If There is Sufficient Evidence to Believe in the Resurrection, You do Not Need Faith

 Image result for image of faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

–Hebrews 11:1

 

I’ve noticed something very odd lately.  Whenever I discuss the issue of faith, Christian apologists rarely if ever use the definition of faith as listed in the first chapter and verse of The Epistle to the Hebrews.  Isn’t that odd?  Why do you think that is?  I believe the reason is that apologists realize just how “slippery” this definition of faith really is.  To be blunt:  It sounds really ignorant and silly!  Is it really intelligent to believe something is a fact based simply on your desires (hope)???  Of course not.

So clever Christian apologists have come up with a new and better definition of faith (note:  a better definition than “God’s” definition in the Holy Bible!).  Here it is:  trust.  Faith is trust, more specifically, faith is trust based on past performance (that is what my former pastor would preach as the best definition of faith).

Wow.  That doesn’t sound anything like “God’s definition”!

From philosopher Peter Boghossian:

A recent move by apologists is to avoid the use of the word “faith” entirely and instead to use the word “trust”.  Given that the word “faith” is inherently problematic, I think this is an excellent strategy.  The counter to this, however, is identical:  “Without sufficient evidence how do you know what to trust? ”  If the response is, “There is sufficient evidence,” then your reply should be, “Then you don’t need faith.”

A Manual for Creating Atheists, p. 36

 

 

49 thoughts on “If There is Sufficient Evidence to Believe in the Resurrection, You do Not Need Faith

  1. this may be the silliest post I’ve read in a long time, Gary.

    I can know you, in person, and know full-well you exist.

    However, it would still take a whole lot of “faith” for me to believe you if you told me that you were going to pay my rent next month.

    Paul says he saw Jesus, post resurrection. So Paul could know that Jesus had, in fact, been resurrected. (Presumably – just going by what he claims). But, that doesn’t mean Paul didn’t, therefore, need any faith to believe that (for example) Jesus would return.

    If there is any one thing that a believer should not “take on faith”, it is the resurrection itself. In fact, to say “I just take it on faith that Jesus was resurrected” is actually pretty antithetical.

    Like

    1. Whether or not I would pay your rent for next month is not dealing with an issue of fact. In this case, we are dealing with an opinion: Is Gary reliable enough a person to trust that he will pay my rent as he has promised. There is no one correct answer. You might decide I am reliable, while someone else might decide I am unreliable. It is an opinion.

      The claim, “Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead in the first century” is a statement of fact. It is not an opinion. If it were an opinion, it should be stated differently, “I believe that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead in the first century.” Very different.

      Like

      1. And that is precisely why I said the one thing that a believer should not “take on faith” is that Jesus was, in fact, resurrected.

        Like

        1. So you do not believe that faith should play a role in believing that Jesus resurrected himself from the dead, proving that he is God, the ruler of the universe. You only believe that faith plays a role in believing future events, such as the Second Coming? Is that correct?

          How certain are you of the Resurrection of Jesus based on evidence alone, on a scale of 0% to 100%?

          Like

          1. re: “So you do not believe that faith should play a role in believing that Jesus resurrected himself from the dead, proving that he is God, the ruler of the universe.”

            You’re asking two different questions.

            I don’t believe that “faith” should play a role in believing that Jesus was resurrected. Either that happened as an actual, historical event or it did not.

            If nothing else, the “doubting Thomas” pericope expresses the idea that an abstract “faith”, in regards to the resurrection itself, was not at all what was desired on the part of Jesus; rather, an actual knowledge, based on evidence – ie, the wounds in his hands and feet and side – was the thing desired.

            All the other inferences that can be drawn from the resurrection may well be matters of faith. But the resurrection itself was something that, according to the Gospels, was something for which “many proofs” were given.

            Like

            1. Ok. Now I understand.

              So, let’s look at three historical claims, and let’s both give our level of confidence that each alleged event definitely occurred/is a historical fact:

              1. Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.
              2. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in the first century BCE.
              3. Jesus of Nazareth was bodily resurrected from the dead in the first century CE.

