Where the **** was Paul?

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captain howdy
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by captain howdy » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:29 am

Og3 wrote:
CapnHowdy wrote:Arbitrary? What's arbitrary about it? If your car craps out and the mechanic tells you that his diagnosis is that an expensive part of your motor has failed and you're short of money, do you ask him to re-run the tests until a cheaper part is blamed instead?
No, but you might test his reasoning by getting a second opinion.
Why stop there? If mechanic #2 blames the same expensive part, do you keep getting third and fourth and fifth opinions until you get a diagnosis you like? Because it seems to me that's what you guys are asking me to do here. "Oh, Jesus failed to validate our claim to be in an actual, real-time relationship with him? No problem, here's some Bible verses to read instead. Oh, those didn't work? Well here's the problem---you didn't open your heart first. And better check that playing field!" I mean, dude.
Og3 wrote:With regards to your thinking, the only second opinion possible is to learn the best rules and best practices for rationality and to apply them as objectively as possible in order to validate (or invalidate) your opinion.
Really? You can't think of a better second opinion? Personally, I can think of a waaaay better second opinion---that of God himself. But he is being coy just now, so we have to make due with mere reason, to our loss. Which raises the question---why?



Sorry. Insufficient applicable evidence, case pending.

Og3
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Og3 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:47 am

captain howdy wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:29 am
Og3 wrote:
CapnHowdy wrote:Arbitrary? What's arbitrary about it? If your car craps out and the mechanic tells you that his diagnosis is that an expensive part of your motor has failed and you're short of money, do you ask him to re-run the tests until a cheaper part is blamed instead?
No, but you might test his reasoning by getting a second opinion.
Why stop there? If mechanic #2 blames the same expensive part, do you keep getting third and fourth and fifth opinions until you get a diagnosis you like? Because it seems to me that's what you guys are asking me to do here. "Oh, Jesus failed to validate our claim to be in an actual, real-time relationship with him? No problem, here's some Bible verses to read instead. Oh, those didn't work? Well here's the problem---you didn't open your heart first. And better check that playing field!" I mean, dude.
Actually, I usually check the manuals, if I have them, and talk to a couple of motorheads who have proven themselves reliable in the past. In our analogy, that would be like, Oh, I dunno, reading the gospel of John, maybe... :)
Og3 wrote:With regards to your thinking, the only second opinion possible is to learn the best rules and best practices for rationality and to apply them as objectively as possible in order to validate (or invalidate) your opinion.
Really? You can't think of a better second opinion? Personally, I can think of a waaaay better second opinion---that of God himself. But he is being coy just now, so we have to make due with mere reason, to our loss. Which raises the question---why?
But see, that's just it. It was your reasoning that told you that God's being coy. The same reasoning that told you that God should be doing all the heavy lifting. So if you're trying to get a second opinion, and you go back to the same mechanic, you'll get the same opinion.

Which is why I go to the manual -- reading the literature, and checking my reasoning against best practices -- and that's why I talk to motorheads -- here, that would be... this dialog, maybe?
Sorry. Insufficient applicable evidence, case pending.
Says the same method of reasoning that gave you the first opinion.
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Claire
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Claire » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:07 am

captain howdy wrote:Is God omnipotent or is he not? Are you suggesting God can be anything less than 100% persuasive? According to scripture he has the ability to convince the entire human race of the reality of his existence whenever he wants to--
Romans 14: 10-11

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
emphasis added

Notice that nobody will be questioning their sanity or suspecting some trick is being played --- every knee will bow and every tongue acknowledge. So if he's omnipotent enough to convince everyone on earth of who he is on judgment day then he can do it on any other day as well. But yet --- he hasn't. And I've already rejected the free will defense. By failing to make his existence clear God isn't protecting your free will, he's misrepresenting reality in such a way that it appears as if God does not exist when in fact he does. Has he somehow limited your free will by making the existence of the ground under your feet clear to you? Besides, which would be better---to enjoy your free will for the few moments of time you're on this earth only to pay for it with an eternity of torment in hell, or suffer impaired free will for those few moments but be rewarded with eternal joy and bliss in the hereafter?
Romans 14:10-12 refers to the day of judgment, where everyone will bow and confess to God, rendering account to Him for themselves. Obviously that means everyone would see He exists, but notice it doesn't say "every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God, right after I use my ability to convince them I'm really here", or even imply that. If anything, it implies people will just know upon seeing Him who He is.

