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  1. #41
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    I was asked for what I think so I will forward my position here.

    First off, as far as I can tell, the issue is whether it can be rational to hold theistic beliefs. I hold that it can be and will lay out my reasoning.

    1. First-hand experience is a valid basis for belief.

    My red car scenario shows this. If I believe that I saw a red car at a stop light, the first-hand experience of seeing it gives me a rational reason to believe that it was there.

    2. Extraordinary beliefs require stronger first-hand evidence. Of course, unlike something supernatural, there isn't much reason for me to doubt that I saw a red car as red cars are pretty common. So when it comes to something that is not common, like communication with God or some other supernatural experience, one should hold their experiences to a higher standard. A glimpse of a red car is sufficient to believe in it. Something supernatural requires a more vivid experience before one can have a credible belief that it actually happened. But there is a level of strength where one is justified in thinking that something actually happened and short of someone else proving that they their interpretation cannot be accurate, one accepting a particularly vivid experience as valid is a rational reaction and therefore if the experience creates theistic belief, then their theistic belief is credible.

    And I'm not providing a formula for when it's rational. But if someone is going to argue that there is no possible experience that justifies one believing that what happened genuinely happened, then they will need to show a formula for this (or some kind of valid argument).

    3. While other explanations can exist for what happened beyond that it genuinely happened, one is not rationally obliged to accept these alternatives. For example, mental illness or drug use can lead to hallucinations and give one a reason to doubt that whatever he experiences actually happened - especially if the experience was of something very uncommon. But then if one is not suffering from mental illness or has taken drugs, they can rationally discount these things as explanations for his experience. But of course even a sane, drug-free person could have his mind play tricks on him. But one is not rationally obliged to explain away an incredible experience, no matter how vivid, as a mind trick so one can discount the notion that what they experienced was just a mind trick and accept it as a valid experience of reality.

    4. If the thing they experienced actually happened, then them accepting it as a real experience is indeed rational. If, for example, God actually exists and actually talked to someone, the person accepting that this rather incredible event as genuine is holding to a belief that aligns with reality and therefore indeed has a rational belief.

    So my belief is that it is possible for theistic beliefs to be rational (which is not to say that all of them are) and I've seen no supported argument that they can never be rational.

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  3. #42
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    The full definition - it really goes without saying - should be expressed as "belief in something without sufficient evidence".
    Some other definitions would work as well, since they encompass the same general idea:
    - "strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof"
    - "firm belief in something for which there is no proof"
    - "belief that is not based on proof"
    - "strong or unshakable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence"
    Do you believe there are immutable laws of physics? If so, what is your proof or evidence?

    Regarding Santa and the Tooth Fairy: I believed because of evidence found under the Christmas tree and pillow, plus the explanations for those from what I believed were reliable authorities. It was logical and rational to believe because there was no better explanation at the time. When more information became available, I stopped believing.

    I have theistic beliefs because logic and available evidence tell me that an ultimate creator must exist, and because science has not provided a better, or even an equivalent, explanation. Science has not explained where the first matter came from. Scientists have not created life where it did not exist, or even offered a compelling explanation of how that could happen. So my beliefs remain, and are rational. Do you have logic or evidence for why I should discard them?

    ---------- Post added at 11:30 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:55 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Disregarding those standards in order to believe something which does not meet them is nothing more than special pleading and intellectual dishonesty.
    Please clarify what the special pleading is that you believe theists are arguing.
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  4. #43
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Please clarify what the special pleading is that you believe theists are arguing.

    When they chose a particular religion as true when most religions use the same type of (indeed sometimes the very same) evidence/arguments to forward their truth and since most religions are mutually excusive, there is a logical problem.


    ---------- Post added at 04:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:06 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    1. First-hand experience is a valid basis for belief.
    True, though supernatural "anything" is not in people's everyday experience, so would naturally need a higher bar compared to things that normally happen to people every day, even when you are seeing it yourself!!
    Go see a great magician in person and then tell me "seeing is believing" when it comes to the non repeatable "supernatural situation".

