiar?? You have a belief (not knowledge or demonstration) that you have a "personal relationship with Jesus". But lots of religions claim to have personal relationships (in some form or another) with their gods. How is this any different from just being gullible and believing superstition? My guess, though, is that if we pressed you on this alleged "relationship" you think you have with Jesus your claims would break down - just like that of your competitors. We could ask you to demonstrate (bring forth) this "Jesus", to which we might hear a reply that sounds very much like the Hindu gurus in India who claim to be able to do miracles on call but then refuse - so as not to be falsified. "Oh, we worship him in 'spirit'." What a perfect way to make your belief system immune from evidence!

Finally, let me just say this. The only "personal relationships" we have to base our knowledge upon are those we find with other physical living beings (mammals, etc) and that is because they are the only ones that have been demonstrated consistently (claims and demonstrations are quite different you know). Without using your bible as an emergency "get out of jail free card", can you demonstrate this "person" of whom you claim to have a "personal relationship"?? If you can't, then is it any wonder why we are going to think you are falsely believing in this subjective emotional feeling and calling it "Jesus"?

median

p.s. - Remember, I used to think I had a "personal relationship" with Jesus too (and sounded very similar to you for nearly 20 years) but later realized it was simply a false attribution of emotional response to what I had already been pre-conditioned (by our Judeo-Christian society etc) to believe. But starting with a conclusion is backwards. In nearly all other endeavors in life (regarding things that directly effect our well being) we start with a hypothesis and skepticism (such as if a fast talking salesman comes to the door). Why should this be any different for any alleged "experience" claim of the supposed supernatural? I maintain that it should not.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 11:28:40 AM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #89 on: May 08, 2013, 11:54:27 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.

Can you see how credulous and contradictory this is? You've admitted that all you have is a "spectrum of emotions" (to a non-demonstrable thing - which is therefore no different from a childhood imaginary friend) and that you've had a "relational experience" in "non-communicable evidence". How is this any different from superstition and credulity? Have you even thought to critically examine these alleged experiences? Have you not considered that our interpretations of our cognitive faculties can often be very misleading? Not to be rude, but why is your standard of evidence so low? Personal experience alone is not sufficient to justify belief in the miraculous. And it certainly doesn't assist you in honestly discussing what it might take to change your view! Indeed, it makes your view look indistinguishable from one that is unfalsifiable.

median

p.s. - Notice how earlier in your post you demonstrated the fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof? You said, "It would be a different story, however, if you could present me with evidence that shows that God does not exist" How backwards! So you started with your conclusion ("This must have been Jesus I felt") and now your taking the William Lane Craig approach of an unfalsifiable assumption? How absurd, hypocritical, and dishonest! So you came to my OP knowing that your belief system is FIXED (i.e. - that you are absolutely closed-minded to the possibility that you are mistaken) and that you never really intended to actively/honestly participate in this discussion. Wow.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #90 on: May 08, 2013, 12:51:40 PM »
Greenandwhite[1]:

Here's the problem with your approach to this.  You had a powerful experience when you were five years old, an age at which children are not known for being especially rational thinkers.  I'm not going to tell you how you should interpret an experience like that, but you really shouldn't set your mind in stone that it was caused by God or Jesus simply because that's the conclusion you first reached.

You said, "I can remember saying a prayer and experiencing an authentic feeling of joy like that which Christians often talk about."  Well, fair enough.  But can you be sure that you didn't have this feeling of joy simply because you expected to have it, based on what your mother had been reading to you?  What we expect to happen because of something often causes us to interpret what actually happens in a way that confirms our prior expectations.
 1. Is it okay to call you Green, or would you prefer something else?

Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #91 on: May 08, 2013, 02:44:46 PM »
Greenandwhite,
What you are describing sounds no different from what the Mormons claim. "I read the Book of Mormon and just knew it was true. It gave me a wonderful feeling of joy" etc. But feelings alone are not always correctly identified or placed. And, unfortunately, we live a world that breeds gullibility and superstitiousness. So this isn't really a good reason for thinking that Jesus or "The Holy Spirit" are real things.
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 #92 on: May 08, 2013, 03:00:57 PM »
If you have to ask if that's really Jesus, then it isn't.

Have you thought that this would also be an excellent tool for a fake to use to discourage anyone asking too many questions?

There won't be questions. That's my point.
The 2010 world cup was ruined for me by that slippery bastard Paul.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #93 on: May 08, 2013, 03:02:20 PM »
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.

The difference is that Jesus came first at a man. That isn't how He'll return.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #94 on: May 08, 2013, 03:05:04 PM »
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.

