Author Topic: Evidence for God  (Read 1323 times)

Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2017, 09:12:05 PM »
Oh, dear Ecurb, that there is a big, fat, nasty hornet's nest of a question. That answer is a BOOK.  But let me see if I can be very abbreviated, yet still fairly thorough.......
First, the entire subject of the Holy Spirit was really bothering me , how the Spirit of God was supposed to teach us and guide us into God's will and understanding, yet everyone, even people in the same denomination, the same church (!) disagreed about really important things. Spiritual matters that were on opposite sides of the spectrum. Also, the Holy Spirit was supposed to be changing lives and helping us to be morally strong,  yet I never saw a truly transformed life. There were a few that gave grand testimonies of how God had changed them, but after a couple years, the glowy Jesus-rush wore off and they were pretty much the same as before. And the wives I had tearfully confide in me about their husbands' "porn addiction" or infidelities..... I would wonder what good the holy spirit was, if he couldn't handle these common issues. After all, it was supposed to be the very spirit of the Living God, the creator of the universe. And the Bible promised every Christian would receive this gift of the Holy Spirit living within us.
My other pretty major problem was prayer. I have heard SO MANY excuses for God in this area. It's a common saying in church that "God answers every prayer. Sometimes it's yes, sometimes it's no, and sometimes it's wait." But I pretty much felt like God was totally ignoring me. I couldn't understand why he seemed to answer everyone's prayers but mine. I prayed the right way, according to the Bible (Oh yes, there is a right way and a wrong way). And I started realizing that every answered prayer was something that would have happened anyway. Nothing ever happened that wouldn't have happened anyway. 
It got me questioning. Cautiously and fearfully and privately. After all, my eternal salvation was on the line. My family, my friends, my past, my future, the foundation of my life.
Then I got inspired. I thought, if God is God, and He is Truth, then He and his Word should stand up to any scrutiny. So all my reading,  all my research, all my questioning, I brought to God. I prayed and begged him to show me His answers to these things I was learning. And you know what I got?
Silence.
Nothing. 
And then there's a very painful part of this story that I shall skip over, because even though I'm fine now, the pain was so deep, the loneliness and feelings of betrayal so strong, that it hurts even now to think too much about.
I learned so much, not the least of which, was to actually be ok questioning and then admitting that I do not know, and being ok with that.
I can't believe I just wrote all that. There was so much more that "was insufficient during that time regarding God's presentation" to me, but those are the basics.  ;)

Thanks for the response. In the 35 years that you were a very strong Christian, did you ever at any time feel the presence of God?  And, if not, why were you a very strong Christian?  I guess the part that is puzzling to me is why you felt that you were "very strong".  Did you never have a sense of God's presence in any worship service, prayer, walk in the forest, etc? Forgive me if I'm getting to personal - I'm genuinely interested in people's subjective experiences.

Asmodean

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2017, 12:20:09 AM »
I'm a little puzzled by your implication that somehow feeling the presence of god is important to being strongly religious? Having never been religious myself, I'd be interested in hearing just how big a part does subjective emotion/interpretation of some sensation/what have you play in becoming religious and staying that way?

I mean, if I saw a purple carnivorous unicorn but the two people next to me did not, or they saw something different, I would question the reliability of my vision and mental state before I questioned that of my peers before I entertained the idea of purple unicorns before I attempted to learn whether or not said unicorns were indeed carnivorous. I do not understand that, which some people call the "deep knowing," or the "inner truth," or the need some have to search for it, but I'm always curious to hear new explanations, as there seem to be about as many of those as there are people claiming those things. 

To build on the above question, some would say that looking for god is just as... Valid, I suppose is the right word, to one's own religion as having found one. (Or several, for that matter) Are those people not strongly religious? Even if looking for god is an almost all-consuming part of their lives?
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Arturo

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2017, 01:21:57 AM »
I mean, if I saw a purple carnivorous unicorn but the two people next to me did not, or they saw something different, I would question the reliability of my vision and mental state before I questioned that of my peers before I entertained the idea of purple unicorns before I attempted to learn whether or not said unicorns were indeed carnivorous. I do not understand that, which some people call the "deep knowing," or the "inner truth," or the need some have to search for it, but I'm always curious to hear new explanations, as there seem to be about as many of those as there are people claiming those things. 

Having had a similar experience to the purple unicorn example, I can say that when you(or I should say I) SEE things that nobody else sees, the first thing I did was go and get someone to check to see if they see it too. And when they don't, I assumed what there was to see was meant for me. And then I became obsessed with it and aggressive against anything that got in the way of me enjoying said it.
But, uh...well there it is.

