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Scrawly
02-01-2015, 01:47 AM
The following is a lecture given by Dr. Craig Keener on the topic of supposed modern day miracles. I am interested in the skeptical response to these reports. If you do not believe that supernatural healing by God is involved here, what exactly do you think is going on? Please watch the video before commenting:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU

Tassman
02-01-2015, 04:00 AM
The following is a lecture given by Dr. Craig Keener on the topic of supposed modern day miracles. I am interested in the skeptical response to these reports. If you do not believe that supernatural healing by God is involved here, what exactly do you think is going on? Please watch the video before commenting:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU


There is no good reason to think that these “miracles” don’t have a natural explanation, even if it's not understood at this stage. They are all anecdotal and none have occurred under controlled circumstances, which suggest they are probably faith-conditioned wishful thinking rather than miracles. it's worth noting that Keener is a NT scholar, not a qualified member of the health profession.

In fact there are many instances of spontaneous remissions, misdiagnoses and placebo effects. There are also many accounts of relapses of the condition after the so-called miracle healing – especially those of the hyped-up, emotionally charged Benny Hinn type.

shunyadragon
02-01-2015, 04:58 AM
Tassman's response answered the question. I could not add anything.

seer
02-01-2015, 06:15 AM
There is no good reason to think that these “miracles” don’t have a natural explanation, even if it's not understood at this stage. They are all anecdotal and none have occurred under controlled circumstances, which suggest they are probably faith-conditioned wishful thinking rather than miracles. it's worth noting that Keener is a NT scholar, not a qualified member of the health profession.

In fact there are many instances of spontaneous remissions, misdiagnoses and placebo effects. There are also many accounts of relapses of the condition after the so-called miracle healing – especially those of the hyped-up, emotionally charged Benny Hinn type.

Thankfully since I recently witnessed an event (which I posted here) that had no natural explanation, nor is there even a theory on how such a thing could happen, I can fairly confidently say that I experience something that had no natural cause. BTW Tass, it is your lucky day - I took you off ignore. I bet you feel like you hit the lottery! :wink:

seer
02-01-2015, 06:32 AM
Tassman's response answered the question. I could not add anything.

Really Shuny, does that also apply to the miracles of Bahá’u’lláh?

http://bahai-library.com/books/miracles/bahai.html

shunyadragon
02-01-2015, 06:56 AM
Really Shuny, does that also apply to the miracles of Bahá’u’lláh?

http://bahai-library.com/books/miracles/bahai.html

Actually, yes REALLY, it applies. Read carefully the source you referenced as well as the one that follows.



Bahá’í Writings teach us that if we wish to discover whether any one of the Messengers was in reality a Prophet of God, we must investigate the facts surrounding His life and history. The "…first point of our investigation will be the education He bestowed upon mankind. If He has been an Educator, if He has really trained a nation or people, causing it to rise from the lowest depths of ignorance to the highest station of knowledge, then we are sure that He was a Prophet. This is a plain and clear method of procedure, proof that is irrefutable. We do not need to seek after other proofs. We do not need to mention miracles, saying that out of rock water gushed forth, for such miracles and statements may be denied and refused by those who hear them."

The view of miracles is distinctly different then the view presented in this video, and that held by many Christians. See below.

In reference to the apparent Miracle 'witnessed' concerning the events of the execution of the Bab.



No one knows if Khan’s 750 soldiers intentionally aimed high to sever the ropes; or if somehow the fusillade of bullets miraculously missed their target. Mid-19th Century weapons technology did not produce great accuracy, so a purely scientific explanation seems unlikely. But for Baha’is, the prospect of a miracle is not the point – Baha’is believe that miracles are no proof of the truth.

"… for the Manifestations these miracles and wonderful signs have no importance. They do not even wish to mention them. For if we consider miracles a great proof, they are still only proofs and arguments for those who are present when they are performed, and not for those who are absent." – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 99.

So are miracles possible? Certainly some Baha’is believe they have seen miraculous events occur, or even experienced them. However, the Baha’i Faith does not present miracles as a proof of anything; and in addition, Baha’u'llah specifically asked the Baha’is to not relate miracle stories, writing:

"We entreat Our loved ones not to besmirch the hem of Our raiment with the dust of falsehood, neither to allow references to what they have regarded as miracles and prodigies to debase Our rank and station, or to mar the purity and sanctity of Our name." – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 33

martyrdom site, Many people have experienced supernatural feelings, emotions or events – “super”-natural meaning something not explainable by natural laws. Just about everyone who dreams has had a déjà-vu experience, where a dream will exactly recall or predict a future event. Just because science can’t yet explain such phenomenon doesn’t make them any less plausible – after all, every day we continue to make new scientific discoveries that were never thought possible before.

The bottom line in the Baha'i writings is the appearance of the miraculous or the 'super' natural is the natural not understood from the human perspective, and should not be presented as evidence or proof the existence of God nor the proof of the truth of one claim of Revelation over another or simply the natural course of events we at present do not understand.

These citations concerning our human understanding of the claim of the 'Miraculous' as well as understanding scripture further exemplifies the underlying Baha'i principle of giving preeminence of science concerning the understanding the nature of physical existence and the events we observe.

The notion that 'since science apparently cannot explain a miraculous claim therefore . . .' represents a deeply rooted fallacy belief among many Christians use to justify that the 'miraculous' is in some way a proof or witness of the certainty of their belief.

Glad you asked. This is in full agreement with the view presented by Tassman.

shunyadragon
02-01-2015, 07:35 AM
Thankfully since I recently witnessed an event (which I posted here) that had no natural explanation, nor is there even a theory on how such a thing could happen, I can fairly confidently say that I experience something that had no natural cause. BTW Tass, it is your lucky day - I took you off ignore. I bet you feel like you hit the lottery! :wink:

You're neglecting the fallible nature of your own humanness and understanding of the possibility of natural explanations for things we observe. You often make the point of attacking scientists for the problem of human fallibility, but neglect the problem of the weakness of your own perspective.

seer
02-01-2015, 09:57 AM
Glad you asked. This is in full agreement with the view presented by Tassman.

No you are not. Do actual miracles happen - yes or no? I'm not asking whether they are proof of anything.

seer
02-01-2015, 10:00 AM
You're neglecting the fallible nature of your own humanness and understanding of the possibility of natural explanations for things we observe. You often make the point of attacking scientists for the problem of human fallibility, but neglect the problem of the weakness of your own perspective.


No Shuny, there was no question about what I saw or what the mountain biker who also witnessed the event saw. And there is no naturalistic explanation.

whag
02-01-2015, 10:37 AM
Thankfully since I recently witnessed an event (which I posted here) that had no natural explanation, nor is there even a theory on how such a thing could happen, I can fairly confidently say that I experience something that had no natural cause. BTW Tass, it is your lucky day - I took you off ignore. I bet you feel like you hit the lottery! :wink:

You mean the miracle of the floating fern?

seer
02-01-2015, 11:24 AM
You mean the miracle of the floating fern?

Yes...

shunyadragon
02-01-2015, 12:09 PM
No you are not. Do actual miracles happen - yes or no? I'm not asking whether they are proof of anything.

Read my previous post. Many answer is abundantly clear and specific. My post quoted the reference you cited specifically concerning the Baha'i view of miracles. Please respond to that post.

shunyadragon
02-01-2015, 12:11 PM
No Shuny, there was no question about what I saw or what the mountain biker who also witnessed the event saw. And there is no naturalistic explanation.

Both mountain biker and you are fallible human beings.

shunyadragon
02-01-2015, 12:16 PM
You mean the miracle of the floating fern?

Dr. Who got a new Tardis.

seer
02-01-2015, 12:24 PM
Read my previous post. Many answer is abundantly clear and specific. My post quoted the reference you cited specifically concerning the Baha'i view of miracles. Please respond to that post.

So you do believe in miracles. So you are actually opposed to Tass' position.

Tass said:There is no good reason to think that these “miracles” don’t have a natural explanation, even if it's not understood at this stage. They are all anecdotal and none have occurred under controlled circumstances, which suggest they are probably faith-conditioned wishful thinking rather than miracles

You don't agree with that Shuny, since you do believe in actual miracles.

seer
02-01-2015, 12:25 PM
Both mountain biker and you are fallible human beings.

There was no question about what we saw Homer.

shunyadragon
02-01-2015, 02:44 PM
So you do believe in miracles. So you are actually opposed to Tass' position.

Tass said:There is no good reason to think that these “miracles” don’t have a natural explanation, even if it's not understood at this stage. They are all anecdotal and none have occurred under controlled circumstances, which suggest they are probably faith-conditioned wishful thinking rather than miracles

You don't agree with that Shuny, since you do believe in actual miracles.

You still have failed to read my post and respond.

To put it briefly All of Creation is natural and miracles are simply the natural not understood.

seer
02-01-2015, 02:48 PM
You still have failed to read my post and respond.

The reason I did not respond to your post Shuny is because you are again trying to have it both ways. Your view certainly does not correspond to Tass' So again, is the following a miracle Shuny? Yes or no?



‘Abdu’l-Bahá speaks of one of the greatest miracles of Bahá’u’lláh in prison in these words: "And this is one of Bahá’u’lláh’s greatest miracles: that He, a captive, surrounded Himself with panoply and He wielded power. The prison changed into a palace, the jail itself became a Garden of Eden. Such a thing has not occurred in history before; no former age has seen its like: that a man confined to a prison should move about with authority and might; that one in chains should carry the fame of the Cause of God to the high heavens, should win splendid victories in both East and West, and should, by His almighty pen, subdue the world. Such is the distinguishing feature of this supreme Theophany

shunyadragon
02-01-2015, 03:07 PM
The reason I did not respond to your post Shuny is because you are again trying to have it both ways. Your view certainly does not correspond to Tass' So again, is the following a miracle Shuny? Yes or no?

To put it briefly All of Creation is natural and miracles are simply the natural not understood. What was described in the reference is not a perceived miracle like seeing a fern floating above the ground. There was not a literal miraculous change of the prison into a garden or mansion.

You need to read your own references. No, you have not read nor responded to my first complete reference and post.

Scrawly
02-01-2015, 05:06 PM
There is no good reason to think that these “miracles” don’t have a natural explanation, even if it's not understood at this stage.

So God is ruled out a priori?


They are all anecdotal and none have occurred under controlled circumstances

Based upon your a priori rejection of supernatural intervention as even a possibility, I highly doubt a controlled experiment would sway you in any way.


which suggest they are probably faith-conditioned wishful thinking rather than miracles.

Actually many people converted because of the supposed miracles.


it's worth noting that Keener is a NT scholar, not a qualified member of the health profession.

What about the numerous cases where health care professionals were involved before and after the miraculous healing?


In fact there are many instances of spontaneous remissions, misdiagnoses and placebo effects.

True, but this fact can't be extrapolated to dismissively hand wave the miraculous cases in question.


There are also many accounts of relapses of the condition after the so-called miracle healing – especially those of the hyped-up, emotionally charged Benny Hinn type.

See above.

pancreasman
02-01-2015, 05:41 PM
There is I think a philosophical problem for Christians regarding miracles. It is often said in debates about the modern scientific revolution that Christianity is foundational to it since it puts the idea that the universe is regular and consistent.

Miracles OTOH posit a universe where God may intervene against natural law whenever he so chooses. These tow ideas seem contradictory to me. How can we, for example, study cancer rates in patients if miraculous hearings muddy the data?

The only solution that occurs to me is that such miracles must be very rare statistically. Why then do Christians pray so fervently (and in such large numbers) for healing?

NormATive
02-01-2015, 05:51 PM
The following is a lecture given by Dr. Craig Keener on the topic of supposed modern day miracles. I am interested in the skeptical response to these reports. If you do not believe that supernatural healing by God is involved here, what exactly do you think is going on? Please watch the video before commenting:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU

LOL!

I feel sorry for those whose worldview demands that one suspend the laws of physics and common sense in order to be "true."

Why don't you submit these "miracles" to the Million Dollar Challenge: http://web.randi.org/the-million-dollar-challenge.html

I wouldn't recommend it for the following reason:


1.2 How many people have applied for the Challenge?

Between 1964 and 1982, Randi declared that over 650 people had applied. Between 1997 and 2005, there had been a total of 360 official, notarized applications. New applications for the Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge continue to be received every month.

1.3 Has anyone ever passed the preliminary test?

No.

NORM

seer
02-01-2015, 06:03 PM
To put it briefly All of Creation is natural and miracles are simply the natural not understood. What was described in the reference is not a perceived miracle like seeing a fern floating above the ground.

You need to read your own references. No, you have not read nor responded to my first complete reference and post.

How do you know that they are natural? You own Faith calls them miracles by name. And how is this: The prison changed into a palace, the jail itself became a Garden of Eden not a miracle?

seer
02-01-2015, 08:29 PM
LOL!

I feel sorry for those whose worldview demands that one suspend the laws of physics and common sense in order to be "true."



http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-do-you-believe-in-miracles/


Belief in miracles is pervasive -- nearly 8 in 10 Americans say they believe in miracles, and 19 percent are non-believers. Personal religious beliefs have an impact on whether or not people believe in miracles.

It seems that belief in miracles is quite common. It looks like skeptics like you are the odd balls.

NormATive
02-01-2015, 08:35 PM
It seems that belief in miracles is quite common. It looks like skeptics like you are the odd balls.

Nine out of ten children believe in Santa Clause, too.

NORM

pancreasman
02-01-2015, 08:50 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-do-you-believe-in-miracles/



It seems that belief in miracles is quite common. It looks like skeptics like you are the odd balls.

Well, they are Americans.

Carrikature
02-01-2015, 10:59 PM
The only solution that occurs to me is that such miracles must be very rare statistically. Why then do Christians pray so fervently (and in such large numbers) for healing?

Any port in a storm?

Chrawnus
02-02-2015, 12:49 AM
There is I think a philosophical problem for Christians regarding miracles. It is often said in debates about the modern scientific revolution that Christianity is foundational to it since it puts the idea that the universe is regular and consistent.

Miracles OTOH posit a universe where God may intervene against natural law whenever he so chooses. These tow ideas seem contradictory to me. How can we, for example, study cancer rates in patients if miraculous hearings muddy the data?

The only solution that occurs to me is that such miracles must be very rare statistically. Why then do Christians pray so fervently (and in such large numbers) for healing?

Eh, no. As far as I can see the only thing you need to reconcile the idea of a regular and consistent universe where science is possible with a God who can intervene against the natural law whenever he so chooses is the ability to recognize miracles when you see one. That way any potential miracle won't "muddy the data".

Chrawnus
02-02-2015, 01:54 AM
By the way, what's a Protestant Catholic? :hehe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU#t=719

That's at 11:59 if the URL doesn't take you to the correct time.

Tassman
02-02-2015, 02:33 AM
Thankfully since I recently witnessed an event (which I posted here) that had no natural explanation, nor is there even a theory on how such a thing could happen, I can fairly confidently say that I experience something that had no natural cause.

With all due respect, the fact you cannot explain it doesn't mean it didn't have a natural explanation.


BTW Tass, it is your lucky day - I took you off ignore. I bet you feel like you hit the lottery! :wink:
Oh joy unbounded! :yipee:

Tassman
02-02-2015, 03:10 AM
So God is ruled out a priori?

There is no good reason to rule God in.


Based upon your a priori rejection of supernatural intervention as even a possibility, I highly doubt a controlled experiment would sway you in any way.

I didn't reject the “possibility” of supernatural intervention. I said there is no good reason to think that so-called miracles don’t have a natural explanation.


Actually many people converted because of the supposed miracles.

That doesn't necessarily make them real miracles.


What about the numerous cases where health care professionals were involved before and after the miraculous healing?

Health care professionals acknowledge that there are there are many instances of spontaneous remissions, misdiagnoses and placebo effects.

One notes that “miracles” seem to occur almost exclusively among people predisposed to believe they exist. E.g. Dr Keener, whom you linked to, is on the faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary wherein its “official Statement of Faith includes an affirmation regarding the Bible as "without error in all it affirms." Hence it would be surprising if he didn't believe in miracles.


True, but this fact can't be extrapolated to dismissively hand wave the miraculous cases in question.

The alleged “miracles” have not been “hand-waved” away. The fact is that the only available evidence is anecdotal, none have occurred under controlled circumstances.


See above.

There’s nothing to "see above”. The demonstrable fact is that there are many of relapses of the condition after the so-called miracle healings which indicates a psychosomatic or placebo component.

seer
02-02-2015, 05:47 AM
Nine out of ten children believe in Santa Clause, too.

NORM

But we are not speaking of children we are speaking of adults who do not share your materialistic view of the world. And why should they? There is no empirical or deductive argument that can disprove miracles.

seer
02-02-2015, 05:51 AM
With all due respect, the fact you cannot explain it doesn't mean it didn't have a natural explanation.

Well I'm open to a natural explanation for what I experienced. I have made this story known to a number of people, even people in the sciences, and so far no natural cause had been suggested.



Oh joy unbounded! :yipee:

Yes Tass, your life is complete again! So glad I could help! :ahem:

seer
02-02-2015, 05:55 AM
Well, they are Americans.

And we are the 4th most educated country in the world.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 06:06 AM
So God is ruled out a priori?

It is not necessary to rule out God, to believe that what appears to be a miracle from the human perspective can have a natural explanation.


Based upon your a priori rejection of supernatural intervention as even a possibility, I highly doubt a controlled experiment would sway you in any way.

There have been many studies and research comparing claims of miraculous healing and remission of disease, and the results do not support the claims that the healing was the cause of Divine intervention. It is a possibility in some cases, but the evidence is at best anecdotal and not convincing outside those that believe it.


Actually many people converted because of the supposed miracles.

This is clearly faith based conditioning. The human response to seeing what appears to be a faith based healing is not evidence of anything.


What about the numerous cases where health care professionals were involved before and after the miraculous healing?

This is where the research and studies come in that demonstrate that the numbers are not higher then the instances of spontaneous healing and remission of disease show that such claims are not sufficient to support Divine intervention.

I may cite these in later posts, but this dead horse was beaten to death on the old Tweb, and failed to be resurrected or healed.


True, but this fact can't be extrapolated to dismissively hand wave the miraculous cases in question.

The fact that many accounts have been documented as false and highly questionable is not dismissing these claims by a hand wave. There remain the possible Divine Interventions is a very small percentage, but not any more then the instances of spontaneous healing in the general population.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 06:11 AM
But we are not speaking of children we are speaking of adults who do not share your materialistic view of the world. And why should they? There is no empirical or deductive argument that can disprove miracles.

Your asking for empirical and deductive research to disprove an anecdotal claim, which does not work, Science does not work this way, nor is it possible to prove a negative in this case.

How about empirical or deductive arguments to PROVE the miracles are true. You can't do that either concerning anecdotal claims.

seer
02-02-2015, 06:56 AM
Your asking for empirical and deductive research to disprove an anecdotal claim, which does not work, Science does not work this way, nor is it possible to prove a negative in this case.

How about empirical or deductive arguments to PROVE the miracles are true. You can't do that either concerning anecdotal claims.

That is correct Shuny, you can not prove that miracles don't happen. So one should remain agnostic.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy"

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 07:08 AM
That is correct Shuny, you can not prove that miracles don't happen. So one should remain agnostic.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy"

If you read my posts you would find that I am agnostic to miracles, because there is no reason that they could not be the product of natural causes. God's miracle is Creation, everything is created naturally by God.

I have never attempted to prove miracles cannot possibly happen.

seer
02-02-2015, 07:12 AM
If you read my posts you would find that I am agnostic to miracles, because there is no reason that they could not be the product of natural causes. God's miracle is Creation, everything is created naturally by God.

I have never attempted to prove miracles cannot possibly happen.

Good, and there is no good reason to think that they can't happen. And I'm not sure what you mean by created naturally by God since once you introduce God you have introduced the supernatural.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 10:57 AM
Good, and there is no good reason to think that they can't happen. And I'm not sure what you mean by created naturally by God since once you introduce God you have introduced the supernatural.

No, not if you believe that the Nature of our existence Created by God is natural, and what humans consider miracles and supernatural is the natural not understood. Nonetheless everything described as miracles may well be natural events not understood. Supernatural explanations are not necessary for the explanation of these events.

Adrift
02-02-2015, 11:04 AM
No, not if you believe that the Nature of our existence Created by God is natural, and what humans consider miracles and supernatural is the natural not understood. Nonetheless everything described as miracles may well be natural events not understood.

I'm curious, do you believe in the existence of the spiritual?

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 11:09 AM
I'm curious, do you believe in the existence of the spiritual?

Yes. I do not consider the spiritual miraculous nor supernatural.

seer
02-02-2015, 11:21 AM
No, not if you believe that the Nature of our existence Created by God is natural, and what humans consider miracles and supernatural is the natural not understood. Nonetheless everything described as miracles may well be natural events not understood. Supernatural explanations are not necessary for the explanation of these events.

But Shuny, the universe by definition, if created by God, is supernatural. Even if God used "natural" laws and means, the point is the universe did not create itself. It needed a supernatural Creator.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 11:43 AM
But Shuny, the universe by definition, if created by God, is supernatural. Even if God used "natural" laws and means, the point is the universe did not create itself. It needed a supernatural Creator.

By definition I consider God a natural Creator.

seer
02-02-2015, 11:48 AM
By definition I consider God a natural Creator.

Is God natural Shuny or supernatural?

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 11:50 AM
Is God natural Shuny or supernatural?Natural

seer
02-02-2015, 12:04 PM
Natural

God is natural, really? In what sense? He is physical?

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 01:36 PM
God is natural, really? In what sense? He is physical?

No God is spiritual. The spiritual nature of existence is in harmony with the physical and all is natural.

seer
02-02-2015, 01:57 PM
No God is spiritual. The spiritual nature of existence is in harmony with the physical and all is natural.

Again in what sense is God natural? Is He physical made or particles?

pancreasman
02-02-2015, 02:28 PM
I suspect Shuny is simply denying the natural/supernatural dichotomy, which is a reasonable position.

