Why Evidence and Faith are Incompatible

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“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.”

–Leon Festinger, Stanford University psychologist

 

Someone who has “come to faith in Jesus the Christ” due to an emotional crises or due to a perceived “miracle” is rarely ever going to give up this belief due to evidence.  Emotion-based beliefs are practically immune to evidence.  Ever try to convince a friend that his girlfriend is cheating on him?  If you have, you know that your evidence is almost always rejected.  So maybe we non-supernaturalists should give up trying to prove religious supernatural beliefs wrong using evidence, but rather focus on the unreliability of emotion-based decisions.  Maybe we should stop debating Christians regarding the authorship of the Gospels or the historicity of the Empty Tomb and instead talk to them about the events that led to their conversion.

How many times have you heard a Christian state that he or she converted to Christianity after a thorough review of the evidence?  Ever?  You can find such believers if you look hard enough but they are a small minority.  Google the testimonies of many Christian evangelists and apologists and you will often find their conversion occurred due to a life crises.  Is it wise for people to decide the veracity of fantastical supernatural claims when they are in an emotionally vulnerable state?

Maybe that is the issue we should be discussing with Christians.

Image result for image of evidence

 

Check out an excellent article that goes into more depth regarding the phenomenon of evidence vs. convictions: here

 

End of post.

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105 thoughts on “Why Evidence and Faith are Incompatible

  1. re: “How many times have you heard a Christian state that he or she converted to Christianity after a thorough review of the evidence? Ever? You can find such people if you look hard enough but they are a small minority. ”

    What about people who, at first, believed Jesus had been resurrected simply because they were told that by someone they trusted (ie, Mom & Dad, some Pastor, a good friend), but then later did a thorough review of the evidence and decided that their earlier “belief” was well-founded?

    I mean, if there can be people (ie, CS Lewis, for example) that became believers because of their review of the evidence, then, there should be nothing “fundamentally” stopping someone who already “believes” – perhaps, because of some “experiential” thing – from likewise reviewing the evidence.

    You were a “believer”, and then, you “reviewed the evidence”, and decided it was lacking.

    Someone else can be a believer, then decide they too need to “review the evidence”, and come to a different conclusion than you.

    Besides – an “experience” that leads one to believe Jesus was resurrected may be an entirely valid experience if Jesus were, in fact, resurrected. That is, the experience may well be an experience of something objectively real (even though the person having the experience doesn’t know, from examining any evidence, that it is objectively real).

    If I saw your dog running around in the street, that “seeing” is my experience. I may not know “how” your dog got out on the street. In fact, I may not know that you’re even aware your dog is missing. But, my lack of knowledge of either of these things does not therefore mean my experience is totally subjective. It isn’t. It is an experience (my “seeing”) of something objectively real.

    However – there are already plenty of people – skeptics, such as yourself – that target people who have come to be believers based on something experiential. My guess would be that there was no shortage of such “skeptics” going back to the time of the apostles themselves. Even in the Book of Acts, Paul is asked by Felix “are you mad?” upon hearing Paul’s story. It doesn’t matter whether Acts is “historically accurate” or not – the inclusion of the pericope shows you what at least some first-century people were thinking.

    I think the best thing for you to do is just ridicule people for believing someone could be resurrected.

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    1. “If I saw your dog running around in the street, that “seeing” is my experience. I may not know “how” your dog got out on the street.”

      Have you seen Jesus the bodily resurrected Christ, ft? If so, please tell us about it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. @ft
      The problem with your scenario is this:
      There is no evidence . Therefore, a person that converts is simply concluding that the claims made is evidence, when in fact , they are only claims.
      Conversions ( not indoctrination from childhood) are ALL emotionally driven. and as the post points out, some form of emotional trauma, however small, may be involved,
      This is true even for someone has intellectual and highly intelligent as Francis Collins.
      Once they have bought into this belief then they usually go hell for leather to qualify their new found faith.

      You have made the assertion that with regard conversions people simply interpret evidence differently and come to different conclusions.
      For the sake of this post I am prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt providing you present the evidence that you consider is valid enough to warrant seriously considering becoming a Christian.
      You don’t have to present anything in depth, just bullet point the most important ones you accept as evidence.
      Regards
      Ark

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      1. Once someone is convinced (a conviction) that an omnipotent spirit lives inside his (or her) body, giving him or her life direction, security, comfort, and the promise of life after death, no amount of historical evidence is going to change that person’s mind regarding the existence of this spirit. His or her belief is based purely on emotions and personal perceptions. The only historical evidence that will be accepted as valid is that historical evidence which appears to validate his or her emotion-based conviction.

        This is why ft is so afraid to share his “testimony”. He knows he fits this scenario to a “t”.

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        1. Do you disagree with this premise: You initially believed in the reality of Christianity’s supernatural claims based on emotional and/or perceptional reasons. You then sought evidence to confirm those beliefs.

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        2. This scenario.

          <

          blockquote>What about people who, at first, believed Jesus had been resurrected simply because they were told that by someone they trusted (ie, Mom & Dad, some Pastor, a good friend), but then later did a thorough review of the evidence and decided that their earlier “belief” was well-founded?/blockquote>

          Have you any examples of the evidence you consider would fall into the above?

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            1. Then stop hemming and hawing and give a brief, concise list of this evidence.

              If you continue to refuse to do so, it proves to all that your beliefs are primarily based on emotions and personal perceptions of miracles.

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              1. well, I’m thinking about it.

                thing is, there are things that some accept as evidences, and others don’t.

                You, for example, agree that the “empty tomb” is most plausible (as do I). Ehrman doesn’t, though. And, of course, Ark won’t agree with that, because he thinks Jesus didn’t even exist in the first place.

                So, I’m weighing the wisdom of even attempting to present evidences.

                You, Gary, have a terrible and long-established habit of twisting words, mis-representing facts, and being quite manipulative (as opposed, to say, what might occur in a conversation with someone like Ehrman, who just never does that stuff).

                And, Ark? What’s the point of presenting evidences to Ark, when he doesn’t even think Jesus was an historic person in the first place?

                So, I’m not seeing that a whole lot of good would necessarily come out of it….

                shrug

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                  1. It could actually be quite difficult. Scholars write entire volumes to explain their evidences, their reasonings, and their conclusions about lesser matters.

                    I’d be writing (at least) a mini-book, and my readership would consist of one guy who doesn’t think Jesus was a real person, and another guy who’s going to read what I say, then twist my words, put words in my mouth, and whatever other deceits he can come up in his perverse brain in order to convince himself that I didn’t say what I actually said.

                    So, there’s not a lot of upside here that I can see. That makes a task that is difficult in the first place into one that I find myself very dis-inclined to pursue.

