What Evidence Should We Require for Very Unusual Truth Claims?

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Christian reader of this blog: Good morning! When I am studying, I look at more than one translation; lately I especially like to see Young’s Literal Translation. Here is Luke 1:1-3:

Seeing that many did take in hand to set in order a narration of the matters that have been fully assured among us, 2 as they did deliver to us, who from the beginning became eye-witnesses, and officers of the Word, 3 it seemed good also to me, having followed from the first after all things exactly, to write to thee in order, most noble Theophilus.

Of course you could take that differently than I do… we all see things through our own world views. I have questioned literally everything about my Christian faith; with my educational background in science, I am trained to have a “high index of suspicion” so to speak. And I am still a Christian. I pray that you too will come home to Christ. Here is an interesting site on documentation of the words of Christ:

https://www.gospelevidence.com/about_me/
God bless you.

Gary: History records many, many instances of very sincere people claiming to have experienced very unusual, very extraordinary events. What criteria do you believe that we should use to determine which of these extraordinary claims are true and which are not?

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104 thoughts on “What Evidence Should We Require for Very Unusual Truth Claims?

  1. Very unusual truth-claims? This can also apply both ways, such as to the truth-claim that God doesn’t exist because one has never seen God in person, and so they aren’t going to even admit the possibility of the existence of a God who is Sovereign, and has chosen to NOT reveal Himself in accordance with their demands? If that isn’t a truth-claim worthy of the same criticisms, then someone around here is sorely and passionately ignorant, including the author of that article.

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    1. … has chosen to NOT reveal Himself … — Where does it say that “he” made this choice? And I’m not talking about what “man” has said about this, but where does it say that “God” make this choice?

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      1. Nan, if you won’t accept anything written by the hand of man about God’s not revealing Himself as you or anyone else would demand of Him, then you’re sure not going to be shown something along that line written by the Hand of God. What are you getting at?

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      2. Also, Nan, even if God directly appeared to and spoke with you and all others who claim they would believe in Him if He appeared to them, not all of them, and possibly you, would believe in Him. After all, God revealed Himself to mankind in the first-century (John 1:1,14), speaking like “no man ever spoke” (John 7:46) and working all manner of miracles, including walking on water, healing the blind, reattaching severed body parts with the touch of His hand, and raising the dead. Yes, even though, for example, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and came back from the dead Himself, many still did not believe in Him (John 11:45-53; 12:9-11)—they rejected Him despite the fact that He (God) appeared to them face to face.

        So, if you’re going to sit there, claiming you’d believe in Him if only He appeared to you in order to reveal Himself, you can claim you’d believe, but then we don’t have proof of that claim either. Most who saw Him and what He did walked away demanding He be crucified for being a false Messiah.

        The Bible says what can be known of God should be clear to anyone who studies what he has made. The clockwork mechanism of the universe, the laws of physics, the functioning of the human anatomy and so on reveal evidence of a Creator. Those who fail or refuse to discern God and his unlimited divine power and wisdom, by observing creation, are without excuse (Romans 1:18 – 20).

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        1. God revealed Himself to mankind in the first-century (John 1:1,14), speaking like “no man ever spoke” (John 7:46) and working all manner of miracles, including walking on water, healing the blind, reattaching severed body parts with the touch of His hand, and raising the dead.

          Yes, there are 2,000 year old stories that say Jesus did these unusual deeds, but how can we today know for sure that these stories are true?

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          1. That depends on what you expect for proof. Everybody has their own subjective, preconceived level of evidence they choose to accept.

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              1. Depends on from whom it came. If came from a mere man, than I would have to rely on witness testimony, physical evidence if there is any, and a number of other elements that speak to that level of a claim. When it comes to the “unusual” claims from Deity as measured against mortal man, and that Deity makes Himself known to those who seek Him in personal ways, then that goes beyond witness testimony and any physical evidence that is, in fact, all around us.

