Why I believe in God

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Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:16 pm

bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Patrick Fowke wrote:
CelticAtheist wrote: What you're observing is the difference.
Someone has to have the last word otherwise the debate would go on for ever ".
This was a debate? I would have thought to qualify as a debate there should have been at least one point made.
I disagree with you (I believe points were made).
CelticAtheist
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Post by CelticAtheist » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:24 pm

*claims victory due to success of attrition strategy*
mkaobrih
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Post by mkaobrih » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:53 pm

I’ve always thought Pascal’s wager sucked big time – because you cannot just believe something you don’t - you can just pretend to believe something you don’t – so what’s the point.
washington
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Post by washington » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:53 pm

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........I'm still waiting for an explanation of the 'Road to Damascus' incident!.....was it a bimp on ze hed?....not now Cato!..........Happy Atheist Xmas to all....
nozzferrahhtoo
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Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:36 am

mkaobrih wrote:I’ve always thought Pascal’s wager sucked big time – because you cannot just believe something you don’t - you can just pretend to believe something you don’t – so what’s the point.
The point of it is confirmation bias. It actually means a lot to people of faith.

Remember it is wrong to think of faith as "belief without evidence". They have lots of evidence. It is just BAD evidence.

Belief should be defined as "The willingness to assume that which you are trying to prove". When you do that so many things become evidence.

Read back over everything Patrick has written in this thread and read it in the light of this new definition of faith and you will see what I mean. All the crap he comes out with is perfect evidence if you have already assumed the god is true.

Which he has. From the moment he had his personal transcendent experience and decided it was god he looked at the world in this new light. Having assumed there is a god everything suddenly seems like evidence to him. Everything from the human eye to Pascal’s wager seems like perfect evidence for god once you have already assumed there is a god. EVERYTHING is a testament to his glory once you have already decided he exists.

In this new light Pascal’s wager is perfect. Even Patrick himself admits that "Christianity" and "Any deity" is interchangeable when looking at Pascal’s wager. It doesn’t matter about consistency or honesty. Once you decide god exists before looking at the evidence then the evidence you look at later can be anything you want it to be.

So yes, people of faith have evidence and their belief is based on reason. I think it is a terrible mistake when atheists say people of faith have no evidence or are being unreasonable and stupid. But all this evidence and reason is based on one fatal flaw at its foundation. The willingness to assume truth of the proposition that you are trying to find the truth of. Circular reasoning and confirmation bias abound.
bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:11 am

nozzferrahhtoo wrote:
So yes, people of faith have evidence and their belief is based on reason. I think it is a terrible mistake when atheists say people of faith have no evidence or are being unreasonable and stupid. But all this evidence and reason is based on one fatal flaw at its foundation. The willingness to assume truth of the proposition that you are trying to find the truth of. Circular reasoning and confirmation bias abound.
Thems the dangers of rationalisation. Presume that which you are trying to prove and immediately you will find supporting evidence... it pretty much doesn't matter what it is.

Thinking about it in modern terms, and I've found myself doing this once or twice, googling for a source when you already think you know the answer. Do you type in the question or the answer?
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:57 am

Washington
washington wrote:Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........I'm still waiting for an explanation of the 'Road to Damascus' incident!.....was it a bimp on ze hed?....not now Cato!..........Happy Atheist Xmas to all....
The following isn't an attempt at an argument, either scientific or philosophical. Rather it's me trying to put on a writer's/poet's hat to try and describe / evoke the Road-To-Damascus-like experience.

The problem is I'm not a very good writer / poet. But anyway, give it a go.

