Author Topic: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?  (Read 44540 times)

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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #145 on: May 12, 2013, 09:15:01 PM »
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?

All of them? Only by linking to a list, and really what's the point? I know Jesus apparently did not fulfill them all. Time of peace, re-build temple etc etc.

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.

Yes, yes, yes, acid trip, metaphor and ambiguity. Right.

You're clever enough to read it and understand that, however the exact circumstances play out, Revelation foretells an impossible to miss return of Jesus.

Go on up you baldhead.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #146 on: May 12, 2013, 09:15:15 PM »
A double standard, then.  The flawed human is to blame when her message fails to reach its target, but the perfect god is blameless when its message fails to reach its target.  And keep in mind, I'm not really talking about people like me.  I'm talking about people like the aboriginals of your home nation, or mine, before Europeans invaded.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #147 on: May 12, 2013, 09:24:27 PM »
And keep in mind, I'm not really talking about people like me.  I'm talking about people like the aboriginals of your home nation, or mine, before Europeans invaded.

What are you wanting here...for me to bring up the verse in Romans again? Piss everybody off again? You know where I stand on this.

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #148 on: May 12, 2013, 10:09:42 PM »
They are without excuse, yeah.  You believe that everyone who lived here pre-Europeans was, and is, morally deserving of being tortured in the worst way for all of eternity.

I find that level of hatred for people you don't know to be hard to fathom.  How do you manage it?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #149 on: May 12, 2013, 10:56:51 PM »
It has nothing to do with any hatred I feel to any person.

Watch this, if you want, as it attempts to answer the question of how a God of love could condemn anyone to hell. It was a sermon at our church recently.

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #150 on: May 12, 2013, 11:17:22 PM »
I am not talking about a god's feelings, magicmiles.  I am talking about yours, and yours alone.

Do you, or do you not, believe that those people - supposedly in hell - morally deserve their eternal torture?

If you think it's right, then you must either hate them, or not have thought about it yet.

If you don't think it's right, then you disagree with your own god's justice.

Take your pick.  It's all about the personal responsibility, and owning up to your own proclaimed hatred for these people (rather than, in the same breath, denying it).  You can only feel that someone deserves eternal torture if you also hate them.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 11:19:58 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #151 on: May 12, 2013, 11:59:07 PM »

If you think it's right, then you must either hate them, or not have thought about it yet.


It's hard to have a conversation about this if you insist on telling me what my options are. That's why I think it would be helpful if you watched the video, as my pastor does a much better job than I ever could of explaining why the options you provide aren't the only ones.

But, if you really don't want to, let me know and I'll give it my best shot.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #152 on: May 13, 2013, 12:56:47 AM »

If you think it's right, then you must either hate them, or not have thought about it yet.


It's hard to have a conversation about this if you insist on telling me what my options are.

That's true enough.  You may well have other reasons than the two Azd proposes.  But still, there ARE only two answers to the actual question - which you didn't seem to answer? It DOES seem to be a question that believers never seem to want to answer straight out clearly first time round, for some reason.

Do you, or do you not, believe that those people - supposedly in hell - morally deserve their eternal torture?
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 Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #153 on: May 13, 2013, 01:06:56 AM »
As Anfauglir says, first things first.  I am not interested in your pastor's opinions, but in yours.  I have had no dealings with your pastor.  If your answer is the same as his, then by all means give it.  I tend not to watch videos.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #154 on: May 13, 2013, 01:12:19 AM »
@ Anfauglir - When Azdgari asked the question of me the hatred was assumed. The actual question, originally, was how do I manage that sort of hatred. That's such a loaded question anyone with half a brain would try to unload it a little first. (and I think i have at least half a brain).

I do believe that anybody who God sends to hell deserves to be there, yes. I further recognise that I'm poorly placed to understand why God's standard of judgement is so much higher than my own. I believe I will fully understand it one day. In the meantime, what I know of God and what I know of my own very, very dark heart is enough to tell me God is a God of love first and foremost, but is also a God of justice. It's our desire to set the level of the justice that is the problem.

PS, did you watch the FA final? I tipped the upset. Genius ;D
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #155 on: May 13, 2013, 01:39:40 AM »
@ Anfauglir - When Azdgari asked the question of me the hatred was assumed. The actual question, originally, was how do I manage that sort of hatred. That's such a loaded question anyone with half a brain would try to unload it a little first. (and I think i have at least half a brain).