The difference is that Jesus came first at a man. That isn't how He'll return.

you lost me.  I have no idea what you are trying to say nor how it makes any kind of a point.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #95 on: May 08, 2013, 03:08:16 PM »
I'm just making the point that Jesus return won't be even slightly ambiguous. According to the NT.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #96 on: May 08, 2013, 03:18:36 PM »
I'm just making the point that Jesus return won't be even slightly ambiguous. According to the NT.

Ah.  Well.  That's what the jews thought the first time around. 

How is it that you completely missed my point?  Are you not reading my posts?  Or is my conclusion too unpallatable to concede I have a valid point?  Is this sort of a willful-pouty thing you're doing?  Stamping your foot and insisting you'll know when jesus H returns to kill everyone?
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #97 on: May 08, 2013, 03:22:12 PM »
There won't be questions. That's my point.
There most certainly will be, and not just from nonbelievers.

And that assumes the depiction of the second coming in the New Testament is accurate and true.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #98 on: May 08, 2013, 03:34:23 PM »
I'm just making the point that Jesus return won't be even slightly ambiguous. According to the NT.
If that is the case, then it means that the 1st coming of Jesus did not have to be even slightly ambiguous.  Or rather it at least brings up the question of why did the 1st coming have to be at least slightly ambiguous.

If unquestionable knowledge can be bestowed upon us by the divine then why is there any ambiguity with the god concept?  If it's a 'free will' issue, well, this unquestionably unambiguous second coming seems to strictly violate that, so I don't see how it can be a free will issue.  If it's all part of some kind of 'spiritual training exercise' as some believers seem to claim Earthly life is, of what benefit is the obfuscating of the rules if knowledge of the rules can be unquestionably known (knowledge of them unquestionably bestowed upon the all humanity)?

If, instead, what you mean by:
There won't be questions. That's my point.
is that the 2nd coming will be just so damn impressive that no one would question it...well, I assure you there will be someone to question it.  At the very least I'll be asking if it actually is Jesus or just Mister Mxyzptlk screwing with me.  Or possibly Satan screwing with me.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #99 on: May 08, 2013, 03:55:49 PM »
I'm just making the point that Jesus return won't be even slightly ambiguous. According to the NT.

Ah.  Well.  That's what the jews thought the first time around. 

I know that. No argument.



How is it that you completely missed my point?  Are you not reading my posts?  Or is my conclusion too unpallatable to concede I have a valid point?  Is this sort of a willful-pouty thing you're doing?  Stamping your foot and insisting you'll know when jesus H returns to kill everyone?

I get your point, but it doesn't change the fact that I believe the NT depiction of Jesus return. I don't expect you or any skeptic to believe the same, but so what? It's discussion, right?
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #100 on: May 08, 2013, 04:00:20 PM »
Are you not personally responsible for your decision to believe it?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #101 on: May 08, 2013, 04:08:10 PM »
Are you not personally responsible for your decision to believe it?

Good question.

I'm responsible for my decision to accept something I have no choice in believing.

Would you say you have any say in what you do and don't believe? (about anything)
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #102 on: May 08, 2013, 04:32:55 PM »
It depends on whether I'm being convinced, or compelled.  If I am convinced, then it is the strength of the reasoning I'm being given that makes me believe - that is an outside force.  If I am compelled, then it is my own decision to adhere or not.  Religious beliefs fall into the latter category, in my experience.
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Offline kcrady

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #103 on: May 08, 2013, 11:23:11 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?

I think you just rephrased Hierophant's point. :)
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #104 on: May 09, 2013, 02:28:29 AM »
If you have to ask if that's really Jesus, then it isn't.

Have you thought that this would also be an excellent tool for a fake to use to discourage anyone asking too many questions?

There won't be questions. That's my point.

As you've said, your assumption is that when Christ returns he will have burning eyes and feet, carrying stars, and with a two-headed sword coming from his mouth, then yeah - I guess that WOULD be pretty hard to question.

(Side note: why a 2-headed sword?  Sounds horribly like a forked serpent's tongue to me.  And burning feet?  Frankly, John's revelation of Christ sounds far more like the stereotypical Satan to me, but I digress.)

So yeah.  Given that, it would be pretty hard (though not impossible) to dispute.  I was thinking about a guy popping up and saying "I'm Jesus - no question.  Anyone who has questions is clearly a heretic and instrument of Satan, stone them!"

