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Jagella
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:20 pm  The Christian's Grasp on Reality Reply with quote

I think that the debate between Christian apologists and skeptics might boil down to the following exchange:

Apologist: We know that Yahweh and Jesus are a real god, and we know that they have performed miracles like parting seas and raising dead people back to life.
Skeptic: You are mistaking natural phenomenon for the supernatural.

Keeping this exchange in mind as a basic template, consider the real-life exchange I had with a Christian friend of mine earlier today (1/1/2019). Ginger (her real name) has told me for a month or so that she's been having trouble with fluid on her brain. She testified today that her head-trouble was miraculously healed by God. She is experiencing no more pain. Soon after she told me of this miracle she left my apartment using her walker.

Although I want Ginger to be in good health, and I hope she has no more problems with her head, I'm very skeptical that any miracle has happened to cure her head problem. First, aside from her improved mood, I cannot tell by seeing her that any change has occurred to her. There is no visible evidence that she is any better physically speaking. Second, Ginger is overlooking her body's ability to heal itself naturally, and that no miracle is needed to explain the apparent improvement in her health. And third, Ginger doesn't seem to understand that if God went to all the trouble to cure her head problem, then he would have went all the way and cured her need to use a walker!

In all probability Ginger is mistaking a natural improvement in her health for a miracle. These kinds of mistakes are extremely common among Christians. Consider, for example, how many Christians flock to see faith healers like Peter Popoff. Despite his being conclusively exposed as a fraudster by atheist James Randi, Christians still go to see Popoff expecting a miracle from God.

I could post many other examples of the Christian inability to see that supposed miracles done by the Bible god are merely natural events or outright hoaxes, but for now let me ask the...

Questions for Debate: If Christians today routinely mistake the natural for the supernatural with not one known case of their seeing any real miracle, then why believe Christians ever did see a real god performing real miracles? Are Christians even able to recognize the difference between the real and what they hope is real?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 11: Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:44 pm
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Who is to say they are not one in the same? Can God not use natural means to heal someone? In the case of your friend Ginger, God could have very well healed her head, or caused the pain to cease. If I have a headache and take an analgesic and my pain is relieved, I would say the medicine helped, but it is not to say that God doesn't work through such things.[/quote]

RedEye wrote:
If God worked through those things then he would be detectable in laboratory experiments. He isn't detectable.


Hello RedEye! I hope this finds you fabulous!

God can be detected in laboratory experiments? Can you explain this to me? I appreciate scientific studies/research, but I have never known an experiment that detects God.

Quote:
God can be subtle and work among the pharmacists, physicians, and nurses. It doesn't have to be all or none.


RedEye wrote:
Or there could be no God and it's all just the result of human actions. How could you distinguish between these two scenarios? If you can't, why posit something which offers absolutely no explanatory power?



I understand your point, and I appreciate it! While I cannot prove that God healed Ginger's headache, I certainly cannot be ruled out as a possibility. If Ginger is of sound mind and body, why would she claim such a thing anyway?

Blessings to you!

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 12: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:01 pm
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Jagella wrote:
Peds, I'm not asking what some god might have done with Ginger. You might as well ponder if Mickey Mouse cured her. What I'm asking you to do is answer the question for debate. Did you miss it for some reason? Was the text too small for you to read? Was the red type too dull for you to notice? For your convenience I'll post it here:


I apologize Jagella, for my unclear response to your debate question. I sincerely thought I answered it using your friend as an example. I will do my best to answer more directly in the future.


Quote:
Questions for Debate: If Christians today routinely mistake the natural for the supernatural with not one known case of their seeing any real miracle, then why believe Christians ever did see a real god performing real miracles? Are Christians even able to recognize the difference between the real and what they hope is real?

In this question for debate, I feel there are a lot of assumptions. You are assuming that Christians routinely mistake the natural for the supernatural. It is a generalization. One cannot really know whether Christians routinely mistake what is natural for what is not, nor that they have not seen miracles. Answered prayers are miracles to me. We might not see water turned to wine, but I do see grace and strength given to me on a regular basis. If scripture says that all good things come from God, why would we believe otherwise?

Thanks Jagella, for your extreme patience with me! Have a beautiful day!


Jagella wrote:
While you're composing a sensible, honest, and clear answer to this very important question, allow me to post my own answer. Since we know for a fact that modern Christians routinely mistake completely natural events for miracles, then we have no reason to believe it was ever different. The non-supernatural events described in the New Testament may have happened, but the miracle claims in the gospel tale, like the miracle claims of today, in all probably were either natural events mistaken for supernatural events or deliberate fraud. So Christians in many cases are not able to distinguish fact from fiction, and this limitation explains their faith.


