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Faith is not proof!





Baznik
Nietzche said a random stroll through an asylum convincingly demonstrates that faith proves nothing. He also said fine feelings are not proof but then again he himself went insane and I am left to wonder what his hellish feelings teach us about truth? He said it was more important that an idea be interesting than it be true. Without God to inspire us he suggested an alternative "myth" of endlessly recurring events. I sincerely hope for his sake this is not true or poor Fred will have to experience his immense mind exploding with dark forbodings again and again.

On the bright side, I think there is abundant proof of God for those of us who want to be believe in or even come to know God. But unfortunately, I think most people actually want to get further away from God, which is their choice and seems to be allowed. Good luck to them with that.
Bikerman
Abundant proof? No, there isn't.

Look, I'm not an atheist because I want to 'get further away from God'. That is a fallacy called begging the question. The way it works is you start by talking about proof of God and then *shazam* you then make God an assumed part of your next statement. It is silly (and insulting) to say that atheists want to 'get further away from God'. If there really was evidence then I would accept it - that it how I roll.
I don't chose to move away from God at all because I see no God to move away from. I simply require that first those who assert that there IS a God please provide the evidence for that assertion. That is how we function in every sphere of life, so why should religion be any different?

When you get on a plane would you be happy if the pilot said 'I've got a deep and personal relationship with this 747, and I KNOW I can fly it like a bird...?
No, you would do the same as I would, and every sane person would - get off the damn plane quickly. You would want to know that your pilot had passed some OBJECTIVE tests - tests which others can look at and evaluate. You would want some EVIDENCE.

When you talk of evidence for God, you are defining evidence in a way which you would never accept from others and would never accept for yourself outside this one area.
How can I say that with confidence? Because the 'evidence' for the Judeo-Christian God is no greater than the evidence for every other damn deity in history. There is AT LEAST as much evidence for Thor, Apollo, Shiva and the Great Green Arkleseizure as there is for the pseudo-polytheist Jesus/Yahweh combination.
Baznik
I wasn't talking about atheists per se but people in general and certainly not you in particular. You can disbelieve God or gravity all you like but both might be true. You may disagree with one or the other but you don't get to decide what truth is. As mere creatures we can, at most, discover truth and accept it or dispute it and attempt to gainsay it out of existence.

What matters isn't the particular arguments we have but whether there actually is a God. If there isn't a God then I declare myself to be King of Spain and rule you out of court. If there is no God then nothing is prohibited - we can hunt each other for sport, salt the earth and waste our lives like this. Twisted Evil
Bikerman
Utter nonsense.
The attempt to put God on the same footing as Gravity is dishonest, and I note that the evidence you provide is ... ZERO.
I certainly don't get to decide what truth is - no person does. I know, however, some good methods for judging whether a proposition is possibly true or not.
As for it not mattering about arguments - there we see a theist who, having claimed there is plenty of evidence, now back-peddles like crazy when challenged to produce some.
As for King of Spain - dumb example since the Kingship of Spain doesn't require a deity to decide, bestow and defend. No, you aren't the King of Spain.
Finally the usual and rather dumb assertion that without God anything is permitted shouldn't really need me to refute, since regular readers know it is raised many times and shown to be silly in each case.
The simplest and quickest way is too simply point out that theists are less moral than atheists, so it appears that God is not necessary to encourage social and non-criminal behaviour. I can support that, of course, but I'm currently writing a larger article which includes this, so I'll save it for that.
Baznik
Very well then, you are right and I am wrong, at least as far as you and your sensibilities are concerned. I'm fine with that.

The reference to King of Spain is from Dostoyevsky, as is everything being permitted in the absence of God. That doesn't make the points true, but perhaps more interesting for some.

As for abundant proof, I am reminded of something Nagel says in "Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False" about the sense of seeing God's grandeur expressed in nature as simply and directly as most of us can see nuances of human emotion in the faces of each other. Some benighted souls have trouble seeing either! Nagel says he lacks this spiritual sense but doesn't dismiss it either, if I remember correctly.

If I present Beethoven's 9th to you as evidence of the grandeur of the human spirit you could easily dispute that as being merely sound waves or black marks on paper and you could prove that is all it is. A dog can also hear each note as clearly but nothing of the soul's grandeur. If you don't see abundant evidence of God you might just be spiritually blind.

You might be smarter and more knowledgeable than I am but you are probably not smarter and more knowledgeable than every Christian on earth. If you'd care to read an Oxford Professor of Mathematics on the dubious claims of pseudo-science please read "God's Undertaker: Has Science buried God?" by John C. Lennox

If what you really want is to just be done with God - feel free.
Bikerman
How surprising NOT.
So when stick comes to lift you have nothing...apart from two fallacies - the appeal to personal incredulity and false appeal to authority...The appeal to design is hardly worth mentioning since it was shown to be indefensible centuries ago. I could present a few pages of things which are 'obviously' created but are really emergent - many of them extremely beautiful to my eye such as a humble snowflake or some of the fractal patterns I've worked on/seen. But why bother because anyone who was really looking for the truth would know all this.

Why on earth do you assume that being an Oxford Mathematics professor gives Lennox some special authority to pronounce on God? I know Lennox and he is a singularly unimpressive debater on the subject - and his book 'God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?' which I have is as bad a book as I own - and I have a copy of Von Daniken's Chariot of the Gods, so that is saying a great deal. Besides which, why would I want his opinion on pseudo-science? I have presented non, and I regard it with the same disdain that I regard religion.

Really, trying the 'smart Christians exist' argument is rather silly, since I can easily counter with 'there are many more smarter non-Christians' if that is your idea of a valid argument, and you then have nowhere to go.

Finally you persist in the insulting assertion that I am abandoning something, which is clearly not the case, unless you wish to admit to abandoning a few hundred thousand historical deities and the entire cannon of fictional characters from the world's literature. The issue is the same - you cannot abandon that which doesn't exist.
Baznik
Dear Bikerman,

Thank you for helping me meet the quota of contributing content.

I am impressed you know Professor Lennox. I think he did very well against Dawkins in the few debates I've seen but that's just me.