But going back to the depiction in Revelation.....is Christ going to appear to everyone, everywhere, at once?  Because if he just appears in one country, and I am only seeing it on the TV....well, I've seen Cloverfield and that all looked pretty real.  I also saw Bigfoot on video - yet I have questions there.  So I'm wondering how exactly it will be able to tell, absolutely and without any possibility of faking, that Christ has actually returned.

Minor sub-point.  Isn't his return supposed to be unheralded and without warning?  So by the time we are going "oh - that's Jesus!" won't it already be too late?  In other words, by the time I've got the evidence I NEED to believe Christ exists, I will already be screwed?
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 screwtape

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #105 on: May 09, 2013, 08:20:22 AM »
I get your point, but it doesn't change the fact that I believe the NT depiction of Jesus return.

I doubt you do get my point.  You can believe it and still not understand what it really means.  All the jews believed in the coming of a messiah (and continue to do so).  According you to, as you have acknowledged, his coming was not quite what they expected.  But they still believed the OT depiction of the messiah's coming. 

Similarly, while I do not doubt you believe the NT depiction, you may not understand what god has in mind.  You have an interpretation, an image in your head, of what the NT says the second coming is.  But it is your interpretation and there is room for other interpretations. 

For example, take the line about jesus H having a sword coming out of his mouth.  That has to be interpreted.  You can interpret it literally - a guy with a 2 foot long steel blade sticking straight out of his mouth.  But even literally you can take it several different ways.  Is it a double edged sword or a single edge?  Is it straight or curved?  Is it short, like a dagger, or is it a two meter long Scottish claymore?  Is the point sticking out or the pommel?  Is it steel or is it another metal?  Is it a real sword or is it "spiritual"?  All these options and we've not even started on the interpretations of it as metaphor.

It's like if I were to say I am sitting in a chair.  You imagine some generic chair and think you know what I'm talking about.  But really, there are a zillion kinds of chairs and the likelihood that you are imagining the exact kind of chair I am sitting in is extremely low.

So your idea of what the second coming will be is just one of hundreds or thousands of ideas.  The odds are against you being right.  Your claim that it will be unmistakable in the light of this strikes me as rather arrogant, petulant and stubborn.  Sure, you can say "I think it will be unmistakable", but if you are being honest, you also have to admit you are probably wrong.  Just like you think the jews were.

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Offline madame_zora

Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #106 on: May 09, 2013, 11:31:08 AM »
Religion is an indoctrination of how to handle emotion. We're not going to reason very many people out of religion, because they didn't reason their way in. Believing in bedtime stories at 5 years old because you love your mother is not a reasoned decision. It seems justified, especially at that age, but it's not reason.

Having a powerful emotional experience with one's own subconscious mind is overwhelming. Philosophers spend their whole lives sometimes to achieve this without the artifacts of "faith". Some eastern religions/philosophies encourage the use of avatars to convey one to the depths of one's own mind, at least for a while, to protect the self-image that we rely upon so heavily in order to maintain continuity. Can you imagine the full weight of self-realisation coming upon a person without a firm grasp of who they are, and where they might fit into the cosmic scheme?

Religion is a simplification. I'm not defending it, I'm just acknowledging that most people are not going to break down their self-constructed images of what their life is all about- mostly because they can't. Gods and images change and evolve along with one's self-image. You'll never pin it down, people will squirm around as if their very life depends on it. In many respects, it does.
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Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #107 on: May 09, 2013, 11:35:13 AM »
Religion is an indoctrination of how to handle emotion. We're not going to reason very many people out of religion, because they didn't reason their way in. Believing in bedtime stories at 5 years old because you love your mother is not a reasoned decision. It seems justified, especially at that age, but it's not reason.

Having a powerful emotional experience with one's own subconscious mind is overwhelming. Philosophers spend their whole lives sometimes to achieve this without the artifacts of "faith". Some eastern religions/philosophies encourage the use of avatars to convey one to the depths of one's own mind, at least for a while, to protect the self-image that we rely upon so heavily in order to maintain continuity. Can you imagine the full weight of self-realisation coming upon a person without a firm grasp of who they are, and where they might fit into the cosmic scheme?

Religion is a simplification. I'm not defending it, I'm just acknowledging that most people are not going to break down their self-constructed images of what their life is all about- mostly because they can't. Gods and images change and evolve along with one's self-image. You'll never pin it down, people will squirm around as if their very life depends on it. In many respects, it does.

I am a direct counter-example to this argument. And there are many others.

median

p.s. - "The old shit" does in fact count according to Jesus' alleged words (never pass away) and other passages, etc. This is why we ex-believers argue that the bible is self-contradictory and shouldn't be taken as an authority on these subjects.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 11:39:09 AM by median »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #108 on: May 09, 2013, 03:00:29 PM »
I reasoned my way out as an adult, after being taught the JW religion since birth. I studied up on different religions and gradually realized they were all made up by people. There was enough critical information about every religion from other religions to conclude that they were all full of holes.