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                    1. And yet you are inclined to continually post.
                      Bearing in mind that, almost every conversion has a similar backstory involving aspects that are so familiar one could almost say they were cliche.
                      So, I doubt very much that your story would occupy more than a paragraph or two.
                      The upside is that you will gain a measure of respect and maybe even raise your credibility.

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                    2. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to die in a bloody human sacrifice“…but for some strange reason he couldn’t provide sufficient evidence to convince most people on the planet that this human sacrifice of his son accomplished anything.

                      He left that job to countless theologians, preachers, and apologists.

                      What silly, superstitious, nonsense.

                      Liked by 2 people

                1. I personally would rather hear your testimony about your conversion to Christianity. I bet we would learn much more about how you think than reading a list of evidence for a claim we don’t believe occurred. Christians have been pushing the same “evidence” for 2.000 years. I doubt your evidence is going to change anyone’s mind. But maybe your conversion story will.

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    1. You made the comparison.

      You said that seeing my dog is evidence for the existence of my dog. But you admit you have never seen the resurrected Jesus. So the comparison is unjustified.

      As the linked article discusses, once someone chooses to believe something based on emotions, the only evidence that he or she is interested in is evidence that (appears) to support his emotion-based belief. All contrary evidence will be discounted and dismissed. This is why it is worthless to debate evidence with most “people of faith”. My experience on this blog supports that conclusion. Look at my conversation with Dr. Joel Anderson. No matter how many times I gave him evidence that most scholars reject the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels, he refused to accept it. He discounted and dismissed the evidence. He did this, I believe, because the basis for his belief is not evidence but his emotional atttachment to that belief.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. re: “You said that seeing my dog is evidence for the existence of my dog. ”

        There you go. There it is. Right there. TWISTING OF WORDS. Manipulation. I swear, you just can’t help yourself.

        I didn’t say “seeing your dog is evidence…” of ANYTHING. I said “IF I saw your dog running around in the street, that “seeing” is my experience”.

        THIS is the reason Joel rejects a great deal of what you say, Gary. And, me to. You can’t be trusted. You twist things around, you cajole, you manipulate. And you LIE when you do these things. Just like you lied when you put words in my mouth, just like when you put words in Joels mouth.,

        Man, I tried to be very fair and impartial when I responded to your “help me out” request, in regards to your conversation with Joel. I tried to be nice, polite, and explain with great respect why I had to conclude that you were being a bit manipulative in your conversation with Joel.

        But, here you are, right back at it again – with me.

        God, I’m tired of this. It’s crappy conversation over NOTHING that is even being discussed, because YOU literally “make up” stuff and attribute it to me (or Joel, or whomever you’re talking to that you don’t agree with).

        You could probably have some fabulous conversations with some really interesting people – making your points clearly, making your own case convincingly – but instead, you resort to this kind of BS. And, even I wouldn’t take time to say all this – IF this wasn’t a “repeat performance” over something that cause you to run Joel off not two days ago….

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        1. ft: Besides – an “experience” that leads one to believe Jesus was resurrected may be an entirely valid experience if Jesus were, in fact, resurrected. That is, the experience may well be an experience of something objectively real (even though the person having the experience doesn’t know, from examining any evidence, that it is objectively real). If I saw your dog running around in the street, that “seeing” is my experience. I may not know “how” your dog got out on the street. In fact, I may not know that you’re even aware your dog is missing. But, my lack of knowledge of either of these things does not therefore mean my experience is totally subjective. It isn’t. It is an experience (my “seeing”) of something objectively real.”

          You start off by stating that personal experience can be valid evidence of a supernatural claim. You state that the personal experience in question can be objectively real even if the person having the experience has not evaluated the evidence to confirm that the experience is objectively real. You then give the example of seeing my dog as a personal experience that is objectively real.

          Sorry, the comparison does not hold. You have never seen Jesus. No one you know has ever seen Jesus. We have no good evidence that anyone in the first century “saw” the bodily resurrected Jesus.

          What you are really trying to say is that if the resurrection of Jesus is an historical fact, then it is plausible that the disciples did see a resurrected body. But, of course!!! And if Cinderella’s fairy god mother really exists, then it is very plausible that a girl named Cinderella rode to a ball in a pumpkin magically turned into a carriage.

          Why don’t you just admit the truth! You believed fantastical supernatural claims based on one of the following reasons:

          -it was emotionally appealing to you.
          -you had a subjective experience which you interpreted as a miracle.
          -you accepted what Mom and Dad told you to believe.

          You did not thoroughly investigate the evidence, studying both the pro and the con arguments regarding these claims.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Do you not know the meaning of the word “IF”, Gary?

            IF not, then let me know, and I will do my best to explain it’s proper usage to you, and in that way, you will understand (hopefully) the point I was making.

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            1. “IF Jesus were, in fact, resurrected”, and/or “IF I saw your dog running around in the street”

              Do you not see that “IF” in these statements? Lemme just try to explain. Those are called “conditionals”.

              I know, I know, it’s a tough concept, but, these are NOT “statements of fact”, but, are “conditionals”, which MEANS – “in the event that….”, or “given the possibility that…”

              SO – with this in mind, these statements above could be read “In the event that Jesus were, in fact, resurrected…” or “given the possibility that I saw your dog…”

              See how that works?

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              1. “In the event that Cinderella’s fairy godmother were, in fact, real…” or “given the possibility that I saw your dog…”

                What possible conditional relationship does seeing my dog have to do with the existence of ANY supernatural being, ft?? If you see my dog, that is good evidence that my dog exists. If you never see my dog, then you need other evidence to believe that my dog exists, unless you simply believe it exists by taking someone else’s word for it.

                Believing that someone has a dog based simply on someone’s word, is a rational decision in our culture. Believing that a supernatural being exists whom no one alive has ever seen, is not rational…unless that supernatural being happens to be part of one’s religion.

                You’ve never seen Jesus, ft. No one you know has ever seen Jesus. There is no good evidence that anyone has ever seen the bodily resurrected Jesus. So bringing in the sighting of a dog as a comparison to believing in the superhero, Jesus the King of the Cosmos, is not rational.

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  2. “ Maybe we should stop debating Christians regarding the authorship of the Gospels or the historicity of the Empty Tomb . . . ”

    No. We need both.

    I was born and raised fundamentalist Christian. I bought it all. The 6,000 year old Earth, the talking critters, the bearded man in the sky, all of it.

    I taught adult Sunday school and learned, believed and taught all the apologetics. Learning the apologetics meant learning the arguments they countered. All those facts and questions were filed away in my very fundamentalist Christian brain. I didn’t believe those facts and knew the correct answers to the questions, of course.

    My certainty in my ‘facts’ gave me an arrogant confidence it the Truth™. I saw no reason to force anyone to live by what I saw as Christian principles as anyone not living them would fall into despair, see the happiness of True Christians™, want to be like them, and be saved.

    Then the movement for LGBT+

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Then the movement for LGBT+ . . .