              Here are my answers:

              1. 99%
              2. 70%
              3. 0.005%

              And yours?

              Like

  2. Someone can know God as fact through experiencing Him. By experience then we are called to be His witness. He didn’t ask us to be apologist, debators, scientists or lawyers. On the other side of experience we then have the opportunity to explain it, believe it, or not. Faith is still required because that is where this word trust comes in. I have experienced Him, but now am I going to trust Him? Is He good? To owe anyone an explanation makes God a lab rat.
    The faith definition in Hebrews 11 is part of a focal point of a sermon manuscript read among House churches of Jewish believers whose lives were not threatened by Rome if they worshiped the genius of Ceasar. Jews were exempt from this Christians were not.
    They were asked to walk in faith not fear, because even if put to death, we are assured in this great hope that they can’t see.
    So in context it doesn’t translate into always just blindly believing like u seem to suggest.

    Thanks for writing about difficult things.

    Like

          1. I watched this training too.
            I already told u I have experienced God, and I put my continued faith in this relationship. Is giving a number a requirement for the conversation to progress.

            Like

            1. I think it would be an interesting discussion.

              My guess is that you will say that you are 100% confident when in an apologetic environment (in a conversation with an unbeliever, like me) but when you are honest with yourself, you will admit that it’s impossible to be 100% confident that any of your personal experiences were supernatural in nature.

              Care to share the details of one of these experiences about which you are 100% confident that is was an act of God?

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Gary,
                I am familular with Street Epistemology. I am not interested in being your interlockquiter (spelled wrong I am sure).
                I understand the percentages and your need to diagnose me. Is it about faith or reason? Your guess about my faith is as irrelevant as my guess about your world view.

                My guess is you are quite bold about your lack of faith and your reasonable view of the world. You are quiet certain in your view of who God is not in person or online, but privately you have your moments where you wonder if it makes sense or not.

                My diagnosis of your world view is for you it isn’t completely about reason because I gave you some scholarly concerns about how you were handling the faith chapter of Hebrews and you didn’t address them.

                You went into a script. No disrespect but my experience with your process so far is not much different than my interactions with Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons. You need me to qualify myself and follow the script.

                I will not do that. If you care to keep going, my faith is a mix of my experience with God Almighty and reason. They are intertwined and I will not give you which is more important because God has used them both to change my spiritual heart and the coarse of my life.

                My question for you in the Christian God not being the way to salvation? Is it primarily because of reason? Or is it because you don’t desire to live under His prescribed plan of His Holiness? Or have you been hurt by the faith, the faithful, etc.? Which is primary?

                Like

                1. In February of 2014 I was a very happy, very content conservative Christian. One day while surfing the internet, I came across the blog of a former Christian pastor turned atheist. I was horrified and angered by his slander and blasphemy against my Lord and Savior. I made a decision to attempt to bring this lost sheep back to his Savior. After four months of conversation, it was I who converted. I no longer believed that Jesus was my Savior because I no longer believed that he rose from the dead or that the Judeo-Christian god ever existed. I had become an agnostic. Today I consider myself a non-supernaturalist (atheist).

                  So with me it had nothing to do with emotions or secret desired sins, but everything to do with evidence, or more accurately, the lack thereof for the majority of Christianity’s central claims.

                  Your turn. Please describe an event in your life that you are 100% certain involved a supernatural act by Jesus.

                  Like

                  1. I look forward to it. I have just been busy. My responses might be a little slow. I live in two worlds, writing then also my business and chaplain work along with family. But I look forward to more talk here.

                    Like

                  2. “Your turn. Please describe an event in your life that you are 100% certain involved a supernatural act by Jesus.”

                    I have time for one short reply and then I am on the go with my family here tonight. There is a major fallacy with your question. It assumes that God needs to be provable, prove Himself, or can be found by the sheer will of man who wants to observe him, back to the lab rat.

                    It also assumes that I am required to respond like other apologist types have with you in the past. I don’t believe for God to be real I have to prove that He showed himself in a way you would believe it, or even put me in a place that I still don’t have to have faith. But, my faith is based on experience of the things I have seen and heard and can bear witness to.

