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how do religious people prove religion


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#91    Doug1o29

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 08:57 PM

View PostJ. K., on 10 May 2013 - 07:06 PM, said:

I don’t follow your wording there.  What is the difference between a strong and a weak coincidence?
Coincidence is actually the wrong word.  Sorry about that.

The terms are usually either correlation or concordance.  The difference between "strong" and "weak" is defined by each group for their own field and usually is determined by what the first investigator did.  In most fields the boundary between "strong" and "weak" is 5% - that is, if there is less than a 5% chance of rejecting a true statement, then that is "strong" evidence.  If the risk of rejecting a true statement is greater than 5%, then it is "weak."  That line is easily determined if the data is numerical or categorical, but more difficult, or even impossible, if it is neither.

Statement:  There is a god!
Somehow we must devise a test that can distinguish between "god" and "no god."  But suppose our test is less than perfect.  There is an element in the process that sometimes generates a wrong answer.  By some mathematical or statistical process we can determine what the proportion of wrong answers would be in the absence of god.  Then the question comes down to:  how many times must our test show that there is a god before we have overcome the element that is generating the wrong answers?  The more times the "god" result occurs, the stronger the evidence.  In a test like this, it is all about beating the odds (with God's help, if you like).

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Ultimately, the state of one’s soul is between that one and God.  We can’t go to someone and say, “You’re not saved.”
In ancient writings, both Christian and pagan, "god" is distinguished from all else by immortality.  Gods alone are immortal.  The "Fundamental Theorem of Christianity" is that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.  This proves he is God.  Thus, if you believe he did this and you can do something to gain his favor, you can become immortal, too.  That is what "saved" meant in ancient times.

The rub is that there are a lot of different opinions about what one can do to gain Jesus' favor.  Some people kill in the name of Jesus (The Crusaders, the Inquisition, anti-abortion activists) and some help others (Soup lines, homeless shelters, free medical clinics).  So I guess the real question is What Would Jesus Do?  Or for some people, Who Would Jesus Bomb?  Both sides try to make the case for whatever they're doing.  Personally, I'll help serve the soup.  But that's just personal prejudice.

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It is unfortunate that his type seems to get more press time than those who go through their lives quietly helping everyone they come in contact with.  (Could that be a press conspiracy?
Not a conspiracy.  Just the need to misrepresent and sensationalize for the sake of selling advertisements.  Something about the love of money....

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I’ve not heard of that one, sounds interesting.  The one statement of yours that I would amend is “Experiments will work because they follow natural law.”  Prayer is not a law such as the law of gravity.  I is not strictly a physical activity.  It does involve our voice, or at least our thoughts; but it also involves the spirit of the person who is praying.  The activity is also occurring in the supernatural world.  As I said earlier, the act of prayer does not manipulate God, it merely communicates to Him.
Prayer is not a natural law.  But if the supernatural can have an effect in the natural universe, then there must be a connection between the two.  As far as I can tell, that connection is the person doing the praying.  If the person doing the praying takes action, something tangible happens.  But if they just sit in church on Sundays and do nothing the rest of the week, the world will not change.
Doug

If I have seen farther than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. --Bernard de Chartres
The beginning of knowledge is the realization that one doesn't and cannot know everything.
Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott

#92    J. K.

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:52 PM

View PostDoug1o29, on 10 May 2013 - 08:57 PM, said:

Somehow we must devise a test that can distinguish between "god" and "no god."

Quite a challenge, given that there are a million definitions of what God is.  :cry:

View PostDoug1o29, on 10 May 2013 - 08:57 PM, said:

The rub is that there are a lot of different opinions about what one can do to gain Jesus' favor.  Some people kill in the name of Jesus (The Crusaders, the Inquisition, anti-abortion activists) and some help others (Soup lines, homeless shelters, free medical clinics).  So I guess the real question is What Would Jesus Do?  Or for some people, Who Would Jesus Bomb?  Both sides try to make the case for whatever they're doing.  Personally, I'll help serve the soup.  But that's just personal prejudice.