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                  1. You’ve asked this before, and I answered you that language doesn’t capture the full depths of that relationship and that Presence. That would be like me demanding that you provide for me a 2 bit binary printout of the English dictionary. It can’t be done. So, as always, your dissatisfaction with answers that fail to meet your impossible standards will fall by the wayside, even though I told you before that you have to explore it all for yourself. He doesn’t make Himself real to those who don’t sincerely seek Him. Your claim to have never had such an in-depth experience only speaks to the lack of faith on your part, more faith in God than in yourself. Those who refuse to humble themselves as He is seeking, they never get to that place.

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                    1. How does one tell the difference between the voice of God speaking to you in your heart and the perception of your own inner dialogue—talking to yourself? Isn’t it possible that the voice you perceive communicating with you is simply…you?

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                    2. As I have said before, you will have to seek out the answer to your question for verification of an experiential relationship and its verification of God’s reality by way of seeking it out for yourself. It’s experiential, Gary. It’s not something that can be explained so easily with mere language. My thoughts are not so creative so as to have given to myself what the real and living God has brought to my experiences. The key word, Gary, is relationship. Married men cannot possibly convey all the experiences of marriage to those who have never been in a loving and wholesome marriage. We married men often look at each other with “knowing looks” when listening to those who have never been in a loving marriage talk about their thoughts and ideas of what it’s like.

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                    3. You have never seen, heard, touched or been touched by Jesus the Christ, therefore, it is entirely possible that your subjective experiences of him are nothing more than your imagination. Invisible, imaginary friends are very real to those who are under the delusion that such persons exist.

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                    4. “You have never seen, heard, touched or been touched by Jesus the Christ, therefore, it is entirely possible that your subjective experiences of him are nothing more than your imagination. Invisible, imaginary friends are very real to those who are under the delusion that such persons exist.”

                      Yeah, well, there are many things in existence that you have never seen, touched or been touched by that exist, and to say that they therefore don’t exist is only saying that they don’t exist to YOU. So, your reasoning, therefore, is flawed at the most fundamental level. You’ll have to do better than this.

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        2. So, if you’re going to sit there, claiming you’d believe in Him if only He appeared to youI never said that. And I wouldn’t because he won’t since he isn’t.

          My question was — where does it say that “God” make the choice NOT to reveal himself.

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          1. If you understand higher grammar, then this will answer your question. If not….

            Hebrews 1:1-4

            1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

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                  1. No. That’s a question in the direction of what they call Deism. Nope. The power in the relationship He forms with those who truly seek Him far surpasses any expectation we may form in our little minds.

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                    1. So you are saying that the best evidence for the truth claim that Jesus is the Creator is the perception that one has a relationship with him? How reliable are personal perceptions?

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                    2. How reliable are personal perceptions? Well, your perception seems to be that God doesn’t exist, and you trust in that…right? How reliable is that? If ever you have doubts about your own perceptions along that line, then you have to know that you will have a serious problem on your hands given the possibility of His reality and you going to your grave in disbelief.

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                    3. You are not using critical thinking skills, SW. It is possible that boogeymen exist and hide under our beds each and every night. But just because this phenomenon is possible does not mean that rational people should worry about it. Boogeymen, goblins, ghosts/spirits, resurrected corpses, and other ghouls may exist but until someone provides better evidence for their existence than disputed first century eyewitness accounts from a small group of religious fanatics, most of them uneducated and superstitious, I’m not wasting my time worrying about these concepts.

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                    4. “You are not using critical thinking skills, SW. It is possible that boogeymen exist and hide under our beds each and every night. But just because this phenomenon is possible does not mean that rational people should worry about it. Boogeymen, goblins, ghosts/spirits, resurrected corpses, and other ghouls may exist but until someone provides better evidence for their existence than disputed first century eyewitness accounts from a small group of religious fanatics, most of them uneducated and superstitious, I’m not wasting my time worrying about these concepts.”

                      This, then, shows what a hypocrite you are: You claim you don’t believe in God because you’ve never seen, touched nor been touched by Him. Then you turn around and say stuff like this. You’re not even consistent with your own reasoning to say that those other things may exist in spite of our having seen or experienced them. If you’re going to try and claim it only as a parallel, then perhaps you should pick a better comparison.

