Jump to content

God And The Eternal Multiverse.


BlackCat
 Share

Recommended Posts

That title may seem to be an oxymoron, but bear with me.  wink.png

 

Back in March, after much discussion about the nature of reality and the universe    (http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/54614-jim-and-penny-caldwells-archaeological-findings/page-4  , and with most help from BAA, I thought I'd killed off any ideas of 'God' being real.  I'd certainly killed off the idea of a theistic God and still find that kind of God improbable, but I've  been having doubts about there being no intelligence or purpose to reality, and for want of a better word I'll call this 'purpose/ intelligence' : God.  Maybe I was too hasty to assume that an eternal cause and effect universe/multiverse is not part of 'God'.  The word 'supernatural' conjures up magic or something not of our reality, and so maybe that is the wrong word to use for 'God' and for this 'missing' or 'undiscovered' element to our reality that seems to beckon from amongst what we are learning about our reality via science?  The bottom line is surely that we don't know enough about the universe or our reality to rule out an eternal purpose/intelligence that is within it? 

 

On another thread I got talking about my doubts and BAA kindly gave me this reply:

 

 

bornagainathiest, on 02 Jul 2013 - 9:48 PM, said:snapback.png    http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/57449-age-of-the-gentiles/page-2

 

Now BC, if you still hold to your long-standing assumption of eternal matter / energy, is there any logical reason for you to invoke the supernatural to explain anything?  

And if you still accept the Planck data and the Multiverse it points to, is there any logical reason to for you invoke the supernatural to explain everything?  

 

I'm sorry BC, but it IS all or nothing!

 

Either God is excluded from an entirely natural, but eternal reality.

Or...

God is the supernatural explanation for a supernaturally-created reality and there is no eternal matter / energy.

 

You cannot have it both ways and there is no middle ground...

...unless you make the conscious decision to abandon reason and logic and evidence in favor of feelings and emotions.

 

Please think carefully about this.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

 

 

And so I'll respond to the points you make BAA.

 

There is so much that we don't know for sure.  We don't know if matter/energy is eternal.  We don't know if there is an eternal universe/multiverse.  We just don't know for sure.  But let's suppose it is the case and they are eternal: why should the intelligence and purpose that run through this eternal reality be limited by our lack of understanding?  In other words, there could be more to our reality than we are aware of  e.g the quantum world of  'things that exist differently to us.   There's just too many unknowns for now, to rule out the possibility of some kind of 'God'.  I don't see this as unreasonable.  I don't see this as 'all or nothing'.  

 

There are 3 main things that cause me to be open minded about the possibility of 'God'.  Two of them are data based and one is 'emotion/instinct' based:

 

1. The gradual evolution of the cell.

 

2. How male and female organsims evolved independently of each other.

 

3.  The sheer complexity of the human brain and our ability to love, reason and yearn for God and eternity.

 

Now I'm aware that the first two problems put me in the camp of the ID/IC  crowd, and that is unfortunate, but can't be helped.   The third point is one no doubt shared by many people. 

 

The first two points will no doubt get answered the more that science discovers, but until they figure it out, I will continue to doubt the ability of evolution to gradually produce a cell.  I've tried to take it on faith, that, that is what happened, but my heart is not in it, or rather I don't feel like I'm being true to what I consider the data is saying.  This may seem very arrogant of me, especially as I don't know enough about biological matters to comprehend evolution.  Maybe so.  I don't know....... 

 

This is my position.   I look forward to your response.  Please be blunt and ruthless as you need to be.  I value yours and anyone else's input to this discussion.  wink.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

God of the gaps is great until those gaps get filled. Instead of claiming I have faith that an intelligent mechanism created everything, I will be humble and say "I don't know but I'm working hard to find the answers." Saying I don't know means keeping an open mind and looking at the evidence and for answers as opposed to coming to the table with a faith based conclusion.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

About #2 - male and female did not evolve separately. That would be impossible. I'm sure a biologist would be able to give you more details, but when you look at non-animals, they have all sorts of ways to reproduce. Two of the ways they reproduce are asexual reproduction (cloning) and sexual reproduction (recombining DNA). I think there's also some other weird things that simpler organisms can do, but those are the ones I know about.

 

Asexual reproduction, cloning - human cells do that all the time. That's what we do to make blood cells, skin cells, etc. The big difference between us and colony organisms is that we have certain areas of our body that specialize and turn chuncks of DNA on and off to produce a wide variety of organs. But when we're not making babies, our bodies are engaged in the same sort of asexual reproduction that bacteria do all the time.

 

And then there's sexual reproduction. In bacteria, they do this without having any gender. Sometimes two bacteria just get together and swap some DNA which recombines. When you get to things like plants, they can reproduce asexually by, say, splitting off a chunk of root structure, or sexually by the flowers. But many species of plants are hermaphrodies, with male and female parts all on the same plant. They've gotten fancier since the single celular stage of just walking up to someone and swapping DNA - they have one part of the flower than send out DNA (the "male" part) and another part that collect other plants' DNA, does the recombination, and makes seeds (the "female" part). So there, the male and the female evolved together. Then there's a few plants that aren't hermaphordites, and a single plant will be either male or female. But their ancestors were probably hermaphrodies. I assume a similar process happened with the first animals, that there were hermaphrodies before the sexes split into only doing one part of the reproductive functions per organism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please note, I am not a biologist, nor is biology even one of my stronger interests as a scientifically interested layperson, but issue #2 seems off base to me. We can't really say that males and females really evolved independently of each other, because each time a new human is produced, there is an exchange and mixture of the DNA from the male and the female parents that takes place. Maybe you're driving at how things actually got this way in the first place, though. I'm pretty sure that this has been researched pretty thoroughly (but again, I don't know as much biology off the cuff as I do astronomy, so to find something about it I'd have to go digging and can't just tell you where to look offhand).

 

Issue #1 is a legitimate issue, in that we still don't really know for sure how cells actually evolved, mainly because that kind of thing doesn't get preserved in the fossil record since single cells tend to be soft and squishy, and they decompose too quickly to fossilize. However, even if we never understand how the first cells came about, that doesn't point by default to some higher power (however that may be defined) controlling the process.

 

With issue #3, I can't speak to the complexity of the human brain, but I think the brain's instinct for the desire for there to be a higher power may have helped early humans bond together with a common cause and help them work together. As far as the capacity to love, a lot of our closer genetic relatives (and even some of our not so close ones — like elephants) seem to be able to do this, so I don't think this is something we should marvel at as being unique to the human brain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RogueScholar  -   My having an open mind to 'God' is nothing to do with 'faith' or trying to find some way to fit 'God' into the equation.  It's because of my gaps in knowledge about how our reality exists, that lead me to be open minded to the possibility of 'God' being part of reality - the possibility of intelligence and purpose within our reality.   Why should I rule out 'God' when I don't have all the facts? 

 

VacuumFlux -   'Evolving separately' was the wrong choice of words.  I will find out some information on this, which will explain why I find problems with this point.

 

Thought2Much-   Yes, I was driving at how things got this way in the first place.   I didn't mean to imply that only humans can love etc.  I don't doubt that elephants and other mammals and animals can feel love, happiness, sadness etc.  I don't know if elephants wonder about why they are alive, and hence why I singled out the human brain.  wink.png

 

 

Thanks for the feedback so far guys.  biggrin.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I'm saying to rule out God, but based on the currently available evidence, a cat riding a unicycle is just as likely a cause. If I don't know, I honestly have to say I don't know and not rule anything in until sufficient evidence is presented. I don't know means that I cannot believe in alternative hypotheses for how can I possibly believe in something I don't know?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello BC.

 

Since you and I both know what we've written I'm going to confine myself to only one issue (All or Nothing) and snip out the rest.

 

 

There is so much that we don't know for sure. 

