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People care more about Christ's death than they do his life.

#51TheRealJiraiyaPosted 2/7/2013 8:51:19 AM
darkmaian23 posted...
If I may interject, sir. Calling what was done in the Bible a miracle instead of magic elevates what was done and suggests that it is special somehow. Would you use magic or miracle to describe the working of the gods in Greek myth? I am fairly certain you would just call it magic. You consider that term degrading when applied to the workings of the Christian God because you believe he is real, but I doubt you'd have the same problem if it were applied to Zeus.


You are wrong - I would call it a miracle. Magic is something that humans do, in my mind. A miracle is the intervention of a deity, which may or may not be "supernatural" but is usually beyond our ability to understand.

Anecdotal evidence proves nothing. Stage magicians can perform incredible tricks that fool just about any layperson. You think your example of observing Jesus turn water into wine seems to have merit to you because you believe Jesus is God. But what if you read on the news that some random person had been seen to do the same thing. Would you really believe that the man had done magic/performed a miracle?


Water into wine was a bad one. But if I was one of the disciples handing out the loaf of bread that fed 120000 people and picking up the after-crumbs, yeah, I would believe it. If I was there today with some random guy who wasnt Jesus, I would believe it. Thats an incredible thing.

Anecdotal evidence means quite a lot when you are the one experiencing it. Our entire lives and everything we claim to know is based on our anecdotal walk through life. If I saw something ridiculous in scale and completely unexplainable, I would believe it was something supernatural, either miraculous or magical. And I think most people would. And I dont think anecdotes mean nothing.

You are correct in saying that we cannot prove that Jesus didn't do miracles. However, there is no compelling reason to think that such things are possible. Nothing we have learned about the universe through objective means suggests it is possible for magic or anything supernatural really to exist. Sometimes Christians like to point out that in some parts of the world miracles are purported to exist and are believed in. These places also tend to be home to deeply superstitious people lacking in basic education.

Of course, the supernatural is popular in various forms here and in other developed parts of the world. But no positive evidence in favor of such things actually working or being real has ever been discovered. There is also no compelling reason to think that any evidence will ever be discovered based on what we now know about the natural world.


At this point in time, I am not trying to argue in favor of Christianity or the existence of the supernatural - just that a person who believes in them is not NECESSARILY a fool.

To put it another way, do I need to prove to you that Thor doesn't have a magic hammer or will you simply accept the statement? I believe your response will be to say that I do in the case of an argument such as this, but I feel very strongly that you would only give this reply because I intend to make an analogy between Thor's hammer and Jesus' miracles. No Christian that I've ever met believes in Norse gods whereas they do (obviously) believe in the existence of Yahweh.


I likely would accept the statement just because I am not on this board to defend Norse mythology. If I was debating someone who believed in Thor, however, I would not be making baseless claims about the existence or nonexistence of the deity, I would be trying to break apart their theology through internal inconsistencies.
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#52ThuggernautzPosted 2/7/2013 9:06:36 AM(edited)
TheRealJiraiya posted...

Anecdotal evidence means quite a lot when you are the one experiencing it. Our entire lives and everything we claim to know is based on our anecdotal walk through life. If I saw something ridiculous in scale and completely unexplainable, I would believe it was something supernatural, either miraculous or magical. And I think most people would. And I dont think anecdotes mean nothing.


I agree that anecdotal evidence is quite powerful. However, if I were to see something truly out of the ordinary; a talking bush, an angel, Kurt Cobain alive and well... then I would need confirmation. I would subject myself to a bevy of tests, look around for external verifiable accounts. The human mind is exceptionally prone to manipulation and misfire; there are numerous neurological diseases with hallucinatory symptoms, there are are innumerable chemicals that produce similar results. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and 'miraculous' claims of that nature require a great deal more investigation than a mundane experience. If I honestly saw a burning, talking bush that told me it was God the first thing I would look for is external verification, which shouldn't be all that difficult for his Holiness. It is more likely that I am hallucinating or need mental help than God speaking to me through some burning flora.

TL;DR: While I agree that anecdotes don't mean nothing, supernatural anecdotes require a great deal more evidence than the mundane, even for the one experiencing them; lest they be mistaken.
#53darkmaian23Posted 2/7/2013 9:27:58 AM
TheRealJiraiya posted...
darkmaian23 posted...
If I may interject, sir. Calling what was done in the Bible a miracle instead of magic elevates what was done and suggests that it is special somehow. Would you use magic or miracle to describe the working of the gods in Greek myth? I am fairly certain you would just call it magic. You consider that term degrading when applied to the workings of the Christian God because you believe he is real, but I doubt you'd have the same problem if it were applied to Zeus.


