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Posted · Report post

Can't help myself...

Finally, a reasonable statement with which I can agree. Please note how different this is from, "I REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY PROOF FOR EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS THEREFORE I AM WITHOUT BELIEF IN LEPRECHAUNS!"

Same thing. I do require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims in order for me to believe and that is why I don't believe in leprechauns. You can tell me that's not true all day and you'll still be wrong.

No, it does not. Moses did not live in the Christian era.

You said "The Bible does not command Christians to kill for those reasons, or for anyone outside the particular community to whom it was given." Do the quotes I provided not come from the Bible? Yes, of course they do. The Bible commands exactly what I claimed it did.

Try this:

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that God himself appeared before you and made known to you, beyond any possible doubt in your mind, that he did exist.

Would you then know that God exists?

Yes, of course.

Would you still require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims?

Yes, I assume you would.

Since you still require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims -- which you claim as your reason for being atheist -- would you therefore still be atheist?

No.

Therefore, the fact that you require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims cannot be the reason you are atheist. In logical terms, it is a non sequitur.

That made absolutely zero sense. If a god proved to me his existence "beyond any possible doubt in my mind", then I would be believing based on evidence.

I also don't believe in Bigfoot due to lack of evidence. If someone brought forth evidence "beyond any possible doubt in my mind", I also would still be holding true to my claim that I require compelling evidence to be brought forth before believing in the claim.

For a second example, suppose for a moment that you no longer required extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims in every case. Perhaps in some cases, ordinary, less compelling evidence would suffice. Would you then suddenly become a theist?

Probably not.

But why not? Your reason for being atheist would be gone.

If I believed everything I was told, my reason for being an atheist would also be gone. What does supposing things about me that aren't true have to do with anything?

I never said I required extraordinary evidence for every claim. I said I required extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. If a friend of mine tells me his mom just died, I'd believe him without extraordinary evidence because someone dying is not an extraordinary claim and my friends usually don't lie to me about those sort of things. Doesn't matter that he may be lying. The same friend tells me he just flew over Mars, I won't believe him for the reasons I stated.

In fact, it would not be gone. You are atheist because you have not perceived sufficient evidence of God, not because you require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims.

But as I have demonstrated, your insistence on proof is not causal to your atheism. Rather, it is your perception of the lack of evidence that is causul to your atheism.

What you're arguing about is unimportant. Of course my beliefs or non-beliefs are based upon how I perceive things with my senses. The same for all of us. So what? But saying that I don't require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims is incorrect. I do. Of course I would have to have some way of perceiving things around me, now wouldn't I?

You're missing how the same thing is relevant for your claim that "Yet Writersblock has testified that such evidence does exist, and in fact that he is in possession of that evidence". He also only believes he possesses this evidence based on his perceptions. But so what? This is going nowhere.

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Posted · Report post

Can't help myself...

I forgive you. (It's the Christian thing to do.)

Same thing. I do require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims in order for me to believe and that is why I don't believe in leprechauns. You can tell me that's not true all day and you'll still be wrong.

You're still not understanding. I will try again to explain below.

You said "The Bible does not command Christians to kill for those reasons, or for anyone outside the particular community to whom it was given." Do the quotes I provided not come from the Bible? Yes, of course they do. The Bible commands exactly what I claimed it did.

But not to Christians, which was your claim.

That made absolutely zero sense. If a god proved to me his existence "beyond any possible doubt in my mind", then I would be believing based on evidence.

But according to your assertion, you would still remain an atheist, even if you knew God existed. Why? Well, because you still require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims -- and you say that that is the reason you are an atheist.

But of course, as I've pointed out numerous times, this is false. You are an atheist because you do not recognize evidence of God's existence. You are not an atheist merely because you require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims. That was the clear point of my example.

I also don't believe in Bigfoot due to lack of evidence.

Almost. You disbelieve in Bigfoot because you have not seen sufficient evidence. That evidence might exist -- if Bigfoot is real, then it certainly does -- but you haven't seen it, and therefore you disbelieve.

If someone brought forth evidence "beyond any possible doubt in my mind", I also would still be holding true to my claim that I require compelling evidence to be brought forth before believing in the claim.

I really don't understand why this is so difficult. Let me try one more example:

"I require extraordinary evidence to establish extraordinary claims. Therefore, I disbelieve that any Apollo missions landed on the moon."

If someone said this and really meant it, and you had hard evidence of the truthfulness of the Apollo landings, you could show him photographs, movie clips, signed statements, and a telescopic view of the astronauts' footprints, and guess what? He still would not believe you. Why not? Because according to his statement, his disbelief in the moon landing is not based on evidence at all. It is based on the fact that he requires extraordinary evidence to establish extraordinary claims.

Now I think you'll agree that this is patently ridiculous. But it is exactly what you have been stoutly maintaining for quite a while now.

What you're arguing about is unimportant. Of course my beliefs or non-beliefs are based upon how I perceive things with my senses.

No, it is important. This discussion began when Martini claimed that his atheism was due to his believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. This is a clear statement, and it has a clear implication: namely, that those who are not atheists do not believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. (Because if they did believe that, they would be atheists -- since that's what Martini gave as his reason for being atheist.)

I objected to this, and pointed out (more bluntly and less kindly than I should have) that he was mistaken -- that he was not atheist because he required extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims, but rather that he was atheist because he didn't believe in God, which at its root was because he didn't perceive any evidence for God's existence. That is, atheists aren't the only ones who require extraordinary proof to establish extraordinary claims, which was the inference of what he (and you) said.

Now, perhaps that is not what you meant. And that's fine; I misstate myself quite often, so I don't hold it against people when they do the same. But that is the logical inference of what was said, and if you did not mean that, you could easily have said, "Yes, you're right, I didn't mean that," rather than argue the point.

But saying that I don't require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims is incorrect. I do.

Nor will you find me claiming otherwise anywhere in this thread.

You're missing how the same thing is relevant for your claim that "Yet Writersblock has testified that such evidence does exist, and in fact that he is in possession of that evidence". He also only believes he possesses this evidence based on his perceptions. But so what? This is going nowhere.

That's because you think that the hangup is about perception. It isn't. It's about cause and effect.

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Posted · Report post

I forgive you. (It's the Christian thing to do.)

So is teaching children that marrying a divorced woman is adultery (Matthew 5:32), If someone hits them, invite them to do it again (Matthew 5:39), if anyone asks you them anything, they should give it to them without question. (Matthew 5:42) and that if they lose a lawsuit, they should give more than the judgment. (Matthew 5:40)

But not to Christians, which was your claim.

So the 10 commandments aren't for Christians to follow?