                    I have had hundreds of experiences, here is one we can spend some time on.

                    Sometime between 2001 and 2003, I had an ear infection. My wife and I were newly married and faithfully serving God as College Ministers. She had a straight commission type of job, insurance didn’t kick in and I was raising funds for this ministry we were doing.

                    The prayer of Jabez craze was going on and I was lying in bed reading the jabez passage in chronicles in the bible. His name meant pain and I prayed something like; “God (addressing the Trinity, I don’t remember which one I said), I don’t believe you want me to be hindered in ministry by pain, and I don’t believe you want me to spend money on treating this ear. I believe you hear me and I ask for you to heal my ear infection.” Not long after that I fell asleep for a few minutes (not sure how long) and it was gone.

                    It stayed gone and never came back. I asked Jesus to heal it and it was gone. Can I prove it was Him? No. If there was an entity that healed it other than Jesus, he/she wasn’t offended by Jesus being mentioned in my prayer. If I willed it into existence I guess that is a theory, but that seems to take a lot more faith no matter how much detailed pycology you add to it.

                    So, I can’t prove He did. But, I asked Him to and it is gone. You can’t prove He didn’t but at least I have something to show for my point of view.

                    So, back to the lab rat thing and the street Epistomolgy thing, God doesn’t have to play by the rules to be observed. Where we are left is right were Jesus left His disciples. Tell them, be a witness to what you have seen and heard.

                    More importantly I look forward to talking about how He changed and continues to change my heart and how I have seen Him work in people’s marriages and I have seen people reconcile with God and family at the end of life.

                    He asks me to testiy, and I do. Call it faith, confidence, trust, whatever. He was very active and the gap between what He did and the amount of faith I need to see Him is not far.

                    Look forward to more. It might take a day or so.

                    Have a good night. Look forward to your response.

                    Aaron

                    Like

                    1. Never mind. I see it now.

                      To answer your question. Yes, I pray often for people. Family, friends, people I minister too, I prayed for a guy to be healed in hibachi restaurant the other night. God is the healer. He isn’t under my direction or control. We don’t always see the bigger picture and sometimes for whatever reason he isn’t going to heal a person.

                      While you strike me with your answer about some prayers being answered and some not and whatever. You can’t just gloss over what I told you without addressing it.

                      I asked Jesus to heal my ear. I had a both a physical and financial need and he healed that ear.

                      Yes you can point to people who weren’t healed and prayers that appear to be unanswered but you still have to address something like that. which is something that isn’t uncommon. Many have had experiences like this. two sides to every coin.

                      Like

                    2. You were not healed immediately after you finished praying, right? You were not healed until after you took a nap. How long was your nap? A half hour? a couple of hours? “Rest” is the most common non-pharmacological treatment prescribed by physicians. Therefore, we must ask ourselves: Which is more probable? God healed your ear pain or rest and time healed your ear pain?

                      I would encourage you to think about this, Aaron. The overwhelming majority of people in this country get better after being sick. So unless the recovery occurred immediately after one finishes praying, how can we be certain that the recovery was a miracle and not simply a natural recovery?

                      It is also interesting to note that in this country, Christians and atheists have the same morbidity and mortality rates. There is no evidence that Christians are less sick than atheists; that Christians have a quicker recovery rate than atheists; that Christians heal more quickly than atheists. And the same is found when we compare the morbidity and mortality rates between Christians and persons of other religious faiths in this country and in the same social class. Christians do not have lower insurance rates than non-Christians. To me this is the best evidence that prayer is not effective.

                      Have some studies shown that if someone knows people are praying for them that this helps their recovery? Yes. But knowing that people are “thinking about” you and “pulling” for you have the same effect. So the real question is: If you pray for someone who doesn’t know you are praying for him or her, is their health recovery better/quicker than someone for whom no one prays? There is no evidence that in this situation, prayer makes any difference.