I'll vote for the soup as well.  Meeting needs is foundational for ministry.  The brand of Christianity that I follow doesn't seek to gain Jesus' favor; there's a different route to being saved, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

View PostDoug1o29, on 10 May 2013 - 08:57 PM, said:

Prayer is not a natural law.  But if the supernatural can have an effect in the natural universe, then there must be a connection between the two.  As far as I can tell, that connection is the person doing the praying.  If the person doing the praying takes action, something tangible happens.  But if they just sit in church on Sundays and do nothing the rest of the week, the world will not change.

The natural and supernatural worlds are indeed connected.  My best understanding is the spiritual world is simply another dimension co-existing with the natural world that we live in.  Both can affect each other.  I was just trying to point out that prayer is more than just asking-and-getting.  And yes, action should certainly be a part of a disciple's life.

One's reality is another's nightmare.

#93    Paranoid Android

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:45 AM

View PostDoug1o29, on 09 May 2013 - 08:55 PM, said:

I would call that typical Christian arrogance and conceit - the arbitrary redefining of the other guy's religion as heretical.  There is nothing new about this.  In the second and early third centuries Christians killed each other over matters of doctrine.  It was to end the bloodshed that Constantine called the Council of Nicea.  While I am no admirer of Westboro Baptist Church, they call themselves Christian.  From the viewpoint of an outsider looking in, they look as Christian as the next guy.

So just what is it that distinguishes you from Westboro Baptists?
Hi Doug, I know you and J.K have discussed this, but I thought I'd add in my thoughts.  In some ways I see your point, simply saying "well they aren't REAL Christians" can sometimes be used as a copout to excuse behaviour that we would deem contrary to Christ.  However, there comes a point where it really is applicable.  Let's say I claim to be a Buddhist.  I follow the teachings of Buddha, and because of this I am quite happy to indulge in those things I find greatest attachment towards.  After all, engaging in my attachments is the best way to alleviate my suffering, is it not?  But that is not Buddhist teaching, and if I came out and began to tell everyone that Buddhism is what I am saying it is, then a Buddhist would be well within their Right to come out and say "no, this is not the Buddha's teaching - the Buddha taught that we must strive to remove our attachment, not indulge in it".

What if I claimed to be an atheist, but believed in gods.  Would not another atheist have the Right to tell me that I'm not an atheist?

Why is it, then, that only Christianity these days gets put in that category where all one needs do is claim to be Christian, and no one has a Right to say otherwise, regardless of what they actually preach or believe?


View PostDoug1o29, on 09 May 2013 - 08:55 PM, said:

Something like:  taking a group of hospital patients and setting up prayer groups for half of them.  Then watching to see which ones get better fastest.  We could probably find ways to test whether there is anything to "the spiritual."  That's what I mean by evidence:  two independent observers could tell who had the shortest hospital stay, even if one was Christian and one atheist, the observation would be the same.  We could probably devise other tests to get a handle on god.  That this has not been done only suggests to me that Christians suspect their faith can't withstand the light, so avoid testing it.  What would you say after repeated testing showed nothing?  Personally, I'm ready to change any time somebody can produce some good evidence.
Doug
I think a test like this may have been done (I recall reading about it).  The results were as expected, with no group coming up better or worse.  However, there is one variable in this that makes such a test invalid.  Let's say I'm at home, about to go to sleep and I decide to pray to God, and ask that people all over the world who are sick and suffering, if God could comfort them and maybe even make them well.  I know many Christians who pray for this.  Thus all people sick in hospital are being prayed for.  Having prayer groups in hospital for half of the patients but not the other half does not mean that they aren't being prayed for.

That's not to say that it is therefore unnecessary for Christians to form prayer groups for certain things, God wants us to pray.  But as a means of testing God's ability to heal based on prayer, that's just not going to be possible, since everyone is being prayed for by someone, somewhere in this world.

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#94    danielost

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:07 PM

To be a christian you only have to believe the story of christ.  This technically makes muslims christian.  Even tho they believe he failed in his mission.  The other reason is we are not supposed to judge people.  So if someone says he is a christian we take him at his word.  If he is or isn't is between him and jesus.   Which if you recall, I have said the catholic church is not a christian church.  But, the members might be.

As for fighting wars in his name.  He said don't.

I am a mormon.  If I don't use mormons believe, those my beliefs only.
I do not go to church haven't for thirty years.
There are other mormons on this site. So if I have misspoken about the beliefs. I welcome their input.
I am not perfect and never will be. I do strive to be true to myself. I do my best to stay true to the mormon faith. Thank for careing and if you don't peace be with you.