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17)

But according to your assertion, you would still remain an atheist, even if you knew God existed.

I never asserted such a thing. If I knew God existed it would only be because of extraordinary evidence.

Why? Well, because you still require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims -- and you say that that is the reason you are an atheist.

A god that can demonstrate through say, miracles, that he exists would be a demonstration of extraordinary evidence.

But of course, as I've pointed out numerous times, this is false. You are an atheist because you do not recognize evidence of God's existence. You are not an atheist merely because you require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims. That was the clear point of my example.

Same thing as my leprechaun example which you claimed was false. I absolutely am an atheist because I require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims.

Almost. You disbelieve in Bigfoot because you have not seen sufficient evidence. That evidence might exist -- if Bigfoot is real, then it certainly does -- but you haven't seen it, and therefore you disbelieve.

You're taking what I said out of context:

"I also don't believe in Bigfoot due to lack of evidence. If someone brought forth evidence..."

Notice I said "brought forth evidence". You realize that means brought forth to me, right? You're arguing just to argue and aren't disproving my reason for being an atheist in the least. Why you are even bothering to do so is beyond me.

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Posted · Report post

I really don't understand why this is so difficult. Let me try one more example:

"I require extraordinary evidence to establish extraordinary claims. Therefore, I disbelieve that any Apollo missions landed on the moon."

If someone said this and really meant it, and you had hard evidence of the truthfulness of the Apollo landings, you could show him photographs, movie clips, signed statements, and a telescopic view of the astronauts' footprints, and guess what? He still would not believe you. Why not? Because according to his statement, his disbelief in the moon landing is not based on evidence at all. It is based on the fact that he requires extraordinary evidence to establish extraordinary claims.

Now I think you'll agree that this is patently ridiculous. But it is exactly what you have been stoutly maintaining for quite a while now.

This person would not be like me in the least. We have tremendous amounts of evidence that we landed on the Moon. So much so that claiming that we did is not an extraordinary claim but claiming that we didn't is! But keep comparing apples to oranges if you're having fun.

A better example:

Someone does not have a belief that extra-terrestrial life has visited Earth because he requires extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. He sees 50 gigantic spacecraft fly over his head like nothing he's ever seen before. Minutes later the President comes on the t.v. with the leader of another planet, etc. That someone now believes due to extraordinary evidence. Now who's the one having a hard time understanding?

No, it is important. This discussion began when Martini claimed that his atheism was due to his believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. This is a clear statement, and it has a clear implication: namely, that those who are not atheists do not believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

That wasn't implicating any theists of anything. He gave HIS reasons for his lack of belief. If theists believe they have extraordinary proof and that's why they believe- goody for them. That does not change the reason why I or Martini lack belief in gods. I have yet to have a theist share this extraordinary proof with me.

Which you haven't done either. Why don't you share with us what extraordinary proof you have for a god's existence?

I objected to this, and pointed out (more bluntly and less kindly than I should have) that he was mistaken -- that he was not atheist because he required extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims, but rather that he was atheist because he didn't believe in God

Absolutely ridiculous. His reason for being an atheist is because he requires extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. Of course he's called an atheist because he's without belief in gods. You're burying the same tired argument into the ground.

And please stop replacing the word "evidence" with "proof".

which at its root was because he didn't perceive any evidence for God's existence.

For cryin' out loud, I went through this with you already. Of course evidence is based on perception! We can't evaluate ANYTHING without perceiving it.

What is your point in all of this? Is there something important you'd like to prove or do you want to win a silly semantics argument?

That's because you think that the hangup is about perception. It isn't. It's about cause and effect.

What? Sorry, but you're perception argument for evidence works both ways. Writersblock also only believes in God because of his perception of evidence.

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Posted · Report post

So the 10 commandments aren't for Christians to follow?

Yes. Are you claiming that the scriptures you quoted are part of the Decalogue?

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17)

Exactly. Once fulfilled, it was replaced by a new law.

I never asserted such a thing. If I knew God existed it would only be because of extraordinary evidence.

Then why didn't you say that?

Same thing as my leprechaun example which you claimed was false. I absolutely am an atheist because I require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims.

So which is it? Are you atheist BECAUSE you have not received extraordinary evidence, or are you atheist BECAUSE you require such evidence?

"I also don't believe in Bigfoot due to lack of evidence. If someone brought forth evidence..."

Notice I said "brought forth evidence". You realize that means brought forth to me, right?

Yes. I also realize that you are painfully unable to grasp what I'm saying, no matter how carefully I explain it.

You're arguing just to argue

Your mindreading abilities are subpar.

and aren't disproving my reason for being an atheist in the least.

On the contrary, I have shown your reason to be insufficient. You just haven't understood it yet.

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Posted · Report post

A better example:

Someone does not have a belief that extra-terrestrial life has visited Earth because he requires extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims.

Okay. So, the REASON he doesn't believe in extra-terrestrial life visiting earth is because he requires extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. Please note: The reason is NOT because he has never seen any extraterrestrial life or otherwise experienced its reality; rather, the reason is BECAUSE he requires extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. (Similarly, we may suppose that the REASON his brother disbelieves in extraterrestrials visiting earth is because oranges are round. That's equally non sequitur. But I digress.)

He sees 50 gigantic spacecraft fly over his head like nothing he's ever seen before. Minutes later the President comes on the t.v. with the leader of another planet, etc. That someone now believes due to extraordinary evidence.

No, he does not. According to what you stated, the REASON he disbelieves in extraterrestrials visiting earth is because he requires extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. As long as that requirement is in place, then he continues to disbelieve in extraterrestrials. Doesn't matter whether he actually receives extraordinary evidence of ET, God, or the Tooth Fairy. The condition for his disbelief is not in evidence he lacks, it is in his requirement.

According to your example, anyway.

Now, if he actually does start believing in ET on earth after seeing them, then your initial condition was false: He did not disbelieve in ET merely because he requires extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. Rather, he disbelieved in ET because he had never seen convincing evidence. If you want to know what he meant by "convincing evidence", then go reference the requirement But it was the lack of evidence, not the requirement for evidence, that led to his disbelief. Or perhaps more completely, it was the lack of evidence combined with the requirement for evidence that led to his disbelief. But it was not the requirement alone.

Now who's the one having a hard time understanding?

Sadly, it appears that you still may be.

That wasn't implicating any theists of anything.

Of course it was. The clear implication was that theists do not require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims.

He gave HIS reasons for his lack of belief.

No. He gave a fundamental belief requirement, then said that that requirement itself prohibited his belief in God. This is false.

Look, this really isn't very hard to understand. Let me try one more time to explain this in terms that I hope you can grasp.