      . . . bubbled to the top of American politics. My view was that as long as only adults were involved, the government shouldn’t deny rights to anyone.

      Many arguments with family friends ensued. One day I’d had enough of everyone around me speaking for God. My mother started (yet again) with “But God says…” and I cut her off with a curt “Then God is wrong!”

      I didn’t mean it how it came out. I meant that people were wrong to assume they could speak for God. But my emotional outburst gave me permission to question — who speaks for God and who doesn’t?

      The emotional response was the catalyst that allowed me to, for the first time, honestly examine my beliefs and the arguments for and against it. The emotional response let me examine the facts and the facts didn’t hold up. Within a few months I was an atheist.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I’m good.

            I hit something on my keyboard mid-post and it posted before I was done. I finished the post in a reply. I was just wondering for the future if I could have fixed it in place rather than with a reply.

            But I can’t so we’re good.

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  3. The entire charade is dependent on no evidence. Any amount of evidence would actually weaken the movement. It would also loosen the bands of stubborn pride, which is faith in a nutshell. It was a keen play on the foibles of human psychology. Christians are praised for belief and given a medal, but humanity cannot help but believe. The natural man is actually the believer. They get points for doing what everyone does, and even the silliest of beliefs is more respectable than atheism. Weird. Even when they know it’s just a pile on miles of contradiction and excuses. Beliefs are merely convictions of thought with no substance. And the funny thing is, life is not better for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And Jim, plenty of clinical studies and social polls over the last 3 decades have shown that the vast majority of humans merely pick a “religion” based upon one question:

      How will my choice/decision of a faith/religion hurt me or benefit me and my immediate to mid-term life?

      Most often it has NOTHING to do with any facts or truths. 😲🤫 WHAT!? Say it isn’t so Nellie!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe we should stop debating Christians regarding the authorship of the Gospels or the historicity of the Empty Tomb and instead talk to them about the events that led to their conversion.

    Gary, a very good suggestion. Not only can the entire veracity of the facts surrounding the first seeds and very first roots of earliest Christianity (i.e. sectarian Judaism to Judeo-Christianity) as well as that of the 4th-century canonical New Testament be thoroughly reasonably challenged then completely dismantled as geopolitical maneuvering with a plethora of cultural superstitions, BUT…

    from modern medical sciences in psychology, neurology, endocrinology, and with anthropology fully utilized along with other pertinent fields/disciplines, most all paranormal, metaphysical, or ontological vs. epistemological disciplines can ALL provide more than sufficient explanations of wrongly perceived human “Divine interventions” or revelations. As I think I’ve mentioned to you before — losing track of all my various comment topics regarding Christology or any Abrahamic religions on various blogs 😛 — educating the mainstream population that is SO DEEPLY insulated by peer-assimilation/pressure and weekly Placebo-effects of that herd-mob performance is no easy task! Hah, especially when that “faith” group, institution wields the power of labeling you demonic or Satan’s minion/right-hand trickster.

    Maybe it is similar to convincing a group of kids at a party that ice cream is BAD FOR YOU! Hahahaha! 🤣

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      1. (yawn)

        They are not “posts” Ft. They are comments. Posts are the articles, stories, op-eds, etc, that WordPress-users publish on their OWN blog-sites… something you need to do to be taken seriously here.

        Otherwise, the majority of commenters on WordPress without any blog-link or Gravatar (like yourself) indicate metaphorically no spine, no substance, lazy… and are most often categorized as trolls with flatulent dysfunctions, and hence, treated most often with little to no regard… like you are here. For starters, I suggest you step it up, get serious, and improve your internet etiquette as well as your content and practice of blog engagements.

        But that’s just my final courteous suggestion to you as I quickly bore of childish playground antics like these. 😴

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  5. Gary –

    Look – this is your “working thesis”:

    “Maybe we should stop debating Christians regarding the authorship of the Gospels or the historicity of the Empty Tomb and instead talk to them about the events that led to their conversion. How many times have you heard a Christian state that he or she converted to Christianity after a thorough review of the evidence? Ever? You can find such believers if you look hard enough but they are a small minority. Google the testimonies of many Christian evangelists and apologists and you will often find their conversion occurred due to a life crises. Is it wise for people to decide the veracity of fantastical supernatural claims when they are in an emotionally vulnerable state?”

    Part of my response was this:

    “…an “experience” that leads one to believe Jesus was resurrected may be an entirely valid experience if Jesus were, in fact, resurrected. That is, the experience may well be an experience of something objectively real (even though the person having the experience doesn’t know, from examining any evidence, that it is objectively real).”

    I totally stand by what I said. IF (and, try to remember- that “if” is a conditional) Jesus were, in fact, resurrected, then, the experience may well be an experience of something objectively real (even though the person having the experience doesn’t know, from examining any evidence, that it is objectively real).”

    I didn’t SAY “Jesus was resurrected” as a statement of fact.

    And, I didn’t even claim that an “experience” that lead someone to believe in Jesus was definitely an experience of an objectively real thing. I said it MAY be.

    I chose my words VERY carefully.

    You’re arguing with some “phantom” in your own brain. I can’t help you with that.

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    1. “…an “experience” that leads one to believe Cinderella’s fairy godmother exists may be an entirely valid experience if her fairy godmother were, in fact, a real historical being.”

      Duh. In other words, if a tall tale is true then it is not a tall tale.

      I think we all get that. However, most tall tales are NOT true. People should not believe tall tales without very, very good evidence to back them up. There is no good evidence for the tall tale of a resurrected first century executed peasant other than the warm, comforting feelings and personal experiences some people perceive regarding their belief that this fantastical claim is true.

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  6. Here’s the irony – showing a skeptic all the evidence we have to believe what we believe, is still dismissed by said skeptic questioning the sources, and failing to see the logic of our faith. As if a skeptic is somehow less a person of conviction than a believer.

    Hmmm.

    Also – the way someone comes to believe has little bearing on whether the belief is true or not. What you need to do is scrutinize the beliefs, not the journey to those beliefs.

    And the whole thing is that Christian belief holds up under scrutiny. The historical evidence is ample reason to believe in a literal, historical, bodily resurrection of Jesus. That alone suffices to show that my belief in that event and that Person is not simply a delusion.

    I wish you would have a more robust philosophical approach to your posts. Anyway have a great weekend that’s coming up.

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    1. Most educated people in the world agree on facts. They agree on scientific facts. They agree on medical facts. They agree on mathematical facts, etc.. But for some strange reason, they don’t agree on religious “facts”. Why is that? I suggest that the reason that the educated people of the world cannot agree on the veracity of religious claims of fact is because the evidence for these claims is piss poor.

      Please share with us, Liam, how you came to believe in the existence of the virgin born, bodily resurrected, first century peasant, Jesus of Nazareth, omnipotent Lord and Master of the Cosmos.