                      So my question for you is: Are you still 100% confident that your recovery from ear pain was due to God?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Nice try

                      Quick nap. The answer is when having a really bad ear infection that in the past only got worse until getting anti biopics and I was a few days in and in a lot of pain. My very quick nap didn’t heal it

                      Your position requires more faith than mine on this issue. Back to the beginning. I can’t prove it but neither can u. But in this case it is more likely that God healed me.

                      Like

                    4. Wow. That was a fast response. I added more to my comment if you would like to check it out again.

                      Ok, so you recovered very soon after a quick nap, and, your experiences with ear infections in the past is that you never recovered quickly or after a quick nap. But again, you did not recover immediately after praying. There was a time interval between your prayer and your recovery. So because of this delay, is there even a 5% chance in your mind that this could have been a natural recovery?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. No, not even 5% because of my experience with God and the on going relationship.

                      It is like the blind man in John. He says something to the effect of “so you don’t know where he comes from but I once was blind but now I see.”

                      The blind man experienced God in it. I can relate. So now I testify to what I have seen, heard and experienced.

                      Like

                    6. Ok. I understand. So your belief that God has performed miracles for you in other situations and your perception of his actions in other ways in your life affect your perspective as to the cause of this one incident of rapid recovery from ear pain.

                      If you would, just for a moment, Aaron, eliminate all the other evidence that you believe indicates that God works supernaturally in your life and just look at this one incident: Is it possible, even if it is only a 1% chance, that your quick recovery from ear pain may have been due to natural causes?

                      Like

                    7. The evidence based on my own scientific method says not really. Ear infection was real bad. In the past it didn’t go away on its own. Like I said before the rat can’t study the scientist. The evidence of his healing and sanctifying presence in my life is overwelming. Is there a 1% chance for u to admit that God caused it. It seems easier to believe what I believe about this instance based on evidence than yours. God caused something to happen, whether it was in the natural or the spiritual. I cried out to Him and He answered.

                      Like

                    8. I definitely believe that it is possible that your ear was healed due to a miracle/an act of (a) God. I believe that it is impossible for humans to be 100% certain of anything. I believe that life is about probabilities not certainties.

                      Let’s go back to your ear infection recovery. Do you believe that it is possible that other people in the world have recovered from an ear infection after a quick nap solely due to natural processes?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    9. Still 100% sure. The reason your mortality rate stuff has no binding for me is I don’t believe God has promised me long life or health. Part of what drives someone to God is the seeking of the unknown. but we are promised the same trouble the world has. If we weren’t faith wouldn’t be any type of requirement.

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve often see apologists try to conflate “faith” and trust”. So I’ll go to an altogether different term, “confidence”. And I always talk about a confidence level. When somebody tries to pull “well, you have faith that your car will start,” I’ll turn that into, “I have a high level of confidence that my car will start, over 99%, since it’s a fairly new car, and has never given me any problems with starting so far. But it’s not 100% confidence, and never will be. And I’ve had other cars where my confidence level was not very high at all. It’s based on experience, not faith.”

    Like

  4. Aaron,

    I hope that you will agree it is highly probable that other people today and throughout human history have recovered from ear pain after a short nap, therefore, if we isolate our discussion to this one recovery (your quick recovery from ear pain) is it more probable that your recovery was due to a natural process than due to the actions of (a) God?

    You have said that you have experienced many other miracles, so even if I could demonstrate that probability favors this particular recovery as having been due to natural processes, this would not dissuade you in your belief in the reality of miracles and faith. So we would either need to evaluate each and every event in your life which you believe was a miracle, or, we could try looking at the big picture:

    You mentioned that you have had frequent ear infections. I will bet (you can correct me if I am wrong) that you prayed for healing during these illnesses also, yet you were not immediately healed. But let’s go broader: I will bet that you pray to God each and every time that you are ill. Yet what percentage of the time are you healed in the same short period of time as your “ear pain and quick nap” event? If you are rarely ever healed quickly of an illness after you pray to God, and, you agree that it is very probable that other people in the world have suffered ear pain and have recovered in the same short time period after a short nap, isn’t likely that your ONE quick recovery from ear pain is much more probably due to a natural explanation than a rare miraculous healing?

