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Critical thinking on the existence of God

 
 
JPIV83
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 12:53 am
My latest knowledge about God is this,
I have a relative who claims to be psychic I wasn't sure to believe if this was all true and people that can talk to spirits was a true thing.
Until lately when I asked her to do a reading on my girlfriend and her dead father. I am a skeptic, so i wanted to go into detail with my questions. Before i go i also need to state that this was the first time the psychic has met my girlfriend.We started the reading asking her to ask my girlfriends deceased father some questions like would he let me take her hand in marrage, and he answered back through the psychic, wity h great shock to my girlfriend and I in the way that he would have answered when he was alive . So ok maby alot of people would have put it that way. So we went on further asking questions. Now im going to sum it up a little bit, if you have any questions about the details you can ask me. I just want to write as least as possible to get my point across.
He started giving us answers that , there would be no possible way that the psychic could have known, like the details of the bycycle that my girlfriends child had when he was alive and a song that he sang with my girlfriend when she was younger, that i didnt know about. Also the psychic was telling my girlfriend clothes he was wearing that were an identical match to what he wore when he was alive. Theres a couple smaller things the psychic pin pointed that were spot on, she said verry few things that could have explained. im basically saying that the psychic couldent have known theese thins.
Ok so that explains that ghosts exist and she can talk to them. So therefore i put that together and say if its a fact that some people can talk to spirits, god must exist. Thats my own personal beliefs. Please respond if you have any questions . And why or how could this be possible i am still a skeptic because i cant or dont sense another demension . Its just so mind blowing to me. Im stoll searching for answers everyday on my life, so if anyone has any questions or comments please. Let me know.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 06:15 am
@FBM,
Quote:

I'm not getting your point. I've never denied the hypothetical possibility of a god; I'm just asking those who claim that there is one to support that claim with evidence. I've considered the possibility of the voodoo gods, magic, Shiva, etc etc, but I didn't jump on their bandwagons just because it made me feel good.

Like with your putative god, presumably the same one I used to believe in, upon investigation I simply didn't find any credible evidence to support the claim. Still haven't. Every argument in favor of it has been riddled with logical fallacies, including yours. But my mind is still open to the hypothetical possibility that someday someone might provide such evidence. I'm just not jumping on the bandwagon until someone does so.
For myself (and I think everyone MUST gather their own evidence) one piece of evidence was the unexpected correlation between the conclusions I reached when contemplating God's existence and the clues i found in the bible much later.
Not conclusive, I know, because you could say that I'm reading into it what I want or expect. I'm sure we've both seen examples of that.

The 'third leg' of the 'proof' for me was the unique nature of the story that emerged from my search. It was unexpected, unique and at the same time, appealing. And far beyond the basic Christian message of 'Jesus died to save us from sin, etc, etc.'. It was a good enough story to make me actually love this 'imaginary friend'.

For a time, I was tempted to doubt the 'story' myself because it would not make sense that I was the only one on earth who saw it. There are not many, but eventually I saw that there were others who had followed the same thread. Haven't met any in person but they do exist. They too have to express their story carefully to avoid being misunderstood, offending everyone around them or being thought mad, but knowing the story myself, I can recognize them.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'jumping on the band wagon' but as I've said before, you are the only one who is needed to start down the road. You don't have to join any parade. If it's a parade, it's most likely the wrong road anyway.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 06:45 am
@Leadfoot,
Quote:
(and I think everyone MUST gather their own evidence)


What's wrong with availing oneself of the work others have done? If you read the Bible, you're doing exactly that. If you apply science, you're doing exactly that. Like I said before, otherwise everyone would have to revinvent the wheel, rediscover fire, etc.

Quote:
The 'third leg' of the 'proof' for me was the unique nature of the story that emerged from my search.


What was that, exactly?

Quote:
If it's a parade, it's most likely the wrong road anyway.


Why is that? Most people agree on most things. (John Oliver: Do owls exist? Are there hats?) It's the exception when the outlier is able to trump the majority. Usually, the outlier is found to be in error. The temptation to self-identify as the rogue genius is strong, but the Newtons, Einsteins and even Jesuses are few and far between. The number of deluded people is much, much larger, no? How many people have claimed special access to the divine? How many of them lived up to it vs how many went down in flames?
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 07:20 am
@FBM,
Quote:

What's wrong with availing oneself of the work others have done? If you read the Bible, you're doing exactly that. If you apply science, you're doing exactly that. Like I said before, otherwise everyone would have to revinvent the wheel, rediscover fire, etc.
Nothing wrong with that at all if you look at the work without assuming the author or others who studied it reached the correct conclusions. That is not the approach usually taken by theologians however.