 

Agreed.

 

We don't know if matter/energy is eternal. 

 

Agreed.  So how would you find out if it is?

 

We don't know if there is an eternal universe/multiverse. 

 

Agreed.  So how would you find out if there is?

 

We just don't know for sure. 

 

Agreed.

 

But let's suppose it is the case and they are eternal: why should the intelligence and purpose that run through this eternal reality be limited by our lack of understanding? 

 

BC, if you cannot find out for sure if matter/energy is eternal and you cannot find out for sure that there is an eternal multiverse, what hope do you have of understanding or even recognizing the intelligence that you suppose exists?

 

And if our understanding is as limited as you suggest, wouldn't you be a bit like an amoeba trying to recognize the intelligence of the human who's looking at it thru a microscope?

 

In other words, there could be more to our reality than we are aware of  e.g the quantum world of  'things that exist differently to us.   

 

I totally agree.  But if you know of any ways forward - any possible way in which we humans could obtain true knowledge about these things, then please tell me.  I'm listening.

 

There's just too many unknowns for now, to rule out the possibility of some kind of 'God'. 

 

Please define what you mean by the word, 'God'.

 

I don't see this as unreasonable. 

 

Agreed.  Imho, it's not unreasonable to make suppositions and to engage in speculation.

 

However, I DO think it's unreasonable for you to base a worldview upon suppositions and speculations.

 

I don't see this as 'all or nothing'.  

 

And I will show you why I think it is... below.

 

(Snip!)

 

This is my position.   I look forward to your response.  Please be blunt and ruthless as you need to be.  I value yours and anyone else's input to this discussion.  wink.png

 

BC, you want me to be blunt.  So be it.

 

I wrote...

 

Either God is excluded from an entirely natural, but eternal reality.

Or...

God is the supernatural explanation for a supernaturally-created reality and there is no eternal matter / energy.

 

...because this is the only sensible, logical and pragmatic statement I can make on this issue, given the vanishingly small amount of true knowledge I have about it.

 

I contend that an entirely natural, eternal reality needs no creator to 'create' it and no god to sustain it.  The natural explains everything and the supernatural is irrelevant and unneeded.

 

Conversely, a non-eternal reality requires something to create and then sustain it, because it has a beginning - a point of origin.  That something would, by definition, be outside of and beyond the limitations of the created reality.  That something would necessarily be considered to be super-natural, not natural.  In other words... God.

 

I submit that anything else you can say about this will be nothing more than supposition and speculation.

 

I also submit that, short of supposition and speculation, you can find no practical way forward to answer any of the questions I've slotted into your quoted text.

 

BC, if you can make any further sensible and logical statements about this issue, then I cordially invite you to do so. 

 

But if all you have is supposition and speculation and you consciously choose to base your worldview on these things, then I consider you to be going beyond reason, into irrationality.

 

Is that blunt enough?

 

BAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello BAA.  I'll respond to your post in two parts, the first tonight (it's nearly my bed time, but this will keep me awake if I don't get some of it off my chest), and the rest of your post tomorrow.  I hope that's ok?  I will respond in  red to each of your points , so that I don't forget the points I want to make:

 

 

Hello BC.

 

Since you and I both know what we've written I'm going to confine myself to only one issue (All or Nothing) and snip out the rest.

 

 

There is so much that we don't know for sure. 

 

Agreed.

 

We don't know if matter/energy is eternal. 

 

Agreed.  So how would you find out if it is?  That is surely an impossible thing to determine!

 

We don't know if there is an eternal universe/multiverse. 

 

Agreed.  So how would you find out if there is?  That is surely an impossible thing to determine!

 

We just don't know for sure. 

 

Agreed.

 

But let's suppose it is the case and they are eternal: why should the intelligence and purpose that run through this eternal reality be limited by our lack of understanding? 

 

BC, if you cannot find out for sure if matter/energy is eternal and you cannot find out for sure that there is an eternal multiverse, what hope do you have of understanding or even recognizing the intelligence that you suppose exists?  Probably not much.

 

And if our understanding is as limited as you suggest, wouldn't you be a bit like an amoeba trying to recognize the intelligence of the human who's looking at it thru a microscope? Absolutely. 

 

In other words, there could be more to our reality than we are aware of  e.g the quantum world of  'things that exist differently to us.   

 

I totally agree.  But if you know of any ways forward - any possible way in which we humans could obtain true knowledge about these things, then please tell me.  I'm listening.  You know very well that no human knows these things.  We are all making inferences based on what we think we know about reality which isn't much as we both agree.

 

There's just too many unknowns for now, to rule out the possibility of some kind of 'God'. 

 

Please define what you mean by the word, 'God'.

A force or intelligence that upholds reality- maybe  is reality itself.  'God' is the force in the universe that is 'driving' everything.  You take the view that reality is probably eternal and so matter/energy has always been 'busy' doing it's 'thing'.  Why is it busy 'doing it's thing'?  Is there a force driving everything?  As you can see, I'm struggling to convey what I mean by 'God' but I hope I've conveyed enough of what I mean by 'God'. 

 

I don't see this as unreasonable. 

 

Agreed.  Imho, it's not unreasonable to make suppositions and to engage in speculation.

 

However, I DO think it's unreasonable for you to base a worldview upon suppositions and speculations.

I think you are being unreasonable in this statement.   I'm considering 'God' as a possibility.  I don't think that means I've suspended all reason or abandoned scientific discoveries. 

 

I don't see this as 'all or nothing'.  

 

And I will show you why I think it is... below.

 

(Snip!)

 

This is my position.   I look forward to your response.  Please be blunt and ruthless as you need to be.  I value yours and anyone else's input to this discussion.  wink.png

 

I shall address the rest of your post tomorrow and hopefully better convey some of the points I've made above.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Hello BAA.  I'll respond to your post in two parts, the first tonight (it's nearly my bed time, but this will keep me awake if I don't get some of it off my chest), and the rest of your post tomorrow.  I hope that's ok?  I will respond in  red to each of your points , so that I don't forget the points I want to make:

 

 

Hello BC.

 

Since you and I both know what we've written I'm going to confine myself to only one issue (All or Nothing) and snip out the rest.

 

 

There is so much that we don't know for sure. 

 

Agreed.

 

We don't know if matter/energy is eternal. 

 

Agreed.  So how would you find out if it is?  That is surely an impossible thing to determine!  Exactly! 

 

We don't know if there is an eternal universe/multiverse. 

 

Agreed.  So how would you find out if there is?  That is surely an impossible thing to determine!  Exactly!

 

We just don't know for sure. 

 

Agreed.

 

But let's suppose it is the case and they are eternal: why should the intelligence and purpose that run through this eternal reality be limited by our lack of understanding? 

 

BC, if you cannot find out for sure if matter/energy is eternal and you cannot find out for sure that there is an eternal multiverse, what hope do you have of understanding or even recognizing the intelligence that you suppose exists?  Probably not much.  Agreed.

 

And if our understanding is as limited as you suggest, wouldn't you be a bit like an amoeba trying to recognize the intelligence of the human who's looking at it thru a microscope? Absolutely.  Agreed.

 

In other words, there could be more to our reality than we are aware of  e.g the quantum world of  'things that exist differently to us.   

 

I totally agree.  But if you know of any ways forward - any possible way in which we humans could obtain true knowledge about these things, then please tell me.  I'm listening.  You know very well that no human knows these things.  We are all making inferences based on what we think we know about reality which isn't much as we both agree.

 

And beyond the experiments currently being performed by scientists, is there any way we can test these inferences?

 

There's just too many unknowns for now, to rule out the possibility of some kind of 'God'. 

 

Please define what you mean by the word, 'God'.

A force or intelligence that upholds reality- maybe  is reality itself.  'God' is the force in the universe that is 'driving' everything. 