On judgement day, while everyone will see God exists, not everyone will be with Him in Heaven. See, life on Earth isn't a purpose, but a means to reach eternal life with God, and we don't have all the time in the world to do that. Judgment day isn't about convincing people He exists, it's "Time's Up", the ending of human being's transient existence on Earth, and the beginning of either eternal life with God in Heaven, or eternal damnation, for those already existing and left to be judged, based on how they lived on this Earth.

So, judgement day isn't something you should wish would happen sooner than later. And, it isn't the only day people will see He exists. Numerous people, including those who initially didn't believe He existed, have testified to having already seen Him, or interacted with in some way that let them know He exists. I've witnessed others, including you, in the face of those who have testified to having had an interaction with God, and said they knew it was Him, ask if they ruled out all other possibilities first, and suggested if they haven't that they should. Yet, you also say God has the "ability to convince", so while you don't have to believe testimonies of others, why automatically reject them? Why choose to be hopeless thinking you'll never be convinced, just because you haven't been in the way you want so far? Do you claim to know better than God when and how something should be done?

You may choose to live the remainder of your life on this Earth believing God doesn't exist. But, whether one believes God exists or not, it's how you live on this Earth that will determine whether you spend eternal life with Him in Heaven or not. And, God won't force you to live a certain way. You were given a free will, reason, and intelligence to decide for yourself.

If you want to go to Heaven, and see and talk to God whenever you want, then live a sincere, charitable life on this Earth. If you don't want to wait until judgement day to just see and hear Him, and possibly spend eternal life with Him, then sincerely pray about it with an open mind, and if that experience is what you need, then it'll happen, but only He would know the right time. Giving God a time frame to fulfill your prayers is just setting yourself up to be disappointed, because you don't know if (a) what you seek is truly what you need, and (b) if it's, only God knows the right time for you to have what you need.

I've concluded God exists, and I reached that conclusion, and I continue to hold fast to it, because of life experiences, big and small. Was one experience God manifesting before me speaking audibly? No. But, He has to those He needed to, and I know He could any moment to me if that needed to happen.

Consider Jesus's resurrection, not all those who heard the claims believed, Thomas in particular, and He couldn't just believe what he was hearing, he had to see it for himself. And, that was true for Thomas, so out of love Jesus appeared and spoke to him, then said:

"Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed".

The others didn't have the experience Thomas had, but they believed because of what they have seen, and have heard. Like Thomas, you may sincerely find the best evidence to be seeing and hearing Him directly, but it doesn't mean there isn't other valid evidence, and that it's automatically unreasonable for people to believe based on it.
captain howdy wrote:So far as I am aware there is no phone ringing. And let's face it--you have to be in the vicinity of a phone before you can hear it ring, and neither you nor Moonwood are in my vicinity which would seem to suggest that I am in a better position to know if the phone's ringing than you are. The people that are in no position to know both insist the phone is ringing, but the party in the best position to know (me) says it isn't. That speaks for itself right there.
The people that are in no position to know insist the phone hasn't rung for others, but the party in the best position to know (them) says it has. That speaks for itself right there.

captain howdy
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by captain howdy » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:51 am

Claire wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:07 am
captain howdy wrote:Is God omnipotent or is he not? Are you suggesting God can be anything less than 100% persuasive? According to scripture he has the ability to convince the entire human race of the reality of his existence whenever he wants to--
Romans 14: 10-11

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
emphasis added

Notice that nobody will be questioning their sanity or suspecting some trick is being played --- every knee will bow and every tongue acknowledge. So if he's omnipotent enough to convince everyone on earth of who he is on judgment day then he can do it on any other day as well. But yet --- he hasn't. And I've already rejected the free will defense. By failing to make his existence clear God isn't protecting your free will, he's misrepresenting reality in such a way that it appears as if God does not exist when in fact he does. Has he somehow limited your free will by making the existence of the ground under your feet clear to you? Besides, which would be better---to enjoy your free will for the few moments of time you're on this earth only to pay for it with an eternity of torment in hell, or suffer impaired free will for those few moments but be rewarded with eternal joy and bliss in the hereafter?
Romans 14:10-12 refers to the day of judgment, where everyone will bow and confess to God, rendering account to Him for themselves. Obviously that means everyone would see He exists, but notice it doesn't say "every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God, right after I use my ability to convince them I'm really here", or even imply that. If anything, it implies people will just know upon seeing Him who He is.

