Can’t I make anything up and claim it’s Christian?

In a recent discussion with a group of de-converts from Christianity the following objection was raised:

Actually, my article *argues* that there is no objective definition of Christianity; it does not assume it. That was pretty much the point: there is no supernatural referent to “Christian” (or “God” or “salvation” or any of it), so the only definition(s) possible have to do with human social designations. Many groups of course *claim* to have objective definitions, but since I believe (a) they are all wrong, and (b) all lack the authority to settle the question for everyone, I can either scrap the word “Christian” altogether, or understand it to refer only to those who profess to be followers of Jesus. Thus, the boundaries of the term “Christian” are very fuzzy: it doesn’t refer to anything divine, and there is no universally accepted coding system, as it were. So: there is no correct answer.

Anyone is, of course, free to stipulate any definition of “Christian” they wish. You can, if you like, define “Christian” such as to exclude de-conversion. I can’t say that you’re wrong. But there is no reason at all I have to adopt your definition.

Here is my response:

Christianity does have an early and objective definition which has been upheld by all orthodox Christians ever since the establishment of the Church in the book of Acts. In fact, this objective definition is what we use in order to determine whether something is orthodox or not.

This definition is seen clearly in 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul clearly states what many believe to be the earliest Christian creed or codification of Christian beliefs. It contains a number of things but the quick rundown is that Christians believe that Christ is a real person, who died a real death, who then rose from a real grave in a real, physical body and who appeared to real people.

I realize it is very popular to characterize Christian belief in particular (as well as religious belief in general) as merely a product of wish fulfillment or a preference akin to which flavor of ice cream is best (I prefer chocolate). However the fact remains that Christianity is based upon real, historical events which means that Christianity, like Judaism, is potentially falsifiable.

This also means that no one can epistemologically be a “true Christian” unless Christianity is, itself, true. If you have renounced Christianity and now believe it to be false, by definition you also believe you were never a “true believer” because you would have to logically commit yourself to the idea that you were deceived when you held an irrational belief (if, that is, Christianity is indeed false).

Finally, you seem to misunderstand the “no true Scotsman fallacy”. The fallacy is one of lack of objective definition such that the goal-posts are rendered wholly subjective. My contention (as well as Paul’s per 1 Corinthians 15) is that lack of objective definition of what beliefs are definitive of “true Christian beliefs” is simply not true.

We do have an objective standard, rooted in real historical and falsifiable events. Our claims are not entirely subjective, nor are they ad-hoc (as supposed competing explanations of unique Christian claims such as the resurrection are).

So the question of whether you were a “true believer” in the first place must logically center around what you believed in relation to the objective truth claims of Christianity (specifically the resurrection of Jesus) AND what competing, credible, competing theories/arguments/and evidence you have subsequently found that have provided sufficient defeaters to your original beliefs.

In the end, you were either a “true believer” then (of the objective claims of Christianity) or you are a “true believer” now (in atheism/agnosticism). However, die to the law of the excluded middle you cannot claim to have been a “true believer” of both since, at the end of the day, one of them is false and therefore cannot have “true believers” no matter how strenuously it’s adherents may wish it to be true.

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130 Responses to Can’t I make anything up and claim it’s Christian?

  1. Pingback: Can't I make anything up and claim it's Christian? | Reason To Stand - Christian IBD

  2. "However the fact remains that Christianity is based upon real, historical events which means that Christianity, like Judaism, is potentially falsifiable."

    There are excerpts in the bible that contain historical accounts, but the text is also muddied by musings of ancient people who envisioned the supernatural because they had no understand of the true natural world. What they envisioned, imagined, presuppossed, or beleived is not necessary what truly happened.

    • That's an interesting assertion. What makes you think that their observations of supernatural events are false?

      Also, does your philosophical foundation allow for the possibility of supernatural events or would you say that any account of supernatural events is nessicarialy false (based on a materialistic/physically world view)?

  3. There is a possibility of "supernatural" events, but I would not jump to conclusions to associate it with any specific divine power. If something abnormal (out of the norm) were to happen, I would just say, I don't know how it happened. I wouldn't jump to conclude a specific god caused such an event

    • Even if the supernatural event occurred within a religiously charged context in a theologically hostile setting among a group of people who were not looking for a supernatural event?

      • still the supernatural event cannot be linked to any specific god. Where's the evidence?

        • If Jesus claimed to be God's son and then claimed that he was going to die and then rise from the dead as a proof of that claim, then I don't see how we can escape the conclusion that the miracle of Jesus's resurrection points exclusively to the YHWH God Jesus claimed to be the Son of.

          What would make you think that we can't link any specific miracle to any specific god?

          • and how do you know these were really Jesus's words. Isn't it possible people embellished this myth?

          • It's broadly logically possible I suppose. However I don't think we have reason to believe that to be the case based on the existence of embarrassing details and lack of legendary development in the narratives themselves.

          • Please explain: existence of embarrassing details and lack of legendary development in the narratives themselves

          • Here is a great post outlining the embarrassing details found in the gospels:http://bit.ly/drLlek

  4. Were you there when it "happened"? Were you there when those excerpts were written?

    • Is that a requirement for knowing whether a historical event actually happened or not?

      • no, but when you claim something so extraordinary, then there needs to be extraordinary evidence. The only "eye witnesses" are those "written" into the story.

        • And if you are going to connect the dots, try to do so without presuppositions.

          • I'm not sure I follow you. Are you saying that we can't trust the independent documents that make up the NT because they are part of the story? I don't see how your criteria passes as a valid historical test for any historical document.

            You say that an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof, but I would say that we do have extraordinary proof provided you use the same historical tests for accuracy when it comes to the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus as you would for any other historical event (say, Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon).

            I'm still puzzled as to why you think the historical data for the resurrection is invalid, untrustworthy, or otherwise wrong.

          • consider the multitude of unknown authors of unknown times. Original copies? None. Again all guessimates. All pieced together my men.

            Most historical events do not make the audicious claim of a god rising from a grave. No other historical event tells us we have to believe something in order to flee from wrathful torment of a loving(?) god which no one has been able to verify.

            Whether Jesus is god is truly an enigma. Most likely, he was a man whom people made into a god. Christianisty is not just as simple as believing in a historical event. It is much more complicated than that. It defies all human comprehension and reality as we see it today.

          • If god were the author of this earth, the creator of us beings, ever-existent, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, why blind us? Why make all of us accountable to believe in this "historical" event, which no one here today has ever witnessed? Why do we have to dig for the vericity of whether he exists? if the trinity doctrine (which was developed in the 4th century by men) were undeniably true, why all the confusion? It should be simple and irreffutable. You wouldn't have to rely solely on this ancient text. You have to think about this: Would Christianity survive without the bible?