  5. #44
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    When they chose a particular religion as true when most religions use the same type of (indeed sometimes the very same) evidence/arguments to forward their truth and since most religions are mutually excusive, there is a logical problem.
    No, I believe the op is referring to theistic beliefs generally, as in "a belief in God is not rationally justified". But perhaps we should let futureboy clarify for himself, eh?
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  6. #45
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    No, I believe the op is referring to theistic beliefs generally, as in "a belief in God is not rationally justified". But perhaps we should let futureboy clarify for himself, eh?
    Perhaps Future does mean it in general, but my point still stands in answer to your question of special pleading.

  7. #46
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Okay, you may be right. Provide some specific examples of how some religions claim others to be false, when they share the very same evidence. Or are you claiming that only some adherents, to some religions, do this? Your argument is generalized and pretty vague, so please clarify and then support.
    Last edited by evensaul; December 27th, 2017 at 10:36 AM.
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  8. #47
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Okay, you may be right. Provide some specific examples of how some religions claim others to be false, when they share the very same evidence. Or are you claiming that only some adherents, to some religions, do this? Your argument is generalized and pretty vague, so please clarify and then support.
    Hang on a second, I made no such claim (as one religion claim another false), but I think I get your point.

    How about Jesus?

    Christianity says he is the only path to salvation.
    Jews see Jesus as an ordinary man. Not the son of God, and certainly not the path to salvation. In fact he is often referred to as the "false messiah".
    Muslims say he is a great prophet but a man. There is no trinity as Jesus is not the son of God. God is the only one and the way to salvation.

    Certainly a loose paraphrase of these three religious points of view to be sure. However, they all acknowledge Jesus, but in dramatically different non-compatible ways. The point is, if one of these religions is correct about Jesus (for instance), the others are not true. And they (in this example) all use Jesus to help justify their truth. This is an example using the "same" evidence as apposed to the "same kind of evidence". The latter being more like, all religions generally refer to old texts/books and other artifacts to help prove their truth. If you believe the artifacts of one religion but cancel out similar claims of other religions, there is a logical disconnect.

  9. #48
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    Hang on a second, I made no such claim (as one religion claim another false),
    Then do clarify what you were trying to say - maybe it was about how one individual chooses a religion to follow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    How about Jesus?

    Christianity says he is the only path to salvation.
    Jews see Jesus as an ordinary man. Not the son of God, and certainly not the path to salvation. In fact he is often referred to as the "false messiah".
    Muslims say he is a great prophet but a man. There is no trinity as Jesus is not the son of God. God is the only one and the way to salvation.

    Certainly a loose paraphrase of these three religious points of view to be sure. However, they all acknowledge Jesus, but in dramatically different non-compatible ways.
    The point is, if one of these religions is correct about Jesus (for instance), the others are not true. And they (in this example) all use Jesus to help justify their truth. This is an example using the "same" evidence as apposed to the "same kind of evidence". The latter being more like, all religions generally refer to old texts/books and other artifacts to help prove their truth. If you believe the artifacts of one religion but cancel out similar claims of other religions, there is a logical disconnect.
    Islam and Judaism have no beliefs that rest on New Testament teachings. Christianity recognizes neither the Koran nor the Talmud. So, those three religions are not using the "very same" evidence any more than they use the teachings of Zoroaster or Buddha.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  10. #49
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Islam and Judaism have no beliefs that rest on New Testament teachings. Christianity recognizes neither the Koran nor the Talmud. So, those three religions are not using the "very same" evidence any more than they use the teachings of Zoroaster or Buddha.
    Well it's up to you if you want to discuss this or not.

    You have rebutted nothing with regards to Jesus and the three religions mentioned being mutually exclusive. Jesus being the "same" evidence all three are using
    You have rebutted nothing with regards to these three religions using the same "kinds" of evidence (as apposed to the "same evidence")as proof of their claims. IOW, why accept one religion's proof over the other's arbitrarily when the proof of these claims are virtually the same?

  11. #50
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    True, though supernatural "anything" is not in people's everyday experience, so would naturally need a higher bar compared to things that normally happen to people every day, even when you are seeing it yourself!!
    Go see a great magician in person and then tell me "seeing is believing" when it comes to the non repeatable "supernatural situation".
    But I addressed this issue with the rest of my post. To repeat:

    2. Extraordinary beliefs require stronger first-hand evidence. Of course, unlike something supernatural, there isn't much reason for me to doubt that I saw a red car as red cars are pretty common. So when it comes to something that is not common, like communication with God or some other supernatural experience, one should hold their experiences to a higher standard. A glimpse of a red car is sufficient to believe in it. Something supernatural requires a more vivid experience before one can have a credible belief that it actually happened. But there is a level of strength where one is justified in thinking that something actually happened and short of someone else proving that they their interpretation cannot be accurate, one accepting a particularly vivid experience as valid is a rational reaction and therefore if the experience creates theistic belief, then their theistic belief is credible.