On judgement day, while everyone will see God exists, not everyone will be with Him in Heaven. See, life on Earth isn't a purpose, but a means to reach eternal life with God, and we don't have all the time in the world to do that. Judgment day isn't about convincing people He exists, it's "Time's Up", the ending of human being's transient existence on Earth, and the beginning of either eternal life with God in Heaven, or eternal damnation, for those already existing and left to be judged, based on how they lived on this Earth.

So, judgement day isn't something you should wish would happen sooner than later. And, it isn't the only day people will see He exists. Numerous people, including those who initially didn't believe He existed, have testified to having already seen Him, or interacted with in some way that let them know He exists. I've witnessed others, including you, in the face of those who have testified to having had an interaction with God, and said they knew it was Him, ask if they ruled out all other possibilities first, and suggested if they haven't that they should. Yet, you also say God has the "ability to convince", so while you don't have to believe testimonies of others, why automatically reject them? Why choose to be hopeless thinking you'll never be convinced, just because you haven't been in the way you want so far? Do you claim to know better than God when and how something should be done?

You may choose to live the remainder of your life on this Earth believing God doesn't exist. But, whether one believes God exists or not, it's how you live on this Earth that will determine whether you spend eternal life with Him in Heaven or not. And, God won't force you to live a certain way. You were given a free will, reason, and intelligence to decide for yourself.

If you want to go to Heaven, and see and talk to God whenever you want, then live a sincere, charitable life on this Earth. If you don't want to wait until judgement day to just see and hear Him, and possibly spend eternal life with Him, then sincerely pray about it with an open mind, and if that experience is what you need, then it'll happen, but only He would know the right time. Giving God a time frame to fulfill your prayers is just setting yourself up to be disappointed, because you don't know if (a) what you seek is truly what you need, and (b) if it's, only God knows the right time for you to have what you need.

I've concluded God exists, and I reached that conclusion, and I continue to hold fast to it, because of life experiences, big and small. Was one experience God manifesting before me speaking audibly? No. But, He has to those He needed to, and I know Hie could any moment to me if that needed to happen.

Consider Jesus's resurrection, not all those who heard the claims believed, Thomas in particular, and He couldn't just believe what he was hearing, he had to see it for himself. And, that was true for Thomas, so out of love Jesus appeared and spoke to him, then said:

"Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed".

The others didn't have the experience Thomas had, but they believed because of what they have seen, and have heard. Like Thomas, you may sincerely find the best evidence to be seeing and hearing Him directly, but it doesn't mean there isn't other valid evidence, and that it's automatically unreasonable for people to believe based on it.
captain howdy wrote:So far as I am aware there is no phone ringing. And let's face it--you have to be in the vicinity of a phone before you can hear it ring, and neither you nor Moonwood are in my vicinity which would seem to suggest that I am in a better position to know if the phone's ringing than you are. The people that are in no position to know both insist the phone is ringing, but the party in the best position to know (me) says it isn't. That speaks for itself right there.
The people that are in no position to know insist the phone hasn't rung for others, but the party in the best position to know (them) says it has. That speaks for itself right there.
You know what, young lady? You got moxie.

captain howdy
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by captain howdy » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:53 am

I hate moxie

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SEG
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by SEG » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:21 pm