            If one were to truly adhere to all the stories and doctrines in the bible, you would end up with more questions than answers.

          • With the wealth of information we have (historically speaking) regarding the resurrection, I don't see how you can say we are blind.

            It seems that you are wishing to dictate the terms of proof you require but I don't see how the existing evidence not meeting your approval causes the conclusion that God does not exist or that Jesus is not who he claimed to be, or that the historical event of the resurrection to logically follow.

            Would Christianity survive without the collection of 66 books we currently have? Certainly! We would still have the early 1st century commentaries by the early Church fathers among other external and independent attestation regarding the existence, crucification, and subsequently empty tomb of Jesus.

          • What makes you think the authors were unknown or that the times and locations were unknown? What are you basing your conclusions on?

            Most historical events do not involve God claiming to come to earth and die for our sins. It seems you are attempting to import the verification principle into an area of inquiry where it simply does not fit.

            I will agree with your last statement, though, that belief in Christianity entails more than simple belief in a historical event. Its implications stretch into every conceivable aspect of human existence. I would also add that I believe this, and not a problem with evidence or logic is why most people end up rejecting Christianity.

          • Again, circular reasoning doesn't get you anywhere. if the bible is your only source, and you only refer to this source, then you lose signt of any points/findings outside of this ancient book. I understand this is a gross example, but: it's like writing on an old napkin, "This is god's word, because it says so on this napkin. Any outside source is not of this loving holy napkin's will. Spread the word. Believe it, or you will burn at some indefinite time." Then have some friends copy it only other napkins and distribute it. Good old-fashioned chain-mail goes on and on!

            Your definition of "historical" may be the same for scripture of all religions then. How do you prove other scriptures are not true?

            "empty tomb of Jesus"—sorry still speculation; evidence is unfounded. Empty box just proves that nothing is in the box.

          • "What makes you think the authors were unknown or that the times and locations were unknown?" Based on the lack of data to trace who these authors actually were, when the original copies were actually written, or to prove that what they wrote were truly god-inspired. Here are some points/findings to ponder on:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/rel

            How do you decipher myth from reality? Well mostly by going by what we can observe today. If any of it were unanimously true, we wouldn't need "faith" to support it. In fact I would have to delude myself to believe the jesus-as-god story.

            " I would also add that I believe this, and not a problem with evidence or logic is why most people end up rejecting Christianity. " exactly. I value logic and reason.

          • Wes Widner

            “The Bible” is a collection of 66 books, it is not a monolithic work comprised by a singular author. Any serious treatment of it must, by necessity, evaluate each book contained within what we collectively term “the Bible” as an individual work. In that respect even if you only had one work and if it proved to be valid that would be enough to establish sufficient warrant for belief in.

            So, I fail to see how your claim of circular reasoning is logically established from the evidence before is. We have several independent eyewitness accounts of an event in history and in lieu of any competing explanation of the evidence I feel quite confident and certain of the conclusion which logically follows from the evidence, namely that Jesus is not in the tomb but has risen from the grave.

          • ""The Bible" is a collection of 66 books, it is not a monolithic work comprised by a singular author." Which makes it even more difficult to connect the pieces.

            "Any serious treatment of it must, by necessity, evaluate each book contained within what we collectively term "the Bible" as an individual work." Then this means you are evaulating based in each "author" not by this one god.

            "In that respect even if you only had one work and if it proved to be valid that would be enough to establish sufficient warrant for belief in. " Valid that you know someone wrote his views (which was influenced by his culture/worldview)., not that what he wrote was actually true.

          • "We have several independent eyewitness accounts of an event in history and in lieu of any competing explanation of the evidence I feel quite confident and certain of the conclusion which logically follows from the evidence" Visit the pbs site please for some other more probable explanations of such "evidence".

            "Jesus is not in the tomb but has risen from the grave. " AGAIN empty tomb = empty tomb, NOT necessarily that anything rose anywhere.

          • The problem with the PBS site is that it excludes supernatural explanations a priori out of a presupposed bias for philosophical naturalism. This is why I asked in the beginning whether we were approaching this topic from an epistemologically closed (anything is possible EXCEPT for a supernatural explanation) standpoint or not.

            You're right, the empty tomb by itself is insignificant. It is only significant in light of the fact that we know it was occupied at some point and then was found to be empty , as evidenced by the Jewish leaders who instructed the Roman guards to claim the body was stolen.

          • No I am not proposing that anything is possible EXCEPT for a supernatural explanation. However the most safest way is to approach not what is less possible, but more probable. That's how most of us make educated decisions. Why should we make an exception to this specific claim?

            As an example, ancient people believed the sun was god. They had no way of knowing. Over centuries of discovery and learning, we now know this is not the case. There have been millions of discoveries and advancements that have helped debunk all kinds of superstitions.

            If a religion lies solely on this one past "divine" event, how can it hold any ground if we can't witness such supernatural miracles (or miracles that can be linked directly to it)?

          • Wes Widner

            That’s generally true, however what I maintain is that when we are talking about a religiously charged event which occurs within a religiously charged atmosphere the normal expectations shift to favor a supernatural event over a natural event.

            An analogy would be coming upon some disturbance within your home, say an item in your home is damaged or broken. Whether you suspect foul play is dependent on whether you have reason to believe that another causal agent was involved (say, a robber).

          • "expectations shift to favor a supernatural" – That's a preference…not a find of causal truth.

          • "An analogy would be coming upon some disturbance within your home, say an item in your home is damaged or broken. Whether you suspect foul play is dependent on whether you have reason to believe that another causal agent was involved (say, a robber). " And if you had some pereference to the supernatural, there could be a million "possibilities": A ghost/invisible man/fairy/angel/devil/god/jesus/buddha/psychic person/wizard/witch/karma/chi did it. How would you pin-point it?

          • That goes back to the question of what caused you to believe that the disturbance was caused by the presence of another intelligent being. In your example one would not be warranted in positing 'a million "possibilities"' unless one were given prior reason to believe (or subsequent evidence of) one of the particular entities you mentioned exists and is the cause of the disturbance. One would also not be epestimically warranted in positing "millions" of possible entities for the simple reason that many of them are exclusive of other entities.

            What it all boils down to is evidence. Evidence which, by its very nature, leads to the exclusion of possible causes or explanations of events and states of affairs.

          • What is your definition of "causal truth"?

          • = Evidence. What makes your claim exclusive from other supernatural claims? How are you going to convince another follower of anther religion the "historical facts" of his religion is the wrong one?