    Like

    1. No it is not. I am sticking with that answer no matter how you rephrase the same information. Let’s think about a child. A small child falls asleep on the couch. She knew she needed to go to bed, but fell asleep anyway. She says, “Daddy, Will you carry me to bed if I fall asleep?” She falls asleep. Next thing you know it is morning and the child woke up in bed. She has an on going relationship with the Father. She knows His character, how he thinks and how he normally acts. She asked for something.

      This same daughter and father may have another interaction on another night that ends completely different. The daughter asks the same question. This time the father says no. You can walk to bed on your own. The child then falls asleep and wakes up on the couch.

      What I propose is that when we are talking about an All-Knowing Being, is it is a relationship and a lot of factors. You can ask something in faith and God say no. He disciplines those whom He loves like it says in Hebrews. Sometimes we have a John 15 moment where we go through things even though we are not being disobedient and this makes us stronger. Sometimes things happen because it rains on the righteous and the wicked.

      If it really is a personal relationship then this prevents the scientific method from being an effective tool for studying God in most instances. He isn’t the lab rat, we are. We might be the stars of our own show, but He is the writer of the play. There are many things that God doesn’t always do, but sometimes might.

      Like

      1. The difference is that the child can see, hear, and touch her father. She has objective evidence. You, on the other hand, are taking instructions from an inaudible voice inside your head. How do you know that the voice is Jesus and not just you?

        Like

        1. You made a lot of assumptions without information. I have experienced Him as more than a voice in my head, thus the ear. He relates to me and I to him, just
          like the child and the father.
          I think we have both exhausted our position on this. You will only accept evidence as what u can see, touch or taste and you will only qualify certain things and you put the burden of proof on the Divine.

          I don’t think he owes any of us that. I believe he has shown up in my life. More so in how he has changed me from what I was to where I am now. That is a greater miracle.

          Like

            1. I understand, Aaron. Could you give an example of one of these events that you have “seen and heard” which absolutely cannot be explained by natural causes?

              Like

              1. I do have examples but like I said, their is always an opportunity to discredit these accounts or explain them away. This conversation is only every going to go back and forth between two people who look at the world differently.

                Like

                1. I think we can agree that it is fine for people to have different beliefs but shouldn’t our beliefs be based on rational thinking? How is your belief that an invisible person who lived and died 2,000 years ago communicates with you and performs supernatural acts for you any different from someone who thinks that someone invisible, like Napoleon, who lived and died in the nineteenth century, communicates with him and performs supernatural acts for him? Shouldn’t we have some rational means to evaluate both of these extraordinary claims? If not, aren’t we obligated to believe all claims of someone hearing voices in his or her head?

                  Like

                  1. Oral tradition, testimony of faithful believers ever since, but especially the apostles who died for it. Most of which many years after Jesus’ earthly life with no reason to continue passing on a lie. It didn’t benefit them, but they gave their lives. Maybe not proof but it is something to consider. You can read the things they wrote, they were not stupid, and their persecution stretched many years. Some died many years before the others.

                    Like

                    1. There are many thousands, possibly even millions of people, from many different religions and sects, who have died for their beliefs. The fact that a lot of people believe something and are willing to die for that belief, is not proof that the belief is true.

                      We have no confirmed, eyewitness testimony from any of the original disciples, only the writings of Paul and he gives us zero details about what he saw when he says “have I not seen the Christ?”. Yes, some conservative Christian theologians and even some conservative Christian NT scholars believe that some of the disciples are the authors of the Gospels and some of the epistles but the overwhelming majority of experts do not believe that any of the original disciples authored any of the books in the New Testament.

                      We are left with the word of one man who was prone to seeing and hearing things. Is it rational to accept the word of one man that he “saw” a walking, talking corpse???