Leadfoot Quote:
"The 'third leg' of the 'proof' for me was the unique nature of the story that emerged from my search."
Quote:
What was that, exactly?

I'm not crazy enough to try and spell that out in a sound byte but if we talked about it long enough I'm sure it would come out. There has to be groundwork laid first. Can't build a structure like that on sand and expect it to stand.

Leadfoot Quote:
"If it's a parade, it's most likely the wrong road anyway."

Quote:
Why is that? Most people agree on most things. (John Oliver: Do owls exist? Are there hats?) It's the exception when the outlier is able to trump the majority. Usually, the outlier is found to be in error. The temptation to self-identify as the rogue genius is strong, but the Newtons, Einsteins and even Jesuses are few and far between. The number of deluded people is much, much larger, no? How many people have claimed special access to the divine? How many of them lived up to it vs how many went down in flames?

I don't know why that is. It's not that I believe I have special abilities, I think 'the story' can be found by anyone who is willing to look. Is it just because it's easier to 'go with the flow' and not ponder these things or is it a force that actively tries to steer us away from looking? I'm not sure. But it was predicted. 'Few are the ones who follow the narrow path that leads to life but wide is the path and many are those who follow it to destruction....'. That's a rough quotation and I don't bother to memorize chapter and verse but you probably recognize it from your school days.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 07:32 am
@Leadfoot,
Quote:
Nothing wrong with that at all if you look at the work without assuming the author or others who studied it reached the correct conclusions. That is not the approach usually taken by theologians however.


This differs from my experience. Apologist theology (meaning the vast majority of theologians) is faith-based, which means that there is at least one assumption involved in agreement with their predecessors, viz, the existence of this or that favored supernatural explanation, deity or creator.

Quote:
I'm not crazy enough to try and spell that out in a sound byte but...


That's just not very helpful. If you're not willing/able to spell out your alleged proof, then what are we even talking about?


Quote:
Is it just because it's easier to 'go with the flow' and not ponder these things or...


Going with the flow would be to accept the theist worldview in a world dominated by theists. The skeptic is the exception. Wink
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 09:24 am
@FBM,
We seem to have lost any connection in your reply.

I think I was agreeing with you about theologians. They assume (on faith) much of what many fellow theologians before them concluded about God, the bible, etc. That's what I was suggesting should be avoided.

I said I couldn't put 'my story' (I didn't say 'proof') into a sound byte, not that I was not willing to share it. If you insist that I put it in '25 words or less', I can't.

When I said 'going with the flow' I was talking about either accepting as the only alternative (not necessarily believing) the popular ideas about Theism or not really actively looking for their own. That covers both believers and skeptics. In other words, the vast majority of people.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 12:27 pm
@Leadfoot,
OK, I think I've caught the gist of what you meant. Thanks for the clarification. But the bit about "not really actively looking for their own" seems to contradict your hypothesis about an innate urge to know. These days, the overwhelming majority of scientists are non-believers, and they're probably the most active and advanced in trying to find out how things are as they really are. Philosophers, excepting theologians, are probably next and based on my readings, the majority of them are without faith, including those who still believe in free will.

In my experience, the vast majority of the rest of the people either accept blindly the faith that they've been brought up in, have jettisoned it, or don't care enough to look deeply into it. To me, then, it looks like the people with the most curiosity and who have put the most effort into trying to figure it out have concluded that the invisible, undetectable creator hypothesis isn't supported by observable data or necessary inference, and is thus implausible to the extent that it is beneath serious consideration.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 01:24 pm
@FBM,
Quote:
... isn't supported by observable data or necessary inference, and is thus implausible to the extent that it is beneath serious consideration.


Scientism, aka metaphysical naturalism, at its dogmatic best. A faith-based "discipline" if there ever was one.

Keep the faith, Baby!
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2015 06:21 am
@layman,
...you are not smart, not even close...
...would you bother to explain what unnatural means ?
You are a perfect example of grey slightly above average intelligence...
You do realize that makes you as dumb as they come right ?

...I criticize "materialism" and scientism as any other, but questioning naturalism ? HE HE HE ! One goes in awe jaw dropping with the sheer, brutal, amount of nonsense one single sentence can convey...
Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2015 08:21 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
...would you bother to explain what unnatural means ?

It's a concept. It's the background against which natural takes on meaning.

You see, unnatural, supernatural, these ideas did not come to you by way of idiots. They're embedded in your own thinking.

Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 01:43 am
@FBM,
Most, and I think probably all, feel the longing to know but very few seem to find the courage to approach God all by themselves which at some point is the only way it can be done.