Carrikature
02-02-2015, 02:28 PM
No God is spiritual. The spiritual nature of existence is in harmony with the physical and all is natural.


Again in what sense is God natural? Is He physical made or particles?

The two of you are using different definitions of 'natural'.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 02:31 PM
Again in what sense is God natural? Is He physical made or particles?

God is spiritual and natural.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 02:48 PM
The two of you are using different definitions of 'natural'.

So be it. My view of the miraculous and supernatural events from the human perspective does not change regardless. All possible events described as miraculous and supernatural can very will be natural and not understood or verifiable as to the natural cause. This is especially true of the Healing claims that are the subject of this thread.

Seer has chosen to push this beyond the subject matter of this thread to the nature of God, the spiritual realms, and Creation by citing Baha'i scripture selectively and not reading his own references. So be it. I gave my response to these questions.

I have defined my definitions of natural, and how I use them. In terms of God's Creation and our physical existence; God Creates in God's attributes naturally in uniform consistent Natural Laws, and there are no contradictions outside this that would be 'supernatural.' The perception of the miraculous and supernatural is dependent on human knowledge, and evolves over time. Primitive humans may have considered diseases, plagues, natural disasters, and even lightening and thunder to be have supernatural causes, and even images in clouds to have supernatural explanations. Today these are normal natural events, at least for most sane people.

Bottom line is I may not define my terms in the context of those clinging to ancient world views and hiding in Plato's cave.


God is not a chess player with the white pieces,

God is the sea and we are the fishes.

NormATive
02-02-2015, 03:22 PM
There is no empirical or deductive argument that can disprove miracles.

I think you have that backwards. Miracles need to be proofed. Non-miracle is the normative state.

NORM

seer
02-02-2015, 06:01 PM
I think you have that backwards. Miracles need to be proofed. Non-miracle is the normative state.

NORM

What is normative is not evidence against miracles, since by definition miracles are not normative.

seer
02-02-2015, 06:06 PM
God is spiritual and natural.

Shuny you are just making stuff up again. Please quote me where the Bahai faith teaches that God is "natural." I will be waiting...

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 06:19 PM
Shuny you are just making stuff up again. Please quote me where the Bahai faith teaches that God is "natural." I will be waiting...

I explained my position. Actually in the Baha'i view ultimately God cannot be defined specifically as supernatural nor natural. The ultimate nature of God is unknown. I am using 'natural' as all of existence is in harmony with the nature of God. God's Creation reflects the attribute's of God, and Creation is a natural process.

Back on topic concerning the nature of these healing miracles.

pancreasman
02-02-2015, 06:25 PM
I think we're arguing about the distinction between a pantheistic or panentheistic view of God against a more transcendent notion. There ARE some Biblical precedents for at least a panentheistic view of God. This blurs the distinction between natural and supernatural so as to make them practically meaningless. You may not agree with such a position but it is a legitimate one with a long history.

seer
02-02-2015, 06:29 PM
I explained my position. Actually in the Baha'i view ultimately God cannot be defined specifically as supernatural nor natural. The ultimate nature of God is unknown. I am using 'natural' as all of existence is in harmony with the nature of God. God's Creation reflects the attribute's of God, and Creation is a natural process.

Back on topic concerning the nature of these healing miracles.

No Shuny, you are just making up a definition of natural. You faith does not teach that God is natural in any sense of the word.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 06:30 PM
I think we're arguing about the distinction between a pantheistic or panentheistic view of God against a more transcendent notion. There ARE some Biblical precedents for at least a panentheistic view of God. This blurs the distinction between natural and supernatural so as to make them practically meaningless. You may not agree with such a position but it is a legitimate one with a long history.

The view would be close to panentheistic. Pantheistic is actually close to an atheist view.

pancreasman
02-02-2015, 06:31 PM
The view would be close to panentheistic. Pantheistic is actually close to an atheist view.

Yes, I agree.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 06:32 PM
No Shuny, you are just making up a definition of natural. You faith does not teach that God is natural in any sense of the word.

The reality is God cannot be defined from the Baha'i perspective. I use natural simply from my perspective as God's attributes are reflected in Creation and all we know objectively is a natural nature, not a supernatural nature.

seer
02-02-2015, 06:34 PM
I think we're arguing about the distinction between a pantheistic or panentheistic view of God against a more transcendent notion. There ARE some Biblical precedents for at least a panentheistic view of God. This blurs the distinction between natural and supernatural so as to make them practically meaningless. You may not agree with such a position but it is a legitimate one with a long history.

Creation Ex Deo....

http://maverickphilosopher.blogspot.com/2004/11/creation-ex-nihilo-or-ex-deo.html

NormATive
02-02-2015, 07:56 PM
What is normative is not evidence against miracles, since by definition miracles are not normative.

That's correct. Evidence against miracles is not normal because miracles aren't normal. You being the proponent of said miracles would need to prove them. Which, of course, you can't.

NORM

Enjolras
02-02-2015, 08:02 PM
The following is a lecture given by Dr. Craig Keener on the topic of supposed modern day miracles. I am interested in the skeptical response to these reports. If you do not believe that supernatural healing by God is involved here, what exactly do you think is going on? Please watch the video before commenting:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU

Interesting video. Here are a few thoughts and questions of my own about the subject.

There are many claims of the miraculous by Muslims too. Are we to believe those are real? Here's a whole website devoted to them: http://www.miraclesofislam.com/

Here a 5 hour video of 69 Islamic miracles one apparently cannot deny:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ekIMXhEYh8

There any many instances where miraculous claims are known frauds. Here’s James Randi exposing Peter Popoff:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNl52deOZro

We have many cognitive biases which lead us to false conclusions:


Confirmation bias- We never hear stories about people who prayed for healing and subsequently died. We only remember the stories where there was a ‘success.’
Anecdotal evidence- we are prone to believe stories people tell more than objective data.
Many people are superstitious and are excessively credulous.
Placebo effect and delusion: people continue to believe in homeopathy despite the fact that it has no scientific plausibility and no study has ever shown it to have an effect greater than placebo. The same is true of acupuncture. The same may be true of healing claims.
Regression fallacy: We ascribe cause where none exists. The severity of an illness tends to fluctuate naturally, so if you pray for healing and you feel better, you will naturally ascribe the healing to God, rather than something that would have happened anyway.
Post hoc fallacy- How do you establish cause? You pray about x condition and there is healing at some point later. How do you know healing would not have happened anyway? I might pray for rain, then a day later it rains. Did my prayer make it rain?
Groupthink- loyalty to a church community means people may not raise challenges to reports of healing because they don’t want to stick out.



Even if we take for granted that prayer works, how do you know your God answered the prayer? I have a Mormon friend who claims God helped him find a lost key in the middle of a large field. How do we know if God answered the prayer, or if Satan answered it to convince him that his false religion was true?

What exactly is proven by supposed cases of miracles? Let’s say someone is healed of cancer. Does that mean that the person who prayed for the miracle belongs to the correct religion or has the right ideas about who God or Jesus is?

Even if you don’t have a natural explanation for an event, that doesn't give one an automatic basis for saying it is supernatural. People once had no explanation for thunder, but that didn’t mean one didn’t exist. We simply don't know enough about some disease states to state definitively why they sometimes go into remission or reversal and sometimes not.

If prayers and miracles are real, why not send church congregations to children's hospitals to clear them all out? We have lots of unverifiable anecdotes about healing, but I don't recall hearing about a single hospital closing down because Christians prayed and then there were no more sick people.

NormATive
02-02-2015, 08:24 PM
If prayers and miracles are real, why not send church congregations to children's hospitals to clear them all out? We have lots of unverifiable anecdotes about healing, but I don't recall hearing about a single hospital closing down because Christians prayed and then there were no more sick people.

Excellen point, Enjolras.

I know of at least a dozen people who were all devout Christians, including my mother, who died after a long, painful and frustrating bout of cancer. Dozens, and in some cases, hundreds if not thousands of people were praying for each of them to be cured. Yet, they all died - some with incredible suffering and pain.

At the end of it all, at the funeral, all these "faithful" can only offer the hollow platitude that "she's / he's in a better place," or, even worse; her / his suffering served a "greater purpose." Such BS.

Religious philosophy only makes sense when you purge it of superstition.

NORM

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 08:36 PM
I suspect Shuny is simply denying the natural/supernatural dichotomy, which is a reasonable position.

correct.

shunyadragon
02-02-2015, 08:44 PM
How do you know that they are natural? You own Faith calls them miracles by name. And how is this: The prison changed into a palace, the jail itself became a Garden of Eden not a miracle?

Well . . . if you read carefully the references you cited these circumstances described here and the other references to the miraculous described in this and 'most' other miraculous references described in Baha'i writings describe what would be natural events and circumstances of events from the perspective of everyone else outside the events themselves, and as recorded in history.

Some 'apparently miraculous' events witnessed by others outside the faith like the circumstances around the execution of the Bab are not recorded in the Baha'i writings themselves as miracles. Baha'is are urged not expound on these events as proof or evidence of miracles that would justify the validity of the Baha'i Faith no matter how well documented they may be. Other references in the Baha'i writings are clear, and warn of the illusive nature of miraculous claims of any events or circumstances, because of the fallibility of human nature.

The prison Baha'u'llah referred to is transformed from the darkest and foulest of prisons into the Mansion of Bahji where Baha'u'llah was allowed to live in his latter years, and the Gardens of Eden are the Gardens of Bahji. No floating ferns in the air.

seer
02-03-2015, 04:17 AM
No floating ferns in the air.

Except that actually happened, and there is no natural explanation.

seer
02-03-2015, 04:22 AM
correct.

Except, nature would not be strictly natural. The universe is the way it is, and we are the way we are, as a direct result of God's action. Non-intelligent nature did not create, an intelligent God did.

seer
02-03-2015, 05:37 AM
That's correct. Evidence against miracles is not normal because miracles aren't normal. You being the proponent of said miracles would need to prove them. Which, of course, you can't.

NORM

I have zero need to prove anything. I know for certain what I have experienced in the past, your acceptance or non-acceptance is completely irrelevant Norm...

MaxVel
02-03-2015, 06:45 AM
Enjolras -

1. Miracle claims by Muslims (or whoever) need to be investigated and evaluated on a case by case basis, just as all such claims should be, before we decide that the claim might well be a miracle. But lets say that Muslims (or whoever) have some miracle claims as well attested as any Christian claim. So what? That's not incompatible with Christianity being true, in fact the opposite.

2. Exposing some frauds doesn't show that all are frauds, any more than finding some forged banknotes means that all banknotes are forged.

3. We can multiply lists of possible reasons why we could be wrong about something, but that does nothing to disprove any particular claim unless it can be shown that the error in reasoning applies in that particular case. Such a broad general skepticism also undermines things like the credibility of scientific research, so it 'proves' too much.

4. We have to look at the whole package of evidence in evaluating a worldview. Miracle claims would be only a part of that. There are lots of other reasons to doubt the credibility of Mormonism, so we can reasonably reject it as being true apart from it's claims of miracles.

5. Miracles can be evidence for particular people that God is real and both knows them and cares about them.

6.
Even if you don’t have a natural explanation for an event, that doesn't give one an automatic basis for saying it is supernatural.

Sure. And likewise, that we have some natural explanations for some miracle claims doesn't mean that all miracle claims therefore have (one day) a natural explanation.

7. :shrug: God doesn't seem to operate like that. He seems to want people to be involved in solving their own problems, by and large. What would happen to all the people employed by the hospital? Would the church get swamped by people seeking miraculous healing too, church members get greedy and power-hungry - Psst! I'll pay you to put my son at the front of the queue for prayer - in short, there are a whole bunch of prosaic practical reasons why such a thing could actually be counter-productive for God's point of view. Look at how many people followed Jesus in the Bible just for a feed, or a miracle, or to see 'the show', rather than because they accepted Him as their Messiah.

shunyadragon
02-03-2015, 08:56 AM
Except, nature would not be strictly natural. The universe is the way it is, and we are the way we are, as a direct result of God's action. Non-intelligent nature did not create, an intelligent God did.

We agree God Created our physical existence in one way or another. I will leave the problem of intelligence or the lack thereof to fallible human foibles. Considering the witness of history it is a very human thing to define what is supernatural, miracles, natural, unnatural or supernatural. The illusions of what is strictly natural or not would be lost even in the moment the words are spoken.

God is the Creator, not an engineer.

shunyadragon
02-03-2015, 09:35 AM
I have zero need to prove anything. I know for certain what I have experienced in the past, your acceptance or non-acceptance is completely irrelevant Norm...

Though Norm is correct, proof is on the burden of the claimant. You are the one who demanded others to disprove miracles.

In reality the claim of the supernatural or miraculous is an open ended anecdotal claim without resolution.

seer
02-03-2015, 10:33 AM
God is the Creator, not an engineer.

Is God intelligent? Does He will, think, intend and act? Nature, in and of herself, does none of these things. Therefore nature alone could not have the created the conditions we enjoy in this universe. It took an intelligent act of God.

seer
02-03-2015, 10:35 AM
Though Norm is correct, proof is on the burden of the claimant. You are the one who demanded others to disprove miracles.

In reality the claim of the supernatural or miraculous is an open ended anecdotal claim without resolution.

But I'm not claiming anything. In my case I presented the facts of my experience - you can do what you will with those facts. And your choice about what to do with those facts is completely irrelevant to me and completely irrelevant to the truth of the matter.

Enjolras
02-03-2015, 02:07 PM
Enjolras -

1. Miracle claims by Muslims (or whoever) need to be investigated and evaluated on a case by case basis, just as all such claims should be, before we decide that the claim might well be a miracle.

Agreed


But lets say that Muslims (or whoever) have some miracle claims as well attested as any Christian claim. So what? That's not incompatible with Christianity being true, in fact the opposite.

I'm wondering why you would say that? When one considers the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, the lesson seems to be that only the true God can perform miraculous wonders. Why would the true God perform miracles for members of other religions, when such miracles would serve to confirm them in their delusions?


2. Exposing some frauds doesn't show that all are frauds, any more than finding some forged banknotes means that all banknotes are forged.

True. This was only one of many reasons I have given for considering miraculous claims with considerable skepticism.


3. We can multiply lists of possible reasons why we could be wrong about something, but that does nothing to disprove any particular claim unless it can be shown that the error in reasoning applies in that particular case. Such a broad general skepticism also undermines things like the credibility of scientific research, so it 'proves' too much.

Not sure what you mean here. How would recognition of cognitive biases undermine science?


4. We have to look at the whole package of evidence in evaluating a worldview. Miracle claims would be only a part of that. There are lots of other reasons to doubt the credibility of Mormonism, so we can reasonably reject it as being true apart from it's claims of miracles.


Indeed. This is the view taken by many skeptics of traditional Christianity.


5. Miracles can be evidence for particular people that God is real and both knows them and cares about them.

Here's where confirmation bias takes place. People take miracles as positive evidence for God, but they don't take lack of miracles as counter-evidence.


Sure. And likewise, that we have some natural explanations for some miracle claims doesn't mean that all miracle claims therefore have (one day) a natural explanation.


Ok.


7. :shrug: God doesn't seem to operate like that. He seems to want people to be involved in solving their own problems, by and large.

Not according to Professor Keener. According to him, God performs miracles quite frequently, and he has written 1248 pages documenting such claims. In the video, he states:


The same range of miraculous events that occurred in the NT are happening today.
200 million people in 10 countries claim to have witnessed miracles.
1/3 of Christians worldwide claim to have witnessed divine healing.
1/2 of all conversions in China today are due to divine healing; some would put that figure at 90%!
80% of the growth in the church worldwide is due to divine healing.
Millions of people throughout India and China have converted because of miracle healing.
In the 3rd and 4th centuries, the leading cause of conversions was due to healings and exorcisms, and this has continued through the centuries.
At least a dozen people Keener documents in the video have in this day been raised from the dead!


So are you disagreeing with Keener here?


What would happen to all the people employed by the hospital?

Seriously? I know quite a few people in the health care profession, and every one of them would gladly find new careers if it meant their patients would be cured of their diseases.

We can change up the question, if you like. Why not have congregations pray for all the dead in the local cemetery to come back to life? Then we could still preserve the jobs of local morticians. According to Keener, God does raise the dead, even today. So why doesn't he do it where people could actually verify the truth of such claims, instead of random anecdotes about people in remote localities? Think of the conversions that would result. Keener claims that all but one member of a village in Africa converted to Christianity when the local pastor prayed for it not to rain for 4 days. Why not have churches pray for the inhabitants of Arlington Cemetery to be raised? The entire nation would be converted. If one takes Keener's claims seriously, it is difficult to see why such this would be out of bounds.


Would the church get swamped by people seeking miraculous healing too, church members get greedy and power-hungry - Psst! I'll pay you to put my son at the front of the queue for prayer - in short, there are a whole bunch of prosaic practical reasons why such a thing could actually be counter-productive for God's point of view.

Then Keener's God seems to be going about things the wrong way. According to him, millions are converting due to miracles, but in your reasoning this would be problematic.


Look at how many people followed Jesus in the Bible just for a feed, or a miracle, or to see 'the show', rather than because they accepted Him as their Messiah.

One of Keener's points is that it was the belief in miracles and wonders that got the church going in the first place. This is widely recognized by scholars, since even Bart Ehrman has said the same thing.

whag
02-03-2015, 05:06 PM
What would happen to all the people employed by the hospital?

What an objection.

Raphael
02-03-2015, 06:37 PM
By the way, what's a Protestant Catholic? :hehe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU#t=719

That's at 11:59 if the URL doesn't take you to the correct time.

An Anglican :rasberry:

Raphael
02-03-2015, 06:41 PM
I'd posted this before on TWeb, but it was obviously lost in the Big Crash. But this is why I can easily believe the majority of the claims from Keener's book (and BTW he did include medical notes and references where possible, so Tassmann objection that Keener is a NT scholar, not a medical professional is patently absurd)

My sister (who my folks finally managed to adopt when she was 11 when they got the laws of South Africa changed to allow adoption into a family of a different denomination) was fostered by my folks from when she was a few months old (she was so weak when my Mom brought her home, that they weren't exactly sure if she would survive the night). she had many medical problems, one of which was that her legs were so badly crippled that at around 18 months of age, the doctors were talking about her having to go into orthopaedic leg irons for the rest of her life and she was unable to stand properly, let alone walk (as you know most children should be walking by that age).

My folks were involved with the Charismatic Renewal at this time (around 1975/6 my sister was born in '74, I was born in '80). They took her to a prayer meeting, my sister was prayed for, her legs straightened , and she walked that evening (my Mom recalls that my sister walked, sat down, looked at her feet, got up, walked again, sat down again, looked at her feet again a number of times trying to puzzle it out). 40 years later, my sister still has no issues with her legs or feet.

This was not psychosomatic (an 18 month old, she wasn't faking, they had a more than one medical opinion confirming it, and they could visible see the deformity). There has been no "relapse" (I think after 40 years we can safely say that). And I do trust the testimony of all the witness (my folks and my 3 older brothers plus others)

What possible naturalistic explanation could you have for this?


(unfortunately I san't offer any concrete evidence, the doctors in question are long since deceased, and my folks didn't see a reason to keep a copy of the medical records and no video as my folks didn't even own a TV until after I was born let alone a video camera, so I don't expect you to believe the word of some random stranger on the net)

whag
02-03-2015, 07:09 PM
I'd posted this before on TWeb, but it was obviously lost in the Big Crash. But this is why I can easily believe the majority of the claims from Keener's book (and BTW he did include medical notes and references where possible, so Tassmann objection that Keener is a NT scholar, not a medical professional is patently absurd)

My sister (who my folks finally managed to adopt when she was 11 when they got the laws of South Africa changed to allow adoption into a family of a different denomination) was fostered by my folks from when she was a few months old (she was so weak when my Mom brought her home, that they weren't exactly sure if she would survive the night). she had many medical problems, one of which was that her legs were so badly crippled that at around 18 months of age, the doctors were talking about her having to go into orthopaedic leg irons for the rest of her life and she was unable to stand properly, let alone walk (as you know most children should be walking by that age).

My folks were involved with the Charismatic Renewal at this time (around 1975/6 my sister was born in '74, I was born in '80). They took her to a prayer meeting, my sister was prayed for, her legs straightened , and she walked that evening (my Mom recalls that my sister walked, sat down, looked at her feet, got up, walked again, sat down again, looked at her feet again a number of times trying to puzzle it out). 40 years later, my sister still has no issues with her legs or feet.

This was not psychosomatic (an 18 month old, she wasn't faking, they had a more than one medical opinion confirming it, and they could visible see the deformity). There has been no "relapse" (I think after 40 years we can safely say that). And I do trust the testimony of all the witness (my folks and my 3 older brothers plus others)

What possible naturalistic explanation could you have for this?


(unfortunately I san't offer any concrete evidence, the doctors in question are long since deceased, and my folks didn't see a reason to keep a copy of the medical records and no video as my folks didn't even own a TV until after I was born let alone a video camera, so I don't expect you to believe the word of some random stranger on the net)

That's the the difficulty of miracle stories as an evangelism tool. Most people being default skeptics like Thomas, regard 2nd hand accounts as convincing. What should a miracle hope to accomplish outside its immediate effect on the recipient and witnesses?

I think it's unreasonable for you to expect us to believe any 2nd hand story with no evidence. That's what we'd have to do if we accepted your miracle story.

shunyadragon
02-03-2015, 07:24 PM
I'd posted this before on TWeb, but it was obviously lost in the Big Crash. But this is why I can easily believe the majority of the claims from Keener's book (and BTW he did include medical notes and references where possible, so Tassmann objection that Keener is a NT scholar, not a medical professional is patently absurd)

My sister (who my folks finally managed to adopt when she was 11 when they got the laws of South Africa changed to allow adoption into a family of a different denomination) was fostered by my folks from when she was a few months old (she was so weak when my Mom brought her home, that they weren't exactly sure if she would survive the night). she had many medical problems, one of which was that her legs were so badly crippled that at around 18 months of age, the doctors were talking about her having to go into orthopaedic leg irons for the rest of her life and she was unable to stand properly, let alone walk (as you know most children should be walking by that age).

