No – my point in saying what I did is that I was not making an objective, metaphysical assertion about a putative entity to be termed God, but that I operate on a faith-based concept of trust in Something that I have come to know as God, in a relational setting. Obviously one cannot have a relationship with that which does not exist, in some way, shape, or form – and for the same of argument I’ll allow children’s “imaginary friends” in the door here, and concede that my percept of God might conceivably be all in my own imagination
I think we are getting somewhere with the posability of god being in your imagination. Children’s imaginary friends comes pretty close and I don’t see how you can make any differentiation.
(I have grounds to take the contrary position, which we can discuss later in this thread)
I’m interested in getting to that as I think the grounds you are using to take the contrary position are faulty.
– but my position is not merely one of asserting that God objectively exists (on which I have no reproducible proof capable of satisfying the skepticism of another, merely interior, subjective proof sufficient for me)
Would you acknowledge that people frequently use subjective proof to establish beliefs that are false. Would you also acknowledge that people have a tendency to believe and find evidence to support (adequate or not) what they want to believe? If yes would this acknowlegement increase or decrease your 99.99999% surety that god exists.
– but that the key to knowing and understanding Him, so far as a human can, is in that relationality, that acceptance of a personal relationship with Him.
Sounds like a nonsense statement to me. I think to have a personal relationship he would actually have to interact with you. I don’t think that experiencing an unlikely event, to which one got goosebumps qualifies.
I think this gets down to the crux. How can you know god as you would a person? Also how can you be sure he has made his goodwill known to you. You have posted that you have had some unfortunate things happen to you as well. Couldn’t you just as easily said that god has made his badwill known to you?
Because He is, among other things, a person – or at least has the attributes associated with personhood. Since (except for alien abductees if they are to be believed and the owners of genius cats if they are) no human being has ever dealt with another sentient mortal not a human being, there’s a distinction between your and my personhood and His – but it’s one of his being an element of His nature; He’s more than another person, not less and not skewed from the concept of personhood.
Objective cite please.
I’m not prepared to promulgate some sort of great conceptualization of the solution of the Problem of Evil – but allow me to say this much on the goodwill/badwill question. He created a world in which it is possible for evil and hatred to exist and people to choose to do things which injure themselves or others, physically or spiritually. (And “spiritually” does not necessary mean “in a religious sense” – contemplate the spiritual damage done to a gay youth by the ostracism of his peers and the condemnation of the fundamentalists, as dealt with in a different thread.)
I don’t acknowlege a spirit. How about emotional damage?
In living in this world and dealing with it, we find we grow emotionally and spiritually; I suspect that has a great deal to do with the reason He chose to produce it in the way He did.
I still don’t like your word spiritually as if you put in emotionally, physically and perhaps mentally spiritually is superfluous, unless you want to describe it as ones ability to fully assimilate societies favorite superstitious beliefs. Though I think this would be at the expense of one’s mental growth. Still in your outlook you have in place the survivorship bias that I spoke of earlier. There is no growth in the gay teens who commit suicide due to the hardships they face. No growth in the people people killed in hurricanes, wars, disease etc. Your talk of growth is only for those with the relatively happy endings and the reality is that a lot of people don’t get these happy endings.
While He could plausibly have intervened to physically stop me from entering into situations where harm resulted, that would be contrary to his apparent “write a ‘clean’ operating program for the Universe and let it run” mode of operations. Instead, what He does is to work through his “operating system” by causing coincidence to happen and people of good will to intervene at the right times.
I think you have contradicted yourself. If god wrote a clean operating system then he would not have cause these coincidences. Also, outside of survivorship bias, what makes you think that these coincidences are in your favor? What makes you think that these coincicdences happen any more frequently then they ought to given a world without a watchmaker?
I don’t think you are making the claim that Jesus actually and literally came and spoke to you. Would it be accurate to rephrase this by saying you went through some very unlikely events, which would make anyone think there might be something there and because you live in the USA, christianity was the most proximal supernatural explanation?
- Your rephrase is quite accurate save for the fact that I did have the mystical experience (I originally said “theophany”) of a very strong sense of His Presence in which He gave me to understand some things.*
I think this is one of your biggest errors. In an average lifespan I would estimate that one experiences millions of events. As such things that are one in a thousand come up frequently and one in a million events still come up from time to time. Spooky as they may seem it’s simple probability that these unlikely events will fall upon us and psychologically are deeply memorable. Could even lead to the “theophany” you describe. I highly recommend the book “How we know what isn’t so” by research psychologist Thomas Gilovich for more information regarding this and other ways humans tend to be subjectively sure about things they are objectively mistaken.
I take it from this that you don’t put much credence in any of the miracle stories. In the last thread you seemed to be saying that you didn’t believe in hell either. If I got this wrong please clarify. Do you beleive in heaven or any other afterlife?
I “believe in” God. I see my task as to deal with the world in accordance with the two Great Commandments (love God, love your neighbor), and to trust Him for what may happen at my death. I don’t rule out total annihilation of my consciousness, reincarnation, or any of a dozen other potential fates – but I believe He has the situation under control, and I don’t need to worry about it.
What do you estimate the probability of heaven as paradise is, vs. annihilation of your consciousness? What do you think is the probability of hell as eternal torment?
