What's true is already so. Owning up to it won't make it any worse.
How can a truth be made better or worse. A truth is a truth.
In other words, if these claims of yours were actually true in reality, any effort on our part to willfully disbelieve them would not cause Yahweh and Jesus to disappear (right?). In the same manner, if your claims are not true, no amount of wishing and praying and willfully believing and squeezing our eyes shut and saying, "Pleasepleasepleasepleeeeeeease, Jesus, be real!" will conjure him into existence so that we can have a happy eternal afterlife when we die. In short: what you or I want to be real doesn't matter. What matters is, what is actually real. Which means, we need to discover reliable methods of figuring out what is real and what isn't, and apply them in as unbiased a manner as we possibly can, because our biases will blind us to the reality that actually exists (and will continue to exist whether we like it or not), rather than creating the reality we'd prefer.
What you’ve spelled out here should be obvious to just about anyone capable of operating even their most basic thinking skills. Instead of considering the context of my entire post, you pulled out my questions and framed a criticism totally irrespective of what prompted them and what they were clearly intended to convey. My questions were not intended to suggest that someone endeavor to change their mind or beliefs in a manner contrary to what their view of reality consists of. Incorporating the remainder of my post into your understanding of the message I was conveying should have made that plain.
The list of challenges and questions that I was responding to demonstrated a lack of understanding about the nature of evidence supporting Christianity. "If prayers are miraculously answered, show an example of one that is unambiguous and proven in the medical community... something clear and that would be impossible without a miracle."
Really? As I mentioned, the medical community is not trained or required to identify and label outcomes as miracles. The remaining questions were also rather poorly constructed. It was evident that the person asking for the evidence did so according to what he/she felt would create warrant for believing in God. And therein lies the problem and the reason for my questions. If you really
want to make a determination about God’s existence, then it becomes necessary to consider and examine the evidence God has created for us....not some unilaterally contrived criteria that is unlikely to produce the outcome being sought.
In these discussions regarding evidence for God, it is predictable that an argument will follow from the opposing position that involves the nature of evidence and how a rational basis for weeding out truth from untruth is to be undertaken. A quick read through some of the postings on this forum makes it rather clear that even before evidence is presented, there are members here who have already made up their minds that there is no evidence and that “surely there must be holes in whatever is presented.” The problem is that if the person requesting evidence already has their mind made up that there is no evidence, any evidence that is presented must
be dismissed on the basis that there is none. Or, when evidence is presented and labelled as weak, the response is that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” or something similar. That is an extraordinary claim in itself, highly subjective in nature, and with no evidence to support whether it is valid or not. Hence, my questions: “Do you really
want to know….because if you do, then you are going to have to suspend your beliefs, grant for a moment that God may exist, and then examine the evidence based on the manner in which God reveals Himself.
At the heart of my questions was a sincere belief that most non-theists request evidence for God with a concrete belief already in place that there is none which leads me to believe that there is no genuine desire to really consider what might be offered and what it consists of.
Or are you proposing that you can create Yahweh and Jesus for yourself by choosing to believe in them, while we can un-create them (and perhaps choose to conjure some other deity or deities into existence according to our preference) for ourselves if we "don't really want" Yahweh and Jesus to exist?
No. I am absolutely not suggesting that we attempt to brainwash ourselves into believing or disbelieving anything. Again, if you had been a little more careful in your reading of my post, this would have been evident.
Or, are you just putting forth these challenges and questions believing that no satisfactory response is attainable?
What for? Can you cite any example, from any of us on this thread, or from any publicly known atheist (Greta Christina, Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, Maryam Namazie, etc.) explaining that stubborn denialism would actually make Yahweh disappear? That trying to "gotcha!" stump Christians would work for us somehow, even though we all secretly know Yahweh exists (at least until we stump enough Christians, or whatever)?
I was attempting to determine if the request for evidence was genuine or not. Nearly every shred of evidence is available on the internet and has been discussed in this forum at least once. Am I to believe that this person has reached a state of unbelief without having examined the evidence that is so readily available? If so, that is an unfortunate state to be in. To repeat what I indicated above, at the heart of my questions was a sincere belief that most non-theists request evidence for God with a concrete belief already in place that there is none which leads me to believe that there is no genuine desire to really consider what might be offered and what it consists of.
Have you really put forth the effort to consider and try to understand why God may not be as obvious as you seem to feel He should be?...and to further consider what it would mean if He was?
Have you really put for the effort to consider and try to understand why Yahweh's existence would be exactly as obvious (i.e., not obvious at all) as the existence of every single other deity human beings have ever believed in and worshiped--or for that matter, exactly as obvious as the existence of fictional beings like Superman or Hermione Granger? Shouldn't a real Yahweh stand out from that pack, even a little? Have you ever considered what it means that he doesn't?
How is Yahweh’s existence “exactly” as “obvious (ie. not obvious at all)” to “every single other deity human beings have ever believed in and worshiped?” I am very interested to see how you have reached this conclusion and advanced to making it a claim. Can you support this claim you have made?
I am not posing any of this to antagonize or come across as condascending.
But you manage it without even trying!
Could you please explain why you say this?