You are wrong - I would call it a miracle. Magic is something that humans do, in my mind. A miracle is the intervention of a deity, which may or may not be "supernatural" but is usually beyond our ability to understand.


While I appreciate your response to my other points, this one is of particular relevance. I jumped into this discussion wanting to comment on the difference between magic and miracles. I have never known anyone to make a distinction between the terms in the way that you have. In light of this new information, I must apologize for what must seem like silly arguments. I would like to also apologize if your view is a commonly held one that I was previously aware of.

I don't know what I can say to sway you if you think that anecdotal evidence has real merit in determining whether or not a supernatural claim is true. Anecdotal accounts certainly have merit in the field of history, but there is a big difference between regular history and claiming an event like the miraculous feeding of thousands with a single loaf of bread took place.

My other arguments were actually an attempt at bridging the gap between our opposing world views. You are a Christian and believe that Jesus is God and that he performed lots of miracles 2,000 years ago. I am a former Christian who stopped believing these things based on a lack of evidence for God or a divine Jesus and also a great amount of historical evidence that the origin of Christianity is something that looks very different from what we have now. Meaning in my mind that it is essentially made up with bits and pieces of cultural and historic truths now and then.

I meant to show that we are more alike than different in that you feel roughly the same way about the claims of other religions as I feel about yours (no offense intended). But taking anecdotal evidence seriously changes things. It opens up a slippery slope where people can make you believe all sorts of things happened that never did. If a large number of people tell you something is true but it cannot be proven, repeated in a controlled setting, and flies in the face of all objectively known knowledge, would you really believe it?

If so, I don't know how a discussion could be successful. I apologize if I have misunderstood what you were trying to state.
#54TheRealJiraiyaPosted 2/7/2013 9:30:19 AM
Just so we are clear, I dont think OTHER PEOPLE'S anecdotal experiences mean anything to ME. I just believe that if *I* had a solid anecdotal experience, something ridiculous and undeniable that I saw with my own eyes, it would be viable evidence for me, and me alone.
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -Plato
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#55bratt100Posted 2/7/2013 6:35:23 PM
TheRealJiraiya posted...
bratt100 posted...
TheRealJiraiya posted...
bratt100 posted...
Magic isn't real. I really don't need to elaborate on that.


What proof do you have that what you define as "magic" is not real O.o ?


Actually it's up to you to prove its existence not the other way around. I can't prove a negative.

Also do you mind expaining how it doesn't meet the exact definition of magic?


If you cant prove it, you shouldnt claim it. That is a logical error. The truth is, with the evidence you have, you cant know for sure whether it is true or not.

Lets say I was at that party and saw Jesus turn water into wine. My anecdote obviously wouldnt sway you. But would it be sufficient evidence for me, personally, to believe?

My issue with the term magic isnt one of definitions - it clearly isnt the word most people would use for what we are talking about. You are using that particular word because it sounds degrading, correct?


The lack of evidence for a god or magic is pretty damning in itself. It's interesting that the second we have the technology to properly study these things they stop happening all together and the miraculous happenings are left to the toast Jesus' that pop up from time to time.

Does this lack of evidence mean god is an impossibility? Not at all, just a physical improbability based on the information that we have. What you ask is impossible and that is why you and many people like yourself ask it. You feel like its some sort of check-mate or get out of jail free card...it isn't. What it shows is a lack of logic.

I admit that I can't disprove your god but that means that you should admit that we have no real reason to believe without evidence.

Also when discussing the water into wine thing, it was also written well after Jesus had died which means its highly susceptible to drastic changes in what actually happened. It really is a big game of telephone, on one end is the real story of how a man saved the wedding by bringing the wine and 70+ years later he's now changing water into wine it's a miracle.

"what more proof do you need to believe?" any proof, a shred, a single proven case of a miracle that has been properly documented and that doesn't have a material solution. Actual evidence. This is what you and every other believer lack entirely.

So why believe when you have been given no solid reason to? Because you have either been raised in the religion or you don't have the ability to rationally question the topic because you are to close to it. Im sure fear plays a huge part too.
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