My folks were involved with the Charismatic Renewal at this time (around 1975/6 my sister was born in '74, I was born in '80). They took her to a prayer meeting, my sister was prayed for, her legs straightened , and she walked that evening (my Mom recalls that my sister walked, sat down, looked at her feet, got up, walked again, sat down again, looked at her feet again a number of times trying to puzzle it out). 40 years later, my sister still has no issues with her legs or feet.

This was not psychosomatic (an 18 month old, she wasn't faking, they had a more than one medical opinion confirming it, and they could visible see the deformity). There has been no "relapse" (I think after 40 years we can safely say that). And I do trust the testimony of all the witness (my folks and my 3 older brothers plus others)

What possible naturalistic explanation could you have for this?


(unfortunately I san't offer any concrete evidence, the doctors in question are long since deceased, and my folks didn't see a reason to keep a copy of the medical records and no video as my folks didn't even own a TV until after I was born let alone a video camera, so I don't expect you to believe the word of some random stranger on the net)

Unfortunately without the evidence this represents nothing more then many other anecdotal claims of the miraculous. I will also assume documentation and medical records were possible at the time of this claim.

At present there is no need to come up with a natural explanation until the documentation has been provided.

Adrift
02-03-2015, 07:47 PM
I'd posted this before on TWeb, but it was obviously lost in the Big Crash. But this is why I can easily believe the majority of the claims from Keener's book (and BTW he did include medical notes and references where possible, so Tassmann objection that Keener is a NT scholar, not a medical professional is patently absurd)

My sister (who my folks finally managed to adopt when she was 11 when they got the laws of South Africa changed to allow adoption into a family of a different denomination) was fostered by my folks from when she was a few months old (she was so weak when my Mom brought her home, that they weren't exactly sure if she would survive the night). she had many medical problems, one of which was that her legs were so badly crippled that at around 18 months of age, the doctors were talking about her having to go into orthopaedic leg irons for the rest of her life and she was unable to stand properly, let alone walk (as you know most children should be walking by that age).

My folks were involved with the Charismatic Renewal at this time (around 1975/6 my sister was born in '74, I was born in '80). They took her to a prayer meeting, my sister was prayed for, her legs straightened , and she walked that evening (my Mom recalls that my sister walked, sat down, looked at her feet, got up, walked again, sat down again, looked at her feet again a number of times trying to puzzle it out). 40 years later, my sister still has no issues with her legs or feet.

This was not psychosomatic (an 18 month old, she wasn't faking, they had a more than one medical opinion confirming it, and they could visible see the deformity). There has been no "relapse" (I think after 40 years we can safely say that). And I do trust the testimony of all the witness (my folks and my 3 older brothers plus others)

What possible naturalistic explanation could you have for this?


(unfortunately I san't offer any concrete evidence, the doctors in question are long since deceased, and my folks didn't see a reason to keep a copy of the medical records and no video as my folks didn't even own a TV until after I was born let alone a video camera, so I don't expect you to believe the word of some random stranger on the net)

I think one of the awesome things about this is that, while others may not be convinced by the anecdotal nature of the event, it obviously affected you, and your belief in God, and who knows how many other people's lives it touched by your family sharing this testimony.

Enjolras
02-03-2015, 07:48 PM
I'd posted this before on TWeb, but it was obviously lost in the Big Crash. But this is why I can easily believe the majority of the claims from Keener's book (and BTW he did include medical notes and references where possible, so Tassmann objection that Keener is a NT scholar, not a medical professional is patently absurd)

My sister (who my folks finally managed to adopt when she was 11 when they got the laws of South Africa changed to allow adoption into a family of a different denomination) was fostered by my folks from when she was a few months old (she was so weak when my Mom brought her home, that they weren't exactly sure if she would survive the night). she had many medical problems, one of which was that her legs were so badly crippled that at around 18 months of age, the doctors were talking about her having to go into orthopaedic leg irons for the rest of her life and she was unable to stand properly, let alone walk (as you know most children should be walking by that age).

My folks were involved with the Charismatic Renewal at this time (around 1975/6 my sister was born in '74, I was born in '80). They took her to a prayer meeting, my sister was prayed for, her legs straightened , and she walked that evening (my Mom recalls that my sister walked, sat down, looked at her feet, got up, walked again, sat down again, looked at her feet again a number of times trying to puzzle it out). 40 years later, my sister still has no issues with her legs or feet.

This was not psychosomatic (an 18 month old, she wasn't faking, they had a more than one medical opinion confirming it, and they could visible see the deformity). There has been no "relapse" (I think after 40 years we can safely say that). And I do trust the testimony of all the witness (my folks and my 3 older brothers plus others)

What possible naturalistic explanation could you have for this?


(unfortunately I san't offer any concrete evidence, the doctors in question are long since deceased, and my folks didn't see a reason to keep a copy of the medical records and no video as my folks didn't even own a TV until after I was born let alone a video camera, so I don't expect you to believe the word of some random stranger on the net)

Obviously, I don't know what happened in this particular case, but I have already given a few reasons why one should be skeptical of such claims. Here's another: our memories are unreliable:


"For many years most people assumed that memory was like a videotape – that when you accessed someone’s memory you could get a fairly accurate description of what happened, and that the more times you accessed it, the more accurate the description would become. Psychologists now compare memory to trace evidence, easily contaminated by the process of collecting it, such as the nature of a line-up or the casual remarks a police officer might make. Each time the police re-interview a witness or congratulate her for identifying a culprit, they contaminate that memory a little bit more, while at the same time making the witness more confident." (http://aeon.co/magazine/society/how-can-we-rid-the-legal-system-of-bad-science/)

You have given us a few details about a story from 40 years ago, about an event that occurred before you yourself were born. How do you really know what happened? You trust your parents and brothers, but I'm sure they have told and retold this story many times over the years, perhaps inadvertently adding to or taking away details from the story. Maybe your sister wasn't really as badly crippled as they remember. Or maybe she was. It's impossible to say.

How do you explain the fact that stories of such healings are so random? How do you explain the countless instances of prayers gone unanswered? If God really loves us and answers our prayers, why don't miracles happen every time you pray? Mark 11:24 states: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." It will be yours. Yet, we know this is not how prayer works, despite Jesus' very clear teaching that it does. Why is that?

Raphael
02-03-2015, 08:01 PM
That's the the difficulty of miracle stories as an evangelism tool. Most people being default skeptics like Thomas, regard 2nd hand accounts as convincing. What should a miracle hope to accomplish outside its immediate effect on the recipient and witnesses? I don't use the account of my sister's healing as a tool for evangelism. But I would expect witnesses of the event to be atleast moved to investiage Christianity and possibly become Christians because of what they witnessed.


I think it's unreasonable for you to expect us to believe any 2nd hand story with no evidence. That's what we'd have to do if we accepted your miracle story.Please learn to read, I specifically stated that because I cannot provide the hard evidence I do not expect you to believe it.

I also stated that because of it, I (meaning me personally) can accept the accounts listed by Keener.

Raphael
02-03-2015, 08:04 PM
Unfortunately without the evidence this represents nothing more then many other anecdotal claims of the miraculous. I will also assume documentation and medical records were possible at the time of this claim.Yes they were.


At present there is no need to come up with a natural explanation until the documentation has been provided.Nice dodge. when I discussed prior to the Great Crash, I was told (presuming my account was accurate) there would some naturalist explanation for it that we don't have yet, but no need to bring God into it.

NormATive
02-03-2015, 08:21 PM
I have zero need to prove anything...

That's very fortunate for you because it turns out that you can't.

NORM

NormATive
02-03-2015, 08:30 PM
:shrug: God doesn't seem to operate like that. He seems to want people to be involved in solving their own problems, by and large. What would happen to all the people employed by the hospital? Would the church get swamped by people seeking miraculous healing too, church members get greedy and power-hungry - Psst! I'll pay you to put my son at the front of the queue for prayer - in short, there are a whole bunch of prosaic practical reasons why such a thing could actually be counter-productive for God's point of view. Look at how many people followed Jesus in the Bible just for a feed, or a miracle, or to see 'the show', rather than because they accepted Him as their Messiah.

Yeah, I guess my Mom didn't try hard enough to cure herself of cancer.

What makes you think that God would make all the sick people "cue up" for cures? Couldn't It just zap them all well in an instant; in a twinkling of an eye? Or better yet; how about not letting them get ill in the first place?

Seriously? Your answer is that sick people are there so that doctors and nurses can have employment? I hope you are not planning on running for government office on a "jobs" platform.

You're not really helping your God's case much.

NORM

NormATive
02-03-2015, 08:57 PM
I'd posted this before on TWeb, but it was obviously lost in the Big Crash....I don't expect you to believe the word of some random stranger on the net)

Where did this take place? It sounds very similar to one of the first cases Ole Anthony (of the Trinity Foundation in Texas) investigated for his series on fraudulent "healing" cases. Ole is famous for his expose on Benny Hinn and revealing his outright fraud and lies. DatelineNBC based a program on Anthony's findings. It's surprisingly easy to falsify medical records and even x-rays.

BTW, I am happy your sister enjoys a normal, healthy life. Often, the real victims of these fraudulent healings are the very people they portend to "help," and are totally innocent. There are some very huge egos involved in the whole faith healing scam.

NORM

Raphael
02-03-2015, 09:02 PM
Where did this take place? It sounds very similar to one of the first cases Ole Anthony (of the Trinity Foundation in Texas) investigated for his series on fraudulent "healing" cases. Ole is famous for his expose on Benny Hinn and revealing his outright fraud and lies. DatelineNBC based a program on Anthony's findings. It's surprisingly easy to falsify medical records and even x-rays.

BTW, I am happy your sister enjoys a normal, healthy life. Often, the real victims of these fraudulent healings are the very people they portend to "help," and are totally innocent. There are some very huge egos involved in the whole faith healing scam.

NORM

Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa. And it wasn't a big faith healing rally. It was a normal old (Charismatic) prayer meeting. And it was not a fraudulent healing.

whag
02-03-2015, 09:24 PM
I think one of the awesome things about this is that, while others may not be convinced by the anecdotal nature of the event, it obviously affected you, and your belief in God, and who knows how many other people's lives it touched by your family sharing this testimony.

Something also to be considered: that the event wasn't meant to be a witnessing tool. I wonder if miracles are only for the intended audience so as not to make others feel excluded or judgmental of the teller for being overconfident in the stories' persuasiveness.

I actually know what this feeling looks like as I've endured my sister telling me voluminous UFO tales. Tales she wants me to believe. She's 100% convinced she sees interstellar craft. I have experience with this subject because of family and friends who've told me their "incredible sightings" stories. Funnily, my experience with them is anecdotal, too.

Adrift
02-03-2015, 09:54 PM
Something also to be considered: that the event wasn't meant to be a witnessing tool. I wonder if miracles are only for the intended audience so as not to make others feel excluded or judgmental of the teller for being overconfident in the stories' persuasiveness.

No, you don't wonder that. You don't believe in miracles.

whag
02-03-2015, 11:08 PM
No, you don't wonder that. You don't believe in miracles.

If miracles exist, I wonder if they're only for the intended audience so as not to make others feel excluded or judgmental of the teller for being overconfident in the stories' persuasiveness.

Tassman
02-03-2015, 11:52 PM
Is God intelligent? Does He will, think, intend and act?

There's no substantive evidence of a god existing at all.


Nature, in and of herself, does none of these things. Therefore nature alone could not have the created the conditions we enjoy in this universe. It took an intelligent act of God.

This is merely an argument from incredulity. Clearly "nature, in and of herself" does do all of these things, because they exist.

Chrawnus
02-04-2015, 01:35 AM
LOL!
I feel sorry for those whose worldview demands that one suspend the laws of physics and common sense in order to be "true."


You don't need to "suspend the laws of physics and common sense" in order to believe in miracles, any more than you need to "suspend" the law of gravity if you want to pick up a stone from the ground. :eh:

And what about miracles goes against common sense exactly? Or to go at it from another angle, why should we be concerned with it when common sense would, for example, have us discard any strange and counter-intuitive discovery each time we stumble upon one?

Tassman
02-04-2015, 03:34 AM
You don't need to "suspend the laws of physics and common sense" in order to believe in miracles, any more than you need to "suspend" the law of gravity if you want to pick up a stone from the ground. :eh:

The same applies to believing in Santa Claus. One is free to believe any nonsense the imagination can conjure up. Nor does one need to “suspend the law of gravity” to pick up a stone, but the laws of gravity need to be suspended if the stone floated away.


And what about miracles goes against common sense exactly? Or to go at it from another angle, why should we be concerned with it when common sense would, for example, have us discard any strange and counter-intuitive discovery each time we stumble upon one?

Common sense would not have us discard a “strange and counter-intuitive discovery”, but it would demand a reasonable explanation as to why such a discovery was behaving counter-intuitively.

Chrawnus
02-04-2015, 05:31 AM
The same applies to believing in Santa Claus. One is free to believe any nonsense the imagination can conjure up.

My imagination didn't conjure up the Christian God and His abilities to perform miracles. :shrug:



Nor does one need to “suspend the law of gravity” to pick up a stone, but the laws of gravity need to be suspended if the stone floated away.

Did the stone float away by itself, or was it moved by a supernatural entity? If the latter I don't see how your assertion holds at all.



Common sense would not have us discard a “strange and counter-intuitive discovery”, but it would demand a reasonable explanation as to why such a discovery was behaving counter-intuitively.

No, that's curiosity, that's not common sense. Common sense is what tells you to stay away from the unknown and keep inside during the night. :lol:

seer
02-04-2015, 05:55 AM
There's no substantive evidence of a god existing at all.


This is merely an argument from incredulity. Clearly "nature, in and of herself" does do all of these things, because they exist.

Sorry Tass, that was for Shuny, who does believe in a Creator God.

seer
02-04-2015, 06:00 AM
That's very fortunate for you because it turns out that you can't.

NORM

Of course Norm, just like I can not prove that I had a cup of tea Monday at 6AM. It doesn't make it any less true. Many of our past experiences are like that. Not provable in any empirical sense, yet just as real as anything else.

MaxVel
02-04-2015, 06:47 AM
Agreed

I'm wondering why you would say that? When one considers the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, the lesson seems to be that only the true God can perform miraculous wonders. Why would the true God perform miracles for members of other religions, when such miracles would serve to confirm them in their delusions?

I never said that God was the one causing the miracles of other religions. See Matthew 24:24, 2 Thess 2:9




True. This was only one of many reasons I have given for considering miraculous claims with considerable skepticism.


A bunch of poor reasons doesn't make one good reason, though....



Not sure what you mean here. How would recognition of cognitive biases undermine science?


If we're going to apply a broad general skepticism before looking at the evidence, we should (being consistent) apply that to the scientific enterprise as well, and thus reject or be very skeptical of most scientific claims.

Or you can have a double standard operating against evidence for things you'd rather not be true, if you like ... :shrug:



Indeed. This is the view taken by many skeptics of traditional Christianity.

Here's where confirmation bias takes place. People take miracles as positive evidence for God, but they don't take lack of miracles as counter-evidence.

How does that apply to someone who's heard the gospel for the first time, and been healed after the Christian then prays for them? (I personally know a number of people who this applies to....). Are they being irrational to think that the God they've just heard both is real and can heal them is the one who just has healed them?





Ok.



Not according to Professor Keener. According to him, God performs miracles quite frequently, and he has written 1248 pages documenting such claims. In the video, he states:


The same range of miraculous events that occurred in the NT are happening today.
200 million people in 10 countries claim to have witnessed miracles.
1/3 of Christians worldwide claim to have witnessed divine healing.
1/2 of all conversions in China today are due to divine healing; some would put that figure at 90%!
80% of the growth in the church worldwide is due to divine healing.
Millions of people throughout India and China have converted because of miracle healing.
In the 3rd and 4th centuries, the leading cause of conversions was due to healings and exorcisms, and this has continued through the centuries.
At least a dozen people Keener documents in the video have in this day been raised from the dead!


So are you disagreeing with Keener here?

Is Keener documenting cases of Christians going en masse into hospitals and praying and God healing everyone in the hospital?


Interesting that literally millions of currently living people have either experienced or witnessed miracles - and yet according to some, apparently every single one of them is wrong because 'miracles don't happen'.



Seriously? I know quite a few people in the health care profession, and every one of them would gladly find new careers if it meant their patients would be cured of their diseases.

We can change up the question, if you like. Why not have congregations pray for all the dead in the local cemetery to come back to life? Then we could still preserve the jobs of local morticians. According to Keener, God does raise the dead, even today. So why doesn't he do it where people could actually verify the truth of such claims, instead of random anecdotes about people in remote localities? Think of the conversions that would result. Keener claims that all but one member of a village in Africa converted to Christianity when the local pastor prayed for it not to rain for 4 days. Why not have churches pray for the inhabitants of Arlington Cemetery to be raised? The entire nation would be converted. If one takes Keener's claims seriously, it is difficult to see why such this would be out of bounds.


Why would God do anything 'on demand' to satisfy the whims of a skeptical person? There is already enough evidence available to support rational belief in God.




Then Keener's God seems to be going about things the wrong way. According to him, millions are converting due to miracles, but in your reasoning this would be problematic.

It would be helpful if your response actually related to the hypothetical that you raised originally - everyone in a hospital being healed more or less at once




One of Keener's points is that it was the belief in miracles and wonders that got the church going in the first place. This is widely recognized by scholars, since even Bart Ehrman has said the same thing.

Yep.

MaxVel
02-04-2015, 07:35 AM
Yeah, I guess my Mom didn't try hard enough to cure herself of cancer.

What makes you think that God would make all the sick people "cue up" for cures? Couldn't It just zap them all well in an instant; in a twinkling of an eye? Or better yet; how about not letting them get ill in the first place?

The logical PoE is a dead issue. You apparently have a problem with the emotional PoE. Sorry about your Mum.



Seriously? Your answer is that sick people are there so that doctors and nurses can have employment?

That's all that you got from my response to Enjolras' hypothetical? Really?

Enjolras
02-04-2015, 08:03 AM
I never said that God was the one causing the miracles of other religions. See Matthew 24:24, 2 Thess 2:9

So Satan is healing all the Muslims to confirm them in their delusions, and God is healing all the Christians. Tell me, how do you determine which miracles are from God and which are from Satan? How do you know Satan didn't raise Jesus from the dead to lead people away from the truth of Judaism?



A bunch of poor reasons doesn't make one good reason, though....

Which reasons are poor, and why do you think so? Do you believe all claims of the miraculous? If not, what reasons help you determine which ones are fake and which ones are real?


If we're going to apply a broad general skepticism before looking at the evidence, we should (being consistent) apply that to the scientific enterprise as well, and thus reject or be very skeptical of most scientific claims.

Or you can have a double standard operating against evidence for things you'd rather not be true, if you like ... :shrug:


Bingo. We should be skeptical when someone makes an extraordinary claim. If I tell you I have a pet dog, that's not hard to believe. If I tell you I have a pet dragon, you might want a bit more evidence than my saying so.

I guess I'm not sure what your point is. You are saying we should not be skeptical?



How does that apply to someone who's heard the gospel for the first time, and been healed after the Christian then prays for them? (I personally know a number of people who this applies to....). Are they being irrational to think that the God they've just heard both is real and can heal them is the one who just has healed them?

I know Mormons who have had the exact same experience. Are they being irrational? What about all the Muslims who have been healed by Allah (or Satan, from your perspective)?

Let's say someone does experience something they would regard as a 'healing.' Does that mean that whoever prayed for them has correct ideas about God? Someone who has been healed might consider all the people who have not been healed after being prayed for, and wonder why that is.


Is Keener documenting cases of Christians going en masse into hospitals and praying and God healing everyone in the hospital?

No. That would be verifiable, unlike his long list of anecdotes. That's my point.


Interesting that literally millions of currently living people have either experienced or witnessed miracles - and yet according to some, apparently every single one of them is wrong because 'miracles don't happen'.

It is interesting. What's even more interesting is that they all occur in way that are very difficult to verify, much like ghost sightings or stories of alien abductions.



Why would God do anything 'on demand' to satisfy the whims of a skeptical person? There is already enough evidence available to support rational belief in God.

You want to defend the existence of millions of miracles leading non-Christians to God, yet when asked to prove such claims in a simple test, all of a sudden this is out of bounds?! There is no need to 'demand' anything of God. Simply ask him in faith, like Jesus taught in Mark 11:24: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Don't you believe Jesus will answer your prayers? He said he would. He didn't think there was anything inappropriate about asking in faith.

Again, in Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

"Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

If you ask, you will receive. Nothing complicated or inappropriate about it, according to Jesus.



It would be helpful if your response actually related to the hypothetical that you raised originally - everyone in a hospital being healed more or less at once

If I have not addressed your concern. let me know. It seems I have addressed the hypothetical.


Yep.

You implied that miracles aren't the best way to bring about conversions because of all the false motives associated with them:


Look at how many people followed Jesus in the Bible just for a feed, or a miracle, or to see 'the show', rather than because they accepted Him as their Messiah.

Church history shows this is not the case.

Adrift
02-04-2015, 08:33 AM
The logical PoE is a dead issue. You apparently have a problem with the emotional PoE. Sorry about your Mum.



That's all that you got from my response to Enjolras' hypothetical? Really?

There's a view among some Christians that the reason for the lack of many miracles in the West is due in large part to the rampant skepticism and familiarity with Christianity. The type of familiarity that breeds contempt. The times we see Jesus not doing miracles in scripture is when they're either demanded of him by the Pharisees to test him (sort of a James Randi-million dollar challenge kind of thing), or due to the lack of faith in the environment, like when he visited Nazareth (a prophet is not welcome in his hometown). Some have argued that the reason why regions like South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa witness the miraculous in ways not often experienced in the West, has nothing to do with, say, the education level of these southern hemisphere nations, but with a general atmosphere of acceptance of the supernatural. There's an atmosphere, some may argue, of faithfulness that affects what can be accomplished.