            You didn't answer any of my questions. Are you going in circles? What is your definition of evidence?

  5. what is this historical evidenvce you speak of? This book was pieced together in a haphazard way. Are you that saying this book is historical, simply because it was written in the past? Where is the evidence of stories/subject that was written. What differs it from a popular novel made into a religion?

    • These were independent letters that weren't pieced together but collected and widely recognized as Scripture. For more on the evidence for the resurrection, here is a post I wrote a while back which I believe outlines the basic facts which are well attested: http://bit.ly/bBaEv6

      • Letters which can be dissected. Some are doctored. Some are fake. If something so divinely climatic occured in the past which cannot be denied, which god meant for all of us to know, we wouldn't be having this argument right now. If something were so critically important to our livehood, so true, so divinely inspired, meant for everyone to understand, then there wouldn't be a need for preaching/witnessing.

        • The difference is knowing vs believing. I trust the scientific method, because of evidence. I don't believe in jesus or that the bible is god's inerrant word, because there are too many cracks. Disregard the lack of evidence just for a minute; Even the doctrines do not flow from OT to NT. God described in the bible has multiple personalities, has a mutlitude of names, requires varying rituals,….the list just doesn't end. What one christian interprets (whether literally or figuratively) differs from another fellow christian. The holy spirit doesn't seem to help everyone dicern these differences. If god were really who he is described in the bible (omniscient, omipotent, omnipresent, and loving), there is no excuse for us to be on different pages. We wouldn't have to refer to soem fuzzy climatic moment in the past. It should be evident now. I don't believe in jesus or the bible not because I "choose" to, but because of logical reasons (without wishful thinking or use of imagination).

          • I don't mean to post non-belief things on this sight. I came across this page because someone linked it from a deconversion site. If you are going to post a perspective on deconverts, don't make assumptions. I've gone down that road, and as a result of the search, I am now an atheist. That does not mean there is no room for new knowledge; I welcome it. I just don't have to fit everything in that bible box. It's unrealistic.

          • I welcome challenge, but I just want to point out that "belief" properly understood applies to both negative beliefs as well as to positive beliefs. We seem to be shifting from the initial historical analysis now to a more general question of knowledge in general. Which one do you wish to focus on?

          • btw, I didn't come here to challenge anyone. Just sharing different perspectives for reasons for certain "beliefs".

          • Scientific method is all well and good but it has clear limitations depending on the category of data that is being assessed. In this case we are talking about non-repeatable historical events in which case scientific analysis (of the repeatable variety, aka the verification principle) simply doesn't fit as a valid criteria of analysis.

          • Non-repeatable events can occur, but how to you verify these are 1) historical, 2) divine (and linked to a specific divine being? Wouldn't the default and safest mode is to say, "I don't know?"

          • Generally, yes. Except for cases when such supernatural events occur within a religiously charged context. Then the normative expectations change to where one would expect 1. a supernatural cause and 2. the supernatural cause has something to do with the religious context in which the event occurred.

          • Do you mean as an example, when a a group of Christians pray for something specific for which a normal/natural occurence would not likely happen, but does? Can you provide documented examples?

          • Wes Widner

            The only miraculous event I am prepared to defend is the resurrection of Jesus. Mostly because if it is invalid then any others based on that (ie. all Christian belief) are rendered invalid. However if the resurrection is valid then other miraculous events are at least possible.

            As for the other inquiry regarding embarrassing details, I’ll write more when I get home. As it is I am leaving my office as I despise rush hour in Atlanta.

          • You are quite responsive Wes! Take it easy. There is no rush.

            On your quote about Jesus's resurrection: "If it is invalid then any others based on that (ie. all Christian belief) are rendered invalid". Is this terrifying to you?Would you be willing to change your mode of thinking, if the resurrection account is indeed invalid?

            In one of the books I read, the author, Charles Templeton, asks Billy Graham, if given evidence that the Bible is false, would he still follow this path. Sadly, Billy says he would follow. Charles, who was also a long-time friend of Graham, opposes this and recognizes this to be "intellectual suicide."

          • It does not terrify me as a careful study of evidence both for and against had led to a definate strengthening of my convictions as to the accuracy of my beliefs.

            Yes, if given adequate defeaters along with suitable alternative explanations regarding the existing evidence (including the spread of the early Christian church in spite of heavy persecution) I would be forced to change my beliefs in favor of the explanation that best explains the data.

            As for Billy Graham, that is unfortunate if true because it posits a view of faith I would argue is not Biblical per Paul's own words in 1 Corinthians 15. I would also agree that such a view, while admittedly widely held by many Christians, is tantamount to intellectual suicide.

        • That's a curious statement. What evidence do you have that these letters were doctored, dissected, or faked?

          I have listened to even the harshest of skeptics such as Bart Eherman who are forced to admit, in spite of their skepticism, that their beliefs in the falseness of the documents does not stem from bare historical analysis.

          • They are conclusions based on historical/archeological findings of people, government, and culture during that time. Is it that you disagree with everything Eherman claims, or some of it?

          • Just some of it, specifically his interpretation of historical events and his conclusions regarding the reliability of the historical data. Specifically the gospel accounts.

          • The gospel accounts ARE difficult to reconcile. All four gospels differ in detail.

          • Wes Widner

            Different in details is not surprising considering they come from different people. If those details were shown to be contradictory, however, then we might have reason to distrust one or both of them.

          • Or distrust all of them. Or each wriiten account is based on a previous one. One story more embellished than the other.

            4 accounts of this witnessing…out of over 500 witnesses and a profound earthquake according to the biblical text. Shouldn't there be many more written accounts of this event if there were that many people who saw it?

          • What do you base your claim that "each is based on the previous one" and that "one story [is] more embellished than the other"?

            Also, its not odd to think that more of the 500 didn't write down their eyewitness testimony considering they were a part of a predominantly oral culture were few even had access to the material or knowledge required to produce written works. Its also not very odd that there isn't more external attestation to the Biblical narrative considering the negative light such an admission would place on those in power at the time (specifically the Romans and the Jews).

          • I am just saying there can be co mnay explanations as to how things may have happened. For you to assert that your assumption/belief is the right belief is really not at better odds. They are all guessimates. But if I were to use reality as a basis: No one has ever credibly been proven to rise from the dead and enter this mystic place called heaven.

            And if this loving god wanted to be known, couldn't he have prevented his followers from persecution? If he were here today, why would he make so difficult for people to figure out whether he exists? If he were evident, you wouldn't have to preach/witness to me.