 

These two sentences are inferences on your part, BC.  How do you propose to test them?

 

You take the view that reality is probably eternal and so matter/energy has always been 'busy' doing it's 'thing'.  Why is it busy 'doing it's thing'?   I don't know.  I can speculate and make inferences, but I cannot test these things.

 

Is there a force driving everything?  As you can see, I'm struggling to convey what I mean by 'God' but I hope I've conveyed enough of what I mean by 'God'. 

 

Same answers as above.

 

I don't see this as unreasonable. 

 

Agreed.  Imho, it's not unreasonable to make suppositions and to engage in speculation.

 

However, I DO think it's unreasonable for you to base a worldview upon suppositions and speculations.

I think you are being unreasonable in this statement.   I'm considering 'God' as a possibility.  I don't think that means I've suspended all reason or abandoned scientific discoveries. 

 

BC, you WILL have abandoned the discipline of scientific inquiry if you go beyond what you can test.

Science is the business of formulating and testing hypotheses about the natural universe.

If scientists cannot test something, they acknowledge this limitation.

They are certainly free to suppose and to speculate, but these suppositions and speculations are not bona fide science - because they cannot be tested.

 

When science can no longer test it's hypotheses it comes to a halt and other activities, like supposition, speculation, philosophy, metaphysics and religion, take over.

Reason can be used by us to guide our suppositions, our speculations, our philosophizing, etc.

However, it is a cardinal error to confuse these things with testable science.

They are not the same.

 

This explains why science must remain totally agnostic on matters it cannot investigate.

This is why, if you conflate God with the Multiverse, but cannot test or investigate this notion, you cannot call what you are doing, science.

You are speculating about matters you cannot answer.

You even acknowledge this much, above.

 

The only avenues of investigation open to you, if you wish to continue, are further speculation, further supposition, philosophy, metaphysics and religion.

 

Do you understand?

 

I don't see this as 'all or nothing'.  

 

And I will show you why I think it is... below.

 

(Snip!)

 

This is my position.   I look forward to your response.  Please be blunt and ruthless as you need to be.  I value yours and anyone else's input to this discussion.  wink.png

 

I shall address the rest of your post tomorrow and hopefully better convey some of the points I've made above.

 

 

 

 

Thanks,

 

BAA

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi BAA- I think I need to clarify something wink.png :

 

Why do you assume that I am treating the idea of the possibility of 'God' as something akin to scientific disciplines?  My wanting to consider the possibility of 'God' is admittedly based  mainly  (or maybe wholly) on speculation as you rightly note and therefore speculation and inferences about 'God' can only go so far and hit a dead end as such, as you have noted.  I'm aware that I will most likely, never know (in this life) for sure if there is a God, but I find it interesting to discuss this hypothesis which I believe is based on scientific discoveries or rather what these discoveries seem to infer about 'God'.   I couldn't understand why you seemed not your friendly (sprinkling smilies here and there within your posts) self in your replies.  It was  as if you found it disdainful that I should still consider the possibility of God worth considering.  

 

Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that point.  smile.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello again, BC.  smile.png

 

Hi BAA- I think I need to clarify something wink.png :

 

Why do you assume that I am treating the idea of the possibility of 'God' as something akin to scientific disciplines? 

 

BC, I'm the one who's taking the scientific approach here.

I'm doing so, so that we are both on the same page (metaphorically speaking), when it comes to understanding where science ends, what it can investigate and what it can't do.   There is an underlying purpose to the line I'm taking here, so please stick with me. Ok?

 

My wanting to consider the possibility of 'God' is admittedly based  mainly  (or maybe wholly) on speculation as you rightly note and therefore speculation and inferences about 'God' can only go so far and hit a dead end as such, as you have noted.  I'm aware that I will most likely, never know (in this life) for sure if there is a God, but I find it interesting to discuss this hypothesis which I believe is based on scientific discoveries or rather what these discoveries seem to infer about 'God'.  

 

Yes, indeed!  These discussions are (as my bearded avatar might say)... fascinating!  KatieHmm.gif 

 

I couldn't understand why you seemed not your friendly (sprinkling smilies here and there within your posts) self in your replies.  It was  as if you found it disdainful that I should still consider the possibility of God worth considering.  

 

Ummm... no, I wasn't being disdainful... just blunt.  It's not for me to look down on you for harboring certain ideas, is it?  After all, we're equals in this forum.  Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

 

 

Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that point.  smile.png

Thanks for that clarification.  smile.png

 

Your comments about 'hitting a dead end' tell me that you've understood the question I put to you earlier and I presume, therefore, that we are in agreement?  That science has it's limits and that speculation and inference (even when guided by reason) can only take us so far?  If we are of one mind on this BC, I'd like to ask you one further question.  (Yes, this is also part of that underlying purpose I mentioned earlier.)  The question has to do with this person...

 

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/william-lane-craig

 

If you follow the link below BC, you'll come to a page on the RationalSkepticism forum about Craig. The only item of interest to us is post #4, made by the ex-Christian Rumraket, on April 10 this year.  Please ignore everything else.

 

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/general-faith/william-lane-craig-s-hypocrisy-and-science-denial-t38622.html

 

Here is the portion of Rumraket's post that I'd like you to read carefully.  My question to you has to do with how Craig responds to Rumraket's hypothetical scenario.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In my twenty minute discussion with Craig, in the process of getting his signature, I asked him about his views on evidence (which to me seem very close to self-induced insanity). In short, I set up the following scenario:

"Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let's pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection- Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb."

I asked him, given this scenario, would he then give up his Christianity? Having seen with his own eyes that there was no resurrection of Jesus, having been an eyewitness to the fact that Christianity has been based upon a fraud and a lie, would he NOW renounce Christianity? His answer was shocking, and quite unexpected.

He told me, face to face, that he would STILL believe in Jesus, he would STILL believe in the resurrection, and he would STILL remain a Christian. When asked, in light of his being a personal eyewitness to the fact that there WAS no resurrection, he replied that due to the witness of the "holy spirit" within him, he would assume a trick of some sort had been played on him while watching Jesus' tomb. This self-induced blindness astounded me.

Dr. William Lane Craig, double PhD protector and promoter of Christianity- he'd rather discount his own objective experience as an eyewitness, and instead go with his inner feelings- yet he wants everyone else to go with what he claims are eyewitness accounts to the supposed resurrection. Given the chance via a time machine, he would discount the objective reality of the real world, in favor of warm subjective inner voices and fuzzy feelings. In short, in order to close his rational mind off entirely from the objective outside world, he would rather practice self-inflicted insanity- i.e. deliberately putting himself out of touch with reality. Some ancient Christian monks took a vow of not talking- Craig is taking a vow of not thinking. I would expect such subjective drivel, and have experienced such, from Mormon missionaries with their "burning in the bosom" crap (see section "Is Craig Coming Out of The Closet?"). Hearing it come from Dr. William Lane Craig saddened me more than anything, proving that "Christianity Causes Brain Death" is more than just a slogan. Having been a Christian for twenty years, I can't help but feel for Craig that somewhere deep down in his heart he knows it's all horseshit and he's just looking for a way to transition out of it (like so many other Christians have already done) without destroying his income and social life.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Ok BC, as you've just read, Doctor Craig believes that there is a supernatural means of obtaining true knowledge about reality.  A means that doesn't suffer from any of the limitations we've listed in this thread.  A means that supercedes the evidence of his own eyes and ears. Craig believes that he can know the truth via the invisible, intangible and undetectable... "witness of the Holy Spirit within him".
 

So, my question to you is this.

 

Would you trust Craig if he told you personally that he had obtained true knowledge about reality from God, by means of the Holy Spirit?