Suppose you entered a conversation about the existence of God, started by theists and inviting atheists to talk about why they think God doesn't exist. Suppose you then heard a theist say the following:

"I am a reasonable, intelligent, thinking human being. That is why I believe in God."

What would you think? Would you think, "Oh, okay, the fact that he is a reasonable, intelligent, thinking human being therefore leads to the conclusion that he believes in God"? Probably not. Rather, you would more likely think something like, "He is wrong. He may indeed be a reasonable, intelligent, thinking human being, but that is not WHY he believes in God. Rather, he believes in God based on his personal experiences, prejudices, and mental models."

Let's say that, in fact, you're a bit miffed that he made this statement. After all, claiming that "I believe in God because I am a reasonable, intelligent, thinking human being" implies that all such human beings believe in God, and that therefore no human being who disbelieves in God can be reasonable, intelligent, and thinking. So you say, perhaps unwisely, "You are wrong! THAT is not why you believe in God! That's merely a condition you claim for yourself! I can prove you are wrong, because I, too, am a reasonable, intelligent, thinking human being, and I disbelieve in the existence of God."

Then another theist responds, "How DARE you tell that man why he believes what he believes! He believes in God, as he said, BECAUSE he is a reasonable, intelligent, thinking human being! For that matter, that's why I believe in God, too!"

Understand so far?

Okay, now, stay with me here. Martini and you did not claim that you were atheist because you were reasonable, intelligent, thinking human beings. Rather, you claimed that you were atheist because you require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. But, as I said, this is false. If it were true, then I and everyone else who requires extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims would also be atheist. But we are not atheist. Furthermore, as I have demonstrated -- and as you have admitted -- if you received sufficient evidence, you would indeed believe in God, even though you still require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims.

Therefore, you obviously cannot be atheist merely because you require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. It cannot be the condition itself which leads to your disbelief; rather, it must be the condition coupled with a lack of recognition of evidence on your part.

Understand now?

I have yet to have a theist share this extraordinary proof with me.

Which you haven't done either. Why don't you share with us what extraordinary proof you have for a god's existence?

Because such things are sacred to me. I don't care to expose sacred things in my life to the ridicule and abuse of the ill-intentioned, whether it's my belief in God or my wife and children.

But in the past, I have shared with atheist friends many very intimate reasons for my beliefs. These friends treated my beliefs with respect. They did not accept them as their own, and they didn't line up to get baptized and become converts. But they were respectful of my beliefs. In such conditons, I and many or most other theists would be perfectly happy to share why we believe as we do.

And please stop replacing the word "evidence" with "proof".

In this context, the meanings are identical.

For cryin' out loud, I went through this with you already. Of course evidence is based on perception! We can't evaluate ANYTHING without perceiving it.

I never claimed otherwise. Your failure to recognize this is evidence that you have not yet understood my point.

What is your point in all of this? Is there something important you'd like to prove or do you want to win a silly semantics argument?

I have been crystal clear about what I have been trying to demonstrate: That requiring extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims is not itself a sufficient reason for atheism, and therefore the logical corollary of that belief -- that those who reject atheism must necessarily not require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims -- is false.

What? Sorry, but you're perception argument for evidence works both ways. Writersblock also only believes in God because of his perception of evidence.

I have no "perception argument for evidence". You have still failed to apprehend my meaning.

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Posted · Report post

I never asserted such a thing. If I knew God existed it would only be because of extraordinary evidence.

Then why didn't you say that?

You were told multiple times that it would take extraordinary evidence for Scraff to believe in God.

So which is it? Are you atheist BECAUSE you have not received extraordinary evidence, or are you atheist BECAUSE you require such evidence?

Requiring evidence and requiring that the evidence must be received and perceived mean the same thing.

I'm going to say this only once, with my moderator hat on:

Do not ask this question again! It was answered several times and what you're doing now is badgering a poster after he explained several times the reason for his atheism. Don't even bring it up.

Yes. I also realize that you are painfully unable to grasp what I'm saying, no matter how carefully I explain it.

Knock it off!

Because such things are sacred to me.

If you're going to argue that there is extraordinary evidence for God, it would be helpful if you can provide it. Claiming that there is but you choose not to share it doesn't cut it when it comes to proving a position.

Martini and you did not claim that you were atheist because you were reasonable, intelligent, thinking human beings. Rather, you claimed that you were atheist because you require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims.

The semantics game must also stop now. That "the extraordinary evidence hasn't been brought forth" follows that, was understood by everyone but you. No, you understood it too. In my same paragraph I wrote: "There may be flying pigs, but until someone brings forth sufficient evidence for them, I'll be without belief in them too."

spoxjox, Scraff made himself clear on why he is an atheist. If you didn't understand it, I have no problem with you asking for clarification. That's not what you're doing. Stop nitpicking that it's the evidence that hasn't been brought forth that is the reason for Scraff's atheism. He has established it is the lack of evidence several times now.

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Posted · Report post

wow, I haven't been on for like, 2 days, then the board looks all different and this thread has like, 40 new posts

whoah

anyways, there's a lot here I have things t say about, but I'm doing something else right now, so I'll just take care of one

I'll probably be double posting :mellow:

So let's see if I understand you correctly. You want to talk to someone who believes in God and ask them, "Why do you believe in God?". Writersblock responds and says, "I believe in God. I believe in him because he has revealed himself to me, so I know he lives." Then you say, "Now, don't go saying you KNOW anything! Just say that you 'firmly believe' it, okay?"

okay then, but what if it was turned around?

So Writersblock turns to me and asks "why don't you believe in God?" (as someone before me mentioned, is a much more common question)

I respond saying "I don't believe in God, because I have unbeatable first-hand proof that he does not exist." (note, being just as specific as writersblock about his experience)

I highly doubt someone would just let that go

would you just accept that if I have extremely vague unbeatable first-hand proof that he does not exist, and that I then must KNOW that he doesn't exist?

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Posted · Report post

I will tell you why I am an atheist. I am not sure if this is the same reasons as Ploper, or Martini, or Scraff, but this is why I am an atheist: (btw cool new board, Rookie)

while I do not have as much firsthand experience as you do, your post generally explains my atheism too

that and the frequently quoted "I require extraordinary experience for extraordinary claims"

This would work really great in a court of law. "Your Honor, I move that the witness's testimony be stricken from the record, because, well gee whiz, he can't possibly convince us that he didn't just make the whole thing up."

I see absolutely no relationship.

In a court of law, there are multiple witnesses describing the events leading up to, and including a crime.

Conflicting stories are evidence of obvious lying

while stories that keep up with each other could go either way.

but the thing here is EVIDENCE

I can say that last night I was making out with two chicks at the same time, and supply evidence such as a picture, any firsthand witnesses, even DNA if I wanted to.

there's no existing pictures, witnesses, or DNA to prove god's there.