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  7. There are also atheists who have come to their views, in part, for emotional reasons as well. And, many also maintain their views also for emotional as well as intellectual reasons. I think people believe what they do for a multiplicity of reasons. I don’t know that anyone has come either to atheism or to the Christian faith based in just intellectual, purely objective evidence-based reasons alone. Usually, there are multiple factors, I think.

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    1. “I don’t know that anyone has come either to atheism or to the Christian faith based in just intellectual, purely objective evidence-based reasons alone.”

      I did. I was raised a christian, and accepted it because people I trusted told me it was true, I had a really good time at church, and I got a lot of warm fuzzies out of being part of a community of believers. But it was actually studying and reasoning that led me out of it. All of that church-reinforced emotional stuff was getting in the way of a real consideration as to whether any of it was actually true. Once I got past that, and really looked into the question, it was intellectual evidence-based inquiry that led me to the realization that none of it was true.

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      1. Ubi, we don’t know each other personally, and I can’t question that for you this was the case.

        But, I’ve certainly known folks and also listened to comments online. Many times people feel burdened or disillusioned. They feel that God has not answered their prayers, or they’ve struggled with depression and anxiety. God has not healed them. Perhaps they’ve “burnt out,” or become disillusioned with the church or with other Christians. I think even some suffer from various types of mental illness, that leads them to a kind of religious OCD, this unhealthy sense of worthlessness, obsession with sin.. fixation on Hell, etc. It becomes unbearable.
        There are just a plethora of things that for some can open the door to unbelief.

        They then will state that it is a total relief to be freed from the bondage of religion and that now their life is so much
        more free and joyful. They are less judgemental, free to use their mind, and think reasonably, etc.

        Do you truly think that if this is someone’s experience, they can truly be open to God, and able to follow the evidence wherever it leads? I don’t think so. I know that I don’t believe this for a second.

        I understand that this is not everyone’s experience. But, it would be unwise to discount the importance of these emotionally based reasons as not having any bearing moving people either toward theism or atheism.

        Humans are complex creatures, and I think it can be difficult for people to even consciously sort all this out, and to be willing to admit it.

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        1. “There are just a plethora of things that for some can open the door to unbelief.”

          Exactly. So please don’t attribute every atheist’s deconversion to emotional factors. Sure, for some it is. For some, an emotional factor may lead someone to begin an intellectual inquiry. And some may deconvert for purely emotional factors, and those people probably need to put more thought into it.

          A lot of us spent a lot of time “open to god” before we deconverted. The fact that we felt a sense of relief after deconversion doesn’t invalidate that.

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        2. Emotion will almost certainly play a part in both conversion and deconversion.
          We are, after all, emotional beings ….
          For example:
          The emotion of frustration when prayers are never answered and questions posed to authority figures are met with vacuous platitudes that inevitably involve faith or quoting Hebrews 11:1 or something equally as ridiculous.
          The emotion of confusion after discovering that much of what one has been raised to believe regarding the bible and Christianity is, in fact, unsupported by any evidence at all, that most of it ,in fact is simply fiction or worse lies.
          The anger at these same people who overtly or tacitly labelled you a sinner and nothing you could do would change this unless you were redeemed through Jesus.
          The emotion of shame, for some, who imparted these same beliefs onto others and condemning them for such things as LGBT

          And the list goes on ….

          However, the difference between the two, conversion and deconversion is that there are absolutely no genuine intellectual,evidence-based reasons for conversion. – none whatsoever.

          The real question, Becky is this: When your faith is not supported by any evidence whatsoever, why do you believe?
          Is it worth considering that, just maybe, you too have been indoctrinated into a worldview that in truth, has no substance at all?
          That you are perfectly all right exactly as you are – No God Needed.

          I guarantee this was the realisation of every deconvert .

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I would bet a lot of money that most atheists who have deconverted from conservative Christianity have not done so for emotional reasons. If our decisions were based on emotions, we would stay in the religion for fear of the consequences of rejecting the claims of this fear-based cult. Most of us studied the issues very carefully before we left “the faith”.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Gary –

    re: “I would bet a lot of money that most atheists who have deconverted from conservative Christianity have not done so for emotional reasons.”

    An atheist who also happens to have deconverted from Christianity is quite different than a person who has deconverted from Christianity to become an agnostic, and quite different from a person who has deconverted from, say, a pantheistic religion to become an atheist.

    But, if we’re speaking strictly of atheists who have deconverted from Christianity – a Theistic (not pantheistic, nor polytheistic, nor henotheistic, et al) religion, I do not see how it is even possible that such a person can do so without it being an emotionally-involved decision.

    The reason is this: The decision that “there is no God” (meaning, a God of Theism) is itself not based on pure reason. We cannot, scientifically, collect ANY data from before the Big Bang. Thus, we cannot know, scientifically, whether the Big Bang was the ultimate beginning of this single universe, or whether it was just one Big Bang in a series of Big Bangs followed by a Big Collapse followed by another Big Bang. And, since we cannot observe outside this universe, we can not know if this universe is just one of many existent universes (ie, multiverses). So, ultimately, the decision that “there is no (Theistic) God” is not based on either reason nor evidence, but rather, “what seems to feel right, when I think about it”.

    One can either assume a “supernatural” in addition to nature, or one can assume that nature is “all there is”, but either way, it’s an assumption, and is based on nothing more that what “feels right” – which is nothing more than a sensation of satisfaction experienced by the one experiencing it. In this respect, one who deconverts from ANY of the Theistic religions – whether Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or quite a few others – and becomes atheist (specifically) – has ultimately become atheist, not based on reason nor on evidence, but on “feeling”.

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    1. The decision that “there are no fairies” (meaning, a tiny little human female looking creature with wings and magical powers) is itself not based on pure reason. We cannot, scientifically, collect ANY data regarding fairies. Thus, we cannot know, scientifically, whether fairies exist or not. So, ultimately, the decision that “there are no fairies” is not based on either reason nor evidence, but rather, “what seems to feel right, when I think about it”.

      We skeptics do not need to prove that fairies and resurrected dead Jewish peasants do not exist. We only need to point out that the evidence for such claims is piss poor to pathetic. The onus is on BELIEVERS in these supernatural creatures to prove that they exist, not on skeptics to prove that they do not!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. OH. I see. So, the universe is — ummm – like a faerie to you?

        I mean, we ALL perceive a “universe”. No scientist would argue that we don’t.

        But, you’re saying that “perceiving faeries” is also common?

        Gary, I don’t know what you’ve been smokin’ lately, but, you might want to take a break from it for a little while…

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        1. No atheist I know questions the existence of the universe. We question the existence of gods and devils…alleged supernatural beings with magical powers much greater than that of fairy godmothers and fairies.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. re: “No atheist I know questions the existence of the universe. ”

            I do, of course, realize that.

            But, my comment was about the universe – something that even science assumes the existence of.