I was aged 17. Studying for my exams. Lightbulb moment: 'there's more to life than exams. Why get so uptight about them?' So went outside to do one of my favourite passtimes (mainly to unwind / relax): sketch.
Found an old building to sketch, and began to sketch. And then it happened.
Immediately the view in front of me began to alter. I could see an astonishing beauty before me that before I hadn't seen. I remember seeing a golden hue reflected in the snow, and elsewhere.
Then (or at the same time, can't remember) felt a positive, warm, crisp, electric, exicting energy flood through my body. Worry, stress, guilt disappeared in a flash like cobwebs being blasted away.
I experienced complete harmony of thought and feeling - harmony of mind, body and spirit.
And then I experienced this sensation of being loved (sounds vague, I know) and of wanting to love others (a love more of just being in harmony with others and sharing joy).
None of this seemed strange or weird. It just seemed right.
I had extraordinary dreams all the way through the night.
Overall I experienced intense happiness and peace.
bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:30 am

Patrick Fowke wrote:Washington
washington wrote:Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........I'm still waiting for an explanation of the 'Road to Damascus' incident!.....was it a bimp on ze hed?....not now Cato!..........Happy Atheist Xmas to all....
The following isn't an attempt at an argument, either scientific or philosophical. Rather it's me trying to put on a writer's/poet's hat to try and describe / evoke the Road-To-Damascus-like experience.
You must be an awesome writer if you think you can invoke temporal lobe epilepsy through your writing. Perhaps it should come with a health warning. Just to be sure I didn't read any more of your comment.
MichaelNugent
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Post by MichaelNugent » Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:57 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:I was aged 17. Studying for my exams. Lightbulb moment: 'there's more to life than exams. Why get so uptight about them?' So went outside to do one of my favourite passtimes (mainly to unwind / relax): sketch.
Found an old building to sketch, and began to sketch. And then it happened.
Immediately the view in front of me began to alter. I could see an astonishing beauty before me that before I hadn't seen. I remember seeing a golden hue reflected in the snow, and elsewhere.
Then (or at the same time, can't remember) felt a positive, warm, crisp, electric, exicting energy flood through my body. Worry, stress, guilt disappeared in a flash like cobwebs being blasted away.
I experienced complete harmony of thought and feeling - harmony of mind, body and spirit.
And then I experienced this sensation of being loved (sounds vague, I know) and of wanting to love others (a love more of just being in harmony with others and sharing joy).
None of this seemed strange or weird. It just seemed right.
I had extraordinary dreams all the way through the night.
Overall I experienced intense happiness and peace.
Patrick,

That's a wonderful experience, and I understand why you feel it is so important. I have had similar experiences, including when drawing and also when writing, though I would describe them differently.

While it is a wonderful experience, there is nothing within it that indicates the existence of a supernatural god. That is an extra meaning that, for whatever reason, you have chosen to attach to the experience.

In my opinion, from what you have written here, it seems likely that you are now retrospectively interpreting your experiences through the filter of this unrelated meaning that you later attached to them.

Have you read the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Milhaly Czikzentmihayli? It was published in the early 1990s, but it is still a good introduction to this type of experience.

It happens when you become so absorbed in something that you love doing, often a pastime or hobby, that you become one with the activity and exerience new distinctions that are not available to you outside of this experience.

More recently, Czikzentmihayli has been involved in the Positive Psychology movement, which conducts research into optimism, hope, strength, resilience and other human strengths. It's a fascinating area of study.
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:16 pm

Michael
MichaelNugent wrote:
While it is a wonderful experience, there is nothing within it that indicates the existence of a supernatural god.
The experience is too subjective to describe / evoke with any accuracy at all. One would really have to be a poet to begin to evoke such an experience.

"The clouds methought did open up and show riches ready to drop upon me that when I wak'd I cried to dream again" (Shakespeare - Tempest) - captures something of it.

As does:

'Full fadom five thy Father lies,
Of his bones are Corrall made:
Those are pearles that were his eies,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a Sea-change
Into something rich, & strange:
Sea-Nimphs hourly ring his knell.
Burthen:
ding-dong.
Harke now I heare them, ding-dong, bell'.

(Shakespeare - Tempest)

For some reason this rings a bell (Yeats) too:

'Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing'
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.'
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