None of them have produced any information not available to the people of the era; none of them have any evidence for their magical miracles; and none even have the basic morality stuff right (like women's equality, and no slavery). None of them are clear and unambiguous as to what their god is all about.

All are bogus and contradictory. All are geographically limited. All depend on word games and emotional appeals. And, most telling, all expect me to shut off my brain and accept some nonsense that would never fly in any area of life other than religion.

Any religion that shows up without these major flaws? Maybe we can talk.  &)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #109 on: May 10, 2013, 01:38:49 AM »
     Trouble is, if you follow that line of thinking, you must argue that NO Muslim has EVER had any religious experiences.  Ever....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?

     In post #74 I argued that the experiences that the various religions claim are qualitatively different.  As far as I know,(you can correct me if I am mistaken) the Christian claim to have a personal relationship with Christ is a unique claim.  I have no problem conceding that it is possible to have a 'religious' experience that is not attached to a real God, and I would like to give my complements to Derren Brown for demonstrating this (it was very entertaining viewing material while I rode my exercise bike the other night).  In my opinion, however, there are two false assumptions that Mr. Brown makes:
     -first, he assumes that 5 minutes of hysterical emotion accurately approximates the ongoing relational experience that a Christian feels (he might have closely approximated a conversion experience but I am wondering where the 'daily walk' was represented in his act)
     -second, he assumes that if he demonstrates that it is possible for a 'religious experience' to be detached from any divine entity that he has proven that all are so detached (this would be like saying to someone who is in an online relationship, "Did you see what happened to Manti Te'o? The same thing is necessarily happening to you too.")
     You ask me how I can be 100% certain that my relationship with Christ is authentic.  I don't think I have claimed absolute certainty; if I have, please point to the relevant post.

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #110 on: May 10, 2013, 01:53:03 AM »
     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?

     I had no idea that the production of doctrinal material was supposed to be the criteria for measuring the authenticity of someone's alleged relationship with Christ.  It seems to me that the philosophers and theologians are doing a fine job of filling the libraries.  If you happen to be in a seminary library and come across a theology textbook  :) take a gander to the back of the book and check out the sources - if you happen to find an entry labeled "my experience with Christ" then let me know.  Incidentally, divergence of opinion is often the result of multiple recipients and not due to a confused sender or an ambiguous situation.  Take the goal that Mika Zibanejad scored a couple of nights ago against the Montreal Canadiens.  Millions of people saw it, we can play back the tape over and over, we can slow down the footage as much as we like and yet there are a million people in Montreal who think the goal should have been disallowed and an equal number in Ottawa who think the opposite.

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #111 on: May 10, 2013, 01:59:35 AM »
     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.

     I'm familiar with epiphanies, I experience them all the time...like when I suddenly realize that I think I know the answer to a question that has been posted on this blog (usually a premature celebration  :)  I get all excited and likely feel some kind of a chemical rush which probably explains why I sometimes suddenly wake up at 6:30AM and jump out of bed to write something down before I forget it.  So far I haven't mistaken this euphoric feeling for my relationship with Christ; but who knows, maybe with some more time spent on this forum...

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #112 on: May 10, 2013, 02:08:24 AM »
     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.....

     I think I can do you one better than a form letter sent out from a movie star; you see, in Saskatchewan we have this religious sect called 'Rider Pride'.  Now perhaps I should have stated up front in my intro that I am a member of a fanatical religious sect, so I will do my best to come clean now.  In Rider Nation we exhibit all the qualities that new atheists ascribe to religion: we inculcate our children in the ways of the green and white from an early age, we travel throughout the country attempting to convert people to our cause, we make more 'donations' than all the followers of all the other 'religions' combined, and we endure great hardship to watch our beloved team play (which usually results in more hardship :)).  As you can imagine, the most exhilarating thing that can happen to a 'Rider Prider' is to actually meet one of the Riders and get one's jersey signed.  I know, its hard to believe, but I have met my favorite Rider, I have a signed jersey, and shockingly my relational experience with Christ is still distinctly intact. 

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #113 on: May 10, 2013, 02:12:33 AM »
Hi Azdgari and median.  I see you are both watching; I hate to disappoint you both but it is 1:12 here in Saskatchewan and I have to go to work tomorrow.  Hope you don't mind if I finish my responses tomorrow  :)
     Have a good night

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #114 on: May 10, 2013, 02:14:21 AM »
     Trouble is, if you follow that line of thinking, you must argue that NO Muslim has EVER had any religious experiences.  Ever....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?

