This response was for another member, but I have some input for you.
You think supernatural premonitions are impossible or you wouldn’t be an atheist...
Not exactly. To be an atheist is simple to reject a single claim - that gods exist - for lack of evidence. It is not a categorical rejection of all supernatural entities, though that is usually how it turns out.
so any connections between the 23 year old story and Aurora will be dismissed by you out of hand no matter how remarkable.
Not for me, at least. There is a lot going on there, in your extraordinary claim. For one, the brain is pattern detector. It often makes connections where none actually exist. Ever see faces in the clouds? That is your pattern detecting brain at work. That is why we need things like statistics, multivariate regression analysis, and computers. Those are tools that help us find actual links and correlations and discard the apparent links that are just our perceptions.
I think it is safe to say that I can look back over 23 years of my life and find numerous events that could be interpreted as "supernatural premonitions" to any other event. They brain does that and justifies it, as yours has.
The key is to ask what is more likely? Is a universe where you received a premonition 23 years in advance more or less likely than a universe in which two unrelated events coincidentally seem related to you? I think it is less likely.
I have not seen any evidence from you that establishes you indeed had a "supernatural premonition". That is not to say any of the events you describe did not happen. I am just saying, there are simpler, more likely explanations that do not require introducing the "supernatural"
I have to ask, what good is a 23 year old premonition? Did it help you navigate life? Did it lead you to that critical point? Did you even recognize it as a premonition at the time?
... and I actually respect that.
You shouldn't. If the goal is for us to have the most accurate understanding of reality that we can, then we need to update our beliefs with new, more accurate information. If we reject data out of hand because it conflicts with our current understanding, then we are not allowing for better understanding. And what you are saying is, you respect that sort of willful ignorance. You get an F minus for that.
However, you have not provided data. You have provided a story and then given an interpretation that looks like you jumped to based on your prior biases. That sort of thing need not be accepted at face value. That is not closed mindedness. That is healthy skepticism.
I couldn’t maintain your close mindedness but it works for you and I don’t mean to deprive you of it.
That kind of insult is not necessary and is not going to win you any friends.
It is so crazy, it just has to be supernatural.
Wayne, we call this an Appeal to Ignorance. It means, because you cannot explain it, you assign supernatural agents to it. I find that to be a rather primitive impulse. Our savage ancestors 100,000 years ago did this. We need not indulge in this sort of thing today, given all we know. My cell phone once turned on unexpectedly. How did that happen? Was it ghosts? Demons? Jesus H Christ? Or was it some physical quirk in the electronics which I am not knowledgeable enough to explain?
When you make appeals to ignorance you indulge in a kind of arrogance. You are saying you are not knowledgeable enough to explain it and no one else is either
. Wayne, you are not the smartest man to have ever lived and smarter people will come after you. Calling your experience "supernatural" is an end to inquiry and an invitation to ignorance.
The exercise of prayer is an act of faith in the unseen,
No it's not. It is an expression of your desires in the hope that the universe will change to suit your wants.
and by design it excludes and even confounds the rational.
By design? Why would something be irrational by design?
2. Removing prayer in schools was a big deal. You may argue all the merits of the tortured litigation and there isn’t room here for all that but why don’t we just concede here that it was Atheists that got it outlawed, not a bunch of sects that fought over minutia.
Nope. about 2/3 of the lawsuits to get prayer out of school were brought by minority religious groups - Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Mormons and Catholics. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,18025.msg400179.html#msg400179
Madalyn Murray O'Hair got bible reading out of schools the year after prayer was removed.
references please? Murray's suit was formally known as Abington School Dist. Vs Schempp. Schempp was a Unitarian who did not want hid kids hearing biblical readings without him there to interpret it and discuss it with them. The school was trying to teach biblical literalism and he didn't want that. The Supreme Court agreed.
You should be so proud. How’d she die? In 1995 she was kidnapped, murdered, and her body mutilated, along with her son Jon Murray and granddaughter Robin Murray O'Hair, by former American Atheist office manager David Roland Waters.
Your point here is what?
Don’t expect me to speak for God’s mysterious ways except that they are mysterious.
In other words, you haven't got a clue.
And that is what you and Madalyn have done, you’ve outlawed God’s morality.
Not at all. Removing official prayer and bible teaching in public schools has allowed religious freedom to thrive. It means people get to teach their kids what they want, rather than have them taught state sanctioned doctrines.
The founder’s intended that students should be immersed in the bible in public schools, Thomas Jefferson famously declared it and if I’m not mistaken ordered the government to print the bibles with taxpayers money to make sure of it.
Nope. Not Jefferson.
together with James Madison, Jefferson carried on a long and successful campaign against state financial support of churches in Virginia. It is Jefferson who created the phrase "wall of separation between church and state"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_and_religion
Following the Revolution, Jefferson played a leading role in the disestablishment of religion in Virginia.
He even rejected the supernatural:
Jefferson cut and pasted pieces of the New Testament together to compose The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (the "Jefferson Bible"), which excluded any miracles by Jesus
You are not very well informed.
Here’s the bottom line. My premonition means something. It is a supernatural prophecy designed to have a very long fuse, a twenty three year long fuse. An omniscient God gave it to me to write about twenty three years ago, and then backed up the conclusion I was drawing from it by boobytrapping my truck.
ipse dixit. You have not really given anyone a good reason to believe your conclusion is the accurate or most likely one.