What Would It Take to Prove God's Existence to You? Part III

“What Would It Take to Prove God’s Existence to You? Part II” is not showing new posts just as its predecessor did (do you suppose it’s a Sign?), so I’m starting a part III and recreating the last few exchanges. FoG may be shaking the dust from his sandals, but we’ll see if there’s any life left in this thread.

I confess I think I’ll miss discussing this stuff with you most of all. You are one of the more reasonable people on this board who actually likes to engage in a polite discussion and debate. I don’t have a whole lot more to add to the discussion, since we seem to be going round and round. I hope you get a chance to read my ‘bowing out’ post, it is an appeal from a slightly different angle.

I don’t know that there’s any point in making any more specific comments, but I do think I’ll make one more about my friend’s story from the other night.

Maybe so. But the fact is, she did find something. And how easy would it be? Again they looked all over the attic and found absolutely nothing. It was only after the guy remembered there was an area above the insulation that they found what was causing the oppression.

She knows I love and accept her regardless of all that stuff. Heck, I loved and accepted her while she was in the midst of it! She has tremendous self esteem. She mostly brings stuff up to ask me questions about it since it’s new to her. She’s like a sponge, trying to learn as much as she can about her new relationship with God. To be honest,
it’s quite inspiring to me and is causing me to appreciate my own walk with Christ even more!

Again, because it was overhead. That’s the last place you’d think to look. They looked close to “the spot”, and then, just for good measure, checked throughout the attic. Again, it was only when the guy remembered there was an area overhead that they checked there. Right above the spot was the magazine. And no, there was nothing obvious in the room to point to it at all.
In summary Dr. Lao – there’s not an explanation for this. You can choose to simply not belive me or my friend, but I tend to think you won’t do that. If what she said is true, there is nothing “obvious” that can explain it away. Now, I doubt that will “prove” God to you in any way. But I sincerely hope it makes you think, and consider the possibility that there are supernatural forces in active operation in the world.


Forgive me, but if you are looking for a genie or a magician, a man of your great intellect will be sorely disappointed.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” --Jesus

Rather than look for something only God could do, I recommend you look for something only God could be.

“Before Abraham was, I am.” --Jesus


Lib, I don’t think that he is lookig for a genie or magician. just someone who supposedly created a world in six days, flooded an entire world, parted the Red Sea, created living beings from dirt, turned another living being into salt, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Miracles would be a nice proof of your god’s existance, and not the so-called everyday occurances commonly used such as the sun rising, a flower blooming, and such.
If David Copperfield spent 6 months advertising a show, and in that advert he boasted about sawing a woman in half and making an elephant disappear, then only did card tricks, his fan base would dry up so fast the next month he couldn’t get a booking at a school auditorium.
You’ve got a whole book advertising the miracles of your god, and I want to see what he has to offer. “I can do such-and-such so respect me! Prove it? I would, but you’re not worth it!” is something that I started dismissing in grade school, and I’m not about to take it up now.


No, I’m afraid they wouldn’t.

We do greater miracles today than Jesus ever did. We, too, part the seas, as in Panama and Egypt. I understand that we, too, are on the verge of creating living beings from dirt. And we have thoroughly bested God on turning living beings to salt. In fact, we’ve turned tens of thousands of them at once into ions.

Miracles like those might prove the existence of some god other than the One I worship. But the only miracle that will prove God’s existence is the resurrection of a cold heart, displacing hate with Love.

When man was a child, miracles might have made some impression. As Jesus said, “If you will not believe in me for my message, then believe for the miracles themselves.” But He also said that men quickly tire of miracles, and no sooner will a man see one miracle than he will rationalize it in his mind and demand another. Just to make sure.

God is not about where the universe came from, but about where our Spirit came from — and where it is going! God is Spirit. You can’t find Him under a rock, though you might get clues of Him there. You can’t find Him by demanding a sign, though a sign might lead you to Him. You cannot even find Him in the hearts of other people, though their love might give you evidence that He exists.

You can find God only in your own essence.

