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What would it take to convince you of another belief?

#61kozlo100Posted 2/15/2013 12:37:51 PM
Then I guess it's a good job I generally don't have a very hard time accepting what I sense and experience as an accurate depiction of reality.

I was using the line of reasoning as the sort of lowest bar for belief. I would consider a personal experience to be stronger, and would also be convinced by such an event.
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The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#62JonWood007Posted 2/15/2013 3:20:54 PM(edited)
Thuggernautz posted...
almasbaby posted...

I don't think such a line of reasoning exists. Surely, if it did some intellectual titan would have discovered it by now and you'd be convinced, and there'd be no more atheists in the world. But throughout the millenia of humankind's recorded history no such compelling argument has ever been made that's convinced an atheist that God exists.

Personally, I think it's a matter beyond the intellect. It's an instinctual, intuitive sense on the periphery of consciousness. For some it can be an overwhelming mystical episode where they feel very deeply the presence of God. I think this is the only compelling argument for God's existence, direct conscious contact with him. Even then, you might not be convinced because of its subjective nature, and the lack of receptiveness from your peers that it was indeed God you encountered.

So, the short answer is that there really is no compelling argument that will convince you. It boils down to faith that what you sense or have experienced is an accurate depiction of reality. But you can never be fully convinced that it is.


People can get that same powerful kind of experience from DMT. Or temporal lobe epilepsy. Reading diary accounts of the experiences through three different events, they are all staggeringly similar.

I agree that I don't think that line of reasoning exists presently, though, and I predict it never will. That's why I would require a little stronger evidence than that, as I stated earlier.


Yeah, I find "feelings" to be highly unreliable, and there's no evidence that theyre actually reliable. Religious explanations are all smoke and mirrors IMO. They're reliable until they're not, then you either didn't pray hard enough, or you sinned, or God had other plans, or something like that. There is absolutely no difference between this system and the null hypothesis, which is simply that crap happens, and therefore, there is no reason to believe. All of these miracles and answered prayers and feelings and stuff work within the gaps of our knowledge...when you scrutinize them directly, there's no evidence to suggest it's true.

While this site is horribly biased at times, it makes many valid points IMO: www.godisimaginary.com
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#63almasbabyPosted 2/15/2013 5:11:53 PM
kozlo100 posted...
Then I guess it's a good job I generally don't have a very hard time accepting what I sense and experience as an accurate depiction of reality.

I was using the line of reasoning as the sort of lowest bar for belief. I would consider a personal experience to be stronger, and would also be convinced by such an event.


Then it's interesting that you accept that black holes exist based on what scientists have said, but you apparently don't believe in God based on what mystics have said. If you read William James or Evelyn Underhill, both students of mysticism, they have anecdotes from dozens of mystics who claim to have firsthand experience of God. Why would their testimony be less compelling to you about God than a scientist's about black holes?
#64almasbabyPosted 2/15/2013 5:22:26 PM
Thuggernautz posted...
almasbaby posted...

I don't think such a line of reasoning exists. Surely, if it did some intellectual titan would have discovered it by now and you'd be convinced, and there'd be no more atheists in the world. But throughout the millenia of humankind's recorded history no such compelling argument has ever been made that's convinced an atheist that God exists.

Personally, I think it's a matter beyond the intellect. It's an instinctual, intuitive sense on the periphery of consciousness. For some it can be an overwhelming mystical episode where they feel very deeply the presence of God. I think this is the only compelling argument for God's existence, direct conscious contact with him. Even then, you might not be convinced because of its subjective nature, and the lack of receptiveness from your peers that it was indeed God you encountered.

So, the short answer is that there really is no compelling argument that will convince you. It boils down to faith that what you sense or have experienced is an accurate depiction of reality. But you can never be fully convinced that it is.


People can get that same powerful kind of experience from DMT. Or temporal lobe epilepsy. Reading diary accounts of the experiences through three different events, they are all staggeringly similar.

I agree that I don't think that line of reasoning exists presently, though, and I predict it never will. That's why I would require a little stronger evidence than that, as I stated earlier.


While I don't believe drug experiences are the same as non-drug, I think it's interesting that the line of reasoning for discrediting non-drug experiences is that they're similar to drug induced episodes, as if a person's experience while on drugs automatically discredits any "God" experience a person has while on them.

While you haven't said this, I've frequently encountered arguments along this line. Oh, it's like drugs or epilepsy, therefore it's bull. Is it? How do we know that drugs or epilepsy doesn't provide a deeper insight into reality that's not accessible to everyday consciousness?
#65kozlo100Posted 2/15/2013 5:23:33 PM
Other people's testimony would fall under the 'line of reasoning' category, not the 'personal experience' category. It's an experience, sure, but it's not personal to me. Saying 'you should believe because I experienced these things' is a line of reasoning.

The accounts I've heard or read from mystics have thus far not been ones I find compelling. The accounts I've read from scientists regarding black holes have been ones I find compelling.
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The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#66almasbabyPosted 2/15/2013 5:35:47 PM
Yeah, I find "feelings" to be highly unreliable, and there's no evidence that theyre actually reliable. Religious explanations are all smoke and mirrors IMO. They're reliable until they're not, then you either didn't pray hard enough, or you sinned, or God had other plans, or something like that. There is absolutely no difference between this system and the null hypothesis, which is simply that crap happens, and therefore, there is no reason to believe. All of these miracles and answered prayers and feelings and stuff work within the gaps of our knowledge...when you scrutinize them directly, there's no evidence to suggest it's true.

I'm not talking about miracles or answered prayers. That's a criteria for believing in God that ultimately disappoints. I'm simply referring to a Supreme Being that is at the source of all there is. I was raised a Catholic. I no longer believe in Jesus, or his miracles, but I still believe in God. It's not as if faith in one requires faith in the other.
#67JonWood007Posted 2/15/2013 11:58:33 PM
While that's true...why? What reasons do you have to actively believe in God? Why believe based on faith?
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#68almasbabyPosted 2/16/2013 3:06:35 AM
JonWood007 posted...
While that's true...why? What reasons do you have to actively believe in God? Why believe based on faith?


Mystic revelation.
#69countzanderPosted 2/16/2013 3:15:31 AM
After I die, if I feel a burning sensation or end up in some other unfortunate position, then I'll change my mind.
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#70bratt100Posted 2/16/2013 4:59:47 AM
almasbaby posted...
kozlo100 posted...
Then I guess it's a good job I generally don't have a very hard time accepting what I sense and experience as an accurate depiction of reality.

I was using the line of reasoning as the sort of lowest bar for belief. I would consider a personal experience to be stronger, and would also be convinced by such an event.


Then it's interesting that you accept that black holes exist based on what scientists have said, but you apparently don't believe in God based on what mystics have said. If you read William James or Evelyn Underhill, both students of mysticism, they have anecdotes from dozens of mystics who claim to have firsthand experience of God. Why would their testimony be less compelling to you about God than a scientist's about black holes?


I absolutely hate this argument. It's almost like the people making it make no distinction between the value of something with evidence vs no evidence. I can tell you a known value is greater then no value.
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