So maybe your metaphor was just a little off.

So you ask a question that you refuse to consider an answer for, declaring the question "rhetorical". Then you use that to affirm your own (wrong) opinion about lack of proof, and declare yourself atheist.

Do you see a problem with this?

allright spoxjox,

I wanted a polite, open-minded conversation about religion with this thread

but since your hostility and closed-mindedness was added to this thread, we've had about 2 people decide not to post again here, and a couple more (including me) sick of listening to you repeat the same things over and over again, without any proof or evidence or anything.

I'm extremely dissapointed with the way this turned out,

and I really hope you can mellow down, and we can bring people back, and have a better, more (again) open-minded conversation

but that seems very unlikely right now... :(

just listen to yourself, let me put this up again

Then you use that to affirm your own (wrong) opinion about lack of proof, and declare yourself atheist.

okay Spoxjox!

you've enjoyed saying that there is proof about this

tell us your oh-so perfect proof of his existence!

Tell me something that shows that he MUST exist, and there is no way around it, and I'll convert right now

jut ONE little peace of proof...

just one...

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Posted · Report post

okay..

sorry about that :mellow:

I was being a bit hippocritical wasn't I

telling spoxjox that he was ruining this thread, then losing my cool and yelling.

I'm not going to edit my post to be more polite, because at least it got the point out

but I do not mean to offend

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Posted · Report post

wow, I haven't been on for like, 2 days, then the board looks all different and this thread has like, 40 new posts

whoah

anyways, there's a lot here I have things t say about, but I'm doing something else right now, so I'll just take care of one

I'll probably be double posting :mellow:

okay then, but what if it was turned around?

So Writersblock turns to me and asks "why don't you believe in God?" (as someone before me mentioned, is a much more common question)

I respond saying "I don't believe in God, because I have unbeatable first-hand proof that he does not exist." (note, being just as specific as writersblock about his experience)

I highly doubt someone would just let that go

would you just accept that if I have extremely vague unbeatable first-hand proof that he does not exist, and that I then must KNOW that he doesn't exist?

I quit posting to this thread because I didn't like the tone it was taking. These are very personal things for believers and non believers alike, and I think more care should be exercized in being sensitive to such.

The one problem I see with your post, though, is that you are trying to prove the non-existence of something, which in an impossibility. Unless you can claim to have experienced EVERYTHING you can't rule out the possible existence of something. On the otherhand, if you are trying to show the existence of something, you can quit "in the last place you looked" so to speak. Once you have a definition of the something and can point to it, there's no need to keep looking - only to further define what you experienced.

I was vague on purpose, not wanting to expose things I hold sacred to the scorn of the fool. These boards are very public and I think some have shown how the sacred (whether the personal beliefs of the believer or non-believer) can become fodder for ignorant diatribes. I'll be a touch more specific though. Here's my experience:

I grew up non having to attend any church. When I was about 20-ish, several things happened to people around me that drew my thoughts and attention toward the question of God. I decided to explore with an open mind, beginning with trying to understand if God exists, why he might have done "all this." I didn't exactly know where to start, so I began with the KJV because it was where most others around me got their "goods." I hit the old and new Testiments and decided it was pretty confusing. I knew enough to know that the Bible was put together by men, and translated several times. I tried the New KJV, but understood right away that a modern english interpretation of the KJV would get farther, not closer to the original intent of the original writers. I read the Koran too and some teachings of Buddha. Buddhism I filed under philosophy, because I quickly understood you could effectively be a buddihst along with any other religion and not "cross" the doctrines there. After all this reading, I realized that perhaps the most common thread of all religions was some form of prayer. The Bible was full of promises like "knock and it shall be opened" and "ask and ye shall receive." I figured it meant me too. SO, I prayed. I knelt and tried to ask if God was there. I felt stupid. I felt like it was a silly thing. I quit half way through. I decided that feeling silly had to do with me, not God if he was there, so I started again. I forced myself to approach prayer as if I was approching someone MOST IMPORTANT with a simple question. I asked if God was there. That's all. It was a simple prayer. I waited for about 45 seconds with nothing, and then had an amazing experience. I felt a sublime feeling of peace and comfort come over me. I felt like I wanted to cry. It was like hugging my Mom after not seeing her for a long, long time. At the same time, the words "John 14" popped into my mind as if somebody has whispered them to me. I took up a Bible and read that chapter. It didn't make any sense at first, but then when I got to verse 25, the feeling of "goodness" hit me again and verses 25-27 stuck with me. The essence was "I am here and this feeling is how you can know it." Since then I have explored much by way of religion. It's been a long road full of mistakes, and I'm happy to discuss other parts with anyone who cares to ask.

Maybe I imagined the whole thing. I doubt it though. I know the way my imagination works and I know this wasn't the same. I was completely sober when it happened, and I am not prone to hallucination so I doubt it was that. I gain nothing by posting this, so that motive is out. I know some of you might try to nay-say the experience - and that is your prerogative - but none of you can ever really know what it was like. I can honestly tell you that I know God is there becuase of this and later experiences. Maybe this was unique to me. I don't know. I do know it changed the way I look at the world and my personal existence.

Post all the hypotheticals you want, but nothing will ever touch this experience.

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I quit posting to this thread because I didn't like the tone it was taking.

By the atheists that posted here? No one ridiculed you or treated you with any disrespect.

These are very personal things for believers and non believers alike, and I think more care should be exercized in being sensitive to such.

What sort of care? Sure, no one should call you a stupid theist or be rude to you in any way. But no one should have to tiptoe when posting skepticism of claims because those claims are "sacred" to someone else. Anyway, you've decided to post again after realizing that claims of any god's existence will be met with skepticism and without any more sensitivity than any other incredible claim.

The one problem I see with your post, though, is that you are trying to prove the non-existence of something, which in an impossibility. Unless you can claim to have experienced EVERYTHING you can't rule out the possible existence of something.

In the post you quoted from Ploper? He never attempted to prove the non-existence of anything. Not God, gods, pink unicorns or anything else.

SO, I prayed. I knelt and tried to ask if God was there. I felt stupid. I felt like it was a silly thing. I quit half way through. I decided that feeling silly had to do with me, not God if he was there, so I started again. I forced myself to approach prayer as if I was approching someone MOST IMPORTANT with a simple question. I asked if God was there. That's all. It was a simple prayer. I waited for about 45 seconds with nothing, and then had an amazing experience. I felt a sublime feeling of peace and comfort come over me. I felt like I wanted to cry. It was like hugging my Mom after not seeing her for a long, long time.

