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The Bible ~ spiritually inspired?

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Postby humphreys » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:39 am

I should add, that while I do expect to die, I want to get away from the implication that I know more than anyone else. Contrary to popular belief amongst the religious, no one knows why we are here, and no one knows the nature of this reality.

It is my best guess that we cease to exist at death, but I have no real idea whether that is the case, because to answer that question, you have to understand this reality, and neither I nor anyone else does. To give just one example, there has been talk of virtual reality in other threads.

I can find no strong argument against the case for us being in virtual reality, we may well be in one. Who knows? Maybe reality is some kind of dream, I sure as heck am not arrogant enough to claim any knowledge beyond what we have so far learnt from science, which is how this particular reality functions, and not its true underlying nature. It is possible science is not even equipped to tackle the task of unravelling the true nature of reality, in which case, religion is not the answer, it is simply unknowable and will stay that way forever. There is no other way.

I think we could all take solace in uncertainty, maybe that can be a replacement for religion for some. I believe we would do better to ease our fears by embracing the unknowable rather than feigning absolute knowledge of the divine. The world would be a better place, for sure.

Afterall, that's been the job of religion for centuries, take the unknown and replace it with God, but what if we just replaced it with awe, and embraced the uncertainty instead?
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

- Sam Harris
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Postby qmark » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:55 am

humphreys wrote:
Here's another difference, I can blaspheme agaisnt science without guilt, watch:

The Earth is flat! Evolution is false!


Hmmm. Guilt has nothing to do with it. I find the fact that you believe you CAN blaspheme science rather telling. :lol:
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Postby qmark » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:12 am

humphreys wrote:I think we could all take solace in uncertainty, maybe that can be a replacement for religion for some. I believe we would do better to ease our fears by embracing the unknowable rather than feigning absolute knowledge of the divine. The world would be a better place, for sure.


I have never claimed I know everything and I don't know if it is possible to know everything about God, but the reality of His existance I do know. I realize, of course, that you will discard such statements as fanciful imagination, but that's okay. Until God reveals Himself to you and you experience Him for yourself, there is no other conclusion available to you.
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Postby humphreys » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:54 am

I do not deny that you have the feeling of knowledge, but when it comes down to it, the way God supposedly reveals himself to believers is not actual proof of his existence, although it does certainly instill the feeling of knowledge in them. Real knowledge involves tangible proof, and does not require such concepts as faith, or the kind of religious reinforcement of beliefs involved in the prayers, rituals, songs, and methods of Christianity.

Real knowledge never encounters doubt, and requires absolutely no further future support of any kind.

My knowledge of the existence of England is not the same as your "knowledge" of the existence of God. I truly know England exists, as do you, but you do not truly know that God exists. Your belief requires constant support, it needs nurturing and cultivating, it needs constant communcation with God, it needs faith, it needs ritual, and so on.

If Christians are not careful, their beliefs will fail, their faith will wane, their conviction will decrease, and their "knowledge" will turn into mild belief, agnosticism, or even atheism. The same cannot be said of true knowledge. No person who ever went to England later doubted its existence for even a fraction of a second. That is true knowledge.
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

- Sam Harris
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Postby qmark » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:18 am

First, let me say, I've been to England and I can seriously say I doubt it exists. At least, the England that I was expecting. :lol:

Seriously though;

humphreys wrote:I truly know England exists, as do you, but you do not truly know that God exists.


I do know, and in the same way that you know. I have "experienced" God as you have "experienced" England. A friend of mine died a few years ago at 47 and he never traveled more than 100 miles from his place of birth. To him, England wasn't real. It was there only because he was told it was there.

humphreys wrote:Your belief requires constant support, it needs nurturing and cultivating, it needs constant communcation with God, it needs faith, it needs ritual, and so on.


We've discussed this before. Nurturing, cultivating, and communication leads to a deeper relationship with God just like those things lead to a deeper relationship with anyone else. No rituals needed. Yes, faith is a necessary component because God is a rewarder of faith.

humphreys wrote:If Christians are not careful, their beliefs will fail, their faith will wane, their conviction will decrease, and their "knowledge" will turn into mild belief, agnosticism, or even atheism.


I can only speak for me. It would be impossible for my belief to fail. That would be like me turning to my wife and saying she doesn't exist after 37 years of marrage. I know that's not true.
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Postby shadowcass » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:03 am

It might be as well if we were to define our terms before we continue.

A good place to begin would be with the word "knowledge."

Knowledge to some is limited to those things they can see and touch. A chair exists because they can SIT on it.
So when someone says they know God exists---without seeing or touching (at least, in any physical sense) Him that is NOT knowledge to a REALIST.
It is a belief...a faith...based upon certain chemical and electrical phenomena in the brain. To a Realist God may only be "a blot of mustard...a bit of undigested beef."
(to quote a certain Ebenezer Scrooge).

But to the person who has HAD the experience of God both it and He are as real as any chair. Because they have "touched and been touched" by Him. Not in the recognized physical sense---yet still it feels real.

There is a hymn which contains the words "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!"
To a person of faith no other evidence is required.

To a Realist that is the goofiest thing they've ever heard. ;)

It's not really goofy but it is...unhelpful.

Let's look at it THIS way... :roll:

Well, that was fun....now we'll look at it ANOTHER way:


The Realist says this "Experience of God" isn't real because it isn't based in MATERIAL REALITY.
It's a psychological event.
Yet they claim that a chair is real. But a chair isn't REAL either.
It, too, is a psychological event. Or, better, a PERCEPTUAL event.
We know that a chair is REALLY only a bunch of neutrons and protons and so on arranged in a certain order and moving at a certain speed. Not only isn't it a "chair" (which is the name we give our perception of these neutrons and so on) it isn't even "solid". There are huge gaps the arrangement of these (is it okay to use the word "particles" here?) I'll use it anyway. There are gaps in the arrangement of these particles---we can't see them (without certain aids to our vision) but they are nonetheless THERE.
All of this is true of OUR physical bodies as well.
In fact it is true of everything we perceive.