    And I'm not providing a formula for when it's rational. But if someone is going to argue that there is no possible experience that justifies one believing that what happened genuinely happened, then they will need to show a formula for this (or some kind of valid argument).

    3. While other explanations can exist for what happened beyond that it genuinely happened, one is not rationally obliged to accept these alternatives. For example, mental illness or drug use can lead to hallucinations and give one a reason to doubt that whatever he experiences actually happened - especially if the experience was of something very uncommon. But then if one is not suffering from mental illness or has taken drugs, they can rationally discount these things as explanations for his experience. But of course even a sane, drug-free person could have his mind play tricks on him. But one is not rationally obliged to explain away an incredible experience, no matter how vivid, as a mind trick so one can discount the notion that what they experienced was just a mind trick and accept it as a valid experience of reality.

    4. If the thing they experienced actually happened, then them accepting it as a real experience is indeed rational. If, for example, God actually exists and actually talked to someone, the person accepting that this rather incredible event as genuine is holding to a belief that aligns with reality and therefore indeed has a rational belief.

    So my belief is that it is possible for theistic beliefs to be rational (which is not to say that all of them are) and I've seen no supported argument that they can never be rational.

  12. #51
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    4. If the thing they experienced actually happened, then them accepting it as a real experience is indeed rational. If, for example, God actually exists and actually talked to someone, the person accepting that this rather incredible event as genuine is holding to a belief that aligns with reality and therefore indeed has a rational belief.
    Indeed, but a huge if since there really aren't any examples of the supernatural we can point to . And since the supernatural is of course suspect, one should question that it happened at all.

  13. #52
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    Indeed, but a huge if since there really aren't any examples of the supernatural we can point to . And since the supernatural is of course suspect, one should question that it happened at all.
    Of course one should question it. But that doesn't mean that one should never believe that it actually happened, since it's possible that it did happen (unless one can prove that it didn't happen).

    Whether one is justified in thinking that a supernatural experience is something that actually happened would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether one is justified in accepting such an experience as genuine.

  14. #53
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    You have rebutted nothing with regards to Jesus and the three religions mentioned being mutually exclusive. Jesus being the "same" evidence all three are using
    "Using" is not a synonym for "have available to consider", which is what I now understand you probably mean.

    Three religions that all worship the same God of Abraham are hardly "mutually exclusive".

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    You have rebutted nothing with regards to these three religions using the same "kinds" of evidence (as apposed to the "same evidence")as proof of their claims. IOW, why accept one religion's proof over the other's arbitrarily when the proof of these claims are virtually the same?
    Judaism rejects Jesus as the Messiah because it doesn't believe He fulfilled the messianic prophecies. That is a difference of interpretation, not an arbitrary decision. And as a Christian, I can tell you that I reject the Koran because it is not compatible with the teachings of the New Testament. That is a rational assessment, not an arbitrary decision.
    Last edited by evensaul; December 27th, 2017 at 08:04 PM.
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Why does consistency require similar justification for like claims
    Because that's kinda the definition of consistency with regard to assessing claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    how does it help us avoid special pleading?
    By being consistent, one is not guilty of special pleading. Again, it's kinda inherent in the definition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    What I am asking for here is a framework by which one can employ the consistency method.
    One can employ the consistency method by requiring similar justification for like claims. Really, Freund, you need to stop pretending you don't know what's going on inside your own head.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    What determines the level of evidence required for a claim? As above, what is the framework by which one can employ the proportionality method?
    One can employ the proportionality method by requiring less evidence for non-crucial or mundane claims, and more evidence for crucial or extraordinary claims. How much more or less of course depends on the individual assessing the claim, but the results are usually quite similar for most people. Again, you need to stop pretending you don't know what's going on inside your own head.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    You have mentioned some examples (Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, etc.), but haven't really elaborated on the methods themselves. This is what is needed to move forward.
    Again, you need to stop pretending you don't know what's going on inside your own head when you assess these claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I can't question something that hasn't been forwarded. We are currently working through the only two methods you have defined (consistency and proportionality), so if you would like to elaborate on what "them" is, that would be much appreciated.
    And again, you miss or simply ignore the point. All the explanations provided thus far for you are things that you yourself have already taken advantage of in order to create a more accurate picture of reality for yourself. That you continue to question them speaks volumes with regard to the justification you (don't) have for your theistic beliefs.