You seem to conflate Christianity with 20,000 other "gods" as if all were equally absent of historical evidence. You might not like the historical evidence concerning Christ but at least there is historical evidence of some kind. The same can't really be said concerning Santa Claus, Zeus, etc.

Some of us want to believe in God and therefore find the evidence about Christ to be both encouraging and sufficient, for us, but obviously not for you.

I'm curious Bikerman ... are you a nihilist?
Bikerman
What historical evidence are you taking about? The various gospels ? Written decades after the supposed events, contradictory and selected from a larger group, including some which describe Jesus as a purely metaphysical character - which I am increasingly sure that he was.

What else? A throwaway line in Josephus which talks about the 'Christians' but nothing on Jesus.

That is IT. The sum total of the evidence. All the rest is from centuries later and written by sources who no more had any knowledge of actual events than I do.

I used to think it was probable at about 70-80% that there was a historical Jesus character - though most bible scholars now agree that the descriptions in the NT are largely inventions, with quite a bit of forgery. Nowadays, after doing quite a bit of research and reading around the subject I think it is about 20-30% probable there actually was a Jesus.

Wanting to believe in something and finding that sufficient - that is, to me, a repulsive notion. I want to know what is true, and if that is not to my liking then I'll deal with it. Anything else is, to my way of thinking, childish and dishonest. It is basically saying 'I'm happy and I count my happiness more important than truth and honesty.'.
Aside from that it means you WANT to believe in a God who is vicious, narcisistic and petty. I presume you HAVE read the OT? God is directly responsible for atrocity and murder on an industrial scale and takes pleasure in vicious punishments and tortures, often for no good reason....You WANT to believe in that?
Wow.

No I am not a nihilist and I don't know anyone who is (not personally in any event).
Baznik
Yes, I was a "truth at any cost" kind of guy all my life and I still am. I spent most of my life studying, contemplating, meditating, etc. travelling around the world to meet anyone I thought might actually know something important.

At age 58, in a single moment, I was made aware that all I had ever sought to "steal" and possess could only ever have been given to me as a gift and that gift was God's purpose in Christ, for me. A lot to know in a single moment but for God, as they say, all things are possible.

Not that you should believe me, (but why would I bother to lie to you about this...) After this initial incentive I pursued Christ directly and exclusively very much aware that no amount of fine feeling could ever prove I wasn't just auto-generating what I wanted to be true to seem to be true. I fasted and prayed and wept repeatedly for months on end, beseeching God to communicate to me in some way I couldn't possibly interpret as being my own imagination or interpretation.

On July 13, 2013 my wife and I were walking past a crowded open air market when a small girl on a bicycle was about to be run over by a car. Without time to think I poured out my heart completely to God that He save her, confident that He could. For a time where there was no time and in some space where I was no longer aware of the street or the sounds I was made aware the girl would be perfectly fine. Then I was brought instantly back to the original scene where both my wife and I saw the girl inexplicably delivered in contravention of the laws of physics - as if she passed through the car, right in front of us.

Now the "being" that made me aware of the girl's deliverance had no visible name tag or uniform so I can't swear it was Christ or even God or who it was - but I know it was definitely a "person" of some kind, a person who answered a heartfelt prayer addressed to God and who responded to me personally. I can't really explain that very well but suffice it to say the experience of being in the presence of this "person" was even more miraculous and wonderful that the miracle itself.

Now that I truly believe God has actually demonstrated Himself to me, how could I deny Him?
Bikerman
You could try applying the same principles you use in every other situation, and trying to avoid double standards. You must know that this sort of story is common to:
a) Followers of any and all religions
b) Alien abductees
c) Various nuts ranging from those who talk to Napolean every night to people with psychotic episodes.

Now, you KNOW that the chap who says he was abducted by aliens is not correct. In some cases I am pretty sure THEY believe it. How do we explain this? Quite easily. We are REALLY good at conning ourselves - properly good. We have to be, because our memory doesn't really work as we like to think. Our memory is horribly unreliable because we constantly rewrite previous events to fit them into a present gestalt. We all do it. Occasionally we are made aware that the memory we are prepared to swear oaths on is completely wrong. Sometimes the events we remember never even happened, and in nearly all cases the memories are significantly different to the actual events.
This is why, for example, when I was young (I'm 5 years younger than you) eye witness testimony was the Gold standard in court. Nowadays it is not even sufficient to permit the case to go ahead unless there is supporting forensic evidence. The courts have learned that eye witness testimony, far from being the best type of evidence, is actually the worst.

Now, you actually know this to some extent if you introspect honestly. You dismiss extraordinary claims all the time - and you are right to do so.
The maths is very simple: Probability of extraordinary event = x. Probability of person misremembering, or being subject to other mental shenanigans which means their account is unreliable = y.
So, here's the calculation:
Is the probability of you being wrong - for whatever reason (in this case most likely a combination of coincidence and mentally abnormal state brought on by shock or intense emotion) less than the probability of an infinitely powerful Deity existing but acting like a jerk for a couple of thousand years before, in order to forgive people for a sin which never actually happened and would, in any case, have been committed by a distant ancestor, this God decides that the only solution is to have himself appear in the person of a Human, and have himself brutally tortured and killed by the people. He can then forgive them for the garden business with the fruit....I mean....
So, what do you think?

If x < y then, without further supporting evidence it would be wise not to attribute anything to anyone and put it down to 'one of those things'. Even if it WAS an intervention, why do you assume it was on YOUR behalf? Maybe a passing Hindu did the same - prayed to Shiva - and maybe it was Shiva that intervened. Maybe God actually decided, just for once, to do something good without needing to be implored and just did it himself....

Have you any idea how offensive this sort of story actually it? You are saying that God heard your prayer and acted. But when 250,000 Indonesians were drowned in a tidal surge - nah, they obviously didn't pray hard enough. When, every day, children die in horrible agony from minor and easily treated ailments - obviously their parents just didn't pray hard enough.
And what does it say about the God? Happy enough with her dying, but then decides to impress a follower by saving her. Do you really think this is the action of an infinitely loving and moral entity?

