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Thread: Does god exist?

  1. #61
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    Re: Does god exist?

    eye4magic, thank you for a reply that is obviously you have given a lot of thought to, and that is also well written.

    Before we continue, however, please for the record can you tell me what your specific religion is, if any? If you are religious, could you please explain in detail how exactly you know that The Holy Spirit is responsible for your and the rest of humanity's spiritual experiences? And is it only The Holy Spirit that causes spiritual experiences?

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie View Post
    Before we continue, however, please for the record can you tell me what your specific religion is, if any?
    Non-denominational. Curious to ask though, how might that be relevant to the discussion?

    If you are religious,
    If love is a religion, then yes. If not, then no, I'm not particularly religious.

    could you please explain in detail how exactly you know that The Holy Spirit is responsible for your and the rest of humanity's spiritual experiences? And is it only The Holy Spirit that causes spiritual experiences?
    I think there are different factors involved in spiritual experiences. If you're asking how do I know that the Spirit is involved in part of this process throughout the world cultures, I would say because it's observable, historically through today.

    It's observable that the Spirit is not selective of race, gender, age, status or culture. It's observable that there are underlying shared spiritual principles in the world cultures which include unconditional love, goodness, sacrifice, divinity, transcendence, transformation, wisdom, truth, enlightenment, kindness, compassion, integration, trust, patience, perfection, renewal, responsibility, faith and conviction, regeneration, humility, balance, serenity, inner peace, surrender to the Divine, holiness, grace, unity, the ineffable ... to name just a few.
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  3. #63
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Until the day I see falsifiable prof of God's existents as more than an idea, I shall remain an antithesis. But I agree completely in what many of you are saying, that God do exist in the form of an idea, just like angles, demons and so on... Just like unicorns exist and seem real to me in my mind, cause of the rather embarrassing fact that I for many years in my childhood had an imaginary unicorn by my side at all times. I kinda imagine that it's the same with religious people and their God/Gods...

  4. #64
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    Re: Does god exist?

    eye4magic, so to be clear, you are a deist? It is relevant because I want to know what informs your perspective is all, and what potential counter points may or may not apply to you.

    And you point to things that are observable, yes, but then subscribing an explanation to them that we can't test or distinguish from imagination, as far as I can tell.

    For instance, if I were to claim that all those things you list, the ultimate source are implanted memories and sustained illusions created by a computer program, because we are all minds in a jar (i.e. films such as "The Matrix" or "Blade Runner: Final Cut"), how would one go about testing this claim?

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    how do you know this to be true?
    Using abductive logic. It is the most reasonable answer to the question of knowledge. It may never give a precise answer but it helps us determine the best (most likely) answer among many. It is as "true" as we can get.

    Since all thoughts are perceptions, and all we can ever do to determine reality is compare perceptions against one another, in the end all we have are compared perceptions.

    This is like playing Monopoly. Within the rules of the game real-estate functions a certain way. If the only experience we have with real-estate comes from Monopoly, how can we understand the "reality" of real estate outside of Monopoly? We can't. Perceptions have their own bias. Some of that bias is known, some is not. We cannot safely assume we can know reality through comparative perceptions any more than we can know actual real estate from playing Monopoly.

    That is not to say that nothing can be learned about real estate from Monopoly or that we can learn nothing of reality. It will simply always be incomplete and we will never know what parts are missing. So we can have something that resembles knowledge of real estate through Monopoly and something that resembles knowledge of reality through comparative perceptions. but that is as far as we can take it without making assumptions we cannot back up with factual proof.
    The inevitable argument of every theist comes down to, "God can move the goalposts whenever he wants." making a logical discussion pointless, because the logic only extends so far.

  6. #66
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie View Post
    eye4magic, so to be clear, you are a deist? It is relevant because I want to know what informs your perspective is all, and what potential counter points may or may not apply to you.
    Non-denominational simply means "not restricted to one sect or school or party."

    As far as counter points, why does anything have to apply or not apply to me? This thread is not about me, Prime. I simply attempted to address one your questions about how people in different cultures can have spiritual experiences within the context of a Divine Creator. I'm not the subject of this discussion, thus, why would you be concerned about what may or may not apply to me?

    And you point to things that are observable, yes, but then subscribing an explanation to them that we can't test or distinguish from imagination, as far as I can tell.
    If we want to be serious about testing spiritual principles, we are free to become a spiritual scientist. Just as physical scientists have developed physical tools for their research to test a physical world, so the spiritual scientist can learn to investigate, study and test spiritual principles.
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  7. #67
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    Re: Does god exist?

    This is my first post, so please excuse and advise if I overstep some rule.

    I have not carefully looked at every post because I do not have the time to do so. However, I notice that the comments have more to do with opinion and little to do with evidence in support of. It seems to me that until evidence in favor of an opinion is offered, little progress will be made.

    Particularly is this true when discussions center on the scientific method and its potential to this thread. The scientific method is about data and its impact upon our opinions. It is about discovered realities. Unfortunately, scientists are like the rest of us... we all tend to fit reality to our beliefs instead of fitting our beliefs to what is real, or so it would seem to me.

    Those opinions being stated, for whatever they are worth, I would like to start a thread based upon evidence in support or contradiction of the following hypothesis, if I could only figure out how:

    If the science and Genesis 1:1 are equivalent and complementary then the narrative in Genesis 1:1-2:5 may not be a myth as scientism asserts.