          • I'm curious, why do you think my belief is "not at better odds"? What would you say would put my belief "at better odds"?

            You seem to later indicate that the only thing you are willing to accept is an empirical test (which sounds very much like the verificationalist principle in action), however empirical tests are simply not valid when it comes to tests for historical events at a fixed point in time committed by an independent causal agent (which is a fancy way to say God is not obligated to raise people from the dead on command).

            Your question about preventing persecution is rather odd. It simply does not logically follow that if God exists then he is obligated in any way to prevent his followers from being harmed. In fact, Jesus himself spoke many times about the impending persecution we would face. Not to mention Jesus subjected himself to persecution before any of his followers faced it.

          • "God is not obligated to raise people from the dead on command" God's will are not our ways is what you are trying to say. You can't have it both ways. You can try to explain who god is, then tell us we don't know his ways.

            What is the reason for a "loving" god to allow his followers to be persecuted. If god could prove the world he exists, no one would need to be persecuted. If someone told your son that his father is a figment of his imagination, but you clearly exist, and you saw this argument take place, why not end the argument by just showing up?

            Men wrote their view/reasoning behind this persecution, because they knew they couldn't prove the validity of such claims.

          • Wes Widner

            I still don’t see how you are arriving at your conclusion that I’m somehow attempting to “have it both ways”. Have what both ways? The only way we would know if a miracle had occurred would be if someone were to tell us.

            Conversely the only way we would be able to know any specifics about a maximal being such as God would be if he were to tell us. When you ask for a regular repeatable miracle you commit a category error by attempting to apply to God the repeatable and predictable criteria we find in nature. You simply can’t expect God, who is a personal causal agent, to behave as if he were a part of his creation (which is impersonal and cannot by itself cause anything).

          • Not even asking for a repeatable miracle. Just to prove he exists. Can't be done. Same for unicorns, boogie man, santa claus, and leprechauns. Prove these invisible beings aren't real. What reason do I have to believe in these? Because they were in books? Because the unicorn barnis empty, so the unicorn must be in heaven?

            "You simply can't expect God, who is a personal causal agent, to behave as if he were a part of his creation (which is impersonal and cannot by itself cause anything). " ??? Either you have a personal relationship with god, or you don't. If he is not part of nature (creation), then you how can you possibly claim to have a personal relationhip with him???? You can't even verify whether is is listening or responding in any way.

          • Wes Widner

            How, outside of reliance on historical documents (both Christian and secular), do you propose that we go about proving that Jesus existed?

            I don’t see how your assertion that God must be a part of nature in order for us to have a relationship with him holds. What led you to this conclusion?

            As for verifying whether he is listening or responding, I would argue that the verification principle itself is flawed. we are talking about a person, not what that person has created.

          • Goodness! ?????

            "How, outside of reliance on historical documents (both Christian and secular), do you propose that we go about proving that Jesus existed?" Whether Jesus existed is not just your claim. It that he is god depicted in the bible OT AND NT, and that we need to believe in him that is the issue. AGAIN see pbs site:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/ Let the historians tell you how it's done.

            "I don't see how your assertion that God must be a part of nature in order for us to have a relationship with him holds." If he is not of this world, how do you have a personal relationship with something out of this world. How do you define personal "relationship?

            "we are talking about a person, not what that person has created. " No YOU are talking about a god. So are you claiming he is an exception to the rule? How do you conclude that?

          • Wes Widner

            I actually know several historians. I’ve also listened to many debates and even skeptical scholars like Ehrman are forced to admit that the evidence conclusively shows that Jesus existed and lived in and around Jerusalem in 33AD. I actually don’t know any scholars (outside of the hacks brought onto TV for shock value) who don’t, at the very least, maintain that Jesus existed.

            Also, in reference to God, I’m curious to know why you think that, as Carl Sagan did, all we see is all that is ever was or ever will be. I’m still curious why you think that God is required to be a part of his creation in order for us to have a relationship with him. This line of argument seems to take us back to the very beginning as to whether there is a God (or even the possibility of one) or not.

          • Because if you can't observe/see/test it, then how do you know it exists? It could be just your sheer imagination.

            And if we can't observe it with our human senses, then what good does this god do? There is no practical reason to believe in this god then.

            I believe that believing in unicorns makes me a better person and gets me to heaven. I "feel" it working! Join me!

          • Wes Widner

            Your first question moves into the realm of epistemology and whether we can or should trust our own senses. This is a very logical and valid area of study, one which you may find the presence of string and committed Christians to be surprising.

            Your second assertion, however, completely undercuts what you said initially since it seems to implicate all belief as mere existential feeling not based on objective fact and evidence.

            There is a difference between blind faith and Biblical faith, one is opposed to evidence and reason whereas the other isn’t.

          • Wes Widner

            BTW: Your criteria of “observe/see/test it” actually falls in on itself as it ultimately fails it’s own criterion for truth.

          • On your last comment: ??? Please explain. ???

          • The notion that only that which can be tested empirically cannot, itself, be tested empirically. Thus it fails the test for truth it posits. It is therefore, self-refuting to claim it as the penultimate or exclusive test for truth.

          • Tell me then, how can you confirm the existence of anything which you cannot test/see/observe empirically….?

          • Easily, you know I exist and yet you’ve never seen, tested, or observed me empirically.

            Likewise, you know metaphysical entities like numbers and logic exists and yet it is impossible to apply physical tests to them.

            In fact, if you limit your epistemic world to only that which you can test empirically (overlooking the fact that such a view fails it’s own test and this is a futile epistemological framework at the outset) then I believe you would quickly find (as Descartes did) that there is actually very little you CAN know.

            Cogito ergo sum – René Descartes (http://bit.ly/djwlX)

          • "Easily, you know I exist and yet you've never seen, tested, or observed me empirically. "

            Um. You may not know me personally, but you know I exist because I respond to your comments… But you claim to know jesus personally. Has he typed any comments to any of your blog posts?

            How do you know I'm not some supernatural being typing a message?

            Can you see how this makes things wishy washy?

          • No, I must admit that I do not "see how this makes things wishy washy". I do, however, see and accept that you apparently reject the existence of supernatural or metaphysical events and/or agents out of hand and because of this epistemic closure you are apparently prone to think that anyone's claim to 1. know such events have, in fact, happened in the past or 2. have had and continue to experience an ongoing personal relationship with the author of such events is invalid at the outset.

          • No, Wes. You have it all wrong. You are pegging me as someone who REJECTS possibilties. I can only accept what can be known. If it's UNKNOWN, ten of course I cannot confirm it. You on the other hand are confirming something that cannot be proven. The burden then is on you to prove this confirmation.