 

Please think carefully before replying.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi BAA- my answers in red:

 

Hello again, BC.  smile.png

 

Hi BAA- I think I need to clarify something wink.png :

 

Why do you assume that I am treating the idea of the possibility of 'God' as something akin to scientific disciplines? 

 

BC, I'm the one who's taking the scientific approach here.

I'm doing so, so that we are both on the same page (metaphorically speaking), when it comes to understanding where science ends, what it can investigate and what it can't do.   There is an underlying purpose to the line I'm taking here, so please stick with me. Ok? Ok. smile.png

 

My wanting to consider the possibility of 'God' is admittedly based  mainly  (or maybe wholly) on speculation as you rightly note and therefore speculation and inferences about 'God' can only go so far and hit a dead end as such, as you have noted.  I'm aware that I will most likely, never know (in this life) for sure if there is a God, but I find it interesting to discuss this hypothesis which I believe is based on scientific discoveries or rather what these discoveries seem to infer about 'God'.  

 

Yes, indeed!  These discussions are (as my bearded avatar might say)... fascinating!  KatieHmm.gif 

 

I couldn't understand why you seemed not your friendly (sprinkling smilies here and there within your posts) self in your replies.  It was  as if you found it disdainful that I should still consider the possibility of God worth considering.  

 

Ummm... no, I wasn't being disdainful... just blunt.  It's not for me to look down on you for harboring certain ideas, is it?  After all, we're equals in this forum.  Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.   Sorry that I misunderstood you. smile.png

 

 

Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that point.  smile.png

Thanks for that clarification.  smile.png

 

Your comments about 'hitting a dead end' tell me that you've understood the question I put to you earlier and I presume, therefore, that we are in agreement?  That science has it's limits and that speculation and inference (even when guided by reason) can only take us so far?  Yes, indeed!  If we are of one mind on this BC, I'd like to ask you one further question.  (Yes, this is also part of that underlying purpose I mentioned earlier.)  The question has to do with this person...

 

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/william-lane-craig  Ah-  smile.png  now interestingly enough, I started watching this video yesterday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FofDChlSILU     I'm up to about 40 minutes- Christopher HItchens is enjoyable to watch.  I wanted to see if the God hypothesis was credible or based on intelligent reasoning, so that I could come back to you with some intelligent reasons for considering 'God' (but not Craig's personal God). wink.png

 

If you follow the link below BC, you'll come to a page on the RationalSkepticism forum about Craig. The only item of interest to us is post #4, made by the ex-Christian Rumraket, on April 10 this year.  Please ignore everything else.

 

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/general-faith/william-lane-craig-s-hypocrisy-and-science-denial-t38622.html

 

Here is the portion of Rumraket's post that I'd like you to read carefully.  My question to you has to do with how Craig responds to Rumraket's hypothetical scenario.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In my twenty minute discussion with Craig, in the process of getting his signature, I asked him about his views on evidence (which to me seem very close to self-induced insanity). In short, I set up the following scenario:


"Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let's pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection- Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb."


I asked him, given this scenario, would he then give up his Christianity? Having seen with his own eyes that there was no resurrection of Jesus, having been an eyewitness to the fact that Christianity has been based upon a fraud and a lie, would he NOW renounce Christianity? His answer was shocking, and quite unexpected.


He told me, face to face, that he would STILL believe in Jesus, he would STILL believe in the resurrection, and he would STILL remain a Christian. When asked, in light of his being a personal eyewitness to the fact that there WAS no resurrection, he replied that due to the witness of the "holy spirit" within him, he would assume a trick of some sort had been played on him while watching Jesus' tomb. This self-induced blindness astounded me.


Dr. William Lane Craig, double PhD protector and promoter of Christianity- he'd rather discount his own objective experience as an eyewitness, and instead go with his inner feelings- yet he wants everyone else to go with what he claims are eyewitness accounts to the supposed resurrection. Given the chance via a time machine, he would discount the objective reality of the real world, in favor of warm subjective inner voices and fuzzy feelings. In short, in order to close his rational mind off entirely from the objective outside world, he would rather practice self-inflicted insanity- i.e. deliberately putting himself out of touch with reality. Some ancient Christian monks took a vow of not talking- Craig is taking a vow of not thinking. I would expect such subjective drivel, and have experienced such, from Mormon missionaries with their "burning in the bosom" crap (see section "Is Craig Coming Out of The Closet?"). Hearing it come from Dr. William Lane Craig saddened me more than anything, proving that "Christianity Causes Brain Death" is more than just a slogan. Having been a Christian for twenty years, I can't help but feel for Craig that somewhere deep down in his heart he knows it's all horseshit and he's just looking for a way to transition out of it (like so many other Christians have already done) without destroying his income and social life.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Ok BC, as you've just read, Doctor Craig believes that there is a supernatural means of obtaining true knowledge about reality.  A means that doesn't suffer from any of the limitations we've listed in this thread.  A means that supercedes the evidence of his own eyes and ears. Craig believes that he can know the truth via the invisible, intangible and undetectable... "witness of the Holy Spirit within him".
 

So, my question to you is this.

 

Would you trust Craig if he told you personally that he had obtained true knowledge about reality from God, by means of the Holy Spirit?

 

Please think carefully before replying.  No, I wouldn't.  I'll expand my answer below:

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

 

 

In all the years I attended churches and listened to the amazing experiences of people who had 'seen' or 'heard' God and had contact with God supposedly, I always took it with a pinch of salt.  I couldn't base my faith on someone else's experience.  However, there is a reason for which I will give him some lea way ohmy.png .  

 

Twice in my 'Christian' life, once in my thirties and once in my forties, I experienced an external power source in the room.  I've shared this experience on another thread somewhere on here, and apologies if I've mentioned this before to you.  It's worth going over it again, in order to understand where Craig may be coming from.  I'll start with the second experience I had, about five years ago.  (I am well aware I may have experienced some kind of hypnosis or something similar, but bear with me). 

 

I was trying different churches at the time, as I just couldn't 'find' God and Jesus in any of the churches I went to.  I found this little house church not too far from where I live, and decided to see what they were about.  There were about six people, all very nice.  A husband and wife, mother, and a few women friends.  A good hour was spent singing, talking about Biblical stuff.  Then they had prayer for people.  The mother was prayed for first, and then I was agreeable for them to pray for me- heck I needed all the help I could get in my quest for trying to find God.  I stood in the middle of this little circle of people and a few of them laid hands on me.  I had my head bent and eyes closed to show the proper reverence.  The prayers were the usual- nothing weird.  After a few minutes, I could feel power bearing down on me.  It was coming in strong waves from above me in the room.  I was very surprised at this, but kept my eyes closed.  The waves of power kept bearing down on me so much so that I felt unsteady on my feet and felt this power gently but strongly pushing me down, so I knelt.  The power continued so much that I had to lower my upper body forwards on the floor.  The sides of my abdomen were clenching, like muscles contracting and uncontracting.  I felt a poignancy but I don't know what about, and tears were streaming down my face but I wasn't sad about anything.  I felt a bubbling power inside my chest.  It felt like it was trying to come up from my chest up through my throat?? A few weird sounds escaped I think.   I did not sense any kind of person in connection with this power.  My mind was in no way affected- my thoughts were clear and I was analysing this power and wondering what it was, and assuming it must be God??  It started to fade after a several minutes.  I had no revelations, or visions or feelings of intense love and peace.  Now there must be a logical explanation for that 'power'.  Maybe the guy had some kind of 'ray' gun upstairs that was emitting some kind of energy??huh.png   Maybe I'd experienced the same kind of thing, that people who are touched by a guru (kundalini) experience??  Maybe there was some unknown hypnotism going on, or some kind of joint energy that was 'raised' via the people touching me??  I don't know and cannot know for sure what that power was.  But if I deny that I really experienced that power, then why not deny other things I am certain of?  Can you see my dilemma? It's just possible that that power was from 'God' and if it was 'God', the only thing I can be sure of about God, is that 'God' is power. huh.png    It's one of those cases where you have to have experienced it yourself to appreciate what I'm saying.  I am confident that if you had felt that power, you too, would wonder and keep wondering on and off, whether that power was 'God'.  So, back to Craig.  He may have had a personal experience that convinces him that Jesus is real and hence why he admits the above.  Because I have had two experiences myself (the first one was similar.  It was at a church and I felt that external power coming down in waves and again, there was no sense of a person being behind this power) , I can't dismiss his entirely.  So I feel like piggy in the middle.  I welcome your thoughts on this.  biggrin.png  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi BlackCat, I'm just jumping in for a minute to say that I had an experience similar to yours when I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as I then believed I had done.  I felt as though waves of power seized me, but that's a metaphor.