Claire wrote:Giving God a time frame to fulfill your prayers is just setting yourself up to be disappointed, because you don't know if (a) what you seek is truly what you need, and (b) if it's, only God knows the right time for you to have what you need.
I wasn't disappointed when I gave the FSM a timeframe to fulfill my prayers to deliver a buxom saucy wench many moons ago (no offense Moon). I truly needed my wife, so I prayed to him and he delivered my wife pronto with a case of rum. When I prayed sincerely to your God, I got nothing, not even an engaged signal.
I've concluded God exists, and I reached that conclusion, and I continue to hold fast to it, because of life experiences, big and small. Was one experience God manifesting before me speaking audibly? No. But, He has to those He needed to, and I know He could any moment to me if that needed to happen.
Has it occurred to you that the people that have said to you that he has spoken to audibly were lying? Or your own experiences aren't any proof of his existence and you were only fooling yourself that they were?
The people that are in no position to know insist the phone hasn't rung for others, but the party in the best position to know (them) says it has. That speaks for itself right there.
If and when he calls, get a recording as proof. Ask him to provide an answer to something to help all mankind practically, like a cure for cancer. If you can get this proof, billions of people would convert overnight. Seeing you are in a relationship with him, tell him that me and everyone else reading this post is waiting for his answer and we will give him a week to reply. I can hardly wait.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

captain howdy
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by captain howdy » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:33 am

“Moonwood the Hare” wrote:
captain howdy wrote:
“Moonwood the Hare” wrote:If we are talking about a relationship then by definition there are two sides. If the phone is ringing and you don't pick up then that is down to you. If you unplug the phone then that will stop someone calling however much they want to.
Also by definition both sides have to make their counterparts aware of their existence. Very difficult to have a relationship with someone you don't even know exists. Kinda lays the groundwork for everything else.
I am not so sure about that. A baby is in a relationship with its mother long before it applies so abstract an idea as existence to her.
Babies can’t use phones, so I don’t think we need to worry about that one. Besides, by that logic if a baby can be in a relationship with its mother without being aware of her existence then by that same rationale I am already in a relationship with God without being aware of his existence as well so the entire question of my seeking out God to start a relationship with him is moot.
“Moonwood the Hare” wrote:
captain howdy wrote:If God chooses to speak to the human race through a book then he is severely limiting his potential audience. After all, a great many competing religions have books of their own too, so God's signal could tend to get lost amidst the noise. Now if God spoke directly to the human race, other religions don't have something like that. The religion that can actually produce the God they advertise will sweep the world in 10 minutes, and it should be an easy matter if God were actually there and had the motivations Christians say he has. But strangely---silence. I have to go hunt God down in one particular religion's holy book. And with an open mind and heart too, or else God will remain silent. Is it possible your God doesn't want to be found?
When I suggested reading one of the gospels in this way it was just that a suggestion. If you don't want to take it up then don't. If later you change your mind then do. I can't explain why God does not communicate with people in the way you think he should, so if for you that is a reason for not accepting that he might communicate in other ways then so be it.
God has not validated Christian claims to be in a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth, but really God could make his existence plain to me in a myriad of ways. He could just flip a switch in some celestial control board and my disbelief would vanish. Why the hide-and-seek? Souls are at stake here, why the games? Still—nothing. And as I pointed out earlier, he can find me waaay easier than I can find him, so the onus to start a relationship lies more with him than with me, I would think.
“Moonwood the Hare” wrote:
captain howdy wrote:Here's a rule I find handy---
1. Existential claims are amenable to reason.

2. The claim "God exists" is an existential claim.

3. The claim "God exists" is amenable to reason.
I don't really know what you mean. If by 1 you mean all claims that an entity exists can be decided by rational inference then I disagree. I am not even sure if the claim God exists is really an existential claim. Saying there is a being who created everything seems to me to be quite a different kind of claim from saying there is a red car in the drive. And neither claim seems to me to be one that can be proved by by inference from first principles though I suppose the former could be proved by inference in some contexts and given some other data.
Amenable =/= "decided by rational inference"----
Definition of amenable
1 : liable to be brought to account : ANSWERABLE
citizens amenable to the law
2a : capable of submission (as to judgment or test) : SUITED
The data is amenable to analysis.

b : readily brought to yield, submit, or cooperate
a government not amenable to change
c : WILLING sense 1
was amenable to spending more time at home
2a. SUITED is not synonymous with "decided". If an existential claim is defined as a claim that X exists (which is how I am using the term) then it follows that the claim "God exists" is an existential claim also by definition. I agree that it's a much different claim than "there exists a red car in the driveway", but the difference isn't that they're not both existential claims, it's that one claim ("God exists") is an extraordinary claim while the other is not.

