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How do we know there's a God? What is he like?

Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby Darth Vader » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:42 am

> Here's the math: Let the number of amino acids equal n. Since there are 20 amino acids, the probability of getting the first one right is one in 20. The probability of getting the second one correct is (1/20)2. The shortest functional protein reported to date has n equal to 20, while most have n equal to 100 or more. If we choose a number in between (50), we get (1/20)50 equal to 10-65, an infinitesimally small number.

> If we take our probability estimate the next level, we recognize that a single functional protein is not likely to be biofunctional. That is, it would take more than one biomolecule to carry out life-sustaining processes. How many would we need? The best estimates are a minimum of 250. Taking this number as our protein count, for all of them to occur together, we will make the outlandish assumption that they are all relatively short (50 amino acids). Thus our probability to have a working cell appear in the primordial soup using this rather conservative approach would be (10-65)250. That number comes to around 10-16300. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, through their own calculations using their own particulars, arrived at 10-40000. The bottom line is that the such a small probability “could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.”

Honestly I don't have the knowledge to verify or discredit the math you just did.

> If these calculations are even remotely accurate, abiogenesis is a hopeless cause.

Don't confuse my ignorance with agreement. I don't know if your calculations are right or wrong. I want to ask you a question though if your calculations are correct why don't you write a book, and disprove atheism or show how unlikely it is. You would get rich. I am assuming you haven't done that, and that makes me question the validity of your math. Also why don't other scientists agree with you, and believe in god instead?

I still argue that even if it is unlikely for things to happen that doesn't automatically mean theism is the answer. This is one of my main points.

> statistically speaking the odds are that one of those universes has exactly the laws of nature, fundamental constants, and initial conditions as our universe. As such, we happen to find ourselves in a lottery-winning universe. The odds of naturalism are so staggeringly low as to be considered impossible, or the result of a miracle.

I would argue that we are in a lottery winning universe. Lottery winners exist, and it happens often. Why is our universe, so different in your mind?

> How was the tomb verified to be empty?

> (1) By observation and confirmation, by both friends and enemies

People lie. People get confused. Even today people have horrible memories of what happens here is a very good video that heavily suggests that my assertion is right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWO2UQ4MW7U

> (2) confirmed by the life change and the preaching of the apostles in the days immediately after

I don't know what you mean by "life change" But the preaching of the apostles changed immediately? How do we know that is true? The bible?

> (4) There is no writing anywhere in antiquity disputing the empty tomb.

Was the tomb closed off from the masses? Was it seen as a forbidden place? Would atheistic criticism or testimony that it was empty be tolerated? I highly doubt it.

> (5) What writing we have tries to explain it, not dispute it.

I don't see how that matters. Many writers could become intrigued or obsessed with Jesus being resurrected, and they would go out of their way to explain it, but that doesn't mean there isn't valid criticism that wasn't written down.

> The claim of the resurrection of a man back to life on earth was culturally out of the blue

interesting.

> Sightings of an apparently alive Jesus, by themselves, would have been classified as visions or hallucinations

I am of that thought. I don't think it would be intentional lies, but good intentioned people that didn't see things correctly.

Also how do we know Jesus even died? I haven't read the bible, so if I ask basic questions that is why. People have been mistaken to be dead when they are actually alive. How do you know that didn't happen with jesus?

If I didn't address one of your points just tell me, and quote your point, and I will respond to it. My points are generally questions because you are making definitive claims, and that makes me want to question them, and my questions tend to show the inaccuracy of an argument. I am saying this, so you don't feel like I didn't respond to what you are saying.
Darth Vader
 

Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:19 am

> Honestly I don't have the knowledge to verify or discredit the math you just did.

I was merely responding to your objection "You don't know that. You are unaware of the actual probability of that happening. You gave a rough estimation, and then presented it as fact. Do you see the problem with that?" So it turns out that you are the one unaware of the actual probability of that happening. Interesting. And you wonder if I see a problem with MY position?

> I want to ask you a question though if your calculations are correct why don't you write a book, and disprove atheism or show how unlikely it is.

I actually have written several. But atheistic readers, like yourself, disagree with it apparently without having done the background research.

> Also why don't other scientists agree with you, and believe in god instead?

Many scientists do believe in agreement with me. As least according to several Google searches, the majority of scientists are theistic in one way or another.

> I still argue that even if it is unlikely for things to happen that doesn't automatically mean theism is the answer. This is one of my main points.

I know this is one of your main points, but you keep ignoring or blowing over one of my main points: I don't say that all these evidences mean automatically that theism is the answer, but that if we infer the most reasonable conclusion, theism is the front runner. It makes far more sense than the alternatives.

> I would argue that we are in a lottery winning universe. Lottery winners exist, and it happens often

Yes, but you seem to be ignoring another of my repeated points: For atheistic naturalism to be true, it would be like winning the lottery a thousand times in a row, which does not happen often, or ever.

> People lie. People get confused.

Then the burden of proof lies on you to substantiate what would bring you to a conclusion that the apostles and other eyewitnesses were liars, taking into account motive and consequences. I'll be pleased to read your case.

> Even today people have horrible memories of what happens here is a very good video that heavily suggests that my assertion is right.

The problem with comparing your video to the resurrection is that the differences are so staggering they defy comparison. The crime happened in 2 seconds. Jesus appeared at least 11 times over a period of 40 days, to different groupings of people in different settings. At some appearances he stayed with them for a lengthy time of teaching and another time for a meal. These are not the same "eyewitness" kinds of scenarios in the least.

> I don't know what you mean by "life change" But the preaching of the apostles changed immediately? How do we know that is true? The bible?

The men changed from stalwart Jews in which they had been invested their whole lives (Sabbath, sacrifices, temple, circumcision, clean and unclean foods) to people who set all of that aside. Something significant happened internally to motivate them to do that. Perhaps we could excuse 1 or 2, but ALL of them, and all at the same time, and all so quickly? Something happened. And they consistently and repeatedly preached the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus, something that was neither part of their Judaistic theology nor their theological expectation? The evidence tells us that something life-changing happened to them.

We know this from the growth of Christianity historically, the extra-biblical writings about some of the apostles and the Christian movement, as well as from the Bible.

> Was the tomb closed off from the masses? Was it seen as a forbidden place?

Neither of these. It was a public and known place (Mt. 27.61; Mk. 15.47). A public and visible guard was placed there (Mt. 27.65-66). The women returned to it after the Sabbath to finish dressing the corpse (Mk. 16.1).

> Would atheistic criticism or testimony that it was empty be tolerated? I highly doubt it.

Of course it would have. There was no "Christianity" at this point. There was no Christian peer pressure, no Christian movement. There was nothing to put any cultural pressure against contrary positions.

But you already doubt it. See, if you're truly open minded, I don't understand why your every reaction to theism is already decidedly biased against it. You don't seem to be approaching the material and evidences from a position of neutrality.

> I don't see how that matters.

Because there is no record of any ancient writer disputing the empty tomb. That has a certain profound significance to it.

> I am of that thought. I don't think it would be intentional lies, but good intentioned people that didn't see things correctly.

The problem with the hallucination theory is that there were too many appearances at different times and different places to too many people simultaneously for this to make sense. There is no such thing as a group hallucination.

> Also how do we know Jesus even died?