 

I had two other experiences a little like it years after having left Christianity.  Each time I was overcome with emotion after thinking of the people I love.  The second time I felt as though something came into my chest.  I thought to myself during this that the god Eros was in the room, sort of entering me, but again, that was and is my metaphor.  

 

Like you, I find it hard to pick the words to describe these experiences.  I also note that only you experienced your experience, and only I experienced mine, so there's an obvious gap over which we can't jump to know just what the other person experienced.

 

What I didn't have after having left Christianity was a mindset in which I was prone to attribute the experiences to the causal power of an entity different from myself.  It seems a sufficient explanation so far to me to attribute these experiences to aspects of myself.  

 

@BAA: fascinating anecdote about Craig.  Does Craig admit that he said the things that Rumraket reports him as having said?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I didn't have after having left Christianity was a mindset in which I was prone to attribute the experiences to the causal power of an entity different from myself.  It seems a sufficient explanation so far to me to attribute these experiences to aspects of myself.  

 

@BAA: fascinating anecdote about Craig.  Does Craig admit that he said the things that Rumraket reports him as having said?

 

 

Hi Ficino. :)  Great reply.  Thank you.  You're above statement is very interesting.  I am inclined to view my experience as definitely external to my self, although as I stated above, I may well be wrong on this.  Here's an example of why I regard it as 'external'.  When I lie on my sunlounger in the garden on a sunny day, with my eye closed, I can feel the rays of the sun beating down on me.  I'm not wondering if I'm imagining these rays of power and warmth.  I am sure that they are real and external to me.  During my years of going to churches and witnessing all the weird and whacky 'holy spirit' stunts, I instinctively felt these were self induced and some kind of hypnotism.  I would occasionally go up the front to let some guy see if he could make me fall back.  I did this to prove to myself that God was not behind all this nonsense and that men were pushing people back.  And sure enough, the few times I tried this out I could feel the guy pushing and I would place my leg behind me enough that I had leverage against his pushing.  I figured if God was doing this, he could over come my leg barrier. wink.png

 

And so I have always been very sceptical of this kind of stuff and hence my mind is surely not 'open' or conditioned to being tricked by some kind of minor keys of the keyboard, authoritative calling on God to come in power, mass emotion/hypnotism.  When I attended that meeting five years ago, no one suggested I would experience such a thing- unlike those who go up to get knocked over who see it happening and assume it will happen to them.  So I think it more strange that this unexpected external (or seemingly external) power 'showed up'.  silverpenny013Hmmm.gif

 

Regarding Craig's comments, he touches on this in that Hitchen's debate I linked to above.  I think it's around 1 hour into it.  I've nearly finished it.  Hitchens is great and I agree with much or most of what he says, but I feel Craig does make some interesting and valid points too. biggrin.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

@BAA: fascinating anecdote about Craig.  Does Craig admit that he said the things that Rumraket reports him as having said?

 

Hi Ficino!

 

I'm sorry. but I can't provide any more info about the Craig / Rumraket conversation than that which you see via the link.

I suppose you could join that forum and message Rumraket directly, but unless he could provide some independent, corroborative source, then it's just his word against Craig's. 

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BlackCat,

 

Thanks for the informative and honest reply.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would you trust Craig if he told you personally that he had obtained true knowledge about reality from God, by means of the Holy Spirit?

 

Please think carefully before replying.  No, I wouldn't.  I'll expand my answer below:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Ok, so you wouldn't trust Craig when it comes to his claim of supernaturally-acquired true knowledge about reality.

 

Just to clarify things further...

The personal experiences you've described don't qualify as true knowledge about reality, do they?  Rather, they're unexplained, subjective experiences that may or may not hint at things we do not understand.  So, these two things are not the same, are not comperable and one shouldn't be taken as relevant to the other. 

.

.

.

.

 

 

Now I come to the most difficult thing I've ever written to you, BC.

What I'm going to write will most likely surprise, shock, confuse and offend you.

Quite frankly, if our positions were reversed, I'd be surprised, shocked, confused and offended.

This explains why I'm warning you beforehand.

.

.

.

 

 

I strongly recommend that after you've read what I have to say, you and I continue our dialog via private messaging.  It's quite possible that you won't want to continue, but I earnestly and sincerely encourage you to do so.  There are some things about this forum that you clearly don't understand and I hope that you will let me explain them to you.  I'm calling in all the goodwill between us and asking you to bear with me, for the sake of something you are unaware of.  Until you do understand what that is, I'm certain that you will feel a great deal of hostility towards me.  Please believe me when I say that I'm not happy to be doing this, but there is a greater cause involved, one that transcends our personal feelings - so I MUST do this.

.

.

.

.

.

BC, if you wouldn't trust what the Holy Spirit says to Craig today, why do you seem to be trusting what the Holy Spirit said to the prophet Daniel, over 2,500 years ago?

 

In the Age of the Gentiles thread Kris wrote this...

"Hello friends--- looking for some help with the "Time of the Gentiles" prophecy! Unfortunately, I ran into a former Christian friend who likes to torture me with end time discussions and this topic was mentioned."

 

She was asking to us to examine the book of Daniel critically and to provide her with a succint reply for her Christian 'friend' - not for a member of this forum to seem to support, argue for and promote what the Holy Spirit said to that prophet, long ago.  So, no wonder Kris was taken aback!

 

She wrote...

"Black Cat-- are you saying that you believe Daniel is accurate prophecy?  It seems that way?  Your arguements are certainly in line with my christian friend-- in fact, I think you may have even said a few of the same things."

 

And...

"Thanks BAA,
When I wrote my original post--- I was just looking for some sound arguments regarding how the age of the Gentiles was not some arbitrary timeframe in which god was allowing us all to continue to exist until he decided to finally take his wrath out as described in Daniel and Revelation. I was quite content in the support I was getting from those that posted

However, I do have to admit that Black Cat's postings did twist me up a bit-- I felt like I was back debating my Christian friend. I spent all evening re-going over Daniel and looking at the Dead Sea scroll evidence as well as the sepunigant info as these areas seem to lend the most support to the book being written at a time earlier than 160's BC."

 

Ok BC, I do understand that you had no intention of causing her any anxiety and that you apologized for doing so.  That's good.  However, your actions indicate that you lack a clear understanding of how to discuss what, to other members, are highly sensitive subjects that must be handled with kid gloves.  Appearing to support and confirm the Christian viewpoint is not how you should proceed.  There are good reasons for this and I will certainly explain them to you - either here or in private.

 

For now, please think about the disparity between between the measure of trust you'd give Craig and the trust you seemed to be putting in Daniel's words.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BAA- thank you for your reply.  My replies in red as usual:

 

 

Ok, so you wouldn't trust Craig when it comes to his claim of supernaturally-acquired true knowledge about reality.

 

Just to clarify things further...