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                    5. I don’t believe in Lord Krishna, Allah, the resurrected Lord Jesus the Christ or boogeymen for one simple reason: lack of good evidence.

                      I never said that I do not believe in a Creator God. What I have said is that I don’t believe your god is the Creator God. What is your evidence that he is?

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            1. Well, it’s clearly apparent your interpretation is considerably different than mine since I see nothing in the scripture you shared that says “God” made the choice NOT to reveal “himself.”

              In fact, according to Christians, god DID choose to reveal himself in Yeshua, that misguided itinerant preacher. Of course, to believe this actually happened is a whole ‘nother story.

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              1. Again, Nan, the battering ram of “interpretation” has nothing to do with reading it for what it says. It’s clearly stated in that text the answer to your inquiry. Looking at it through blinders is a self-made tactic that serves only as a lame excuse rather than a well thought out reasoning from what it clearly says. Subjectively elevating the bar of your acceptance so high that nothing can scale it to your satisfaction is also a lame excuse. Just admit that you care nothing at all for anything offered. Your mind is made up no matter what. THAT is what the Lord will hold you accountable to in the end. You have nobody but yourself to blame.

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                1. Oh, this is funny … rather than a well thought out reasoning from what it clearly says. It CLEARLY says nothing that you claim it does. And it works both ways when you write: Your mind is made up no matter what. 🙂

                  Oh and BTW, about “the Lord” holding me accountable? I’m not in the least bit worried or concerned. But thanks for the “warning.”

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                  1. You’re welcome. I don’t like for people to be surprised about what they could have been warned about. In this case, you’ve been warned. Nuff said.

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                2. Do you believe it is just to punish people for what they think (believe)? Isn’t that a form of mind control? Can a god be just and good if he punishes people for thought crimes?

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                  1. No, Gary. It’s not so much about punishment for anything, especially about what you believe. It’s a matter of whether you will shoulder the responsibility for paying for your sins on yourself, or accepting the free gift of your sins being placed upon what Christ accomplished on the cross. If you are redeemed by the shed blood of Christ, then you will be delivered from the penalty of your sins, and the penalty those sins entail if taken upon yourselves.

                    Belief does indeed affect what choices you will make as to either accepting that gift or rejecting it. However, God looks upon the sin, and as to if there is atonement for that sin, or not.

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                    1. So you believe it is just to punish people for what they believe, or in the case of Jesus, for what they don’t believe about him being their “Lord”?

                      A person can be kind, giving, and loving to others but if he (or she) rejects Jesus as his Lord (a thought process), he is condemned to some form of eternal punishment. That sounds like mind control. Punishment for thought crimes. Not even the communists or the Nazi’s punished people for their thoughts. Your belief system sounds worse than Communism and Fascism. Your belief system doesn’t sound just or good.

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                    2. Gary, you keep throwing things in that I never said. You keep prattling about what one believes, and being punished or rewarded for it. Forget about belief at the moment. Focus on what I said. I said that it’s sin that condemns the unsaved, not belief or non-belief. SIN is the key. You either are redeemed from your sin, or you are not. Those who go to their graves with their sins still upon them, they will spend eternity trying to pay for those sins. It’s really that simple. Jesus offers a way out from that penalty.

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                    3. Is thinking about having sex with a hot woman who is not your wife a sin?

                      I’m sure you will say, “yes”.

                      Therefore, yes, you do believe in punishing people with eternal torment for thought crimes. Not even the Nazis did that. Your belief system is disgusting. If your god exists, he is not just or good by any stretch of the imagination. He is worse than any genocidal mass murderer who has ever lived. Yet you call him your “heavenly Father”. That is sick, SW. Snap out of your delusional thinking. Your belief system is the epitome of evil.