That Jesus was crucified is a matter of public record. There is enough extra-biblical evidence to make is a foregone conclusion.

Then we also have to weigh the evidences. He was flogged (a "preparation" torture that killed many people), then crucified, stabbed with a spear in the coronary cavity, and pronounced dead by the professionals (his solder-executioners) whose job it was to guarantee death.

In addition to that, Mark 13.43-46 tells us Joseph had to negotiate for the body, get the body off the cross, wrap it and put the spices in the folds. He was working with the body for an extended amount of time. There was no coroner or mortuary. With all this time handling the body they would have seen the mortis triad: (1) Loss of temperature (algor mortis), (2) Rigidity (rigor mortis), (3) lividity (discoloration; livor mortis). Death is obvious. There are rapid and unmistakable changes in the body. If Jesus were not dead, these two men handling the body all this time would have noticed. Is the accusation that these men got Jesus off the cross and never noticed any of this while they were wrapping his body for burial?
Suppose for argument’s sake that [Jesus] was not quite dead. Do you really believe that lying for hour after hour with no medical attention in a rock-hewn tomb…, when it’s quite cold at night, would so far have revived him, instead of proving the inevitable end to his flickering life?

The claim that Jesus was not dead is absurd. But just for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that he didn’t die—he survived the flogging, he survived the crucifixion, he survived the stabbing in the chest, and the two men wrapped him up without realizing he wasn’t dead yet. But where does the story go from here?

In about 24 hours after his swoon, it is theorized, the coolness of the tomb caused him to wake up from his faint. He has enough awareness to realize where he is, and he has enough strength to sit up, and he somehow manages to unwrap the graveclothes that had been repeatedly wrapped around him, and then he takes the time to put them back in some orderly fashion on the slab and fold the head cloth. With no way to grip the grave stone from the inside, he has enough muscle strength (and remember, he has not had anything to eat or drink since Thursday evening) after the flogging (with his muscles torn away from the bone), and enough hand grip after being nailed to a cross, to move it, despite that it weighed several tons and was in a sloping groove. He rolls the heavy stone uphill and emerges, much to the shock of the guards standing outside. Without weapons he overpowers them all to the point where they flee, and he makes his way to where his disciples are hiding.

There is nothing about this scenario that is reasonable. Interpretations that Jesus did not really die on the cross appear are completely at odds with modern medical knowledge and common sense. The most reasonable conclusion is that Jesus was verifiably dead.
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Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby Darth Vader » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:58 am

> you wonder if I see a problem with MY position?

Are you acknowledging my assertion? that just because I don't know that doesn't mean you know? Just because I don't know doesn't mean you should think your position is correct.

> I actually have written several. But atheistic readers, like yourself, disagree with it apparently without having done the background research.

interesting I didn't expect you to be an author, but I am not a atheist. I am an agnostic. Most people disagree with your books because you don't prove god exists. that is why Christians say "You need to have faith in god" Faith is another word for an assumption. I don't like making assumptions about something that isn't well figured out yet. That is why I don't assume the universe was created by the big bang. I don't know if that is true. And honestly scientists haven't proven the big bang yet, so that doesn't merit total agreement.

> Many scientists do believe in agreement with me. As least according to several Google searches, the majority of scientists are theistic in one way or another.

I doubt that, but how does someone call themselves a scientist if they don't use the scientific method on god?

>I don't say that all these evidences mean automatically that theism is the answer

Okay I will adjust my statement. I don't think theism has the right to assert it is the front runner just because other people don't have the answer. You state that things are in harmony in balance for life, but that doesn't suggest that a creator made it. All we know is that we are alive, and things are complex, and there seems to be well balanced dynamics in the universe. Given that why do you say a all powerful being is responsible?

> For atheistic naturalism to be true, it would be like winning the lottery a thousand times in a row, which does not happen often, or ever.

I am addressing your point. I said that I would argue that we are a lottery winning universe. I didn't mention the exact numbers of how many lotteries have been won, but that doesn't mean I ignored your point. I also didn't mention the exact number of lotteries won because I don't know how many times it happened. But that doesn't change my point. I think we are in a lottery winning universe, and I don't know how many times we have won lotteries. Did that address your point?

> Then the burden of proof lies on you to substantiate what would bring you to a conclusion that the apostles and other eyewitnesses were liars, taking into account motive and consequences.

The video I sent you.

> The problem with comparing your video to the resurrection is that the differences are so staggering they defy comparison.
> The crime happened in 2 seconds.

The crime didn't happen in 2 seconds. It actually was 19 or 20 I counted. Did you actually watch the entire video?

> Perhaps we could excuse 1 or 2, but ALL of them, and all at the same time, and all so quickly? Something happened.

Agreed something happened, but we don't know if it was god.

> Of course it would have. There was no "Christianity" at this point. There was no Christian peer pressure, no Christian movement. There was nothing to put any cultural pressure against contrary positions.

Interesting I didn't know that.

> But you already doubt it. See, if you're truly open minded, I don't understand why your every reaction to theism is already decidedly biased against it.

We have a lot of assertions here. I am open minded that doesn't mean I am not skeptical. Also you need to demonstrate how I am decidedly biased against it. Otherwise you need to retract that assertion.

> Because there is no record of any ancient writer disputing the empty tomb. That has a certain profound significance to it.

I don't think that is profound. Just because someone didn't dispute the empty tomb doesn't mean it is holy or divine. Why do you disagree?

> That Jesus was crucified is a matter of public record.

I didn't know how thoroughly, and deadly a crucifixion is until I looked it up. 50% of my post was based around him being alive in the tombs, and people thought he was dead. If my response seems short that is why.

I plan to think about what you have said. It might take me a couple days to respond, so if that happens don't be offended. I hope we can talk again.
Darth Vader
 

Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby jimwalton » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:48 am

> Are you acknowledging my assertion? that just because I don't know that doesn't mean you know? Just because I don't know doesn't mean you should think your position is correct.

I am not. Again, I have never claimed that just because you don't know doesn't indicate that my position is correct. All I have claimed, and repeatedly so, is that my position has the weight of logic behind it as well as the weight of evidence, and it is the strongest position in the field, and therefore is worthy of consideration. I have become convinced of its truth on many levels, the least of which is that no other position carries the same strength of substantiation behind it.

> Most people disagree with your books because you don't prove god exists.

There is no way to prove God exists. All we can do is present the logic and evidence and show that if we are inferring the most reasonable conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt, theism will be our conclusion. It is a far stronger position than anything else.

> that is why Christians say "You need to have faith in god" Faith is another word for an assumption.

Faith in the Bible is actually based on evidence. In the Bible, faith is all about evidence. God appears to Moses in a burning bush before He expects him to believe. He gave signs to take back to Pharaoh and the Israelite people, so they could see the signs before they were expected to believe. So also through the whole OT. In the NT, Jesus started off with turning water into wine, healing some people, casting out demons, and then he taught them about faith. And they couldn't possibly understand the resurrection until there was some evidence to go on.