          • "I can only accept what can be known."

            Do you see what you are doing here? You are implicitly claiming that supernatural/metaphysical events/people/entities cannot be known. What I am trying to point out is that you are not just rejecting "possibilities" in the overly broad sense that the video clip you posted earlier depicts but that you are rejecting entire categories a-priori because you maintain that supernatural events cannot be known.

            I may have forgotten to point this out earlier and if so I apologize, but your definition of the supernatural as merely "unknown" is simply not the true definition of "supernatural". Just like in my post I mention that one cannot merely make anything up and claim it is Christian, likewise we cannot define words such as "supernatural" any way we please and expect that to be the definition of the word.

          • ok then. Let me re-phrase: How can I accept what is unknown???

            ugh. So you tell me then: How do you know the supernatural/unknown (however you want to label it)?

            I don't define things based on preference, Wes. How the hell do you define "supernatural"?

            Conundrum? Can't explain the unexplainable? Then just say, "I don't know." Is it that difficult?

            I don't want to play with semantics. Either you have answers, or you don't. Beating around the bush isn't helping.

          • Well first off you'll have to examine why it is you maintain that the realm of the supernatural/metaphysical is unknown or unknowable.

            How do I define supernatural? The same way Socrates, Plato, and (to some extent) Aristotle did. It is simply that which is above and beyond the natural. Not that the natural is wholly opposed to the supernatural but that the supernatural gives shape form (not to mention purpose, direction, meaning, etc.) to the natural.

            Your insistence that I back down from my claim to know with objective (though not Cartesian) certainty that Jesus is who he claimed to have been through his resurrection from the grave is quite odd from my viewpoint since it, again, is a question based on a faulty premise along the line of "are you still beating your wife?" You simply have failed to establish the premise and, instead, insist that I provide an answer to a question I maintain is invalid from the start.

            You can call it beating around the bush all you want to but that doesn't change the fact that it is not the answers which are flawed but the questions that are being asked. If you wish to find honest answers to your questions then you need to start asking the right questions. Otherwise I am forced to conclude that your questions are not really honest questions in pursuit of the truth but rather a smokescreen designed to merely validate and sustain you in your unbelief.

          • Still curious. You didn't answer: How do you define a "personal relationship"?

          • I would define a personal relationship to be a relationship with a person. God is a person.

            Now the real question I believe you want to get to is whether a person is identical to their physical bodies. This would lead us into a discussion about what constitutes a person and whether there is some sort of metaphysical “soul” that constitutes the essence of a person or whether we are merely molecules in motion.

          • God is not just a person to you. you have conversations with people. You hear their responses. You see their sentiment. They express their views by speaking or writing.

            Your our definition/rhetoric for personal relationship with god didn't explain anything. You might as well have said "fnbrgargygjhgf". How can you have a personal relations with something you can't even define or prove exists?

            At this point, it's all in your head.

          • A personal being does not necessarily have to be a human being. Think about it this way; Would you be able to have a personal relationship with an alien if we were to find one?

            "Personal beings" in the sense I am talking about are really simply beings that are self-aware, posses consciousness, and can relate or communicate with us in meaningful ways. Such beings are also differentiated from animals in that they are capable of expressing abstract thoughts and ideas.

            I must also admit that I laughed a bit when I read your comment about expressing an incoherent statement because it reminded me of a lecture I once heard on the epistemology of atheism wherein it was taught that a pre-commitment to philosophical naturalism caused an epistemic state wherein any expressions regarding supernatural or metaphysical entities or agents were seen as incoherent since, due to the foundational tenets of philosophical naturalism, such categories of thought are deemed irrational and unobtainable (epidemically) at the outset.

            In other words, I don't expect you to accept my definition or claim to have a personal relationship with God since it appears that you reject the notion that God exists a-priori.

          • You didn't help explain anything. How do you confirm god is a by your definition a "Personal being"? Incoherence: har har. Yes, your explanations are still incoherent, irrational, and unobtainable. You said it yourself. Incoherence is not a preference. It's admitting what doesn't make sense. It is not submiting to any idea is true until you can understand it. You can't expect me to accept your definition of god, because you haven't given me coherent explanations. All you have benn doing is laughing at me for not accepting what you fail to prove/know….har har. So I can now dismiss your arguments (or lack of) as you've dimissed my questions. Thanks for the rhetoric that provided me with no answers.

          • Wow, so many base assertions! What do you base your assertion that my "explanations are still incoherent, irrational, and unobtainable" on? What logically leads you to those concluions apart from your apparent philosophical pre-commitment to naturalism/materialism?

            "You can't expect me to accept your definition of god" Your refusal to accept God is not based on your failure to comprehend the concepts. I would argue that your rejection of God is due to reasons wholly apart from epistemic warrant or understanding.

            "because you haven't given me coherent explanations" The only reasons my explanations could be incoherent is if you reject whole categories of inquiry/thought a-priori.

            "All you have benn doing is laughing at me for not accepting what you fail to prove/know" No, I do not laugh at you. Truth be told I weep for you because I know that you do understand the concepts and evidence available to us and yet you choose to reject them.

            "So I can now dismiss your arguments (or lack of) as you've dimissed my questions." I've hardly dismissed your questions. I have, however, failed to take the bait of answering questions based on faulty premises. These are questions along the lines of "are you still beating your wife?" You see, such questions constitute an epistemic trap because they quietly smuggle in premises that I simply do not accept. I know it must be frustrating to you, especially since you apparently assume such premises are universally known and accepted. However you really ought to take some time after talking with me to examine your noetic structure and ask yourself whether the premises you are quietly assuming are, in fact, valid and logically sustainable.

          • What I meant to say is you are claiming you have a personal relationship with god, not just a person. You are not giving a valuable explanation of that this "relationship with god" constitutes. There is a distinction here. Your "relationship with god" becomes something rather subjective (based on interpretation).

          • Your conclusion is based on a hidden premise that I would argue is invalid. Namely that God does not exist and has not or will not or does not communicate with those who believe in, seek after, and love Him. I would actually argue that your hidden premise itself is invalid as it is based wholly on an unproven (and unprovable) negative. In other words, you would have to be omniscient in order to make such a claim with any amount of epistemic warrant.

          • Again, NO Wes. I am not asking you to argue against my belief that god does not exist (or that at least have no way of knowing at this time). You cannot prove a negative (I can't tell you invisible unicorns/fairies/trolls don't exist) .

            On the other hand, you are claiming a positive. AGAIN the burden lies on you. You claim the existence of a specific god which many nations do not recognize. I asking you to provide logic/reason/evidence of your claim.