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                    4. “Is thinking about having sex with a hot woman who is not your wife a sin? I’m sure you will say, “yes”. Therefore, yes, you do believe in punishing people with eternal torment for thought crimes. Not even the Nazis did that. Your belief system is disgusting.”

                      LOL! Now your getting emotional. Not surprising at all. We were talking about beliefs, and then you leap to lust…as if it were the same thing. HAHAHAHA!!!! You claim to be so educated, and yet make these fundamental blunders. How funny indeed.

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                    5. As with other times I have answered you, this one is a yes. Why would any man think upon having sex with a woman not his wife if he is not lusting after her. Lust is indeed sin. Yes.

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                    6. SIN is the key. And who exactly decides what is or isn’t “sin’?

                      The only place that “sin” is talked about to any length is in the bible. And its credibility and authenticity has been questioned and debated for years — and continues to this day. So in essence, if one chooses to believe the bible’s contents, then obviously they are susceptible to “sin.” All others need not worry.

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                    7. Nan, relying on the doubts and arguments from those who choose to be enemies of God, and using that as an alleged backing for the idea the Bible has not proven its authenticity and accuracy, I’ll just have to ask how you think you know it’s unreliable?

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                    8. I guess my answer would be that I haven’t been convinced that the contents of the bible are based on fact. There are simply too many “if, ands, and buts” to its claims for me to accept its contents as non-fiction (i.e., content based on fact and not imagined).

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                    9. Nan, that makes no sense. They have found cities in Asia Minor that nobody knew were there, and the only reason they found them is because of the Bible, which adds to the plethora of many other discoveries that show its accuracy and authenticity. Go read up on Sir William Barclay, who launched out to disprove the Bible in about 1910, went to Turkey, and started from where Paul started, walked the days Paul recorded to ancient cities, and, behold, there they were…Derbe, Lystra, Lyonium, et al. You people being ignorant of all the archaeological evidence that has arisen from the Bible, that only shows your laziness to go out and get the facts concerning something you willfully want to criticize, showing your irrational bias and outright hatred of God. Nothing new here…

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                    10. Hmmm. How can you hate something that doesn’t exist?

                      As for the so-called bible history … I admit I haven’t done the research you suggest. Primarily because I’m simply not interested.

                      Even so, I did do a quick “Google” of your suggested individual and found essentially … nothing. In fact, the only place that mentioned him to any degree was the website of The Church of God — and for me, this instantly reduces the credibility factor.

                      Perhaps you meant Sir William Ramsay? Not a whole lot about him either, but it does mention his travels in Asia Minor — although nothing about the discoveries you cited.

                      Further, the fact that places mentioned in the bible exist doesn’t have any bearing on the so-called “message” of the bible itself … and to me, that is what lacks authenticity.

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    2. Very good. Let’s look at this truth claim using critical thinking skills:

      God doesn’t exist because one has never seen God in person, and so they aren’t going to even admit the possibility of the existence of a God who is Sovereign, and has chosen to NOT reveal Himself in accordance with their demands

      I agree that this is a silly truth claim. The person making this claim is asserting that just because he hasn’t seen a particular entity or thing, that this fact makes the existence of the entity in question impossible. Science contains many examples of entities which humans cannot see but science has proven they do in fact exist.

      So whoever makes the claim that “God” does not exist because they have never seen God is not thinking rationally. Many gods could exist even though we have never seen a single one of them. It is entirely possible that there are as many gods as there are atoms–innumerable to count—all invisible to the human eye.

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      1. Really? You’re actually asking such a question, as if it has merit? Just because you can’t seem to detect Him doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist.

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        1. It does have merit, if you understand what scientific inquiry is about. What practical difference is there to my life with the idea that God exist?

          As an example, I know that cars exist and that if I get hit by one it can hurt me a lot. As a consequence I’m careful when walking out into the road. Is there anything even remotely comparable to being careful crossing roads with your God?

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          1. Oh yeah, there’s that show-stopper…”scientific inquiry” rules of engagement, like a battering ram to try and derail what one doesn’t happen to like or believe.