You aren't willing to entertain the notion that that may have been to your mind's desperation to find meaning or some other reason not involving a god? Isn't that very, very possible? You don't think that you can put your brain in a state of being like not seeing your mom after not seeing her for a long, long time without any outside forces being responsible for putting that feeling over you?

http://www.maps.org/media/vedantam.html

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.11/persinger.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2865009.stm

At the same time, the words "John 14" popped into my mind as if somebody has whispered them to me. I took up a Bible and read that chapter. It didn't make any sense at first, but then when I got to verse 25, the feeling of "goodness" hit me again and verses 25-27 stuck with me. The essence was "I am here and this feeling is how you can know it."

Maybe I imagined the whole thing. I doubt it though.

People from all sort of cultures have had similar religious experiences. They always seem to coincide with the dominant religion in that person's culture. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe God wants to reach people through a religion they're aware of. Maybe their are many gods and each god reaches a certain group. But maybe your experience was solely in your brain and not affected by an outside intelligent force?

I know, "I wasn't there and I don't know what it was like". But going from your description, it doesn't seem like there's any overwhelming evidence your experience was caused by an outside force and even less that that force was "God". No foretelling of future events, no 40 days of rain, etc. Don't you have doubts that "God" was necessary for your experience?

I know the way my imagination works and I know this wasn't the same.

It doesn't have to be the same. Unusual occurrences are bound to happen to us. I'm sure you're not aware of how the brain always works in all circumstances.

I was completely sober when it happened, and I am not prone to hallucination so I doubt it was that.

You doubt the possibilities of hallucination but you don't have at least the same degree of doubt that "God" was responsible for your experience? Hallucination seems reasonable. The power of the mind seems even more reasonable. That you are living in a computer simulation ala The Matrix or are just a brain in a jar controlled by aliens is a possibility and certainly as reasonable as a "Creator" being responsible, no? Why does this experience point so much more to "God" than any of those other explanations?

I can honestly tell you that I know God is there becuase of this

No, you can't do that honestly. At least not intellectually honestly while keeping an open mind. You also said you "doubt" it was hallucination which is different than saying you know it wasn't. Any of the other natural or supernatural experiences I listed above are at least as equal to "God" being responsible.

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hey writersblock,

thanks for sharing your deeply personal info. that was a pretty neat prayer and Im glad God answered it for you.

Scraff, the way I see it, if a placebo is making you feel better, then keep taking it.

if God is nothing more than in our imagination, but makes us feel better about the after-life, then so what? :)

leave us with our ideals (no matter how far-fetched they may seem) and continue on with your life.

I figure that as long as a person isnt too militant about converting others to their ideals, then they're ok in my book.

you can talk to me intelligently about your point of view and if I dont agree, then so be it.

dont get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with discussing things here or otherwise, but I too have felt that a few posts on here have been more about attacking others rather than trying to provide their POV.

I think a lot of atheists have problems with the conservative leanings of the US towards a religious education and they feel trapped or targeted.

I, too, have problems with these leanings and wish that the government would stay our of our business (although I am Christian). i vote for the better candidate, not for a stupid political party.

I would vote for a Jew or Muslim or an atheist if it meant having a better country and they didnt try to impose their religious views on me or others.

I hate Bush and hope he and his kind go away and never return to lead any part of this country.

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Scraff, the way I see it, if a placebo is making you feel better, then keep taking it.

Okay? This discussion really has nothing to do with that. We're talking about our reasons for believing or not believing. As one would expect, this has caused theists to question atheists non-belief and atheists to question theists beliefs. There's nothing wrong with that type of discussion and no one is forced to participate.

if God is nothing more than in our imagination, but makes us feel better about the after-life, then so what? :)

Some atheists agree with that. Others think it's bad for mankind as a whole. I believe it's unfair to raise children from birth that the god of their parents is real and the children of parents of a different religion are going to Hell for believing differently. I can name a whole host of reasons I believe why belief in incredible claims of what one's god expects from them is bad ranging from those who don't think their children should receive medicine when sick to what happened on 9/11.

leave us with our ideals (no matter how far-fetched they may seem) and continue on with your life.

Is there something I've said that I shouldn't have? Why should I "leave" you with your ideas in a thread where people are choosing to discuss this?

I've been involved in threads on other message boards where people who never were taught to be skeptical of claims actually became much less sure of God's existence and some even dropped their belief altogether. If I can help to get others to be skeptical of incredible claims, which I believe is healthy for everyone, then I see no reason to leave anyone alone that is choosing to not be left alone.

dont get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with discussing things here or otherwise, but I too have felt that a few posts on here have been more about attacking others rather than trying to provide their POV.

If you're not talking about anything I've said, then I can't help you with that. If you're talking about something I've said, then please point it out to me.

I, too, have problems with these leanings and wish that the government would stay our of our business (although I am Christian). i vote for the better candidate, not for a stupid political party.

And I try to change the minds of other voters that are willing to listen, and maybe they will try to change minds, etc.

I would vote for a Jew or Muslim or an atheist if it meant having a better country and they didnt try to impose their religious views on me or others.

Unfortunately, you're still in the minority.

I hate Bush and hope he and his kind go away and never return to lead any part of this country.

You'll get no argument here. :) But don't just count on your one vote- try to change minds!

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writersblock, I'm really glad you went into more detail about the experience you had

not for the sake of argument

but because you posted something you held sacred on these boards

and I respect that profoundly

I'm actually suprised, Scraff, that you've gotten people to atheism (whoah, there's some bad grammar) on other boards

people who are that open-minded are hard to come by...

honestly, I'm fine with religion and people who choose to practice it for the most part

the only things I dislike about it are the teachings of discrimination such as homophobia, and not being so respectful of anothers choice to disbelieve in god

that of course, does not apply to ALL Christians,

but to the vast majority that I've met

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Hi I was gone for a while, I'm not gonna read over the stuff but I'd like to say this:

a while back I pointed out the many flaws in the bible, but then a theist (i cant remember who) said they still believe in the bible because it also has truth. Yes, it has truth. Of course it has seeds of truth. But there's no way to reliably separate myth from fact, other than stripping the obvious ones. Anyway back to something else, based on what Ploper was saying:

I don't mind if religious people are religious, if it gives them hope/faith/morals (though I've already said I find all 3 of those inside myself), but what i DO hate is when religious people attack atheists because of their religious beliefs. That's not how it should be. That's what pisses me off. There are lots of openminded theists, and thats good, but some can be very closeminded and its hard to cope

writersblock: I'm not going to try to interprate something sacred that happened to you. For all I know maybe there is a god or 'higher intelligence system', and maybe he or she or it or them did do that. Or maybe it was just your desperate mind. I'm in no position to judge.

ploper: is there anything good i should read in the last couple pages?