I tell you truly, I want to believe that you just haven't thought this through, because the alternative - that you have and you really believe this - well ...
Baznik
Miracles by definition are unlikely but there only needs to have ever been one real miracle to establish they can and do in fact happen. The real question then would be how to best explain them and I don't think a convincing case can be made that each and every one of them is the result of psychosis - certainly not in my case! Wink
Bikerman
Well, in that case you are beyond my help. You are prepared to believe that of the countless reports of miracles that exist, all of them, except the ones reported by Christians, are either invented or at least wrong. That would be the huge majority. So you have no problem dismissing, say, 90% of reported miracles, just not the 10% that fit into your belief system. You then use some post-hoc reasoning to say that because there are so many accounts it is not possible that they are all wrong - seemingly unaware of the irony.

As I said, all you need is to be consistent and apply the same rules you do in every other sphere. Obviously you can't or won't, which is sad, but that's your choice.
Baznik
Yes there are many seemingly inexplicable things reported by non-Christians and I have experienced many of them personally. It's just that not everything in the non-physical realms is good even if it initially appears to be. The immediate "neighborhood" is quite bad with demons (spirits of the air) being traditionally situated between this world and heaven.

You seem to rely heavily on reason or something but I don't think the world is the least bit constrained by our notions of what it is and isn't allowed to be. In fact, I'm sure it's not.

For what it's worth I don't think all "Christians" are good (or even really Christian) and neither are all non-Christians bad. You could easily be a better man than me. I know very little about how God distributes His grace. It seems He can do whatever He wills whether it makes sense to us or not.
Bikerman
I rely TOTALLY on reason wherever I can - anything else is wrong. Faith is a word we use for believing something with no good evidence or, even, in spite of evidence to the contrary. In the case of religion faith is always used in this manner. The trick religion manages to pull is to persuade people that faith is a good thing.

Clearly it is NOT a good thing - and people know this in their daily life. My earlier example of an airplane pilot is one way to illustrate, but anyone can quickly think of many more. Would anyone be happy to submit to surgery under the knife of a guy who has tremendous faith in his surgical abilities but no actual evidence that he can do the job? I doubt it.

Faith is bad - the only time we can properly justify acting on faith is when there is no evidence available. In any other situation it would be immoral and, sometimes, criminally negligent to act on faith where the evidence said otherwise.

So there is the central trick that the religion meme has evolved - the ability to switch a basic understanding off when it comes to itself.

As for the world and our opinions - I agree, but the thing is I am an advocate of the ONLY method we have developed that CAN reliably tell us about the universe - SCIENCE. Religion has a terrible record, as do other forms of revelatory 'knowledge'. There is no other serious player in the game. Science doesn't have a thing to say about Gods or supernatural goings on because it is designed that way. Science provides explanations which we can test and which don't depend on personal anecdote.

If you can provide ANY evidence for the supernatural that does NOT rely on anecdote/personal revelation then I'd be happy to look at it - but I doubt you can because nobody has been able to do so yet...ever. In the absence of such, it seems to me that the universe works according to natural laws and, although we haven't tied those laws up completely, we have made pretty amazing progress.

Any assumption of supernatural entities and events is therefore a needless additional complication which provides no new information*. Occam's razor demands, therefore, that such assumptions should be ditched. In the words of Laplace when questioned about his book on the universe and why God was not mentioned....'Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là.' ("I had no need of that hypothesis.").
Although this story is probably apocryphal it does sum up the situation nicely.

* God doesn't actually answer any questions. Saying 'God did it' in response to questions such as 'where did the universe come from' simply replaces one unknown with a more complex one and begs the further question - where did God come from? Theists like to avoid this by special pleading. Yes, everything needs a cause, but not God - God is exempt. Well, that may satisfy some, but I accuse them of intellectual dishonesty.
Baznik
What about the fine tuning of the universe? The very natural laws you speak of must be as they are within such an astoundingly narrow range for life to be possible that the many physicists admit the improbability of such an ordering by chance. To disallow a "divine foot in the door" they try to remedy the scandal by speculating our universe is merely one of an incalculably larger number of other universes in which life does not exist without offering any explanation of how these multiple universes come into being while being conveniently and forever unobservable, even in principle.

Where is Occam's Razor in that?

Really, this multiverse (as they call it) is just one example of the "anything but God" type of theory masquerading as "science" and presented to the gullible as if it were true or even likely to be true.

Why is any explanation other than God somehow a better explanation than God? No one has any explanation for the origin of the incredible complexity of digital information in the DNA of even the simplest cell. Biologists admit they have no idea where the information could have come for the first living cell to come into being yet also claim it could not have been from God. Francis Crick (as well as Dawkins) are seemingly prepared to believe it came from other more advanced beings in outer space but NOT GOD.

The fine tuning of the universe and the origin of the information required for the first cell point more accurately to a Creator by "arguments to the best inference" than to remotely less likely alternatives like infinitely many other universes and intergalactic Johnny Appleseeds.

It does (in my view) come down to the kind of explanation you like (or perhaps need). God may not speak to you but it is heartily untrue to suggest that only stupid unscientific minds believe in Him. Many of the greatest scientists throughout time have and do believe in Him. You don't, so what?
Bikerman
Most of that is complete rubbish and I can tell, just by reading it, where you go for your 'science', and it does you no credit.