    I am told that if I post in a thread I can then start another, which I intend to do now.

    Cosmos

  8. #68
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Non-denominational simply means "not restricted to one sect or school or party."
    With all due respect, I feel you are being a bit vague in answering me. I still don't quite understand your beliefs, and it makes things easier if I know a person's assumptions and perceptions in attempting to share discourse.

    Yes or no: do you believe that Jesus is the one and only God that exists?

    As far as counter points, why does anything have to apply or not apply to me? This thread is not about me, Prime. I simply attempted to address one your questions about how people in different cultures can have spiritual experiences within the context of a Divine Creator. I'm not the subject of this discussion, thus, why would you be concerned about what may or may not apply to me?
    I never said it was about you, but you (as we all) have certain beliefs. I don't think it's so strange that one would want to discuss them. I am well aware how people in different cultures can have spiritual experiences, what I am not aware of is how we can demonstrate any of them to be from a specific source (if any).


    If we want to be serious about testing spiritual principles, we are free to become a spiritual scientist. Just as physical scientists have developed physical tools for their research to test a physical world, so the spiritual scientist can learn to investigate, study and test spiritual principles.
    Sorry, but a link to a book without much explanation and little context is not that compelling, and a bit linkwarz if you ask me, but you are a moderator, so you would know better that I would perhaps.

    I am not aware of any spiritual tests that are not unfalsifiable or that has concrete data to examine. Perhaps you could provide one specific example please? I would be very much interested in any study and test of a spiritual principal.

  9. #69
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie View Post
    With all due respect, I feel you are being a bit vague in answering me. I still don't quite understand your beliefs, and it makes things easier if I know a person's assumptions and perceptions in attempting to share discourse.
    Ok, I think I understand. This is a discussion. That's fine.

    Yes or no: do you believe that Jesus is the one and only God that exists?
    I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I accept him as my Lord and Savior. And I also observe and believe the Spirt that Christ spoke about and gave witness to in the NT and is referred to throughout the OT that bears witness to the Creator's goodness and truth runs through many of the world religions. I do not embrace the notion that only one religion has a copyright on Truth.

    I never said it was about you, but you (as we all) have certain beliefs. I don't think it's so strange that one would want to discuss them.
    I would say my primary beliefs side with Christianity, but not with orthodox Christianity. I also observe that the Spirit of truth, goodness, love, transcendence .... runs through many of world cultures.

    I am well aware how people in different cultures can have spiritual experiences, what I am not aware of is how we can demonstrate any of them to be from a specific source (if any).
    We can talk about how sweet the orange is. We can think about how sweet the orange is. We can imagine and conceptualize how sweet the orange is. We can hypothesize where the orange came from. We can analyze until we paralyze about how sweet the orange is. Or, we can take a leap of faith and eat the orange and know (discover) how sweet the orange is or is not.

    Did the analogy of the pure stream of water flowing down the mountain make any sense to you?

    Sorry, but a link to a book without much explanation and little context is not that compelling,
    Ok

    Perhaps you could provide one specific example please? I would be very much interested in any study and test of a spiritual principal.
    One example is the spiritual principle of the intrinsic invisible communication network between humans and perhaps our Creator. Studies and research in PSI have been going on for a long time and over the last few years one such study has surfaced in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. I think more studies are in process.

    Have Scientists Finally Discovered Evidence for Psychic Phenomena?

    Daryl J. Bem, social psychologist and professor emeritus at Cornell University conducted a series of studies was published in one of the most prestigious psychology journals (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). /Across nine experiments, Bem examined the idea that our brain has the ability to not only reflect on past experiences, but also anticipate future experiences. This ability for the brain to "see into the future" is often referred to as psi phenomena.

    Although prior research has been conducted on the psi phenomena - we have all seen those movie images of people staring at Zener cards with a star or wavy lines on them - such studies often fail to meet the threshold of "scientific investigation." However, Bem's studies are unique in that they represent standard scientific methods and rely on well-established principles in psychology. Essentially, he took effects that are considered valid and reliable in psychology - studying improves memory, priming facilitates response times - and simply reversed their chronological order.

    For example, we all know that rehearsing a set of words makes them easier to recall in the future, but what if the rehearsal occurs after the recall? In one of the studies, college students were given a list of words and after reading the list, were given a surprise recall test to see how many words they remembered. Next, a computer randomly selected some of the words on the list as practice words and the participants were asked to retype them several times. The results of the study showed that the students were better at recalling the words on the surprise recall test that they were later given, at random, to practice. According to Bem, practicing the words after the test somehow allowed the participants to "reach back in time to facilitate recall."
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...chic-phenomena

    Another study in this area is:

    Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
    Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena

    http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

    The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, which flourished for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality.

    PEAR has now incorporated its present and future operations into the broader venue of the ICRL, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization, in addition to Psyleron*a company that provides Random Event Generator devices to enable the continued exploration of PEAR’s findings by the general public and research communities.

    Then there's The Institute of Noetic Sciences that researches and conducts studies on noetic science (noetics is a branch of metaphysical philosophy concerned with the study of mind and intellect.)

    The Institute of Noetic Sciences
    http://noetic.org/

    Founded in 1973 by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research, education, and membership organization whose mission is supporting individual and collective transformation through consciousness research, educational outreach, and engaging a global learning community in the realization of our human potential. “Noetic” comes from the Greek word nous, which means “intuitive mind” or “inner knowing.” IONS™ conducts, sponsors, and collaborates on leading-edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness, exploring phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models while maintaining a commitment to scientific rigor.