"Nothing's a struggle, but everything is a challenge" - Anon


Asmodean

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2017, 02:51:34 AM »
As in... You assumed that the others did not perceive what you did the way you did due to some agent's intention for it to be so? And you did not ascribe it to apophenia and move on? Was that because you simply did not know that humans were susceptible to that phenomenon, or was it perhaps something you just did not consider there and then?

EDIT: It just dawned on me that what I'm actually trying to figure out here, is the human tendency to jump to conclusions rather than to recognise meaningful patterns in static. I can relate to that, though the puzzle of why once an unlikely/unconfirmed conclusion, once jumped to, seems so hard as to border on the impossible for some to throw out with yesterday's refuse still stands.
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Davin

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2017, 06:44:30 AM »
When I was a Christian, I felt warm fuzzies from time to time in church, with family at certain times, at church outings, and I was told that those feelings were god. Turns out I got the same feeling in the mosh pit of a heavy metal concert. If I had never been curious enough ventured out into other things, I might have been fooled into thinking that the warm fuzzy feeling was god and not just a normal body response when doing something fun and/or fulfilling.

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2017, 06:51:53 AM »
When I was a Christian, I felt warm fuzzies from time to time in church, with family at certain times, at church outings, and I was told that those feelings were god. Turns out I got the same feeling in the mosh pit of a heavy metal concert. If I had never been curious enough ventured out into other things, I might have been fooled into thinking that the warm fuzzy feeling was god and not just a normal body response when doing something fun and/or fulfilling.

As one who never accepted the idea of religion, once I had learned to separate fantasy from my version of reality, I still feel "something" in churches. Maybe only the aura of the believers and I came to recognise it is mostly a "social" and "empathetic"  experience. I found something similar anongst my fellow servicemen and groups of climbers etc (back in the days when I could do better than climbing out of the armchair without a struggle!)
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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2017, 07:10:54 AM »
Some say there's no evidence of god but warm fuzzies is evidence.
It's not convincing, humans have unreliable brains made of mush.
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Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2017, 08:18:41 AM »
I'm a little puzzled by your implication that somehow feeling the presence of god is important to being strongly religious? Having never been religious myself, I'd be interested in hearing just how big a part does subjective emotion/interpretation of some sensation/what have you play in becoming religious and staying that way?

For me I don't think I would be religious at all today had I not experienced certain subjective manifestations.  Just doctrine and dogma would have left me extremely unsatisfied, and if that's all I had I'm not sure it would have lasted.  But irrespective of dogma, I have certain experiences that remind me that one those occasions, it appeared to me that God existed.  It would not be convincing to anyone else, but it was to me.  That's why I find it hard to believe that someone could be a strong believer without some personal experience that solidified faith.  But everyone is different, so maybe I'm way off base.

Dragonia

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2017, 08:45:04 AM »
Thanks for the response. In the 35 years that you were a very strong Christian, did you ever at any time feel the presence of God?  And, if not, why were you a very strong Christian?  I guess the part that is puzzling to me is why you felt that you were "very strong".  Did you never have a sense of God's presence in any worship service, prayer, walk in the forest, etc? Forgive me if I'm getting to personal - I'm genuinely interested in people's subjective experiences.
It's a fair question, and not too personal, although in retrospect, I feel slightly foolish.
Yes, I absolutely felt what I thought was God's presence, the whisper of his voice, nudgings in my heart, the overwhelming flood of his spirit within mine...... my personal "experiencing God" ran the gamut of mainstream (America) Christian experience, though never was I so filled with the spirit that I spoke in tongues. (Again, that was a product of my teaching. If I had been raised in a charismatic church, I certainly would have manifested the holy spirit in that way...... there's a lot of peer pressure in those circles to "prove" your spirituality in that way).
So, how do I explain those feelings to myself?
 I have come to understand that people interpret our spiritual experiences through our beliefs. If I am inspired by a brilliant thought now, I just think I'm awesome. ;D As a Christian, I would have thought it was God. If I'm deeply moved by something in nature: the Grand Canyon, Northern lights, fresh snow sparkling in trees, a baby's smile, i can just appreciate the fact that it's beautiful and moving, and that's where those feelings come from.
I've also learned that people all over the world get into mental states of "ecstasy". Sometimes music is a pathway (church worship), sometimes  meditation is a pathway (prayer). So these feelings are NOT exclusive to Christianity and they are NOT from a God. They are actually scientifically explainable. I've just had to reinterpret the feelings that I experience(d).
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato (?)