And you will always find exactly what you seek. If you seek David Copperfield, then David Copperfield is what you will find. If you seek Love, you will find God.

Dr. Lao and slythe:

I don’t particularly feel a call to do an apologia for “God’s mysterious ways” here, but I do have one observation that I would welcome your comments on (as well as others’).

That would be that for the four Gospel writers, with John being the most explicit about this, Jesus at least seems to have used “miracle-working” not as an attention-getter but for two specific purposes, working hand in hand with each other: to relieve human misery, for the most part, and as a “sign” – an acted-out parable, as it were, of the message he was trying to get across.

The best example of this for the subject at hand is the story of the man born blind. (Note that it is the one miracle story I’ve ever encountered, from any tradition, where the miracle doesn’t “take” right the first time and requires repeating – as opposed to “this is a big one, and will take multiple efforts,” on the part of the huffing-and-puffing wonder-worker – Jesus simply renders the guy with partial vision, checks his work by asking him what he sees, then fixes the problem. That in itself makes the story far more believable to me – I know optometrists that do the same sort of work, albeit not by “miracle”!) Jesus starts by refuting the idea that it was anybody’s “sin” that caused the problem, does the miracle, and then plays on the idea of physical and spiritual blindness.

When you brought up in another thread, slythe, that you wanted evidence you could perceive, using the term “see,” I thought of this story. A fair proportion of conversion experiences represent the new worldview that incorporates God as centerpiece with the idea of blindness replaced by sight. Even the old hymn “Amazing Grace” quotes the man born blind (addressing the Pharisees who are questioning him about Jesus’s supposed miracle): “I was blind, but now I see.”

I certainly can allow that this metaphor is just that – I don’t have any inward third eye that perceives God that you are not equipped with. But my worldview with an active God having created it and fully involved in it, albeit often working through people and natural law to achieve His ends, corresponds to the “I see” where I feel that my pre-conversion worldview represents the “I was blind.” Can you grant the idea that one’s inward perceptions (always keeping in mind that physiologically we see, hear, etc., with our brains – the sense organs being merely conduits for data that are perceived by the brain) can function in accord with this metaphor – that the metaphor could have a real referent?

This is not so much a witness (though there is, inevitably, an element of that) as a request to clarify our mutual understanding of what constitutes acceptable evidence – and I apologize for the lack of clarity that the concept appears to have. If I could define it better, I would.

Well, it’s proably too late to matter, but what the hell . . .

Thing is, if I help the poor and hungry by giving them (or preferably, enabling them to get for themselves) money or food, I’ve helped them in a measurable, testible fasion. If I teach them the Bible, I MIGHT have helped them. Or, I might have wasted time that they could have put twards reducing thier poverty or hunger.

Even if I belived, as you do, that the Bible was the path to salvation, I’d take care of their material needs first. Hierarchy of needs and all that. If I preach to them when their starving, they may, 1) accept out of desperation, which I don’t think is what God would want, or 2) make them think I’m some kind of lunitic, which would harden thier hearts towards religion, and make them less likely to accept it in the future.

If I deal with their physical needs first, THEN I’d work on thier spiritual ones. I wouldn’t want them to think my help was a bribe for them pretending to belive what I say, after all.

Though, “nourishment for their souls” is well and good. Though I define it more along the lines of listening to people and helping them to deal with thier emotional problems.

No, that’s not what you said at all. You said that we should accept a Christian’s word on his own relationship with God, while ignoring a Muslim’s, because Christianity is the most logical religion.

As for making logical points from the Bible, it depends. You can certainly use arguments from the Bible, but if we don’t accept the axioms that that perticular argument uses, it’s not logical to expect us to agree with it.

In other words, I don’t think anyone’s going to call you on using an argument because it’s in the Bible. But because something’s in the Bible dosn’t make it an acceptible argument.

But that’s just it. There are several possible explanations here. The one Dr. Lao gave, the minor detail changing in the telling, is perfectly reasonable.

I mean, basically you’ve stated that an athiest can rationalize away any appearance of God. Why won’t you open yourself up to the same possiblitiy, that you might be seeing God in ordinary situations?