a) Multiverse theory long predates any notion of a 'fine tuning' problem.
b) Whether there actually IS a fine tuning problem is open for debate. The idea that the universe is fine-tuned for life is frankly idiotic. The overwhelming bulk of the universe is completely inimical to life. The universe can be said to be fine-tuned to produce black holes - THAT is more accurate but theists can't use that so they studiously avoid it.
c) Unless you have a good grasp of Everrett MultiWorld theory then I would refrain from commenting on what is and is not science because you would be commenting from ignorance. I have a working knowledge of that and of another multiverse hypothesis and neither has anything to do with fine tuning and neither is pseudo-science.
d) Since God is the least likely explanation (supernatural events and entities are, by definition, necessarily less probable than naturalistic explanations for the same) then your question answers itself.
e) There is no digital information in DNA - that is garbage from a creationist site. My academic subject is Computer Science and I've studied information theory (and lectured in it) and I can tell you that this is crap.
f) Any biologist who said he/she had no idea about abiogenesis is probably not working in that field. There are plenty of hypothesis for the origin of the first cell, we just don't yet have enough info to narrow down to one contender.
g) Argument to the best inference? Nonsense. You are describing abductive reasoning which is only ever justified (and even then many would argue) where deductive or stronger inductive reasoning cannot be used. Since science is still working on these issues there is no justification for saying 'therefore God' - even if God actually DID provide a possible explanation. In fact God is not any sort of explanation because you then have to say where God came from - effectively it simply pushes the issue back one and adds nothing useful.
h) I didn't say what you seem to be implying I did with regard to 'stupid people' but your argument is frankly pants. Lots of people believed in God over history. THEY HAD NO CHOICE. Many of the great scientists in history believed in God - THEY HAD NO CHOICE. It is dishonest and disingenuous to imply that this is somehow significant. Even if they had CHOSEN to believe then it would be a fallacious appeal to false authority, since nobody suggests that scientists have privileged information about God. If you want to pursue this flawed argument then you must, at least, consider times when scientists could be atheists OR religious without sanction - say the last century. When you look you find overwhelmingly scientists are NOT religious - and the higher up the pecking order you go, the less that proportion becomes.
Baznik
It seems Frihost no longer actually supplies free hosting (at least not to anyone new in the last 8 months?) so my purpose in this is over.

I take issue with much of what you say Bikerman but what of it ... Let's continue on our different paths and see where they lead. Goodbye.
Bikerman
Taking issue? I can see no error in what I wrote so if you DO take issue you are going to be wrong.

A parting tip which will certainly add to your education and increase your ability to debate these issues sensibly:
If you want to understand the science surrounding these issues then you need to go to scientists or reliable science-writers for your information and NOT sites like AnswersInGenesis and similar creationist misinformation web resources. These sites are funded very well and have seriously rich backers from the US like Howard Ahmanson - the Savings and Loans billionaire. With the amount of money they have, they can buy-in the expertise to produce slick sites and plausible-sounding arguments. Whilst these would never fool someone with a decent science background, they WILL fool many 'average Joe and Josephine' figures - largely because of the pitiable state of science education in the US. Your previous posting contains two of the standard canards that originate with the Discovery Institute and which then found their way onto many creationist sites. To anyone who knows what they are talking about, this marks you out straight away as a probable fundamentalist pretending to be a normal Christian semi-believer. Whether you actually are or not, using the 'Information content of DNA' argument, and especially the 'Multiverse theory was invented to solve fine tuning' argument marks you out as fundy fool and you will likely be treated accordingly by those in the know....just a word to the wise....

PS - using the 'famous scientists' fallacious argument from false authority is not only inadvisable because it IS a fallacy, it is also easy to turn back on you and leave you stranded.
Thus:
y...Many famous scientists have been religious. There is some significance in this which speaks to the truth or plausibility of religion.
m..The majority of scientists are NOT religious. Even in the US, where the general population is overwhelmingly religious, scientists are FAR less so. This speaks far more loudly and insistently to the antithesis or your thesis....

Above - US Stats from Pew Forum
It is important to remember that the US is an extreme outlier with regard to belief, in the 'developed' world. The other leading countries are FAR less religious as a whole.
JoryRFerrell
Baznik wrote:
Nietzche said a random stroll through an asylum convincingly demonstrates that faith proves nothing. He also said fine feelings are not proof but then again he himself went insane and I am left to wonder what his hellish feelings teach us about truth? He said it was more important that an idea be interesting than it be true. Without God to inspire us he suggested an alternative "myth" of endlessly recurring events. I sincerely hope for his sake this is not true or poor Fred will have to experience his immense mind exploding with dark forbodings again and again.

On the bright side, I think there is abundant proof of God for those of us who want to be believe in or even come to know God. But unfortunately, I think most people actually want to get further away from God, which is their choice and seems to be allowed. Good luck to them with that.


Feelings and sanity have no bearing on the truth. Feeling that something SHOULD be correct does not make it correct. Feeling something is wrong does not make it wrong.

Afterall, there was "abundant proof" of Jews being a threat to the civilized way of life. Does that "feeling" deviate what the truth is? No. It does not. You simply can't make arguments that what is Logical is determined by something that is Illogical like the human brain, or mind. You could argue
that due to the study of the human brain, psychology, and sociology, that religion has proven an effective way of dealing with with the masses by way of intentional manipulation. That however, is still not a good way to prove the usefulness of religion. If I need to motivate people to work at a food pantry, sure...I could use religion to motivate people to do so. It gives "fine" feelings after-all.
Then again, I can also use a religion to inspire people to stone a woman to death, to push propaganda that condoms are against gods law (because God WANTS you to contract AID's...OFC...), etc.

Feelings don't determine what the truth is. Feelings don't determine what is logical.
Even if you say that without religion, I have nothing to fall back on for morals, and therefore
I would need to involve my "feelings" to determine what is right or wrong, that is still incorrect.
I can say that I'd definitely agree that life is preferable to death. I think other people "feel"
the same way. That said, I can make a logical prediction that is not itself based on feelings, but
simply takes into account the "feelings" of others, and what those feelings will cause them to do.
The truth is still not dictated by how people feel, proven by the fact that if I take the number that the average person chooses as their favorite, and compare it to their least favorite number, they can't actual prove any real basis for their preference. That does not change the fact that based on their feelings, I can make a truth-based, factual, logical choice to use their favorite numbers to say...stack a bet. I can reliably predict that they'll fall for the gambit. That is a truth I can rely on.

That said, I don't think we should "stack" society with religion...that is a bad gamble, and it's paid off less than we've put in.
Indi
Baznik wrote:
Nietzche said a random stroll through an asylum convincingly demonstrates that faith proves nothing.

...

On the bright side, I think there is abundant proof of God for those of us who want to be believe in or even come to know God.

Oh, the irony.

Baznik wrote:
On the bright side, I think there is abundant proof of God for those of us who want to be believe in or even come to know God.