    Then on a broader scale, in case you're interested, there's the Templeton Foundation that funds scientific studies and research that pertains to the Big Questions of life some of which deal to spirituality.

    Science And the Big Questions


    In the charter establishing his Foundation, the late Sir John Templeton set out his philanthropic intentions under several broad headings. These Core Funding Areas continue to guide our grantmaking as we work to find world-class researchers and project leaders to share in our pursuit of Sir John’s dynamic, contrarian, forward-looking vision.

    A number of topics*including creativity, freedom, gratitude, love, and purpose*can be found under more than one Core Funding Area. The Foundation welcomes proposals that bring together these overlapping elements, especially by combining the tools and approaches of different disciplines.
    http://www.templeton.org/

    Then there's research and studies in consciousness and the brain. There are many organizations and universities studying this, but here's one:

    What happens in the brain during religious experience?
    http://www.mindscience.org/component...-and-the-brain
    Mark Waldman
    Author, Therapist
    Associate Fellow, University of Pennsylvania

    Waldman, along with his colleague, Andrew Newberg, M.D., has shown how a variety of different spiritual practices, including devotional prayer and meditation, can change the function and structure of the brain. In his April 2010 lecture for the Mind Science Foundation, Waldman discusses how meditation and contemplative prayer can reduce stress, and relieve anxiety and depression. These practices can also enhance memory and cognition, as well our capacities for empathy, compassion, and love. Waldman’s work demonstrates how simple techniques that anyone can use – young or old, religious or secular – may yield improvements in health and human happiness.
    Last edited by eye4magic; April 18th, 2013 at 03:59 PM.
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  10. #70
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    Using abductive logic.

    Perceptions have their own bias.
    Isn't a pessimistic mind also biased? Can abductive reasoning be used within the framework of pessimism?

    This is like playing Monopoly. Within the rules of the game real-estate functions a certain way. If the only experience we have with real-estate comes from Monopoly, how can we understand the "reality" of real estate outside of Monopoly? We can't.
    Why not? There's the imagination and then the process of inquiry and discovery to objectify our imagination.
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  11. #71
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    Re: Does god exist?

    I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I accept him as my Lord and Savior. And I also observe and believe the Spirt that Christ spoke about and gave witness to in the NT and is referred to throughout the OT that bears witness to the Creator's goodness and truth runs through many of the world religions. I do not embrace the notion that only one religion has a copyright on Truth.
    I am confused still. How do we determine that it's Jesus that runs through the other religions of the world? And why would Jesus do this to confuse everyone?

    We can talk about how sweet the orange is. We can think about how sweet the orange is. We can imagine and conceptualize how sweet the orange is. We can hypothesize where the orange came from. We can analyze until we paralyze about how sweet the orange is. Or, we can take a leap of faith and eat the orange and know (discover) how sweet the orange is or is not.

    Did the analogy of the pure stream of water flowing down the mountain make any sense to you?
    Oranges exist. Even if you never ate one or even seen one in person before, I could prove to you pretty conclusively that they exist.

    What leap of faith do you mean as far as Jesus goes, by the way? I was a Christian and took a leap of faith. Nothing happened. As in, I believed in Jesus as the one true god, and prayed, and never got any answers.

    No, the stream of water does not make sense to me. Water and streams of water exist. We know the chemical make up of water and it's pretty conclusive that water is a substance and that all animals depend on it to survive.

    Thus equating Jesus with oranges and water fails because of the lack of evidence to conclusively prove Jesus is the one true god. You may say there is evidence for Jesus. By all means, please present the one piece of evidence you feel is the most solid, and please be as specific as possible.

    One example is the spiritual principle...
    The rest of your post epitomizes the "bull in a china shop" style debating I have mentioned before. I mean look at the bulk of text and video and such you just threw at me. I was quite clear in my last reply to you:

    I am not aware of any spiritual tests that are not unfalsifiable or that has concrete data to examine. Perhaps you could provide one specific example please? I would be very much interested in any study and test of a spiritual principal.
    So let's try again. Pick one specific example that you feel is the most compelling. I am a grad student and have access to most journals, so I would be happy to go straight to the source itself, and also check how robust a journal it is, and any responses from peers. And in your own words tell me why you feel whatever example you settle on is so compelling. Thanks

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie
    I was a Christian and took a leap of faith. Nothing happened. As in, I believed in Jesus as the one true god, and prayed, and never got any answers.
    Is this the reason you no longer believe? What did you expect from God?

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Is this the reason you no longer believe?
    One of many.

    What did you expect from God?
    Any kind of direct reply would have been nice. So many other religious people around me claimed to have received direct communiques from God. I prayed and prayed and got nothing, not even when I was a child and going through hard times. No answer. Ever.