It seems to me that this view weaves into the view that Satan, as god of this world, holds influence on what can and cannot be accomplished through prayer in an atmosphere that is not conducive to faith. Even Daniel, a prophet of God, prayed and fasted for nearly a month before his prayer was finally answered by the angel who gave him his vision, and then, only by the help of Michael the archangel holding at bay the Prince of Persia. So it may not be surprising under this view, that faithful aunt Edna who prays every day, may not see all her prayers answered in a social climate where faithfulness in general is at an all time low. This is one of the reasons Christians work so hard towards Evangelism and revival, so that the spiritual atmosphere is conducive to God's will and power being manifest.

On top of this is the fact that miracles, even in Biblical times, seem relatively rare, and also the fact that not everything we desire is what God desires for us. Christians don't always know why God doesn't answer the prayers of the faithful, but we trust that he is faithful, and that he is just, and that there is a greater purpose being fulfilled. In the meantime, Christians are to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances.

whag
02-04-2015, 01:00 PM
There's a view among some Christians that the reason for the lack of many miracles in the West is due in large part to the rampant skepticism and familiarity with Christianity. The type of familiarity that breeds contempt.

The familiar pedagogy of "religion through Sunday school" would seem to invite that type of contempt in some cases. The effect of that familiarity hasn't created such a "broad contempt" as you've painted, though.


The times we see Jesus not doing miracles in scripture is when they're either demanded of him by the Pharisees to test him (sort of a James Randi-million dollar challenge kind of thing), or due to the lack of faith in the environment, like when he visited Nazareth (a prophet is not welcome in his hometown). Some have argued that the reason why regions like South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa witness the miraculous in ways not often experienced in the West, has nothing to do with, say, the education level of these southern hemisphere nations, but with a general atmosphere of acceptance of the supernatural. There's an atmosphere, some may argue, of faithfulness that affects what can be accomplished.

That seems to me way off. A majority of US citizens have always accepted the supernatural, actually, with none of the perceivable supernatural movement you describe South America as experiencing. Only until very recently are we seeing declared US atheism, and still that's very rare.


t seems to me that this view weaves into the view that Satan, as god of this world, holds influence on what can and cannot be accomplished through prayer in an atmosphere that is not conducive to faith. Even Daniel, a prophet of God, prayed and fasted for nearly a month before his prayer was finally answered by the angel who gave him his vision, and then, only by the help of Michael the archangel holding at bay the Prince of Persia. So it may not be surprising under this view, that faithful aunt Edna who prays every day, may not see all her prayers answered in a social climate where faithfulness in general is at an all time low. This is one of the reasons Christians work so hard towards Evangelism and revival, so that the spiritual atmosphere is conducive to God's will and power being manifest.

Again, US faithfulness has always been high until very recently when we've seen skepticism more accepted for various reasons, mainly as a reaction to malignant expressions like fundamentalism. The point being religion has always been predominate in the US with none of the expected miracles that you say would be expected in a faith-fertile environment.


On top of this is the fact that miracles, even in Biblical times, seem relatively rare, and also the fact that not everything we desire is what God desires for us. Christians don't always know why God doesn't answer the prayers of the faithful, but we trust that he is faithful, and that he is just, and that there is a greater purpose being fulfilled. In the meantime, Christians are to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances.

What you said there pretty much encapsulates what skeptics have always said about the futility of prayer and ambiguity of interpretation. I can say I prayed for a happy week, got a happy week, then credit that to an external force. It's a little more ambiguous and less exciting than you're letting on.

I just wanted to give my counterpoint here. Carry on.

NormATive
02-04-2015, 06:19 PM
Of course Norm, just like I can not prove that I had a cup of tea Monday at 6AM. It doesn't make it any less true. Many of our past experiences are like that. Not provable in any empirical sense, yet just as real as anything else.

You can prove you had a cup of tea by taking a picture of it in front of a clock. But, you can't prove a miracle.

NORM

NormATive
02-04-2015, 06:34 PM
Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa. And it wasn't a big faith healing rally. It was a normal old (Charismatic) prayer meeting. And it was not a fraudulent healing.

Thanks. No medical records, hunh? The South Africans are meticulous record keepers. It's a Dutch thing.

NORM

NormATive
02-04-2015, 06:39 PM
The logical PoE is a dead issue. You apparently have a problem with the emotional PoE.

It's not me that has the problem. Your particular faith has the worst possible response to it.


Sorry about your Mum.

Thanks. She was a good woman taken from life way too early.


That's all that you got from my response to Enjolras' hypothetical? Really?

Yup.

NORM

NormATive
02-04-2015, 06:59 PM
You don't need to "suspend the laws of physics and common sense" in order to believe in miracles, any more than you need to "suspend" the law of gravity if you want to pick up a stone from the ground. :eh:

The laws of gravity are still in full force, even though you are picking the stone up from the ground. You are not suspending the laws of gravity. Although, it provides an excellent analogy of exactly HOW ancient minds imagined there must be gods. Your ignorance of the laws of gravity caused you to imagine a supernatural event.


And what about miracles goes against common sense exactly? Or to go at it from another angle, why should we be concerned with it when common sense would, for example, have us discard any strange and counter-intuitive discovery each time we stumble upon one?

When you attend a funeral, do you fully expect the decedent to arise from the coffin? No? Why? What informs you that dead people normally remain dead? Intuition? Superstition?

NORM

Raphael
02-04-2015, 08:02 PM
Thanks. No medical records, hunh? The South Africans are meticulous record keepers. It's a Dutch thing.

NORM

What is it with your guys reading comprehension? I didn't say there were no medical records. I said that the Doctor had long since died, so I don't know what happened to his records, and my parents didn't see fit to keep copies for themselves. So I have no access to any medical records.

As she was still being fostered by my parents at the time, I suppose the old Natal Archives Repository might have copies of them (if the Doc sent copies to them....he was a private doctor).

And although I just became a Kiwi late last year, I was South African so I know what the bloody Afrikaaners were like with their record keeping (you can have it in whatever language, it will always be in Afrikaans). And I also know that when my cousin got her ID book, it the photograph had someone of a different race and gender on it (really screwed things up as you need your ID book for just about everything).
And I also know someone else who when they got married, the records showed she was already married to a Nigerian (okay that was a fraud thing where the Nigerian was needing SA residency and slipped a couple of hundred rands in the direction of a corrupt official....still caused her no end of trouble to prove that she wasn't married to him)

NormATive
02-04-2015, 08:58 PM
What is it with your guys reading comprehension? I didn't say there were no medical records. I said that the Doctor had long since died, so I don't know what happened to his records, and my parents didn't see fit to keep copies for themselves. So I have no access to any medical records.

My reading comprehension is fine. I know what you said. You said that you don't have medical records, therefore my comment; "no records, hunh?" I've been to South Africa, and EVERYONE keeps records out the wazoo.


As she was still being fostered by my parents at the time, I suppose the old Natal Archives Repository might have copies of them (if the Doc sent copies to them....he was a private doctor).

Thanks. I'll see what I can do. The Dutch Reformed folks would have a lot of interest in just such a story. From my experience in that country, they have a profound fascination with the supernatural. Pietermarizburg is a nice city. Visited the Durban-Natal Botanical Gardens years ago. Is that still there? Are you a descendant of the Voortrekkers?

What year did this event happen?

NORM

KingsGambit
02-04-2015, 09:57 PM
Max's mention of the hospital worker's employment was not a good argument IMO, but it was just a throwaway line in a much longer post; he even admitted he was just speculating there. It was not at all the main part of his post. Norm, the fact that you just focused on that, ignored the rest of his post, and even admitted that's all you got from it is evidence you're not truly here to interact but rather just to try to plow through the weakest points you can.

Tassman
02-05-2015, 03:02 AM
My imagination didn't conjure up the Christian God and His abilities to perform miracles. :shrug:

Well it was conjured up by someone and you apparently believe it on the basis of no substantive evidence. In short, a leap of faith.


Did the stone float away by itself, or was it moved by a supernatural entity? If the latter I don't see how your assertion holds at all.

The point is that in picking up a stone the laws of gravity remain in place but if the stone floats away of its own accord then he laws of gravity have, for whatever reason (supernatural or otherwise), been suspended.


No, that's curiosity, that's not common sense. Common sense is what tells you to stay away from the unknown and keep inside during the night. :lol:

Not so. “Curiosity” is related to inquisitive thinking and is a defining characteristic of us and many other animals. It includes exploration, investigation, and learning via observation and the testing of our observations. “Common sense” is to understand as much as possible about our environment in the interests of our survival.

Tassman
02-05-2015, 03:38 AM
If we're going to apply a broad general skepticism before looking at the evidence, we should (being consistent) apply that to the scientific enterprise as well, and thus reject or be very skeptical of most scientific claims.

Or you can have a double standard operating against evidence for things you'd rather not be true, if you like ... :shrug:

This is special pleading, there’s no double standard. By definition all scientific theories are falsifiable even though they are based upon tested empirical verification. By contrast religious claims of miracles are not - and yet you expect them to be treated the same as established science.


How does that apply to someone who's heard the gospel for the first time, and been healed after the Christian then prays for them? (I personally know a number of people who this applies to....). Are they being irrational to think that the God they've just heard both is real and can heal them is the one who just has healed them?

What is the evidence, other than their say-so that a miracle occurred?


Interesting that literally millions of currently living people have either experienced or witnessed miracles - and yet according to some, apparently every single one of them is wrong because 'miracles don't happen'.

So there given that “millions of currently living people have either experienced or witnessed miracles”, there should be considerable documented evidence rather than mere anecdotal evidence. Where is it?

And nobody's saying that 'miracles don't happen', just that there's no substantiated evidence of them happening.


Why would God do anything 'on demand' to satisfy the whims of a skeptical person? There is already enough evidence available to support rational belief in God.

There is no credible evidence to support rational belief in God that I'm aware of. Please explain.


Yep.

Keener’s point is that it was the belief in miracles and wonders that got the church going in the first place not that these beliefs were justified. Miracles were taken for granted in that credulous era; they were a dime-a-dozen.

seer
02-05-2015, 05:45 AM
This is special pleading, there’s no double standard. By definition all scientific theories are falsifiable even though they are based upon tested empirical verification. By contrast religious claims of miracles are not - and yet you expect them to be treated the same as established science.


Yes but your faith Tass is acceptable:




For a start, how is the existence of the other universes to be tested? To be sure, all cosmologists accept that there are some regions of the universe that lie beyond the reach of our telescopes, but somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As one slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less and less is open to scientific verification. Extreme multiverse explanations are therefore reminiscent of theological discussions. Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith. Paul Davies, A Brief History of the Multiverse

Enjolras
02-05-2015, 07:26 AM
Here are a few things I have picked up from this discussion so far:

Miracles happen often.
Miracles are rare.

Miracles convince non believers.
Miracles are counter-productive in convincing non-believers.

One should pray, fully expecting miracles.
One should not ask God to do anything 'on demand' to satisfy the whims of a skeptical person.

God heals through prayer in environments like China and India.
God will not or can not answer prayer when there is a lack of faith in the environment, like in the US.

God loves the world and converts people through miracles.
When too many people believe and the culture is saturated with Christianity, he stops or greatly reduces the performance of miracles in that area for some reason.

In prayer, you can ask for anything you want, including the moving of mountains.
You should not ask or expect miracles to be verifiable, such as closing down hospitals because all patients are healed.

God’s power can be tested, such as in the case in Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal.
God can not be tested today because that would be inappropriate.

God proves himself to be the true God through answered prayer.
Satan can also answer prayer, which serves to confirm the deluded in their false beliefs.

We should not be skeptical of miraculous claims that confirm Christianity.
We should be skeptical of miraculous claims from other faith traditions.

Seems legit.

seer
02-05-2015, 08:07 AM
Seems legit.

Yes it is legit Enjolras since it ultimately is God prerogative when, where and why to answer prayer.

firstfloor
02-05-2015, 08:51 AM
Yes it is legit Enjolras since it ultimately is God prerogative when, where and why to answer prayer.Sure! God is the head teacher in the school of very hard knocks. Don’t expect any sympathy when you have to survive by eating your children.

seer
02-05-2015, 09:05 AM
Sure! God is the head teacher in the school of very hard knocks. Don’t expect any sympathy when you have to survive by eating your children.

Well you can eat your children or choose to starve. Choices my friend, that is what it is all about.

seer
02-05-2015, 09:12 AM
Teen who fell in icy pond makes 'miraculous' recovery

http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/features/2015/02/03/hear-miraculous-recovery-teen-rescued-ice/22819829/


"He was dead for 45 minutes," says Dr. Sutterer.

What happened next defies explanation. Dr. Sutterer called John's mother into the room to give her the news.

"She started praying loudly," says Dr. Sutterer.

"I don't remember what all I said," recalls John's mother, Joyce Smith. "But I remember, 'Holy God, please send your Holy Spirit to save my son. I want my son, please save him.' And they hadn't been getting a pulse at that time, so all of a sudden I heard them saying, 'We got a pulse, we got a pulse.'"

"Within a matter of a minute or two, his heart started again," says Dr. Sutterer.

It's an experience that's shaken many of those in the emergency room that day. This veteran of responding to medical crisis wrote a letter about it as a way to cope.

"His heart was jump started by the Holy Spirit listening to the request of his praying mother," reads Dr. Sutterer, from the letter he wrote.

Dr. Jeremy Garrett who oversaw John's recovery even goes a step further. "It's a bonafide miracle."

Adrift
02-05-2015, 09:35 AM
Here are a few things I have picked up from this discussion so far:

Miracles happen often.
Miracles are rare.

By definition, miracles happen rarely. They defy normal expectations. That's why they're often referred to as "wonders" in scripture. That said, the miraculous happens more often than those of us in the West think. And plenty of miraculous claims have been documented, so that there is less reason to doubt their veracity.


Miracles convince non believers.
Miracles are counter-productive in convincing non-believers.

I believe whag was the only one who suggested that miracles are counter-productive in convincing non-believers. He's an atheist who doesn't believe in miracles. I'd take what he says on the nature of miracles with a grain of salt.


One should pray, fully expecting miracles.
One should not ask God to do anything 'on demand' to satisfy the whims of a skeptical person.

Yes, this seems to be what Jesus teaches. Nothing contradictory here.


God heals through prayer in environments like China and India.
God will not or can not answer prayer when there is a lack of faith in the environment, like in the US.

Again, nothing contradictory here.


God loves the world and converts people through miracles.
When too many people believe and the culture is saturated with Christianity, he stops or greatly reduces the performance of miracles in that area for some reason.

Your second sentence was another one suggested by whag the atheist. Contrary to his opinion, I think many Christians would agree that US faithfulness is not particularly high, and it probably hasn't been for a very long time. While surveys may suggest that the US is predominantly Christian, its been my experience that most people know very very little about the Christian faith, and have very little expectation that the power of God can be manifested in their lives or the lives of others. Most people I know who would label themselves "Christian" do so moreso out of tradition or some form of patriotism. Their understanding of their faith is generally limited to belief that there is a God. That that God is named Jesus. And that if they do good stuff in the here and now, they'll go to some place in the clouds when they die to be with their dead friends and relatives. Most of the people I know who would label themselves Christian become very agitated when discussion moves into that area, and would rather talk about their favorite team, politician, or movie star than talk about faith. Even within the church, there are plenty of churches in the US that are spiritually dead, and that serve no more purpose than a sort of social clubs.


In prayer, you can ask for anything you want, including the moving of mountains.
You should not ask or expect miracles to be verifiable, such as closing down hospitals because all patients are healed.

One can pray for anything they desire, that doesn't mean that everything they desire will be given. One's desires must, at the very least, align with God's desire. James 4:2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

People pray for people in hospitals all of the time, and often that prayer is answered. Sometimes that prayer is answered in unexpected ways. Christians don't always know why some prayers seem to go unanswered, but a few suggestions have already been mentioned.


God’s power can be tested, such as in the case in Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal.
God can not be tested today because that would be inappropriate.

Seeing as how the prophets of Baal were killed in the encounter, it doesn't appear that the miracles that were accomplished were for their benefit. As a prophet of God, Elijah was doing God's bidding, not the other way around. It wasn't God's power being tested, if anything, it was the people of Israel who had turned to false idols that were being tested.


God proves himself to be the true God through answered prayer.
Satan can also answer prayer, which serves to confirm the deluded in their false beliefs.

This is sort of accurate from the Christian perspective. Satan appears to be limited in his ability, but signs and wonders can follow false prophets. That's why Christians are warned in 1 John 4, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.


We should not be skeptical of miraculous claims that confirm Christianity.
We should be skeptical of miraculous claims from other faith traditions.

I don't believe anyone here has claimed either of these things.

shunyadragon
02-05-2015, 10:00 AM
The next word after Miracle in almost all dictionaries is Mirage.

seer
02-05-2015, 10:27 AM
The next word after Miracle in almost all dictionaries is Mirage.

So?

firstfloor
02-05-2015, 12:50 PM
Teen who fell in icy pond makes 'miraculous' recoveryOf course, there is always the possibility that the media are playing with your emotions in order to get you to buy more breakfast cereal. They don’t publish stories in this format (the advertisers wouldn’t like it):

Despite strenuous efforts over many months to summon the Holy Sprit, a 7 year old girl died today after a prolonged illness. At the end, the young girl’s mother recalled saying “Dear God, please send your Holy Spirit to save my daughter.” And they hadn't been getting a pulse at that time, then all of a sudden I heard them saying, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing else we can do.”

Doctors said that if the Holy Spirit had come when called, they would have been able to save the child. Doctor Sutterer said that probably the girl or the girl’s mother must have been praying to the wrong God or attending the wrong church.

seer
02-05-2015, 01:29 PM
Of course, there is always the possibility that the media are playing with your emotions in order to get you to buy more breakfast cereal. They don’t publish stories in this format (the advertisers wouldn’t like it):

Despite strenuous efforts over many months to summon the Holy Sprit, a 7 year old girl died today after a prolonged illness. At the end, the young girl’s mother recalled saying “Dear God, please send your Holy Spirit to save my daughter.” And they hadn't been getting a pulse at that time, then all of a sudden I heard them saying, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing else we can do.”

Doctors said that if the Holy Spirit had come when called, they would have been able to save the child. Doctor Sutterer said that probably the girl or the girl’s mother must have been praying to the wrong God or attending the wrong church.


Say what you want FF, you have two medical doctors quoted calling this a miracle. They were there you were not. They have expertize in the medical field you do not.

shunyadragon
02-05-2015, 04:32 PM
Say what you want FF, you have two medical doctors quoted calling this a miracle. They were there you were not. They have expertize in the medical field you do not.

There have been many other near death occurrences of people, particularly children, exposed to extreme cold. Are you aware of this? The possibility cannot be excluded that this occurrence does not have a natural explanation.

NormATive
02-05-2015, 07:35 PM
the fact that you just focused on that, ignored the rest of his post, and even admitted that's all you got from it is evidence you're not truly here to interact but rather just to try to plow through the weakest points you can.

If you say so.

NORM

MaxVel
02-05-2015, 08:10 PM
Max's mention of the hospital worker's employment was not a good argument IMO, but it was just a throwaway line in a much longer post; he even admitted he was just speculating there. It was not at all the main part of his post. Norm, the fact that you just focused on that, ignored the rest of his post, and even admitted that's all you got from it is evidence you're not truly here to interact but rather just to try to plow through the weakest points you can.

:thumb: :yes:

MaxVel
02-05-2015, 08:15 PM
It's not me that has the problem. Your particular faith has the worst possible response to it.



Thanks. She was a good woman taken from life way too early.



Yup.

NORM

How about starting a thread on why Christianity has "...the worst possible response..." to the PoE?

I'd like to see your explanation, and what you think is a better response.

NormATive
02-05-2015, 08:24 PM
How about starting a thread on why Christianity has "...the worst possible response..." to the PoE?

No thanks. That horse has been beaten to death.


I'd like to see your explanation, and what you think is a better response.

Stuff happens. Care for one another in the best way you know how. That's it.

NORM

MaxVel
02-05-2015, 08:29 PM
This is special pleading, there’s no double standard.


So you agree that Enjolras can base a general skepticism against miracles on things like human fallibility, confirmation bias, wanting to fit in, and yet not apply that same general skepticism of human nature to claims in areas that he feels comfortable with?

:thumb: Good for you.




What is the evidence, other than their say-so that a miracle occurred?

Address the hypothetical please. The question is not 'Is it irrational for othersto believe?'.





There is no credible evidence to support rational belief in God that I'm aware of. Please explain.

1. You have a number of fallacious approaches to considering evidence and argumentation. You prefer to avoid addressing actual arguments and evidence, resorting to disqualifying the because of who makes them.

2. You seemingly have a dislike of Christianity that goes beyond 'I just don't think it's true'. You're biased against Christianity and you don't take that enough into account in your evaluation of evidence for it.

3. You insist on using 'escape-hatch' words like "credible", "substantiated", "verifiable", these words either have enough flexibility in their meaning that you can always say that your criteria hasn't been met; or they are subjective enough that you can easily move the goalposts to avoid accepting something as evidence.

4. You're probably not as smart or as rational as you think you are. Pretty much no-one is (myself included), so don't get upset.

MaxVel
02-05-2015, 08:32 PM
No thanks. That horse has been beaten to death.


All puff and no substance, huh? :lol:




Stuff happens. Care for one another in the best way you know how. That's it.

NORM

So, there is no PoE, then. Why did you get so upset about your mother, if Christianity's answer is to a problem that doesn't even exist?

Enjolras
02-05-2015, 09:19 PM
So you agree that Enjolras can base a general skepticism against miracles on things like human fallibility, confirmation bias, wanting to fit in, and yet not apply that same general skepticism of human nature to claims in areas that he feels comfortable with?