I did offer an alternative - that you simply hadn't thought about it enough.  If you have a third option, let me hear it.  I've offered the only ones I know about.  I'm not trying to trap you into one or the other - I genuinely can't see a third option.

I do believe that anybody who God sends to hell deserves to be there, yes.

Then that is your judgment.  It's your god's as well, of course, but it is your judgment that your god's judgment is correct.  You've taken it upon yourself to agree that those people deserve to be tortured.  What feelings led you to judge them in that way, such that your judgments align with your god's?  Or, what reasoning process did you apply to your god's judgment of torture in order to wholeheartedly agree with it?

Put this in real-life terms for a second.  You see a little girl being beaten and raped.  You recall that she has denied the Holy Spirit - an unforgivable offence.  She deserves eternal torture, according to your god.  Do you feel, as your god does, that she deserves torture?  If so, then there's little reason to step in or call the cops - at least, not to arrive until after the men are done.  Or, do you disagree with your god, and feel that her torture is unjust?  Then you might try to help her.

The first of those two reactions is one of hatred toward the person.  It is also the one that aligns with the morality you claim to espouse.  I for one do not believe that you truly hold to it.

I further recognise that I'm poorly placed to understand why God's standard of judgement is so much higher than my own. I believe I will fully understand it one day.

So, you agree with your god's judgments but don't understand them?  That's not very responsible.  If you don't understand a judgment, then it would be responsible to withhold judgment of your own rather than agreeing.

In the meantime, what I know of God and what I know of my own very, very dark heart is enough to tell me God is a God of love first and foremost, but is also a God of justice. It's our desire to set the level of the justice that is the problem.

What do you mean by "set the level of justice"?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #156 on: May 13, 2013, 02:53:45 AM »
I do believe that anybody who God sends to hell deserves to be there, yes.

Thank you.  Now I need to understand why you believe that.

I further recognise that I'm poorly placed to understand why God's standard of judgement is so much higher than my own. .....In the meantime, what I know of God and what I know of my own very, very dark heart is enough to tell me God is a God of love first and foremost, but is also a God of justice. It's our desire to set the level of the justice that is the problem

I'm concerned here, because what you seem to be saying is that - in the absence of god - you would NOT have judged those people worthy of hell (or at least not all of them).  You admit that your standard, and your god's standard, are two different things:
"God's standard of judgement is so much higher than my own"
"It's our desire to set the level of the justice that is the problem"

So would it be correct then to say that you do not feel that they should (all) be in hell (based on your own morality and sense of justice), but that you nevertheless defer to your god's judgement - even though you do not understand it?
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 #157 on: May 13, 2013, 10:15:34 AM »
I do believe that anybody who God sends to hell deserves to be there, yes. I further recognise that I'm poorly placed to understand why God's standard of judgement is so much higher than my own. I believe I will fully understand it one day.

How is this any different from being gullible?

It's our desire to set the level of the justice that is the problem.

That's your claim: that's it a "problem". But you haven't shown that it's a problem. The only "level of justice setters" that have been demonstrated, anywhere, are humans! So, to say this is a problem is merely to ASSUME your interpretation of your bible in advance. But that is backwards. You can't assume your position. You need to demonstrate your position as being the correct one (while avoiding confirmation bias - which it seems Christians clearly cannot do). Otherwise, there is good reason for thinking that all you have in credulity.

This is one of the reasons I started this OP - to demonstrate that Christians are closed-minded and unwilling to truly consider the possibility that they are mistaken (i.e. - practicing confirmation bias is a regularity).
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 10:28:13 AM by median »
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Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #158 on: May 13, 2013, 11:19:35 AM »
...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."
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)

     It seems to me that if you are sincere in what you say here, your claim that I hold an unfalsifiable view about my experience with Christ would have been demonstrated to be false in your own experience. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #159 on: May 13, 2013, 11:25:50 AM »
Have you even thought to critically examine these alleged experiences?

