This has really degenerated into such a mess that I don’t know where to begin.
First, here’s my original post with my original question back on page 9 of this thread:
Joey and Mitch... and other believers who identify with what Mitch says and Joey agrees with....
Mitch (and Joey agreed with it) wrote:Yes we Christians see a person and His intent written in its overall pattern, but there is no objective evidence to back it up...
How is that different from delusion or hallucination? I realize that's of no importance to the one who is delusional or hallucinating, but what about to those who aren't hearing/seeing what the hallucinator or delusional person is seeing/hearing? How do THEY distinguish between what is real and what is whacko?
I know it sounds like I'm being nasty here, but I'm really not trying to be that way. I'm genuinely curious, and would really like to know, how I would be able to tell whether what you say you hear/see is "real" (exists outside the imaginations of your brains) or is a hallucination/delusion. Is there no way for me to tell?
Over the next few pages, as a result of trying to re-state and clarify my question so Mitch could understand it and respond to what I was actually
asking, rather than to what he had erroneously concocted in his mind into several different straw man versions of the question, I jumbled things up quite a bit from the original purpose of my question, which was to learn something and gain some insights into how/why Christians are able to honestly believe with the certainty they exhibit in the face of a total absence of objective evidence to support their beliefs. I should have re-stated the original question exactly the same way each time. That would have avoided most of this mess. Water under the bridge....
Mitch is correct in his repeated claim that a delusion is a belief that is contradicted by superior evidence to the contrary. What he seems to me to be missing is the corollary implication of that, which occurs when there is no objective evidence either
to confirm or
to contradict the belief. My belief that there are fairies living in my garden fits that aspect of delusional thinking, since there is no objective evidence either to confirm or to contradict my claim. That is not
to say that the absence of objective evidence that there are fairies living in my garden (no fairy footprints, no fairy droppings -- ewwww, no fairy sightings, etc.) is PROOF that there aren’t any fairies living there, but who among us reasonable people would accept my claim that fairies are living in my garden as true without some objective evidence to support my claim
? I don’t think any of us would, and that is the burr under my saddle that triggered my question. So, why would we expect objective evidence to support my claims about fairies in my garden, but NOT expect the same in support of theists’ claims about their god(s)? I think that’s a legitimate question that BOTH theists AND atheists need to understand, if not answer. (As an aside, I think atheists have already answered the question. They DO expect evidence to support theistic claims just as they would for claims about fairies. Theists exempt claims about their gods from such evidence because there isn’t any. Doh!)
Oh, I almost forgot... I DO NOT THINK ALL THEISTS ARE DELUSIONAL!
Why not, you might ask?
Although there are a few delusional theists out there, most are not. Surely none on this forum are, or at least none have given any indications they are. Even though there may be no objective evidence for them to hang their hats on in support of what they believe, they find other things just as convincing and persuasive. They reason
that their beliefs are warranted by what they observe around them and their life experiences. They find some (or all) of the classic arguments for the existence of God persuasive, if not conclusive. They’ve examined and contemplated all the possibilities to their satisfaction, and they’ve concluded, reasonably
, that their beliefs are appropriate and fit them just fine. They may doubt and question their beliefs from time to time, but they’ve always been able either to re-confirm what they believe or to modify their beliefs to fit new information and new ways of thinking of old information.
Personally, I don’t
find theists’ reasons for believing satisfactorily convincing or persuasive, and I find other explanations for everything more convincing and persuasive. So I’m an atheist. But I also don’t know for sure about ANY of all of this stuff, so I’m also an agnostic.
The facts that I don’t believe in gods; that I don’t find theists’ reasons for believing to be sufficiently convincing or persuasive; that I find other (natural, materialistic) explanations for things more
convincing and persuasive; or that I enjoy challenging, arguing, and even sometimes ridiculing and mocking theists’ beliefs DOES NOT MEAN that I’m intolerant of them or their beliefs, that I demand they abandon their beliefs in favor of mine, or that I think they're delusional in their thinking (even though it often does resemble that).
I know that still leaves a lot of holes and a lot of questions and misunderstandings, but I hope it clears up some of this mess so we can go on with the discussion.RIAN
: I've read all your posts in response to mine, as well as your other posts where you referenced things I'd said or directed things to me. I hope this post answers your questions and sheds a clearer, if not a brighter, light on where I stand. Thanks for your insightful comments, observations, and suggestions. If there's something more you want to hear from me about this, please ask!