            Well, I’m not so intimidated by such a claim, as if you or anyone else here are embodiments of intellectual achievement that carry enough weight to every be worried about. Yeah, I’ve seen all this before.

            The simple answer is that you don’t have to worry about God’s existence right now, or all the way to your last breath. You, like all others, who go to their grace in disbelief on such shabby grounds will one day see Him on His Throne, and judging you. After all, the thought of God does tend to interfere with living your life the way you want to live it, so the next best thing is to just live it up while you can, and then…you will find out if it was all true, which I wager it is because of personal experience that I have not the ability to transfer to you or anyone else. You have to embark on that journey yourself to find out if it’s true or not. After all, you’ve obviously never really done your homework well enough to find out if He’s real or not after living your life thus far in rejection of the evidence all around you that you still question, even now. The fairly tale of evolution and everything coming from nothing…come on!

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            1. “Well, I’m not so intimidated by such a claim…”

              My only claim is that I don’t know how to tell the difference between God not existing and God existing yet being so hidden that it’s completely undetectable. It was certainly not meant to intimidate, but to point you in the direction of the problems I have with theistic claims.

              “The simple answer is that you don’t have to worry about God’s existence right now, or all the way to your last breath.”

              So all you’ve got are vague threats about what’s going to happen to me after I’m dead. You’re so original.

              “You have to embark on that journey yourself to find out if it’s true or not.”

              How? Literally, how the hell does one discover that God actually exists? I’ve asked this question of many Christians and yet none can provide me a method that is demonstrably reliable. If there’s no way to reliably determine if God exists, but is indistinguishable from not existing, why should I care?

              “After all, you’ve obviously never really done your homework well enough to find out if He’s real or not…”

              Considering that you don’t know much of anything about me, or what I’ve done to answer that question, You’re really in no place to make such a bold statement and my life. But whatever you need to tell yourself so you sleep better at night. I know the world can be a scary place without a security blanket.

              “The fairly tale of evolution and everything coming from nothing…come on!”

              Given your demonstrated ignorance, your incredulity means nothing to me.

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              1. Completely undetectable? How did you ever establish that? Are you actually saying that you can detect the force in nature that can assemble proteins, lipids and all the other building blocks of living, functioning cells into living organisms capable of reasoning and rationalizing? Do you actually believe in that? After all, it too is undetectable, otherwise they’d have something besides randomness, chance and time to point at as the non-forces that allegedly brought about everything as it is.

                So, please share with us all how all that happened, or are you yet unsettled on an origin belief?

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                1. “Completely undetectable? How did you ever establish that?”

                  Because nobody has ever shown that it can be detected. Can you, or anyone else, show that any god (let alone your particular God) has ever been detected? As far as every prayer study that been conducted (setting aside the ones with serious methodological problems), none have been able to show any effect that is distinguishable from chance. But I’ll make a promise: I’ll gladly retract my statement, and even become a theist, if you (or anyone else) can demonstrate that God can be reliably detected.

                  “\Are you actually saying that you can detect the force in nature that can assemble proteins, lipids and all the other building blocks of living, functioning cells into living organisms capable of reasoning and rationalizing?”

                  Sorry, but arguments from ignorance don’t apply. I don’t claim to know how exactly life started, although we’re not completely in the dark either. We do know an awful lot more than you would let on. See the video below.

                  “So, please share with us all how all that happened, or are you yet unsettled on an origin belief?”

                  What does this have to do with the existence of the gods? Stop shifting the topic. If anything is going to answer the question on the origins of life it’s going to be science. Religion almost always gets it completely wrong.

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                  1. You still have not answered my question. Yes, origins is important in an exploration as to the Source…be it Deity or natural. You appear to be on the side of the natural moreso than Deity. Is that a reasonable assumption?

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                    1. “What are the chances that a god created the universe but his name wasn’t Yahweh or Jesus??”

                      What does that question have to do with what you believe right now? It’s diversionary, is it not? It’s a little kids game when compared to your thinking there is no God, so why ask such a thing if you’re not even entertaining the idea there may be a God out there?