You’ve already agreed with me that the most you could establish by this type of story is some kind of not-yet-understood factor. While you might assume God as the most likly explanation for this perticular case, not everyone else will.

Better late then never, one hopes.


God is not about where the universe came from, but about where our Spirit came from — and where it is going! God is Spirit. You can’t find Him under a rock, though you might get clues of Him there. You can’t find Him by demanding a sign, though a sign might lead you to Him. You cannot even find Him in the hearts of other people, though their love might give you evidence that He exists.

Now this is a very loose interpretations of what or who God is. It would constitute merely being a spiritual person as a belief in God which I cannot accept as being the same thing. Having a sense of spirit or admitting that there are spiritual forces in the world does not neccessarily prove or intone a belief in God.
However it seems like the discussion is pointing to a traditionally western belief in what and who God is, with allusions to the bible. This is wherein the problem lies for myself at least. The bible is plagued with inconsistencies, the largest one being what God stands for. Perhaps this is out of vein, but I’ve always wondered why the bible depicts God as such two contrasting people from the old and new testament. The God in the old testament is far easier to believe in than the new one, at least then he was a just god, spewing thunder and punishing the wicked.
However with the arrival of Jesus and the new testament God had transformed into and pardon the term ‘ninny’. He is now a merciful and forgiving God, who loves us and cherishes that love. But the thing that gets me is that with that unconditional love and ultimate power for forgiveness he has also introduced a new concept unto us, and that is hell. How can a all-loving, all-powerful, and forgiving God bring onto us such ultimate suffering as hell, where we will be doomed to burn in eternal flames unless we obey his word, not to mention all the atrocities that go on terra firma, especially to the innocent. Also relevant is the authors of that word, but that is another discussion altogether.
Now this just seems too contradictory for me. And as far as belief in God goes, many people subscribe to this belief, it is just the definition of the diety that differs. Paerhaps we do not see God as the same thing. Some interpret it as merely beong spiritual, some have a more stringent definition based on some text, and some jsut don’t believe, but that does not exempt them from the spiritual world.
As far as belief in the western God as depicted in the bible, and as sanctioned by the church, well the title of this thread was what would it take for me to believe in such a God, nothing short of the rising dead.
And for the record I’ve been brough up as a practicing catholic all my life, and now, well, lets say I no longer practice.

[… sigh …]

I suppose there is no rest for the weary. :wink:

Here is the standing-on-one-leg version:


Metaphysic: Absolute Reality

Epistemology: Spiritual Revelation

Ethic: Love

Politics: Free-will

… one last post :). I saw your comments Ura-Maru, and since you took the time to post one more response, I thought I’d post one more response back atcha ;).

Summing up the whole nourisment for the souls vs physical nourishment thing, you said:

The thing that might surprise you is I essentially do too. And I agree with some of the other things you said, for example, that physical needs come first. How can I tell someone about spiritual salvation if they’re starving to death? No, physical first, then spiritual, for sure.

My point was if I stop at meeting physical needs, I’ve only helped meet a temporary need. The real, long term needs of all people are spiritual. And it all starts with what you said … listening to people and helping them to deal with problems. Where we would differ would be in the solution to those problems. I would say the solution to all emotional turmoil (as well as just “life” turmoil) starts with a healthy relationship to Christ and goes from there. I don’t know what you would say, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be that!

I don’t intend it to sound that way. Maybe I should add a caveat to everything I say: “I don’t expect you to believe it just because I say it.” All I can do is offer the testimony of how God operates in my life and how I see Him operate in other people’s lives. And I can state that I am convinced Christianity is the only logical religion. I never expected anyone to just accept that statement because I said it.

Actually I do, regularly. There are such things as just plain old coincidences. And yes, Christians can be guilty of, as it were, “seeing God in everything” when He’s not in every little circumstance. I’m actually very aware of that.

However, my friend was IN a spiritual mode, asking God’s blessing on the house. It was not a non-spiritual context in which it happened. There are ways to logically differenetiate between pure coincidence and God’s work (and no, I won’t go into them all right now … I’m tryin’ to retire here, remember? ;)).