:thumb: Good for you.

You misrepresent my position. One should apply skepticism equally to all areas of understanding, with extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.

Enjolras
02-05-2015, 09:22 PM
All puff and no substance, huh? :lol:





So, there is no PoE, then. Why did you get so upset about your mother, if Christianity's answer is to a problem that doesn't even exist?

You don't seem to understand. Theodicies are only necessary when there is a theos involved.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 01:31 AM
So, there is no PoE, then. Why did you get so upset about your mother, if Christianity's answer is to a problem that doesn't even exist?

This post reminded me of that CS Lewis quote from Mere Christianity,

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I com*paring this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: A fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: Just as, if there were no light in the uni*verse and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.

seer
02-06-2015, 04:34 AM
There have been many other near death occurrences of people, particularly children, exposed to extreme cold. Are you aware of this? The possibility cannot be excluded that this occurrence does not have a natural explanation.

Except, you do not know the exact conditions of this particular event. I'm sure the two medical doctors involved understand the possibilities you mentioned yet they had no problem calling this event miraculous. To quote "a bonafide miracle."

MaxVel
02-06-2015, 06:40 AM
You misrepresent my position. One should apply skepticism equally to all areas of understanding, with extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.

My apologies if that wasn't clear. I wasn't saying that that was your position, just saying that Tassman seems quite comfortable with an inconsistent position.

ECREE sounds great until you try to turn it into an objective epistemology. Who decides what is an 'extraordinary claim'?

Each individual? Wildly subjective.
The social group? Isn't that just an Appeal to Majority; and when it comes to believing in the spiritual world, Atheists are the ones making the extraordinary claim...

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 07:31 AM
My apologies if that wasn't clear. I wasn't saying that that was your position, just saying that Tassman seems quite comfortable with an inconsistent position.

ECREE sounds great until you try to turn it into an objective epistemology. Who decides what is an 'extraordinary claim'?

Each individual? Wildly subjective.
The social group? Isn't that just an Appeal to Majority; and when it comes to believing in the spiritual world, Atheists are the ones making the extraordinary claim...

If someone told you they had a pet fire-breathing dragon would you or would you not need more evidence to accept such a claim vs. if they claimed to have a pet dog?

seer
02-06-2015, 07:38 AM
If someone told you they had a pet fire-breathing dragon would you or would you not need more evidence to accept such a claim vs. if they claimed to have a pet dog?

It would actually depend on who made the claim. For instance, I know only two men personally who claimed that God spoke to them verbally. It happen only one time for each man in their lives (up to this point). Both are well educated - one a Harvard graduate, and both are sober minded, serious men. I have no good reason to doubt them.

shunyadragon
02-06-2015, 07:43 AM
My apologies if that wasn't clear. I wasn't saying that that was your position, just saying that Tassman seems quite comfortable with an inconsistent position.

ECREE sounds great until you try to turn it into an objective epistemology. Who decides what is an 'extraordinary claim'?

Each individual? Wildly subjective.
The social group? Isn't that just an Appeal to Majority; and when it comes to believing in the spiritual world, Atheists are the ones making the extraordinary claim...

Actually the concept of ECREE is not necessary. It is simply best to have a healthy skepticism concerning all claims, and consider everything on an equal basis. The claim of the miraculous and supernatural remains selective and anecdotal regardless, and dependent on a belief system.

I consider the belief in miracles wildly speculative.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 07:50 AM
Actually the concept of ECREE is not necessary. It is simply best to have a healthy skepticism concerning all claims, and consider everything on an equal basis. The claim of the miraculous and supernatural remains selective and anecdotal regardless, and dependent on a belief system.

I consider the belief in miracles wildly speculative.

Doesn't the Bahai faith claim that Bahaullah did miracles?

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 08:02 AM
By definition, miracles happen rarely. They defy normal expectations. That's why they're often referred to as "wonders" in scripture. That said, the miraculous happens more often than those of us in the West think. And plenty of miraculous claims have been documented, so that there is less reason to doubt their veracity.

This is just more doublespeak: Miracles are rare, but they frequently happen to millions of people around the world.



I believe whag was the only one who suggested that miracles are counter-productive in convincing non-believers. He's an atheist who doesn't believe in miracles. I'd take what he says on the nature of miracles with a grain of salt.

Actually, it was Maxvel who said that, in post #72: "...in short, there are a whole bunch of prosaic practical reasons why such a thing could actually be counter-productive for God's point of view."



Your second sentence was another one suggested by whag the atheist.

Actually, it came from you in post #103: "There's a view among some Christians that the reason for the lack of many miracles in the West is due in large part to the rampant skepticism and familiarity with Christianity. "


One can pray for anything they desire, that doesn't mean that everything they desire will be given.

Contrast that statement with what Jesus actually taught:


Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Mt. 7:7)


For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.(Mt. 17:20)


I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Mt. 21:21)


Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mk. 11:24)


"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. (Jn. 14:12-14)


Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Mt. 18:19)


One's desires must, at the very least, align with God's desire. James 4:2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Praying for everyone in a hospital to be healed can hardly be compared with murderous jealousy. Plus, you yourself admit that God heals people in hospitals all the time, so this would clearly be within God's will.


People pray for people in hospitals all of the time, and often that prayer is answered. Sometimes that prayer is answered in unexpected ways. Christians don't always know why some prayers seem to go unanswered, but a few suggestions have already been mentioned.

People recover from illness without prayer at the same rate as those who recover with prayer. This suggests prayer has no more efficacy than placebo, and it's effects are thus illusory.


Seeing as how the prophets of Baal were killed in the encounter, it doesn't appear that the miracles that were accomplished were for their benefit. As a prophet of God, Elijah was doing God's bidding, not the other way around. It wasn't God's power being tested, if anything, it was the people of Israel who had turned to false idols that were being tested.

Elijah proved who the true God was to everyone who learned of the story, including us today. I'm simply asking for a similar proof today. Why would this be wrong, especially in light of Jesus' many promises to answer prayer?


This is sort of accurate from the Christian perspective. Satan appears to be limited in his ability, but signs and wonders can follow false prophets. That's why Christians are warned in 1 John 4, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

So, without arguing in a circle, how do you know which signs and wonders are from God, and which are from Satan?

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 08:08 AM
It would actually depend on who made the claim. For instance, I know only two men personally who claimed that God spoke to them verbally. It happen only one time for each man in their lives (up to this point). Both are well educated - one a Harvard graduate, and both are sober minded, serious men. I have no good reason to doubt them.

So if someone you know personally claimed he had a pet fire-breathing dragon you would believe him? You wouldn't wonder for a moment if your friend was hallucinating, nor would you ask for some evidence of the claim?

seer
02-06-2015, 08:53 AM
So if someone you know personally claimed he had a pet fire-breathing dragon you would believe him? You wouldn't wonder for a moment if your friend was hallucinating, nor would you ask for some evidence of the claim?

Enjolras, I gave you an example. And I have no good reason to doubt either man. Neither could you offer me a good reason to doubt them. And like I said Enjolras, I experience something that defied naturalistic explanation. I don't expect you to believe that. Yet I know it was a fact.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 08:55 AM
Teen who fell in icy pond makes 'miraculous' recovery

http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/features/2015/02/03/hear-miraculous-recovery-teen-rescued-ice/22819829/

Keener cites about a dozen instances of people coming back from the dead. You cite another here. We also have the testimony of Colton Burpo and Eben Alexander. So, that's a minimum of 15 people documented in our day to have risen from the dead. We can't count Alex Malarkey because he admitted to making the whole thing up but still, 15 actual resurrections in our day! Amazing, really. Surely this can't be all of them. Given the hundreds of millions of Christians praying daily, there must be hundreds if not thousands of people walking around today that have risen from the dead.

Here's what I would like to know: Is there any documentation of someone being dead for more than a few hours that has come back to life? All the instances I have heard of involve relatively short times of going beyond this mortal coil, which can be explained in many instances by science. How about an example of resurrection of someone who has been dead for a few weeks, or months, or even years? Surely this would involve no more effort on the part of the omnipotent Lord, plus, it would have the advantage of being impossible to explain naturally by even the most rabid of us skeptics.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 08:57 AM
Enjolras, I gave you an example. And I have no good reason to doubt either man. Neither could you offer me a good reason to doubt them. And like I said Enjolras, I experience something that defied naturalistic explanation. I don't expect you to believe that. Yet I know it was a fact.

You are avoiding my question.

seer
02-06-2015, 09:04 AM
Here's what I would like to know: Is there any documentation of someone being dead for more than a few hours that has come back to life? All the instances I have heard of involve relatively short times of going beyond this mortal coil, which can be explained in many instances by science. How about an example of resurrection of someone who has been dead for a few weeks, or months, or even years? Surely this would involve no more effort on the part of the omnipotent Lord, plus, it would have the advantage of being impossible to explain naturally by even the most rabid of us skeptics.


I have no idea. The main reason I posted this was twofold. You have on site medical doctors calling this a miracle, and second, there may have been a perfectly natural explanation for this boy coming back to life but unlike atheists I'm not closed minded on the issue. It my actually be, as one doctor exclaimed - " a bonafide miracle." I'm not restricted to a single narrow view.

seer
02-06-2015, 09:07 AM
You are avoiding my question.

And now you are avoiding mine. But in my worldview I tend to take miracles, or unusual events, more seriously when they keep with the past practices of God as revealed in scripture. So now answer mine.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 09:15 AM
I have no idea. The main reason I posted this was twofold. You have on site medical doctors calling this a miracle, and second, there may have been a perfectly natural explanation for this boy coming back to life but unlike atheists I'm not closed minded on the issue. It my actually be, as one doctor exclaimed - " a bonafide miracle." I'm not restricted to a single narrow view.

But if there are no documented instances of someone being dead for a few weeks coming back to life what does that tell you? God can only raise the dead if it's been less than a few hours? Why would that be? It's very curious.

Contrary to what you might think, I'm open to miraculous claims, but I've heard enough fraudulent claims in my life that my Spidey sense is on high alert when I head anecdotes of such amazing wonders. In fact, I would LOVE to see a genuine miracle. I know a young girl who died a few months ago. Perhaps you and your fellow Christians could pray for her resurrection. Imagine the number of people who would convert as a result, myself included.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 09:22 AM
And now you are avoiding mine. But in my worldview I tend to take miracles, or unusual events, more seriously when they keep with the past practices of God as revealed in scripture.

Another dodge. I think you know the answer and just don't want to admit it for some reason: you know you'd be skeptical of pet dragon claims. Any reasonably sane person would. Why is it so hard for you to admit that? You can admit it without giving up anything in your faith. Why won't you?


So now answer mine.

I don't recall you asking me a question. What was it?

seer
02-06-2015, 09:28 AM
But if there are no documented instances of someone being dead for a few weeks coming back to life what does that tell you? God can only raise the dead if it's been less than a few hours? Why would that be? It's very curious.

Enjolras, like I said I have never heard such a story apart from scripture. But I'm not all knowing.


Contrary to what you might think, I'm open to miraculous claims, but I've heard enough fraudulent claims in my life that my Spidey sense is on high alert when I head anecdotes of such amazing wonders. In fact, I would LOVE to see a genuine miracle. I know a young girl who died a few months ago. Perhaps you and your fellow Christians could pray for her resurrection. Imagine the number of people who would convert as a result, myself included.

Forgive me if I don't believe you. The point is, like with this boy, I do not reject a miraculous explanation out of hand.

seer
02-06-2015, 09:34 AM
Another dodge. I think you know the answer and just don't want to admit it for some reason: you know you'd be skeptical of pet dragon claims. Any reasonably sane person would. Why is it so hard for you to admit that? You can admit it without giving up anything in your faith. Why won't you?

No Enjolras, I did answer you - I said it would depend on the person making the claim. If they they were not pulling my leg and I knew they were trustworthy I would have little reason to doubt them. Of course, if I could, I would like to see it too.



I don't recall you asking me a question. What was it?

I said: Enjolras, I gave you an example. And I have no good reason to doubt either man. Neither could you offer me a good reason to doubt them.

I'm asking you if you can provide a good reason for me to doubt my two friends who claimed that God personally spoke to them.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 09:51 AM
I'm asking you if you can provide a good reason for me to doubt my two friends who claimed that God personally spoke to them.

What did God tell them? Did he reveal something that only he would know, like the cure for cancer, or was it something mundane and unverifiable like "I love you and have a wonderful plan for your life."?

Adrift
02-06-2015, 10:19 AM
This is just more doublespeak: Miracles are rare, but they frequently happen to millions of people around the world.

Nothing inconsistent in saying that something is rare, and yet it happens more frequently than we think. Not sure why that's something you can't get your head around, but I assure you that most people don't find these things contradictory.


Actually, it was Maxvel who said that, in post #72: "...in short, there are a whole bunch of prosaic practical reasons why such a thing could actually be counter-productive for God's point of view."

From that you got "Miracles are counter-productive in convincing non-believers."? Pretty sure that wasn't his intended meaning. In fact, in the very same post he wrote "Miracles can be evidence for particular people that God is real and both knows them and cares about them."


Actually, it came from you in post #103: "There's a view among some Christians that the reason for the lack of many miracles in the West is due in large part to the rampant skepticism and familiarity with Christianity. "

Mmm. No. Its quite the leap to go from what I said to this, "When too many people believe and the culture is saturated with Christianity, he stops or greatly reduces the performance of miracles in that area for some reason." I even specified that the type of familiarity I was referring to was the type that breeds contempt. I'm not sure how well you understand human nature, but often when people become familiar or comfortable with something, they take it for granted. We may find that the newlyweds who are madly and passionately in love with one another today stop paying attention to one another 15 years down the line. Its not uncommon that one party may even despise or have contempt for the other over time. We find instances of something like this taking place throughout scripture where Israel ignored Yahweh, broke their covenant with him, and would commit idolatry. God would invariably remove his hand of protection and providence from the nation. Often a prophet or king would then start up a spiritual revival movement to wake up the church and help restore the nation to right standing.


Contrast that statement with what Jesus actually taught:


Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Mt. 7:7)


For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.(Mt. 17:20)


I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Mt. 21:21)


Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mk. 11:24)


"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. (Jn. 14:12-14)


Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Mt. 18:19)

The sayings carry with them the conditions for having the request granted. Asking in accordance with God's will, having agreement of two or more, asking in faithfulness, etc.

Let my cry come before You, O Lord; Give me understanding according to Your word. Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your word.

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

And this is the way that Jesus prayed,

And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

And if you read past the John 14 passage you cited you'll see that Jesus lays down the same condition in the next chapter,

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

Its about God's will, and God's glory in prayer, not our own. Prayer is to do with humility, and thanksgiving.


Praying for everyone in a hospital to be healed can hardly be compared with murderous jealousy. Plus, you yourself admit that God heals people in hospitals all the time, so this would clearly be within God's will.


:huh: I didn't cite James to imply that praying for everyone in a hospital is comparable to murderous jealousy. I cited James merely to show why some prayer requests are not granted. Since I can see that you read the next paragraph in that quote where I said that Christians don't always know why some prayers seem to go unanswered, its strange to me that you would then think that I was linking the James passage specifically to the hospital scenario.

By the way, NT scholar Robert Gundry goes into what exactly what James means by "murder" in that passage,

"you murder" recalls the death-dealing poison of the tongue (3:8) and therefore isn't to be taken literally...The description of jealously poisonous speech in terms of murder dramatizes its evil character. Words can kill, so to speak. The placement of murder before jealousy highlights the murderous effect of evil speech and the origin of speech in jealousy.


People recover from illness without prayer at the same rate as those who recover with prayer. This suggests prayer has no more efficacy than placebo.

You say so.


Elijah proved who the true God was to everyone who learned of the story, including us today. I'm simply asking for a similar proof today. Why would this be wrong, especially in light of Jesus' many promises to answer prayer?

This has already been answered.


So, without arguing in a circle, how do you know which signs and wonders are from God, and which are from Satan?

Well, for starters, part of the answer was in the scripture I cited.

seer
02-06-2015, 10:20 AM
What did God tell them? Did he reveal something that only he would know, like the cure for cancer, or was it something mundane and unverifiable like "I love you and have a wonderful plan for your life."?

Let me give you one example. One of these men was struggling whether to quite his job and go into the ministry. He had a well paying middle management job and this would would be a big financial hit. On a Sunday night God verbally spoke to Him, calling him into the ministry. Monday morning he goes into work and gets laid off (he didn't see it coming). He is a pastor to this day.

So again, can you provide a good reason for me to doubt this account?

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 10:52 AM
Nothing inconsistent in saying that something is rare, and yet it happens more frequently than we think. Not sure why that's something you can't get your head around, but I assure you that most people don't find these things contradictory.

Something that happens to millions of people In every century is not rare. I don't think the word means what you think it means.


The sayings carry with them the conditions for having the request granted. Asking in accordance with God's will, having agreement of two or more, asking in faithfulness, etc.


Sure. What part of asking for all patients in a hospital to be healed is outside of God's will? Especially when the purpose is for people to come to know the love of God by seeing his mighty power.


Its about God's will, and God's glory in prayer, not our own. Prayer is to do with humility, and thanksgiving.


All of that is very consistent with wanting people to be healed so the glory of God may bring more lost sheep into the fold.


You say so.

The efficacy of prayer is in fact testable, by anyone with a coin. You can prove to yourself whether or not prayer is more effective than a placebo effect. Flip a coin 50 times and write down the results. Roughly half the time it will land on heads and half tails. Now run the test a second time, but before each flip ask in humility and for the glory of God to make it land tails every time. The results will be the same as the first time. Thus, prayer is no better than not praying. Prayer works just like homeopathy.: millions testify to its efficacy, but it cannot withstand the scrutiny of a simple controlled test.


This has already been answered.

Yes. I dispute your interpretation.


Well, for starters, part of the answer was in the scripture I cited.

How do you know whether the scripture was inspired by God or Satan?

shunyadragon
02-06-2015, 10:59 AM
Doesn't the Bahai faith claim that Bahaullah did miracles?

This has been referenced and discussed before with the references seer posted. Did you read these posts and references? Apparently not. As described before the Baha'i view of miracles is decidedly different from the Christian view of miracles. Actually in terms of the type of miracles described in this thread, again no.

seer
02-06-2015, 11:01 AM
This has been referenced and discussed before with the references seer posted. Did you read these posts and references? Apparently not. As described before the Baha'i view of miracles is decidedly different from the Christian view of miracles. Actually in terms of the type of miracles described in this thread, again no.

How are they different Shuny? They are not "natural" events - correct? Or they would be called miracles.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 11:12 AM
Let me give you one example. One of these men was struggling whether to quite his job and go into the ministry. He had a well paying middle management job and this would would be a big financial hit. On a Sunday night God verbally spoke to Him, calling him into the ministry. Monday morning he goes into work and gets laid off (he didn't see it coming). He is a pastor to this day.

So again, can you provide a good reason for me to doubt this account?

There is nothing particularly remarkable about someone getting laid off and entering a new profession: it is a mundane circumstance that happens all the time. This is why you might consider having healthy dose of skepticism. If your friend entered a lab and developed the cure for cancer the next day as a result of information God gave him, that would be significant.

This is not to suggest your friend is lying. He may very well think God spoke to him, but I've already listed a number of cognitive biases in this thread that might lead you to question whether what he said actually happened.

seer
02-06-2015, 11:26 AM
There is nothing particularly remarkable about someone getting laid off and entering a new profession: it is a mundane circumstance that happens all the time. This is why you might consider having healthy dose of skepticism. If your friend entered a lab and developed the cure for cancer the next day as a result of information God gave him, that would be significant.

Yes, it just so happened that the Monday morning after the Sunday night that he heard the command to go into the ministry he gets laid off.


This is not to suggest your friend is lying. He may very well think God spoke to him, but I've already listed a number of cognitive biases in this thread that might lead you to question whether what he said actually happened.

That is the point Enjolras, there is good no reason to assume that he did not hear the voice of God. It never happened before, and has not happened since.

Boxing Pythagoras
02-06-2015, 11:38 AM
Something that happens to millions of people In every century is not rare. I don't think the word means what you think it means.I would rather disagree with this. Considering the fact that there are billions of people alive in those centuries, "millions" make up less than 1%. Something that occurs to less than 1% of people in a given century can certainly be thought of as "rare."

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 11:53 AM
Yes, it just so happened that the Monday morning after the Sunday night that he heard the command to go into the ministry he gets laid off.

Do you ever wonder why God would bother to speak to him about this in the first place? He was already wondering whether he should go into ministry. Wouldn't getting laid off be enough of a clue? Also, if God truly spoke to him why did God also orchestrate his termination for the next day? Wouldn't God personally speaking to someone be enough of a reason for doing something? Seriously.

Also, why does God only give out mundane thoughts, and never provide insights into the universe that are unavailable except through the long, difficult process of scientific discovery? For example, he never told anyone about the germ theory of disease. Millions of people needlessly died over thousands of years because they didn't know the importance of the simple practice of washing their hands before eating.

And why didn't he warn my friends about their daughter's impending death when they could have prevented it? He's too busy telling some guy to become a pastor?! My friends are devoted Christians, yet God was silent. The whole thing is absurd.



That is the point Enjolras, there is good no reason to assume that he did not hear the voice of God. It never happened before, and has not happened since.

There are plenty of reasons for doubt. I've given quite a few.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 12:13 PM
I would rather disagree with this. Considering the fact that there are billions of people alive in those centuries, "millions" make up less than 1%. Something that occurs to less than 1% of people in a given century can certainly be thought of as "rare."

At 1%, 84,000 people in New York City alone have experienced a miracle. That's more than twice the number of police officers in the city. Would you say police officers are rare? At what point does something go from being rare to not rare? 5% 10%?