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                    2. I’ve never said there is no Creator God. I personally believe it is very possible that a Creator exists. But there is a much greater chance that the Creator is a deranged scientist working at NIH at this very moment than that the Creator was the first century delusional peasant Jesus of Nazareth.

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                    3. “I’ve never said there is no Creator God. I personally believe it is very possible that a Creator exists. But there is a much greater chance that the Creator is a deranged scientist working at NIH at this very moment than the first century delusional peasant Jesus of Nazareth.”

                      You sure do like doing the shuck and jive dance to try and remain a moving target. I don’t care at all what you think are possibilities for God, or some other god, or a whole army of gods. You’ve made repeated truth claims for doubts about the One true God I have personally experienced in ways that are beyond describing to you. Hey, an all-powerful God can do that, in spite of your doubts. Not liking that, and therefore attacking it, you resort to this rabbit hole. Nice try, but you’re gonna have to do better than this.

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                    4. What objective evidence do you have that Jesus of Nazareth is the Creator God? Your subjective feelings and perceptions don’t count.

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              2. Vague threats? LOL. They are not threats if and when you find out eternity is for real. Can we agree on that? Never mind what you believe right now, we should both agree that if and when you find out the reality is other than what you believe right now, you have a problem on your hands…right? I don’t know how your judgment will turn out as to the exact punishment, but we’re given a good idea as to the general place where people who reject Christ Jesus will spend eternity paying for that rejection.

                Please keep in mind that I’m not threatening you in the least. My words are just that…words. The difference is in whether they’re true or not. I wager they are, and you wager they aren’t. I hope you change your mind. That’s my hope for you and all others here who don’t believe. There’s nothing in it for me either way. I just love and care about people, especially for their eternal future…you included.

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                    1. I will bet that the reason you spend zero time worrying about the Muslim hell is the same reason why Herald and I spend zero time worrying about the Christian hell: Lack of good evidence for the existence of the god in question. So you see, you are no different from us except that we ignore the existence of one more imaginary god than you do.

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                    2. “I will bet that the reason you spend zero time worrying about the Muslim hell is the same reason why Herald and I spend zero time worrying about the Christian hell: Lack of good evidence for the existence of the god in question. So you see, you are no different from us except that we ignore the existence of one more imaginary god than you do.”

                      You really have serious gaps in your understanding about the differences between the Bible and the Koran. Your ignorance speaks loud volumes through this statement of yours.

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                    3. You believe that Muslims have poor evidence for their supernatural claims and that Mohammad was a delusional fool.

                      That is exactly how I feel about Christianity and Jesus!

                      At least Islam’s holy book claims to have been written by the leader of the movement. Jesus didn’t even bother to leave us post card! The evidence for Christianity is pathetic. Contested, 2,000 year old eyewitness testimony from a small group of illiterate, superstitious peasants and one raving rabbi is NOT sufficient evidence to believe in a once in history corpse reanimation. Come one, SW. Wake up!

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                    4. “You believe that Muslims have poor evidence for their supernatural claims and that Mohammad was a delusional fool. That is exactly how I feel about Christianity and and Jesus! At least Islam’s holy book claims to have been written by the leader of the movement. Jesus didn’t even bother to leave us post card! The evidence for Christianity is pathetic. Contested, 2,000 year old eyewitness testimony from a small group of ignorant peasants and one raving rabbi is NOT sufficient evidence to believe in a once in history corpse reanimation. Come one, SW. Wake up!”

                      LOL! This is pathetic. You won’t even try to defend your evolutionary beliefs apart from pointing at all the people who have funny letters attached to their names, and falsely claiming “consensus.” Then you bring in muslims and their writings, none of which they believe were actually written by the hand of their founder, and some of which are known to have been plagiarized from the Bible. Have you ever read that chaos they call the Koran? You know nothing about what you’re talking about to try and make this comparison. Muslims believe that Allah is the author of the Quran. In verse 15.9 their god claims that he will preserve his message:

                      15.9. We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it.

                      Get that, “…sent down…”? You’re so funny, and ignorant.