The only difference, then, is that EVERYONE can experience a chair.

NOT everyone experiences God.

But now let's ask ourselves how someone who hs been blind since the day they were born experiences a chair.
They can't SEE it. They can't admire the beauty of the carving or the colors of the covering.
But they can still sit on it.
So it is for those who haven't experienced God.
They can still enjoy the world He created. They can still enjoy the warmth of the sun and the beauty of a butterfly andf the sweet scent of a rose.

They just lack the sense that would open them up to the transcendent.
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Postby humphreys » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:16 am

qmark wrote:I do know, and in the same way that you know. I have "experienced" God as you have "experienced" England.


Well, all I can say is that I don't believe you. I'm not calling you a liar, I just don't accept that the two types of knowledge are on par.

As for you never losing your faith, I have seen people in a simiar position to you who claimed absolute knowledge of God, and they've lost their faith at one point or another.

No one who has ever been to England has lost the belief in its existence at a later point.

Shadowcass has it almost spot-on with her descriptions of realists, and that a key difference between experiencing a chair and experiencing God is that the experience of the chair is shared. But there is more to it than that.

There is no good explanation for our constistent shared experience of the chair, except for the fact there is really a chair there. The chair is real by our definition of real. It could be an illusion, but then everything that we consider real would be the same kind of consistent illusion, so it would be considered real by our standards.

However, supposed experiences of God have other explanations - like psychological explanations, and simple brain malfunctions, and so on. Similar experiences can be replicated in a lab, but the consistent shared experience of an actual chair cannot be, at least with current technology.

We have far more reason to believe the experience of the chair is a reflection of an actual chair than we do to assume our perceived personal experience with God is an experience of an actual being, and not a psychological only phenomena.

A real chair has an impact on objective reality, and that means it can be measured and investigated empirically. It checks all the boxes for being real, but experiences of God tick all the boxes of being imaginary - no impact on objective reality, not open to scientific study, we don't see God, or smell God, or taste God, we only feel his presence.

shadowcass wrote:They can still enjoy the world He created. They can still enjoy the warmth of the sun and the beauty of a butterfly andf the sweet scent of a rose.

They just lack the sense that would open them up to the transcendent.


Well, believers who have become atheists at a later stage, as well as unbelievers who have claimed mystical like experiences would seem to prove that perhaps everyone "experiences God", or, at least, has mystical experiences that they may or may not choose to attribute to God.

I don't believe you have experienced anything, say, a practicing Buddhist monk hasn't. However, it is clear those experiences can be interpreted in different ways. Some treat them as God, some as nature, some as aliens, some simply as amazing psychological events. The fact the experiences are up for interpretation at all is another point that differs from the experience of a "real" chair.
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

- Sam Harris
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Postby qmark » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:08 am

humphreys wrote:Well, all I can say is that I don't believe you. I'm not calling you a liar,


:lol: :lol: :lol: Riiiiight!

humphreys wrote:As for you never losing your faith, I have seen people in a simiar position to you who claimed absolute knowledge of God, and they've lost their faith at one point or another.


Again, you know my thoughts on this.

humphreys wrote:No one who has ever been to England has lost the belief in its existence at a later point.


Exactly, which is why I believe in real Christians, and christians in name only.

humphreys wrote:I don't believe you have experienced anything, say, a practicing Buddhist monk hasn't.


I highly doubt that but, a fair point. Let's say, in a universe where God and His adversary does exist, would it not be to the adversary's advantage to try and duplicate an experience with deception as the ultimate goal? This is a yes or no question.

Really humphreys, we've had these discussions hundreds of times and they always start at point A and end at point B with never a variation. Why do we bother?
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Postby sandra » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:20 am

There is no seperation in what is physical and spiritual, no space, no distance, no time.
Its one thing for us to say this and its another to experience the truth of it.
And people CAN help others experience these things, through changes in vibrations.
Just ask someone how they feel while sitting in an electric chair.
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby humphreys » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:05 pm

qmark wrote:
humphreys wrote:Well, all I can say is that I don't believe you. I'm not calling you a liar,


:lol: :lol: :lol: Riiiiight!


I realize that sounded ridiculous, but I believe you to be completely honest. I would never put you down as a liar, as I don't think you're like that, but I guess I think it's possible to mistakingly think you know something.

To take an example which is probably offensive but not meant to be, give a guy some drugs and he'll know for sure he can fly in that moment, but this is not real knowledge! Keep him on drugs and he may continue to believe it even, but it's a belief that needs support - the drugs, take away the drugs, and he'll see the reality of the situation.

qmark wrote:I highly doubt that but, a fair point. Let's say, in a universe where God and His adversary does exist, would it not be to the adversary's advantage to try and duplicate an experience with deception as the ultimate goal? This is a yes or no question.


I would say No.

It is down to the experiencer to interpret the experience, and many of those experiencing mystical experiences feel they are brought closer to God. It is a rare case that someone is taken further from belief in God by a mystical experience.

I would say Satan is doing God a favour in this instance!

Now, if we were to answer yes to your question, we would be forced to answer the follow up question:

Would it not be in God's best interests to stop Satan's deception?

qmark wrote:Really humphreys, we've had these discussions hundreds of times and they always start at point A and end at point B with never a variation. Why do we bother?


I dunno, cause we'd not talk at all otherwise? ;)
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

- Sam Harris
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