You've suggested that I should reexamine my entire way of knowing. What you didn't mention is why---why should I do that? Just because it doesn't support a Christian worldview? How many times did you have to reboot your worldview to become a christian? No, I can see doing that if my current worldview is deficient in some way but if it is I don't see it. You don't rewire the TV just because you don't like the show that's on.

Claire
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Claire » Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:39 am

captain howdy wrote:He could just flip a switch in some celestial control board and my disbelief would vanish. Why the hide-and-seek? Souls are at stake here, why the games? Still—nothing. And as I pointed out earlier, he can find me waaay easier than I can find him, so the onus to start a relationship lies more with him than with me, I would think.
So, because you didn't experience what and when you wanted, you gave up concluding God doesn't exist, and therefore you don't expect anything to happen, yet demand God come to you, and do all the work, if He does exist. Do you find that impatient, arrogant, entitled, and lazy on your part?

You don't know what you desire won't ever happen. So, why doubt? And, even if God manifests and speaks audibly to you, there's still the possibility you could choose to doubt your experience -- God isn't going to force you to have Faith. If you don't doubt, contemplate what Jesus said to His apostle Thomas,

"You believe now because you have seen. But, blessed are those who will believe in Me without having seen! Which reward shall I have to give them, if I have to reward you, who's faith has been assisted by the power of seeing!"

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Moonwood the Hare
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Moonwood the Hare » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:52 pm

captain howdy wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:33 am
Babies can’t use phones, so I don’t think we need to worry about that one.
Yes but surely this kind of indirect communication places the existential status of what one is in contact with in greater uncertainty. That is the point of the Turing test - if I only have written communication to go on, how can I know what I am in contact with, how do I decide it is a person? There is a novel by David Lodge where someone gets deeply involved with the computer program Eliza,an early and very clunky AI program. Then someone takes over and starts answering pretending to be Eliza, so now he is in a relationship with a human being without knowing that. In the case of God there is the sense being in contact with the personal but without the trappings of formal communication. You can break down the concept of relationship in many ways and see different aspects of that as important in different contexts.
Besides, by that logic if a baby can be in a relationship with its mother without being aware of her existence then by that same rationale I am already in a relationship with God without being aware of his existence as well so the entire question of my seeking out God to start a relationship with him is moot.
Can does not imply must.
God has not validated Christian claims to be in a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth, but really God could make his existence plain to me in a myriad of ways. He could just flip a switch in some celestial control board and my disbelief would vanish.
I would think there would have to be some corresponding switch in the human mind and belief and disbelief does not seem to work in that kind of binary way.
Why the hide-and-seek? Souls are at stake here, why the games? Still—nothing. And as I pointed out earlier, he can find me waaay easier than I can find him, so the onus to start a relationship lies more with him than with me, I would think.
Yes I would think that too and had not meant to suggest otherwise.
I don't really know what you mean. If by 1 you mean all claims that an entity exists can be decided by rational inference then I disagree. I am not even sure if the claim God exists is really an existential claim. Saying there is a being who created everything seems to me to be quite a different kind of claim from saying there is a red car in the drive. And neither claim seems to me to be one that can be proved by by inference from first principles though I suppose the former could be proved by inference in some contexts and given some other data.
Amenable =/= "decided by rational inference"----
Definition of amenable
1 : liable to be brought to account : ANSWERABLE
citizens amenable to the law
2a : capable of submission (as to judgment or test) : SUITED
The data is amenable to analysis.

b : readily brought to yield, submit, or cooperate
a government not amenable to change
c : WILLING sense 1
was amenable to spending more time at home