When you read the Bible, people came to Jesus to be healed because they had heard about other people who had been healed. They had seen other people whom Jesus had healed. People had heard him teach. Their faith was based on evidence. Jesus kept giving them new information, and they gained new knowledge from it. Based on that knowledge, they acted with more faith. People came to him to make requests. See how it works? My belief in God is based on my knowledge of the credibility of those writings, the logic of the teaching, and the historical evidence behind it all. The resurrection, for instance, has evidences that give it credibility that motivate me to believe in it. My faith in the resurrection is an assumption of truth based on enough evidence that makes it reasonable to hold that assumption. Jesus could have just ascended to heaven, the disciples figured out that he had prophesied it, and went around telling people He rose. But that's not what happened. He walked around and let them touch him, talk to him, eat with him, and THEN he said, "Believe that I have risen from the dead."

* In Matthew 8.4 Jesus encourages the man he just healed to go show the evidence that it was true.
* John 14.11 (and also 17.8): Jesus encouraged people to verify the evidences
* Heb. 11.1: Faith is based on evidences
* Romans 1.20 (the passage you mentioned). There are evidences, and we shouldn't be afraid to investigate them.

> I don't like making assumptions about something that isn't well figured out yet.

Neither do I. I am an evidentialist, not a presuppositionalist (though everyone, including myself, has presuppositions that inform their positions). But what is primary to me is the evidence.

> That is why I don't assume the universe was created by the big bang.

I assume it because it is the best scientific theory on the table and it seems to have a lot of evidence in its favor. But the day that science can give us a better explanation, I will change my views accordingly. We follow the evidence where it leads.

> "Many scientists do believe in agreement with me. As least according to several Google searches, the majority of scientists are theistic in one way or another." I doubt that...

Here is one such site: http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

> but how does someone call themselves a scientist if they don't use the scientific method on god?

You can't use the scientific method on God, just as you can't use it to determine who will win the Super Bowl or to know what the stock market will do today. Some things are simply outside of the purview of science. We don't evaluate the beauty of Beethoven's 5th Symphony by using the scientific method, nor do we determine guilt or innocence in the courtroom by it (though we do use science to support a particular case, or sometimes even both sides of a case). Science has its arena, but every arena does not belong to science.

> I don't think theism has the right to assert it is the front runner just because other people don't have the answer.

We follow the evidence where it leads. We enumerate the various positions, collect the evidences for those positions, and try to rank them according to plausibility. If you don't have an answer, then your position isn't on the list at all. But hopefully you are open-minded enough to assess the qualities of the various positions in consideration of your own position. It seems, if I may speculate, that you have no position, and even though you can look at the weight of evidence of various other positions, you refuse to subscribe to any other them ... except that refusing to subscribe to a position of naturalism over theism, and therefore loosely hanging onto one of the lower positions on the ladder (at least this one...).

> You state that things are in harmony in balance for life, but that doesn't suggest that a creator made it

It suggests that the case for a creator is stronger than the case for naturalism.

> Given that why do you say a all powerful being is responsible?

Because the evidence leads me to infer the most reasonable conclusion, which is theism.

> The crime didn't happen in 2 seconds. It actually was 19 or 20 I counted. Did you actually watch the entire video?

Yes, I did watch the whole thing. I was being hyperbolic. But it's still true that the short occasion of a theft in a public square is radically different from at least 11 appearances to various groups of people in public settings over the course of 40 days. There's no comparison.

> Also you need to demonstrate how I am decidedly biased against it.

First would be your opening salvo: "Why should I believe in god?" It wasn't "I'm thinking about this..." or "Can someone help me here?" or whatever. It came across as defiant.

Second, our exchanges and my evidences don't seem to trip your curiosity. Your responses are not indicative of openness.

Third, there seems to be no interest in conversation, but mostly "Nope," "you're wrong," "I disagree," "You don't know that." It's as if you came into the conversation with your position solidly established, even though you say you're agnostic. You come across as "decided."

Your responses seem more antagonistic than agnostic.

> Just because someone didn't dispute the empty tomb doesn't mean it is holy or divine. Why do you disagree?

You keep doing this. I don't claim that because I have a position and you don't that means I'm right. And here: I never asserted that because the empty tomb is undisputed that means it's holy or divine.

> I plan to think about what you have said. It might take me a couple days to respond, so if that happens don't be offended. I hope we can talk again.

Thank you. I'll look forward to further discussion.
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Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby Darth Vader » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:27 pm

> I have never claimed that just because you don't know doesn't indicate that my position is correct.

I normally debate with people who use logical leaps like that, so I usually preemptively try to tell them not to. Sorry if that wasn't what you were doing.

> my position has the weight of logic behind it as well as the weight of evidence, and it is the strongest position in the field, and therefore is worthy of consideration.

I agree it is something that should be talked about.

> There is no way to prove God exists.

How do you know that? In the bible does it say you can't prove god to agnostics?

I understand it can be difficult, but can't is another word for impossible, and we are too ignorant to know if it is impossible or not.

> In the Bible, faith is all about evidence. God appears to Moses in a burning bush before He expects him to believe.

How do we know god appears to Moses? Are we trusting eye witness testimonies?

The reason I ask so many questions is because if I were to believe that a god exists I would need evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. Given that you seem very knowledgeable I assume you can answer those questions that I have.

> Jesus started off with turning water into wine, healing some people, casting out demons, and then he taught them about faith.

How do we know Jesus turned water into wine? How do we know he casted out demons? I think there are other explanations to explain miracles instead of god being responsible for them.

> They had seen other people whom Jesus had healed. People had heard him teach. Their faith was based on evidence.

Does history acknowledge this? or is this completely biblical? Also even if he saw them heal people that doesn't mean they have evidence that he did it even if it is very likely in their eyes.

> My belief in God is based on my knowledge of the credibility of those writings

If they are credible why don't scientists, and historians agree with you? I think there is a reason people are becoming agnostics, and atheists, and I think that is because the bible isn't a book about evidence it is a book about faith. Otherwise people are just in straight up denial. But why would people deny something that could get them into heaven?

> My faith in the resurrection is an assumption of truth based on enough evidence that makes it reasonable to hold that assumption.

How do you know god was responsible for the resurrection? I see, so many other options to explain a resurrection even assuming that is possible. Demigods, spirits, witchcraft, aliens with technology that is far greater than ours. For example we can walk on water now, so that proves that technology did something that was considered a miracle when really it can be done with enough technology

Here is a video of people walking on water.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-DZ0f0_NCA

What stops aliens from using that technology on jesus?

> John 14.11 (and also 17.8): Jesus encouraged people to verify the evidences

I think jesus was completely genuine, but I don't think that even suggests that he is right.

> There are evidences, and we shouldn't be afraid to investigate them.

Here I am out of my comfort zone trying to learn. But we might have different standards for "Evidence"

> I assume it because it is the best scientific theory on the table and it seems to have a lot of evidence in its favor.

Is that because you think god created the big bang?

> the day that science can give us a better explanation, I will change my views accordingly.

That is very respectable. I am surprised about that actually most people aren't that intellectually brave.

> You can't use the scientific method on God

Why?

> Some things are simply outside of the purview of science.

Do you have any evidence or a logical argument that supports that claim? I don't think we should assume that we can't do things. That includes using the scientific method on god.

> We follow the evidence where it leads. We enumerate the various positions, collect the evidences for those positions, and try to rank them according to plausibility.

Very reasonable.

> If you don't have an answer, then your position isn't on the list at all.

My answer is that we are very ignorant beings at the moment, and more evidence needs to be provided for a correct position to withstand logical scrutiny.