Some want the assurance that they have qualified instructors to guide them so they go to seminary schools, join the priesthood or become monks. It is often hard to tell if they found God or are afraid to admit that they didn't. Many are so intimidated by the challenge that they decide that it is not possible and push the urge away. Some are so appalled by the blunders of others that try and fail that they don't want to be associated with the failures. Some are afraid of looking foolish in front of others if they should fail themselves or being thought foolish even if they succeed.

There are probably dozens of reasons why people decide not to make the effort but I don't think it's because they don't feel the urge to try.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 01:54 am
@Leadfoot,
Man, that sure does look a whole lot like begging the question. You're only addressing, and speculating about, those who already believe in this god. I'm still on the topic of the thread, critical thinking about whether or not that or any other god exists. Seems that the vast majority of the people who have looked the hardest - those who don't presuppose any god's existence, I mean - haven't found any good reason to believe that it does.
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 06:58 am
@FBM,
Quote:
Seems that the vast majority of the people who have looked the hardest - those who don't presuppose any god's existence, I mean - haven't found any good reason to believe that it does.


I assume here you are thinking about those like Dawkins, Hitchens, etc.

Do you really think we know the thoughts of these men in their moments of doubt about God's nonexistence? After a life of fame and fortune gained from public speaking and writing numerous books ridiculing the idea of a God, the pressure to maintain that stance has to be enormous. Do you think they would feel free to publicly talk about any longing to know if he does exist?

Even those who have not profited monetarily are no doubt the type of men who value their own consistency. They do not want to risk their own self image by acknowledging those doubts even to themselves, let alone publicly. Such are the pitfalls of pride.

Of course these same conflicts and fears are present in of those who do believe in God. That is why I think it important to acknowledge doubts in either direction. Most just lack the courage.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 07:10 am
@Tuna,
By definition all that exists is natural...you see its not only possible... IT IS !
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 07:18 am
@FBM,
There is a better way of making the question undressed of all its childish fantasy...the question being, do you believe in REASON ? (not reasoning, not agency) Well I do...therefore I have a sort of "God" for referrent...it just is not a person. I believe strongly in Universal Unity. That satisfies my criteria for a "God" talk.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 07:23 am
@Leadfoot,
I don't believe in your, in my view, childish God parody, but this is a fair point. Oh by the way I have undoubetably found God beyond any shread of doubt...Its something very apalling and abstract...it looks like a stone...its alone and dead.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 07:36 am
@Leadfoot,
Quote:
I assume here you are thinking about those like Dawkins, Hitchens, etc.


Every assumption is a potential error. I'm thinking of many, many more people than just the famous ones who have studied the question most intensely and objectively. Globally:

93% of scientists: http://web.archive.org/web/20140301051125/http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

73% of philosophers: http://philpapers.org/archive/BOUWDP.pdf

Quote:
Do you really think we know the thoughts of these men in their moments of doubt about God's nonexistence?


Do you really think you can know that they even have those "moments of doubt"? Or is that just your assumption? Or just rhetoric? Put another way, it's the fact that they do have doubts that is the issue. They've scrutinized the available evidence for this alleged invisible, undetectable guy in the sky and have serious doubts. Given the paucity of credible evidence, why wouldn't they? As far as I know, though, they're all open to new evidence, should any ever be presented. Faith? Not so much. And with good reason.

As I said before, be careful about projecting your own experiences onto others. Also, careful about that argumentum ad ignorantiam. If you have direct evidence, present it. If you don't, but still make the claim, well...the argument from ignorance is a bugger to dodge in the beginning, but a careful thinker can do it. Wink

0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 07:38 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

There is a better way of making the question undressed of all its childish fantasy...the question being, do you believe in REASON ? (not reasoning, not agency) Well I do...therefore I have a sort of "God" for referrent...it just is not a person. I believe strongly in Universal Unity. That satisfies my criteria for a "God" talk.


I'd be interested in learning more about this, if you're of a mind to unpack it a bit. A metaphorical god is quite different from the literal god that the theists are arguing for, though.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 07:54 am
@FBM,
I will leave you in Fil's capable and cheerful critical thinking hands :-)

Happy trails...

Quote:
Fil Albuquerque quote:
I don't believe in your, in my view, childish God parody, but this is a fair point. Oh by the way I have undoubetably found God beyond any shread of doubt...Its something very apalling and abstract...it looks like a stone...its alone and dead
manden
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2015 08:01 am
@FBM,
The true God is the real creator of the universe - MORE OF HIM IS NOT
RECOGNIZABLE !
We must try to recognize at the universe that he really exists .
TILL NOW the mankind could not do it !
That is the reason for the catastrophal state of this mankind since many thousand years .
 

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