Why I believe in God

General discussions
Patrick Fowke
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Re: Re:

Post by Patrick Fowke » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:08 am

brianmmulligan wrote:Patrick,

Nope. I think you may have missed my little joke. Not being able to think of an alternative explanation tends to indicate a closed mind. I did suggest that if you could not think of an alternative explanation that you use one of the many proposed here and subject it to a rigourous analysis using some sort of technique.
Brian, with respect, only I am the one who is prepared to consider both options i.e

1. Entirely natural in origin
2. Divine in origin

You appear to be limited to 1. only. I have tried 1. Spent years considering it (19 years). I know the experience inside-out (because I experienced it - not you - nor do you really know that much about it because of the challenge in trying to communicate such an experience).

You can call me a failure but you can't accuse me of not trying. You haven't even begun to try in order to be able to fail in the first place. Not only that but your response is too sure (discrepancy between your sureness and how little you really know of the experience).

But, anyway, failure does NOT equal "closed mind". It could be (and I am more certain - but never like to be absolute about anything) that it was divine in origin (which is why, I believe, there is no alternative explanation).
brianmmulligan wrote:
I personally do not believe that you can divide up phenomena detectable by humans into natural and divine (or metaphysical - are you suggesting that the divine is not natural).

No, not suggesting that natural is not divine. But to avoid over-confusing, I meant natural, here, as in purely material and non-metaphysical / non-divine.

Don't forget that a lot of non-believers (in the divine) do believe in the metaphysical. Both atheists of Eastern, Buddhist tradition, as well as Western atheists of non Buddhist tradition.

So the debate of the metaphysical (in general) is not, necessarily, atheist versus theist.

If you would like to challenge / be challenged over the existence of the metaphysical (in general sense) then we could do that in a separate post if you like (I would). There is just so much to be said on that that don't think I begin to do it justice here and now.

My main point for now is this. Are you prepared to consider at all that the experience could have been divine in origin? Or are you absolute in your belief that it was not?
brianmmulligan
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by brianmmulligan » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:17 am

Patrick Fowke wrote: To give a crude (as in general) example. Sexual intercourse can be "having sex" or "making love". There is, obviously (at least to many people), a big difference between the two.
Another example of you dividing issues into 'natural' and 'divine', I presume. As I said, this has been done for millenia, but only a few remaining topics are considered in the latter anymore. You will find some good books explaining how 'love' can be shown to be 'natural' as opposed to 'divine'.

In any case I am still waiting to hear about the methodology you use to discriminate between various 'divine' claims. Now you should remember that the Pope himself condemns 'relativism', the theory that all truths are equally valid (he thinks his own are better that others'). How you work out which are the best ones is beyond me?
Brian
Patrick Fowke
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:54 am

brianmmulligan wrote:
Another example of you dividing issues into 'natural' and 'divine', I presume.
Firstly, making a general claim here for material / metaphysical. I think that we need (might be valuable to overall discussion) to have a discussion about the existence of the metaphysical (in general, first, before getting onto subject of divine).
brianmmulligan wrote:
As I said, this has been done for millenia, but only a few remaining topics are considered in the latter anymore. You will find some good books explaining how 'love' can be shown to be 'natural' as opposed to 'divine'.

As I mentioned before, a lot of atheists believe in the metaphysical. They would believe that "making love", for example, as opposed to pure, physical sex is, ultimately, something metaphysical not material.

You appear to suggest that belief in the metaphysical (in general - as opposed to just material) equals belief in the divine. It does not.

brianmmulligan wrote:
In any case I am still waiting to hear about the methodology you use to discriminate between various 'divine' claims. Now you should remember that the Pope himself condemns 'relativism', the theory that all truths are equally valid (he thinks his own are better that others'). How you work out which are the best ones is beyond me?
That's kind of like asking why you think poetry is metaphysical in nature. Or great art. Or great literature. Or what falling in love is like. Or why you like other people (wit / personality / sense of humour) and so on. The experience contained elements that you would find in all of these: GREAT love (being loved), beauty, joy, peace, and so on. You can't place these within the structure of a scientific method or mathematical formula, in the first place.