If the only way someone can find proof of something is when they "want to believe it", the only thing they have proven is how easily humans can delude themselves.

Baznik wrote:
But unfortunately, I think most people actually want to get further away from God, which is their choice and seems to be allowed. Good luck to them with that.

Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you not believe in Santa Claus because you want to get "further away" from him?

Good luck to you with that.
raaeft1
According to Nichiren Buddhism and the guidances of SGI president Daisaku Ikeda, faith leads to actual proof. Our determinations manifest concretely if they are for the highest good.
At the same time Buddhism is reason.
LxGoodies
raaeft1 wrote:
According to Nichiren Buddhism and the guidances of SGI president Daisaku Ikeda, faith leads to actual proof.

I think you misunderstood. Sure, every proof starts out with faith. Why seek proof for something, when you don't believe in it ? However, to obtain actual proof in the end, you will need sound research and definite conclusions based on that. My impression is believers adhered to religions have a blind spot for this second step, needed to obtain the actual proof. E.g. when Buddhists seek proof for the benevolence of meditation, they will need to gather and hear personal stories of people that actually benefit from meditation. And it must be clear, that the meditation caused the improvement. I don't make this up. It is confirmed on the website of mr Ikeda himself,

http://www.daisakuikeda.org/sub/resources/commentary/clarkstrand/religion-in-action.html
Bikerman
raaeft1 wrote:
According to Nichiren Buddhism and the guidances of SGI president Daisaku Ikeda, faith leads to actual proof.
We have a name for this - it is called 'confirmation bias'. It is more accurately stated as:
Faith leads to the tendency to perceive evidence where it doesn't ACTUALLY exist.
(Proof is for maths/logic. Statements about observable reality require EVIDENCE, not proof).

In the real world, of course, ACTUAL evidence either exists or does not exist and is entirely independent of any faith or otherwise
innov8ian
Interesting idea that there can be evidence for a god. I thought the whole idea was to have faith without proof?
'God' can normally be neither proved nor disproved.
loveandormoney
Baznik wrote:
Nietzche said a random stroll through an asylum convincingly demonstrates that faith proves nothing. He also said fine feelings are not proof but then again he himself went insane and I am left to wonder what his hellish feelings teach us about truth? He said it was more important that an idea be interesting than it be true. Without God to inspire us he suggested an alternative "myth" of endlessly recurring events. I sincerely hope for his sake this is not true or poor Fred will have to experience his immense mind exploding with dark forbodings again and again.

On the bright side, I think there is abundant proof of God for those of us who want to be believe in or even come to know God. But unfortunately, I think most people actually want to get further away from God, which is their choice and seems to be allowed. Good luck to them with that.


The question is
without god
there is not faith.
Indi
innov8ian wrote:
Interesting idea that there can be evidence for a god. I thought the whole idea was to have faith without proof?
'God' can normally be neither proved nor disproved.

That depends heavily on the sect. Some sects reject the idea of faith completely, and insist on believing only by reason or observational evidence. Gnosticism, which is being discussed in another thread at the moment, is an example.

But in general, it's a situation of being between a rock and hard place. There are no logical proofs for gods, and there is no empirical evidence for gods - if there were either, theology would be a branch of science, just like physics or chemistry. But of course, there aren't, so you can't use reason or observational evidence. That means the only option you are left with - if you insist on believing - is faith. But faith is the ultimate cop-out - it's throwing all logic and experience to the wind, and basically admitting you're a lunatic, because if you don't have reason, and you don't have observation, what you're left with is irrational blindness.

So there's the choice: if you insist on believing, either you have to wilfully lie to yourself about the existence of reason or observational evidence... or you have to accept that there is none, and fall back on the irrational, blindness of faith. It's either self-deception, or insanity. That's the choice.

And since both options are terrible, and neither option is good, there are sects that go either way. And there are even sects who get really deranged, and try to embrace both options, even though they're incompatible. You can actually hear this in the words of some very popular Christian apologists: they will talk up how important faith is, and how that's all you need... then two seconds later they will start trying to make logical or empirical arguments to justify their beliefs. When you point out that those arguments are just a waste of breath if faith is all that matters, they'll say that faith isn't all that matters.... when you point out that faith is pointless and silly if those arguments are true, they'll say that faith is still really, really important. So, even though neither is good enough on its own, having both somehow "fixes" things. It's like being at a restaurant and having them serve you a plate of shit, and when you point out that that's not going to be a satisfying meal, they fix it by giving you a bigger portion. If it's crap, it's crap - having more of it doesn't make it less crappy.
ryancrear
Does God exist?

Well so many people want to believe that the big bang happened billions of years ago yet I have found anyone who can answer a simple question:

"If I give you nothing without energy, gravity, time or mass, not even a single atom, proton, neutron, electron or even the illusive Higgs Boson then can you make me something?"

For if one understands basic scientific principles and the various theories associated with it one will find that with absolutely nothing nothing else can be created. (example "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction") If there was something in the very begnning that caused the big bang then where did that single entity be it energy or a physical thing come from?

Nothing can come from nothing so if there was a big bang that came from nothing why can I not believe that God was there in the beginning of everything?

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."
silvermesh
Trying to tie faith and science as interchangeable is a serious misstep.

Faith has always had a place in humanity due to the fact that there are always things that science cannot yet explain. The more science advances, the role of faith also shifts. This does not necessarily mean that faith should have no place, but it definitely shouldn't try to masquerade as science itself.

There is no scientific way to rule out the existence of a higher power. Science isn't about disproving what we don't know, its about proving what we do know based on what we can observe and hypothesize. To say you believe there is no God is faith just as much as to say you believe there is one. You can scientifically give reasons why a higher power may not be likely, but you can never be 100% sure because that's is simply how science works. In order to disprove the existence of a higher power we would need to definitively explore every nook of the ever expanding Universe in ways we cant even come close to fathoming. some things will always be based somewhat on faith.