I do assume God as the most likely explanation. I’m only asking you to consider God as one possible explanation.

I might, if there was the slightest chance of you admitting that your “god” might not be the explanation. Or is your idea of compromise only one-sided?

slythe, I can’t resist one more comment. You said:

In the post directly above this, I said:

In other words, in case you didn’t catch it I’ll spell it out: I just openly admitted that Christians can be guilty of seeing God in every little circumstance when it’s not always Him. It’s the truth! Sometimes it’s not God! Okay slythe, your turn ;). (I won’t hold my breath)

Sorry, but you didn’t answer my question at all. I didn’t ask if there was a chance other Christians might mistake coincidence for miracle-I asked if you would be willing to admit that you could be mistaking coincidence for miracle. Could it be possible that you are seeing miracles where there arn’t any? That your view on how the world works might be wrong?
If you cannot say that your god just might not be the be-all and end-all, how can you expect me to say that he might?

I got behind in posting here, let’s see if I can catch up.

There is an explanation of some sort here. It could be physical or it could be supernatural. I gave what I interpreted as being the likliest explanation, a physical one. You disagree with my suggestion. You believe it is super natural. I don’t think you could give any evidence via a message board that would change my assessment of the situation. You are right when you say it’s not that I don’t believe you or your friend. However, just because someone tells you something that they believe is true, doesn’t mean that it is. I believe you are relaying the story accurately, but since I don’t know much about your friend I feel I can legitamately question the details. If she is given to embellishments or flights of fancy I would view the details more harshly. If she is very down to earth, this would lend more credence to the accuracy of the details. I suppose if she was entirely accurate in her account there wouldn’t be anything obvious that contributed toward a physical explanation. But them its time to look at the less than obvious details. Although a full investigation would take months and cost millions in tax payers money, and I’m not willing to do that in an election year :D. There isn’t anything in her story that would rule out a physical explanation. Which is why I requested something that God could do that would rule out a physical explanation, to which Lib relied:

Well, what I was looking for was a physical manafestation of God beyond the spiritual reality of God. I’m not conviced of a spiritual reality, I am convinced of a physical one. If God could twist the physical world in such a way that couldn’t be explained by natural laws, a miracle, and I could examine evidence of that event, that would go a long way in changing my belief. FoG, seems to say these events exist, but my standards of evidence are too high. You, Lib, I would guess would say that these events do not exist, and whether they do or not is immaterial to God’s existance. However, exploring the nature of God through the natural world is natural for me (if you don’t mind me using variations on the word nature three times in one sentence) since this is the only world I acknowledge the existance of. If this is like me asking for magic tricks from God, so be it. I don’t feel embarrassed about demanding some evidence. If I don’t see any (and I haven’t so far) it would deepen my doubts about God’s existance. I mean if he ain’t here, where is he? If he doesn’t exist in the physical world he should be able to affect it in a measurable way. I mean we are spiritual beings (supposedly ;)) who can affect the physical world. Why is God different?

I guess if my feelings toward a spiritual world would change somehow, my conclusions would turn 180 degrees, but I can’t see how that would happen. I know Lib you have described a moment in your life where something like this happened, but I don’t see it happening to me. I’m not usually given to sudden bursts of insight, I’m more of slow, methodical type. My revalations build over time until I can look back at a completely different person. I don’t see any road to a spiritual belief starting anywhere, but I doubt anyone really sees anything of this sort coming. I think I written all I can here and certainly opened up more than I intended, but just one more thing.

I don’t understand this, but I suspect that is part of the problem. I seen and experienced a lot of things, nothing has jumped out at me as being something only God could be.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” --Jesus

Posted by Libertarian. This tells me one of two things.

#1) This whole line is steaming horse-poo.