    ---------- Post added at 10:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:50 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    [1] And even they operate on beliefs they cannot show if what you mean by 'show' is physical evidence.
    Could you be more specific about who you mean by they?

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    [2] It is a question of epistemology - how we know what we know. There are some things which are self-evident. To deny them goes against logic. So logic is one of those things that are self-evident. It is not physical; it is abstract, so it cannot physically be shown, yet you can't deny it without appealing to it. Without using it nothing makes sense.
    Logic is merely our expression of how reality has been observed to function. There is nothing self-evident about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    God, I claim, is another.
    You can claim all you want, but without sufficient evidence, believing such a claim is irrational.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    The hurdle I would like to see atheists and agnostics tackle/explain is how do conscious living beings arise from physical matter?
    Abiogenesis has nothing to do with atheism. There are atheists who believe in panspermia and those who don't. In any case, there's nothing wrong with saying "We don't know for sure". In fact, that response is what will lead us to the actual answer - claiming knowledge without sufficient evidence impedes the discovery of the actual answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    I, on the other hand, beginning with God, look for evidence that supports my beginning beliefs.
    Could you clarify what you mean by "beginning with God"? Are you a presuppositionalist?

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    I can make sense of things. I do not believe your belief system can make sense of itself. That, I see, is a significant difference between the two.
    No, you claim you can make sense of things, but you are depending on your own fallible reasoning just like we all are.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    We all have faith or belief in some system of thought. You/I build your/my worldview on presuppositions that everything else is based. How logical and reasonable are those starting propositions? You seem to think the theistic system of belief is devoid of evidence. It is not. The evidence is most reasonable. I would argue that without faith or belief in God nothing else ultimately makes sense. Unless there is ultimate standard via and because of an ultimate Creator, there is no surety to what you believe about your existence or me mine. What I'm saying is that God is necessary.
    Of course we all have presuppositions, however, the goal should be to limit the amount of unnecessary ones. Barring solipsists, we all operate with the basic presuppositions "the observable universe exists", "we can learn about the universe", and "models with predictive capability are more useful than models without predictive capability". Note that a deity is not necessary. You claim that one is, but miss the mark in demonstrating that one is. You can presuppose one exists, but that would violate the goal of limiting unnecessary presuppositions.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    [5] The question is, is your understanding of reality/truth 'true truth'? Is it how things really are regarding origins, since philosophical questions seem to descend into ultimate origins? Neither you nor I were there for the origin of the universe or the origin of life. Thus, origins are built upon an interpretation of the data.
    Our understanding of things which we weren't present for must of course be built upon an interpretation of available data. This is not a problem. I'm not sure how this addresses the point made about our goal being to have as accurate as possible an understanding of reality and the standards which help us achieve that.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    [6] People claim their standards are true/right/real all the time, yet there is massive disagreement on almost every issue between different systems of thought. Who is actually right?
    Those who have sufficient evidence to support their claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    Does your 'truth' standard correctly describe reality or just your prejudice?
    If it is demonstrated that something about our standards leads to inaccurate representational models of reality, then the standards would of course be modified. What prejudice are you referring to?

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    I am just as wary of the atheist special pleading his case as the atheist who claims the theist of special pleading.
    Could you elaborate on what you mean by "atheist special pleading his case"? To be clear, I'm using the common definition of atheist as "someone who lacks belief in a deity".

    ---------- Post added at 10:39 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:24 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Do you believe there are immutable laws of physics? If so, what is your proof or evidence?
    I'm not sure what you mean by immutable laws of physics. They're just statements regarding what we've observed about the nature of reality.