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                    5. No other book ever written has the accuracy of the prophecies as the Bible. The Quran doesn’t even attempt to offer any prophecies, but the Bible has been spot on all along so far.

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                    6. Is the Bible listed in any record book such as The Guinness Book of World Records for its amazingly accurate predictions? No. It is not. In fact, the only people on the planet who believe that the Bible contains amazingly accurate prophecies about Jesus are Christians. Why do you think that is?

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                    7. Gary, that’s about as irrational as me claiming that you don’t exist because I don’t see you pictured and verified on the box of Cheerios I poured my breakfast from. I thought you were educated…or so you claimed.

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                1. “we should both agree that if and when you find out the reality is other than what you believe right now, you have a problem on your hands…right?”

                  Not necessarily. It’s entirely possible that if there is a creator that said being may judge us on how credulous we are in this life. Those who are credulous enough to become religious are tortured forever while skeptics are the ones who are “rewarded.” So no, even if reality is different than I believe it doesn’t follow that I’m in any jeopardy.

                  The reality is that even if there is a creator, which I see no reason to believe, we don’t know that there’s even an afterlife, let alone anything like the idea of heaven or hell. We most certainly do not know what the criteria for judgement is, assuming that there is a judgement.

                  You’re welcome to your beliefs but the simple reality is that you have no credible evidence to support them.

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                    1. I’ve never seen that wager as a defense on either side. It’s more of a fatalistic observation of an inescapable fact. Only one of the choices can be true. Otherwise, it would be a violation of the law of non-contradiction.

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                    2. “I’ve never seen that wager as a defense on either side’

                      It’s commonly used as a defensive apologetic in order to try and get people to believe. Even Pascal used it as a justification for belief in God.

                      “Only one of the choices can be true. Otherwise, it would be a violation of the law of non-contradiction.”

                      Well, yes, duh. Assuming that two choices are all that are out there. All too often people fail to recognize that often there are more than two choices on can make, as you’ve already done.

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                    3. “It’s commonly used as a defensive apologetic in order to try and get people to believe. Even Pascal used it as a justification for belief in God.”

                      That has no meaning to me as to how others have used it. What matters is what I’ve actually said when conjuring that statement. It’s true in what it addresses when it comes to the two possibilities it elicits.

                      “Well, yes, duh. Assuming that two choices are all that are out there. All too often people fail to recognize that often there are more than two choices on can make, as you’ve already done.”

                      Duh? Really? Now you’re going to try and appeal to other possibilities…as if they have any substance to what I have presented, and what you have stated as your belief? Come on…

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    3. @swordmanjr

      and has chosen to NOT reveal Himself …

      I always understood that God revealed Himself through Jesus?

      So, you are asserting that Jesus is / was not God?
      Interesting.
      Can we deduce from this that you are a Unitarian Christian? Christadelphian perhaps?

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      1. “I always understood that God revealed Himself through Jesus? So, you are asserting that Jesus is / was not God?
        Interesting. Can we deduce from this that you are a Unitarian Christian? Christadelphian perhaps?”

        Nope. The context of revelation Gary, Nan, Harold and myself have been talking about wasn’t touching upon anything you’ve said. They contend that because God has not revealed Himself to THEM, personally, that He therefore can’t exist. Jesus was/is the final revelation of God to the world, yes. The next revelation of Christ will be in the end times.

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          1. No problem. I don’t mind the question; Yes, in the sense that He’s fully God, and He’s fully man. That seems to violate the sensibilities of many since the spiritual is not limited by the constraints of the physical with which we are all familiar.

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              1. That depends on how you define your use of the term “evidence”. What type of evidence are you referring to in your question; measurable, visual, audible, sensory, and anything else to do with our physical senses, like something you can put into a lab beaker and verify?

                No. That’s not where the relationship and revelation happens.

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                  1. So, in other words you don’t want to define your use of that term.

                    That simply means the question itself has no basis, so what’s next?