> It seems, if I may speculate, that you have no position

My position is going on with life without knowing whether god exists or not. I lean towards atheism, and using the scientific method to accurately see reality. but I don't say it is completely correct because we are too ignorant to make a statement about how people should live at the moment. It is fine if we both think are views are right, but neither of us can confidently say "My answer is absolutely correct" When I say god doesn't exist that is illogical because he could. When you say god does exist that isn't logical either because you don't know for sure. That means we have to make our assumptions based on probability. I see a world that is detailed, but I don't think a deity has to be responsible for it. Why not 50 demigods? why not 5000 demigods? What about 80 gods? To ants children are seen as gods. In actuality they aren't, but if ants were intelligent enough they would make prophecies and worship a human that fucks with their colony. Do we have the audcacity to say that we aren't ants compared to some highly evolved alien race? I don't think it is logical to assume we are the smartest animals that exist. My point is aliens could have fucked with us, and since we are, so ignorant we assume it is a deity. Do you acknowledge this point even if you disagree?

> It suggests that the case for a creator is stronger than the case for naturalism.

Even if that is true how do you know the creator is 1 god?

> it's still true that the short occasion of a theft in a public square is radically different from at least 11 appearances to various groups of people in public settings over the course of 40 days. There's no comparison.

I was ignorant about how much time jesus spent with people. Let's assume that is correct, and I agree that my video wasn't a good comparison.

> First would be your opening salvo: "Why should I believe in god?" It wasn't "I'm thinking about this..." or "Can someone help me here?" or whatever. It came across as defiant.

I didn't mean to come across as defiant. I would like to say how do we know god exists? In your opinion is that less defiant or irritating?

> Second, our exchanges and my evidences don't seem to trip your curiosity. Your responses are not indicative of openness.

I honestly don't know why people keep telling me that. I am very disagreeable, but I am also highly open-minded. It is confusing to think of someone like that, but for me that is how my personality is. I am totally open to you being correct, and if you convince me enough I would become a Christian. I think it is unlikely, but I am still open to the idea.

> Third, there seems to be no interest in conversation, but mostly "Nope," "you're wrong," "I disagree," "You don't know that." It's as if you came into the conversation with your position solidly established, even though you say you're agnostic. You come across as "decided."

If I disagree with most of the assertions you are saying how would I avoid that? I don't want to lie, and say I agree with you that would be intellectually dishonest. I have found there isn't really I nice way to disagree with someone. I try my best to avoid using language that would start an argument instead of a dialectic. You are also making the claims, so that generally means that you need to answer the questions, and criticisms of who ever you are talking to.
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Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:27 pm

> How do you know that? In the bible does it say you can't prove god to agnostics?

No, not that I know of. The Bible doesn't say God can't be proved, nor does it say God can be. The Bible assumes the existence of God (Gn. 1ff.), and it says that God has given evidences of his existence (Ps. 19.1; Rom. 1.20, et al.). The Bible says that faith is based in evidence, and continually nudges us to consider the evidence (Heb. 11.1; Jn. 14.11; 17.8).

There is no "proof," really. Jesus himself said that even if a person came back from the dead, which is pretty powerful evidence, that some people won't buy it (Lk. 16.31). Instead, we examine all the evidence we can to infer the most reasonable conclusion. We deal in plausibility, not proof.

> How do we know god appears to Moses? Are we trusting eye witness testimonies?

In this case there was only 1 eyewitness, Moses himself. We have to examine everything else Moses wrote and what was said about him to discern if Moses was reliable or deceitful, sane or delusional, moral or disreputable. It's not eyewitness testimony that is the problem (we rely on it for all sorts of evidence in our modern world), but the reliability of the testimony, brought out by such factors as (1) is he trustworthy? (2) what issues does he have? (3) can we count on him?, etc.

> I would need evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I don't think so. We need convincing evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. You don't even have evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt that you or anything else exists, if you talk to a philosopher.

> How do we know Jesus turned water into wine? How do we know he casted out demons? I think there are other explanations to explain miracles instead of god being responsible for them.

Again, we have to assess the credibility of the witnesses. There are no material remains of Jesus turning water to wine or casting out demons. Are these writers credible or hallucinators? Are they honest or deceitful? If you think the negatives, I'd wonder what led you to that conclusion, given what we are able to read and what we know.

> Does history acknowledge this? or is this completely biblical? Also even if he saw them heal people that doesn't mean they have evidence that he did it even if it is very likely in their eyes.

There are a few possible extra-biblical evidences of Jesus's healing abilities.

Are you wondering how we can trust something people saw with their own eyes? If it were just one or two people, we might wonder. But since Jesus healed people with many different ailments, in public places, in front of witnesses, over a period of 3 years, I'd have to wonder on what basis you doubt the record. It may reflect more of a biased presupposition on your part than any logic or evidence you have.

> If they are credible why don't scientists, and historians agree with you?

Many scientists and historians do. Many don't. Two people can see the exact same event and draw completely different conclusions (the Mueller report, for instance).

> How do you know god was responsible for the resurrection?

We cannot infer theological conclusions. We examine the evidence and infer reliability and plausibility, but the only path to theological conclusions is revelation. While it seems that other spiritual powers are capable of life-giving (Rev. 13.11-17), we infer that, given the personality, identity, and teachings of Jesus, the only power to which to attribute his resurrection is God (Mt. 12.25: any kingdom working against itself will fail. Deleterious spiritual forces would not work against suffering and death, nor would Satanic forces).

> Here is a video of people walking on water

Yeah, I'm familiar with non-Newtonian fluids. It's intriguing stuff, isn't it?

> What stops aliens from using that technology on jesus?

If we're searching for actual evidence and following the evidence where it leads, aliens are not in the equation.

> I think jesus was completely genuine, but I don't think that even suggests that he is right.

You're correct that it doesn't suggest he is right. What it suggests is that Jesus expected people to pursue evidences and to follow the evidence. Many people seem to think the Bible is anti-evidence, anti-investigation, and that faith requires us to believe what there is no evidence for. It's simply untrue.

> But we might have different standards for "Evidence"

I doubt it. I'd be surprised if we did.

> Is that because you think god created the big bang?

No, it's because the science and math support it. It's altogether possible that God was the causative mechanism behind the Big Bang (and it's logical that the causative mechanism is outside of science, since as far as we know the laws of nature were not in effect before the Bang, and we know that something cannot come into existence on its own).

> "You can't use the scientific method on God" Why?

Because God is outside of the purview of science, just as predicting the direction of the stock market is, or telling me why there is something rather than nothing. Not every question has a science method in it.

> When I say god doesn't exist that is illogical because he could. When you say god does exist that isn't logical either because you don't know for sure.

This is true, but when we follow the logic and the evidences, the case for theism is massively stronger than the case for atheism or naturalism. I choose theism because more evidence and logic support it.

> My point is aliens could have fucked with us, and since we are, so ignorant we assume it is a deity. Do you acknowledge this point even if you disagree?

We have to start from a position of neutrality and that anything is possible. Then we examine the evidence and follow where it leads. To me, alien manipulation is WAY down the list.

> Even if that is true how do you know the creator is 1 god?

I use logic. Multiple gods means some kind of competition (which is counterproductive and ultimately self-defeating) or specialization (in which case none are sovereign or omnipotent, and therefore none are God).

> I would like to say how do we know god exists?

Hopefully I've been addressing this all along.