                      Like

          1. You are right. If there is a God, he owes us nothing, including an explanation of how he operates. But I am wondering how you would explain to a non-Christian these issues:

            1. How do you know that the still, small voice that you hear in your head is God and not you?

              2. How is Jesus talking to you in your head any different than someone who claims that Napoleon Bonaparte talks to him in his head?

            2. 3. Are there any of your “experiences of God (Jesus)” which absolutely cannot be explained naturally? I am a physician. Your recovery from an illness after a nap is a common occurrence. No physician I know would see this as a “miraculous” recovery.

            Like

            1. Here is where the scientific method breaks down in regards to individual persons. I know you are a man who used to hold fundamentalist type beliefs, your name is Gary and you run a blog. But all I really know for sure is we interact online. But as far as proof of your existence or that your even a person and not a machine. I can’t prove that. When we treat God as our lab rat that is essentially what we are doing. You don’t know, but maybe I do. Again, asked to testify that He has shown up in my life.
              I think it would be awesome to talk to Napoleon by the way. There are many differences. The most powerful is the ability for this voice to guide me, mold me and shape me into someone else. Someone else that I couldn’t be, or wouldn’t choose to try to be on my own. This voice hasn’t weakened or gone away but has increased all the while. It also never contradicts The Bible. This has been a long-term relationship ever since becoming a Christian as a very devoted and disciplined Division I college wrestler. But all of that discipline didn’t make me a better person. Christ in my life did that.
              There you go again with experiences that can’t be explained naturally. God doesn’t work that way a lot. You see that violates free will if He reveals Himself in an undeniably miraculous way, like writing it on the sky in permenant marker.

              Giving a physical explanation doesn’t change anything for anyone it only gives the doubter and the faithful a free/will choice to make.

              As far as your medical explanation ok. It doesn’t change anything for me because leading up to that my experience was my ear infections do not go away with sleep. I had also cried out to Jesus for other things that He did in my life. So my personal experience using the scientific method was that God can and does do things when we ask.

              Your no physican line is deceptive. You and I both know that their are many physicans that would say God answers prayer and he will do it in natural ways.

              Great to keep this going. I look forward to more conversation. I probably need to focus on other things the rest of today. Talk to you soon.

              Like

              1. You are absolutely correct, Aaron: There are many physicians who believe in God and believe in miracles. But that is not what I said. What I said is that I don’t know any physician who would look at one instance of someone recovering from ear pain after a short nap and insist that this particular instance was definitely a miracle. It could be a miracle, but since there are many, many cases of people recovering from minor illnesses after rest, no one can be 100% confident that your one recovery was a miracle. Can you see that it is not rational to state that one is 100% confident that this was a supernatural event when the experts say it could have a very natural explanation?

                So what we are really discussing is how one determines truth. And my question for you is: Is it rational for you to look at one instance of recovery from ear pain after a short nap and believe it to be a miracle? I suggest that it is not. I suggest that you are not allowing yourself to look at this one instance in isolation but insisting that we must interpret this one event based on your perception of the meaning of many other events. But maybe all these other events are no different than your ear pain event. Maybe they all have very possible natural explanations and you are assuming that your God did it simply because that is was you want to believe.

                So again I ask: Can you give one example of something that has happened to you which you believe cannot be explained in any other manner other than supernatural intervention from your God? This is really important, Aaron. If you are functioning under a delusion that makes you feel safe and comfortable; a delusion that you believe has made you a better person, that is certainly your right and maybe there is no harm in it. But would you agree that if your belief is a delusion, it is not good for society if you are attempting to convince other people to believe it?

                Like

                1. 1st paragraph – still 100% confident because of the relationship I have with God. He answered when I asked him and they never went away on their own before. I don’t need you to be 100% confident. But, in my personal relationship and how God has taken care of me, communicated with me and made me better in a way that has helped society. I am 100% and I believe this to be a rational decision based on how God pursued me and provided evidence of his help in the process. My belief doesn’t require you to believe me. We can agree to disagree on it.

                  paragraph 2 — I was clear. I don’t believe you need to see this the same way. And because of freewill we always have an opportunity for faith or disbelief. But, God does draw close to those who seek Him out. If we seek, we find (Matthew 7:7). Since the human heart is deceitful only he can see if we are truly pursuing Him or not.

