Christian blogger: Greetings, Gary, and welcome. Thank you for your interest in truth, however you seek it, and for your comment. You said:The bigger question is: Is there any good evidence that the supernatural operates in our universe?
In what context is the ‘supernatural’ supposed to be operating, and what would you accept as ‘evidence’?
Much of the sectarianism, violence, and war in our world is based on religion (belief in the supernatural).
Man has always been violent. We have no history of a non-volent era, whether that violence is based upon a religious goal or a sectarian one. I fail to see your point.
If the supernatural is not active in our world, shouldn’t the people of the world know this? Wouldn’t such information be extremely useful for how we treat our fellow human beings?
According to Christian understanding, God is always active in our world. Our very existence, whether we are righteous or unrighteous depends upon his keeping us alive and here. If God is **not** active as you suggest above. No one would know, because no one would exist. If God **is** active, unless he causes us to ‘know’ it, by what power of our natural senses could we sense the spiritual? The Spirit cannot be seen, heard, felt, smelled or tasted. How would we know, unless God made himself known, vis-à-vis through our natural senses? Concerning its usefulness, God is not a tool that could be used. According to Christianity, loving one’s fellow man has to do with obedience to God. It is not something that is done, because we’ve picked up on the Presence of the spiritual. If Christians are violent, they are disobedient. If other folks are violent, they are simply living out their rebellion against the God they’ve only heard about.
Your beliefs may be very comforting for you, Eddie. Most religious people, of all religions, find great comfort and security in their “faith”.
But what is the trade off for your fellow human beings for your personal comfort and sense of security? If I am obedient to the Lord, and if that translates to comfort and security for me, then I suppose the ‘trade off’ would be others would be able to feel comfort and feel secure in my presence, because I would do them no harm. But, once again, it is a matter of my obedience to the Lord. My sense of comfort and security is not a tool I could use to cause others to sense the Presence of the Spirit.
Bottom line: Humanity needs to know, one way or the other, if the supernatural operates in our world.
The only way I know that one could reasonably use to know truth is to be obedient to what Jesus said in John 7:16-17 “My doctrine isn’t mine but his who sent me. If a man would do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.” In secular terms that would be the scientific method. You have an idea, which you believe is true. Next, you predict what would occur, if you applied your idea. Then you test your idea in a ‘laboratory’ (wherever the test can be made). If the result is according to your prediction, you know the truth, if not, then its back to square one, or at least square two and make a different prediction! Christianity says it does. Christianity says they have eyewitness evidence to supernatural events. I say that if one looks at the Christian evidence using good critical thinking skills, the evidence for these claims is very, very poor.
Well, you are offering a mixed bag here, aren’t you? According to the YouTube video I watched on your site, some folks who claimed to be Christian also claimed to have had special ‘appearances’ of angels or Mary etc. From where I sit, that’s like someone telling me they saw Sasquatch or the Lock Nest Monster. Did they? Well, I hate to call anyone a liar, and I suppose it is possible it occurred in accordance with their claim, but ‘saying’ something is true isn’t evidence. On the other hand, the evidence of eye-witness reports in the Gospels and Acts is closer to what one finds used to define the truth in the legal systems we use throughout the world. Unless you are willing to throw out eye-witness testimony everywhere and in all cases, then what we find in the New Covenant text is valid, at least valid enough to consider further, just like any jury who must decide, if the ‘eye-witness’ testimony they heard was the truth or a tale.
I hope that you and your readers will at least keep an open mind to the possibility that eyewitness testimony is not always reliable.
I do understand that all eye-witness testimony isn’t truth, after all, the Gospel records, themselves, record the eye-witness testimony of liars who thought to offer evidence against Jesus, but their testimonies couldn’t be used to agree with one another. They had to have contradicted one another, or their testimonies were about different matters that couldn’t be used to support one another .As I said previously, Gary, I’m not disposed to debating with you, which is why I didn’t comment on your website. On the other hand, I have no control over you being the aggressor and commenting on my blog. I will reply to you here, but only so far. There will come a point, when further commentary would be pointless. For now, there is value in this for others who might read. If you wish to continue, fine; if not, that’s also fine with me. Have a good evening.