I appreciate your honesty and openness. I'm willing to keep talking as long as there is worthy and respectful dialogue between us.
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Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby Darth Vader » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:42 pm

> The Bible doesn't say God can't be proved, nor does it say God can be. The Bible assumes the existence of God

I view that as a massive problem. Why should we believe something based on a massive assumption?

> and it says that God has given evidences of his existence

I might have already asked you this before, but what evidences Has god provided, and are they reasonable?

> There is no "proof," really.

I don't really think proof exists, but even a very strong theory?

> Instead, we examine all the evidence we can to infer the most reasonable conclusion. We deal in plausibility, not proof.

Given that I don't think proof exists I agree that likelihoods are all we have.

> In this case there was only 1 eyewitness, Moses himself.

Did he have an amazing testimony to outweigh that it was only him?

> We have to examine everything else Moses wrote and what was said about him to discern if Moses was reliable or deceitful, sane or delusional, moral or disreputable.

How do we know based on what he wrote is true? If he is disreputable what stops moses from lying in his writings? My point is there is not a realistic way to tell unless you have a very interesting fact or logical argument.

> It's not eyewitness testimony that is the problem (we rely on it for all sorts of evidence in our modern world

I think that is a mistake. Based on the video I watched about eye witness testimony it isn't trustworthy in my eyes anymore. When you rely on eye witness testimony you are just trusting the person whether they will be truthful or deceitful is totally up to them. Given that risk I don't think worshiping a god based an eye witness testimony is good evidence.

> I don't think so. We need convincing evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. You don't even have evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt that you or anything else exists, if you talk to a philosopher.

I agree, but I try to avoid getting into definitions because it can anger people. I think we should get as close to the truth as possible. Hopefully that is without of a shadow of a doubt. Realistically it will most likely be in the middle between reasonable doubt or beyond a shadow of a doubt.

> Again, we have to assess the credibility of the witnesses.

Even if the witnesses say a demon got casted out that doesn't mean a god is responsible for that do you disagree?

> There are no material remains of Jesus turning water to wine or casting out demons. Are these writers credible or hallucinators? Are they honest or deceitful?

I think they are honest, but that doesn't stop them from being hallucinators.

> If you think the negatives, I'd wonder what led you to that conclusion, given what we are able to read and what we know.

Maybe I am ignorant. I am open to being enlightened.

> Are you wondering how we can trust something people saw with their own eyes?

That is always a concern in my view.

> since Jesus healed people with many different ailments, in public places, in front of witnesses, over a period of 3 years, I'd have to wonder on what basis you doubt the record.

Does history agree with those points you just made? If not that means there is most likely no scientific evidence that agrees either. Also you are assuming that the body can't heal itself in magical ways. This isn't about me being biased this is me wanting very strong evidence. I don't see a problem with that.

Also how do you know the body can't heal itself like jesus healed other people? Many spiritualists/super naturalists go in with the assumption that spirits exist, and they can heal us. What stops that from being true? That is the same assumption that the bible makes. There are many more witnesses currently about spiritual healing then their are of witnesses of jesus healing people. So how do I know which one is correct? An even better question how do you know which one is correct?

> Many scientists and historians do. Many don't.

I see I used the word many, and it has caused me confusion. I think the majority of scientists, and historians, disagree, and the minority agree with your views.

> We cannot infer theological conclusions.

Here is my definition of infer "To reason from circumstance" Or To "conclude from evidence or premises." Given that I think you just said that theological conclusions aren't based on evidence. If I am wrong feel free to correct me.

> We examine the evidence and infer reliability and plausibility, but the only path to theological conclusions is revelation.

Interesting are revelations based in logic or no?

> we infer that, given the personality, identity, and teachings of Jesus, the only power to which to attribute his resurrection is God

I don't understand why a persons personality, and identity matter when it comes to believing in a god or not. The teachings of jesus maybe, but even then how do we know he isn't a spiritual light being that lies about being god? Sounds far fetched right? That is my experience when people talk about jesus rising from the dead, and healing people. I am an open-minded person, but we need to acknowledge that we are talking about unlikely things.

> Yeah, I'm familiar with non-Newtonian fluids. It's intriguing stuff, isn't it?

What stops aliens from doing that when jesus walked on water? Even if we assume jesus did walk on water how do we know god was responsible, and not aliens? If we are talking about an all powerful being that can create, and warp the fabric of existence itself that wants you to obey him, and if you don't you go to hell. I don't think talking about aliens is weirder than that. Weird isn't always a bad thing, but we got to call a spade a spade.

> What it suggests is that Jesus expected people to pursue evidences and to follow the evidence. Many people seem to think the Bible is anti-evidence, anti-investigation, and that faith requires us to believe what there is no evidence for. It's simply untrue.

That is interesting I haven't heard of that before. Good point. I think the quality of the evidence is the problem that most people have.

> If we're searching for actual evidence and following the evidence where it leads, aliens are not in the equation.

We are also talking about possibilities given that I don't think my point should be disregarded.

> No, it's because the science and math support it.

If math, and science support it then atheism wouldn't exist. Given that I am doubtful of what you just said. I am open to being enlightened, but I have already heard the it is unlikely for earth to form argument, and I think it is also unlikely that an ultimate space god created us.

> Because God is outside of the purview of science, just as predicting the direction of the stock market is

I disagree. I think science might be be able to predict the stock market eventually, but not right now. I think of science proving god in the same way. We can't right now, but that doesn't mean it will always be like that.

> This is true, but when we follow the logic and the evidences, the case for theism is massively stronger than the case for atheism or naturalism. I choose theism because more evidence and logic support it.

I find it very interesting that we seem to be both skeptical, and have the attitude of believing what has the most evidence, and logic supporting it. Unfortunately that is a rarity.

> To me, alien manipulation is WAY down the list.

Why?

> I use logic. Multiple gods means some kind of competition

How do you know they would compete against one another? There is no rule that says gods must compete with each other.

> I appreciate your honesty and openness.

thank you, and I appreciate your willingness to talk to someone you disagree with.

> I'm willing to keep talking as long as there is worthy and respectful dialogue between us.

I couldn't agree more.
Darth Vader
 

Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:43 pm

> I view that as a massive problem. Why should we believe something based on a massive assumption?

I don't think we should. The Bible assumes the existence of God, but then spends 1600 pages giving us the evidence that manifests the truth of the assumption. And I, in my own life and mind, know that faith is nothing more than the assumption of truth based on enough evidence to make it reasonable to make that assumption, so I also look for evidence and follow the evidence where it leads. Christianity is evidentiary.

But at the same we all also realize that all of us have presuppositions that stand under our views and positions. Science itself has plenty of presuppositions that can't be 100% proved by empiricism:

* There is such a thing as truth that can be known.
* The external world exists
* Sense perception is basically reliable
* Nature is intelligible
etc.

> I might have already asked you this before, but what evidences Has god provided, and are they reasonable?

Yes, I already provided these. Your opening question was "Why should I believe in god?", and I gave you five answers. Then you asked for examples of evidences, and I gave you about 16 such examples. I hope that wasn't all for nothing.

> I don't really think proof exists, but even a very strong theory?

The logical and scientific evidences are strong, though not 100%. But weighed against the case given by atheists, the case for theism is far stronger than the case for scientific naturalism. If the case for theism is at, say 80%, and the case for scientific naturalism is at about 10%, if that, then I would think you would lean towards the stronger case.

