Author Topic: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?  (Read 38768 times)

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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #116 on: May 10, 2013, 04:31:21 AM »

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.

I don't necessarily believe it will be exactly as John describes it in revelation, but, yeah...Christ will return as a very obvious King of this world.


But going back to the depiction in Revelation.....is Christ going to appear to everyone, everywhere, at once? 

That is certainly my understanding, and I think, the understanding of most Christians.


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? 

Yes. It will be too late then.


In other words, by the time I've got the evidence I NEED to believe Christ exists, I will already be screwed?

Only you and God can know for sure whether the charge that you set your heart against God will be justified.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #117 on: May 10, 2013, 04:44:08 AM »

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. 

Once more, we have no disagreement there.


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. 

I agree that I cannot and do not know the specifics, but I disagree that the NT is vague or ambiguous in teaching that Christ will return as king and that every knee shall bow, every tongue confess it.


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.

Sure. Do you read it, though, and think to yourself that Jesus will creep back into the world via a manger in Israel, or similar?


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.

I get it. For the record, I'm guessing high backed leather swivel chair.


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 The Gawd

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #118 on: May 10, 2013, 04:47:57 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.
You contradicted yourself in the first two sentences. You actually have a way of knowing though, because we at WWGHA are telling you that you are believing in something wrong. Furthermore, unlike the set of beliefs we are not simply asking you to believe us on faith, we want you to actually look at the evidence. There is a fatal flaw at every step of the way beginning with your mom putting this on you as an impressionable 5 year old.

You claim to be experiencing christ, but you cannot demonstrate this, not even slightly. Nor can you differentiate your experience from the experience of someone of any other religion that we both agree is incorrect. In other posts you seem to be arguing that your experience though similar to those of other faiths is also different. By definition of that argument, they can make the exact same claim you can, "yeah his belief in Jesus is similar to mine, but it aint the same as Krishna!" and then they can conclude that your belief is in a false god.

You say you would have to weigh the evidence against your god and compare it to the "evidence" of your personal experience. I would like to do so as well, so if you can present us with that evidence I will also go about weighing against the fact that everything Ive read in the bible seems to be false. Everything. 

Offline screwtape

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #119 on: May 10, 2013, 08:29:13 AM »
I agree that I cannot and do not know the specifics, but I disagree that the NT is vague or ambiguous in teaching that Christ will return as king and that every knee shall bow, every tongue confess it.

Can you tell me what the jewish messianic prophesies are?


Do you read it, though, and think to yourself that Jesus will creep back into the world via a manger in Israel, or similar?

Who the hell knows?  Revelation reads like a bad acid trip.  So much of it is allegory and metaphor I think it is impossible to say what is supposed to be literal and what is not.

For the record, I'm guessing high backed leather swivel chair.

It is a high throne of iron and glass, with jets of fire and arcing electricity.  Dry ice behind the throne makes a fog effect around me.  I alternately play heavy metal or Bach pipe organ music for mood.

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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #120 on: May 10, 2013, 08:57:52 AM »
It is a high throne of iron and glass, with jets of fire and arcing electricity.  Dry ice behind the throne makes a fog effect around me.  I alternately play heavy metal or Bach pipe organ music for mood.

Oh, well, there you go. It's no wonder the second coming has taken so long. We needed Bach to write the score, and probably we needed computers to do the laser show.

I'm just thinking that we may need quantum computers to calculate who has existed in the past, so we can resurrect them. Also, we need an AI to simulate Jesus. This can all be in the game by Apple.

PSSST. Does Miles really believe all this shit?
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 #121 on: May 10, 2013, 09:05:06 AM »
Does Miles really believe all this shit?

He does.  But he also believes the radio works because there are tiny people inside it.[1]
 1. Woody Allen said this of Diane Keaton
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #122 on: May 10, 2013, 09:12:28 AM »

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.

I don't necessarily believe it will be exactly as John describes it in revelation, but, yeah...Christ will return as a very obvious King of this world.

Confused.  The detail of his vision may be wrong but you're sure that the underlying event will happen?  Why?

If someone said to me "I dreamed that you won the lottery and you spent all the money on an elephant that you rode around town", I would NOT be thinking "excellent! Clearly I will win the lottery - but I'll buy myself a porsche!"
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #123 on: May 10, 2013, 09:31:43 AM »
^^^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

     You know, after reading your post I realized that I have a bit of a problem.  I just realized that after 5 years of marriage it is possible that aliens abducted my wife 4 years ago and replaced her with a 'savvy, powerful shape-shifting alien who can appear in any form'; can you 'save' me? In addition, if you believe that this alien being is a possibility then it seems you have undermined your foundation for knowledge as well as mine - who's going to rescue you? Also, you can correct me if I am wrong, but I was not under the impression that Allah, Vishnu, or Shango had ever made any claims to make a physical return to earth. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #124 on: May 10, 2013, 09:44:34 AM »
     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.