    Prayer at times calmed me down, but then again, so did/does meditation--or just taking a walk in the woods. Of course one cannot just give God credit for feelings of inner peace. For one, during prayer this inner peace didn't always come (even when I really wanted/needed it). Next, we're back to God being indistinguishable from imagination. Christians say inner peace is the Holy Spirit. Muslims say Allah. Certain Hindus say Krishna. Certain Pagans say The Goddess. How are we to know for sure which one? And then there is the issue that science is already working out quite a lot of the physiology and chemistry of meditation--inner peace can be gained as a natural bodily mechanism sans any deity required.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie
    Any kind of direct reply would have been nice. So many other religious people around me claimed to have received direct communiques from God. I prayed and prayed and got nothing, not even when I was a child and going through hard times. No answer. Ever.
    Often the replies come in the form of instruction from others, circumstances, sermons, etc. I have never received direct communication from God either, but I have seen prayer answered in the wise council of others, or the broadening of perspective, or sometimes simply understanding and accepting that God has every right to say "No" or "Not now". If you approach it from the perspective that God owes you something, then you misunderstand the relationship between yourself and God, which is a prerequisite for prayer.

    I hear this argument a lot from those who left Christianity, and it has nothing to do with God not answering prayer and everything to do with pride. The Lord's prayer doesn't start with "give us this day our daily bread", does it? If you delve into what Jesus teaches us through the Lord's prayer, you soon realize how prideful we can be:

    “Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    --Matthew 6:9-10

    If when you prayed, did you mean what you said? Did you really want God's kingdom to come? Did you really want His will to be done? If not, then why should He listen to your prayer? I have fallen into this egocentric viewpoint all too often and can understand your frustration at God seemingly not answering your prayers. The problem isn't with God though, as if we take what Jesus is teaching us here seriously, we would never expect anything from God, for He doesn't owe us anything. This makes Jesus' death for the weight of our sins that much more scandalous.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie View Post
    I am confused still. How do we determine that it's Jesus that runs through the other religions of the world? And why would Jesus do this to confuse everyone?
    I believe the Spirit runs through many of the world religions, which appears to be a differentiation itself from the undifferentiated. How and what the world religions perceive and experience the Spirit is governed by their culture.

    Consider a live electrical outlet as another analogy. We can't put our fingers directly into one because it would most likely fry us. So we've created outlets to harness and use electricity. Essentially, outlets and other forms of using electricity steps down (harnesses) the power of electricity and allows us to practically use it in our lives. Electricity, in itself though, is somewhat mysterious if you think about it.

    Electricity is a mysterious incomprehensible entity which is invisible AND visible, BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. Also, electricity is both matter and energy. Both. Electricity is a type of low-frequency radio wave which is made of protons. It's a mysterious force which cannot be seen, and yet it looks like blue-white fire. It moves forward at the speed of light... yet it sits and vibrates in the AC cord without flowing forwards at all. It's totally weightless, yet it has a small weight. When electricity flows through a light bulb's filament, it gets changed entirely into light. Yet not one bit of electricity is ever used up by the light bulb, and every last bit flows out of the filament and back down the other wire. College textbooks are full of electricity, yet they have no electric charge! Electricity is a class of phenomena which can be stored in batteries! If you want to measure a quantity of electricity, what units should you use? Why Volts of electricity, of course. And also Coulombs of electricity. And Amperes, Watts, and Joules, all at the same time. Yet "electricity" is a class of phenomena; electricity a type of event. Since we can't have an AMOUNT of an event, we can't really measure the quantity of electricity at all... right?

    What does Jesus Christ have to do with electricity and outlets? The analogy is in the mediation process. One of the things the Son of God appears to do for man is that he mediates between the Father and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

    What does that mean? One thing it could mean is that, through Christ, we can know, we can relate, we can understand, we can experience via the agency of grace and the Holy Spirit an aspect of the indescribable, all-knowing, all-pervading, ineffable, unconditional Lover. Thus, Christ, the Son, allows the Truth of the undifferentiated to be intelligible to man. How? Through the agency of the Holy Spirit and via the one-one-one, heart to heart personal to person relationship we can know (experience) the Father through the Son. In other words, through Christ, we can relate to the personal apsect of the Father.

    'No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) or "if you want to know the Father, here I am in your midst, now ascended, as a mediator, because you can't put your finger directly into the electrical outlet and not get fried ("No one can see God and yet live"). So, I am here to mediate (i.e, to resolve or settle (differences) by working with all the conflicting parties) between you and my Father so that you can know the Father through me (Christ) and receive the Father's blessings in your life in a very practical and personal way.

    Oranges exist.
    You mean organes exist as wave forms, and not outside our brains, right?

    Even if you never ate one or even seen one in person before, I could prove to you pretty conclusively that they exist.
    How can you conclusively prove that oranges exist independent of your brain and five senses?

    What leap of faith do you mean as far as Jesus goes, by the way?
    The leap of faith is that we can't know the sweetness of the orange until we eat it and experience its sweetness. Yes, we can have faith in Christ; we can believe in him and we can accept him, which are all encouraged. But we can also "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," which then allows us to know and experience the sweetness and graciousness of Christ.

    I was a Christian and took a leap of faith. Nothing happened. As in, I believed in Jesus as the one true god, and prayed, and never got any answers.
    Maybe you could consider using a different approach.

    In the material sciences, where would we be if scientists gave up their inquiry and research after their first, or second, or third, or hundredth experiment that didn't work out according to expectations. If we stop our inquiry and process of discovery of spiritual principles after a few tries, that simply should teach us what didn't work. It should also hopefully encourage us to self-reflect on what our expectations were and what those expectations were based on.

    The rest of your post epitomizes the "bull in a china shop" style debating
    Feel free to take off your heavy boots, gear and suspend strong preconceived ideas so as to not knock down the china.