> Did he have an amazing testimony to outweigh that it was only him?

I don't really know what you mean by this. I gave you the case for Moses. Was that all for nothing? You didn't give me a case against him, but only musings. And yet you lean towards opinion instead of towards the evidence. That just seems so odd to me.

> How do we know based on what he wrote is true?

We've covered this ground. Was it all for nothing? We examine the evidence for Mosaic authorship, we evaluate the sanity/goodness/morality of the teaching, and we therefore assess the truth of the content. Moses's writings come out very high.

> If he is disreputable, what stops moses from lying in his writings?

This is what we have to evaluate. What is your case for Moses as a liar?

> "It's not eyewitness testimony that is the problem (we rely on it for all sorts of evidence in our modern world" I think that is a mistake. Based on the video I watched about eye witness testimony it isn't trustworthy in my eyes anymore.

Almost everything we know comes by way of the testimony of others: most education, most current events, most of our political opinions, most of our legal judgments, and a whole bunch of our medical knowledge. I go to the eye doctor and he puts a machine in front of my eyes and says, "Tell me which one is clearest." If eyewitness testimony is unreliable, and only science is reliable, I should say, "You tell me, Doc." I shouldn't watch the evening news: it's someone else's eyewitness testimony. I shouldn't believe anything I read on the Internet: it's someone else's experience and testimony.

> Even if the witnesses say a demon got casted out that doesn't mean a god is responsible for that do you disagree?

It's always a judgment call. If my son's body was loaded with cancer (and we have the pictures to prove it), and then I pray and the next day his cancer is gone (and we have the pictures to prove it), would you conclude that prayer was the cause or would you try to figure out a natural explanation? And how could I prove it was prayer, or how could you prove it wasn't? There's no way to do it. Somewhere along the line we infer what to us is the most reasonable conclusion based on the science, the evidence, the timing, the circumstances, and our presuppositions.

> "Water to wine."... I think they are honest, but that doesn't stop them from being hallucinators.

The problem is that there were 12 of them, and there's no such thing as group hallucinations, just as there is no such thing as group dreams.

> "Jesus's healings." Does history agree with those points you just made? If not that means there is most likely no scientific evidence that agrees either.

History does agree with the points I just made. We have four separate reliable accounts regarding them, along with some possible extrabiblical evidence. And of course they're outside the scope of science now. We can't view the event directly or reconstruct it precisely. It cannot be subject to scientific observation or experimentation, as no historical event can be. It's a cold case with incomplete and selective sources. We have to make the best with what we have.

> Also you are assuming that the body can't heal itself in magical ways. This isn't about me being biased this is me wanting very strong evidence. I don't see a problem with that.

I don't assume the body can't heal itself in amazing ways. Our bodies are close to miraculous organisms. But what I find in my conversation with you is that even when the argument contrary to your position is far stronger than the evidence supporting your position, you still hang on to your position. My observation is that the strength of evidence doesn't seem to matter to you.

> Also how do you know the body can't heal itself like jesus healed other people? Many spiritualists/super naturalists go in with the assumption that spirits exist, and they can heal us. What stops that from being true? That is the same assumption that the bible makes.

We have learned that the body can't heal itself from blindness. Even doctors with all our knowledge and technology can't do very well with most kinds of blindness.

The Bible admits that God is not the only one who can heal. There are really spiritual powers and forces around, some with limited capability to heal.

> I think the majority of scientists, and historians, disagree, and the minority agree with your views.

A Pew Survey says that 51% of scientists believe in God or a higher power. (https://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/sci ... nd-belief/). I can only go by the testimony of someone else on this one : ) as can you. Or do we not believe what anyone else says?

> theological conclusions aren't based on evidence

I come to theological conclusions based on the accumulated evidence from many other angles. The theology itself is not empirical and non-evidentiary, but its foundation is many evidences from many fields.

> revelations based in logic or no?

Yes, revelations are based in logic. We can infer the existence of God by logic, as well as that He wants to communicate with us, He is able to communicate with us, and would communicate to us in truth rather than deceit.

> The teachings of jesus maybe, but even then how do we know he isn't a spiritual light being that lies about being god?

It's why we are given a written word rather than just oral. The written word provides an objective plumb line against which claims can be evaluated. Just like now: the Dems don't want to believe U.S.A.G. Barr's summary of the Mueller case—they want to read it for themselves. They want to evaluate the summary (what they consider to be an opinion) against the document.

> What stops aliens from doing that when jesus walked on water?

You haven't established by logic or by evidence that (1) aliens exist, (2) they visited our planet, (3) that they have such power. We do have scientific evidence that certain factors can produce water that is buoyant enough to possibly walk on: surface tension, non-newtonian fluids, and even the saline and chemical makeup of the water (such as the Dead Sea). So are we going to go for science or for science-fiction? You keep choosing the position contrary to the weight of evidence.

> If math, and science support it then atheism wouldn't exist.

You're not reading carefully. It seems you're trying so hard to be a skeptic and refute anything I say that you don't really see what I say. What I said in response to your question, "Do you believe in the Big Bang because you think God created the Big Bang?" I replied that, "No, I believe in the Big Bang because science and math support it." Then you reply, "If math, and science support it then atheism wouldn't exist," and you are doubtful of what I said. So I now go, "Huh??????? What are you talking about?"

> I think science might be be able to predict the stock market eventually, but not right now.

Wow, this is simply incredible. Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? Even in the weather, there are so many variables at play, no matter how good our science gets, it will be ultimately not ever 100% predictable. So also with who's going to win the Final Four and by what score. It seems that your commitment to be a skeptic is causing you severe bias.

> "alien manipulation is WAY down the list." Why?

Because there is absolutely no evidence for alien manipulation. Scientists can only speculate, but right now the speculations are (1) if other life exists in the solar system, it is most likely microbial; and (2) if other life exists in the universe, we have a problem with the time it takes to travel and for communication to travel. To logically and scientifically consider that alien manipulation is a reasonable answer is unjustified, unjustifiable, and way down the list.

> "Multiple gods" How do you know they would compete against one another?

Not only what I already explained (did I write that for nothing?), but also every polytheistic system on the planet through history has competing gods.
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Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby Darth Vader » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:20 am

> I don't think we should. The Bible assumes the existence of God, but then spends 1600 pages giving us the evidence that manifests the truth of the assumption.

Alright, but it depends on the quality of the evidence though.

> And I, in my own life and mind, know that faith is nothing more than the assumption of truth based on enough evidence to make it reasonable to make that assumption, so I also look for evidence and follow the evidence where it leads. Christianity is evidentiary.

I am tempted to agree.

> Science itself has plenty of presuppositions that can't be 100% proved by empiricism

Agreed.

> Yes, I already provided these. Your opening question was "Why should I believe in god?", and I gave you five answers. Then you asked for examples of evidences, and I gave you about 16 such examples. I hope that wasn't all for nothing.

2 things:

1. I am on heavy medication for my mental illness that affects my memory, so if I forget that is most likely why.
2. If I disagreed with what you said that doesn't mean you have demonstrated something. I say this because about 95% of all of the people I have debated in my whole life make that mistake. If you aren't making that mistake then awesome.

> The logical and scientific evidences are strong, though not 100%. But weighed against the case given by atheists, the case for theism is far stronger than the case for scientific naturalism.