            You have dodged all my inquiries. You have answered a question with another question again and again. I have experienced this before, and this is another reason that lead me to not belief in doctrines of Christianity anymore. Nothing holds.

          • I find it odd that you claim to maintain the open mind in that you accept the possibility of supernatural events/people/entities and yet you go on to require physical proof in a fashion that implicitly excludes your ever being able to discover their existence. In other words, through a category error (requiring physical evidence for metaphysical entities) you end up rejecting the realm of the supernatural/metaphysical in fact. So why even claim that you are open to the possibility if your categories of thought and epistemic requirements render such possibilities impossible to grasp?

            I am sorry, but the burden does not lie on me to prove the existence of supernatural events and/or entities if you reject the very categories of thought required to even begin to discuss such possibilities/entities. Additionally, just because I do not use the evidence you require (evidence, by the way, which is categorically invalid form the subject at hand) does not mean that logic and reason have not been or are not being used or that your questions have somehow been dodged. If by "dodged" you mean I fail to take the bait to try and prove the existence of a metaphysical/supernatural person/events using physical/natural means then I must plead guilty.

            Yes, I am asserting a positive belief in God and the supernatural events He has enacted in space and time based on evidence. I am sorry the amount, kind, and nature of the evidence available does not meet your approval. However I really find the notion that the lack of evidence you think should be there somehow constitutes positive proof that God or supernatural events do not exist to be quite perplexing.

            As for your belief, and subsequent disbelief in God I am curious; What makes you think he does not exist? I mean, given your own admission that you cannot prove a negative and your apparent history of being wrong before (assuming you were), what makes you so confident in your current position is valid and true?

          • oh your page seems to reset ever so often that I have to regenerate my comments.

            As I have said, I didn't come to challenge or in your words "bait" you.

            I do not accept the Christian doctrines/stories not because of any preference. This is not about my approval…it's about being able to understand things. How can you accept anything that is incoherent??

            You haven't helped anyone gain any understanding. You've encourage people to accept the possibility of the supernatural….but why (especially if there isn't anyway for us as you say can humanly define as "knowing" or have a "personal relationship" with?

          • "How can you accept anything that is incoherent??"

            You are presupposing that it is. What I have been trying to show you is how your presuppositions regarding philosophical naturalism have rendered such concluisons to be incoherent.

            "You haven't helped anyone gain any understanding."

            This is because you refuse to examine your presuppositions, not because I have failed to provide a coherent explination.

            "especially if there isn't anyway for us as you say can humanly define as "knowing" or have a "personal relationship" with"

            This is, again, an example of a conclusion you've drawn based on faulty and incorrect premises. Premises which, in turn, rest on a pre-commitment to philosophical naturalism.

            Yes, I encourage people to not only accept the possibility of the supernatural but I encourage people to examine the evidence of Jesus's death and resurrection as proof positive that just such a supernatural event showing both divine intervention (miracle) and divinity (Jesus claimed to be divine and that his resurrection would prove it) are valid and epestemically warranted given the available evidence.

          • And we deconverts had done just that: examine the evidence of Jesus's death and resurrection. You just prefer to see it in a different way. We just disagree with you, because the only so-called "evidence" is written in the bible.

          • *sigh* No, it isn't. But then again I don't expect you to see any of the evidence for what it is given that you discount the very possibility of the conclusion they collectively point to at the outset.

          • and you still haven't provided this so-called evidence you speak off. *sigh*

          • I guess we'll have to just agree to disagree on this point. You say I have failed to provide evidence, I say I have and that you just refuse to accept it due to your philosophical/epistemological bias.

          • Stop trying to make judgements about me…stick to trying to explain your way through the cracks of this jesus-story. And in some ways you are right. The burden shouldn't be on you. An omnipresent god could easily intervene if he chooses to. But I you'd probably say again, we can't expect him to act on our will….and that's another reason why "His will is not our ways" makes it pointless any of us to make such a big effort. This "divine knowledge" should be easlit granted, without having to decipher and sift through so much. Again, we would have to argue about it.

          • "Stop trying to make judgements about me"

            This puzzles me. Mostly because we've both been making judgments regarding each other this whole time and neither of us has complained about it until now. Is your objection about the mere making of judgments or that the judgments made are invalid? If the former; What changed? If the latter; What is wrong in my assessment?

            "stick to trying to explain your way through the cracks of this jesus-story"

            What's that? Am I still beating my wife? Do you really expect me to fall for this line of faulty questioning?

            "and that's another reason why "His will is not our ways" makes it pointless any of us to make such a big effort. "

            So let me get this straight. Just because someone (who is an independent and wholly free causal agent) may decide not to answer you in the manner and fashion you demand, you feel it valid and fair to reject their existence outright? That is certainly a rather odd line of reasoning which leads to an even stranger set of conclusions.

          • I meant, we would NOT have to argue about it.

  6. Here's a video that helps explain what I am trying to say:
    <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/xjDT4kpNzDk&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/xjDT4kpNzDk&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

    • Sorry seems the embed didn't work. See link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjDT4kpNzDk&fe

      • I remember to be watching that video a while back and getting a good laugh from it.

        He is right in that we ought to normally look for natural explanations and not jump to conclusions we aren’t epidemically warranted in forming. However, what should we do when we DO have valid and verified evidence of a supernatural event having happened (ie. no fan and a letter or some other epistemic valid corroborating evidence from the supposed “ghost”)?

        The problem I have, and the video doesn’t seem to address this, is that most atheists seem to have a pre-commitment to philosophical naturalism that excludes the category of supernatural explanations a-priori. Some may say they are open to it, but then place the epistemic bar for knowing such events to have happened that they effectively end up in the same position as those who deny their existence outright.

        So I want to know; Do you think supernatural events are possible? How do you suppose we would know that they happened? In other words; What, if any, evidence would suffice for you to conclude that a supernatural event had, in fact, occurred?

        • A good laugh? Yes, some parts were very amusing about people who continue to believe and preach/teach others such unfounded and even faulty claims.

          I didn't have a precommittment to anything. I was very much in search for something supernatural….but once I started digging for answers, I found no reason to believe in any supenatural claims anymore. You make a huge assumption that so wrong. Many deconverts used to be believers (pastors/preachers/evangelicals). How dare you make such a claim? This problem with the "we" vs "them", is what can make religion so divisive.