            If I had been talking about God, then your little rewrite of my statement would have been fitting. But, alas, I wasn’t, and therefore, it wasn’t.

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            1. But, if we’re speaking strictly of atheists who have deconverted from Christianity – a Theistic (not pantheistic, nor polytheistic, nor henotheistic, et al) religion, I do not see how it is even possible that such a person can do so without it being an emotionally-involved decision.

              You are assuming that there must be evidence to support the decision to stop believing in the existence of a supernatural being, otherwise the decision to stop believing must be based on emotions. I suggest that no evidence whatsoever is necessary to stop believing in gods, devils, fairy godmothers, fairies, leprechauns, etc.. It is the realization that no evidence exists for the reality of these alleged supernatural entities that leads deconvertees to become atheists. It is not emotions. It is not evidence. It is the LACK of evidence.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. re: “You are assuming that there must be evidence to support the decision to stop believing in the existence of a supernatural being…”

                I am absolutely NOT making THAT assumption at all.

                I gave you my plainly-stated reason: “The reason is this: The decision that “there is no God” (meaning, a God of Theism) is itself not based on pure reason. ”

                The decision that “there is no God” – for the THEIST – is equally a decision that “all that exists is nature”. And that, itself, is NOT an evidence-based decision. [ Again, I chose my words very carefully ]

                A decision that there is a God, or, that the universe is all there is (and there is no God) – either way you look at it, neither decision is based on any kind of empirical evidence at all. It is based on something else, and that “something else” gets down to “whatever gives me the most satisfactory sensation”.

                And for a Theist – one who had already decided that “there is a God, and, as per my Theistic belief, He is “over and above” nature”, then those two things are already coupled. A proclaimed Theist does not get to make a decision about one without it being an equal and implicit decision about the other.

                I make ZERO assumptions that there has to be evidence to support the decision to STOP believing anything at all. That’s you attempting (very badly) once again to do word-twisting, ignoring entirely that I chose, very carefully, to address Theistic beliefs specifically.

                I do, however, state plainly that for anyone to make the determination that “the universe is all there is” is NOT an evidence-based decision, but emotional. And, for the Theist (who becomes atheist), it’s NOT as if he or she is simply deciding “there is no God”, in the way one might decide “there are no faieries”. He or she is implicitly and equally deciding “the universe is all there is”.

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                1. No, he or she is only deciding that there is insufficient evidence to believe in the existence of your invisible friend.

                  No evidence is required to not believe in your god or any other god. Asking an atheist to give evidence for why she does not believe in a god is like asking a person who does not believe in unicorns for evidence to substantiate his non-belief in unicorns.

                  It is a silly, irrational request. Modern, educated people are under no obligation to provide evidence for why they do not believe in Martians, fairies, gods, or devils.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. If the person is ALREADY a Theist, then, these are not “compartmentalized” decisions, Gary.

                    To decide one thing IS to decide the other.

                    It’s not like deciding there isn’t enough evidence to support a belief that George Washington swam the Delaware. That decision does not affect the persons view of the universe at all.

                    But, for a THEIST to decide “there is no God”, then it very directly affects the persons view of the universe. What was once something that had a dependency on something else for it’s existence no longer has that dependency.

                    If you wanted to tell me that you were formerly a Theist, and, you decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to support a belief in God – and – that this didn’t affect your view of the universe (and whether it had a dependency on God or not), then I would tell you “then you weren’t really a Theist to begin with, but rather, a very confused individual”.

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                    1. You believe in ghost impreganted virgins and the resurrection of dead bodies. And I am confused?

                      Just because there may be evidence for intelligent design does not mean we should all be theists. If and when sufficient evidence accumulates to convince the majority of scientists that the universe was created by an intelligent being, then I will no longer be an atheist. I will be a theist. A deistic theist. However, I will still reject the existence of your god because there is no good evidence to suggest that your god is the creator or that your god even exists.

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                    2. how on earth did intelligent design get worked in here??? Or the idea that we should all be theists?
                      and how can one be a “deistic theist”???

                      oh… seriously… nevermind.

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  9. Well, Ubi, I probably need to reach for the duct tape and think more deeply. I can understand how someone might be agnostic. But, after considering the complexity and apparent fine tuning of the cosmos toward life, how on Earth someone could be a convinced atheist for purely intellectual reasons makes little sense to me. I think this actually goes against human reason, logic, and observation . Perhaps our minds really are simply wired differently. To me this is just as obvious as the Scripture states. Every house was built by some man, but He who made all things is God. I’ll leave it at that. 😁.

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    1. Most atheists I know are “agnostic atheists”, as in they don’t have a belief in a god, but also don’t claim to have 100% certainty. I’m not sure what you mean by a “convinced atheist”. I’m going to bring in a chart here, because it communicates how atheism and agnosticism are not exclusive:

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Need to add one thing, as I’ve thought about it. Part of the issue also involves an inability of the mind to think beyond the literal and consider how God, if there is a God might connect with people in ancient times, and also speak to us today.

    When I was younger, I had this image of God as a bearded older gentleman with long white hair sitting on a throne in the clouds. As I matured, I realized that Scripture uses images to connect and to convey deep truths that almost cannot even be expressed with words. It’s not that all these need to be accepted as literal truth, but it’s more the deeper reality behind them that’s being conveyed that’s most important.

    As I’ve often said, IMO, the atheists have “thrown out the baby with the bathwater.”

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    1. The responsibility of the ”baby” rests entirely with the believer. Before you can make any pronouncements you should have the integrity to offer evidence that the baby ( your god) exists.
      I am going with ”I don’t know” which in light of the complete absence of evidence is a perfectly acceptable position to hold.

      Just for once, Becky, please have the integrity and demonstrate the veracity of your claim/s.Just once.
      Regards
      Ark

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Most atheists I know never say, “I know as a fact that no god exists”. What we say is, “I don’t believe in the existence of gods because there is no good evidence for such belief.” That is an important distinction.

        I do not know as a fact that unicorns do not exist. I simply don’t believe they exist due to a lack of evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. What’s happened for many of us is that we carefully scooped out cup after cup of the bathwater trying to find the baby. After we emptied our “bathtub” of all the bathwater, it was empty, and we never did find a baby in it. Just lots of murky bathwater, hiding the fact that there never was a baby there at all.

      What you call “scripture” is an old book, like many other old books out there. I was raised to think it was special, but it turns out not to be. Other religions have their own books that they think are special, too, and I don’t accept those books any more than you do. I don’t think any of them have any handle on “deeper reality”. If there’s a “deeper reality” out there, I don’t think humans currently have the mental capacity to figure out anything about it. As evidenced by the thousands of human religions that can’t agree on anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Well, I actually do think there’s truth to be found in other religions as well. My personal views are more nuanced. We should be open to dialogue, IMO.