    So let's try again. Pick one specific example
    Also feel free to pick anything from what I posted if you want to discuss it further. However, bear in mind that spiritual principles (not materially based) can be queried, researched and studied using a scientific method, but they cannot be reduced to material causes or explanations.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund
    Often the replies come in the form of instruction from others, circumstances, sermons, etc. I have never received direct communication from God either, but I have seen prayer answered in the wise council of others, or the broadening of perspective, or sometimes simply understanding and accepting that God has every right to say "No" or "Not now". If you approach it from the perspective that God owes you something, then you misunderstand the relationship between yourself and God, which is a prerequisite for prayer.
    How exactly is it that you are able to know for certain that it is Jesus/Holy Spirt/God that has answered prayer in the wise council of others, or the broadening of perspective?

    And if God can say "No" or "not now" this is problematic, because these answers could be attributed to any god or supernatural being, and how would we know the difference? For example, if a person prays to say, the spirits of nature, for say a sick relative to get well, let's review the possible outcomes from the perspective of believers in the spirits of nature:

    1. Sick relative gets well -- the spirits of nature cured them!
    2. Sick relative is still sick -- sometimes the spirits say "not now".
    3. Sick relative dies -- sometimes the spirits say "no", it is fate, the spirits work in mysterious ways.

    You say that there is a problem with the idea of God owing people something. Does God not owe some kind of communique to prove that He exists? And if this is a misunderstanding, how did you reach this conclusion? I thought that Jesus is all knowing, all loving, and all powerful?

    I hear this argument a lot from those who left Christianity, and it has nothing to do with God not answering prayer and everything to do with pride. The Lord's prayer doesn't start with "give us this day our daily bread", does it? If you delve into what Jesus teaches us through the Lord's prayer, you soon realize how prideful we can be
    So it's pride? What is the "proper" way to pray? Where did you learn how to properly pray? How do you know you are praying properly and without pride?

    If when you prayed, did you mean what you said?
    Yes, of course. Both as a child and as an adult, I meant it as much as I could. One of the most common things I prayed for was for God to show himself to me. Nothing happened.

    Did you really want God's kingdom to come?
    Yes, of course. I was very devoutly religious for a number of years, as a child and as an adult. I don't know how to express to you how genuine my beliefs were, but seriously--I prayed many, many times. Sometimes to the point of being in tears. Sometimes as calmly and lucidly as I could be. God never spoke to me.

    Did you really want His will to be done?
    Yes, of course. At one point, this even strained my relationship with my family, as I wanted to go to church every Sunday and they did not. I wanted to discuss The Bible, and they did not. I even brought my questions about The Bible up to pastors and priests while I was still both a Christian and a deist, in an attempt to understand His will and so that I could have it done whatever way.

    If not, then why should He listen to your prayer?
    That's the thing. It's quite easy to just write someone off as being prideful or not praying properly. But how are we to judge that? And why is it that so many people, who don't appear to be prideful and trying their best to pray properly, don't get listened to?

    Take for example the millions of parents each year that pray so that their child does not die of the many fatal illnesses and injuries that afflict children all over the world. Is it really so prideful to ask that the person you love the most in the world not be taken away from you? Yet innocent children die year after year in spite of their parent's best efforts through prayer. And of the children that survive, how can we know for sure that it was God and not just a natural explanation?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic
    I believe the Spirit runs through many of the world religions, which appears to be a differentiation itself from the undifferentiated. How and what the world religions perceive and experience the Spirit is governed by their culture.
    Why do you believe this? What exactly is it that convinced you of this idea? You are just using a bare assertion that your deity is actually the spiritual force behind all those other religions. A believer in literally any other religion could say the very same thing about Christianity, that it is actually their god that is the spiritual force behind it. Who do we believe and why?

    Consider a live electrical outlet as another analogy. We can't put our fingers directly into one because it would most likely fry us. So we've created outlets to harness and use electricity. Essentially, outlets and other forms of using electricity steps down (harnesses) the power of electricity and allows us to practically use it in our lives. Electricity, in itself though, is somewhat mysterious if you think about it.
    Electricity also exists. Many scientists all over the world study it and collect data on it, and any one of us reading these posts can see it working via computers in a very concrete way. I don't find electricity to be mysterious in the least. I can go and examine mountains of data to learn more about it conclusively, and see it in action in many ways--which I do anyhow every day as a person living in a modernized nation.

    As for you connecting Jesus to electricity, this is just another bare assertion. One could just as easily say the same for Krishna or any other deity and subscribe the attributes you have to them, and quote from another holy book, and there you go: another deity as a mediator. But how do we know for sure which deity is actually doing any mediation (if any)?

    You mean organes exist as wave forms, and not outside our brains, right?
    How can you conclusively prove that oranges exist independent of your brain and five senses?
    I have no reason to doubt the existence of oranges, and I was the one that brought up the "minds in a jar" problem earlier, so we can cut to the chase here. You don't actually believe that you are a mind in a jar, do you? And you are not suggesting that oranges don't exist, are you?

    If you and I can't agree that oranges exist, this debate is effectively over. We can't agree on the basic axioms of reality, and nothing productive can happen if this is the case. But I am guessing that you do actually believe in oranges.

    Yet so you or others don't accuse me of ignoring any questions: No, I can't prove that oranges exist independent of my brain and the evidence produced by my senses and other people's. Neither can you. It's axiomatic that material things exist and we can interact with them, i.e. a rational consensus. Note that this is not the same as an ad populum falllacy, nor is your God or any other "self-evident" because we can't share the experience. For example, any rational human beings can sit and eat an orange and share the self evident experience of the orange--how it tastes, smells, looks, feels, etc.--even when a person's sense is impaired such as a blind person. Yet a blind person can use their other senses to express the self evident truth of the existence of oranges, and can have all sorts of solid evidence from other rational people to confirm the nature and existence of oranges.