          Yes, I have, and that is why I think that it is a misplaced criticism to characterize my faith experience as nothing more than the ‘dubious’ decision of a five year old.  I am certainly not afraid to debate the validity of the truth claims of Christianity (when we are done this discussion perhaps), but until then I think that my willingness to subject my interpretation of my experience with Christ to forum criticism qualifies as an attempt to examine my ‘alleged experiences’. 
     Despite the fact that I cannot communicate the evidential merit of my experience to you, I have made an effort to respond to the external criticisms mounted against my interpretation of my experience.  If you look back in previous posts you will see that I have given reasons why I don’t think my experience can be seen as being explained by an appeal to imagination (#67), cultural expectation, an epiphany (#112), delirious excitement (#113), or mental illness/drugs.  I think my responses to these constitute inductive evidence (e.g. a process of elimination) that my experience is genuine and connected to the person of Christ. 
     If you have watched the movie Zero Dark Thirty you will know that this is the exact kind of reasoning that the CIA used in their decision to launch a special ops mission to kill Osama Bin Laden.  They found a well guarded compound in Pakistan and over a period of several months used a process of elimination to reach a rationally justified conclusion that the main occupant was their sought after quarry.  The president asked them, “bring forth a picture of Osama Bin Laden”; but they could not – it was not that they were afraid of having their views falsified or that they felt themselves to be immune from good evidence, but because they were confident in the less than 100% certain conclusions that they held. 

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #160 on: May 13, 2013, 11:27:41 AM »
Miles' statement that anybody whom God sends to hell deserves to be there is circular, since we cannot know who God will send to hell, or what hell actually is. Anyone whom God sends to Belgium may deserve to be there, too.

Christians have not established what makes a person go to hell. They are torn between a browny points and saviour system, but don't know how much Jesus will forgive, or how to verify that they are saved. There is also no sense of how long hell will last, given that it actually says "Aeonian", and one verse says that hell consumes the body and soul. Revelation then says something different, anyway: that you get consumed in the lake of fire, and have a second death. Most Christians seem to believe in Revelation, even though it is clearly a bit of crap.

JWs and Adventists don't believe in hell. I dunno how they can contort that far, given that they believe in Genesis. I think they take Revelation seriously. Revelation trumps the miscellaneous and confusing statements about hell and sheol.

Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #161 on: May 13, 2013, 11:30:47 AM »
     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.

     Saying that I accepted my parent’s beliefs because of a desire to please them or because of a desire to avoid negative social consequences doesn’t explain why I am still a Christian.  If my conversion was just the convenient thing to do at the time I could have easily reversed my decision when I went away to university.  In addition, as an adult I am usually not inclined to agree with people just to avoid negative consequences (e.g. why would I be on this forum promoting a view that the vast majority will disagree with); I hold views that are not socially popular at our church (e.g. on evolution and the rapture); and I have a network of friends who would not care if I converted to atheism. 

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #162 on: May 13, 2013, 11:31:24 AM »
     If you have watched the movie Zero Dark Thirty you will know that this is the exact kind of reasoning that the CIA used in their decision to launch a special ops mission to kill Osama Bin Laden.  They found a well guarded compound in Pakistan and over a period of several months used a process of elimination to reach a rationally justified conclusion that the main occupant was their sought after quarry.  The president asked them, “bring forth a picture of Osama Bin Laden”; but they could not – it was not that they were afraid of having their views falsified or that they felt themselves to be immune from good evidence, but because they were confident in the less than 100% certain conclusions that they held.

Selection bias. How many times did they get it wrong, and not mention it to the public?
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #163 on: May 13, 2013, 11:32:38 AM »
     In a different light, how is your claim different in truth value than those at the mental hospital who make similar claims?

     Easy, I’m not residing in a mental hospital nor am I on any mind altering drugs.  If you think that all the things that I have written so far on this forum are qualitatively no different from what you would expect someone in a mental hospital to write, then I don’t know if that judgement reflects worse on you or on me. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #164 on: May 13, 2013, 11:37:55 AM »
     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.
     
     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.)

     You can't ask Jesus for a relationship, if you don't know his name. 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 wrote in your post that you make the ‘grand assumption that there is any information [to be had] from Jesus at all’.  As I said in my last post to you, I agree that this is a ‘grand assumption’ and a vacuous one at that.  If you read Rev3:20 it says “if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I [Jesus] will come in and eat with him, and he with me”; it does not say “I [Jesus] will come in and impart great doctrinal truths to you so that you may go out and write a theology textbook”. Christians claim a personal relationship with Christ, but when there is a doctrinal dispute they don’t appeal to their relationship with Christ, they appeal to the Scriptures.  Incidentally, you stated categorically that Christians do not have a relationship with Christ, so I was wondering what you attribute their doctrinal differences to – is it to possible ambiguity in Scripture; is it explained by what I said, ‘divergence of opinion indicates multiple receivers’; or is it a combination of both?
     You said that “you can’t ask Jesus for a relationship if you don’t know his name”.  There is a difference between knowing the correct spelling of a person’s name and knowing the identity of the person to whom you are referring.  At any rate, if you think that the spelling of Jesus’ name is such a big deal then you just answered the central question that this forum asks – WWGHA.  The answer: it’s not that God doesn’t exist; Christians just don’t know how to spell his name. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #165 on: May 13, 2013, 11:40:06 AM »
     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.