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umm I dunno, not really

there was a lot of back and forth between spoxjox and scraff, don't know if you've already read that

but if you've read one of spoxjox's posts you've read them all

so you haven't missed anything too important

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Just wanted to say a couple more things. :)

First, thanks all who respected my post. It was a sacred and special event in my life that has led me down paths I never thought to tread. My advice to anyone truly wanting to know about God, do the same. Study up and then pray to know. It worked for me. Maybe if you feel those things too then we can discuss them.

Now two points of discussion if someone wants to take them up.

1) This discussion is inherently flawed because you must frame the arguments from the beginning in such a way that they favor one side or the other. Believe me, I know - framing arguments is my work. If you frame it in the spiritual "have faith and an open mind" framework, you are almost begging the existence of God and put the athiest on unfamiliar ground. If you frame it in the "science must show me proof" framework, you are dimissing one of the major points of spirituality, i.e. faith and the theist belief structure gets subjugated. Either way you start off with a distorted common ground. Let's see if there is, in fact, a neutral common ground with which to start an intellegent discussion...

2) I agree that MOST major religions in the world today serve only to enrich or empower those leaders who profess knowledge of God. I find this especially true of many of the so called "evangelicals" who preach to get into your wallet. However, I see many of the "athiest" arguments against God/religion are directed at the doings of those who profess belief, or the doings of religions as groups. For example - "teaching your kids X" or "proclaiming X" or "the crusades" or "911". All of that is irrelevant to the existence of God. It's OBVIOUS that all things done in the name of God cannot actually be; but using ad hominem attacks to therefore dispute God's existence is sloppy argument and is the easy (though fallcious) way out. If you are going to argue against God's existence, let's hear something that doesn't succumb to a classical logical fallicy and shows some original thought.

And to Scraff - you need to bone up on rhetoric my man. You not only tossed out contradictions and fallacies galore in you're "response" to my post, but you actually completely misinterpreted and interposed upon several of the "points" you argued against. :)

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And for Unreality -

There was no "desparate mind" in my search. I find it humorous that so many atheists and agnostics go there. It's not as if I was under any kind of emotional or spiritual pressure to "find GOD." I merely wanted to know about something- similar to wanting to know why rainbows form or why the sky is blue - and did what I could to find out. :lol:

Thanks for the respect though. I honestly appreciate it.

There are lots of openminded theists, and thats good, but some can be very closeminded and its hard to cope
It's funny because I've yet to encounter a single "open minded" athiest. Usually they are called "agnostics." ;)
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This discussion is inherently flawed because you must frame the arguments from the beginning in such a way that they favor one side or the other.

The discussion is not flawed at all. You were asked why your experience was due to a god and not some other supernatural, or even natural alternate like what your mind can do on its own or space aliens controlling your feelings. There's nothing flawed about those questions.

If you frame it in the spiritual "have faith and an open mind" framework, you are almost begging the existence of God and put the athiest on unfamiliar ground.

You're underestimating atheists. Most in the U.S. were brought up with faith and being told to have faith in God. We're not unfamiliar with it at all. But you're right, that is "begging the existence of God" and has nothing to do with whether any gods exist. It also is jumping to the illogical conclusion that theism is more open minded than atheism.

If you frame it in the "science must show me proof" framework, you are dimissing one of the major points of spirituality, i.e. faith

No, it's not "science must show me proof", it's "the theist must show me evidence". If the discussion is about the existence of something, that's an obvious fair requirement. None of us are going to argue that people don't believe based on faith, or without evidence. We already know that they do. We are not dismissing faith by questioning faith.

However, I see many of the "athiest" arguments against God/religion are directed at the doings of those who profess belief, or the doings of religions as groups. For example - "teaching your kids X" or "proclaiming X" or "the crusades" or "911". All of that is irrelevant to the existence of God.

Of course it is. But Scraff didn't use those things as evidence that God doesn't exist; he was replying to carlosn27's relevant comments.

It's OBVIOUS that all things done in the name of God cannot actually be; but using ad hominem attacks to therefore dispute God's existence is sloppy argument and is the easy (though fallcious) way out. If you are going to argue against God's existence, let's hear something that doesn't succumb to a classical logical fallicy and shows some original thought.

What classical logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks were used? The atheists on this board it seems to me are in agreement that they don't believe in deities due to lack of evidence.

And to Scraff - you need to bone up on rhetoric my man. You not only tossed out contradictions and fallacies galore in you're "response" to my post, but you actually completely misinterpreted and interposed upon several of the "points" you argued against. :)

Can you point out where? It would be only fair if you would back up those statements. You were asked plenty of excellent questions that you haven't answered.

It's funny because I've yet to encounter a single "open minded" athiest. Usually they are called "agnostics."

I think you may have incorrect ideas of what it means to be an atheist. An atheist is one who is without belief in deities and this was echoed more than a few times in this thread. I am an atheist. Most atheists I know are also agnostic. What do you find close minded about atheism?

There was no "desparate mind" in my search. I find it humorous that so many atheists and agnostics go there. It's not as if I was under any kind of emotional or spiritual pressure to "find GOD." I merely wanted to know about something- similar to wanting to know why rainbows form or why the sky is blue - and did what I could to find out.

What do you find humorous about it? You merely wanted to know about something and it was equal to "why the sky is blue"? It's because the answer to your question was such small potatoes that the answer was on par with "why the sky is blue"? This is part of what you posted (bolding mine):

"I grew up non having to attend any church. When I was about 20-ish, several things happened to people around me that drew my thoughts and attention toward the question of God. I decided to explore with an open mind, beginning with trying to understand if God exists, why he might have done "all this." I didn't exactly know where to start, so I began with the KJV because it was where most others around me got their "goods." I hit the old and new Testiments and decided it was pretty confusing. I knew enough to know that the Bible was put together by men, and translated several times. I tried the New KJV, but understood right away that a modern english interpretation of the KJV would get farther, not closer to the original intent of the original writers. I read the Koran too and some teachings of Buddha. Buddhism I filed under philosophy, because I quickly understood you could effectively be a buddihst along with any other religion and not "cross" the doctrines there. After all this reading, I realized that perhaps the most common thread of all religions was some form of prayer. The Bible was full of promises like "knock and it shall be opened" and "ask and ye shall receive." I figured it meant me too. SO, I prayed. I knelt and tried to ask if God was there.

I think anyone reading that would agree the question was more important to you then "why is the sky blue" as was the answer.

I fail to see why someone asking you about why the possibility of what ever feeling that came over you couldn't totally originate in your brain is humorous, but coming to the conclusion that a god must exist because of this experience is logical. And if someone finds this conclusion humorous, he should fail to mention it for fear of being accused of being insensitive or not respectful of another's beliefs. Quite the double standard.