    The leap of faith is that we can't know the sweetness of the orange until we eat it and experience its sweetness. Yes, we can have faith in Christ; we can believe in him and we can accept him, which are all encouraged. But we can also "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," which then allows us to know and experience the sweetness and graciousness of Christ.
    But what about those that have taken the leap of faith and wanted to know the sweetness of the orange and nothing happened? And why do others say that, to continue with this orange thing, that oranges taste like beef steak, or apples, or pure water? The meaning of this spiritual "orange" is debased by so many taking this leap of faith and reporting back different results, to the point that the concept of this "orange" becomes meaningless, because these results are indistinguishable from imagination.

    In the material sciences, where would we be if scientists gave up their inquiry and research after their first, or second, or third, or hundredth experiment that didn't work out according to expectations. If we stop our inquiry and process of discovery of spiritual principles after a few tries, that simply should teach us what didn't work. It should also hopefully encourage us to self-reflect on what our expectations were and what those expectations were based on.
    You assume that I stopped after a few tries. That is not the case. See above in my reply to Freund about how I was quite faithful for years and made many, many tries. Nothing happened. And when I ask people who claim that things happen, what I am told is indistinguishable form imagination.

    Feel free to take off your heavy boots, gear and suspend strong preconceived ideas so as to not knock down the china.
    I am not the one making claims. I am not the one that is throwing wall-o-texts at people so that they have to sort it all out or be made to look as though they are ignoring it. I was very clear. I asked for one specific piece of evidence. By you ignoring this either means you have no regard for my polite request, didn't read carefully, or are looking to try and swamp me with quantity over quality.

    Also feel free to pick anything from what I posted if you want to discuss it further. However, bear in mind that spiritual principles (not materially based) can be queried, researched and studied using a scientific method, but they cannot be reduced to material causes or explanations.
    No thank you. I asked you for what I feel is a reasonable request, and I am not going to go back and evaluate your wall-o-text to pick out one to discuss. Even if I picked one at random, you could always say I picked the one that was not as convincing or best example, or claim that I am ignoring the rest of the so called evidence that works together as a whole or plays off each other for support.

    Further more, I don't know what you mean about spiritual things being studied by the scientific method, but that they have some kind of special status. You will either need to elaborate or demonstrate this if you present a specific example. If we can't limit ourselves to material causes or explanations, then what is stopping us from saying that our computers are actually run by the magic of invisible fairies, or all other sorts of claims that are indistinguishable from imagination? This would mean, in effect, that anything goes when attempting to explain anything.

  17. #77
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie
    No thank you. I asked you for what I feel is a reasonable request, and I am not going to go back and evaluate your wall-o-text to pick out one to discuss.
    Mr. Pot, I'd like you to meet Ms. Kettle.

    How exactly is it that you are able to know for certain that it is Jesus/Holy Spirt/God that has answered prayer in the wise council of others, or the broadening of perspective?
    I trust that this is the case; I cannot know for certain.

    You say that there is a problem with the idea of God owing people something. Does God not owe some kind of communique to prove that He exists? And if this is a misunderstanding, how did you reach this conclusion? I thought that Jesus is all knowing, all loving, and all powerful?
    No, God does not owe any communique--you still fail to grasp the concept of the relationship between us and God. Even so, you have the Bible available to you 24/7. You can look up at the sky and wonder about how beautiful this world and this universe truly is, and how it is all so precisely tuned so that we can live. You can ponder the question of "how did this all get created" and even though Science has brought us far, there are still many mysteries that cannot be explained. Perhaps it was a Creator. Perhaps it wasn't. The bottom line is, the evidence is already available to you--and it is overwhelming at that. It comes back to your misunderstanding of the relationship between yourself and God.

    So it's pride? What is the "proper" way to pray? Where did you learn how to properly pray? How do you know you are praying properly and without pride?
    The "proper" way to pray is in complete submission to the will of God. I started with the Lord's prayer, and worked from there. I don't know when I'm praying "properly" because I'm a prideful human being, and the moment I say that I am is likely the moment when I am most prideful.

    Yes, of course. Both as a child and as an adult, I meant it as much as I could. One of the most common things I prayed for was for God to show himself to me. Nothing happened.
    Show Himself in what way? By what you have said already, it sounds like you felt that God owed it to you to show Himself. The question then becomes, why do you think He owes that to you?

    Yes, of course. I was very devoutly religious for a number of years, as a child and as an adult. I don't know how to express to you how genuine my beliefs were, but seriously--I prayed many, many times. Sometimes to the point of being in tears. Sometimes as calmly and lucidly as I could be. God never spoke to me.
    Often "religious" gets in the way of relationship. I was brought up in a very "religious" environment, where flowery, showy prayers were the norm and it was all about being on your best behavior and checking off boxes for attending church. At no point did it even cross my mind that God didn't want my good behavior (which looking back, wasn't at all "good"), He wanted a relationship. I "prayed" many, many times too but it was self-centered and wooden. It was all ultimately about me and what God owed me. Again, it's all about how you understand your relationship with God.