What methodology would you use to discriminate between functional beauty in nature (i.e the beauty in the tail of a peacock, and the beauty in a landscape or in the face of a person such as The Mona Lisa, and so on).

Lots of scientists have been firm believers in the divine (let alone the metaphysical). They wouldn't have requested methodologies for such experiences. Max Planck, founder of quantum physics, was a devout Christian. He would have believed in transcendental experiences. Faraday, another devout Christian, wouldn't have asked for methodologies for such experiences either. Nor Mendel or Newton, and many other firm believers in the divine. And then there is a broad swathe of scientists who believe in something (but not sure) and / or believe in the existence of the metaphysical.

How many great scientists have been hardened materialists (i.e believe in material existence, only): a minority, from what I can gather, not a majority.

Therefore, with respect Brian, where do you get your authority from to make such claims about the reach of science and scientific methodologies?
Caca
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Caca » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:39 pm

Patrick,

Do you think that if you had grown up in a non-Christian country
(as Ireland use to be-before you all attack me!) that you would feel it was the Christian God who visited this experoence upon you? It sounds like a ridiculous question but you have said that you're RC and not agnostic. Many others world-wide have had similar experiences! And before you start quoting poetry please be aware that to deny this or suggest that your own experience/s was more 'divine' than all others is not rational.
"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."
Patrick Fowke
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:14 pm

Caca
Caca wrote:Patrick,

Do you think that if you had grown up in a non-Christian country
(as Ireland use to be-before you all attack me!) that you would feel it was the Christian God who visited this experoence upon you? It sounds like a ridiculous question but you have said that you're RC and not agnostic. Many others world-wide have had similar experiences! And before you start quoting poetry please be aware that to deny this or suggest that your own experience/s was more 'divine' than all others is not rational.
Don't forget that the Christian God is three persons (not just the person of Christ - although one God), The Trinity. And to be a Christian is, ultimately, to respond to our consciences (which, I believe, as a Christian, derives The Trinity - whether "you are a Christian or not) with compassion (when we love others we love God, too).

I don't want to be prescriptive / legalistic / black-and-white in answering this (only God can answer this - only God, not man, knows all things - and related to this, St Paul: "You can know all things but if you have no love it is all useless"). I have received Christian-like love from non-Christians (leave you do draw your own conclusions - because I haven't got a 100% black-and-white conclusion). At same time, I believe that we Christians (have a moral duty) to bring the life and teachings of Christ to others in life (WITHOUT being dogmatic about it). But, ultimately, we have to be Christ-like in our dealings with others (Christ-like, i.e compassion, taking precedence over mere words).

Sorry to sounds paradoxical / mysterious (don't mean to). But my knowledge is incomplete, and I think it is wrong, anyway, to be prescriptive about such matters. The best we can, and should do, is try and follow out Christ's two great commandments ("Love God and neighbour"), and try and bring the life and teachings of Christ to others (without being dogmatic about it).

"that your own experience/s was more 'divine' than all others"

- I didn't / don't / wouldn't in a million years say / suggest this. But I had the experience. It has been significant in my choice of being a Christian. And as a Christian I want to make the case for Christianity as best as I can (WITHOUT being dogmatic about it). Because I want others to share in the great, great happiness, peace and rich blessings that I have received, and that I believe ALL OTHERS, are EQUALLY capable of experiencing (in similar / different ways). But, again, I don't want to be dogmatic about it, or sound that I have a monopoly on God (or happiness / peace) - I DON'T. EVERYONE is EQUALLY open to Him. That is why I mention the experience and try and defend my position over it when people challenge the nature of its origin.
smiffy
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by smiffy » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:01 pm

Caca's question, just to recap, was whether you felt that if you had grown up in a non-Christian country you would feel it was the Christian God who visited this experience upon you. Your response was evasive, at best. Would you care to address the actual question?
Atheism is a religion the same way that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby - Scott Adams
Patrick Fowke
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:05 am

smiffy wrote:Caca's question, just to recap, was whether you felt that if you had grown up in a non-Christian country you would feel it was the Christian God who visited this experience upon you. Your response was evasive, at best. Would you care to address the actual question?
I admitted that I was vague (more subjective, I would argue, than 'evasive' as you put it - but how can one not be subjective when it comes to matters of the metaphysical, let-alone the divine).