My whole point in bringing this up is to point out the doublethink of Christians on this topic. You ask them to prove miracles occur and they say miracles are rare and we can't expect to see them. Then you ask why we don't see miracles today and they tell you they happen all the time, just not here and not now, and certainly not in any way verifiable.

shunyadragon
02-06-2015, 12:19 PM
How are they different Shuny? They are not "natural" events - correct? Or they would be called miracles.

We have been over this seer. Please read the previous posts. Old news. You are being dense.

Boxing Pythagoras
02-06-2015, 12:28 PM
At 1%, 84,000 people in New York City alone have experienced a miracle. That's more than twice the number of police officers in the city. Would you say police officers are rare? At what point does something go from being rare to not rare? 5% 10%?Yes, I would say that it is rare for a New Yorker to be a police officer.


My whole point in bringing this up is to point out the doublethink of Christians on this topic. You ask them to prove miracles occur and they say miracles are rare and we can't expect to see them. Then you ask why we don't see miracles today and they tell you they happen all the time, just not here and not now, and certainly not in any way verifiable.Rarity and unfalsifiability are entirely separate issues. I have no issue with theists that purport that miracles are rare events. My issue is with those who define "miracle" in such a way as to make it unfalsifiable, while insisting that miracles can still bear epistemological weight.

seer
02-06-2015, 12:30 PM
We have been over this seer. Please read the previous posts. Old news. You are being dense.

No Shuny, you have a well deserved reputation for not being clear, for being slippery. Just like in your recent answer to me. So try a direct answer - are the miracles in your faith natural events - yes or no?

seer
02-06-2015, 12:34 PM
My issue is with those who define "miracle" in such a way as to make it unfalsifiable, while insisting that miracles can still bear epistemological weight.

I'm not sure why falsifiability would even bear on the question.

seer
02-06-2015, 12:46 PM
Do you ever wonder why God would bother to speak to him about this in the first place? He was already wondering whether he should go into ministry. Wouldn't getting laid off be enough of a clue? Also, if God truly spoke to him why did God also orchestrate his termination for the next day? Wouldn't God personally speaking to someone be enough of a reason for doing something? Seriously.

No Enjolras, I don't wonder. Listen God knows Steve better than I know Steve, God knew what it would take to nudge him into the ministry.


Also, why does God only give out mundane thoughts, and never provide insights into the universe that are unavailable except through the long, difficult process of scientific discovery? For example, he never told anyone about the germ theory of disease. Millions of people needlessly died over thousands of years because they didn't know the importance of the simple practice of washing their hands before eating.

Perhaps God is more concerned with man's eternal state than his temporal state. And perhaps He allows us to sit in our sin, or experience the consequences of our sin. In other words, God is, for the most part, letting us have our way - and this is what it looks like.


And why didn't he warn my friends about their daughter's impending death when they could have prevented it? He's too busy telling some guy to become a pastor?! My friends are devoted Christians, yet God was silent. The whole thing is absurd.

Of course and you are the fount of rationality and wisdom. You can see the beginning from the end.



There are plenty of reasons for doubt. I've given quite a few.

No, you offered uniformed opinion.

Boxing Pythagoras
02-06-2015, 12:49 PM
I'm not sure why falsifiability would even bear on the question.The specific questions asked between you and Enjolras? I don't know. I honestly haven't read the bulk of your discussion, yet, as I'm only just joining the conversation.

However, as to the larger question posed by the OP, unfalsifiable claims tend to make for poor epistemological grounding, which is why I do not give much weight to the fact that miracle claims are prevalent in the world, even today.

seer
02-06-2015, 01:08 PM
However, as to the larger question posed by the OP, unfalsifiable claims tend to make for poor epistemological grounding, which is why I do not give much weight to the fact that miracle claims are prevalent in the world, even today.

I'm sorry, this does not make sense. First, I think some claims would be falsifiable. Produce the body of Christ and you falsify the resurrection. Second, I recently posted an experience that was, I believe, supernatural. If you could reproduce the same event by natural means I would seriously reconsider my conclusions. Finally there are many experiences in life that are personal and singular that can not be falsified yet are as true any anything else.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 01:18 PM
Sure. What part of asking for all patients in a hospital to be healed is outside of God's will? Especially when the purpose is for people to come to know the love of God by seeing his mighty power.

I don't think simply asking is outside of God's will. Whether or not God grants the prayer is another story. I can hypothesize all sorts of reason why God might not grant prayer and a few of those reasons have already been offered. You haven't been very receptive to the reasons already provided. I doubt I can say much more that will offer clarity to you.


The efficacy of prayer is in fact testable, by anyone with a coin. You can prove to yourself whether or not prayer is more effective than a placebo effect. Flip a coin 50 times and write down the results. Roughly half the time it will land on heads and half tails. Now run the test a second time, but before each flip ask in humility and for the glory of God to make it land tails every time. The results will be the same as the first time. Thus, prayer is no better than not praying. Prayer works just like homeopathy.: millions testify to its efficacy, but it cannot withstand the scrutiny of a simple controlled test.

I seem to recall that Jesus was requested to demonstrate the miraculous in much the same way. His answer was to cite Deut 6:16, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. God isn't some sort of cosmic slot machine, not to the Christian at any rate. In commentaries on this passage in Luke 4 NT scholar Darrell Bock points out, "Since it puts God in a 'show me' position, the action is really a private test of God and a sign of a lack of faith."


Yes. I dispute your interpretation.

:shrug: Okay. I'm not interested in convincing you of anything.


How do you know whether the scripture was inspired by God or Satan?

Well that gets into a whole nother topic, doesn't it? There are a number of ways that I can think of that probably depend on how one comes to saving faith through Christ in the first place. If one were convinced that God exists due to acceptance of say, natural theology, one may find that the God of scripture aligns with one's expectations. Along side this, one may be convinced of the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. One may be convinced that the Jesus described in the NT fulfills prophetic vision of the Old. One may find that scripture is in harmony with itself, and that its good for doctrine, reproof, and correction. And probably most importantly, one may find that scripture helps bear in the believer long lasting good fruits (things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).

Boxing Pythagoras
02-06-2015, 01:20 PM
I'm sorry, this does not make sense. First, I think some claims would be falsifiable. Produce the body of Christ and you falsify the resurrection.And how, do you suppose, could one accomplish such a task? Let's say that someone produces a body which they claimed was that of Jesus of Nazareth. How would you propose that we could verify that this body actually belonged to the central figure of Christianity?


Second, I recently posted an experience that was, I believe, supernatural. If you could reproduce the same event by natural means I would seriously reconsider my conclusions.If you mean the anecdote about your friend's decision to become a pastor, I've absolutely experienced precisely the same thing with no deity necessary. In March of 2014, I started debating whether I should leave my career as a computer programmer in order to refocus myself on becoming a math teacher. I knew that I would need to take a rather sizable pay-cut in order to make the switch, not to mention the fact that I would need to invest two years of my life and a great deal of money into completing a Degree in Mathematics, but ultimately I felt assured that it was the right decision and that I should go for it.

The next day, I was terminated from my job.

This is exactly the same situation as your friend, with my own consciousness substituted for his purported Word from God.


Finally there are many experiences in life that are personal and singular that can not be falsified yet are as true any anything else.Surely. However, it would be unreasonable for me to expect you to be swayed by my own personal and non-demonstrable experiences, just as it would be unreasonable of you to expect me to give your own such experiences any epistemological weight.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 01:32 PM
No Enjolras, I don't wonder.

That's interesting. Even when I was a devoted Christian I wondered about such things; why does God allows this and not that, and why his will was so inscrutable.


Listen God knows Steve better than I know Steve, God knew what it would take to nudge him into the ministry.

Seems like God is inordinately concerned about relatively trivial matters.


Perhaps God is more concerned with man's eternal state than his temporal state. And perhaps He allows us to sit in our sin, or experience the consequences of our sin. In other words, God is, for the most part, letting us have our way - and this is what it looks like.

God only reveals things that are unverifiable and the world looks exactly like it would if he didn't exist or care. That is suspicious.


Of course and you are the fount of rationality and wisdom. You can see the beginning from the end.

You are in the same boat I am. All we can do is assess matters as we see them.


No, you offered uniformed opinion.

Tell me, which cognitive bias does not exist and is merely the product of my uninformed opinion?

Confirmation bias
Tendency to accept anecdotal evidence
Superstitions
Gullibility
Placebo effect
Regression fallacy
Post hoc fallacy
Groupthink
Faulty memories

Is confirmation bias something I just made up? Does it not exist? Is everyone perfectly immune to such a notion? How about placebo effect? Is that not a real thing? What about faulty memories? Does everyone have a perfect memory?

seer
02-06-2015, 01:42 PM
And how, do you suppose, could one accomplish such a task? Let's say that someone produces a body which they claimed was that of Jesus of Nazareth. How would you propose that we could verify that this body actually belonged to the central figure of Christianity?

It would have to have been done back then. When there were still people around who knew him.


If you mean the anecdote about your friend's decision to become a pastor, I've absolutely experienced precisely the same thing with no deity necessary. In March of 2014, I started debating whether I should leave my career as a computer programmer in order to refocus myself on becoming a math teacher. I knew that I would need to take a rather sizable pay-cut in order to make the switch, not to mention the fact that I would need to invest two years of my life and a great deal of money into completing a Degree in Mathematics, but ultimately I felt assured that it was the right decision and that I should go for it.

No I'm speaking of what I witnessed a while back. The floating fern incident. I believe you know about that.



Surely. However, it would be unreasonable for me to expect you to be swayed by my own personal and non-demonstrable experiences, just as it would be unreasonable of you to expect me to give your own such experiences any epistemological weight.

But what epistemological weight one gives to an event is purely subjective. There is no hard fast rule on these matters.

shunyadragon
02-06-2015, 01:43 PM
No Shuny, you have a well deserved reputation for not being clear, for being slippery. Just like in your recent answer to me. So try a direct answer - are the miracles in your faith natural events - yes or no?

Easy answer! YES!! ALL miracles are natural events!!

Adrift
02-06-2015, 01:46 PM
Easy answer! YES!! ALL miracles are natural events!!

But earlier you implied that miracles were mirages. Come to think of it though, mirages are natural events, so maybe it pans out.

seer
02-06-2015, 01:50 PM
That's interesting. Even when I was a devoted Christian I wondered about such things; why does God allows this and not that, and why his will was so inscrutable.

Well no, I don't wonder about the specific situation with the pastor. Of course I wonder about other things, as did Paul:

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!



Seems like God is inordinately concerned about relatively trivial matters.

Trivial to whom? You?




God only reveals things that are unverifiable and the world looks exactly like it would if he didn't exist or care. That is suspicious.

If you say so.




You are in the same boat I am. All we can do is assess matters as we see them.

That wasn't the point.




Tell me, which cognitive bias does not exist and is merely the product of my uninformed opinion?

Confirmation bias
Tendency to accept anecdotal evidence
Superstitions
Gullibility
Placebo effect
Regression fallacy
Post hoc fallacy
Groupthink
Faulty memories

Is confirmation bias something I just made up? Does it not exist? Is everyone perfectly immune to such a notion? How about placebo effect? Is that not a real thing? What about faulty memories? Does everyone have a perfect memory?

No the point is, you think that God is concerned with trivial matters, matters that you don't find important. But we are finite creatures, we do not see the future and what things are trivial or profound in the long run. God does.

seer
02-06-2015, 01:53 PM
Easy answer! YES!! ALL miracles are natural events!!

Then they are not miracles by definition: A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.

Boxing Pythagoras
02-06-2015, 01:57 PM
It would have to have been done back then. When there were still people around who knew him.Ah, so then it is not a falsifiable claim, today. Nor, presumably, was it falsifiable at any point in the history of Christianity after the first few weeks following his death, since a decomposing corpse would have been entirely unrecognizable, at that point, even to those who knew him.


No I'm speaking of what I witnessed a while back. The floating fern incident. I believe you know about that.I only vaguely remember this one, so I'll go back and try to remind myself.


But what epistemological weight one gives to an event is purely subjective. There is no hard fast rule on these matters.There is an entire field of philosophy dedicated precisely towards this very question. While there do remain some things which could be considered "subjective" in these matters, given certain axioms, there are things which are objectively stronger, epistemologically, than others.

seer
02-06-2015, 02:12 PM
Ah, so then it is not a falsifiable claim, today. Nor, presumably, was it falsifiable at any point in the history of Christianity after the first few weeks following his death, since a decomposing corpse would have been entirely unrecognizable, at that point, even to those who knew him.

Yes, but it could have been falsifiable.


I only vaguely remember this one, so I'll go back and try to remind myself.

I wrote this about 20 minutes after it happened so it was fresh in my mind:


I wasn't sure which board to post this on, so I'll try this one. I think I experienced something this morning that seemed to defy the laws of nature. I'm out for my morning walk before church in my favorite wood. I was struggling with deep doubt, and for some reason, in that doubt, I just, from the heart, asked God for forgiveness - not necessarily for the doubt, but just in general. Then I had a clear and powerful sense of thankfulness. So I'm walking down this path, about 50 yards past my confession point, and I see a fern suspended in mid air. It wasn't the whole plant, just about 6 or 8 inches of the top of a plant. Now it was a mildly windy morning so I thought some kind of wind vortex was holding it there. But as I watched a breeze would come up, the fern would move a few inches with the breeze then come back right in front of me - at eye level. The wind did not take it away, as I normally would have thought. This happened a number of times, so I thought this must be being held by in a spider web that I just didn't see - so while the fern was gently dancing in front of me I ran my hand and arm all around it - it was not connected to anything. This went on for 12-14 minutes. The fern, always standing straight up and down, would move down to about to about a foot off the ground then up again to about eye level. In very gently motions. There was such a tenderness about the movements it is hard to explain. Again a breeze would come the fern would move a few inches to the right, then once the breeze stopped in slowly moved back in front of my eyes. Like I said, I watched this for 12-14 minutes and as I walked away I kept looking back and she was still in her place.

Now I'm 61 one years old and have enjoyed nature all of my life and I have seen all manner of weather conditions and their consequences - but I have never seen something so seemingly violate the laws of nature. Was it the tender hand of God, I think it was - though I could never prove it.




There is an entire field of philosophy dedicated precisely towards this very question. While there do remain some things which could be considered "subjective" in these matters, given certain axioms, there are things which are objectively stronger, epistemologically, than others.

Really Boxing, do any two philosophers agree on anything?

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 02:19 PM
I seem to recall that Jesus was requested to demonstrate the miraculous in much the same way. His answer was to cite Deut 6:16, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. God isn't some sort of cosmic slot machine, not to the Christian at any rate. In commentaries on this passage in Luke 4 NT scholar Darrell Bock points out, "Since it puts God in a 'show me' position, the action is really a private test of God and a sign of a lack of faith."

In Luke 4 the devil challenges Jesus' claim to be the Son of God, he tells Jesus to worship him, and he tempts him to suicide. None of that is going on in the coin toss test. It is a simple request for God to show himself faithful in a verifiable way. Jesus literally invites people to ask for things and to test God's faithfulness, and he says God will provide. Again:


Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Mt. 7:7)

Now there is nothing immoral about the coin toss test, so it's not against God's will. It is not a request for any personal gain or selfish desire. In fact, it is a way to build one's confidence in God and witness to others of his mighty power. Many people would come to faith if shown such miraculous power. It is the opposite of a sinful, selfish request. The plain reading of this and the other texts I quoted earlier is that if one asks in faith, God will provide. By your reading the text should say something like, "Ask, and it will be given you, as long as you don't ask for anything that could be construed as showing that what I am claiming is true." Your reading evacuates the force of the passage by qualifying it to the point where it is utterly meaningless. If it is wrong to ask about a coin toss, let me ask you, what kinds of things can one ask for and literally expect to receive?


Well that gets into a whole nother topic, doesn't it? There are a number of ways that I can think of that probably depend on how one comes to saving faith through Christ in the first place. If one were convinced that God exists due to acceptance of say, natural theology, one may find that the God of scripture aligns with one's expectations. Along side this, one may be convinced of the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. One may be convinced that the Jesus described in the NT fulfills prophetic vision of the Old. One may find that scripture is in harmony with itself, and that its gongs like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).

Yet, Satan can perform powerful wonders and miracles and can delude people into believing the wrong things. He might be deluding you into thinking the God of the Bible is the true God when Allah of Islam is really God. Maybe he raised Jesus from the dead so people would be led astray into believing him, and so on and so forth. Yes, this is another topic, but I don't see how you escape delusion by saying one may be convinced by this or that. It could be the devil convincing you. If this seems absurd, I imagine that is exactly what most Christians would say of Muslims: they are deceived by the devil. It's relevant for this thread in as much as people think the devil can perform miracles. It's just special-pleading to say Christians have miracles from God and non-Christians are the deluded ones.

shunyadragon
02-06-2015, 02:25 PM
But earlier you implied that miracles were mirages. Come to think of it though, mirages are natural events, so maybe it pans out.

Yes they are natural events. It is a mirage to think of them as miracles.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 02:34 PM
In Luke 4 the devil challenges Jesus' claim to be the Son of God, he tells Jesus to worship him, and he tempts him to suicide. None of that is going on in the coin toss test. It is a simple request for God to show himself faithful in a verifiable way. Jesus literally invites people to ask for things and to test God's faithfulness, and he says God will provide. Again:


Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Mt. 7:7)

Now there is nothing immoral about the coin toss test, so it's not against God's will. It is not a request for any personal gain or selfish desire. In fact, it is a way to build one's confidence in God and witness to others of his mighty power. Many people would come to faith if shown such miraculous power. It is the opposite of a sinful, selfish request. The plain reading of this and the other texts I quoted earlier is that if one asks in faith, God will provide. By your reading the text should say something like, "Ask, and it will be given you, as long as you don't ask for anything that could be construed as showing that what I am claiming is true." Your reading evacuates the force of the passage by qualifying it to the point where it is utterly meaningless. If it is wrong to ask about a coin toss, let me ask you, what kinds of things can one ask for and literally expect to receive?

I already answered this objection. Praying to God to do parlor tricks like he were some sort of cheap close up magician to convince you he is real would be a prayer born out of faithlessness, not faithfulness, which is in direct contrast to how Jesus instructs one to pray. You say its not a prayer of selfish desire. I say it is. :shrug:


Yet, Satan can perform powerful wonders and miracles and can delude people into believing the wrong things. He might be deluding you into thinking the God of the Bible is the true God when Allah of Islam is really God. Maybe he raised Jesus from the dead so people would be led astray into believing him, and so on and so forth. Yes, this is another topic, but I don't see how you escape delusion by saying one may be convinced by this or that. It could be the devil convincing you. If this seems absurd, I imagine that is exactly what most Christians would say of Muslims: they are deceived by the devil. It's relevant for this thread in as much as people think the devil can perform miracles. It's just special-pleading to say Christians have miracles from God and non-Christians are the deluded ones.

Sure. I think its good to keep an open mind, to continue to grow in one's understanding, and see how other worldviews stack up to Christianity. I was raised in a cult. I know what its like to be locked into a belief system that says "this is it, and don't even think to look elsewhere or else". I haven't found that to be much of an issue in orthodox Christianity. To the contrary, Christianity seems to me to encourage inspection and reflection.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 02:37 PM
I already answered this objection. Praying to God to do parlor tricks like he were some sort of cheap close up magician would be a prayer born out of faithlessness, not faithfulness, which is in direct contrast to how Jesus instructs one to pray. You say its not a prayer of selfish desire. I say it is. :shrug:

Ok. You didn't address what I said here: Your reading evacuates the force of the passage by qualifying it to the point where it is utterly meaningless. If it is wrong to ask about a coin toss, let me ask you, what kinds of things can one ask for and literally expect to receive?

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 02:44 PM
No the point is, you think that God is concerned with trivial matters, matters that you don't find important. But we are finite creatures, we do not see the future and what things are trivial or profound in the long run. God does.

I said: There are plenty of reasons for doubt. I've given quite a few.

You said: No, you offered uniformed opinion.

I said: Tell me, which cognitive bias does not exist and is merely the product of my uninformed opinion? ...

You said: No the point is, you think that God is concerned with trivial matters, matters that you don't find important. But we are finite creatures, we do not see the future and what things are trivial or profound in the long run. God does.

I'm just trying to answer your question about why you might doubt claims of the miraculous, whether experienced by yourself or others. These are among the reasons:


Confirmation bias
Tendency to accept anecdotal evidence
Superstitions
Gullibility
Placebo effect
Regression fallacy
Post hoc fallacy
Groupthink
Faulty memories


There's nothing controversial about any of these: they have all been documented to exist.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 03:15 PM
Ok. You didn't address what I said here: Your reading evacuates the force of the passage by qualifying it to the point where it is utterly meaningless. If it is wrong to ask about a coin toss, let me ask you, what kinds of things can one ask for and literally expect to receive?

I disagree that I did not address what you said, and that my reading evacuates the force of the passage. Here's NT scholar Craig Keener's commentary on the passage you're citing. If this doesn't help, I don't think there's much more I can add.

God can supply anything to the righteous who seek his purposes (7:7-10). This pericope emphasizes some important lessons: First, Jesus promises his disciples extraordinary power with God, like that of Elijah of old...

Second, it presupposes that the petitioners will be as committed to God's purposes as Elijah and like-minded servants of God were. Such a call to believing prayer supposes a heart of piety submitted to God's will: although Jesus states the promise graphically, he implicitly address only disciples, who will seek the good of God's kingdom and provision for their basic needs (6:11, 19-34). Jesus' promise is for the righteous -- people who share kingdom values in 6:19-34, who ask God to supply their basic needs and requests concerning the kingdom. But beyond this significant limitation, Jesus' promise might have amazed and troubled his first hearers (most proposed parallels in Dalman 1929: 230; Smith 1951: 137-38 resemble the wording only, not the concept). Jesus' disciples were to be prophets (5:12) and holy persons whose requests God would hear, like Elijah or Honi of old.