#2) Assuming it is true, none of you so-called christians have any faith at all. When was the last time one of you walked on water? Did you turn water to wine at your last party? Howabout that blind guy that lives down the street, why dont you go make him see? And of course this is just child’s play, the quote says ‘he will do even greater things than these’. And how can you even compare the Panama Canal to Moses parting the Red Sea? That is absolutely absurd. And what do you mean we have thouroughly bested God in turning living beings into salt? Surely you arent speaking of the atomic bomb. These are all fallible things created by man, how can they be compared to the divine miracles that supposedly took place in biblical times? We are on the verge of creating living beings from dirt? Im not even going to guess what the hell you were talking about there…
And while im making a Great Debate post (i swore I’d never do it…) I have another question for you bible thumpers. Call it a Hi-jack if you’d like, you dont have to read it. Here goes…
Something that has always fucked with me about the bible is Exodus chapter 5. I’m not going to type out the whole chapter but those of you that are familiar with it, follow me for a minute. Basically what happens is Moses goes to the Pharaoh and says “Let my people go so they may hold a festival for the Lord in the desert.” Of course the Pharoah says No and Moses wigs out…propaganda propaganda…etc. Now how many of you would go to your boss at work and say “Boss i gotta take off for about three days, Tim the Dinosaur says that i have to go throw a party for him in the desert.”? I would bet my bottom dollar that NONE of you would say that. Why? Because your boss has never heard of Tim the Dinosaur much like the Pharaoh had no idea who God was. Not to mention your boss would assume you were a total nutcase and that you were no doubt going to go on a three day drug benge. And this is exactly what the Pharaoh does, OF COURSE he thinks they are crazy and of course he thinks they are lazy bums for wanting to take off for three days. Why is he made out to look like such an evil bastard for doing that? How many of you think that Pharaoh went to hell? How many of you think he was given a fair chance at God? Was God not directly opposed to him from the start? And why did God favor this little group of hebrews over the rest of the world? What about all the Asians? What about the rest of the world? And whats the deal with God being so murderous and vengeful in the old testament and all of a sudden he’s a peace loving hippie in the new testament? If anyone ever reads “Calvin and Hobbes”…the bible reminds me alot of “Calvin-ball” its a game that they play in which the rules are made up as they go along to suit themselves to the best advantage.

Please point out any flaws in my logic here, these are questions im seriously asking and i would like answers to them. Thanks.

Yea ok, I realize you’re a very smart guy Libertarian and your English is no doubt better than mine but that does absolutely nothing to answer anything i asked. I may have sounded rude or arrogant when i asked those questions but i guess im just not a very well versed guy, I didnt mean to come off that way. But there was no reason for you to correct my usuage of the “‘or’ operator”. Thats just nit-picking and it seems to me like you did it to “raise yourself above me” because you couldnt answer any of my questions. I have another question too: Why do Christians avoid so many questions, change subjects and mumble off into some half asses answer so often?

Me: Why dont we see miracles today as we did in the biblical times?

Christian: blah blah… bleh bloo… bloo… blah…

I think Martin Luther was struck by lightning (which, from what I remember of modern statistical evidence, is much more likely than winning the lottery).

He considered it to be a miracle; others would have taken it as a warning to find shelter during thunderstorms. I think it depends on motivation. People who desperately need miracles in their lives can usually find them.

[checking back in to insert my opinion]

Gaudere (and other thinking atheists)

[… a little help, please …]

Jesus claims that He is God. He is either lying or telling the truth.

This aught to piss some people off, but what the hell :slight_smile:

Atheist-someone who sees a large pile of horse manure, and walks away from it.

Agnostic-someone who sees a large pile of horse manure, and carefully pokes a stick in it on the off chance that the horse is somewhere inside.

Christian-someone who sees a large pile of horse manure, sits on it, and yells,“My horse is better than your horse!”

actually thats not what i was saying at all…i said…ASSUMING THAT THE PASSAGE WAS TRUE, IT ONLY MEANT THAT NO “CHRISTIANS” HAVE TRUE FAITH…did you even bother to read what i wrote?


Fascinating. And you spoke in another thread of purpose.


Try a little kindness.

why is it the more i read this thread?

the more this is true, please instead of skirting the questions raised, perhaps answering them convincingly will do much greater good in furthering the discussion.