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Maybe I was unclear, but you completely misunderstood elements of my post.

The quote - "several things happened to people around me that drew my thoughts and attention toward the question of God." These were things like deaths of their family members, one friend joining a "cult," one friend turning away from a life of religious faith and becoming "athiest." Nothing was pressing upon me, but it all happened in a short period of time and merely directed my own thoughts toward what I personally believed. This somehow got translated along the way as if I was desparate to know God or some such, which was never the case.

"why he might have done 'all this'" - didn't refer to the things my friends were going through, but a question I had. A more clear statement would be "If there is, in fact, a God, why would he (it) go through the trouble of making everything and sticking humans on this planet, and going through the work of making all the many amazing systems that make this universe work." It WAS on par with "why is the sky blue" for me. I've always had a drive to figure out things that I couldn't understand or that I felt my understanding was lacking. When they arise, I work on them until I am satisfied. It's just the way my brain works.

"The Bible was full of promises like "knock and it shall be opened" and "ask and ye shall receive." I figured it meant me too. SO, I prayed. I knelt and tried to ask if God was there." This was just the best direction I could find to discover what could be there. Why don't some you professed "athiests" who "want evidence" go DO something about it. If you argument is that you shouldn't have to DO anything about someone else's claims, then you have no ground to dispute the claims, especially when presented with EVIDENCE. Guess what, personal experience IS evidence. Ancient writings ARE evidence. The enduring myth of God (using myth in its classic sense) IS evidence. Any of these things would stand up in a court of law. You aren't asking for EVIDENCE you are asking for PROOF, the way I read your posts.

As to "open mindedness" if you are, then why not TRY study and prayer as a way to discover the results? Again, you jump to the argument that you have no need --- well, whatever. An "open mind" would allow for new ideas to take root - something I've not seen from ANY athiest I know. Here's a question for any "open minded" athiest: what would it take for you to consider the possiblity that some being with more knoweldge than us directs the affairs of humankind to any extent?

As to Scraff's response to my post - here's a short laundry list:

- Assumption of fact that I was talking about athiests when concerned with the tone of the posts

- Assumed that for me to explore "God" that some "despiration" had to exist

- Assumed that I cannot tell the difference between reality and hallucination

- Used "appeal to false authority" to establish his claims

- Contradicts himself (implicitly) that the experience of God is likely delusional, but then asserts it's a common experience. (Mass delusion consisting of people sharing physical experience outside of attacks on religion calling it "mass delusion" is almost unheard of).

- Uses ad hominem tu quoque attacks on my experience, trying to use collateral experiences to invalidate the claim made.

- Uses appeal to ridicule in assuming that delusions created the "experience" I had.

I'm sure there are others I am missing.

Any time you argue that God must not exist because a theist does X is a fallacious argument. I've seen several on this thread.

I never asserted that theism is more open minded than atheism. I just want to know where the "open mindedness" comes in for an athiest. I also think you misunderstand the difference between an athiest and agnostic:

a·the·ism /ˈeɪθiˌɪzəm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ey-thee-iz-uhm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun 1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

ag·nos·tic /ægˈnɒstɪk/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ag-nos-tik] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun 1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

You cannot claim it's unknowable and also that you know God doesn't exist.

The discussion is not flawed at all. You were asked why your experience was due to a god and not some other supernatural, or even natural alternate like what your mind can do on its own or space aliens controlling your feelings. There's nothing flawed about those questions.

It IS flawed. Not the discussion of my personal experience, but the bigger discussion as to the exitence of God. There's never been a framework from which to begin a discussion that allows even ground for the theist and athiest. If you don't like the way I worded the framework, then establish your own.

I've seen several posts attacking religion without ANY hint of a contrary theory (and I fully admit I may have missed it in scanning some of the posts). If you firmly believe there is no God - prove it. Show me evidence of His non-existence. Show me why He cannot and does not exist. In doing so, you can't use doctrines of any particular religion unless they are common to ALL relgions, because it's established that some who profess to "lead" relgions do so for their own benefit- therefore these things are not of God and are usless ad hom attacks. Show me your proof. And good luck with proving a "non-existence."

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IF you feel there are any questions that I have failed to address, it's because I felt they were irrelevant or because I missed them. If you want my point of view, post a question aimed at me, preferably one at a time, and I'll do my best to explain my feelings on the issue.

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Maybe I was unclear, but you completely misunderstood elements of my post.

The quote - "several things happened to people around me that drew my thoughts and attention toward the question of God." These were things like deaths of their family members, one friend joining a "cult," one friend turning away from a life of religious faith and becoming "athiest." Nothing was pressing upon me, but it all happened in a short period of time and merely directed my own thoughts toward what I personally believed. This somehow got translated along the way as if I was desparate to know God or some such, which was never the case.

"why he might have done 'all this'" - didn't refer to the things my friends were going through, but a question I had. A more clear statement would be "If there is, in fact, a God, why would he (it) go through the trouble of making everything and sticking humans on this planet, and going through the work of making all the many amazing systems that make this universe work." It WAS on par with "why is the sky blue" for me. I've always had a drive to figure out things that I couldn't understand or that I felt my understanding was lacking. When they arise, I work on them until I am satisfied. It's just the way my brain works.

"The Bible was full of promises like "knock and it shall be opened" and "ask and ye shall receive." I figured it meant me too. SO, I prayed. I knelt and tried to ask if God was there." This was just the best direction I could find to discover what could be there. Why don't some you professed "athiests" who "want evidence" go DO something about it. If you argument is that you shouldn't have to DO anything about someone else's claims, then you have no ground to dispute the claims, especially when presented with EVIDENCE. Guess what, personal experience IS evidence. Ancient writings ARE evidence. The enduring myth of God (using myth in its classic sense) IS evidence. Any of these things would stand up in a court of law. You aren't asking for EVIDENCE you are asking for PROOF, the way I read your posts.

I didn't misunderstand your post at all. Your questions about why we are here, why did this or that thing happen to me and my loved ones and how this relates to God's existence, must have meant more to you then "Why is the sky blue?".

As to "open mindedness" if you are, then why not TRY study and prayer as a way to discover the results?

You don't think I've done this as a child when I grew up with religious parents? I've found that ten minutes of hard work is worth more than a year of prayer.

Should I spend time entertaining every outrageous claim to retain my status of open-mindedness? If I've prayed to God before and a member of X religion tells me, "The reason you didn't get an answer is because you have to specifically ask X god for an answer" would I be closed minded if I didn't? If someone tells me that painting my fingers red will help get rid of migraines, would I be closed minded for skipping that advice?