    That's the thing. It's quite easy to just write someone off as being prideful or not praying properly. But how are we to judge that? And why is it that so many people, who don't appear to be prideful and trying their best to pray properly, don't get listened to?

    Take for example the millions of parents each year that pray so that their child does not die of the many fatal illnesses and injuries that afflict children all over the world. Is it really so prideful to ask that the person you love the most in the world not be taken away from you? Yet innocent children die year after year in spite of their parent's best efforts through prayer. And of the children that survive, how can we know for sure that it was God and not just a natural explanation?
    It certainly isn't prideful to ask for God's protection, for His healing, for His help--He wants us to do that! The difference is, how do we react to when He has a different plan? Do we trust that He knows what He is doing, or do we simply write Him off because we don't get our way? I sound like a broken record at this point, but it truly is all about how we understand our relationship between ourselves and God. If we truly mean what we say when we pray to God and ask that His will be done, then we won't blame God when we don't get our way.

  18. #78
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie View Post
    Why do you believe this? What exactly is it that convinced you of this idea?
    I think I answered this already. I can try again with more clarity:

    1) I observe this by having lived abroad in different cultures.
    2) History demonstrates this through an objective and rigorous study of world cultures and religions.
    3) Current comparative religious studies demonstrates this.
    4) These observations and study make sense to me and are reasonable.

    You are just using a bare assertion that your deity is actually the spiritual force behind all those other religions.
    You seem to be stuck on what you perceive a deity is or is not. Can you suspend this notion just for a moment in time? What I believe runs through the world religions is the Creative Principle of truth. In his book "The Imitation of Christ," Thomas Kempis states: "From One Word Proceed all things and all things tell of Him." For Islam this Creative Principle is called Kalma; for Hindus they call it Naad; for Sikhs they call it Naam, for Christians it's the Holy Spirit.

    There is one truth (One Creative Principle). For man, the observer, it does sometimes seem to be a puzzle and a mystery. One reason for this is because we only get to see and deal with one piece of the puzzle at a time. Though are lives often demand that we deal with truth piece by piece, event by event, as separate components through the human experience, if we lose sight and perspective that there is a "whole picture" that we don't see or grasp to this mystery, then truth becomes confining and unfulfilling and we can get stuck wondering how can we determine what is truth?

    There are absolutes in our universe, but man's truth is only as relative in that we only experience a piece of something that is vast and obscured from our vision. And the reason it's obscured is because Truth is much larger than the human experience. Thus, we can become confused and burdened by our perspective, beliefs, prejudices, preconceived ideas and our own pride.

    The world religions give testimony to this creative principle of Truth and many of the world religions share in their quest to help man relate, communion and know Truth (the Creator). The differences in the cultures and doctrines of the world religions do not effect the "Whole Tapestry" but instead they serve a purpose for their respective culture.

    Also, I would note that the search to experience and know truth is most definitely worth it because as each piece of the puzzle starts to fit through our experience of life, truth and life becomes clearer and has greater meaning. Thus, we have the opportunity to become aware of a portion of the tapestry, though this is probably minuscule against the whole but nevertheless relevant. And even though we may never be able to see the entire vastness of truth during our life, this process does greatly enrich our lives.

    Thus, within the creative principle, the world religions share these spiritual principles: unconditional love, goodness, sacrifice, divinity, transcendence, transformation, wisdom, truth, enlightenment, kindness, compassion, integration, trust, patience, perfection, renewal, responsibility, faith and conviction, regeneration, humility, balance, serenity, inner peace, surrender to the Divine, holiness, grace, unity, the ineffable.

    As for you connecting Jesus to electricity,
    No, the analogy is the idea of a mediator. We have discovered how to use and benefit from the force and power of electricity. Yet we can't stick our finger directly into it and not die.

    But how do we know for sure which deity is actually doing any mediation (if any)?
    Once we make the connection; once the mediator has connected a soul to the Source, it will be self-evident.

    I have no reason to doubt the existence of oranges, and I was the one that brought up the "minds in a jar" problem earlier, so we can cut to the chase here. You don't actually believe that you are a mind in a jar, do you? And you are not suggesting that oranges don't exist, are you?
    I'm suggesting that we can't prove oranges exist outside our brains and five senses.

    Does objective reality exist? Is there an underlying truth that doesn't depend on the observer?
    According to quantum physics, there may be no consistent reality. Not only do we change the outcome of experiments by what we choose to measure, but we can alter those results after they've already happened.

    In this animation, find out how our choices of what to observe can change what actually happens, and what that means for our understanding of reality. A classic experiment illustrates the conundrum by attempting to measure whether a photon behaves as a particle or a wave. It turns out that it can be either, or a mixture of both, depending on how the experiment is set up.
    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/ns...-the-past.html

    Yet so you or others don't accuse me of ignoring any questions: No, I can't prove that oranges exist independent of my brain and the evidence produced by my senses and other people's. Neither can you. It's axiomatic that material things exist and we can interact with them, i.e. a rational consensus.
    I don't think there is consensus at the boundary of physics.

    Bruce Rosenblum
    Professor of Physics
    Former Chairperson of the Physics Department
    at the University of California
    Quantum Enigma

    At the boundary where physics no longer compels consensus, the meaning of quantum theory is controversial. Most interpretations of what’s going on show how the issue of consciousness can be ignored for all practical purposes. However, in exploring the theory’s foundations, most contemporary experts admit a mystery, usually one encountering consciousness. Although it is our most intimate experience, consciousness is ill defined.It’s something physics can’t treat, but can’t ignore.