Can you define what you mean by the case given by atheists?

> say 80%, and the case for scientific naturalism is at about 10%, if that, then I would think you would lean towards the stronger case.

I agree, and that is very reasonable.

> I gave you the case for Moses. Was that all for nothing? You didn't give me a case against him, but only musings.

If I gave you musings please direct quote me otherwise I am tempted to think it didn't happen exactly like that.

> And yet you lean towards opinion instead of towards the evidence. That just seems so odd to me.

This could be my faulty memory, but I don't remember you having evidence that merits the belief in moses testimony in my opinion.

> you asked for examples of evidences, and I gave you about 16 such examples. I hope that wasn't all for nothing.

I keep mentioning points to the contrary, and I feel like you disregard them. It isn't only you feeling that way.

> We've covered this ground. Was it all for nothing?

No.

> We examine the evidence for Mosaic authorship, we evaluate the sanity/goodness/morality of the teaching, and we therefore assess the truth of the content.

How do we evaluate the sanity, goodness, and morality of moses, and his teachings?

If you feel like I already asked this then I don't really know what to say. However I don't think frustration is appropriate. At worst, and I don't think this, but I would be a forgetful, open-minded, fool that is trying very hard to make the discussion/dialectic work. I made over 40 points for clarification that implies I am putting in a lot of effort, and that was tedious, but I wanted to have a clearer conversation If anything that deserves pity not anger.

> This is what we have to evaluate. What is your case for Moses as a liar?

The case is that we are ignorant about moses true intent, and in that ignorance I don't think it is wise to assume he is trustworthy. In the modern world there a ton of lairs that try to take peoples money or trick people. Why couldn't that be the case in the past? My main point is we can't reasonably state that he was trust worthy or not. Unless you have evidence based in the bibles history, and I admit that I am ignorant about the history of the bible. Feel free to enlighten me.

> Almost everything we know comes by way of the testimony of others

There is a difference between eye testimony when it comes to crimes or supernatural events than the everyday mundane things that happen.

> If eyewitness testimony is unreliable, and only science is reliable

Science is definitely more reliable, but eyewitness testimonies are far weaker, and shouldn't be used for very important claims like god exists. Unless there is amazing proof. Which I am open to hearing.

> I shouldn't watch the evening news: it's someone else's eyewitness testimony.

We must trust eye witness testimonies to a large extent, but use them as little as possible. I think trusting someones testimony about god existing is using it too often. Especially because there are many explanations that could explain a persons supernatural thoughts or visions other than a god speaking to them.

> It's always a judgment call. If my son's body was loaded with cancer (and we have the pictures to prove it), and then I pray and the next day his cancer is gone (and we have the pictures to prove it), would you conclude that prayer was the cause or would you try to figure out a natural explanation?

You would have to demonstrate that nothing else was done to help your son. Because if he tried a new medication for example that would raise serious doubt. Again I don't know why you didn't address my question, but I will ask it again differently. Even if something supernatural happens how do you know it is god? I have had experiences like yours. I could read minds, heal illnesses, hear prophecies from spirits that came true, heal my fathers extreme mental health issues, casted spells that protected people from demons, and then people would say they feel better without me telling them what I did. There was even one time where I was driving with me mom, and we drove for like 50 miles with very little gas in the car. I forget the exact numbers, but a car shouldn't have been able to drive that long with very very little gas. I will repeat what you said it is always a judgment call. If you were in my shoes what should I have thought about those experiences?

> how could I prove it was prayer, or how could you prove it wasn't? There's no way to do it.

That is why I call myself an agnostic because we are in a state of ignorance. I lean towards there being no god, but I don't say it is impossible. I am mainly an agnostic. I don't have the answers for how the universe is created, but neither do you. That is my general point. If you have evidence that god created the universe you would be a multi-billionaire. I assume you aren't a billionaire, so I am tempted to believe you don't have that evidence which demonstrates that you are in a state of ignorance just like me.

> The problem is that there were 12 of them, and there's no such thing as group hallucinations

Are you implying that 12 people haven't hallucinated at the same time before? What is your logical argument for saying that "There's no such thing as group hallucinations"?

> We have four separate reliable accounts regarding them

First we are most likely going to disagree about the definition "reliable" But even ignoring that please elaborate.

> of course they're outside the scope of science now. We can't view the event directly or reconstruct it precisely.

I appreciate the honesty, but if we can't view the event directly or reconstruct it precisely why do we believe in it?

> It cannot be subject to scientific observation or experimentation, as no historical event can be. It's a cold case with incomplete and selective sources.

I agree that history relies on that, but an all powerful god existing needs more than what we generally tolerate with history.
We have to make the best with what we have.

Agreed, but I think you are making logical leaps to believe in god. Your belief in him isn't scientific, and relies on translations, and assumptions that people from a long time ago were sane, and honest. There are, so many factors, and variables that I don't think anyone could confidently say that the Christian god exists. I could see the argument for you becoming a agnostic theist. I think that would be more intellectually honest. I am an agnostic atheist. I don't say gods don't exist I just say it is very unlikely. You could say something similar you don't know if god exists or not, but you think it is reasonable to lean in the direction that god exists. Assuming you agree with what I am saying that would mean you can't say god exists while being intellectually honest.

> what I find in my conversation with you is that even when the argument contrary to your position is far stronger than the evidence supporting your position, you still hang on to your position.

If you claim that I am not going with what evidence suggests I am going to need a direct quote.

> My observation is that the strength of evidence doesn't seem to matter to you.

There is no nice way to say this, but you don't have good evidence. You assume things are true about the bible, eye witness testimonies. That isn't evidence.

> of course they're outside the scope of science now. We can't view the event directly or reconstruct it precisely. It cannot be subject to scientific observation or experimentation, as no historical event can be. It's a cold case with incomplete and selective sources. We have to make the best with what we have.

That isn't evidence based belief that is a faith based belief, so you don't get to claim that your belief is scientific or based on solid evidence.

> We have learned that the body can't heal itself from blindness.

We also couldn't see germs before. Your definitive claim that the body can't heal itself from blindness is an assumption not a scientific based claim.

> A Pew Survey says that 51% of scientists believe in God or a higher power.

Believing in a god or a higher power is completely different. Thor is a higher power.

> Yes, revelations are based in logic. We can infer the existence of God by logic

Alright let's hear it.

> It's why we are given a written word rather than just oral.

Why can't an evil spirit give a written word?

> You haven't established by logic or by evidence that (1) aliens exist

I don't need to because it is a possibility that isn't out of the question. If you can talk about an invisible all powerful god existing I can talk about aliens existing.

> go for science or for science-fiction?

Okay your hypocrisy is getting palpable. You don't have an inch of scientific proof that an all powerful god exists, and has socialized with humans for good or bad reasons. If you have such scientific evidence that god exists say it.

> You're not reading carefully. It seems you're trying so hard to be a skeptic and refute anything I say that you don't really see what I say.

I do read carefully, and you're wrong.

> no matter how good our science gets, it will be ultimately not ever 100% predictable.

You have no idea how good our science will get over the course of time meaning you have no grounds to stand on when you say it won't be 100% predictable. Don't make definitive claims you can't back up with logic. All you can say is that science can't do it right now. Your illogical assertions are getting annoying especially since you keep accusing me of not changing my opinion based on evidence. Follow your own advice.