But that's just the thing! It's humility that causes us to doubt the notion that we could have gleaned an infallible understanding of the key truths of Life, the Universe, and Everything from Sunday School lessons by the time we were 5 years old. It's humility that causes us to accept that reality is not obligated to shape itself into whatever we might want to believe, or disbelieve. It is humility and recognition of our limits as human beings that causes us to acknowledge that we can be wrong, and thus we need methods that demonstrably work at showing us when we're right, and more importantly, when we are wrong. All these things you'll keep hearing about if you hang around here very long, like "burden of proof," "logical fallacies," "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," "Occam's Razor" and so on, are techniques that have been shown to work at identifying error and bias (and thus, at sorting out reality from unreality) over a course of centuries. It's precisely because we are limited, fallible humans that we need methods like these to do the best possible job we can of correcting our mistakes--a continuous process that we don't ever get to stop doing.
So what about you? Can you be humble enough to admit that you could be wrong about Yahweh, Jesus, and the Bible? Or have you conferred upon yourself a divine infallibility that makes your beliefs certain and in no need of fact-checking, because they are your beliefs?
There is always room for more fact checking. It would be rather hypocritical for me to suggest a greater level of humility to others if I was not aware of that need for myself. Right?
I suppose many folks share a similar path to determining whether they believe God is real or not while others travel a different road. For me, initially, it was directly in the front door but then back out and in again through the side door. What I mean by that is I had experiences that I believed were directly attributable to God's intervention in my life but I had to rule out other possibilities prior to becoming a committed Christian so I challenged my beliefs by considering and examining and studying the other options. At this point, based on everything I know, God is the only explanation for "how" and "why" (if you question the “why” I understand the reason). The other option (a naturalistic one) is simply too far-fetched and unsupported for me.
I wonder what apologist came up with this Who He Says He Is meme. It's so peculiar. It's presented as if Yahweh spoke to every human being in a Big Booming Voice from Heaven, with flaming letters emblazoned across the sky telling us all Who He Says He Is, but some of us are saying, "Naaaah, that's not Yahweh, it's Loki having us on!" or "No, I think it's Parvati pretending to be a Yahweh, because I like Parvati better--she's hot!" "No, it's Thor--he's hot!" or "No, it must be natural causes because Yahweh's a jerk, and if I don't believe in him he'll stop peeking through my bedroom window!"
And yet, it's being used to chide us...for asking for evidence that Yahweh exists and Says Who He Is in the first place! In short: there's a very big difference between thinking that Hermione Granger is a fictional character, and thinking that she's lying about her identity; likewise, for Yahweh. Yet you (and this Who He Says He Is meme) seem to conflate the two in some weird way.
You have pulled words out of a sentence and framed your analogy around them as though they were presented absent any context. Frankly, this response flies in the face of your earlier statements about humility and suggests that, like others, you prefer to forgo asking for clarification and mock whatever potential meaning may exist.
Personally, I am convinced that God has provided more than enough evidence to make His existence knowable, rational and believable.Here again we see this case of Schrodinger's Mind that believers seem so adept at. The "personally" in the sentence above indicates individual subjectivity; what you, personally accept and believe. The other half, "more than enough evidence...knowable, rational, and believable" switches to a claim of objective, methodological knowledge. You suggest a standard for what constitutes "[more than] enough evidence" for something to be considered "knowable, rational, and believable."
In other words, we should be able to line up Yahweh, Amun-Re, flying saucers, Higgs bosons, Bigfoot, dark matter, Near Death Experiences, climate change, etc., apply the same standard of "enough evidence," and end up with the closest thing we can get to an error-free understanding of reality.
You correctly point out the subjective nature of my statement (as a belief) and then proceed to critique it for being based on objective methodological evidence. Is there some other way to form a belief?...and is there something greater than a belief that I should be relying upon to serve as a basis for how reality came into being and why? After all, that’s what we’re talking about here.
Do you believe that near death experiences occur? How do you go about determining whether you should have any confidence in what you believe? Surely, there must be some standard that you employ to reach a position on the matter. Same for dark matter, climate change, and Amun-Re. How do you know that you have gathered “enough evidence” to declare that your belief is rational?...or do you just know
everything and dismiss belief
as an enormously faulty construct of our minds.
I will even take this a step further and ask: what justification can you offer to convince me that this critique you posted warrants consideration? What, exactly, is it that makes you think I should believe or have any confidence whatsoever in your position? Surely, you must feel you are correct otherwise I doubt you would have posted what you did.
To be sure, after having read through this part of your post a number of times, I find nothing meaningful or revealing about it as respects any faults you found in my statement. Primarily because you have provided nothing in the way of alternate methods for developing a belief and describing what should
be considered “enough evidence.”
On the other hand, if you have an inconsistent standard of "enough evidence"--so that you think the Bible constitutes "enough evidence" for Jesus and Yahweh, while denying that there is "enough evidence" for biological evolution, scientific cosmology and climate change, then you're just lying to yourself by cheating epistemology in favor of things you want to believe in. Reality isn't obligated to play along. Learn, and practice, proper epistemic hygiene.
You were aware of what you were writing here enough to include an if
at the beginning of the first sentence but you were inconsiderate to dismiss the possibility that your if
was inaccurate and proceeded to lecture me about learning and practicing proper epistemic hygiene.
No, the Bible is not the sole piece of evidence I have used to form my belief.