The personal experiences you've described don't qualify as true knowledge about reality, do they?  Rather, they're unexplained, subjective experiences that may or may not hint at things we do not understand.  So, these two things are not the same, are not comperable and one shouldn't be taken as relevant to the other. 

 

I'm struggling to follow you here.  Yes, it was a personal experience but how do I know that it did not qualify as true knowledge about reality?  Other people have felt this power, so it's not like I'm the only one in the whole world.  ??  Please expand on this.

 

 

 

Now I come to the most difficult thing I've ever written to you, BC.

What I'm going to write will most likely surprise, shock, confuse and offend you.

Quite frankly, if our positions were reversed, I'd be surprised, shocked, confused and offended.

This explains why I'm warning you beforehand.

You have not offended me, but shocked me into realising something I  hadn't....sad.png

.

.

 

 

I strongly recommend that after you've read what I have to say, you and I continue our dialog via private messaging.  It's quite possible that you won't want to continue, but I earnestly and sincerely encourage you to do so.  There are some things about this forum that you clearly don't understand and I hope that you will let me explain them to you.  I'm calling in all the goodwill between us and asking you to bear with me, for the sake of something you are unaware of.  Until you do understand what that is, I'm certain that you will feel a great deal of hostility towards me.  Please believe me when I say that I'm not happy to be doing this, but there is a greater cause involved, one that transcends our personal feelings - so I MUST do this.

.

.

.

.

.

BC, if you wouldn't trust what the Holy Spirit says to Craig today, why do you seem to be trusting what the Holy Spirit said to the prophet Daniel, over 2,500 years ago?

 

In the Age of the Gentiles thread Kris wrote this...

"Hello friends--- looking for some help with the "Time of the Gentiles" prophecy! Unfortunately, I ran into a former Christian friend who likes to torture me with end time discussions and this topic was mentioned."

 

She was asking to us to examine the book of Daniel critically and to provide her with a succint reply for her Christian 'friend' - not for a member of this forum to seem to support, argue for and promote what the Holy Spirit said to that prophet, long ago.  So, no wonder Kris was taken aback!

 

She wrote...

"Black Cat-- are you saying that you believe Daniel is accurate prophecy?  It seems that way?  Your arguements are certainly in line with my christian friend-- in fact, I think you may have even said a few of the same things."

 

And...

"Thanks BAA,
When I wrote my original post--- I was just looking for some sound arguments regarding how the age of the Gentiles was not some arbitrary timeframe in which god was allowing us all to continue to exist until he decided to finally take his wrath out as described in Daniel and Revelation. I was quite content in the support I was getting from those that posted

However, I do have to admit that Black Cat's postings did twist me up a bit-- I felt like I was back debating my Christian friend. I spent all evening re-going over Daniel and looking at the Dead Sea scroll evidence as well as the sepunigant info as these areas seem to lend the most support to the book being written at a time earlier than 160's BC."

 

Ok BC, I do understand that you had no intention of causing her any anxiety and that you apologized for doing so.  That's good.  However, your actions indicate that you lack a clear understanding of how to discuss what, to other members, are highly sensitive subjects that must be handled with kid gloves.  Appearing to support and confirm the Christian viewpoint is not how you should proceed.  There are good reasons for this and I will certainly explain them to you - either here or in private.

I am ashamed to say your are absolutely right.  I was caught up In the well practiced habit of debating theological issues and hadn't realised the harm I was doing.  I hadn't read the posts properly which is also an embarrassing admission.  Something caught my eye and I was off.....I can't believe I didn't see this initially.  Thank you for showing me this.  I am mortified and very sorry for any turmoil I have caused to Kris.  I can be one thoughtless person. sad.png  I am truly sorry. 

 

 

For now, please think about the disparity between between the measure of trust you'd give Craig and the trust you seemed to be putting in Daniel's words.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

I will pm you my response to this last point.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BC,

 

Thank you so much for taking my last message so well.  smile.png

 

I'm very relieved to have been able to convey a difficult message to you and equally relieved that you've received it openly and responded with so much grace and honesty.  I sincerely thank you, not just for myself, but also on behalf of the whole forum.

 

thanks.gif

 

I'm only going to respond to what you say below and I'll wait to see the content of your p.m. (No pressure!  Whenever you have the time, ok?)

 

 

BAA- thank you for your reply.  My replies in red as usual:

 

 

Ok, so you wouldn't trust Craig when it comes to his claim of supernaturally-acquired true knowledge about reality.

 

Just to clarify things further...

The personal experiences you've described don't qualify as true knowledge about reality, do they?  Rather, they're unexplained, subjective experiences that may or may not hint at things we do not understand.  So, these two things are not the same, are not comperable and one shouldn't be taken as relevant to the other. 

 

I'm struggling to follow you here.  Yes, it was a personal experience but how do I know that it did not qualify as true knowledge about reality?  Other people have felt this power, so it's not like I'm the only one in the whole world.  ??  Please expand on this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, BC.

 

Yes, indeed.  Others have felt this power and experienced what you have.  I don't discount for one moment the validity of your experience, nor theirs.

 

However, following on form our recent discussions, if we are talking about 'true knowledge' then we have to define what we mean by these two words.  Perhaps you and I have different takes on what they mean and we should have defined them earlier on?  Anyway, here's how I understand what true knowledge about reality to mean.

 

Knowledge means understanding more 'now' than I did 'before'.  

If today I don't understand more about X than I did yesterday, then I can't honestly claim that my knowledge of X has increased or changed in any way, can I?  Please note that I'm making a sharp distinction between objective knowledge and subjective knowledge  Imho, the former is readily quantifiable, has rules and is subject to logic.  The latter, well... that's trickier.

 

If Bob and Alice both know that the capital of France is Paris, then that is true knowledge about reality.  It is easily defined.  It is logical and testable.  Most importantly, it is objective.  That is, this item of knowledge about Paris is equally true for both of them and also equally true for anyone else.  I could translate this information into Mandarin Chinese and someone from Beijing could understand it.  I could go back in time and tell this to an ancient Babylonian, confident that they would understand the concepts of man (Bob), woman (Alice), city (Paris) and nation (France).  It would also be true if Bob, Alice and myself could instantaneously travel to the Andromeda galaxy, over 2,000,000 light years away.  They would still know what they know and it would still be true knowledge about reality.

 

Objective knowledge is true, no matter where and no matter when, BC.

That's why astronomy gives us true objective knowledge about places we can never travel to, like Andromeda.  That's why history gives us true objective knowledge about times we can never go back to and visit, like ancient Babylon.  Objective true knowledge about reality is the most powerful tool in the human mind for understanding what reality really is.  To be sure - it isn't the only tool.  But it is (imho) the best and most important one, because it establishes a common bond with other people, no matter where and when they live. 

.

.

.

 

Now, another tool we humans have at our disposal is subjective knowledge.

That is, knowledge that is personal to us and is derived from our ongoing experience of reality. 

Feelings, emotions, thoughts, dreams, intuitions and altered states of consciouness are examples of subjective knowledge.  There may be others, but I can't bring them to mind right now.  However, I do acknowledge that they exist and are a valid part of the human condition.

 

Subjective knowledge is a much more slippery thing to define than objective knowledge.  It's difficult to pin down because it's such a personal thing and to try and convey it to others is no easy task.  In fact, I'm struggling to do so, right now.

 

So, what I'll do BC, is this...

Firstly, please consider the examples of William Lane Craig. the prophet Daniel and also the vision experienced by the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus.  Each person has written and/or spoken about they experienced.  My question to you is this.

 

Does what they've written about their experiences constitute objective knowledge about reality?

 

Secondly, please ask yourself some similar questions.

Does what you experienced, constitute knowledge that is subjective (true only for you) or objective (true for eveyone else)?

Has this experience increased or changed your understanding of reality in any way?

If so, how?  (Please define.)