        • For all practical reasons, supernatural to me means UNKNOWN. So if it is not within my area of expertise or way of knowing, then I am comfortable to say "I don't know." I'm not jumping to any conlusions; You are. I don't make this huge faulty presupposition by saying X did it. I can't assume something exists, if I really don't know if it does! It seems you still prefer not to use observable evidence as a means to finding the truth. So even if I were some rocket scientist, you would still question what I actually "know." You are not interested in what I know or believe. You are only interested in me accepting the supernatural claims that which you subscribe to. Sorry, I can't. Your claims are inconclusive and incoherent.

  7. "You can call it beating around the bush all you want to but that doesn't change the fact that it is not the answers which are flawed but the questions that are being asked. If you wish to find honest answers to your questions then you need to start asking the right questions. " I'm sorry that you think I am some kind dishonest. Honesty and reason lead me to deconvert.

    OK. Then what are the RIGHT questions , without any sort of leading assumptions?

    • In regards to the supernatural the right questions would be what we can and ought to use in order to detect the existence of any supernatural events/entities. What are valid tests which would provide us with epistemic warrant for either belief or unbelief in such events/entities?

      In regards to your de-conversion, the right questions would center on what caused you to believe in the first place (what was your faith based on) and what caused you to think those things were false later on?

      • ok,then. That "tests" are you referring to for epistemic warrant for belief?

      • I could also use that tactic which you do: assume that people already have it set in their minds what to reject…This is not true.

        Wes, on my reasons for leaving the faith, I'm sure you read about them on the deconverson sites you visit: This would be a very looooong list. I can understand if you don't like them or don't want to address them. I get it. I didn't want to hear them either, but my fervor to understand and follow god lead me to this state.

      • I begged and prayed to god to help with my disbelief. I was eager and hungry to love jesus and determined that the bible was inerrant, and so I studied. The more I studied, the more doubts arose. I began to see the stories as those written my ancient people: human/animal sacrifices/offerings, god's demand of genocides, the many names of god, the reason the trinity doctrine wsa developed to "reconcile" these discrepancies, the collection of books put together by men, how do we know it was put together correctly, how do we know nothing it missing, if this was god's beloved instructions to us, why doesn't address our problems today, why are there so many discrepancies even in the church, why so many denominations, why why why. All my doubts continued to snowball. I begged god that if he were real to help me trust in his existance, and keep me from these painstaking doubts….I prayed/begged incessantly for a very long time. It didn't help. There were just too many cracks. It made me suicidal. The only way to get out of this delusion was to admit that this wishful thinking of a personal and eternal relationship with god was just that: wishful thinking.

        • Forgive me, but from your story it sounds like rather than trust God in spite of what you did not understand you simply gave up. In other words, Christianity simply stopped working for you at some point.

          Sorry, but based on your story I really don't think you were ever saved in the first place.

          • You can't trust what you can't prove exists, wes.

            "Sorry, but based on your story I really don't think you were ever saved in the first place."

            I guess you speak on my behalf now, for my past, for being all-knowing on how I sincerely gave my life to Christ! Wow!

            Wow. Just when I think you are becoming civil again, this is what you say. Thanks for speculation my state of salvation on behalf of god. Oh, you must of being when I prayed to god as I was weeping and lying on the ground for days. This is so hurtful. And yes, I've heard this before, even when I was so suicidal. You presume to know how little of a fight/struggle I put up, eh!? I actually did ask jesus to take my life! Oh I chose this state of mind??, and so I deserve separation from god?? I can't help what does/doesn't make sense to me, Wes. And you are right: "Christianity simply stopped working for you." I couldn't function with such overwhelming depression and doubt. Thanks for reminding me how detrimental and threatening such comments are, and how I cannot talk to/trust people like you.

          • You probably think this is the case for many people, and it's ok to you that so many people are "unsaved". What a nurturing comment! Is this what you tell children at church? If in doubt, let's scare them. Unbelievable!

            BYE

          • How exactly is telling someone that you doubt their belief scaring them?

          • "You can't trust what you can't prove exists, wes."

            This is another bare assertion. One which I, again, completely reject.

            "I sincerely gave my life to Christ! Wow! Wow. Just when I think you are becoming civil again, this is what you say."

            Believe it or not I honestly debated whether to write what I wrote in response to your story. I decided to go ahead and post it even through I knew this is the type of response I would get. First off, I want to make clear that I do not doubt the strength of the emotional commitment or experience you describe. However what I am referring to when I say that I doubt your beliefs is wholly removed from your emotions. Simply put, I doubt that you ever were saved because I doubt that you ever held a biblical view of faith in the first place. You see, Biblically this is an epistemic question, not an emotional one. You very well could have wept and cried and contemplated suicide and a whole host of other things. But the fact remains that if you did not hold to a view of faith elucidated by men like CS Lewis (http://bit.ly/9mwk37)” target=”_blank”>http://bit.ly/9mwk37)” target=”_blank”>(http://bit.ly/9mwk37) then you did not hold to a Biblical faith and thus were not saved at the outset.

            However, even if I were to grant that you went from a state of belief to a state of unbelief (thus loosing your salvation) I am forced to ask; Why does it matter? Seriously, if your former beliefs were false then why care whether anyone thinks that you ever held to them? I claim to have studied Islam and Buddhism and yet if a Buddhist or Muslim were to tell me that I was never really an adherent to either worldview I wouldn't be phased in the least. If anything I would be curious what their views on the matter were and sit and learn from them since, as evidenced by my current state of unbelief in both, they would be considered the experts, not me.

            Finally, I must admit that I really do find it fascinating how upset de-converts from Christianity get when someone like me questions the assertion from the non-Christian that they were really a Christian at one point. I also find it silly how the conversation often deteriorates into a form of faux-persecution on the part of the de-convert (oh why won't you just believe me when I say I was once like you?!).

            In the end, though, I am glad you recognized that the heart of the issue appears to be that Christianity stopped working for you at some point. This ought to be a big indication to you that your supposed belief in Christianity was flawed. Faith in Christ is not called for because it "works" or provides us with some benefit. In fact, historically quite the opposite has been the case. Rather, faith in Christ is called for because the man and events surrounding him are objectively true and intellectually knowable with a degree of certainty which we can and are justified in calling knowledge.

            In other words, I know Jesus lives. Not merely because he lives within my heart but mostly because we have such an overwhelming amount of evidence, logic, and reason available to us.

            Sure, we can discount this evidence before us by establishing systems of thought which dismiss entire categories of thought as is the case with a philosophical pre-commitment to naturalism/materialism. However this doesn't change the fact that the evidence does exist and does point to one escapable conclusion: That Jesus is risen.