Again, you jump to the argument that you have no need --- well, whatever. An "open mind" would allow for new ideas to take root - something I've not seen from ANY athiest I know. Here's a question for any "open minded" athiest: what would it take for you to consider the possiblity that some being with more knoweldge than us directs the affairs of humankind to any extent?

Much more than it took you, which is a feeling that came over you when you prayed to a god you weren't sure was there.

What would it take you to be convinced that outer space aliens are directing human affairs? That Islam is the correct religion? That swinging a dead cat over your head ever day will help keep you healthy? That your experience originated in the brain and was not due to an outside force?

As to Scraff's response to my post - here's a short laundry list:

- Assumption of fact that I was talking about athiests when concerned with the tone of the posts

That's not true. He specifically asked if it was about the atheists responding in the thread.

- Assumed that for me to explore "God" that some "despiration" had to exist

Also not true. he asked you why you don't consider that a possibility and if you're willing to consider the notion. Seems like a reasonable question to someone that came to the conclusion that this experience must have been divine.

- Used "appeal to false authority" to establish his claims

Where- and what claims?

- Contradicts himself (implicitly) that the experience of God is likely delusional, but then asserts it's a common experience. (Mass delusion consisting of people sharing physical experience outside of attacks on religion calling it "mass delusion" is almost unheard of).

He never said it was likely delusional. He said it was a possibility.

I don't think you understand what a mass delusion is. We have all sorts of experiences that seem strange to us, such as deja vu, night terrors, false memory, etc. None of this is proof of anything supernatural although those experiences are not uncommon.

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- Uses ad hominem tu quoque attacks on my experience, trying to use collateral experiences to invalidate the claim made.

There was no invalidating of the claim. There were questions asked to you of why those experiences couldn't have had alternate reasons other than a god existing.

- Uses appeal to ridicule in assuming that delusions created the "experience" I had.

No, he didn't. And if you re-read his posts you're reading too much into the "delusion" possibility. Our brains can create power feelings within us without necessarily defining those experiences as delusions.

Any time you argue that God must not exist because a theist does X is a fallacious argument. I've seen several on this thread.

I already asked you to back up these type of statements. Don't just say fallacious arguments were made without pointing out which arguments you think are fallacious.

I never asserted that theism is more open minded than atheism. I just want to know where the "open mindedness" comes in for an athiest.

Generally we are without belief in extraordinary claims until evidence is brought forth. It doesn't mean we don't think that this or that can't be so, we just withhold a positive belief in that thing until we find a reason for it.

Where does the open mindedness come in for a theist?

You apparently are closed to the idea that your experience was due to anything else but "God". I wouldn't call this a shining example of open-mindedness.

I also think you misunderstand the difference between an athiest and agnostic:

a·the·ism /ˈeɪθiˌɪzəm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ey-thee-iz-uhm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun 1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

ag·nos·tic /ægˈnɒstɪk/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ag-nos-tik] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun 1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

You cannot claim it's unknowable and also that you know God doesn't exist.

Not one atheist on this board claimed he knew God doesn't exist and there is nothing I don't understand about those definitions.

disbelief

• noun 1 inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real. 2 lack of faith.

We refuse to believe that any deities existence is true based on lack of evidence for such a thing. We don't "know God doesn't exist". I don't know that Bigfoot doesn't exist, but I am without belief in Bigfoot due to lack of evidence.

For more, see this.

It IS flawed. Not the discussion of my personal experience, but the bigger discussion as to the exitence of God. There's never been a framework from which to begin a discussion that allows even ground for the theist and athiest. If you don't like the way I worded the framework, then establish your own.

How would we discuss the existence of Bigfoot? Wouldn't it be based on evidence? This is unfair to the theist?

I've seen several posts attacking religion without ANY hint of a contrary theory (and I fully admit I may have missed it in scanning some of the posts).

A contrary theory to what? Several were given for other possibilities for what you experienced.

And no one needs to come up with alternate theories. There is much about the way the brain works that researchers don't know about and there is plenty that they do know that posters in this thread don't. Someone not having a theory for where lightning comes from does not make "God is responsible" the default answer. If you're really any more open-minded than atheists, you can check out some of the links Scraff posted or do your own research as to the other non-divine explanations for intense feelings that come over us. But I doubt you'll do that as you "know" your feeling was an answer from "God". But I should try "study and prayer as a way to discover the results"?

If you firmly believe there is no God - prove it. Show me evidence of His non-existence. Show me why He cannot and does not exist. In doing so, you can't use doctrines of any particular religion unless they are common to ALL relgions, because it's established that some who profess to "lead" relgions do so for their own benefit- therefore these things are not of God and are usless ad hom attacks. Show me your proof. And good luck with proving a "non-existence."

Seriously? You don't know better than to not ask an atheist this question? I don't have to prove that gods, flying pigs or pink unicorns don't exist. I've never seen compelling evidence for any of those things, so for now I'll be without belief in all of them and I'll continue to question the claims of others regarding the existence of those things.

IF you feel there are any questions that I have failed to address, it's because I felt they were irrelevant or because I missed them. If you want my point of view, post a question aimed at me, preferably one at a time, and I'll do my best to explain my feelings on the issue.

I'm not going to re-post all of the questions so you can decide what's relevant or not. That would take me quite a bit of time as I feel most of the questions were relevant. If you think you may have missed some, maybe you can go over them again and decide what you think was relevant. I do doubt that you missed all of the questions regarding alternate possibilities to your experience, so you must think they're irrelevant. I think they're very relevant.

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As to "open mindedness" if you are, then why not TRY study and prayer as a way to discover the results? Again, you jump to the argument that you have no need --- well, whatever. An "open mind" would allow for new ideas to take root - something I've not seen from ANY athiest I know. Here's a question for any "open minded" athiest: what would it take for you to consider the possiblity that some being with more knoweldge than us directs the affairs of humankind to any extent?

I have considered it. Believe me. I HAVE prayed. Most of my family is religious, the other half is not, neither half pushed me to any sort of decision, though I was taken to church for a while. I like the community sense but not the praying, not the repeating of possibly-false biblical passages, not the insisting that this or that is true. None of that works for me. Praying hasn't got me anywhere.

You said that ancient texts are proof. Does age make something proof? No of course not. Will Harry Potter become truth thousands of years from now because it's so old and people don't know that it's fiction? No of course not. But let's say the bible is mainly based off of truths, because at least some of it is, and let's assume, just for this, that ancient texts are proof. If that is true, then Zeus is real. Allah is real. Odin is real.

However if you don't believe in Zeus or Allah or Odin, if you say that those are wrong, yet the Bible is right, then ancient texts are NOT proof, obviously, if some ancient religious texts are and some aren't, according to you, then they are not proof at all. Just throwing that out there.

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