     In post #74 I argued that the experiences that the various religions claim are qualitatively different.  As far as I know,(you can correct me if I am mistaken) the Christian claim to have a personal relationship with Christ is a unique claim.  I have no problem conceding that it is possible to have a 'religious' experience that is not attached to a real God, and I would like to give my complements to Derren Brown for demonstrating this (it was very entertaining viewing material while I rode my exercise bike the other night).  In my opinion, however, there are two false assumptions that Mr. Brown makes:
     -first, he assumes that 5 minutes of hysterical emotion accurately approximates the ongoing relational experience that a Christian feels (he might have closely approximated a conversion experience but I am wondering where the 'daily walk' was represented in his act)
     -second, he assumes that if he demonstrates that it is possible for a 'religious experience' to be detached from any divine entity that he has proven that all are so detached (this would be like saying to someone who is in an online relationship, "Did you see what happened to Manti Te'o? The same thing is necessarily happening to you too.")
     You ask me how I can be 100% certain that my relationship with Christ is authentic.  I don't think I have claimed absolute certainty; if I have, please point to the relevant post.

So basically, you're practicing credulity. You're willing to believe that your alleged religious experience is "Jesus", in the face of the fact that you have been both raised in a Judeo Christian culture and were likely prepared to accept it's assumptions (and emotional motivations), and quite uncritically. You can't demonstrate this alleged "Jesus" thing which you claim to have an "ongoing personal relationship" with and your story sounds fundamentally indistinguishable from a 4th grader who says he has an invisible friend named Fred. To this point as well, children will often vehemently defend their assertions to this "friend"! But how is this in any way different from pure superstition? "Oh, I have this ongoing relational experience with aliens. I can't demonstrate it but it is actually real." Why is your standard of evidence so low when it comes to your religious belief? Did you not know that the, "This experience just can't be rightly explained any other way" argument is faulty?

It seems that your mechanism for separating fact from fiction is not firing on all cylinders (and is indeed being hindered by a "faith" - a dressed up gullibility). In a different light, how is your claim different in truth value than those at the mental hospital who make similar claims?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 02:21:22 AM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #115 on: May 10, 2013, 03:55:09 AM »
     I had no idea that the production of doctrinal material was supposed to be the criteria for measuring the authenticity of someone's alleged relationship with Christ.
Well, you do now.
Quote
  It seems to me that the philosophers and theologians are doing a fine job of filling the libraries.
That is to be expected, if they have no relationship with Christ, and are doing what Christians just about always do: argue from doctrine and personal preference.
Quote
Take the goal that Mika Zibanejad scored a couple of nights ago against the Montreal Canadiens.  Millions of people saw it, we can play back the tape over and over, we can slow down the footage as much as we like and yet there are a million people in Montreal who think the goal should have been disallowed and an equal number in Ottawa who think the opposite.
At least we have the tape.

In the case of the Apostle Paul, he laid down a large amount of text, that Christians take seriously, and as you say, could just be one incredibly biased chap's interpretation of something completely different. Jesus may have been up there, saying, "Paul, you have to follow Jewish law", and Paul could be saying, "Yeah, we should follow the bits that make sense!". And Jesus could be, like, "No, Paul, ALL of it." And Paul could be like, "All the bits that make sense, right". And Jesus could be like, "No, it all makes sense." And then Paul could say, "What? Did you see that grasshopper?"

What I'm saying, is that Christian interpretation of information from Jesus, is about as reliable as the Canadiens who think the goal shouldn't have been allowed. (Here, I make the grand assumption that there is any information from Jesus, at all. If there were none, it would explain the complete disarray on doctrinal issues.)

Though, we do have a general consensus on how we should spell Jesus' name, because iesu would be mad if we got it wrong, and worshipped the incorrect Joshua, or Yehashua, or whatever. Jesus would have taken the time to tell us his real name, right? You can't ask Jesus for a relationship, if you don't know his name. Maybe that's half the trouble.

Personally, I think his name is FROG. Do you have any objection with that? Every night, I pray to FROG, and ask him to make me successful in battle, and for penis extension. FROG has two parents, named the WHOLY FROG, and FRILLY FROG SPIRIT.

You can see, I have got it basically right? Can you ask you Jesus to clear up some facts for me, about life in 30AD. There is some stuff we'd like to know. More especially, we'd like to know what the hell Paul was talking about in Galatians.
I strive for clarity, but aim for confusion.