     I have described my experience with Christ as providing me with evidence that is 'non-communicable'.  That fact doesn't mean that my belief is unfalsifiable because you have to remember that communication goes both ways: me to you and you to me.  I cannot communicate to you the full evidential impact that my experience has on me but that doesn't mean that you cannot communicate to me evidence that would act as an undercutting defeater to my belief.  For instance, let's say that I say to you that I have this experience that has led me to believe that I am really interacting with Christ; you, being the suspicious sort :), do some digging around and find that my wife has been putting mind altering drugs into my food for the last five years because she is worried that I am going to become an atheist.  Presenting me with evidence like that would give me pause to consider the origin of my belief.  Now if you look back through the posts you will find that lots of people have suggested potential falsifying evidence to me (e.g. imagination, an epiphany, a crush on a celebrity, psychological manipulation, etc...).  I think that those are legitimate concerns that provide potential falsifying evidence; however, I think I have good reason (which I have stated) to believe that those possibilities do not provide the true explanation of my experience.  The fact that I do not consider those possibilities to be accurate descriptions of my belief just means that my belief is, as of yet, unfalsified not unfalsifiable. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #125 on: May 10, 2013, 09:56:20 AM »
     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...
     But lots of religions claim to have personal relationships (in some form or another) with their gods.

     If I can have a relationship with Christ today without seeing his physical body then I don't see any conceptual difficulty with someone 1,000 years before the time of Christ doing the same - unless you think that Christians only think that Christ came into existence at the incarnation?
     I have claimed that the Christian experience of a personal relationship with Christ is a unique one; you certainly have a great opportunity here to score some rhetorical points by backing up your assertion that other religions also claim to have personal relationships with their gods (which religions are you referring to and can you point me to a web address where other religions give testimony to this experience?)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 10:03:42 AM by Greenandwhite »

Offline screwtape

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #126 on: May 10, 2013, 11:29:48 AM »
     If I can have a relationship with Christ today without seeing his physical body ...

     I have claimed that the Christian experience of a personal relationship with Christ is a unique one;

Please define this relationship. 

You see, when I hear the word "relationship", certain things come to mind.  None of those things involve an invisible, intangible, non-present being.  When I have asked this of xians in the past, none of what they describe matches any description of the word "relationship" or they have to resort to metaphors and defining word in brand new ways to shoehorn it in. 

So please pardon me if I am skeptical.  Your clarification will be useful.
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Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #127 on: May 10, 2013, 11:53:15 AM »
     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.

     I have described my experience with Christ as providing me with evidence that is 'non-communicable'.  That fact doesn't mean that my belief is unfalsifiable because you have to remember that communication goes both ways: me to you and you to me.  I cannot communicate to you the full evidential impact that my experience has on me but that doesn't mean that you cannot communicate to me evidence that would act as an undercutting defeater to my belief.  For instance, let's say that I say to you that I have this experience that has led me to believe that I am really interacting with Christ; you, being the suspicious sort :), do some digging around and find that my wife has been putting mind altering drugs into my food for the last five years because she is worried that I am going to become an atheist.  Presenting me with evidence like that would give me pause to consider the origin of my belief.  Now if you look back through the posts you will find that lots of people have suggested potential falsifying evidence to me (e.g. imagination, an epiphany, a crush on a celebrity, psychological manipulation, etc...).  I think that those are legitimate concerns that provide potential falsifying evidence; however, I think I have good reason (which I have stated) to believe that those possibilities do not provide the true explanation of my experience.  The fact that I do not consider those possibilities to be accurate descriptions of my belief just means that my belief is, as of yet, unfalsified not unfalsifiable.

What you have just described here is fundamentally indistinguishable from a belief that is unfalsifiable. The description is an open door for any manner of spin, rationalizing, or internal shape shifting. Why have you made this conclusion (indeed why have you trusted your own interpretation?) when this 'thing' you claim to have experienced is 'non-communicable'? You seem like a pretty intelligent guy. Can you not see this vicious circularity?

A fast talking salesman comes to your door, making claims about a magic solution which he says will cure all illness and decease on contact. He claims that this potion cured his whole family but that it's 'non-communicable'. He then starts spinning and rationalizing away any counter examples to his claims. What a perfect scapegoat! And yet, what a devious way to make your position immune from having to give evidence and/or demonstration. How is this any different from superstition? "I have these experiences with 'Christ', and they are falsifiable, but now I'm not going to allow any interpretation in that would falsify them." WOW. Could you be any more non-critical (and indeed anymore dishonest)?