-Let’s define a supernatural event as any event which defies the laws of physics.
-If you do not see belief in the supernatural as a problem, then this is a moot point, although I will bet that you would agree that the world would be much better off without the supernatural beliefs of Islam, Hinduism, and the traditional religions of Africa and South American indigenous peoples.
-You said, “Our very existence, whether we are righteous or unrighteous depends upon his keeping us alive and here. If God is **not** active as you suggest above. No one would know, because no one would exist.” I don’t think you can provide any good evidence for this claim. I am not an atheist. So there is no need for us to debate the evidence for the origin of the universe. I believe our universe was most likely created by an intelligent being. But isn’t it entirely possible that our creator is dead? That is what the evidence indicates to me. Getting to the point: I believe our universe most probably had a creator but the evidence that Yahweh/Jesus the Christ is that creator is very, very poor. Christian apologists assume that evidence for a creator is evidence for their god. This is a logical fallacy.
–You said, “How would we know, unless God made himself known, vis-à-vis through our natural senses?” I’m not sure what you are referring to. Are you speaking about the testimony of the Holy Spirit? Do you perceive the presence of the Holy Spirit, Eddie? If so, through which of your five senses?
-You said, “The only way I know that one could reasonably use to know truth is to be obedient to what Jesus said in John 7:16-17 “My doctrine isn’t mine but his who sent me. If a man would do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.” In secular terms that would be the scientific method. I strongly disagree. The scientific method is the most accurate method of determining universal truths ever known to humanity. There is no Baptist scientific method. There is no Lutheran scientific method. No Roman Catholic scientific method. No evangelical scientific method. No Muslim scientific method. Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, evangelical, and Muslim scientists all eventually come to the same conclusion using the scientific method. Not so with determining “God’s doctrine”!
-You said, “The evidence of eye-witness reports in the Gospels and Acts is closer to what one finds used to define the truth in the legal systems we use throughout the world.” False. The four Gospels do not expressly state their authorship. They are written in the third person. And, the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels is disputed among the experts, even among Christian scholars (many Roman Catholic scholars, who believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus, doubt the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels.) So I must disagree, this is NOT the type of eyewitness testimony we find in our legal systems. In what court would a judge allow eyewitness statements to be entered into evidence when the eyewitness status of the statements is disputed by the experts; the documents are not signed by the authors; and the statements continuously refer to “they” and “them” and never to “I” or “we”! No way would a judge admit these statements into evidence. Mormonism, on the other hand, has eyewitnesses with signed affidavits claiming to have seen an angel/golden plates. THAT is the type of evidence we see in our legal systems. So why do you reject these eyewitness statements, Eddie??
-You said, “I do understand that all eye-witness testimony isn’t truth, after all, the Gospel records, themselves, record the eye-witness testimony of liars who thought to offer evidence against Jesus, but their testimonies couldn’t be used to agree with one another. They had to have contradicted one another, or their testimonies were about different matters that couldn’t be used to support one another.” Please present ONE resurrected Jesus appearance sighting described by all three Synoptic Gospels. You can’t. The original Gospel of Mark has no appearance stories. The appearances in Matthew all occur in Galilee, except the appearance to the women in the Garden in which they touch his feet. The appearances in Luke all occur in the vicinity of Jerusalem and Bethany, and there is no mention of an appearance to women. Yes, we have numerous dead person sightings, but no dead person sighting with multiple sources attesting to that particular event. That is a problem, my friend. You do NOT have multiple eyewitnesses attesting to the same event! (The Gospel of John was written several decades after the Synoptics. It is therefore possible that the author of this Gospel had access to the appearance stories in Matthew and Luke.)
End of post.