    [QUOTE=evensaul;556942]Regarding Santa and the Tooth Fairy: I believed because of evidence found under the Christmas tree and pillow, plus the explanations for those from what I believed were reliable authorities. It was logical and rational to believe because there was no better explanation at the time. When more information became available, I stopped believing.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    I have theistic beliefs because logic and available evidence tell me that an ultimate creator must exist
    Did you begin accepting theistic claims for these reasons, or was it more similar to what you described above with Santa and the Tooth Fairy?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Science has not explained where the first matter came from. Scientists have not created life where it did not exist, or even offered a compelling explanation of how that could happen.
    This is not a problem for science, nor a good reason to accept theistic claims. By acknowledging that we don't know or understand something, we maintain the rational skepticism required to ensure that we are able to ultimately create more accurate models. By appealing to the "sufficient explanation" principle, you are ignoring the "necessary" aspect. By definition, accepting an explanation simply on the basis that it's sufficient is irrational, since there are countless explanations which are just as sufficient (universe-creating pixies did it).

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    So my beliefs remain, and are rational.
    Unfortunately, this is still questionable. Your examination of "logic and available evidence" telling you that "an ultimate creator must exist" appears to be no different than someone on the other side of the world making the exact same statement as you, but reaching a completely different conclusion regarding the nature of the claimed creator.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Please clarify what the special pleading is that you believe theists are arguing.
    A theist who believes in a specific deity, implicitly rejects claims of any/all other specific or possible deities, claims which have the same level of support as the claims which the theist has accepted.

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by immutable laws of physics. They're just statements regarding what we've observed about the nature of reality.
    And you believe in them, without any expertise on your part. You take the findings of others as truth, though you've probably never even met a scientist who has done the theoretical work. You have faith in science and scientists to give you a correct understanding, so that you can say "we've observed" this or that. The immutable laws of physics are extraordinary claims. Why don't you require extraordinary evidence to believe that they exist?



    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Did you begin accepting theistic claims for these reasons, or was it more similar to what you described above with Santa and the Tooth Fairy?
    In the beginning, the same. But as an adult I frequently reassess it and many things. That's a major difference between a child and adult, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    This is not a problem for science, nor a good reason to accept theistic claims. By acknowledging that we don't know or understand something, we maintain the rational skepticism required to ensure that we are able to ultimately create more accurate models. By appealing to the "sufficient explanation" principle, you are ignoring the "necessary" aspect. By definition, accepting an explanation simply on the basis that it's sufficient is irrational, since there are countless explanations which are just as sufficient (universe-creating pixies did it).
    But who would have created the pixies, futureboy? The sarcastic alternatives you and other atheists provide all need to have a creator that provided both matter and life. Where did your pixies originate?

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Unfortunately, this is still questionable. Your examination of "logic and available evidence" telling you that "an ultimate creator must exist" appears to be no different than someone on the other side of the world making the exact same statement as you, but reaching a completely different conclusion regarding the nature of the claimed creator.
    Yes, and no. They can reach the same need for an ultimate creator, but they cannot offer a different conclusion backed by the Old and New Testaments, or anything comparable.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    A theist who believes in a specific deity, implicitly rejects claims of any/all other specific or possible deities, claims which have the same level of support as the claims which the theist has accepted.
    But they clearly do not all have the same level of support. I challenge you to name another deity with support equivalent to that for the God of Abraham.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    And you believe in them, without any expertise on your part. You take the findings of others as truth, though you've probably never even met a scientist who has done the theoretical work. You have faith in science and scientists to give you a correct understanding, so that you can say "we've observed" this or that.
    It's not faith at all, it's reasonable expectation based on facts. The expectation is that what the scientific method indicates is the case is most likely the case, and the facts supporting that expectation is that the scientific method is the single most reliable method at building useful models with predictive capability.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    The immutable laws of physics are extraordinary claims. Why don't you require extraordinary evidence to believe that they exist?
    The laws of physics are not extraordinary claims. Again, they're statements we make about the nature of reality as we have observed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    In the beginning, the same. But as an adult I frequently reassess it and many things.
    And there is the crux. Your re-assessment necessarily starts with the foundational belief which you had as a child. Further, the arbitrary nature of the beliefs you started with adds to the needs for skepticism. There are millions of people across the world who would say the exact same thing as you have, that they've started with what their parents taught them, but have reassessed that to reach what they believe are justified reasons for continuing to believe it, but reach completely different conclusions from you.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    But who would have created the pixies, futureboy? The sarcastic alternatives you and other atheists provide all need to have a creator that provided both matter and life.
    No, they don't. They're un-caused causers. Timeless magical beings existing outside space & time, or whatever floats your boat. The point is, as long as you rely on a "magic did it" answer, you can answer any mystery by appealing to another mystery. Unfortunately, this is not an explanation & serves no purpose other than to appease our natural and sometimes distressing curiosity.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Yes, and no. They can reach the same need for an ultimate creator, but they cannot offer a different conclusion backed by the Old and New Testaments, or anything comparable.
    They can, and do offer it. Do you realize that there are religious texts which significantly predate any Judeo-Christian scriptures? The "magic did it" answer is nothing new, really. Before we had a full understanding of weather and various atmospheric phenomena, some thought Zeus was up there hurling lightning bolts at us. And before we had any idea of the true origins of the Earth, some thought it was created by a deity in a matter of days by a capricious deity.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    But they clearly do not all have the same level of support. I challenge you to name another deity with support equivalent to that for the God of Abraham.
    Of course you don't consider the other claims to have the same level of support as the claim you've accepted. Unfortunately, all the others would say the exact same thing about your deity's level of support. So we are at an impasse with regard to the various claims. What methods can we use to determine which, if any, are correct? And, absent those methods, is it not better to withhold belief until it can be rationally justified?