I confess to being totally at sea about the miracle stories. A lot of Scripture suffers from what I personally have termed the “Jacob Brown Effect” – Gen. Jacob Brown having single-handedly effectively won the War of 1812 – at least if you go to school about five miles from where he lived, as I did. Imprecision due to exaggeration, repetition of stories with consequent distortion à la the kids’ game “Telephone,” misinterpretation of what did happen, either by the observers or by others misconstruing their reports – all these may have contributed to the phenomena reported.
This wouldn’t surprise me at all.
It’s quite possible, of course, that they may be the literal truth – that Jesus was able to cure a paralysis and tell the man to take up his bedroll and walk. But far more likely is that they were told by the early Christians, whether as made-up stories to illustrate a point that came to be regarded as true, misconstruances of what happened, or whatever, in an effort to stress to the rest of the world what a remarkable person this Jesus was.
I also agree with you that it is far more likely that these miracles did not really occur. However if Jesus really was god, I would think that the only way he could distinguish himself from other pretenders would be that he could actually demonstrate his miracles, rather than have people rely on second, third and worse hand accounts. Wouldn’t you think so?
Well, as Voltaire phrases it “A proverb isn’t a reason.” Heck, I read the bible seriously, but not literally, as I did The Iliad and The Odyssey. All three talked of gods and had moral lessons a plenty if you looked for them. How can you (without cherry picking) say the bible is any different?
Because the Bible talks more directly about the God I know as a person.
Or maybe the god you think you know as a person.
I am personally not inspired or instructed by tales of Greek and Roman deities and their love lives and strange sense of justice,
Are you going to tell me that the bible does not describe some pretty strange senses of justice? I think I can give you plenty of examples, as many or more than described in the Iliad. Though I know with your nonliteral interpretation you’ll just say those don’t count for some reason or other or say that we are too small minded to understand the full wisdom of god, bla bla bla. I can apply such statements with equal ease to the Iliad, so if you have a less generic line of argument let me know.
Plagues, floods, fire and brimstone, angel’s with swords, hell fire for unbeleivers. This speaks to me vivid detail of god’s personality (if he exists) and in our dog eat dog world, it actually fit’s better than the nice god that you see. Note that to see your loving god, you have to ignore or explain away a lot of jealous, vengeful, murderous stuff. How can you say that your view of god’s personality is right and the bad stuff is wrong? Back to the greek god’s, at least they didn’t make the claim of being all good and all powerful at the same time. In that sense I think you could make their existance a little more likely than your favorite god.
o-fucking-lutely true. However, I have two points to make here. First is that it is IMHO not a dog-eat-dog world.
How many life forms do you think have had to be snuffed out or enslaved to sustain your existance so far?
Second, Fred Phelps claims to be talking about the same God as I am – but I totally reject his lunatic Hellfire-and-damnation scenario of who God is. The god who would create you, me, and Gobear and damn him for being what he created him as, is not one I believe in.
Well, that is clearly the god of the bible, both old and new testiments. Again, which is the reason why I started this whole discussion. If you throw away much of the literal interpretation from the bible you throw away much of what you base your beliefs on. Yet you won’t admit it. That is why I think your position and the position of all “reasonable nonliteral christians” is so intellectually dishonest. At least the literalists think they have proof of miracles and 1000 correct propheseys of the bible in which to base their beliefs.
The miracles are signs. What He did and how He did them are secondary to what they convey. I said in the other thread that it is no less a miracle to transform a bunch of selfish people into generous ones willing to share their lunch around with strangers than to transform five loaves and two fishes into enough food for 5,000
That’s a bunch of BS and you know it. You get selfish people to share and I’ll shrug my shoulders. Heck my mom used to do that all the time. You do the latter (in a way that I believe it actually happened) and then I’ll be the one trying to rationalize my belief system.
And his biographers are, within bounds, reliable.
If they reported miracles that did not take place (and you think they did so) then I don’t see how you can call them reliable. If they messed up on things like miracles, what makes you think they got the morality correct? If you think they did get the morality correct, how come you only follow the parts you like? God is far more wise than you, remember.
Okay, I’m cherry picking. But I’ve seen enough people try to pass the buck, and some of them to blame God, that I see it as the likely explanation for why he’s represented in Scripture as commanding things that are contrary to the ethics he taught later.
When Jesus taught his ethics later he did say that not one tittle of his old ethics were to pass away. He just made his new requirements a little more stringent. Though if I recall correctly Jesus frequently contradicted himself, so you can probably come up with examples of the contrary.
- It’s not how I see the world, and I think I have reason to prefer my view of it over yours.*
I think you put your preference first and created your reasons to fit.
Again, if Jesus did not really do miracles, what makes him different that a lot of other so called wise thinkers who attracted a following, that you chose not to worship?
Those other wise thinkers (well, except Baha’ullah) did not presume to identify themselves as the access to the Godhead.
I think this makes those other wise thinkers; (A) not liars, or (2) not insane. Either of which would make my listening to them more reasonable, though I don’t think I would worship them.
I worship Jesus because he was a human aspect of the God in whom I believe, an avatar if you will.
Or so you think.
And, if you gave me concrete and convincing proof that Jesus was not indeed who and what He is claimed to be, I’d still live out my life according to His teachings
All of them or just the teachings you have cherry picked?