2a. SUITED is not synonymous with "decided".
I think we are in agreement then. The claim God exists is one we can reason about but not one that can be decided by reason.
If an existential claim is defined as a claim that X exists (which is how I am using the term) then it follows that the claim "God exists" is an existential claim also by definition.
The difficulty is that the term exists can mean different things in different contexts. Think of 'prejudices exist' 'The highest prime does not exist' 'Platonic forms exist' 'gravity exists' 'the speed limit exists' 'Jungian archetypes exist'. We mean something different in each of these cases. So while it may be easy to see they have something in common it is hard to pin down what it is. The nature of the object modifies the meaning of the claim, and not all these claims are decidable by reason. But in a more limited sense all of them could be amenable to reason.
I agree that it's a much different claim than "there exists a red car in the driveway", but the difference isn't that they're not both existential claims, it's that one claim ("God exists") is an extraordinary claim while the other is not.
Whether a claim is extraordinary depends on the context in which it is made. In a medieval monastery or a modern church there would be nothing extraordinary about the claim God exists. This leads me to conclude that the extra-ordinariness of some claims is a property of the reaction to the claim in a particular context not a property of the claim itself. From an epistemological point of view this would not be the most significant difference between these two claims. The claim that there is a pterodactyl in shades in the driveway would be regarded by most people as an extraordinary claim but we would verify it the same way as we would verify the claim regarding the car, by going and looking. In other words these are empirical claims whereas the claim God exists isn't.
You've suggested that I should reexamine my entire way of knowing. What you didn't mention is why---why should I do that? Just because it doesn't support a Christian worldview? How many times did you have to reboot your worldview to become a christian? No, I can see doing that if my current worldview is deficient in some way but if it is I don't see it. You don't rewire the TV just because you don't like the show that's on.
No. I suggested doing it because it is more consistent with a skeptical outlook. Rationalistic modernism was being questioned almost as soon as its basic outlines were being formulated and there is now a vast body of criticism of this approach. Some of its fiercest critics, such as Wittgenstein or Feyerabend have been atheists and many of its early advocates such as Descartes were Christians.

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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by captain howdy » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:42 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
captain howdy wrote: Babies can’t use phones, so I don’t think we need to worry about that one.
Yes but surely this kind of indirect communication places the existential status of what one is in contact with in greater uncertainty. That is the point of the Turing test - if I only have written communication to go on, how can I know what I am in contact with, how do I decide it is a person? There is a novel by David Lodge where someone gets deeply involved with the computer program Eliza,an early and very clunky AI program. Then someone takes over and starts answering pretending to be Eliza, so now he is in a relationship with a human being without knowing that. In the case of God there is the sense being in contact with the personal but without the trappings of formal communication. You can break down the concept of relationship in many ways and see different aspects of that as important in different contexts.
But notice—-in the case of the Turing test, you at least have written communication to go by, but you describe a God encounter as not even having that to go by—it’s just some kind of sense you get of being in the presence of an intelligent being like you’re in a seance of sorts. So this puts you in a similar position to the character in the novel, only when faced with the question of am I in contact with a machine or a man you answer “3. A supernatural agent”. I do thank both you and Og3 (and the other believers too) for trying to give me a sense of what such an experience is like the but the logic of it all escapes me. If it’s difficult enough under controlled conditions to be sure of just what or who you’re in remote contact with then you must be able to see how much more uncertainty is introduced by changing starting conditions from “controlled” (Turing test) to uncontrolled and then adding a whole new element of reality as of yet unconfirmed—the supernatural—into things. Your uncertainty about the nature of who you are in contact with goes way up, I would think. IOW, I would think the same underlying uncertainty at work in the ex. of a Turing test would be amplified enormously in your case (not even written communication to go by).
Moonwood the Hare wrote:
captain howdy wrote:God has not validated Christian claims to be in a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth, but really God could make his existence plain to me in a myriad of ways. He could just flip a switch in some celestial control board and my disbelief would vanish.
I would think there would have to be some corresponding switch in the human mind and belief and disbelief does not seem to work in that kind of binary way.
Such trifles are of little concern to the omnipotent/omniscient. When one of the agents in the relationship has those attributes it throws a spanner into things. People need a switch such as you describe? No problem; he already installed it standard equipment, all humans would have it already. Etc.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:
captain howdy wrote:Why the hide-and-seekk? Souls are at stake here, why the games? Still—nothing. And as I pointed out earlier, he can find me waaay easier than I can find him, so the onus to start a relationship lies more with him than with me, I would think.
Yes I would think that too and had not meant to suggest otherwise.
But this has implications. Ugly implications. If Christian doctrine re: hell is true, and if the escape from this involves interaction with an omnipotent being that knows how to contact us but frequently doesn’t seem to then something is seriously seriously wrong with this picture.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:
captain howdy wrote:2a. SUITED is not synonymous with "decided".
I think we are in agreement then. The claim God exists is one we can reason about but not one that can be decided by reason.
This is not to say however we cannot rule out certain depictions of God by dint of reason. Ex: Some believers depict God as being both perfectly just and omnibenevolent but these seem mutually contradictory at least if the idea of benevolence includes forgiveness for wrongdoing while “perfectly just” requires punishment for wrongdoing.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:
captain howdy wrote:If an existential claim is defined as a claim that X exists (which is how I am using the term) then it follows that the claim "God exists" is an existential claim also by definition.
The difficulty is that the term exists can mean different things in different contexts. Think of 'prejudices exist' 'The highest prime does not exist' 'Platonic forms exist' 'gravity exists' 'the speed limit exists' 'Jungian archetypes exist'. We mean something different in each of these cases. So while it may be easy to see they have something in common it is hard to pin down what it is. The nature of the object modifies the meaning of the claim, and not all these claims are decidable by reason. But in a more limited sense all of them could be amenable to reason.
All of the examples you gave have the common thread of existence—
exist