     That sounds ok to me.  Perhaps at some point we can debate some of the specific truth claims of Christianity (e.g. God exists, Christ rose from the dead, etc…). 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #166 on: May 13, 2013, 11:41:57 AM »
     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.

     I am not totally sure what you are getting at here…if you just want a definition relevant to the discussion at hand it would be: “an ongoing interaction between two personal beings”.  If you want a description of this interaction in terms of emotions I would just list things like emotional fulfillment, a sense of commitment, a sense of appreciation for what the other person has done, etc…  If you are looking to entice me into a discussion of the merits of various views like physicalism, non-reductive physicalism, and dualism then I would question if we aren’t getting a bit off topic (that is, if we are looking at my argument in isolation before admitting it or barring it from a general body of evidence).

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #167 on: May 13, 2013, 11:44:53 AM »
Can you not see this vicious circularity?

     If my argument is: (1) I have a relational experience with Christ; (2) I have good reasons to believe that it is based in reality; therefore, (3) my relational experience with Christ constitutes evidence for the Christian God – then I do not believe that it is circular.  If my argument is circular then I would just give you premise (1) and stop; however, premise (1) is conditional and depends on introspective analysis in premise (2) in order to arrive at the conclusion.  I could just eliminate the phrase ‘with Christ’ from premise (1) however I thought it was important since it was Christ whom I called on.  At any rate, any argument formulated in a deductive manner necessarily contains the conclusion in one of its premises, so if I am guilty of circularity, then all deductive arguments are circular. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #168 on: May 13, 2013, 11:47:35 AM »
     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.

     As I see it, my argument consists of two premises and a conclusion: (1) I have a relational experience that began when I called on Christ’s name; (2) I have reason to believe that the experience is not self-produced; therefore (3) my experience acts as personal affirmative evidence for God’s existence.  If the argument is valid, then I am rational to continue believing in God in the absence of de facto objections to my faith.  There is a difference between knowing that one’s faith is true and showing others that it is true – hence the non-communicability aspect.  Your reference to some kind of a swift talking door to door salesman is completely irrelevant because I am not trying to ‘sell’ you anything.  The question that you asked in your OP was, “what would it take for you to give up believing in Jesus and/or God?” It was not “what do you think it would take for you to convince an atheist to believe in Jesus and/or God”.

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #169 on: May 13, 2013, 11:49:45 AM »
     "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."

     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.

     First of all, median, I am going to drop my request for you to list religions that claim the same kind of experience as Christians as it seems immaterial to my case.  As you correctly point out, uniqueness does not confer validity; I think I misunderstood your question in post #55 which was, ‘how do you know that your experience was with Christ?’ I thought that you were assuming for the sake of argument that my experience was real but were questioning my attribution of the origin of my experience – sorry. 
     I am also wondering if, when you accuse me of hypocrisy, you were claiming that I am not granting other religions the same quarter that I demand for myself.  I did not intend to say that since my experience is somehow unique to all other religions it is therefore objectively more veridical; I think that the experiences of other religions would be non-communicable as well.  As an example, you keep bringing up the Mormons; I have debated with the Mormons on several occasions and never once have I attempted to convince them that their experience is not valid evidence for their beliefs (as you are trying to do to me right now).  I always try to criticize the specific claims of the Moron faith in the hopes that if these can be shown to be untrue the negative evidence will outweigh their confidence in their experience.
     I think that if your objective is to convince me to become an atheist then you would have to criticize the specific truth claims of Christianity (e.g. the resurrection of Jesus) in the hopes that you could outweigh, though not necessarily destroy, the evidential merit of my experience with Christ.  What I am trying to argue right now is that I am rationally justified in ascribing evidential merit to my experience with Christ. 
     I guess if I could grant you one more concession it would be that the evidential merit is only mostly non-communicable.  Here is an illustration to describe what I mean by non-communicable evidence.  I am hitchhiking to Saskatoon and am picked up by a stranger who begins asking me questions.  Before long he finds out that I claim to be married, but he wants proof.  He asks: do I have a wedding ring (I forgot it when I left home), do I have a marriage certificate (I don’t normally carry it with me), do I have any pictures of me and my wife (I lost my wallet).  He then states: you have not given me any evidence that you are married therefore I do not believe you.  He would be justified in his conclusion; however he would not be justified to demand that I stop believing that I am married because I have non-communicable evidence in the form of experiences with my wife that are stored in my memory.  I suppose that in some ways the evidential value of my marriage is communicable (e.g. if I could show him my wedding ring or a picture) but for the most part I just cannot communicate to him the evidence that I fall back on to maintain my belief. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #170 on: May 13, 2013, 11:51:12 AM »
     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?