Third, this passage's context suggests the kinds of prayers Matthew intends such righteous people to offer. They seek first the purposes of God's kingdom (6:9-10, 31-33; cf. Ps 9:10; 24:6; 27:4, 8; 34:14; 63:1; 69:6, 32; 70:4; 119:45; 122:6-9; and especially Prov 2:4-5; 8:17; Is 55:6; Jer 29:13) and provision for their own basic needs (6:11). "Good things" (7:11) is not very specific; it sometimes referred to agricultural produce that the righteous would then share with others (Test. Iss. 3:7-8), and at other times to prosperity more generally (Sib. Or. 3.659-60. 750; cf. Test. Jos. 2:7)...Yet the specific examples Jesus gives that children would request are basic staples in the Palestinian diet -- bread and fish...Of course such requests fit the image in the parable; often such staples might be all that Palestinian Jewish fathers could provide their children on a regular basis. But they also indicate the sort of range Jesus' promise includes: the basics he had already promised his hearers (6:25-34). Jesus later provided bread and fish for his followers (14:19-20; 15:36-37), encouraging Matthew's audience that the risen Lord would also hear their requests for provision for their lives and the work of the kingdom (6:11; 10:8-13, 40-42).

God's Fatherly care for his children is their assurance that he will answer them (7:11; cf. 6:8). God, who gives "good gifts" to his children, may not grant a child's request for something harmful (in contrast to some pagan expectations concerning misplaced prayers -- Ovid Metam. 2.44-102; 3.287-98, 308-9; 11.100-115; 14.129-53), but he will not withhold any good thing from those who desire and seek what is right (Ps 37:4; 84:11). Jewish scholars typically argued by means of "how much more" arguments (qal wahomer): if a principle is true in the lesser case, how much more in the greater. Thus another sage perhaps a century after Jesus taught, "If a member of a man's household is well-treated, how much more a member of the Creator's household?" (Sifre Num. 88, cited in Smith 1951: 138: Lachs 1987: 142). As Tannehill points out, "The vivid oddness of considering whether we fathers might respond to the needs of our children in a harmful or capricious way makes distrust of the heavenly Father appear unnatural" in 7:7-10, which the "how much more" of 7:11 reinforces (Tannehill 1975:133).

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 03:15 PM
Trivial to whom? You?


Yes, to me. Naturally.

It seems trivial for God to take the time to tell some guy who is already thinking about becoming a pastor to become a pastor, and not to bother telling the parents of a young child that she will die if they don't intervene. If any human father had the choice to either save his daughter from drowning or to go out to have coffee with a friend, I'd say he made a poor choice if he ended up at Starbucks.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 03:48 PM
I disagree that I did not address what you said, and that my reading evacuates the force of the passage. Here's NT scholar Craig Keener's commentary on the passage you're citing. If this doesn't help, I don't think there's much more I can add.

God can supply anything to the righteous who seek his purposes (7:7-10). This pericope emphasizes some important lessons: First, Jesus promises his disciples extraordinary power with God, like that of Elijah of old...

Second, it presupposes that the petitioners will be as committed to God's purposes as Elijah and like-minded servants of God were. Such a call to believing prayer supposes a heart of piety submitted to God's will: although Jesus states the promise graphically, he implicitly address only disciples, who will seek the good of God's kingdom and provision for their basic needs (6:11, 19-34). Jesus' promise is for the righteous -- people who share kingdom values in 6:19-34, who ask God to supply their basic needs and requests concerning the kingdom. But beyond this significant limitation, Jesus' promise might have amazed and troubled his first hearers (most proposed parallels in Dalman 1929: 230; Smith 1951: 137-38 resemble the wording only, not the concept). Jesus' disciples were to be prophets (5:12) and holy persons whose requests God would hear, like Elijah or Honi of old.

Third, this passage's context suggests the kinds of prayers Matthew intends such righteous people to offer. They seek first the purposes of God's kingdom (6:9-10, 31-33; cf. Ps 9:10; 24:6; 27:4, 8; 34:14; 63:1; 69:6, 32; 70:4; 119:45; 122:6-9; and especially Prov 2:4-5; 8:17; Is 55:6; Jer 29:13) and provision for their own basic needs (6:11). "Good things" (7:11) is not very specific; it sometimes referred to agricultural produce that the righteous would then share with others (Test. Iss. 3:7-8), and at other times to prosperity more generally (Sib. Or. 3.659-60. 750; cf. Test. Jos. 2:7)...Yet the specific examples Jesus gives that children would request are basic staples in the Palestinian diet -- bread and fish...Of course such requests fit the image in the parable; often such staples might be all that Palestinian Jewish fathers could provide their children on a regular basis. But they also indicate the sort of range Jesus' promise includes: the basics he had already promised his hearers (6:25-34). Jesus later provided bread and fish for his followers (14:19-20; 15:36-37), encouraging Matthew's audience that the risen Lord would also hear their requests for provision for their lives and the work of the kingdom (6:11; 10:8-13, 40-42).

God's Fatherly care for his children is their assurance that he will answer them (7:11; cf. 6:8). God, who gives "good gifts" to his children, may not grant a child's request for something harmful (in contrast to some pagan expectations concerning misplaced prayers -- Ovid Metam. 2.44-102; 3.287-98, 308-9; 11.100-115; 14.129-53), but he will not withhold any good thing from those who desire and seek what is right (Ps 37:4; 84:11). Jewish scholars typically argued by means of "how much more" arguments (qal wahomer): if a principle is true in the lesser case, how much more in the greater. Thus another sage perhaps a century after Jesus taught, "If a member of a man's household is well-treated, how much more a member of the Creator's household?" (Sifre Num. 88, cited in Smith 1951: 138: Lachs 1987: 142). As Tannehill points out, "The vivid oddness of considering whether we fathers might respond to the needs of our children in a harmful or capricious way makes distrust of the heavenly Father appear unnatural" in 7:7-10, which the "how much more" of 7:11 reinforces (Tannehill 1975:133).

It's difficult to wade through all that verbiage to figure out exactly what your answer would be.


Agricultural produce that the righteous would then share with others?
Prosperity more generally?
Basic staples in the Palestinian diet -- bread and fish?


So you can ask for bread I suppose, and fully expect it to arrive? Jesus said you could ask for anything, but Professor Keener says it is quite limited, actually. Nevertheless, could anyone really ask for bread and expect it? One person dies of starvation every 4 seconds, begging for food (http://www.poverty.com/). Maybe they weren't aware of the various qualifications for such requests found in Ovid Metam. 2.44-102; 3.287-98, 308-9; 11.100-115; 14.129-53?

In the end it seems, Jesus exhortation to pray expecting a real answer is quite meaningless. If you expect him to really answer you are treating him like a "cosmic slot machine," even though he literally tells you to expect an answer,


"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours,"(Mk. 11:24)

But we all know that just isn't true. The cosmic slot machine excuse is an apologetic invention to dismiss the plain and obvious teachings of Jesus himself.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 04:14 PM
It's difficult to wade through all that verbiage to figure out exactly what your answer would be.


Agricultural produce that the righteous would then share with others?
Prosperity more generally?
Basic staples in the Palestinian diet -- bread and fish?


So you can ask for bread I suppose, and fully expect it to arrive? Jesus said you could ask for anything, but Professor Keener says it is quite limited, actually. Nevertheless, could anyone really ask for bread and expect it? One person dies of starvation every 4 seconds, begging for food (http://www.poverty.com/). Maybe they weren't aware of the various qualifications for such requests found in Ovid Metam. 2.44-102; 3.287-98, 308-9; 11.100-115; 14.129-53?

In the end it seems, Jesus exhortation to pray expecting a real answer is quite meaningless. If you expect him to really answer you are treating him like a "cosmic slot machine," even though he literally tells you to expect an answer,


"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours,"(Mk. 11:24)

But we all know that just isn't true. The cosmic slot machine excuse is an apologetic invention to dismiss the plain and obvious teachings of Jesus himself.

If the above is all you've gotten out of this discussion, then like I said, I don't know what more I can add.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 04:36 PM
If the above is all you've gotten out of this discussion, then like I said, I don't know what more I can add.

That's what I figured.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 04:48 PM
That's what I figured.

Its hard to have a productive conversation when one or both parties are hostile to the opposing point of view. If I were talking to someone else there's plenty more I could add...that I would love to add, but you've shown little regard for what's already been suggested, and you have a tendency to put a very non-gracious spin on even that. At some point the discussion becomes counterproductive.

whag
02-06-2015, 05:00 PM
Re: coin-operated God, biblical figures put him to such a test. After God empowers Samson to slay Philistines, Samson sings a verse about the feat:

"You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" 19But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it.

No one's asking for God to be a genie but to simply extend the same tolerance he showed to people like Samson -- a man who knew God existed but barked at Him for action anyway.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 05:04 PM
Re: coin-operated God, biblical figures put him to such a test. After God empowers Samson to slay Philistines, Samson sings a verse about the feat:

"You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" 19But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it.

No one's asking for God to be a genie but to simply extend the same tolerance he showed to people like Samson -- a man who knew God existed but barked at Him for action anyway.

Wait, which one was the servant?

whag
02-06-2015, 05:08 PM
The one who inserted the coin and received water and vengeance?

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 05:12 PM
Its hard to have a productive conversation when one or both parties are hostile to the opposing point of view. If I were talking to someone else there's plenty more I could add...that I would love to add, but you've shown little regard for what's already been suggested, and you have a tendency to put a very non-gracious spin on even that. At some point the discussion becomes counterproductive.

I've been very careful not to make personal attacks to anyone on the board, and I try my best not to offend people, even when disagreeing strenuously with their ideas. I do appreciate the intelligent, careful and respectful manner in which you conduct yourself here, but I can't help but think you are dodging on this particular topic by referring me to quotes from commentaries rather answering simple questions yourself. It just seems like you are avoiding the plain and obvious meaning of the text.

Nevertheless, I admit I can be quick to judge and I am prone to being ill-mannered. :( Sometimes I want to post quickly at the cost of being careful. My apologies. If you will respond to my last post, I promise I'll do my darned best to consider what you say carefully before responding.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 05:20 PM
The one who inserted the coin and received water and vengeance?

If Samson was the Servant, then the water and vengeance must have aligned with the Master's will.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 05:34 PM
I've been very careful not to make personal attacks to anyone on the board, and I try my best not to offend people, even when disagreeing strenuously with their ideas. I do appreciate the intelligent, careful and respectful manner in which you conduct yourself here, but I can't help but think you are dodging on this particular topic by referring me to quotes from commentaries rather answering simple questions yourself. It just seems like you are avoiding the plain and obvious meaning of the text.

Nevertheless, I admit I can be quick to judge and I am prone to being ill-mannered. :( Sometimes I want to post quickly at the cost of being careful. My apologies. If you will respond to my last post, I promise I'll do my darned best to consider what you say carefully before responding.

I thank you for the apology, but I'm sorry to say that I don't think it likely we'll make much more headway on this topic. At least, not at this point anyways. Just so you know, I respect your right to disagree with the view/s I've suggested. I believe a lot of this type of discussion hinges on our preconceptions, and unfortunately, I'm hardly the most elegant at expounding upon the Christian perspective. That's one of the reasons I tend to default to those who are far more authorized to speak on these sorts of subjects.

Enjolras
02-06-2015, 05:40 PM
I thank you for the apology, but I'm sorry to say that I don't think it likely we'll make much more headway on this topic. At least, not at this point anyways. Just so you know, I respect your right to disagree with the view/s I've suggested. I believe a lot of this type of discussion hinges on our preconceptions, and unfortunately, I'm hardly the most elegant at expounding upon the Christian perspective. That's one of the reasons I tend to default to those who are far more authorized to speak on these sorts of subjects.

Fair enough. There are plenty of times when I've kept going on a topic long after it has ceased being productive. Yours may be be better path of wisdom. :)

whag
02-06-2015, 05:47 PM
If Samson was the Servant, then the water and vengeance must have aligned with the Master's will.

That doesn't discount Samson's coin-operated theology. All it says is that all prayers that actualize God's will are answered, no matter how Aladdinish in intent. God doesn't decline to answer prayers because they're petulantly asked for or greedily coveted. Alignment with will is what matters.

That "cosmic slot machine" metaphor is insulting and tired. You need a new rap.


Darrell Bock points out, "Since it puts God in a 'show me' position, the action is really a private test of God and a sign of a lack of faith."

And that's what was so hideous about Samson, to whom God was as real as terra firma. It's so unbelievable from that angle alone as to not be true history. That's about as alien as you can get.

Adrift
02-06-2015, 06:21 PM
That doesn't discount Samson's coin-operated theology. All it says is that all prayers that actualize God's will are answered, no matter how Aladdinish in intent. God doesn't decline to answer prayers because they're petulantly asked for or greedily coveted. Alignment with will is what matters.

That "cosmic slot machine" metaphor is insulting and tired. You need a new rap.



And that's what was so hideous about Samson, to whom God was as real as terra firma. It's so unbelievable from that angle alone as to not be true history. That's about as alien as you can get.

Coin operated slot machines rely upon chance. Was it by chance or by God's will that Samson's request was answered? I suggest the latter.

whag
02-06-2015, 06:46 PM
Coin operated slot machines rely upon chance. Was it by chance or by God's will that Samson's request was answered? I suggest the latter.

I think you're confusing the metaphor. What you really mean is "gumball machine" in post 170.

Chance being irrelevant in the discussion, can you rephrase?

Adrift
02-06-2015, 06:59 PM
I think you're confusing the metaphor. What you really mean is "gumball machine" in post 170.

Chance being irrelevant in the discussion, can you rephrase?

The context was a chance game of heads or tails. Not sure how a gumball machine fits that context.

whag
02-06-2015, 07:38 PM
The context was a chance game of heads or tails. Not sure how a gumball machine fits that context.

True, but a slot machine doesn't have 50/50 odds.

Let's forget the chance bit and go back to what Bock said about challenging God. Samson challenged God, questioning the divine logic in saving him only to let him die of thirst hours later. His prayer amounted to "show me." Then God showed him.

Whether he prayed or not, the spring would have opened because it was within God's will.

NormATive
02-06-2015, 09:11 PM
All puff and no substance, huh?

No, it's just that it would be a waste of time. It's been done many times before on T-Web. Always a stalemate.


So, there is no PoE, then. Why did you get so upset about your mother, if Christianity's answer is to a problem that doesn't even exist?

Because it was painful to lose her, and self-serving platitudes do not help. Caring and understanding do, as I said.

NORM

Tassman
02-07-2015, 02:57 AM
Yes, but it could have been falsifiable.



I wrote this about 20 minutes after it happened so it was fresh in my mind:






Really Boxing, do any two philosophers agree on anything?

From your link: "...but I have never seen something so seemingly violate the laws of nature. Was it the tender hand of God, I think it was - though I could never prove it".

The "seemingly" is the clue, I think. You acknowledge the possibility exists that it could well have been a natural occurrence and that it couldn't be proven to be anything more than that. But that you prefer to think of it as "the tender hand of God". OK, that's your prerogative, just as mine is to consider your experience to be an unexplained natural event. The likelihood is that I'm correct given that there is no substantiated evidence of miracles, despite the many anecdotal claims to the contrary.

Tassman
02-07-2015, 04:03 AM
[QUOTE=MaxVel;154556]So you agree that Enjolras can base a general skepticism against miracles on things like human fallibility, confirmation bias, wanting to fit in, and yet not apply that same general skepticism of human nature to claims in areas that he feels comfortable with?

:thumb: Good for you.

The difference is that things like "human fallibility, confirmation bias, wanting to fit in” etc apply to belief in miracles for which there is no substantive evidence. It does not work both ways. The onus is on the believer to support the claims, not the sceptic to prove them wrong.


Address the hypothetical please. The question is not 'Is it irrational for othersto believe?'.

I think so. As Enjolras says there are a number of possible explanations for why people could believe a miracle occurred, ranging from 'confirmation bias' to ‘group think’, all of which are more likely than a non-natural occurrence such as a miracle.


1. You have a number of fallacious approaches to considering evidence and argumentation. You prefer to avoid addressing actual arguments and evidence, resorting to disqualifying the because of who makes them.

It is not a “fallacious approach” to be sceptical of anecdotal claims of miracles when there is no substantive evidence supporting them.


2. You seemingly have a dislike of Christianity that goes beyond 'I just don't think it's true'. You're biased against Christianity and you don't take that enough into account in your evaluation of evidence for it

That’s just a variation of the tired old “you hate Jesus” nonsense. Citing lack of credible evidence for claims made doesn’t amount to "bias against" or "dislike".


3. You insist on using 'escape-hatch' words like "credible", "substantiated", "verifiable", these words either have enough flexibility in their meaning that you can always say that your criteria hasn't been met; or they are subjective enough that you can easily move the goalposts to avoid accepting something as evidence.

Qualifications, such as lack of “substantiated” evidence regarding miracles etc, are necessary to avoid the response that personal testimony counts as evidence. It doesn’t except for the person concerned and there is no good reason to think that that person isn’t deluded.


4. You're probably not as smart or as rational as you think you are. Pretty much no-one is (myself included), so don't get upset.

There’s no need to be exceptionally smart to demand credible evidence for claims where only anecdotal evidence exist. This ranges from alleged alien abductions to claims of miracles.

seer
02-07-2015, 04:04 AM
The "seemingly" is the clue, I think. You acknowledge the possibility exists that it could well have been a natural occurrence and that it couldn't be proven to be anything more than that. But that you prefer to think of it as "the tender hand of God". OK, that's your prerogative, just as mine is to consider your experience to be an unexplained natural event. The likelihood is that I'm correct given that there is no substantiated evidence of miracles, despite the many anecdotal claims to the contrary.

Well Tass, I'm open to a natural explanation. Like I said, if someone could reproduce this or tell me how it is possible I would change my mind.

Enjolras
02-07-2015, 08:33 AM
Well Tass, I'm open to a natural explanation. Like I said, if someone could reproduce this or tell me how it is possible I would change my mind.

Have you considered the possibility you were hallucinating? This very natural explanation is far more likely than that of a supernatural being suspending gravity. We have lots of documented cases of hallucination, and none of actual floating ferns. Did you have your phone with you on the walk? If so, you could have taken a picture or video of the event, which would disprove the hallucination hypotheses.

seer
02-07-2015, 10:05 AM
Have you considered the possibility you were hallucinating? This very natural explanation is far more likely than that of a supernatural being suspending gravity. We have lots of documented cases of hallucination, and none of actual floating ferns. Did you have your phone with you on the walk? If so, you could have taken a picture or video of the event, which would disprove the hallucination hypotheses.

No I haven't, never mind a young man on a mountain bike witnessed the same thing. Though I think he thought I was doing a magic trick or we were on Candid Camera or something. And I don't own a cell phone. There is no question about what I saw Enjolras. Do what you will with it.

NormATive
02-07-2015, 09:28 PM
...If you could reproduce the same event by natural means I would seriously reconsider my conclusions.

OK, just drop a little acid, and I will have you believing in your heart that you saw a floating fern. In fact, I could make you believe your car was floating.
You're too much, Seer! LOL!!

NORM

Tassman
02-08-2015, 02:23 AM
Well Tass, I'm open to a natural explanation.

With all due respect seer, I don't think you really are open to a natural explanation. The evidence to date is that you resist all possible natural explanations, which indicates an emotional investment in your apparition. In psychoanalytic theory, this could be explained in terms of 'wish-fulfilment', i.e. "the satisfaction of a conscious or unconsciousness desire, need, or impulse through a dream, an hallucination or some other unconscious exercise of the imagination". Medical Dictionary.


Like I said, if someone could reproduce this or tell me how it is possible I would change my mind.

Except that you are approaching this back-to-front. Usually one assumes a natural explanation and then (if no such explanation is forthcoming ) maybe comes to the reluctant conclusion that it warrants a non-natural explanation. Whereas you have assumed from the outset that the explanation is supernatural and demand a natural explanation to prove you wrong.

seer
02-08-2015, 03:54 AM
With all due respect seer, I don't think you really are open to a natural explanation. The evidence to date is that you resist all possible natural explanations, which indicates an emotional investment in your apparition. In psychoanalytic theory, this could be explained in terms of 'wish-fulfilment', i.e. "the satisfaction of a conscious or unconsciousness desire, need, or impulse through a dream, an hallucination or some other unconscious exercise of the imagination". Medical Dictionary.

Like I said Tass, I really am open to a natural explanation. Can you offer one that is keeping with the facts?


Except that you are approaching this back-to-front. Usually one assumes a natural explanation and then (if no such explanation is forthcoming ) maybe comes to the reluctant conclusion that it warrants a non-natural explanation. Whereas you have assumed from the outset that the explanation is supernatural and demand a natural explanation to prove you wrong.

That is exactly backward, during the whole event I was trying to figure out how "nature" was doing it. This is why I was looking for a spider web, why I kept running my hand around the fern while it was suspended. I was looking for some kind string or physical connection, or wind vortex. There wasn't any. I was not thinking miracle to begin with, not at all.

JimL
02-08-2015, 04:21 AM
Like I said Tass, I really am open to a natural explanation. Can you offer one that is keeping with the facts?



That is exactly backward, during the whole event I was trying to figure out how "nature" was doing it. This is why I was looking for a spider web, why I kept running my hand around the fern while it was suspended. I was looking for some kind string or physical connection, or wind vortex. There wasn't any. I was not thinking miracle to begin with, not at all.
No disrespect seer, but one natural explanation for claims of the miraculous is that the whole story is BS, but no one could ever know that with certainty, excepting the claimant. That seems to be a common theme when it comes to miracle claims.

seer
02-08-2015, 06:05 AM
No disrespect seer, but one natural explanation for claims of the miraculous is that the whole story is BS, but no one could ever know that with certainty, excepting the claimant. That seems to be a common theme when it comes to miracle claims.

Jim you can think and believe what you like. I know it is fact. And any objection is meaningless to the truth.