Use science when it comes to logical decisions. Use faith when logic fails you. Logic fails some people more than others.
loveandormoney
Baznik wrote:
Nietzche said a random stroll through an asylum convincingly demonstrates that faith proves nothing. He also said fine feelings are not proof but then again he himself went insane and I am left to wonder what his hellish feelings teach us about truth? He said it was more important that an idea be interesting than it be true. Without God to inspire us he suggested an alternative "myth" of endlessly recurring events. I sincerely hope for his sake this is not true or poor Fred will have to experience his immense mind exploding with dark forbodings again and again.

On the bright side, I think there is abundant proof of God for those of us who want to be believe in or even come to know God. But unfortunately, I think most people actually want to get further away from God, which is their choice and seems to be allowed. Good luck to them with that.


Sure
Faith is healing.


Poor people in relationships without faith.
SpaceInvader75
Quote:
Sure
Faith is healing.


Poor people in relationships without faith.


The only healing thing about faith is probably the placebo effect. If faith really healed, we wouldn't need doctors, and insane parents that insisted their children didn't need medical attention (because God was going to take care of it) wouldn't face criminal charges!

So you might be saying that faith is emotional healing, and even then I would say the placebo effect. Sure, it's more comforting to believe there's a god that's going to take care of you. But that certainly doesn't appear to be the reality, when there are children starving every day.
spinout
Faith is bigger than proof!

Proof is just seeing that structures do exist, but faith makes structures exist.
Ankhanu
spinout wrote:
Faith is bigger than proof!

Proof is just seeing that structures do exist, but faith makes structures exist.


In reality or in the mind?? Razz
deanhills
spinout wrote:
Faith is bigger than proof!

Proof is just seeing that structures do exist, but faith makes structures exist.
I've got to agree with you. Particularly with that saying that faith can move mountains. Nothing as powerful as a community wishing for something to happen together. Could be praying, or meditating or whatever.

Ankhanu wrote:
spinout wrote:
Faith is bigger than proof!

Proof is just seeing that structures do exist, but faith makes structures exist.


In reality or in the mind?? Razz
I'm almost certain there is a connection between reality and the mind. But probably more of the mind. Like minds being able to connect powerfully. I've seen it happening so many times. Something that is initially inconceivable, and then with many minds set on it, believing in it, it comes to fruition. However, I've never been able to believe that people can create rain with faith or make natural disasters happen or prevent them from happening. Although we're powerful to a certain degree, I don't think we're all powerful, particularly since we're on limited time on earth and we're not really perfectly created. If we'd been perfectly created, we'd never have had to strive for perfection in anything.
LxGoodies
deanhills wrote:
spinout wrote:
Faith is bigger than proof!

Proof is just seeing that structures do exist, but faith makes structures exist.
I've got to agree with you. Particularly with that saying that faith can move mountains. Nothing as powerful as a community wishing for something to happen together. Could be praying, or meditating or whatever.

...except when it has to do with your kitchen sink. Prayer won't help, you will need a plumber.

(same counts for particle accelerators)
deanhills
LxGoodies wrote:
...except when it has to do with your kitchen sink. Prayer won't help, you will need a plumber.

(same counts for particle accelerators)
Hmmm .... Think OK I agree the prayer may not work - like directly scientifically, but faith in the prayer can from the point that if it goes deep enough it may compel people to be focused on something - like compel them subconsciously to be chanelled into an outcome to the point that they may do something either individually or collectively or wish for something to be done that compels others to help.
LxGoodies
deanhills wrote:
LxGoodies wrote:
...except when it has to do with your kitchen sink. Prayer won't help, you will need a plumber.

(same counts for particle accelerators)
Hmmm .... Think OK I agree the prayer may not work - like directly scientifically, but faith in the prayer can from the point that if it goes deep enough it may compel people to be focused on something - like compel them subconsciously to be chanelled into an outcome to the point that they may do something either individually or collectively or wish for something to be done that compels others to help.


Dream on. When my sink goes broke I'd be silly to focus anywhere. I need a plumber.

"Channeled" ? how would you arrange that ? I know my plumber.. the man is a down to earth private entrepreneur, that will need a call and payment. Else.. he won't come.

Believing and prayer are NOT omnipotent, as believers like to assume. Some issues cannot be solved with it. Especially things around the house.

..
deanhills
LxGoodies wrote:
Dream on. When my sink goes broke I'd be silly to focus anywhere. I need a plumber.
Well I doubt one would pray for a sink to be fixed. The prayer will be more along the lines for a solution to come so the sink can be fixed. Now for most of us we just pick up the phone and phone the plumber. But for some that may not work as they don't have the means. So maybe they will do a prayer - or put out a word, and maybe after a while it may become "compelling" enough for someone to come to the rescue.
Angel

Ultimately it is asking for something. So if you ask hard enough you get a good chance it will happen. If you pray with others, then there's an even better percentage chance the sink will get fixed.
Ankhanu
How would one differentiate prayer working in that scenario versus random chance of the thing coming to fruition anyway?

To me that reeks of likely confirmation bias.
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
How would one differentiate prayer working in that scenario versus random chance of the thing coming to fruition anyway?

To me that reeks of likely confirmation bias.
True. There is no scientific evidence for it. It's a personal observation. When more than one person puts their mind on something positively and with focus and concentration, it makes for a stronger likelihood that that which they put their mind on, will eventually materialize. When you get a group of people putting their minds on one thing, positively and with focus and concentration there is an even stronger likelihood that that which they are focused on may materialize. I'm thinking of something as silly as a grapevine in an office, and a rumour becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, to a prayer to help someone specific in need. Doesn't even have to be a prayer. Can be a group who have a discussion about someone along genuinely concerned and sincere lines, putting their focus on the same concern, and that going the rounds. Also a self-fulfilling prophecy of a kind. Someone wakes up one morning with this thought in his/her head to do something about it. and it then happens. In a way it's like tapping into a power of connection. Without even being aware of it.
loveandormoney
How he is working?
He is healing people and so a community is growing.