    We can’t humanly figure it all out, for sure. But, if there is a creator, He, could certainly choose to reveal Himself. And, why wouldn’t He, if He created us in His image and likeness in the first place? Everyone has to determine for themselves, if Jesus Christ, is that revelation, and decide to follow Him or not.

    All truth is God’s truth, in a sense. But, clearly, all spiritual views cannot be equally true if they are asserting contradictory claims. I would say that. My undergraduate major was anthro. focused on comparative religion, so I’ve always been interested in other faiths and philosophies, other cultures

    . And, I know that world view is huge. We’re all conditioned by our culture. I can own that. But, I think non-theists also have to own that cultural conditioning as well toward things like naturalism, and materialism. They also are reflecting a bias which can be unconscious by the way. It’s up to us to use our minds that God has given to sort this out.

    I can understand sincere people having a difference of opinion, but what I’m not able to fully understand is why many nontheists seem to think that all the Christian believers are these unthinking, delusional, and superstitious fools, or who have maintained faith for purely irrational and emotional reasons. That’s just not me and it’s not many very intelligent and educated Christian people that I know. What I feel is probably often happening is that people are projecting their own experience on to others. It may or may not fit, though.

    Ubi, am leaving for vacation, but have enjoyed our discussion. Thank you for sharing honestly.

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    1. I can understand sincere people having a difference of opinion, but what I’m not able to fully understand is why many nontheists seem to think that all the Christian believers are these unthinking, delusional, and superstitious fools, or who have maintained faith for purely irrational and emotional reasons.

      Consider it like this, Becky:

      Imagine an individual who was utterly convinced they shared their life with an invisible person called John. John appeared on the scene while – let’s call her Mary – was going through a period of severe stress after the loss of a loved one.
      John began to speak to her, comforting her advising her and in a very real sense helped rebuild her life.
      What would you say to Mary if she tried to introduce you to John? If she explained that he was very real even though you could not see him.
      How would you feel if Mary also invited you to join her in prayer to John and he would surely hear and maybe even answer?

      If you are completely honest then you don’t need me to spell out the likely answer.
      And now you know, more or less, how non-theists feel about Christian believers.

      Regards
      Ark

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      1. Thank you, Ark. I see where you’re coming from.

        But, not all people come to faith because of blind indoctrination, emotional stress or trauma. Everyone is different.

        But, I think there is insight in what you’ve shared. It may be that people who come to the faith for purely emotional reasons during times of stress and trauma or simply because of heavy-handed, authoritarian, fear-based indoctrination as kids are much more likely to” deconvert” as adults than say, someone like a CS. Lewis.

        What do you think?

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        1. not all people come to faith because of blind indoctrination, emotional stress or trauma. Everyone is different.

          Can you provide evidence/examples of what other ways an individual ”comes to faith”?
          After all, the definition of faith is …. Hebrews 11:1

          <

          blockquote>What do you think?
          As mentioned previously, I have never encountered anyone who ”came to faith” (converted) where some form of trauma and or emotional stress/pressure was not involved.
          Lewis was no different in my view.

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          1. Ark –

            Just curious. What is it supposed to mean if Becky can’t “give you examples”? Is Becky a person that is somehow involved in the gathering of “salvation statistics” or something?

            If she isn’t involved in such work, nor responsible to anyone for such knowledge, then what do you expect to conclude from it if Becky doesn’t have any examples that satisfactorily fit your criteria?

            And, speaking of your criteria – If “Lewis was no different” in your view, then, you could say that exact same thing about anyone. Heck, Spock could logic his way to concluding that Jesus was, in fact, resurrected, and you could say “Spock was no different in my view”.

            So, after telling us what it’s supposed to mean if Becky can’t “give you examples”, please write a few lines stating your criteria. (I should probably ask for the criteria first, since otherwise, you’re wasting Becky’s time, aren’t you?)

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            1. @ ft
              Becky has suggested that not all conversions are because of indoctrination and or emotional stress etc.
              I would ask the same thing of anyone who made such a claim.
              I will not presume to speak for Becky or pass any judgment on her answer until she chooses to reply.

              If you wish to cast aspersions .. then go for it!

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              1. I personally know one guy (who’s name I won’t tell you – because I haven’t asked his permission to do so) that became convinced that Jesus was bodily resurrected, and thus, “converted” (as you put it) on a purely rational basis.

                But, here’s a question for you: How can you be certain that a “conversion” is based on an emotion, rather than the emotion being based on the conversion?

                For example: Let’s say that you have been told that your best friend was dead. And, you are quite sad about that, and quite distressed – his death was totally unexpected. But then, you get a report that the information was totally wrong, and that your friend is very much alive. And, you’re suddenly very happy, and very relieved.

                Was this “conversion” (as it were) from being sad and distressed to being happy and relieved just something that happened on it’s own, apart from any real-life, objective knowledge?

                Unless you are bipolar, and such mood swings are merely a bit of a chemical malfunctioning in the brain, then, one would have to agree that this “conversion” (as it were) – from sad to happy – had a very important, objective fact, right in the middle: your friend wasn’t dead.

                So, what I’m getting at is this: Let’s say a large number of “conversions” (to Christianity) are “emotional”, in the sense that there is indeed emotions involved. Does that, by any necessity, mean that there is, therefore, by definition, no “objective reality” that one is simply responding to emotionally?

                Let’s go back to the “original disciples” (Peter, John, et al), in something of an imagined scenario:

                In this scenario, Jesus has been crucified & buried, then the tomb found empty after a couple of days (standard Christian belief). Then, Jesus suddenly appears in a room, occupied by those original disciples. Of course, there’s a bit of shock involved – people don’t normally just appear out of nowhere. And, a bit of fear, and confusion, as they try to wrap their minds around what is going on. But then, after Jesus says a few words, and the disciples start to “come to their senses” a bit, and finally accept that this person standing in front of them is, in fact, Jesus – alive, again – then the fear and confusion gives way to expressions of joy. (and, again – humor me. I’m saying it’s an “imagined scenario” for your comfort — I’m not trying to claim, at this moment, whether anything like this ever actually happened).

                The question: in this scenario, did emotions somehow cause the appearance of Jesus?

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                1. The question: in this scenario, did emotions somehow cause the appearance of Jesus?

                  It happens all the time. Catholics were told that the Virgin Mary would appear in Knock, Ireland on a certain day during the summer of 2017. Hundreds of frenzied believers gathered for the appearance…and sure enough…Mary showed up!

                  I surmise that the appearance of Jesus claims started with one person having a vivid dream, day dream, trance, or hallucination of Jesus appearing to him or her. This sparked the superstitious imaginations of others so that they too began to “see” Jesus. Can’t prove it, but since we have so much evidence of this phenomenon happening among Christians today, I suggest it is highly probable to be the cause of the first sightings of “dead people”.

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                  1. no no no. and just no.

                    I specifically said what “this scenario” was, and it was a scenario in which this “Jesus fellow” actually shows up. It was a hypothetical, Gary.