          The observation that endorphin levels would increase if I were to meditate on how much Jesus loves me does not constitute falsifying evidence for the experience because that increase in endorphins takes place in the context of normal physiological processes in the brain.  A mind altering drug, in contrast, alters the normal physiological processes of the brain and therefore would cast doubt on my perception of my experiences.  As an example, let’s say I am called to testify in court but upon arriving the judge finds out that I have just ingested 1,000mg of paroxetine.  I think under that circumstance the judge would be justified in refusing to hear my testimony as it might not be accurate given the enormous levels of serotonin that would be present in my brain.  If I had not taken any paroxetine before my arrival, the judge would not be justified in refusing my testimony simply because she observes that fluctuations in serotonin levels would likely occur if I were under the stress of cross examination.  Those fluctuations would be part of normal brain processes while the huge spike in levels in response to the drug would not be normal. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #171 on: May 13, 2013, 11:52:32 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.  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.

     One important thing to note about your illustration is that it is the note the boy received and not the boy’s subsequent emotional state that is analogous to my relational experience with Christ.  In my argument I have said that I have a relational experience and I interpret this experience as providing me with evidence that the Christian God exists – in the illustration, the boy received a note and interpreted the note to mean that the girl was in love with him (it was his interpretation that then resulted in his emotional state).  In my case, my emotional state already exists and based on my judgement of its reality I interpret it as providing me with evidence that the Christian God exists. 
     I would like to offer you a second illustration: keep everything in the original illustration the same (the note, the beautiful girl, the boy’s crush, and the peripheral circumstances), but this time assume that the note is actually meant for the boy.  The question I have for you would be: in the second illustration does the boy have any more justification for concluding that the girl is in love with him? I would say no.  The note has the exact same evidential value in the first illustration as it does in the second; whether his conclusion about the girl’s love for him is true or not is irrelevant to the determination of the evidential value of the note.  This is what I am trying to say about my relational experience – whether or not it is based on a real Christian God is irrelevant to the determination of its evidential value. 
     If my judgement is incorrect then in my opinion I am in possession of a legitimate piece of evidence that supports a false conclusion.  There is nothing contradictory about having legitimate evidence for a false conclusion – its happens all the time in court.  I’m sure all of us can think of court cases (e.g. Dustin Paxton, O.J. Simpson, Oscar Pistorius) where it seems pretty certain even with superficial knowledge of the case that the person is guilty, but that doesn’t mean that the court cannot admit evidence that can support the person’s innocence.  It just means that at the end of the day the evidence supporting the accused guilt will likely outweigh the evidence for his innocence. 

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #172 on: May 13, 2013, 12:03:40 PM »
then you just answered the central question that this forum asks – WWGHA.  The answer: it’s not that God doesn’t exist; Christians just don’t know how to spell his name.

Could be, but the style of atheism in here, is largely denying that any particular religious adherent has got any facts right, since their personal experience of their deity seems not to impart any facts/information. Some seem convinced that if they pray, someone gets better, but the WWGHA question asks why gods can't heal certain things, rather than deal with whether god healed lesser things, since this is too hard to analyze - being in the realm of the anecdotal, which is where you are determined to lurk. Larger studies (than anecdotal) have found questionable effects.

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     You wrote in your post that you make the ‘grand assumption that there is any information [to be had] from Jesus at all’.  As I said in my last post to you, I agree that this is a ‘grand assumption’ and a vacuous one at that.  If you read Rev3:20 it says “if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I [Jesus] will come in and eat with him, and he with me”; it does not say “I [Jesus] will come in and impart great doctrinal truths

I never said "great" information needed to be transmitted. Simple facts, involving the correct spelling of his name; whether hell exists, and all sorts of trivia of doctrine could be resolved, if only the personal relationship with gods transmitted any information besides a general feel-good situation.