#95    Frank Merton

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:27 PM

I think too much is made of the problem of defining "God."  First, the supermen and superwomen of paganism, such as Zeus, are not "God," but just powerful, limited beings.  Second, the "spirits" of animism and Hinduism and Buddhism are of the same general sort.  Then there is the "God" of Spinoza or Emerson or Lao Tze, but is this "God?" or just a rather dull almost inanimate inexplicable force?  (Which is where I tend to find myself, so I identify as an atheist).

What is left can I think be demonstrated to be a real "God" is the end product of the theological development of Christianity and Judaism (the Allah of Islam is still back in the days of the Hebrews of the OT).  This is the infinite, transcendent, omniscient and omnipotent entity who nevertheless exists in history and has personhood.  There are no end of logical problems with the existence of such a being, although I suppose one can merely say that with such a being logic is not relevant.


#96    Frank Merton

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:30 PM

I don't think a Buddhist would tell you that you must not engage in your attachments.  He or she would, at the most, point out that this may lead to more suffering that you think you avoid by engaging in them.


#97    Doug1o29

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:40 PM

View PostJ. K., on 10 May 2013 - 10:52 PM, said:

Quite a challenge, given that there are a million definitions of what God is.  :cry:
And that is, perhaps, the biggest problem of all.  Even if we prove or disprove god, all we have done is prove or disprove our own definition.  But what if god doesn't fit our definition?  We must first create a list of characteristics that we believe god has, then see if some entity somewhere actually has any of them.

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The natural and supernatural worlds are indeed connected.  My best understanding is the spiritual world is simply another dimension co-existing with the natural world that we live in.  Both can affect each other.  I was just trying to point out that prayer is more than just asking-and-getting.  And yes, action should certainly be a part of a disciple's life.
Quakers speak of "God within,"  a direct internal way of knowing the divine.  Because Quakers deliberately do not have a dogma, that's about as far they go.  But it definitely allows for the link between spiritual and physical to be the human mind.  If there is a link anywhere else, nobody has produced any evidence and that specifically includes evidence of another, non-physical "dimension."
Doug

If I have seen farther than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. --Bernard de Chartres
The beginning of knowledge is the realization that one doesn't and cannot know everything.
Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott

#98    Doug1o29

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:52 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 11 May 2013 - 03:27 PM, said:

I think too much is made of the problem of defining "God."  First, the supermen and superwomen of paganism, such as Zeus, are not "God," but just powerful, limited beings.  Second, the "spirits" of animism and Hinduism and Buddhism are of the same general sort.  Then there is the "God" of Spinoza or Emerson or Lao Tze, but is this "God?" or just a rather dull almost inanimate inexplicable force?  (Which is where I tend to find myself, so I identify as an atheist).

What is left can I think be demonstrated to be a real "God" is the end product of the theological development of Christianity and Judaism (the Allah of Islam is still back in the days of the Hebrews of the OT).  This is the infinite, transcendent, omniscient and omnipotent entity who nevertheless exists in history and has personhood.  There are no end of logical problems with the existence of such a being, although I suppose one can merely say that with such a being logic is not relevant.
The problem with this end product of thought is that it makes god a human invention.

The classical definition of god was "the immortal," that which never dies.  But there are certain living things such as the hydra and some jellyfish that do not die of old age.  An aspen clone does not die of old age, but is rejuvenated with each new shoot.

Suppose we can figure out a way to keep our cells from aging?  Does that mean we become immortal, and therefore, god?  And that may not be such a good idea because there are a great many physical infirmities that accumulate over time, even if the body doesn't age.  Would one want to live forever if it meant losing your mind?

"I don't think I'd like to spend 500 years as an Assistant Professor."  -- Kenneth Boulding, Nobel prize-winning economist.

Anyway, I study trees and they are about as close to immortal as anything can get without actually being immortal.
Doug

If I have seen farther than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. --Bernard de Chartres
The beginning of knowledge is the realization that one doesn't and cannot know everything.
Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott

#99    Frank Merton

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 04:02 PM

Yes, God does seem a human invention; I doubt though that He is a tree.


#100    J. K.