JimL
02-08-2015, 06:41 AM
Jim you can think and believe what you like. I know it is fact. And any objection is meaningless to the truth.
Thats my point seer. Words alone are not enough to convince non believers. Would you believe me if i told you that i walked on water? Of course you wouldn't, you're not a naive idiot, you would suspect that I was lying, or dreaming or hallucinating, so why would you expect that others should think any differently about your claim? Besides, don't you think that for an all powerful God that was a rather pedestrian miracle (a floating leaf) for curing your doubts. He could have at least made you float!

seer
02-08-2015, 09:40 AM
Thats my point seer. Words alone are not enough to convince non believers. Would you believe me if i told you that i walked on water? Of course you wouldn't, you're not a naive idiot, you would suspect that I was lying, or dreaming or hallucinating, so why would you expect that others should think any differently about your claim? Besides, don't you think that for an all powerful God that was a rather pedestrian miracle (a floating leaf) for curing your doubts. He could have at least made you float!

Jim, I'm not trying to get you to believe anything. I laid out the facts, period.

whag
02-08-2015, 10:39 AM
Jim, I'm not trying to get you to believe anything. I laid out the facts, period.

No you aren't. You're presenting a meaningful event to you as fact thinking it especially persuasive. Maybe it was meant for you only, not used as some hackneyed evangelism tool. Have you ever considered that?

seer
02-08-2015, 06:28 PM
No you aren't. You're presenting a meaningful event to you as fact thinking it especially persuasive. Maybe it was meant for you only, not used as some hackneyed evangelism tool. Have you ever considered that?

No whag, it is not hackneyed evangelism tool, it is a fact. And if this was from God I was not given instruction about whether or not to share it. And whether one finds the event, or me, persuasive, is strictly up to the individual.

JimL
02-09-2015, 04:59 AM
No whag, it is not hackneyed evangelism tool, it is a fact. And if this was from God I was not given instruction about whether or not to share it. And whether one finds the event, or me, persuasive, is strictly up to the individual.
Yes you were, "don't cast your so called "pearls" before swine." (that would be us non-believers)".

seer
02-09-2015, 05:53 AM
Yes you were, "don't cast your so called "pearls" before swine." (that would be us non-believers)".

Really Jim? There are only non-believers reading this thread?

Boxing Pythagoras
02-09-2015, 07:07 AM
Yes you were, "don't cast your so called "pearls" before swine." (that would be us non-believers)".I don't think this is quite fair.

Seer had an experience, one which he believes to have been supernatural in nature. That anecdote is directly related to this thread. Whether or not one believes his story-- let alone his explanation for that story-- doesn't alter the fact that seer seems entirely sincere in his recollection of the events. Seer is certainly not alone in this. I could name scores of people that I have personally known who have made claims to similar such anomalous events. I, myself, made such a claim when I still believed.

whag
02-09-2015, 07:17 AM
I don't think this is quite fair.

Seer had an experience, one which he believes to have been supernatural in nature. That anecdote is directly related to this thread. Whether or not one believes his story-- let alone his explanation for that story-- doesn't alter the fact that seer seems entirely sincere in his recollection of the events. Seer is certainly not alone in this. I could name scores of people that I have personally known who have made claims to similar such anomalous events. I, myself, made such a claim when I still believed.

What miracle did you claim to experience when you believed, and why have you changed your mind?

shunyadragon
02-09-2015, 07:40 AM
I don't think this is quite fair.

Seer had an experience, one which he believes to have been supernatural in nature. That anecdote is directly related to this thread. Whether or not one believes his story-- let alone his explanation for that story-- doesn't alter the fact that seer seems entirely sincere in his recollection of the events. Seer is certainly not alone in this. I could name scores of people that I have personally known who have made claims to similar such anomalous events. I, myself, made such a claim when I still believed.

Like JimL, I do not let off the deluded and gullible, believing in the illusions, mirages and delusions of the world of Houdini that easily.

Boxing Pythagoras
02-09-2015, 07:41 AM
What miracle did you claim to experience when you believed, and why have you changed your mind?When I was eleven years old, I was once awakened, in the middle of the night, by an audible voice-- not a subconscious feeling or an inner monologue or a thought, but a loud, audible voice. It was not my own voice, and there was no one else in my room. The voice instructed me on how to pray in Tongues. As soon as the voice had finished speaking with me, I immediately ran to tell my parents what had happened.

You can imagine how such a thing would seem incredibly confirmatory to a person who truly believes in such things.

I've since changed my mind due to several reasons, foremost of which is the fact that I have since been diagnosed with occipital epilepsy-- the symptoms of which include auditory and visual hallucination. I have very good reason to believe that the epilepsy was present but undiagnosed at the time of the original event (I was diagnosed with chronic occipital migraines when I was in the third grade, and I had experienced some unexplained seizures in my youth). Furthermore, I have experienced other hallucinations in the years since. Some of these fit the mold of the original event almost perfectly-- I once woke up, hearing my brother speaking to me plain-as-day, despite the fact that he was three states away, at the time. Other hallucinations have been even stronger-- I once slammed on my brakes while driving at night because I saw the road ahead of me break open like a gaping maw with two glowing red eyes staring at me, and the sound of an earthquake rattling in my ears.

Even after these experiences, I didn't connect my hearing God's voice with my epilepsy until after I had lost my faith, because the event was so confirmatory of my pre-existent beliefs.

Adrift
02-09-2015, 07:46 AM
When I was eleven years old, I was once awakened, in the middle of the night, by an audible voice-- not a subconscious feeling or an inner monologue or a thought, but a loud, audible voice. It was not my own voice, and there was no one else in my room. The voice instructed me on how to pray in Tongues. As soon as the voice had finished speaking with me, I immediately ran to tell my parents what had happened.

You can imagine how such a thing would seem incredibly confirmatory to a person who truly believes in such things.

I've since changed my mind due to several reasons, foremost of which is the fact that I have since been diagnosed with occipital epilepsy-- the symptoms of which include auditory and visual hallucination. I have very good reason to believe that the epilepsy was present but undiagnosed at the time of the original event (I was diagnosed with chronic occipital migraines when I was in the third grade, and I had experienced some unexplained seizures in my youth). Furthermore, I have experienced other hallucinations in the years since. Some of these fit the mold of the original event almost perfectly-- I once woke up, hearing my brother speaking to me plain-as-day, despite the fact that he was three states away, at the time. Other hallucinations have been even stronger-- I once slammed on my brakes while driving at night because I saw the road ahead of me break open like a gaping maw with two glowing red eyes staring at me, and the sound of an earthquake rattling in my ears.

Even after these experiences, I didn't connect my hearing God's voice with my epilepsy until after I had lost my faith, because the event was so confirmatory of my pre-existent beliefs.

Had you heard of praying in tongues before then? Like, were your parents Christians?

seer
02-09-2015, 08:06 AM
Like JimL, I do not let off the deluded and gullible, believing in the illusions, mirages and delusions of the world of Houdini that easily.

But who cares what you believe? Since you were not there?

Chrawnus
02-09-2015, 08:14 AM
Like JimL, I do not let off the deluded and gullible, believing in the illusions, mirages and delusions of the world of Houdini that easily.

Well I guess it's good for those poor deluded and gullible fools that someone like you exists then, so you can set them back on the right track. :ahem:

Enjolras
02-09-2015, 08:34 AM
When I was eleven years old, I was once awakened, in the middle of the night, by an audible voice-- not a subconscious feeling or an inner monologue or a thought, but a loud, audible voice. It was not my own voice, and there was no one else in my room. The voice instructed me on how to pray in Tongues. As soon as the voice had finished speaking with me, I immediately ran to tell my parents what had happened.

You can imagine how such a thing would seem incredibly confirmatory to a person who truly believes in such things.

I've since changed my mind due to several reasons, foremost of which is the fact that I have since been diagnosed with occipital epilepsy-- the symptoms of which include auditory and visual hallucination. I have very good reason to believe that the epilepsy was present but undiagnosed at the time of the original event (I was diagnosed with chronic occipital migraines when I was in the third grade, and I had experienced some unexplained seizures in my youth). Furthermore, I have experienced other hallucinations in the years since. Some of these fit the mold of the original event almost perfectly-- I once woke up, hearing my brother speaking to me plain-as-day, despite the fact that he was three states away, at the time. Other hallucinations have been even stronger-- I once slammed on my brakes while driving at night because I saw the road ahead of me break open like a gaping maw with two glowing red eyes staring at me, and the sound of an earthquake rattling in my ears.

Even after these experiences, I didn't connect my hearing God's voice with my epilepsy until after I had lost my faith, because the event was so confirmatory of my pre-existent beliefs.

That's an amazing and revealing story; thanks for sharing.

Boxing Pythagoras
02-09-2015, 08:55 AM
Had you heard of praying in tongues before then? Like, were your parents Christians?Yes. I grew up in a Charismatic, Evangelical Church.

shunyadragon
02-09-2015, 09:01 AM
Well I guess it's good for those poor deluded and gullible fools that someone like you exists then, so you can set them back on the right track. :ahem:

Right on!!!!!

whag
02-09-2015, 09:17 AM
When I was eleven years old, I was once awakened, in the middle of the night, by an audible voice-- not a subconscious feeling or an inner monologue or a thought, but a loud, audible voice. It was not my own voice, and there was no one else in my room. The voice instructed me on how to pray in Tongues. As soon as the voice had finished speaking with me, I immediately ran to tell my parents what had happened.

You can imagine how such a thing would seem incredibly confirmatory to a person who truly believes in such things.

I've since changed my mind due to several reasons, foremost of which is the fact that I have since been diagnosed with occipital epilepsy-- the symptoms of which include auditory and visual hallucination. I have very good reason to believe that the epilepsy was present but undiagnosed at the time of the original event (I was diagnosed with chronic occipital migraines when I was in the third grade, and I had experienced some unexplained seizures in my youth). Furthermore, I have experienced other hallucinations in the years since. Some of these fit the mold of the original event almost perfectly-- I once woke up, hearing my brother speaking to me plain-as-day, despite the fact that he was three states away, at the time. Other hallucinations have been even stronger-- I once slammed on my brakes while driving at night because I saw the road ahead of me break open like a gaping maw with two glowing red eyes staring at me, and the sound of an earthquake rattling in my ears.

Even after these experiences, I didn't connect my hearing God's voice with my epilepsy until after I had lost my faith, because the event was so confirmatory of my pre-existent beliefs.

Thanks so much for sharing. I'm sure you've also heard of frontal lobe epilepsy, which in some cases causes the same kinds of feelings. The thing that intrigues me about this topic is that some people in the ANE might have had similar disorders, which obviously couldn't be diagnosed.


There's a good NOVA documentary that discusses FLE called God on the Brain. Have you seen it?

Boxing Pythagoras
02-09-2015, 09:30 AM
Thanks so much for sharing. I'm sure you've also heard of frontal lobe epilepsy, which in some cases causes the same kinds of feelings. The thing that intrigues me about this topic is that some people in the ANE might have had similar disorders, which obviously couldn't be diagnosed.I don't even think that it needs to go that far. I know plenty of people who sincerely claim to have had "spiritual" experiences, who did not seem to have any sort of neurological disorder. It's very easy to interpret something out-of-the-ordinary as having a supernatural origin when one is zealously dedicated to belief in the supernatural.


There's a good NOVA documentary that discusses FLE called God on the Brain. Have you seen it?I have not. I'll have to check it out!

whag
02-09-2015, 09:41 AM
I don't even think that it needs to go that far. I know plenty of people who sincerely claim to have had "spiritual" experiences, who did not seem to have any sort of neurological disorder. It's very easy to interpret something out-of-the-ordinary as having a supernatural origin when one is zealously dedicated to belief in the supernatural.

I have not. I'll have to check it out!

I agree about FLE not explaining all people who claim experience. I just think it's one of the extreme ends of the spectrum.

Researchers hypothesize that Ellen G. White started Seventh Day Adventism because of an injury she endured as a kid. A bully hit her face with a rock, after which she began to experience incredible visions.

JimL
02-09-2015, 07:40 PM
I don't think this is quite fair.

Seer had an experience, one which he believes to have been supernatural in nature. That anecdote is directly related to this thread.
Thats true, but seer posted his original story in apologetics as well, so it was a fair response in that he was given instruction against this by his God. Just making a point. No big deal.

Whether or not one believes his story-- let alone his explanation for that story-- doesn't alter the fact that seer seems entirely sincere in his recollection of the events.
No doubt, he seems sincere, and of course anyone making such claims will seem sincere, and they may even believe it themselves, but that is no reaon for a reasonable person to believe them.

Seer is certainly not alone in this. I could name scores of people that I have personally known who have made claims to similar such anomalous events. I, myself, made such a claim when I still believed.
When you still believed? So are you denouncing the claim now?

Tassman
02-10-2015, 03:50 AM
Thanks so much for sharing. I'm sure you've also heard of frontal lobe epilepsy, which in some cases causes the same kinds of feelings. The thing that intrigues me about this topic is that some people in the ANE might have had similar disorders, which obviously couldn't be diagnosed.


There's a good NOVA documentary that discusses FLE called God on the Brain. Have you seen it?

Indeed there has been a case made that Paul's Damascene vision had the hallmarks of such a seizure as have Muhammad’s ecstatic experiences. Interesting possibility that the world's two largest religions had their origins in epilepsy.

seer
02-10-2015, 05:53 AM
Thats true, but seer posted his original story in apologetics as well, so it was a fair response in that he was given instruction against this by his God. Just making a point. No big deal.

In my defense, one of the reason I posted the event here was to get feedback from both believers and non-believers. I was and am, completely, open to a natural explanation. But the more I go over this and the more people I talk to about the incident the less likely I think there can be a natural cause. And Jim what do you mean by instruction from God? I received no such instructions.


No doubt, he seems sincere, and of course anyone making such claims will seem sincere, and they may even believe it themselves, but that is no reaon for a reasonable person to believe them.

I guess you would have to define reasonable in a non-arbitrary way. If not you are merely speaking of personal preferences and biases.

seer
02-10-2015, 05:56 AM
Indeed there has been a case made that Paul's Damascene vision had the hallmarks of such a seizure as have Muhammad’s ecstatic experiences. Interesting possibility that the world's two largest religions had their origins in epilepsy.

Except you have no idea if that is the case.

MaxVel
02-10-2015, 06:39 AM
I believe whag was the only one who suggested that miracles are counter-productive in convincing non-believers. He's an atheist who doesn't believe in miracles. I'd take what he says on the nature of miracles with a grain of salt.



Actually, it was Maxvel who said that, in post #72: "...in short, there are a whole bunch of prosaic practical reasons why such a thing could actually be counter-productive for God's point of view."

Woah, Dude! Way to take what I said way out of context.

In the quoted part I was responding to your hypothetical: 'why doesn't God get Christians to heal everyone in a hospital?'

I was not stating a general position on miracles as a whole. Note also the conditional I used. I was offering a possible reason why we don't see your hypothetical happening (AFAIK).

MaxVel
02-10-2015, 06:48 AM
The next word after Miracle in almost all dictionaries is Mirage.

That's cute. Thanks for your contribution to the discussion. In some dictionaries the next word after Shunyadragon is Shyster.

MaxVel
02-10-2015, 06:58 AM
The difference is that things like "human fallibility, confirmation bias, wanting to fit in” etc apply to belief in miracles for which there is no substantive evidence. It does not work both ways. The onus is on the believer to support the claims, not the sceptic to prove them wrong.



I think so. As Enjolras says there are a number of possible explanations for why people could believe a miracle occurred, ranging from 'confirmation bias' to ‘group think’, all of which are more likely than a non-natural occurrence such as a miracle.

I can't see how those are relevant to the hypothetical I presented. Is it irrational for the person to believe that God has healed her?





It is not a “fallacious approach” to be sceptical of anecdotal claims of miracles when there is no substantive evidence supporting them.



That’s just a variation of the tired old “you hate Jesus” nonsense. Citing lack of credible evidence for claims made doesn’t amount to "bias against" or "dislike".



Qualifications, such as lack of “substantiated” evidence regarding miracles etc, are necessary to avoid the response that personal testimony counts as evidence. It doesn’t except for the person concerned and there is no good reason to think that that person isn’t deluded.



There’s no need to be exceptionally smart to demand credible evidence for claims where only anecdotal evidence exist. This ranges from alleged alien abductions to claims of miracles.

Uhhh...Hello...?


There is no credible evidence to support rational belief in God that I'm aware of. Please explain.

I gave some reasons why you are (apparently) unaware of the above. It's not about miracles, and I didn't base my observations on your posts in this thread, but on your entire posting history here on TWeb (pre- and post-crash), plus your interactions with other posters and how they respond to you. It's as scientific as a psychology paper in a journal! :smile:

whag
02-10-2015, 07:35 AM
I believe whag was the only one who suggested that miracles are counter-productive in convincing non-believers. He's an atheist who doesn't believe in miracles. I'd take what he says on the nature of miracles with a grain of salt.

I didn't say anything about the nature of miracles. My point was that there is no shortage of miracle stories AND the tellers' overconfidence in his story's persuasiveness can be a strike against him. One should be cautious in using it as an evangelism tool. It can backfire.

shunyadragon
02-10-2015, 08:02 AM
I can't see how those are relevant to the hypothetical I presented. Is it irrational for the person to believe that God has healed her?

Yes, considering this is one in a million that are neglected and not (miraculously?) healed.

MaxVel
02-10-2015, 08:07 AM
Yes, considering this is one in a million that are neglected and not (miraculously?) healed.

I can't make any sense of your reply.

shunyadragon
02-10-2015, 08:34 AM
I can't make any sense of your reply.

Yes, it is irrational and egocentric to believe one is selectively miraculously healed by God, considering this is one in a million healed and 999,999 are neglected and not (miraculously?) healed, and of course died.

JimL
02-10-2015, 07:29 PM
In my defense, one of the reason I posted the event here was to get feedback from both believers and non-believers. I was and am, completely, open to a natural explanation. But the more I go over this and the more people I talk to about the incident the less likely I think there can be a natural cause. And Jim what do you mean by instruction from God? I received no such instructions.
Well, one reason to not believe it seer would be that God by this miraculous floating leaf failed to cure you of your doubts, which i'm sure if he really wanted to, being that he is God, would have no problem doing.



I guess you would have to define reasonable in a non-arbitrary way. If not you are merely speaking of personal preferences and biases.
Being of sound judgement. Again, if I told you that i just walked on water, you wouldn't believe me would you? Sound judgement.

Tassman
02-11-2015, 12:21 AM
I can't see how those are relevant to the hypothetical I presented. Is it irrational for the person to believe that God has healed her?

Yes it is irrational for any person to believe that a deity has healed them. Although not necessarily irrational for the person concerned, if such a person is so deluded as to believe a deity exists.


Uhhh...Hello...?
:hi:


I gave some reasons why you are (apparently) unaware of the above. It's not about miracles,

I'm unaware of credible evidence of any kind to support a rational belief in God presented by you. Please refresh my memory.


and I didn't base my observations on your posts in this thread, but on your entire posting history here on TWeb (pre- and post-crash), plus your interactions with other posters and how they respond to you. It's as scientific as a psychology paper in a journal! :smile:

Personal judgements based upon bias, group-think and presuppositions are about as far as you could get from "scientific".

Tassman
02-11-2015, 02:42 AM
Except you have no idea if that is the case.

I wouldn't say “no idea”. There is evidence that it could quite possibility be the case. As Bart Ehrman says, any natural explanation of supposed supernatural occurrences is more probable than a supernatural one.

In the Bible, we learn that Saint Paul had many ecstatic visions. He’s not the only one who had visions, or seizures, or other symptoms of neurological disease.
D. Landsborough proposes that Paul suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, and examines the Biblical evidence in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry:

http://docsize.com/files/st-paul-and-temporal-lobe-epilepsy.html

…and elsewhere there is similar conjecture about Muhammad and his ecstatic visions.

seer
02-11-2015, 04:40 AM
Well, one reason to not believe it seer would be that God by this miraculous floating leaf failed to cure you of your doubts, which i'm sure if he really wanted to, being that he is God, would have no problem doing.

No Jim, I don't think that is how it works. Bringing men into deeper faith generally is a process.




Being of sound judgement. Again, if I told you that i just walked on water, you wouldn't believe me would you? Sound judgement.

That would depend on the person telling the story. Like I mentioned in this thread I personally only know two men who claimed to have verbally heard the word of God. I know both men to be of sound mind and not given to frivolous assertions. I believe them.

JimL
02-11-2015, 04:54 AM
No Jim, I don't think that is how it works. Bringing men into deeper faith generally is a process.
Why do you think that is how it works seer? Does God, for some reason, not want to erase your doubts, want you to know!





That would depend on the person telling the story. Like I mentioned in this thread I personally only know two men who claimed to have verbally heard the word of God. I know both men to be of sound mind and not given to frivolous assertions. I believe them.
So if someone that you knew to be of sound mind told you that they walked on water you would believe them?

seer
02-11-2015, 05:42 AM
Why do you think that is how it works seer? Does God, for some reason, not want to erase your doubts, want you to know!

No Jim, we are not automatons. We have freedom of will and a sinful tendency. We can even discount or ignore miracles.



So if someone that you knew to be of sound mind told you that they walked on water you would believe them?

I would not reject it out of hand. Unlike the atheist I can be open minded.

seer
02-11-2015, 05:46 AM
I wouldn't say “no idea”. There is evidence that it could quite possibility be the case. As Bart Ehrman says, any natural explanation of supposed supernatural occurrences is more probable than a supernatural one.

In the Bible, we learn that Saint Paul had many ecstatic visions. He’s not the only one who had visions, or seizures, or other symptoms of neurological disease.
D. Landsborough proposes that Paul suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, and examines the Biblical evidence in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry:

http://docsize.com/files/st-paul-and-temporal-lobe-epilepsy.html

…and elsewhere there is similar conjecture about Muhammad and his ecstatic visions.

No Tass, you have no idea. Have you examined Paul? Has Landsborough examined Paul? But since you are an atheist you must look for a natural explanation, your bias and narrow mindedness forces this conclusion.