    Btw, I want to sincerely thank you for being so open to discussing your own beliefs with me. I know my responses can sometimes seem lacking in tastefulness or contain ridicule, but it's really nothing personal.

  18. #57
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    It's not faith at all, it's reasonable expectation based on facts. The expectation is that what the scientific method indicates is the case is most likely the case, and the facts supporting that expectation is that the scientific method is the single most reliable method at building useful models with predictive capability.
    From an early age, you were indoctrinated into a belief in the rightness of science, probably as early as kindergarten or first grade. Only later did you learn about the "scientific method" and eventually be able to articulate that "the scientific method is the single most reliable method..." I'm guessing that you also took some time to set aside your early indoctrination, to rationally evaluate whether those beliefs impressed on you were truly accurate and rational. And that process is pretty much identical to my progression with my religious beliefs, which you dismiss as arbitrary and problematic.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    The laws of physics are not extraordinary claims. Again, they're statements we make about the nature of reality as we have observed it.
    Believing in observations are fine. But that those observations are extrapolated on and expressed as "laws" of physics that have never and can never change (the immutable part) is theory, which science has not proven. And that seems much more like faith in science, than fact. Yet, you and most people would take on faith that science is right about them being "immutable laws of physics". And that is just one of countless similar scientific theories accepted as fact because of faith in science.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    And there is the crux. Your re-assessment necessarily starts with the foundational belief which you had as a child. Further, the arbitrary nature of the beliefs you started with adds to the needs for skepticism.
    Yes, here we have Dr. futureboy (what are your psychiatric credentials, exactly?) reading the dark recesses of my innermost beliefs, and knowing how they influence any analysis I might attempt to evaluate evidence and arrive at my own religious views.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    There are millions of people across the world who would say the exact same thing as you have, that they've started with what their parents taught them, but have reassessed that to reach what they believe are justified reasons for continuing to believe it, but reach completely different conclusions from you..
    And a significant number of them change their religious views. Some to a minor degree (like me), while others completely change religions or become atheist. And some brought up as atheists become believers. I believe that all supports my argument, as much as you think those who don't change their beliefs supports yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    No, they don't. They're un-caused causers. Timeless magical beings existing outside space & time, or whatever floats your boat.
    Wouldn't that make your pixie a deity?