    • I can understand not providing the right answers, but now I'm asking the wrong questions??? I could pretend to be shocked by that statement, but I have heard that one before too. I've realized, I should not be blamed for asking questions. It's just that I was asking questions that no one could answer or liked, even when they told me I "had to" believe, without such answers. I just can't do that.

      • The problem here has nothing to do with the mere fact that you are asking questions. The problem lies in the fact that you are asking bad questions which, by their very nature, will not lead you to truthful answers. Such an insistence on asking poor questions and then refusing to step back and ask better questions leads me to wonder whether honest answers is truly what you seek. By your tone and comments it seems that mere confirmation is what you are after.

        • wow, try telling that to a young child: You are asking bad questions.

          Why yes, confirmation is key. It gives us answers. If you applied to a job, and nobody told you whether you landed the job or not, wouldn't you want confirmation?

          So, um since you think I am asking bad questions…well, thanks for listening?? and I am happy to leave this page for lack of confirmation or answers.

          I really didn't intend to provoke or frustrate you. Take care now.

        • wow, try telling that to a young child: You are asking bad questions.

          Why yes, confirmation is key. It gives us answers. If you applied to a job, and nobody told you whether you landed the job or not, wouldn't you want confirmation?

          So…since you think I am asking bad questions…well, thanks for listening?? and I am happy to leave this page for lack of confirmation or answers.

          I really didn't intend to provoke or frustrate you. Take care now.

          • I do tell my children all the time they are asking bad questions. It helps them learn how to ask good questions.

            Failure to do so would be cruel in my estimation as it would be a failure on my part to lead them towards a better understanding of the truth.

          • OMG. Not only do you control what they believe, but how they ask questions, or what specific questions to ask. ENOUGH SAID.

          • Directing someone's questions needs not be Orwellian. Professors can and do direct their student's questions all the time simply because they know the issues at hand well enough to know how to guide their students to a greater understanding of the subject matter through properly framed and formed questions.

            Simply put, if you ask bad questions you get bad answers. Socrates knew this and so would constantly rephrase and reform the questions of his students in an attempt to further elucidate the deep and complex issues at hand.

          • Just because you don't have answers, doesn't mean I asked bad questions. Why can't you just say you don't know?

          • Why can't I say I just don't know? For the same reason (though, I would argue with better evidence) you claim to know that I can't know because somehow you seem to know (or think you know) that such knowledge is unattainable.

  8. "So let me get this straight. Just because someone (who is an independent and wholly free causal agent) may decide not to answer you in the manner and fashion you demand, you feel it valid and fair to reject their existence outright? That is certainly a rather odd line of reasoning which leads to an even stranger set of conclusions. "

    No Wes. I am not a baby that needs to be pacified. I'm not rejecting something because I am not getting my way or because this supernatural being is not responding the way I want him to. This supernatural is just not repsonding in any way that I can verify that he is actually responding. So I ca'nt just say, "oh, I know this being is responding, but I cannot confirm." That would be naive and dishonest of me.

    • Again, you are importing an invalid test for the supernatural. I wish you could see this as it would, I believe, help you understand why there is such a great epistemic gulf between us. Your criteria for verification is invalid because it mixes two distinct and different categories. That is, you are asking for something that is, by definition not regular or repeatable to be, according to the verification principle, regular and repeatable. Your criteria itself is invalid so it is hardly any surprise that all of your tests (based on faulty epistemic tests for truth) all turn up negative.

      Knowingly or unknowingly you've stacked the deck in such a way as to only yield one inescapable conclusion.

      • even if I can disregard the resurrection as one event that can/cannot be proven, the claim that jesus is a knowable person/god to everyone doesn't stand. Too many nations with their own religions, deeply set in culture and education that would prevent them from believing in a jewish carpenter as a god (and not fair to the state of eternal separation/torment) . Your basis for "test" doesn't verify anything for Christianity specifically. It's just the same guessing game/test for any type of belief then…

        That's it for me. Take care.

        • I think you are making quite a few assumptions and overlooking not a few exceptions to the rule you are positing. Specifically, many people in other nations/religions have come to accept the evidence as compelling enough to accept the Christian gospel or good news of Jesus's death and resurrection on the cross for the sins of the world as objectively true. So much so that many even today are willing to die for their beliefs.

          However this doesn't in and of itself prove that the foundation of their beliefs is true.

          What does, however, are the things I've mentioned repeatedly elsewhere.

          Finally, I understand why you would like to characterize the Christian faith as a mere guessing game. It helps further insulate you in your epistemic closure.

          To that end I sincerely pray that you would, at some point, reconsider your conclusions. Specifically your conclusions regarding valid tests for truth and your insistence on verificationalism as the sole and penultimate test for truth.

          • And many have accepted religions outside the nation's norm other than Christianity as well.

            Thanks for the prayers/concern…

            I am not insulating myself. Not afraid to explore, but I am much more cautious on that huge leap of faith which I use to take for such a specific claim.

            Always good to reconsider your conclusions. Follow that advise as well, Wes. Take care.

      • I am not using any complex theories here. If something is not observable or repeatable, then yes, I cannot confirm anything about it. Neither can you.
        Q: It is invalid? A: Maybe.
        Q: Is is true? A:UNKNOWN.
        Q: Is is comprehensible? A: No.
        Q: Is is logical? A: No.
        Reason to wholeheartedly believe and submit to it = naive/dangerous.

        "Knowingly or unknowingly you've stacked the deck in such a way as to only yield one inescapable conclusion. " I could say the same thing for you…

        Sorry. I give you your page back. No smokescreen. Really did not mean any malice.

        • You appear to be assuming a conclusion here. What makes you think that knowledge here is unobtainable at the outset? Such a view strikes me as very post-modern.

          • The only conclusion and safety precaution I suggest is to willing to accept other perspectives.

            I never claimed that knowledge here is unobtainable at the outset. This defeats the learning process and the capability to adjust our point of views. This progress/advancement is what science has been able to do for centuries. What we know now is far more than what we use to know. Even religion has evolved over the years to accomodate how our cultures/views have changed. This will continue across generations.

            I still advocate for reason and logic. I just don't think it is healthly or beneficial to hold so strongly to a specific worldview/religion. Allow yourself to be flexible, listen, empathize and look outside the box/book/church.

          • You don't claim that all knowledge is unobtainable, but you certainly advocate that certain whole categories of knowledge are. Specifically supernatural/metaphysical areas of knowledge.

            While I would agree that one should continually test and examine their beliefs I would reject your lat assertion that we should not hold to a specific world-view/religion and I am curious as to why you think such a statement is valid and warranted.

  9. Why do you think I sound arrogant?

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