Dragonia

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2017, 08:54:32 AM »
As one who never accepted the idea of religion, once I had learned to separate fantasy from my version of reality, I still feel "something" in churches. Maybe only the aura of the believers and I came to recognise it is mostly a "social" and "empathetic"  experience. I found something similar anongst my fellow servicemen.......
OH yes, I, and others that I know, can be so moved by patriotism. Sometimes when I hear our US National anthem, I feel that swell of emotion and I find myself with tears in my eyes. It's the same feeling I would get in church sometimes, surrounded by a peaceful, loving atmosphere. 
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato (?)

Dragonia

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2017, 08:56:58 AM »
It's not convincing, humans have unreliable brains made of mush.
Yup. This is the bottom line.
Nailed it.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato (?)

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2017, 10:20:45 AM »
As in... You assumed that the others did not perceive what you did the way you did due to some agent's intention for it to be so? And you did not ascribe it to apophenia and move on? Was that because you simply did not know that humans were susceptible to that phenomenon, or was it perhaps something you just did not consider there and then?

I don't know if you still want me to answer these questions but I will try.
"You assumed that the others did not perceive what you did the way you did due to some agent's intention for it to be so?" Yes
"And you did not ascribe it to apophenia and move on?" Correct
"Was that because you simply did not know that humans were susceptible to that phenomenon, or was it perhaps something you just did not consider there and then?" Well I knew people were capable of jumping to conclusions but not to a strong degree. It also did not cross my mind at the time because the same perception kept happening. In layman's terms, I was having a conversation with it.
But, uh...well there it is.

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Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2017, 03:33:00 PM »
Thanks for the response. In the 35 years that you were a very strong Christian, did you ever at any time feel the presence of God?  And, if not, why were you a very strong Christian?  I guess the part that is puzzling to me is why you felt that you were "very strong".  Did you never have a sense of God's presence in any worship service, prayer, walk in the forest, etc? Forgive me if I'm getting to personal - I'm genuinely interested in people's subjective experiences.
It's a fair question, and not too personal, although in retrospect, I feel slightly foolish.
Yes, I absolutely felt what I thought was God's presence, the whisper of his voice, nudgings in my heart, the overwhelming flood of his spirit within mine...... my personal "experiencing God" ran the gamut of mainstream (America) Christian experience, though never was I so filled with the spirit that I spoke in tongues. (Again, that was a product of my teaching. If I had been raised in a charismatic church, I certainly would have manifested the holy spirit in that way...... there's a lot of peer pressure in those circles to "prove" your spirituality in that way).
So, how do I explain those feelings to myself?
 I have come to understand that people interpret our spiritual experiences through our beliefs. If I am inspired by a brilliant thought now, I just think I'm awesome. ;D As a Christian, I would have thought it was God. If I'm deeply moved by something in nature: the Grand Canyon, Northern lights, fresh snow sparkling in trees, a baby's smile, i can just appreciate the fact that it's beautiful and moving, and that's where those feelings come from.
I've also learned that people all over the world get into mental states of "ecstasy". Sometimes music is a pathway (church worship), sometimes  meditation is a pathway (prayer). So these feelings are NOT exclusive to Christianity and they are NOT from a God. They are actually scientifically explainable. I've just had to reinterpret the feelings that I experience(d).

Thanks for the explanation.

Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2017, 03:36:46 PM »
For me, here's the problem with the "brain is unreliable mush" argument.  The brain is also what gives us intelligence, logic and reasoning.  It is what we use to understand science and evidence.  If we say it's unreliable mush, then that not only undermines our religious/spiritual experiences, it also undermines our faculties of thought and understanding.  I would prefer to say that the brain is not unreliable mush, and simply analyze, with all the powers we have, all our experiences, whether in the spiritual/religious realm or the rational/scientific realm. 

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Re: Evidence for God
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2017, 04:26:13 PM »
For me, here's the problem with the "brain is unreliable mush" argument.  The brain is also what gives us intelligence, logic and reasoning.  It is what we use to understand science and evidence.  If we say it's unreliable mush, then that not only undermines our religious/spiritual experiences, it also undermines our faculties of thought and understanding.  I would prefer to say that the brain is not unreliable mush, and simply analyze, with all the powers we have, all our experiences, whether in the spiritual/religious realm or the rational/scientific realm.

But the brain is unreliable mush. We perceive what our senses allow us to perceive, our brains actively construct our realities and we are plagued with cognitive biases which colour our perception. Some people more than others.

Epistemologically there are different ways of knowing, people's spiritual experiences shouldn't be placed in the same sack as scientific pursuits. One is subjective, with no explanatory and predictive power, while scientific endeavors strive to be more objective, are falsifiable and have explanatory and predictive power. It all comes down to what you give higher value at a given moment or situation .

I hope I have expressed my thoughts adequately, I'm tired as hell so my brain is mushier than usual. :grin:
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