In any case, you assume that the writer of Revelation was not a fraud. The end of Mark says that Christians should be able to heal, hold serpents and drink strong poison. Sounds reasonable to me, given the way the disciples behaved.

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Incidentally, you stated categorically that Christians do not have a relationship with Christ, so I was wondering what you attribute their doctrinal differences to – is it to possible ambiguity in Scripture; is it explained by what I said, ‘divergence of opinion indicates multiple receivers’; or is it a combination of both?

Well, there was this guy called Joseph Smith, who lied about some metal plates in a hat. Now a million people believe that their personal relationship with Christ will enable them to rule a planet after they die.

There are a few categories of "receiver" : (1) liars and manipulators (2) genuine souls, who invent God in their image (3) people who hear nothing, and interpret scripture the way they want to (4) people who interpret scripture the way they feel they have to, given their study of fraudulent books (5)... blah

There may be someone who actually gets a direct transmission from God, but we can have no idea who that is.

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     You said that “you can’t ask Jesus for a relationship if you don’t know his name”.  There is a difference between knowing the correct spelling of a person’s name and knowing the identity of the person to whom you are referring.

I really don't know the identity of Jesus. Paul paints a different picture to Matthew. Paul strikes me as an attention seeker, who made stuff up. This is reflected by Matt 5:19, that says Paul is going to hell.

Jesus may have been just a man who tried to make people follow "Love thy neighbour" as the most important rule, to help evolve a new religion, as per gospel of Thomas.

Maybe the Gnostics had it right, and Yahweh is a demiurge. How can you have a relationship with that? The Gnostic idea makes more sense than most religions.

How am I supposed to have a personal relationship with a dead man? I don't really know anything about Jesus' identity, unless I accept the particular books that the Catholic church cobbled together around 200AD. They could be as reliable as Joseph Smith.

Will Jesus tell you if he is a gnostic Jesus, or a trinity Jesus? Will he tell you if he is really dead?
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #173 on: May 13, 2013, 01:02:18 PM »
     In a different light, how is your claim different in truth value than those at the mental hospital who make similar claims?

     Easy, I’m not residing in a mental hospital nor am I on any mind altering drugs. 

I think you have misunderstood his question.  You have made a claim. The truth value of that claim as we understand it is not something that can be determined by us.  Similarly, mentally ill people also make claims, the truth of which cannot be determined by us, but are also equally far fetched as your claims.  The question is not "are you on drugs or a mental patient?"  The question is why should we believe you when we dismiss the mentally ill out of hand?  While you are not currently in a mental hospital, that does not mean you do not belong in one.




I am not totally sure what you are getting at here…if you just want a definition relevant to the discussion at hand it would be: “an ongoing interaction between two personal beings”.

That's a start.  I'd like to know about some specifics of these interactions.  You see, in the relationship I have with Mrs Screwtape, for example, we buy groceries together, cook and eat meals together, discuss our opinions of the wine of the evening, we watch movies and talk about them.  Those are some of our interactions.  What make up your interactions with jesus H?

If you want a description of this interaction in terms of emotions

No.  Emotions are unreliable. It is possible for people to feel things strongly based on their own imaginations.  People who get all worked up over, say, Lord Krishna, would be such an example.  Kids whipping themselves into a frenzy for Santa would be another example.  I am looking for something concrete.  Actual interaction.

Do you and jesus have picnics together?  Does he bring potato salad?  Do you throw the frisbee around?  Do you two go to ballroom dancing classes together?  Did he help you move into your current apartment?  Do you share a mutual appreciation for vintage pinball machines?  That sort of thing. 

I would just list things like emotional fulfillment, a sense of commitment, a sense of appreciation for what the other person has done, etc…

I would not count that as actual evidence of anything other than your own feelings.  You can honestly feel those things but be mistaken about the source.   

If you are looking to entice me into a discussion...

I'm just following up on this alleged relationship you claim to have.  I suspect there is no relationship, just like with every other xian who has wandered through here claiming a relationship where none exists.  I suspect it is just you attributing self-generated feelings and thoughts to an external source. 

But I wanted to hear what you had to say before jumping to that conclusion.

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