humphreys wrote:When speaking to Christians they would have you believe they are in direct communication with God,
Yes, they are. it's called prayer.
humphreys wrote: and that God allows them to understand the Bible in a way that skeptics cannot.
The Bible, on its surface, can be understood by anybody. The difference is in revelation.
humphreys wrote: But then, most of them cannot agree on many things of importance at the core of the own religion, like predestination, or what the exact qualifications for heaven are.
Not true. You will not find a Christian who does not believe in the atonement of their sins through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. There is no other fundamental belief that pertains to salvation. Some churches may try to add things to that, but that is the very essence, and all CHRISTIANS agree.
humphreys wrote:If you talk to God, why don't you just ask him, for instance, whether Calvinism is true?
You are right. It is that simple. And so is the answer. There are many voices competing for our attention. The voice of the enemy, the voice of the world, the voice of people that we respect whether they are right or wrong, not to mention our own voice along with the voice of God. For those who are not on solid food and who have not trained their senses will have a much more difficult time discerning God's voice from all the others. Even those who have walked with the Lord for a long time can fall short from time to time. We aren't perfect. Many are babes in Christ, and remain that way, even though we are exhorted to move on to maturity.
humphreys wrote:Why don't you know already? Why would we have a book written for followers of God where they cannot even agree on something so central? There are so many different interpretations among believers, many about very important things, and yet we're led to believe these people are so certain they communicate with God.
This seems like quite a discrepancy to me.
Like I said, we agree on the core, which is the most important.
humphreys wrote:I think when a believer claims to be in communication with God, all they are really doing is speaking to themselves, internally, whilst having the feeling that God is listening. This is not quite the two-way communication they imply exists between them and God.
It seems that the only evidence they have for the existence of the Biblical God, at the end of the day, is a feeling that he exists, and a fairly mundane experience where nothing supernatural actually happens, that they attach great meaning to, and that's generally about it.
I can't speak for others but not in my case and, I suspect, not for many others as well.
humphreys wrote:I really feel that the gulf between skeptic and believer is a lot narrower than many suggest, with both sides lacking real certainty and conviction. Believers seem much more willing to declare great confidence in their beliefs when in reality they must have great doubts, because the evidence just isn't there. Internal conviction is one thing, but the rational mind must always be aware that their beliefs are not based on anything sound. Faith is good at shutting up the rational mind, but it must still be present.
Believe what you want but, if I was a gambling man, I would bet that more Christians than not have the evidence THEY NEED.