> Because there is absolutely no evidence for alien manipulation. Scientists can only speculate

The same can be said about your own god.
Darth Vader
 

Re: Why should I believe in God?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:41 am

The conversation is getting quite large and unwieldy, and I feel that we are starting to cycle around and repeat ourselves. I will try to keep my comments more brief than they deserve so we don't expand to 3 screens!

> Alright, but it depends on the quality of the evidence though.

Of course it does. Everything depends on the quality of the evidence.

> Can you define what you mean by the case given by atheists?

I get virtually nothing from atheists. When I ask them to substantiate what they believe, they have nothing. They find fault in the Christian position (it's only takes us about 80% of the way), but in retort they have nothing to offer, as it seems you have nothing in rebuttal either. Usually what I get, if anything, is two things: Science, and the problem of evil and suffering. But the evidence leads us that science is more compatible with theism than with atheism, and the problem of evil is logically sustainable with Christian theism, so both arguments fail. The atheists basically have nothing, but they choose nothing over the 80% that evidences and logic can take us toward Christianity. If we're going to infer the most reasonable conclusion, theism wins every time.

> "The case for Moses" If I gave you musings please direct quote me otherwise I am tempted to think it didn't happen exactly like that.

Here is what you've written about Moses:

* "How do we know god appears to Moses? Are we trusting eye witness testimonies?" ... "if I were to believe that a god exists I would need evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt."
* "How do we know based on what he wrote is true? If he is disreputable what stops moses from lying in his writings? My point is there is not a realistic way to tell unless you have a very interesting fact or logical argument."

My point is, "You didn't give me a case against him." I said, "We have to examine everything else Moses wrote and what was said about him to discern if Moses was reliable or deceitful, sane or delusional, moral or disreputable. It's not eyewitness testimony that is the problem (we rely on it for all sorts of evidence in our modern world), but the reliability of the testimony, brought out by such factors as (1) is he trustworthy? (2) what issues does he have? (3) can we count on him?, etc."

I've asked for your case against Moses. You've given me nothing.

> I don't remember you having evidence that merits the belief in moses testimony in my opinion.

So here's a case for reliability of Moses:

* The accounts of Genesis - Deuteronomy are full of historical and culturally-corroboratable facts (along with details that can neither be confirmed or discredited). The tenor of the 5 books show an intent of historiography.
* Criteria of Embarrassment. The text is not at all shy about showing Moses's bad points (Ex. 2.12: Moses murdered someone out of anger; Ex. 4.13: "Send somebody else"; Ex. 6.30: Moses's weaknesses, self-doubts, and reluctance; Ex. 18, Moses's mismanagement and poor decisions; Ex. 32.19, Moses's anger, et al.)
* Moses as a moral teacher: Ex. 20.1-17
* Moses trying to faithfully communicate the word of the Lord to the people (Many occurrences of "the Lord said to Moses..."
* Moses trying to lead the people with humility and integrity (many examples; Num. 12.3)

These are a few that come to mind. Now, what is your case against Moses? What makes you doubt that Moses is sane, good, and moral?

> The case is that we are ignorant about moses true intent...

We aren't, actually.

* Moses intends to write historiography (Ex. 1.1ff.; 2.1ff.; 2.11ff.; 3.1ff., Ex. 6.14ff., etc.)
* Moses intends to communicate what God has said to him (Ex. 5.1ff.; Ex. 6.9, 10.3, etc.)
* Moses intends to obey the Lord's commands (hundreds of times where we have evidence that he does what the Lord told him to do).
* Moses intends to communicate God's covenant to the people (in the form of the Law).
* Moses intends to lead the people back to the land of Canaan, and these 5 books are the account of that event.

> I don't think it is wise to assume [Moses] is trustworthy

I don't assume it, I make inferences from the evidence at hand. What would lead you to believe Moses isn't trustworthy?

> There is a difference between eye testimony when it comes to crimes or supernatural events than the everyday mundane things that happen.

I'm not convinced of this. It's true that people's memories can be faulty in a rapid-moving time of crisis (like a crime), but there are also parts of such experiences that get cemented in the brain quite reliably. So also with dramatic supernatural experiences: they lodge indelibly in the brain.

> Science is definitely more reliable, but eyewitness testimonies are far weaker, and shouldn't be used for very important claims like god exists

The existence of God is outside of the claims of science. We can infer His existence from what we see in science, but we can't do experiments.

> I think trusting someones testimony about god existing is using it too often. Especially because there are many explanations that could explain a persons supernatural thoughts or visions other than a god speaking to them.

I agree. That's why I go with mostly logical and scientific arguments.

> You would have to demonstrate that nothing else was done to help your son. Because if he tried a new medication for example that would raise serious doubt. Again I don't know why you didn't address my question, but I will ask it again differently. Even if something supernatural happens how do you know it is god?

My case was that nothing new was part of the scene except prayer. But there's still no scientifically demonstrable way to prove that prayer was the causative mechanism. We just have to infer the most reasonable conclusion.

> I don't have the answers for how the universe is created, but neither do you.

I do. God was the causative mechanism, the Big Bang (according to current scientific theory) was the outworking, and evolution was the process. 14 billion years and counting is the duration.

> If you have evidence that god created the universe you would be a multi-billionaire.

The evidence points to a theistic explanation.

> Are you implying that 12 people haven't hallucinated at the same time before?

They've hallucinated at the same time, but not about the same things. There is no evidence for group hallucinations.

> even ignoring that please elaborate (about the reliability of the Gospels)

* There is no evidence to discredit them.
* The authors show themselves to be sane, moral, and interested in evidence
* History has borne them out to be life-changing documents to the benefit of society.

> if we can't view the event directly or reconstruct it precisely why do we believe in it?

We believe in many things that can't be proved by science, direct viewing, or precise reconstruction, like the life of Alexander the Great, the assassination of Julius Caesar, or the battle plan of the Romans at the destruction of Jerusalem.

> but an all powerful god existing needs more than what we generally tolerate with history.

And we have that. I gave you about 16 points of evidence and logic.

> you are making logical leaps to believe in god.

Please identify those logical leaps.

> Your belief in him isn't scientific

Oh, but it partially is. I believe in God because of scientific evidences, logical reasoning, the reliability of the Bible, and personal experiences.

> There is no nice way to say this, but you don't have good evidence. You assume things are true about the bible, eye witness testimonies. That isn't evidence.

I haven't yet given you my evidence for the Bible, so this comment is misdirected. What I gave you was evidence for the existence of God.

> "We can infer the existence of God by logic" Alright let's here it.

I've already given it to you in one of the first posts: about 15 logical and evidential arguments for the existence of God.

> Your definitive claim that the body can't heal itself from blindness is an assumption not a scientific based claim.

Oh my. It's not an assumption. There is no scientific evidence that the body can heal itself from blindness. And in most cases, doctors and surgeons cannot heal blindness. It's mostly incurable.

> Why can't an evil spirit give a written word?

It can, of course. That's why we need to be continually evaluating.

> You don't have an inch of scientific proof that an all powerful god exists

Of course I do. The universe exhibits many characteristics of having been designed by an intelligent being, and its elements of fine-tuning lead one to infer that it was planned. This is much larger argument, though, and there is no space in the post for now.
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