This assertion that your experiences are 'non-communicable' (although you are communicating them, at least in part, right now) is no different from the claims of my Hindu friends who make similar claims regarding their "felt" experience with their version of God. "Oh you can't talk about it my friend. It is ineffable but rest assured it is therrre." And yet if anyone else tried this tactic on you, you would likely reject it. Can you see the hypocrisy?

Of course, we haven't yet even gotten into the fact that your bible flatly contradicts this idea that the alleged experience of Jesus/Yahweh is non-communicable - quite the opposite in fact (more on this later, if need be). Can you see why your claim looks absolutely identical to someone who simply doesn't have squat and is utterly credulous and gullible?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 12:22:30 PM by median »
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Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #128 on: May 10, 2013, 12:11:35 PM »
     I have claimed that the Christian experience of a personal relationship with Christ is a unique one; you certainly have a great opportunity here to score some rhetorical points by backing up your assertion that other religions also claim to have personal relationships with their gods (which religions are you referring to and can you point me to a web address where other religions give testimony to this experience?)

"Oh, these are very personal experiences of others. They are 'non-communicable' in the other religions too. So, I really don't need to give web addresses. My other religious friends, from other faiths, know their experiences are the true ones too."

WOW. Can you say credulity? Can you not see how you started with your theological conclusion - accepted it's assertion in advance - and then interpreted your alleged 'non-communicable' experience in a light that is favorable to what you were already psychologically prepared in advance to accept? This is exactly the same as the other religions! The Mormons do it. The JWs do it. My Hindu friends do it. And so do my New-Ager buddies. It's superstition!

Now, your claim to some "unique experience" is of no consequence. Every religion claims their experience is "unique". "Oh those other religions are wrong [at least in part]. Ours is different." So what! Unique doesn't equal true. We already knew that fundamentalist Christianity claims exclusivity (as does Islam, Mormonism, and countless other religions of the past). Again, it's of no consequence. Saying it is so doesn't make it so. You need to demonstrate these extraordinary claims. Otherwise it is reasonable to conclude that you are practicing being gullible.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #129 on: May 11, 2013, 02:22:32 AM »
I cannot communicate to you the full evidential impact that my experience has on me but that doesn't mean that you cannot communicate to me evidence that would act as an undercutting defeater to my belief.  For instance, let's say that I say to you that I have this experience that has led me to believe that I am really interacting with Christ; you, being the suspicious sort :), do some digging around and find that my wife has been putting mind altering drugs into my food for the last five years because she is worried that I am going to become an atheist.  Presenting me with evidence like that would give me pause to consider the origin of my belief.
I don't know if such a machine even exists, but if it were possible to demonstrate to you the increase in endorphins your brain receives whenever you think about how much Jesus loves you, would you consider that evidence enough? Because that is the how an emotional response to positive stimuli works. Its almost like the mind-altering drugs in your food example you gave above.

In another thread, I used the example of a schoolboy receiving a note saying "I love you and want to be your girlfriend" from a beautiful classmate on whom he has an enormous crush. His passionate emotional response would certainly be a wonderful sense of euphoria which would be very real to him, so long as he remains unaware that the note (and the girl's affection) was intended for the boy seated at the desk behind him.

I would never dispute that the emotions you experience as a result of your beliefs are certainly real. I'm simply saying that one's emotions can be easily manipulated by something one really wants to be true, even when that thing is anything but.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 02:24:18 AM by DumpsterFire »
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #130 on: May 11, 2013, 03:33:24 AM »

In another thread, I used the example of a schoolboy receiving a note saying "I love you and want to be your girlfriend" from a beautiful classmate on whom he has an enormous crush. His passionate emotional response would certainly be a wonderful sense of euphoria which would be very real to him, so long as he remains unaware that the note (and the girl's affection) was intended for the boy seated at the desk behind him.



If she's so careless that she allows that to happen he's dodged a bullet.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #131 on: May 11, 2013, 03:51:58 AM »
^^ Funny you should say that.  If a god is so careless that it allows its message to suffer a similar fate, or worse, then do those who fail to receive it also "dodge a bullet"?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #132 on: May 11, 2013, 04:02:04 AM »
It's Saturday night and I'm onto my 4th beer. Don't ask me any serious questions till Monday.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #133 on: May 11, 2013, 09:53:43 AM »
It's Saturday night and I'm onto my 4th beer. Don't ask me any serious questions till Monday.

Fair 'nuff.