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                    1. Not at all.
                      For example: If you make the claim that Jesus walked on water it remains a claim unless or until you can demonstrate the veracity of the claim. The same goes for the resurrection.
                      I wouldn’t expect you to accept my word that I saw someone fly over my garden on a broomstick, even if I swore blind I was telling the truth.

                      So if you feel you have evidence to demonstrate any particular claim (relevant to the discussion) then feel free to present it.

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                    2. You appear to have missed what I had said to the others who asked for the same thing, and on the same basis. Nobody can do that when you reject the obvious in all the creation around us.

                      Romans 1:19-22

                      19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,…

                      Those not willing to launch out into that journey of discovery for salvation and the resulting, indescribable relationship that only Jesus offers, there remains nothing for them. They remain stuck in the cesspool of their own vanity, in their own feeble thoughts and prideful indifference, and therefore remain stuck in what they think is an achievement.

                      Lack of evidence FOR something doesn’t at all prove it doesn’t exist. There are MANY things right here in this world that you’ve never seen for yourself, but that still exist. The Chinese, nuclear warhead that detonates over your head that you never saw coming nor detected, it would be very real to you when it detonates and snuffs you out faster than a candle can be blown out at a birthday party. Doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. Your indifference and disbelief in its existence has no effect upon its reality.

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                    3. Nobody can do that when you reject the obvious in all the creation around us.

                      Feel free to offer evidence that this ”the obvious” is ‘the result of creation.

                      If I quote Harry Potter for you will this impress you and make you consider there is any veracity in the words?
                      Why would you believe I would be impressed or swayed by you quoting from the bible or your attempt at apologetics? You might as well quote from the Qu’ran and cite Mohammed as the only path to enlightenment.

                      Lack of evidence FOR something doesn’t at all prove it doesn’t exist.

                      On that basis are you suggesting you would take my word I saw someone fly over my garden on a broom?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. What I was saying to you is that the lac of evidence in your personal awareness for something that you’ve never seen doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

                      The prime question that goes unanswered by many of you is why you believe in a naturalistic appearance out of nowhere, everything that is, and from where the vast complexities of life arose. Many claim to believe that in the place of a Divine origin. Both are systems of faith…aka…religious belief in the arena of proof.

                      So, pretending you’re not religious, maybe you should rethink it.

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        1. They contend that because God has not revealed Himself to THEM, personally, that He therefore can’t exist.

          No, that’s not what I contend. MANY years ago I experienced what I (at the time) considered to be a manifestation of “God.” However, over time and other more real experiences, I realized how the mind can often take flights of fantasy.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ok, so what are you saying? “Manifestation of “God”?” What is that? Is it like those roman catholics out there who think they saw an apparition of their “Mary”? What? Please elaborate.

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              1. Oh, ok. I think that’s a little more clear, but not totally consistent with what I was saying about the experiential relationship with Christ that surpasses any and all doubts in the life of those who are in that place.

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  2. He says he has an educational background in science, resulting in a “high index of suspicion,” yet the about me link only mentions studies in New Testament and Judaism. Hopefully he doesn’t consider those to qualify as formally studying science.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Re my previous comment- are the quote and the link from the same person? Now I’m thinking they are not, rendering my previous comment moot.

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  4. One common approach, and one that is understandably appealing for apologists, is the idea of the standards of a courtroom. It does have procedures and standards and rules for how evidence can be used and evaluated, and even if certain evidence is allowed to be used. People like Lee Strobel and J. Warner Wallace, among others, try to shoehorn their interpretation of history into this system. While they claim expertise and experience in this system, it’s obvious they are allowing their faith to dictate their methodology and conclusions. One glaring example is that they don’t see a problem with our inability to cross examine authors of anonymous writings that another person perhaps hundreds of years later claims were written by eyewitnesses, or people who knew eyewitnesses. What modern courtroom would allow that, or even allow as admissible the use of non original documents thousands of years old – copies of copies of copies etc.

    Liked by 2 people

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