 

I hope, btw, that this message is helpful.  Please tackle me on anything that I haven't made clear enough, ok?

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I'm only going to respond to what you say below and I'll wait to see the content of your p.m. (No pressure!  Whenever you have the time, ok?)

 

 

BAA- thank you for your reply.  My replies in red as usual:

 

 

Ok, so you wouldn't trust Craig when it comes to his claim of supernaturally-acquired true knowledge about reality.

 

Just to clarify things further...

The personal experiences you've described don't qualify as true knowledge about reality, do they?  Rather, they're unexplained, subjective experiences that may or may not hint at things we do not understand.  So, these two things are not the same, are not comperable and one shouldn't be taken as relevant to the other. 

 

I'm struggling to follow you here.  Yes, it was a personal experience but how do I know that it did not qualify as true knowledge about reality?  Other people have felt this power, so it's not like I'm the only one in the whole world.  ??  Please expand on this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, BC.

 

Yes, indeed.  Others have felt this power and experienced what you have.  I don't discount for one moment the validity of your experience, nor theirs.

 

However, following on form our recent discussions, if we are talking about 'true knowledge' then we have to define what we mean by these two words.  Perhaps you and I have different takes on what they mean and we should have defined them earlier on?  Anyway, here's how I understand what true knowledge about reality to mean.

 

Knowledge means understanding more 'now' than I did 'before'.  

If today I don't understand more about X than I did yesterday, then I can't honestly claim that my knowledge of X has increased or changed in any way, can I?  Please note that I'm making a sharp distinction between objective knowledge and subjective knowledge  Imho, the former is readily quantifiable, has rules and is subject to logic.  The latter, well... that's trickier.

 

If Bob and Alice both know that the capital of France is Paris, then that is true knowledge about reality.  It is easily defined.  It is logical and testable.  Most importantly, it is objective.  That is, this item of knowledge about Paris is equally true for both of them and also equally true for anyone else.  I could translate this information into Mandarin Chinese and someone from Beijing could understand it.  I could go back in time and tell this to an ancient Babylonian, confident that they would understand the concepts of man (Bob), woman (Alice), city (Paris) and nation (France).  It would also be true if Bob, Alice and myself could instantaneously travel to the Andromeda galaxy, over 2,000,000 light years away.  They would still know what they know and it would still be true knowledge about reality.

 

Objective knowledge is true, no matter where and no matter when, BC.

That's why astronomy gives us true objective knowledge about places we can never travel to, like Andromeda.  That's why history gives us true objective knowledge about times we can never go back to and visit, like ancient Babylon.  Objective true knowledge about reality is the most powerful tool in the human mind for understanding what reality really is.  To be sure - it isn't the only tool.  But it is (imho) the best and most important one, because it establishes a common bond with other people, no matter where and when they live. 

.

.

.

 

Now, another tool we humans have at our disposal is subjective knowledge.

That is, knowledge that is personal to us and is derived from our ongoing experience of reality. 

Feelings, emotions, thoughts, dreams, intuitions and altered states of consciouness are examples of subjective knowledge.  There may be others, but I can't bring them to mind right now.  However, I do acknowledge that they exist and are a valid part of the human condition.

 

Subjective knowledge is a much more slippery thing to define than objective knowledge.  It's difficult to pin down because it's such a personal thing and to try and convey it to others is no easy task.  In fact, I'm struggling to do so, right now.

 

So, what I'll do BC, is this...

Firstly, please consider the examples of William Lane Craig. the prophet Daniel and also the vision experienced by the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus.  Each person has written and/or spoken about they experienced.  My question to you is this.

 

Does what they've written about their experiences constitute objective knowledge about reality?

 

Secondly, please ask yourself some similar questions.

Does what you experienced, constitute knowledge that is subjective (true only for you) or objective (true for eveyone else)?

Has this experience increased or changed your understanding of reality in any way?

If so, how?  (Please define.)

 

I hope, btw, that this message is helpful.  Please tackle me on anything that I haven't made clear enough, ok?

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

 

 

Hi BAA- yes, I agree with your definitions of 'true knowledge' and the distinction you explain between objective and subjective knowledge.   I need to think carefully about what you have said before I respond.  I probably wont' get back to you until tomorrow night.  Thanks again for your help in this matter. biggrin.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi BAA,  you asked me to consider these questions: 

 

Firstly, please consider the examples of William Lane Craig. the prophet Daniel and also the vision experienced by the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus.  Each person has written and/or spoken about they experienced.  My question to you is this.

 

Does what they've written about their experiences constitute objective knowledge about reality?

 

Secondly, please ask yourself some similar questions.

Does what you experienced, constitute knowledge that is subjective (true only for you) or objective (true for eveyone else)?

Has this experience increased or changed your understanding of reality in any way?

If so, how?  (Please define.)

 

 

 

Firstly I agree that any kind of personal experience like that of Saul on the road to Damascus, Daniel, William Lane Craig,  and indeed myself, must be defined as subjective. 

 

Has my experience increased or changed  my understanding of reality in any way?  I must answer 'not really'.  I seem to alternate between trying to explain it away as some kind of psychological trickery of the mind which it very well could be, or a real power is 'out there'.  As there is no lasting evidence to explain this experience, I have to remind myself that it's probably not what it seemed- but then I think of this interesting thing that happened to my husband and I wonder............ 

 

My husband is a parcel delivery driver and one day he was delivering to a row of shops.  As he was waiting for the man to sign for the parcel, my husband mentioned the horrible noise.  He wondered what it was and how the guy could bear to have that going on.  The man looked very surprised and said he couldn't hear it.  There was a device fitted outside in the street that emitted a sound frequency that only young people can hear (usually up to the age of 18 or 19) and it's to stop them loitering in the streets.  He'd not heard of an 'oldie' being able to hear the noise.  Trust my husband (who is a big kid anyway) to hear this.  Now imagine my husband had asked a passer by who didn't know about this 'device'?  They would have looked at him rather strangely and said 'what noise'?  I can't hear anything.  He may have asked a second shopper, and a third etc etc.  Let's assume they all couldn't hear it.  He would maybe start to think his ears were playing up- maybe tinnitus.  If he'd come home and told me he'd heard this strange noise at work, but nobody else could hear it, I would assume his ears were playing up.  

 

If we now go back to my experience.  I have to view this as subjective and suspect I suppose.    Maybe that power was real, maybe it wasn't.  The religious elements that surrounded that experience suggest it was some kind of 'set up', or expectation, but as the experience itself in no way seemed connected to 'Jesus' or any of the religious expectations I had, it seems strange that I would have that particular experience, which I later found out was exactly like the kind of experiences that 'pagan' religions have e.g kundalini arousal (as opposed to full blown 'awakening').  So, I went along to find 'Jesus' and was zapped with Kundalini it seems.  Maybe all the spiritual endeavours/ways to connect to 'God' all produce the same weird responses?  I do think there is enough objective elements to this (the very real physical effects it produces), that could be tested scientifically.  And maybe they could also set up some kind of equipment to test for any kind of 'power' in the vicinity of the affected person, when this kind of thing is going on?  

 

So, I think we can say that experiences like those of Saul, Craig and myself must be put to one side when considering 'God'.   I, myself, can't disregard completely my own experience, but I have to assume it was probably psychosomatic. 

 

 

So in considering the God hypothesis, and the points I made in my OP, I will disregard personal experiences and 'holy' writings. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Hi BC, I'll have to admit that I was thinking the same. I hadn't seen you active for quite some time after the heated topics going around in march about the multiverse and what not and then suddenly here you are aggressively pushing what appears to be theistic apologetics in the age of the gentiles thread. It did seem a little odd. And if you really do think that Daniel is true prophecy then it would do some good to investigate the data on the video series I posted to try and balance out the pro's and con's to concluding on such a thing. 