    Physics Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek recently commented: The relevant literature [on the meaning of quantum theory] is famously contentious and obscure. I believe it will remain so until someone constructs, within the formalism of quantum mechanics, an “observer,” that is, a model entity whose states correspond to a recognizable caricature of conscious awareness. . . . That is a formidable project, extending well beyond what is conventionally considered physics.

    Since ancient times, philosophers have come up with esoteric speculations on the nature of physical reality. But before quantum mechanics, one had the logical option of rejecting such theorizing and holding to a straightforward, commonsense worldview. Today, quantum experiments deny a commonsense physical reality. It is no longer a logical option.

    Might a worldview suggested by quantum mechanics have relevance beyond science? Consider earlier discoveries that did have such relevance: Copernicus’s realization that Earth was not the center of the cosmos, or Darwin’s theory of evolution. The relevance of quantum mechanics is, in a sense, more immediate than Copernican or Darwinian ideas, which deal with the far away or long ago. Quantum theory is about the here and now. It even encounters the essence of our humanity, our consciousness.Quantum theory tells that the observation of an object can instantaneously influence the behavior of another greatly distant object — even if no physical force connects the two.

    These are the influences Einstein rejected as “spooky actions,” but they have now been demonstrated to exist. Quantum theory also tells us that an object can be in two places at the same time. Its existence at the particular place where it happens to be found becomes an actuality only upon its observation . Quantum theory thus denies the existence of a physically real world independent of its observation. (We’ll see “observation” to be a tricky and controversial concept.)

    Strange quantum phenomena can be directly demonstrated only for small objects. Classical physics describes the reasonable behavior of big things to an extremely good approximation. But the big things are made up of the small things. As a worldview, classical physics just does not work. Classical physics explains the world quite well; it’s just the “details” it can’t handle. Quantum physics handles the “details” perfectly; it’s just the world it can’t explain. You can see why Einstein was troubled.

    But what about those that have taken the leap of faith and wanted to know the sweetness of the orange and nothing happened? And why do others say that, to continue with this orange thing, that oranges taste like beef steak, or apples, or pure water? The meaning of this spiritual "orange" is debased by so many taking this leap of faith and reporting back different results,
    Such may be the case with pieces of the puzzle of truth on the platform of life. However... if we continue to dig deeper, we can observe a transcendent unity to this Creative Principle of the puzzle. Saints, both East and West, throughout history through today within their respective cultures and differences have given testimony to this: We exist because of the Creator's love.

    Some keep shaven crowns, while others robe themselves in flame-coloured apparel, and still others call themselves Jogis (a sect that wear wooden earrings in their ears and are ever on the march from stage to stage). Again, some are observing celibacy in quest of the Lord, while others perform penances and strict austerities. Some are Hindus and some are Turks, while others are Imams, Rafzi or followers of any other saint. With all these differences in nomenclature, they at the root are all One- mankind- to wit, men born of and embedded in God. Call Him the Creator, the Merciful, the Donor or Rahim, for that makes no difference at all--take this as a settled truth and be not therefore bewildered by diversity in names. They all serve and worship the same God, the same Lord and Master of the Universe. All of them manifest the image of the same God and exist simply by His Love and Light alone. Many a name has the Nameless One; addressed in any, He doth attend." Gobind Singh

    I saw that God never began to love us. . . . We have always been in God's foreknowledge, known and loved from without beginning. . . . We were made for love." * Julian of Norwich

    You assume that I stopped after a few tries. That is not the case. See above in my reply to Freund about how I was quite faithful for years and made many, many tries. Nothing happened.
    As noted above, the search to experience and know Truth is most definitely worth it. Also bear in mind that the destination does not necessarily bring us meaning and understanding. It's about the journey. The destination is the journey.

    And when I ask people who claim that things happen, what I am told is indistinguishable form imagination.
    Perhaps you could consider examining the imagination more critically and objectively. A brilliant scientist weighed in on this issue a long time ago when he said that "imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

    I asked for one specific piece of evidence.
    I provided evidence and studies to ESP which some people regard as a sixth sense. Here it is again:

    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
    Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous
    Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect
    Daryl J. Bem
    http://caps.ucsf.edu/wordpress/wp-co...02/bem2011.pdf

    Here is a link to another study:

    Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
    Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena
    http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

    The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, which flourished for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality.

    PEAR has now incorporated its present and future operations into the broader venue of the ICRL, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization, in addition to Psyleron*a company that provides Random Event Generator devices to enable the continued exploration of PEAR’s findings by the general public and research communities.

    If we can't limit ourselves to material causes or explanations, then what is stopping us from saying that our computers are actually run by the magic of invisible fairies, or all other sorts of claims that are indistinguishable from imagination?
    Because there can be physical laws that apply to a physical world just as there can be non-physical laws that apply to a spiritual world.

    "Science is...a powerful way, indeed - to study the natural world. Science is not particularly effective...in making commentary about the supernatural world. Both worlds, for me, are quite real and quite important. They are investigated in different ways. They coexist. They illuminate each other." --Francis Sellers Collins- American physician-geneticist and director of the National Human Genome Research Institute
    Last edited by eye4magic; April 28th, 2013 at 07:24 PM.
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  20. #79
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    Re: Does god exist?

    I say the evidence does not support the physical existence of a god.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Based on what?

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