                  But, I do not insist these be interpreted that way (which was a deceptive phrase), but like a relationship between father and son. He has showed up in my life. I can’t convince you He did, and you can’t convince me He didn’t.

                  To assume I am believing something just because I want to is arrogant. At some point we can testify to what we have seen and heard. There is nothing you can say about my lack of evidence for belief that I can’t say about your lack of evidence for disbelief. That is why conversation continues.

                  Paragraph 3 – the answer is no. No matter what happened even if someone raised from the dead. There is always a counter explanation, both ways. Why because God refuses to have His hand forced. So no – no examples that would qualify by your standards, but some awesome things have happened, that would make many shake their heads, but the greatest of all is a reason for life, joy and a changed heart.

                  If you don’t have anything else in the tool box. I think we are done here for now. Your asking the same questions. I told you I wouldn’t play by your rules and if you remember it all started by me asking you some questions about your hermeneutics of Hebrews, which you never answered because you had the agenda.

                  Thanks look forward to more, but nothing new here.

                  Like

                  1. 1st paragraph – still 100% confident because of the relationship I have with God. He answered when I asked him and they never went away on their own before. I don’t need you to be 100% confident. But, in my personal relationship and how God has taken care of me, communicated with me and made me better in a way that has helped society. I am 100% and I believe this to be a rational decision based on how God pursued me and provided evidence of his help in the process. My belief doesn’t require you to believe me. We can agree to disagree on it.

                    Some children receive tremendous comfort from belief in an invisible, imaginary friend. How is your belief that an invisible Jesus helps you, guides you, comforts you, and keeps you on “the straight and narrow” any different than a child with an imaginary friend? More bluntly: How do you know, Aaron, that you are not operating under a delusion?

                    Like

                  2. But, God does draw close to those who seek Him out. If we seek, we find (Matthew 7:7). Since the human heart is deceitful only he can see if we are truly pursuing Him or not.

                    But you have no evidence that a God has drawn close to you other than your subjective feelings and perceptions. Isn’t dangerous to base universal truth claims (“all people should believe in Jesus or face eternal punishment in the afterlife”) on subjective feelings and perceptions?

                    There is nothing you can say about my lack of evidence for belief that I can’t say about your lack of evidence for disbelief.

                    In western culture, the onus of proof is on the person making the claim. I am not making a claim. I am simply skeptical of your very extra-ordinary claims. Therefore, according to the standards of western civilization, the onus is on you to provide evidence for your claim that a 2,000 year old dead man converses with you, provides support and direction in your everyday decision making, and performs magical/supernatural acts for you. (I have never stated that your God does not exist, that he was not resurrected, nor that it is not his voice that you hear in your head. I have simply asked you to evaluate the rationality of these claims, claims that are your claims.)

                    Like

                  3. Why because God refuses to have His hand forced. So no – no examples that would qualify by your standards, but some awesome things have happened, that would make many shake their heads, but the greatest of all is a reason for life, joy and a changed heart.

                    I can show you examples of converts to Islam, to Mormonism, the Hari Krishna, and others who will also give dramatic testimony about how their new-found belief in Allah, the God of Mormonism, Lord Krishna, etc. has dramatically changed every aspect of their lives for the better. Are all of these people worshiping different gods correct, Aaron, or is possible that they are all operating under a delusion?

                    All human beings, including atheists, can recount “amazing”, odd, rare events in their lives, even events in which they just missed being killed. Are these rare events due to a supernatural being or just part of life: random chance? Logic tells us they are probably random chance since they occur to everyone, not just one particular religious group.

                    Just because a belief gives you hope and has “straightened you out” does not mean it is true. Many of the victims of the Jonestown massacre in Guyana believed that Jim Jones had turned their life around. He ended up killing them. The intensity of one’s convictions regarding comforting, life-changing beliefs is not reliable evidence that these beliefs are true.

                    Like

Leave a Reply to ftbond Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s