1Have objective reality or being.
‘dossiers existed on almost everyone of prominence’
‘there existed no organization to cope with espionage.’

1.1 Occur or be found, especially in a particular place or situation.
‘two conflicting stereotypes of housework exist in popular thinking’

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/exist
IOW All of the examples you presented have one thing in common: They're all real.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:
captain howdy wrote:I agree that it's a much different claim than "there exists a red car in the driveway", but the difference isn't that they're not both existential claims, it's that one claim ("God exists") is an extraordinary claim while the other is not.
Whether a claim is extraordinary depends on the context in which it is made. In a medieval monastery or a modern church there would be nothing extraordinary about the claim God exists. This leads me to conclude that the extra-ordinariness of some claims is a property of the reaction to the claim in a particular context not a property of the claim itself.

From an epistemological point of view this would not be the most significant difference between these two claims. The claim that there is a pterodactyl in shades in the driveway would be regarded by most people as an extraordinary claim but we would verify it the same way as we would verify the claim regarding the car, by going and looking. In other words these are empirical claims whereas the claim God exists isn't.
The aphorism Carl Sagan popularized is admittedly imprecise. When I use the term 'extraordinary claim' I mean that for it to be true would mean that much of what we think we know about reality is not true. Your example of the dinosaur in the driveway would upend a great deal of what we thought we knew about paleontology so it is an extraordinary claim. A leprechaun in the driveway instead would be even more extraordinary due to its introduction of the idea that reality hides a layer we could call the supernatural where magical rules override the known laws of nature and beings unseen by us reside and drunkenly screw with us. You and I are drawing two different conclusions from the lack of available evidence supporting the existence of God. You say the lack of evidence means that the claim God exists is not an empirical claim. However your own scripture disagrees with this---
Romans 1:20--

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse
I Conclude that the lack of evidence means that the existence of God is an empirical claim but it is an empirical claim that has failed. You conclude that the lack of available evidence indicates the claim is not empirical. How do you tell the difference?
Moonwood the Hare wrote:
captain howdy wrote:You've suggested that I should reexamine my entire way of knowing. What you didn't mention is why---why should I do that? Just because it doesn't support a Christian worldview? How many times did you have to reboot your worldview to become a christian? No, I can see doing that if my current worldview is deficient in some way but if it is I don't see it. You don't rewire the TV just because you don't like the show that's on.
No. I suggested doing it because it is more consistent with a skeptical outlook. Rationalistic modernism was being questioned almost as soon as its basic outlines were being formulated and there is now a vast body of criticism of this approach. Some of its fiercest critics, such as Wittgenstein or Feyerabend have been atheists and many of its early advocates such as Descartes were Christians.
Hmmm. Look at these numbers, Moon. I'm sure you're aware of the 2013 PhilPapers survey of contemporary philosophers.--

https://philpapers.org/archive/BOUWDP
God: atheism 72.8%; theism 14.6%; other 12.6%

Metaphilosophy: naturalism 49.8%; non-naturalism 25.9%; other 24.3%
Atheism >70% among contemporary philosophers, philosophical naturalism ~50%. My views at least on those two questions seems to be aligned with those of a large chunk of the philosophers surveyed.

Interesting exchange. I note with some interest that our thinking seems to run along parallel lines in places.

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