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    The point is, as long as you rely on a "magic did it" answer, you can answer any mystery by appealing to another mystery. Unfortunately, this is not an explanation & serves no purpose other than to appease our natural and sometimes distressing curiosity.
    Irrelevant to this debate, as we're not discussing what purpose a belief in a deity might serve.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    They can, and do offer it. Do you realize that there are religious texts which significantly predate any Judeo-Christian scriptures? The "magic did it" answer is nothing new, really. Before we had a full understanding of weather and various atmospheric phenomena, some thought Zeus was up there hurling lightning bolts at us. And before we had any idea of the true origins of the Earth, some thought it was created by a deity in a matter of days by a capricious deity.
    Well, then you have an obligation to point them out, futureboy, along with an explanation of how the support for their existence is equivalent to the sixty-six books of the Bible, including a host of fulfilled prophecies. Otherwise, your claim can be dismissed as unsupported.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Of course you don't consider the other claims to have the same level of support as the claim you've accepted. Unfortunately, all the others would say the exact same thing about your deity's level of support.
    Who are these "others" you speak of. Show them to me, and the support you continually claim is equal to other religions. I want to see them.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    So we are at an impasse with regard to the various claims. What methods can we use to determine which, if any, are correct? And, absent those methods, is it not better to withhold belief until it can be rationally justified?
    If we are at an impasse, it is because you have refused to support your claims. Once you actually do that, we can proceed.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Btw, I want to sincerely thank you for being so open to discussing your own beliefs with me. I know my responses can sometimes seem lacking in tastefulness or contain ridicule, but it's really nothing personal.
    My pleasure.
    Last edited by evensaul; December 28th, 2017 at 03:36 PM.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Three religions that all worship the same God of Abraham are hardly "mutually exclusive".
    If any of the three were proven true, the other two would be proven false at the same moment, as they do not all three worship the same God. More below.

    ---------- Post added at 05:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:56 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Judaism rejects Jesus as the Messiah because it doesn't believe He fulfilled the messianic prophecies. That is a difference of interpretation, not an arbitrary decision.
    While true they don't feel Jesus fulfilled prophesy the real issue is, in Judaism, Jesus is NOT God! He is a man/fully human. This is a very basic, fundamental difference that cannot be brushed aside with a wave of "interpretation".
    Muslims also believe Jesus was a man/fully human.

    Jesus is not the path to salvation for Muslims nor Jews, only Christians

    Neither Judaism nor Muslim believe in the Trinity. No God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Only God.

    ---------- Post added at 05:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:02 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    And as a Christian, I can tell you that I reject the Koran because it is not compatible with the teachings of the New Testament. That is a rational assessment, not an arbitrary decision.
    Of course the Koran is not compatible with the New Testament, the two religions are mutually exclusive.

    If it were a fact that the New Testament was the actual word of God, then yes, you made a "rational assessment". However, the Koran and New Testament are very similar how they support that each is the "true word of God".

    By what criteria is the New Testament the definite/actual/true word of God?

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    If any of the three were proven true, the other two would be proven false at the same moment...
    SOME of what the other two religions believe would be proven false, but not the underlying belief in the God of Abraham.

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    ...as they do not all three worship the same God.
    I believe you are wrong. Yes, there are extremely important differences between the three, but the foundational belief in God is the same.

    When Jesus preached to the Jews, He did not tell them to worship a different God. Not at all. Rather, He told them "No one comes to the Father except through me". So, according to Jesus, the nation of Israel and the followers of Jesus all have the same "Father" and worship the same God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    By what criteria is the New Testament the definite/actual/true word of God?
    Based on how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah. I believe the Old and New Testaments "ring true" in many ways. Clearly you don't share my belief, but that doesn't make my beliefs irrational.

    You are not the arbiter of what is rational, Belthazor. And your labeling of my beliefs as "arbitrary" are similar to those of a teenager who labels anything he doesn't understand as "random" or "arbitrary". My own analysis and assessments aren't required to pass your inspection to be legitimately rational.
    Last edited by evensaul; December 28th, 2017 at 04:38 PM.
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Future,

    I get that you are looking for a specific belief to examine to see if it's rational or not so I will provide something that I believe in that is supernatural (note that this may be a hypothetical example as opposed to something I sincerely believe but either way it is a belief to be examined and I will argue as if it is a sincere belief for this debate).

    So I believe that the soul/consciousness survives death. My belief in this stems from an experience I had where a recently deceased friend visited me. The experience was vivid enough for me to consider it to be genuine. Of course there are other possible reasons that I experienced that I did that don't involve actual life after death but since I have no history of mental illness and was sober at the time, I conclude that the most likely explanation for what I experienced was that my friend's spirit actually did visit me after his death.

    And while you are completely free to disbelieve that my interpretation of the event is what I believe it is, I am not aware of any particular reason that I should conclude that my belief is irrational.

 

 
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