                    We all already know that emotions can cause all kinds of “mental tricks”, but in this scenario, I was specifically referring to an “imagined” scenario (which I was very careful to point out, “I’m saying it’s an “imagined scenario” for your comfort — I’m not trying to claim, at this moment, whether anything like this ever actually happened.

                    How is it you manage to be “literalist” only at times when it suits you? You seem to manage – despite my intentions that my “imagined scenario” be taken literally – NOT to take it literally.

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                    1. Your scenarios are silly. If the bodily resurrected Jesus really showed up and was seen, heard, and touched by multiple people, then we should all believe it to be an historical fact. I don’t see the point of your argument. Would the disciples have been emotional about seeing, hearing, and touching their dead friend? Of course. No one is claiming that emotions would not be involved in the sighting of a walking, talking dead body! We wouldn’t be human if we did not react to such a fantastical event emotionally.

                      You are off on another bewildering tangent, similar to your tangent that no one could have moved Jesus body from the tomb since there were allegedly tens of thousands of pilgrims camped out on the hills around Jerusalem when he was executed.

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                    2. Gary –

                      It’s a VERY SIMPLE question: In the scenario I presented, did “Jesus'” appearance happen because of emotions?

                      But, you want to put up a fight of some sort, because I used “Jesus” in the example. You’re always ready to do that, because for you, I think everything is a fight.

                      SO – let’s take “Jesus” out of the scenario.

                      Let’s say your dog got out of the yard, then you get a call from the Humane Society saying they found your dog, and he had been hit by a car and killed.

                      Then, the next day, your dog comes running up the street to your front porch, where you happen to be sitting. You were sitting there, feeling quite sad about the loss of your dog – but then – he shows up – and suddenly you are very happy.

                      Same question: Did your emotions cause the dog to show up?

                      It’s super simple, Gary.

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                    3. I should think my point is quite clear: One’s emotions are not, by any necessity, the cause of a “truth” being seen, nor are they they, by any necessity, the cause of a change that results from that truth being seen.

                      If you are all excited because you earlier had gotten news that you had been accepted to Cambridge, and then, you receive a letter saying your application had been rejected on some “technicality”, then you’re going to be sad. And, the truth that your application has been rejected remains a truth (to which you have responded, by being sad).

                      It may well be that a lot of conversions do have emotions involved. A person might well find themselves hurting in some fashion. But, then, a new “truth” is seen. And, not only does this change their emotions, but, it also changes what they now regard as “truth”.

                      The question is – and always is – whether Jesus was, in fact, resurrected, and whether that “resurrected Jesus” does, in fact, interact with human beings.

                      IF (and note – that’s a conditional – and I know you have difficulties with conditionals) – but IF Jesus were truly resurrected, and IF the resurrected Jesus does interact in some fashion with human beings – then, the fact that the human that is interacted with does (or does not) have particular emotions before the interaction is entirely irrelevant. It may be common, but irrelevant, IF Jesus were truly resurrected, and interacts with human beings.

                      So, just because there’s a “commonality” to “conversions” (in many cases), that does not at all therefore mean those conversions are, or should be considered immediately “suspect”.

                      “Correlation is not causation”.

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                    4. IF (and note – that’s a conditional – and I know you have difficulties with conditionals) – but IF Jesus were truly resurrected, and IF the resurrected Jesus does interact in some fashion with human beings – then, the fact that the human that is interacted with does (or does not) have particular emotions before the interaction is entirely irrelevant. It may be common, but irrelevant, IF Jesus were truly resurrected, and interacts with human beings.

                      Once again, you are comparing apples to oranges. No one here questions the very natural emotions that would arise from seeing your dead friend alive again. No Christian alive makes such a claim.

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                    5. “No one here questions the very natural emotions that would arise from seeing your dead friend alive again. No Christian alive makes such a claim.”

                      To the very best of my knowledge, this is correct.

                      But who cares?

                      Here’s a true story for you, from the news just a few days ago. Happened in Chicago. You can google it, and you’ll probably find it:

                      Two sisters were called by a hospital, who told them that their brother was in the hospital, in critical condition. The sisters went to the hospital and saw the man, but he was so very badly beaten and disfigured, they could not recognize his as their brother. Nonetheless, the doctors (or nurses? whomever) insisted that the man had been identified by the police as their brother – and – they needed to decide to end life support, and sign the form. (I guess the doctors figured the guy was not going to live).

                      The sisters signed the form, the man was taken off life support, and died within a matter of seconds. The sisters then went about the business of arranging a funeral, even buying a casket.

                      A day or so later, the brother shows up on the doorstep of one of the sister’s houses. She was, of course, floored. And she called the other sister and said “It’s Alphonse! It’s Alphonse!” – he was alive!!!

                      The sister on the other end said “I nearly had a heart attack”. That is, I believe, meaning she had a pretty strong emotional response.

                      But, she hadn’t seen her brother at all. Nope. She just believed her sister, trusting that her sister wouldn’t LIE about something so gravely (pun intended) important.

                      Now, I do not know, factually, whether this “second sister” might then have (for example) been the one to call the funeral home and call off the funeral. But, I’m sure she did something in response to the news. Maybe she got in her car and drove to her sisters house to (finally) see her brother. I don’t know (because the article didn’t say so). But ultimately, I’m positive that she began to act as if her brother was alive (because, well, he was).

                      So, what I’m getting at should be clear enough: It’s totally irrelevant whether anyone these days has actually seen a bodily-resurrected Jesus. What is relevant – and the ONLY thing that is relevant – is whether it’s TRUE that Jesus was, in fact, bodily-resurrected.

                      IF that (the bodily resurrection) is TRUE – then – there are not, by necessity, any big “gotchas” in the simple observation that many “conversions” are preceeded by strong emotions.

                      Again, correlation is not causation.

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                    6. This is ridiculous.

                      If Santa Claus is real then of course it is rational for little children to believe in his existence simply from hearing about him from their parents. It would be perfectly rational that these little children believe in Santa Claus even if based solely on a story they have heard and their emotional reaction to that story.

                      But there is no good evidence that Santa Claus is real so this scenario is pointless! Just as their is no good evidence for your alleged resurrected first century peasant.

                      Give us EVIDENCE and stop this nonsense!

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                    7. You see, it’s exactly THIS kind of condescension that makes me really not even care enough to bother talking to you, Gary.

                      All you had to say was “Show us your evidence that Jesus was really resurrected”. That’s all. Nothing else required.

                      Your bull— stuff of “this is ridiculous” (which, it was not, in fact), and claiming that what I said was “nonsense” (especially when you actually agreed with what I was saying) — well, it’s just a bit too much over the top. Just a bit too much crassness, rudeness, and lacking in intellectual honesty or quality.

                      And you have repeatedly accused me of somehow breaking some great “rules” you have.