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Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #134 on: May 11, 2013, 11:03:53 AM »
It's Saturday night and I'm onto my 4th beer. Don't ask me any serious questions till Monday.


Galatians 5:21 - Drunkenness ... and such like ... they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
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Offline Jag

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #135 on: May 11, 2013, 11:05:13 AM »
It's Saturday night and I'm onto my 4th beer. Don't ask me any serious questions till Monday.

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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #136 on: May 11, 2013, 02:37:06 PM »
If she's so careless that she allows that to happen he's dodged a bullet.
Be that as it may, the obvious point stands: People can experience real feelings as a result of something that is unreal, untrue, and/or completely imaginary. A genuine emotional response in no way validates its source as genuine.
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Offline tapdancingcow

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #137 on: May 11, 2013, 09:44:02 PM »
What would it take for me to believe??

I'm with a few other atheists and refer to Greta Christina's blog.  God would have to speak in all the languages that cover the Earth in a clear message is understood everywhere.  Even in Antarctica where the science lab is.

All the stuff in the New Testament written decades after Jesus died  and then copied hundreds of times with added passages by non professional  scribes doesn't cut it.

The so called miracles of Jesus curing leprosy sounds like a silly parlor game.  If he supposedly is a powerful God why not cure everyone with leprosy.  Why let someone go through a painful death just so you could raise them from the dead.   

There is no evidence of Moses wondering the desert with 600,000 able bodied men.  And this doesn't count the women and children.  It would be one thing if archeologists didn't know where to look but the Bible lays it out.  There have been nomadic encampments found from hundreds of years earlier but nothing pointing to Moses.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.

It's all silly stuff and I don't believe one word of it. 

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Offline Samothec

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #138 on: May 12, 2013, 02:42:37 AM »
Who is coolest?  Han Solo or Zaphod Beeblebrox?
Zaphod is coolest, hands down (all three) - he's a really hoopy frood.
Han is cool but scruffy.
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Offline Nam

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #139 on: May 12, 2013, 03:57:06 AM »
Han's not scruffy he's a nerf-herder.

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #140 on: May 12, 2013, 04:44:34 AM »
I agree that I cannot and do not know the specifics, but I disagree that the NT is vague or ambiguous in teaching that Christ will return as king and that every knee shall bow, every tongue confess it.


For example, take the line about jesus H having a sword coming out of his mouth.  […]Is it a real sword or is it "spiritual"? 

Sure. Do you read it, though, and think to yourself that Jesus will creep back into the world via a manger in Israel, or similar?

I strill don’t know if the sword is real or spiritual… but then I don’t know what anyone means by “spiritual”; it usually means, “A figment of my imagination.”

Quote
For the record, I'm guessing [you are sitting in a] high backed leather swivel chair.

This is quite telling. You could have said, “A throne of skulls encrusted with jewels.” But you keep your imagination to the real world and this makes it perceptive and insightful. Whereas, deities on white horses (why not a Hummer?) with a real sword in his mouth are straight out of a bad fantasy novel… yet you accept this equally happily.

     I have described my experience with Christ as providing me with evidence that is 'non-communicable'.

How does this differ from my saying that "Bill O’Reilly is talking to me in my head and telling me to drown kittens and that I know this is true but I can’t explain to you why I think it is true - but it just is."?
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #141 on: May 12, 2013, 09:03:52 PM »
It's Saturday night and I'm onto my 4th beer. Don't ask me any serious questions till Monday.


Galatians 5:21 - Drunkenness ... and such like ... they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Pfft. 4 Beers?

I'm no 2 pot screamer.
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 #142 on: May 12, 2013, 09:05:06 PM »
If she's so careless that she allows that to happen he's dodged a bullet.
Be that as it may, the obvious point stands: People can experience real feelings as a result of something that is unreal, untrue, and/or completely imaginary. A genuine emotional response in no way validates its source as genuine.

Of course that's true. Speaking personally, emotional response encompasses about 1% of my faith in God.
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 #143 on: May 12, 2013, 09:06:00 PM »
It's Saturday night and I'm onto my 4th beer. Don't ask me any serious questions till Monday.

Fair 'nuff.

Who is coolest?  Han Solo or Zaphod Beeblebrox?

I don't know what/who the second one is sorry. (that probably makes me 'uncool')
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 #144 on: May 12, 2013, 09:08:55 PM »
^^ Funny you should say that.  If a god is so careless that it allows its message to suffer a similar fate, or worse, then do those who fail to receive it also "dodge a bullet"?

Well, you already know my position on whether God is to blame for His message not being accepted by all.

A dodged bullet? i certainly don't think so.
The 2010 world cup was ruined for me by that slippery bastard Paul.