We like healing people.
LxGoodies
Dean wrote:
When you get a group of people putting their minds on one thing, positively and with focus and concentration there is an even stronger likelihood that that which they are focused on may materialize

Materialize ? You mean my plumbing problem could be solved spontaneously ? It can't. There is too much waste stuck in the pipe, God will not flush that pipe for me, nor will brainwaves of my friends. Back in the 80s, the Scientology Church claimed any violence could be brought to a halt, when the square root of the population would meditate on world peace. Sign of the times.. us rich fat pigs in the West start chanting peaceful hymns and "hopping" on matrasses, dissolving the war in Afghanistan and other parts in the world. Scientology claimed a lot of achievements and made scientifically looking reports about their findings - but alas.. they did not even lower local murder counts, or local street violence figures. I'd join immediately, if scientology could actually do it.


Quote:
(..) and maybe after a while it may become "compelling" enough for someone to come to the rescue.

Rescue ahhh ok.. you'd imagine some plumber believer would hear me pray about my kitchen sink issue and help me for free..

Indeed, these things do happen sometimes but wherever: it can occur in any other social gathering as well: e.g. if you are in a concert and you meet a plumber that likes you as a person and is willing to help you out.

Akhanu wrote:
To me that reeks of likely confirmation bias

Afraid so. It is not only conformation bias, it is wishful thinking and bringing false hope to a person. Yea sure, religion can be a warm bath for someone personally, I respect anyone who would find that.. but I would expect my religion to keep promises and it has been shown for 2000 years, religion can't. On the contrary !! religions are often the cause of war and violence. Religions are not eager to admit that.

Ihmo, religion serves the believer's personal welfare only and replaces fear and ignorance by feel-good stories and would-be certainties. It's like comforting a child with a chocolate candy bar.

.
loveandormoney
Kids do wishful thinking
but this has nothing to do with Buddism or Jesus.
BigGeek
I think that faith gives people false hope and the false hope crushes them emotionally when the hope and desires are not fulfilled.

I also think it is terribly wrong to give people false hope and then offer them up some sort of guilt laden explanation when their hopes are not fulfilled. This leads to self persecution and loathing as the person feels that something is wrong with them as to the reason that their hope was not fulfilled.

Also the idea that prayer, affirmations, visualizations, and positive thought are the tools to communicate your desires to God or some other such deity, and that these prayers, affirmations, and positive thoughts are answered by God is the fast track to craziness and unfounded beliefs.

Here are a few examples - friend of mine - a young man was convinced that his prayers had been answered when the woman of his dreams - the one he had been praying for came into his life. She was a horrible person and treated him badly, cheated on him, and stole from him. He was convinced that she was a gift from God and the answer to his prayers and he continued to put up with the abuse because he was convinced that she was sent from God, then when he lost her, he was convinced God was punishing him because he was unable to fulfill God's wish that they be together. Insanity to say the least.

Next example - Elderly woman's husband was dying of Alzheimer's disease! She prayed constantly for his recovery, and was convinced that he would get better and live out their lives together. When he died she was so crushed and heart broken and felt that she was punished by God for her doubts, and died shortly after due to her broken heart and her feelings of being punished by God.

Don't get me wrong - I think that positive thought and faith in yourself are the keys to success in anything you do. But believing that these things are heard by some God, and answered is crazy and self condemning if you ask me - here is why! So you put in the same effort, positive thought, and affirmations as another person does. The results you receive are poor to none for your efforts, but the other guy experiences incredible success. If you believe God answered his prayers and not yours, then you begin to believe that something is wrong with you when there really isn't anything wrong with you. God didn't answer his prayers and not yours, he simply had a different experience than you, and if you stay positive and learn from what the other successful guy did, you can achieve your own success.

Like I said faith, in yourself, your abilities, and effort are essential to success - that I am sure of, having faith that God will answer your prayers and provide you with success will lead to a life time of disappointments - sad but true.

I think that people that promote miracles - or being able to manifest things in life are selling a sensation that is never backed by reality!

Hell one such person actually guaranteed that if you practiced his material you would see success. I bought the material and faithfully practiced it for almost 10 years and never saw the success I was working toward. When I asked for my money back on his course and told him my experience all he had to offer was a litany of things that were wrong with me, and never did refund my money!!!

If all someone has to offer you is to have faith and stay positive, and when you do so and experience negative results, and you ask them about that - and their only response is to tell you how screwed up you are or how something was wrong with your efforts - then they are selling a scam and never had anything to offer you in the first place.

Any belief system that starts with the belief that you are all screwed up and need the beliefs to make you better has nothing to offer you! Drop it and leave - faith in yourself is the only faith worth having because faith in a God will leave you disappointed! Sad but true!!
LxGoodies
Agreed, BigGeek, it can be harmful for people to persist in lies toward others and toward themselves. A small note about that,

BigGeek wrote:
Don't get me wrong - I think that positive thought and faith in yourself are the keys to success in anything you do

Believe in yourself yes. Positive thought... be careful with your definition ! Persisting, long-lasting "positive thought" only works for car salesmen and stand-up comedians .

Suppose.. this is about work, like research and development. Faith or positive thought can be a real pain in the ass. When you measure something you measure it. When you test something you test it. No use to believe in some specific "more positive" outcome, because that would shift your mindset to non-objective.. and damage your research.

Only when a project starts, positive thought is productive. It is like an energizer: smile, being in love with the team, but you have to stop with it and return to hard reality at some point in time ! Common result, in my experience with people trusting "Positive thought", is unfounded optimism and the broken promises that result of that. Alas. Can't make it anymore amusing, folks... the only flow chart that works and gives some success in life seems to be 1) drive = believe in yourself and the team, 2) think = objective analysis and 3) act - accordingly. And when 3) did not turn out not what you expect, start with 1) again, else proceed your act (3) and become successful.
BigGeek
LxGoodies wrote:
Common result, in my experience with people trusting "Positive thought", is unfounded optimism and the broken promises that result of that. Alas.


This is so true it isn't funny. I have worked with so many people that are so stuck on "Positive Thought" that they can not acknowledge the truth about a situation that they are dealing with, and this leads to twisted and unfounded optimism.

About a year ago I got involved with a guy Tim Edwards that was supposedly going to teach our team to be successful in Network Marketing. He was one of those "Positive Thought" gurus and would not entertain any criticism nor observations that pointed to the problems with his system.