                      I think I’m getting like Joel: tired of even bothering talking to you. You twist words, you conflate, you put words in people’s mouths, you act in intellectual dishonesty, you manipulate, cajole, ridicule, and try constantly to minimize your opponent.

                      Yep, I’m tired of it. I might just follow Joel’s example.

                      For now, though, this conversation is over. I’m not going to put up with your manipulation, cajoling, intellectual dishonesty, twisting of words, and all the other crap you’ll throw in, all in the course of a half-dozen comments….

                      I’m outta here for now. Taking a nap. Far better use of my time than putting up with your BS.

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                    8. Smile

                      You constantly behave like a whiny little kid, ft. That you cannot satisfy the criteria to demonstrate the veracity of your claims, you spend endless hours trying to justify your faith.by throwing into the mix unrelated examples.
                      You are as much a product of emotional manipulation as the most die hard christian fundamentalist. only that, you consider you are a more superior thinking type of believer because you reckon you came to Christ by a process of rational thought.
                      As I mentioned in my comment to Becky, you can’t even recognise that you are indoctrinated. and this is no more abundantly clear from your abject refusal to divulge the details of your conversion.

                      The only one you are fooling is yourself, and I feel pretty sure you are having to work damned hard at it as well.

                      Ark.

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                    9. All you had to say was “Show us your evidence that Jesus was really resurrected”. That’s all. Nothing else required.

                      I and Ark asked you for evidence at the beginning of this conversation and you refused. You then went off on this tangent. I dare you to give a brief, concise list of evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

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                2. I personally know one guy (who’s name I won’t tell you – because I haven’t asked his permission to do so) that became convinced that Jesus was bodily resurrected, and thus, “converted” (as you put it) on a purely rational basis.

                  Why would I care who this bloke was? So he was convinced that JC was resurrected. So what? The average five year old is convinced Santa Claus is real. If the kid joined a group that were all convinced of the reality of Santa Claus would you consider their decision was based purely on a rational basis? Of course not! You would very likely believe they needed urgent psychological help. Maybe your mate does too?

                  But, here’s a question for you: How can you be certain that a “conversion” is based on an emotion, rather than the emotion being based on the conversion?

                  Because every example I have encountered is evidence of the former.

                  Let’s say a large number of “conversions” (to Christianity) are “emotional”, in the sense that there is indeed emotions involved. Does that, by any necessity, mean that there is, therefore, by definition, no “objective reality” that one is simply responding to emotionally?

                  Then provide evidence of the objective/reason for their conversion. It really is that simple.

                  Let’s go back to the “original disciples” (Peter, John, et al),

                  Provide evidence these characters existed then I am more than happy to discuss this further. Until then I see no benefit in discussing something long, drawn out and theoretical.
                  What was the term you used before – ’’So, there’s not a lot of upside here that I can see.’’ 

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                  1. Ark –

                    I said very clearly that it was an IMAGINED SCENARIO. Get it? If it’s IMAGINED, as I very clearly stated, then why, in God’s name, would you expect – with ANY kind of reasonableness – that I should have to “prove” to you the existence of the characters?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    What is wrong with you?

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                    1. Yes, I noted the imagined scenario. No need to ”shout”.

                      I see no benefit in dealing with such imaginary rhetoric.
                      Stay on point. It makes it a lot easier for me to process.
                      Thanks.

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          2. Ark, I am that person. I was reared in a progressive ELCA church as a child and did not come to faith out of fear, trauma, or blind indoctrination. For me, it was a search for “truth” and the reason behind things like the origin of life and the universe that ultimately led me to a conviction of God. It was a process over time, you see.

            I can share with you that most people in the mainline churches, that are thinking Christians, are not there because of trauma or emotional stress. My experience has been more with the Episcopalians and the Lutherans.

            Now, dear Ark, I need to get out the door and off the blogs. Yikes. I am going to be late. Deep blessings to you. Maybe the answer is to get off these blogs, and start visiting in the churches, to see the differences that are really out there. The ELCA and the Episcopal church welcome you, Ark.

            Becky.

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            1. Whether you recognise it or not, you were indoctrinated, albeit passively.
              That you opted for God as the reason for the origin of life etc demonstrates this passive indoctrination even more so.
              Your story has so many familiar aspects that is could be cut and pasted onto any number of believers who consider themselves wholly sincere in their faith and are adamant they are not one of those extreme fundamentalist types.
              And yet, you fully accept the resurrection of the character Jesus of Nazareth and consider him to be your god.,
              So, yes, I’m afraid in the complete absence of evidence to support such beliefs you are indoctrinated.
              That you seem unable to recognise the difference between evidence and faith merely further confirms this.

              The ELCA and the Episcopal church welcome you, Ark.

              As will the secular atheist world welcome you. However, if you decline to step over the line we won’t be damning you to an eternity in Hell.

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        2. Becky,

          Your liberal supernatural views may be in and of themselves harmless. However, they provide cover and social acceptability to other supernatural beliefs including those of hateful fundamentalists. The world would be better off without any supernatural beliefs (superstitions), Becky. Give them up; for the good of your fellow human beings; for the good of the entire world.

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          1. Gary, what if the root of humanitys problems are deeper than just having supernatural beliefs? If so, how will my decision to stop trusting and following Jesus help people to be healed? Doesn’t it make a huge difference in how people have come to their views and what the fruit of this has been in their lives?

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  12. chuckle.. . Becky was “indoctrinated”

    I was wondering how long it would take before that “blanket explanation” was used.

    As soon as someone admits to have had some type of education in religions, even if it were an equal education in many religions, and then chooses Christianity as the best representation of “Truth” – then, yep, it’s “indoctrination”.

    Oh, oh.. be careful to call it “passive indoctrination”. Make sure that it is known that YOU are “wise and knowing”, and while the average mortal may not see the subtleties, YOU can.

    What a joke.

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    1. Indoctrination comes in many forms.
      Cultural identity is one such.Becky was part of a culture of church attendance and worship.
      No one want to be Odd Man Out.

      I can quite openly admit to indoctrinating my kids in becoming Liverpool supporters.
      This is my team and they would watch matches on the TV and cheer along with their old man. When friends who supported other teams were around for dinner or to watch a game the kids stood by their dads and mums.
      As adults for them to now disavow their allegiance to Liverpool would likely be harder for them than for you giving up Jesus. But, unlike you, at least my kids have evidence to make a rational decision on whether Liverpool are the best team to support ( though this may not be the deal breaker! )
      So yes, indoctrination was definitely a part of their life.

      Your smug reply merely highlights a degree of unwilling admission for what I suspect is behind your own ”conversion”.

      Like

      1. Becky needs to give up the comfort and security she derives from her belief in her invisible (imaginary) friend, Jesus—for the good of humanity. It would be a wonderful act of self-sacrifice, Becky!

        Like

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