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 05:20 PM

View PostDoug1o29, on 11 May 2013 - 03:40 PM, said:

Quakers speak of "God within,"  a direct internal way of knowing the divine.  Because Quakers deliberately do not have a dogma, that's about as far they go.  But it definitely allows for the link between spiritual and physical to be the human mind.  If there is a link anywhere else, nobody has produced any evidence and that specifically includes evidence of another, non-physical "dimension."

Again, the evidence for the connection is difficult to prove physically because it is a spiritual link.  From Christian perspective:  God created man with three parts, a physical body, a mental component (our mind, will, and emotions), and a spiritual component.  The spiritual component is what allows us communication with God, as well as sensing the spiritual world around us.  Other than personal testimony, I can't think of what might serve as corroborative evidence.

One's reality is another's nightmare.

#101    Doug1o29

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 06:43 PM

View PostJ. K., on 11 May 2013 - 05:20 PM, said:

Again, the evidence for the connection is difficult to prove physically because it is a spiritual link.  From Christian perspective:  God created man with three parts, a physical body, a mental component (our mind, will, and emotions), and a spiritual component.  The spiritual component is what allows us communication with God, as well as sensing the spiritual world around us.  Other than personal testimony, I can't think of what might serve as corroborative evidence.
Which all amounts to a confession that at least one Christian can't prove god.  So the answer to the question:  How to Christians prove God? is:  they don't.
Doug

If I have seen farther than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. --Bernard de Chartres
The beginning of knowledge is the realization that one doesn't and cannot know everything.
Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott

#102    SpiritWriter

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 06:56 PM

Religion is practiced and people see, learn and apply its usefulness. People have Their Own religious practices they dont need to Proove to anyone. God is fully capable of prooving himself to those who believe, and through religion people eyes and spirit may be opened up to God and the functionality of living a faith based life.. religion is the application and concretness, the physical getting up and putting your feet on the ground, the spiritual is the inner working that is the Proof for the Individual. We All are made of the same substances though they may be in different consentrated forms. There is a spirit alive in each of us, which ready to be born and be transformed when that happens for a person and they succumb ti the discipline of applying physical works to thier faith.. they have found religion. They are convinced for themselves... an acception would be if a person has not broken from the sheeplike mentality it is possible they are just trying to fit into the group...

Edited by SpiritWriter, 11 May 2013 - 06:59 PM.

The letter kills but The Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

Non-ambiguity and non-contradiction are one sided and thus unsuited to express the incomprehensible. -Jung

#103    SpiritWriter

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 07:03 PM

Whoever thinks christians need to prove god need to get over themselves. If you want God to prove himself, ask him to.. it is not a Christians responsibility to Prove God to anyone but to keep on walking in faith. If you dont like that .. hey in my opinion YOU have a problem.

Edited by SpiritWriter, 11 May 2013 - 07:07 PM.

The letter kills but The Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

Non-ambiguity and non-contradiction are one sided and thus unsuited to express the incomprehensible. -Jung

#104    SpiritWriter

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 07:46 PM

View PostSpiritWriter, on 11 May 2013 - 07:03 PM, said:

Whoever thinks christians need to prove god need to get over themselves. If you want God to prove himself, ask him to.. it is not a Christians responsibility to Prove God to anyone but to keep on walking in faith. If you dont like that .. hey in my opinion YOU have a problem.

Ok sorry for saying that.. I can see why people desire evidence. I hope you can also see how the question of proof is up to an individual. Ask your self what you truly believe and go from there.. if you do believe in god, develop a prayer life and see what happens..

The letter kills but The Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

Non-ambiguity and non-contradiction are one sided and thus unsuited to express the incomprehensible. -Jung

#105    danielost

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:08 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 11 May 2013 - 04:02 PM, said:

Yes, God does seem a human invention; I doubt though that He is a tree.

No god is not a tree.  But, the trees and all life forms in the universe are his children.  They all hbave a soul.  Even the life forms we don't know are alive.

I am a mormon.  If I don't use mormons believe, those my beliefs only.
I do not go to church haven't for thirty years.
There are other mormons on this site. So if I have misspoken about the beliefs. I welcome their input.
I am not perfect and never will be. I do strive to be true to myself. I do my best to stay true to the mormon faith. Thank for careing and if you don't peace be with you.




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