First problem was that he was advertising in the employment section on Craig's List. Second problem was he was advertising "Work at Home" jobs for FREE. Third problem was that as with any network marketing company there is a sign up fee along with a monthly bill for product.

He was not marketing to his target audience (Woman ages 35 to 55). Secondly he was not marketing to successful people with money that could afford to buy into the system and the company and had money to invest and time to work at it until successful.

I was all but banned from his team when I explained that marketing to unemployed people with no income and no money to invest was not a good group of people to advertise to! I also pointed out that misleading people into thinking they could get a job working from home and that it was free to sign up to do so was causing anger among people that answered the ad - because they thought it was FREE, not close to $400 dollars US to get started.

After I was all but banned and many people started to notice that the marketing system wasn't working and they were not getting any results for an enormous number of hours put in. That was when Tim started to come up with the most convoluted positive thinking attitude - If you were good you could overcome any objection and sign people up. Even if the person you are talking to has no money - they must know someone that does and you can get referrals!

So yes I have directly experienced the unfounded optimism of positive thinking people - I used to joke about how if you are Positive ENOUGH - you can avoid reality!!!
spinout
LxGoodies wrote:
deanhills wrote:
spinout wrote:
Faith is bigger than proof!

Proof is just seeing that structures do exist, but faith makes structures exist.
I've got to agree with you. Particularly with that saying that faith can move mountains. Nothing as powerful as a community wishing for something to happen together. Could be praying, or meditating or whatever.

...except when it has to do with your kitchen sink. Prayer won't help, you will need a plumber.

(same counts for particle accelerators)


Faith made the sink, and you can proof the sink is clogged...
LxGoodies
@spinout you seem to mix up creativity with faith... maybe it's just in the words, but

spinout wrote:
Proof is just seeing that structures do exist, but faith makes structures exist.

Structures are discovered and proof verifies their actual existence.

spinout wrote:
Faith made the sink

The sink was invented and my sink was manufactured.

Quote:
.. and you can proof the sink is clogged...

Indeed. Skip your prayers, call a plumber Smile
spinout
Structures are made by faith, but can be discovered or rediscovered.

Faith made the structure that later was rearranged and invented.

I do all plumbing myself and never (or seldom ) pray. (I am a Swede, and we are not into religion at all. But we do have the state church)
LxGoodies
spinout wrote:
But we do have the state church)

Does Sweden separate state and religion ? Does a "state church" imply that all Swedes should be a member ? how are schools involved in this..

In my country the Netherlands it was decided (at the start) in 1581 that religion should be free to choose.

The actual separation of church and state takes us nearly five centuries now..

Fifty years ago a famous Dutch writer Gerard Reve was accused of insulting God. He had written a book with the following passage, I try to translate it for you,

"And God Himself would come along in the form of a one-year, mouse gray Donkey and stand on my doorstep and ring the bell and say," Gerard, that book of yours - you know I cried ? "My Lord! and my God! thy name unto all eternity! I love you so much", I would try to say, but halfway through I would have burst out crying and start to kiss him, and after a great climbing party I would take Him three times in succession in His Secret Opening (…)"

Reve stood trial for blasphemy in 1966. In his famous defense, he assured the judge that although his adherance to the church had vanished, he still believed in God, helt God in high esteem.. and just wanted to express that esteem in his own words, with literary freedom. Reve won his case.

Dutch blasphemy laws have not been applied ever since. Who could do it better than Reve.. but blasphemy law still exists here. Politicians are reluctant to abolish these laws formally, because they do not want to loose the "christian vote".
LxGoodies
Ok structures in society,

spinout wrote:
Structures are made by faith, but can be discovered or rediscovered.

..or survive, in a different shape. Some become obsolete and slowly vanish. Who needs homophobia..

Quote:
Faith made the structure that later was rearranged and invented.

Definitely ! The very fabric of western society is all christian values. A lot of culture is christian structures filled in with modern idiom (e.g. pop music even punk is 12 tones chromatic), most connotations surrounding words like "love", "guilt" and "social" are christian in origin. Making excuses in public is christian. Holidays (=holy days) are christian. National anthems are nearly all explicitly christian. Socialism adopted the christian principle of sharing goods as its root ideology.

Even if our society would turn completely secular and atheist, it would not cause people to skip christmas. Only difference is, the story behind it will be fading. But in London, theaters would show Christmas Carol for the season.. people love Ebenezer Scrooge, a ruthless merchant, repenting and converted to charity. In essence, a christian story.

"Scrooge weeps over his own grave, begging the spirit for a chance to change his ways, before awakening to find it is Christmas morning. He immediately repents and becomes a model of generosity and kindness"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebenezer_Scrooge

.. imho charity is a ritual, that could survive the church. It's like like washing your hands off guilt.
loveandormoney
Quote:

Structures are made by faith


Sorry that is wrong:
People without faith build up structures.
spinout
Sweden do today separate the state n the church, different taxes . But was not so for 10 years ago or so, then it was the same tax.
But as a socialist country you automatically become a member of the state Church when you are born.
You are free to step out of the state church, and pay less tax while alive, but you can't then be married in church. The "after death" body storage however is controlled by the state church, but is more expensive for the ones outside the church (tax is taken after your death anyway or from living relatives Smile ). Very practical!

We don't go to church. We do like the old buildings and the style, we like to get married in churches for the beauty. We don't feel the need to get married really.
We have some church sunday schools but that is very rare to find. Schools in general are state schools, but we have some schools runned by businesses.
loveandormoney
Do You talk about church or Jesus or God or Faith.
Faith has nothing to do with the churches.
spinout
Easy to answer - No.

Of course we have some people that are religious but I am talking about the Swede in general.

The only time it comes into talking is by 4 occations: Death, marriage, baptism (? that water trad, people enjoy going to that for giving presents to someones infant) and confirmation (? Young people goes in that session because they want a present like a moped).

Hehe maybe it comes into talk in peoples homes when the state tv channel sends a Church ceremony, "oh no that sh*t on the tv again"... switch channel please Smile
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