But you are, also, vague / subjective in your question - what do you mean, exactly, by "Christian God" - do you mean Christ-only, for example, or do you mean The Trinity?

If you mean Christ-only then the question is, obviously, rhetorical, because in many parts of the world access to the Christian faith is remote / hard to come by. If on the other hand you mean The Trinity then that is a different matter, altogether, because God (The Trinity) as mentioned in last post, communicates to all people (through conscience and spiritual experience)(and the person who God communicates to through conscience / spiritual experience is able to carry out the will of God (The Trinity).

Since the metaphysical / the divine / The Trinity are all subjective subjects to say the least, and as I admitted I didn't have a 100% clear answer (nor does the Christian have to know all things / understand all mysteries, as refered to in previous post) / am against being prescriptive / legalistic / black-and-white about the Christian faith that is the best I can do for now, but willing to try and elaborate / develop points if you wish.

Don't forget that science / philosophy / the arts / the poetic / human beings .. life .. aren't clear-cut either ..
markglin
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by markglin » Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:23 am

You said you felt a sense of ecstasy, that all your thought processes seemed to be more logical than ever, right?
Well, this happened to me before ( admittedly I was on ecstasy) and alot of what you said sounds really familiar.
I know we didnt have the same experience but cant you see how this might've happened to more(non-believing)people than just you?
Are you 100% sure you didnt simply have a really brilliant (and drugfree, ya lucky bastard) chemical/neurological experience?
Which you then ascribed to the most plausible explanation(for you)? i.e. the divine
Isn't is at all possible that there is a non-supernatural explanation for it?
JH
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by JH » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:21 pm

All the forward-slashes are making me dizzy. :|
smiffy
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by smiffy » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:26 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:
smiffy wrote:Caca's question, just to recap, was whether you felt that if you had grown up in a non-Christian country you would feel it was the Christian God who visited this experience upon you. Your response was evasive, at best. Would you care to address the actual question?
I admitted that I was vague (more subjective, I would argue, than 'evasive' as you put it - but how can one not be subjective when it comes to matters of the metaphysical, let-alone the divine).

But you are, also, vague / subjective in your question - what do you mean, exactly, by "Christian God" - do you mean Christ-only, for example, or do you mean The Trinity?

If you mean Christ-only then the question is, obviously, rhetorical, because in many parts of the world access to the Christian faith is remote / hard to come by. If on the other hand you mean The Trinity then that is a different matter, altogether, because God (The Trinity) as mentioned in last post, communicates to all people (through conscience and spiritual experience)(and the person who God communicates to through conscience / spiritual experience is able to carry out the will of God (The Trinity).

Since the metaphysical / the divine / The Trinity are all subjective subjects to say the least, and as I admitted I didn't have a 100% clear answer (nor does the Christian have to know all things / understand all mysteries, as refered to in previous post) / am against being prescriptive / legalistic / black-and-white about the Christian faith that is the best I can do for now, but willing to try and elaborate / develop points if you wish.

Don't forget that science / philosophy / the arts / the poetic / human beings .. life .. aren't clear-cut either ..
Patrick, you're not answering what's a very straightforward question. And, frankly, your attempt to avoid the subject by questioning the use of the term 'Christian God' is highly disingenuous. If you want a definition, try using 'the broad conception of the deity shared by most Christians, including the divinity of Christ, distinguished both from the Judaic and Islamic monotheisms and the notion of the divine in other religions'.

We can be more specific if you like. If you had been raised as a Hindu, would you still see your experience as evidence in support of the existence of the kind of God you're talking about?
All the forward-slashes are making me dizzy.
Don't worry. You're probably just having a divine/supernatural/metaphysical experience.
Atheism is a religion the same way that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby - Scott Adams
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