 

Now the main point of the new data is that with eternal inflation a mutliverse scenario comes into view. With a multiverse existence itself is eternal. By existence I mean the fabric and structure of an eternally existing and reaching realm of realms.

 

So the question of God turns to whether we're wondering about a fixed being of some type contained and existing within the eternal realm of all realms, hanging out somewhere in particular, or whether we're talking about the realm itself which is everywhere present? The former is nothing more than an alien being of some type no matter how advanced we'd like to think of it, and the latter is simply the whole. Existence itself would be the God above the God when considering it against the idea of a creator being that goes around making things in it's own image. Anything with a form or an image is something that you can draw a circle around and pin point, something "finite." 

 

You can see how the monotheistic concept of God is a hodge podge of man made ideas. And those ideas contradict an infinite being. A being can not be infinite, actually, and remain a being with some particular image. The only candidate for infinite and eternal is the endless expanse of existence itself - the totality of everything that exists everywhere. We've touched on this before and yes it's the Pantheistic God concept. As far as I know it's the only candidate for a God concept (and by God I mean the eternal, the infinite, the source, end, and supporting ground of all life, being, and existence) when facing a multiverse with infinite universes. 

 

This God can be taken two ways. Existence itself is pure consciousness and all mind stems from it, or it isn't pure consciousness and mind is something that simply arose free and clear of a primary underlying eternal consciousness.

 

I linked you to a lecture on this question earlier this year. I'm not opposed to the possibility that all is consciousness. That possibility is not necessarily swept aside by a multiverse scenario either. If consciousness is primary then it would be ingrained into the whole of existence and just as eternal as the realm of all realms itself. The multiverse is still speculative but it has firmer ground now with eternal inflation. The primacy of consciousness is even more speculative and science has not touched on it at all.

 

I understand the back and forth about God that can go on during deconversion. And going head on and trying to follow thoughts, ideas, and assertions through to the end can be productive in ruling out certain things along the way. Eventually you can narrow things down a bit and a lot of former crutches can become much less tempting. lol 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Josh, thanks for your reply. :) 

 

I think I'm still a Christian at heart.  In my head I can understand all the arguments against Christianity and how all the evidence seems to strongly disprove it , but even so, I still 'feel' like I'm a Christian.  I've tried not to be.   I still, every now and again 'talk' to Christ, and say 'it seems unlikely you are real, but if you are, can you let me know'.  That yearning for Jesus to be real is still there.  I don't think it will ever go away.  It is so deeply ingrained in my brain.  In my mind, Jesus is real in a sense.  I've spent so many hours and years thinking about Jesus, that the neural pathways that create the 'Jesus' part of my brain, are strongly and seemingly indestructibly formed.  (I may have mentioned this before, but I was watching a science programme, and the guy explained about how every 'thing' has a certain part of the brain devoted to it- that is how we remember things, with their own bits of 'brain'.) 

 

I know Jesus is more than likely (most definitely) no more real than Father Christmas, and yet I am still 'drawn' to Him.  Is it only because of that part of my brain or is it more than that?   I tried to side step this, by just thinking of 'God' as part of the universe, thereby giving some leeway to this 'urge' to believe, but really if I'm totally honest, Jesus is 'behind' it all.  Maybe this will fade in time.  I don't know.

 

Maybe this is why I'm struggling to let go of 'Jesus':  I'm having a bit of a health scare at the minute.  I'm under one consultant (gynaecological) , and have to see another one (urology) asap.  I'm sure things will be ok and get sorted, but there is some concern whilst I await tests, and so I suppose I've been reminded of my inevitable departure from this life.  I suppose it's natural to think about God when faced with this kind of worry.  unsure.png  

 

Anyway, I'm glad I've got all that out in the open.  wink.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Josh, thanks for your reply. smile.png

 

I think I'm still a Christian at heart.  In my head I can understand all the arguments against Christianity and how all the evidence seems to strongly disprove it , but even so, I still 'feel' like I'm a Christian.  I've tried not to be.   I still, every now and again 'talk' to Christ, and say 'it seems unlikely you are real, but if you are, can you let me know'.  That yearning for Jesus to be real is still there.  I don't think it will ever go away.  It is so deeply ingrained in my brain.  In my mind, Jesus is real in a sense.  I've spent so many hours and years thinking about Jesus, that the neural pathways that create the 'Jesus' part of my brain, are strongly and seemingly indestructibly formed.  (I may have mentioned this before, but I was watching a science programme, and the guy explained about how every 'thing' has a certain part of the brain devoted to it- that is how we remember things, with their own bits of 'brain'.) 

 

I know Jesus is more than likely (most definitely) no more real than Father Christmas, and yet I am still 'drawn' to Him.  Is it only because of that part of my brain or is it more than that?   I tried to side step this, by just thinking of 'God' as part of the universe, thereby giving some leeway to this 'urge' to believe, but really if I'm totally honest, Jesus is 'behind' it all.  Maybe this will fade in time.  I don't know.

 

Maybe this is why I'm struggling to let go of 'Jesus':  I'm having a bit of a health scare at the minute.  I'm under one consultant (gynaecological) , and have to see another one (urology) asap.  I'm sure things will be ok and get sorted, but there is some concern whilst I await tests, and so I suppose I've been reminded of my inevitable departure from this life.  I suppose it's natural to think about God when faced with this kind of worry.  unsure.png  

 

Anyway, I'm glad I've got all that out in the open.  wink.png

 

Does your current level of belief in Jesus cause you discomfort?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Hi Josh, thanks for your reply. smile.png

 

I think I'm still a Christian at heart.  In my head I can understand all the arguments against Christianity and how all the evidence seems to strongly disprove it , but even so, I still 'feel' like I'm a Christian.  I've tried not to be.   I still, every now and again 'talk' to Christ, and say 'it seems unlikely you are real, but if you are, can you let me know'.  That yearning for Jesus to be real is still there.  I don't think it will ever go away.  It is so deeply ingrained in my brain.  In my mind, Jesus is real in a sense.  I've spent so many hours and years thinking about Jesus, that the neural pathways that create the 'Jesus' part of my brain, are strongly and seemingly indestructibly formed.  (I may have mentioned this before, but I was watching a science programme, and the guy explained about how every 'thing' has a certain part of the brain devoted to it- that is how we remember things, with their own bits of 'brain'.) 

 

I know Jesus is more than likely (most definitely) no more real than Father Christmas, and yet I am still 'drawn' to Him.  Is it only because of that part of my brain or is it more than that?   I tried to side step this, by just thinking of 'God' as part of the universe, thereby giving some leeway to this 'urge' to believe, but really if I'm totally honest, Jesus is 'behind' it all.  Maybe this will fade in time.  I don't know.

 

Maybe this is why I'm struggling to let go of 'Jesus':  I'm having a bit of a health scare at the minute.  I'm under one consultant (gynaecological) , and have to see another one (urology) asap.  I'm sure things will be ok and get sorted, but there is some concern whilst I await tests, and so I suppose I've been reminded of my inevitable departure from this life.  I suppose it's natural to think about God when faced with this kind of worry.  unsure.png  

 

Anyway, I'm glad I've got all that out in the open.  wink.png

I hope all turns out well BC. 

 

You may be right. At times of having to face our own mortality the thought of Jesus can sound appealing. 

 

But what about this, what about getting to a place where you're ok with the possibility that when we die consciousness ceases to exist?

 

Forget about OBE and NDE testimony and everything else for a moment. Suppose it's all delusional hype. What's wrong with coming into consciousness after conception and fading out of consciousness after death?

 

There may be more, but what if there isn't? 

 

That doesn't scare me at all. It doesn't give me the urge to try and run back to Jesus or theism. Because I know that's not the only possibility and in fact is probably one of the least probable options for any potential afterlife... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.