How do you know Christians mistake anything? It's a huge leap to say that because those who are not Christians fail to see the miracles that Christians claim, then the Gospel miracles cannot be true.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 13: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:12 pm
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[Replying to post 12 by Peds nurse]

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How do you know Christians mistake anything? It's a huge leap to say that because those who are not Christians fail to see the miracles that Christians claim, then the Gospel miracles cannot be true.


I would answer in that case, the miracles are redundant as a means by which to base ones faith in. Certainly since we are so far removed from them.

One cannot simply assume that because prayers are answered and thus counted as miracles, but are not the same as the Gospel miracles, that one should or even has to believe in the Gospel miracles as having to be true. Those are besides the point.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 14: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:14 pm
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If secular materialists today routinely mistake the supernatural for the natural by repressing the fact they saw a real miracle of proof, Rom 1:20, then why believe the secularists will ever admit to a Living GOD performing real miracles? Are secularists even able to recognize the difference between the real and what they hope* is real?
* Hope is faith, Heb 11:1.

For consideration:
1 Corinthians 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 15: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:16 pm
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Re: The Christian's Grasp on Reality

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[Replying to post 6 by Jagella]

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If miracles happen, then why are there no known cases of them? I can say in all confidence that no miracle claim will ever be substantiated. Since we have such a lack of evidence for them when we should have evidence for them, the reasonable person will conclude that such claims have nothing to do with reality.


Who are the reasonable people? What does it take for a miracle to be substantiated? I have heard doctors tell patients that there is no explanation for them getting well. Are those situations miracles?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 16: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:30 pm
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Jagella wrote:

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No miracle claim has ever been verified under circumstances that can eliminate fraud. Not one.


You could only make that claim if you had personally investigated every miracle claim that has ever been made in the last 2,000 years.

Here is one of my own: Following a car accident, I took anti-inflammatory medication which wrecked my stomach. An endoscopy showed that its lining was raw and bleeding and a biopsy indicated that it was full of bacteria. I was unable to take antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria as I am allergic to them. I was told that, as long as they existed, the stomach would not heal. Medication to deal with the indigestion, pain and discomfort gave me little relief. A friend recommended a pastor with a healing ministry. He prayed for my stomach. Immediately, all the symptoms disappeared.

A few days later, I endured another endoscopy. It revealed that the lining of my stomach was pink and intact and healthy. A biopsy showed NO bacteria of any kind. I asked the gasteroenterologist how that could be given that I hadn't taken anything to kill the bacteria and heal the stomach. He said he had no idea, that the former would not have disappeared on their own and that the latter wasn't possible without some kind of medical intervention. But I had God's intervention. I have never had stomach problems since.

I can relate other examples -- like a friend with a lump in her breast that could be felt and could be seen with a mammogram. She was speaking at a church and, while delivering the sermon, felt the lump go away. When she went to the doctor a few days later to have it removed, it was gone -- it could neither be felt or seen on a mammogram.

There are numerous medical examples where x-rays, MRIs, biopsies, etc. have shown that a healing has taken place where there was no medical intervention. The ones that cannot be disputed are the ones where a person with only one kidney suddenly has two or someone with a tumour of the brain suddenly has no tumour according to the x-rays.

Craig Keener has done extensive work in the field of miracles, writing a two-volume tome on the subject in which he lists all kinds of miracles with evidence to back them up. I realize not everyone is going to want to spend money on its purchase. The good news is that he has given a number of talks on the subject which are available on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szP8ZgsVhbg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPt8x4453lo

And he offers a number of podcasts on the topic here:

http://www.craigkeener.com/tag/miracles/

Keener's sister-in-law was raised from the dead as a child. He makes note of people who have indisputable evidence of their physical problem (such as deafness and blindness and paralysis) and who have indisputable evidence of their healing from these things.

If you read David Hume's diatribe against miracles, you can see that one of his arguments is simply this: I haven't seen any. My friends haven't seen any. Therefore, they don't happen.

But how silly an argument is that? Just because he didn't hang around with the right crowd where people WERE seeing miracles happen, that doesn't mean that they don't. And I would say the same to modern-day nay-sayers as well.


Last edited by Overcomer on Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 17: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:32 pm
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The Tanager wrote:
I still am not sure what standard of proof you are requesting.


In that case you don't have the proof I'm looking for, but don't feel bad because no Christian has that proof. All Christian apologetics is a lot of hot air. There's nothing more to it than a lot of talk that anybody can say or make up.

Quote:
What is your standard for your beliefs about reality?


I'm not sure if I have any such standards, but I have developed an ability to detect baloney. One thing I look out for is a lot of slick talk that has no substance to it. Christianity is like that: it's all talk.

Quote:
I'm not saying one should not be skeptical, but if they simply discount all "future" (by that I mean ones they haven't considered before or in a new light, not what time period they chronologically happen in) claims without considering the specific evidence in those cases, then I think they are acting irrationally. If one never gets around to considering the actual supposed evidence, then one has not rationally considered the claim.


Almost all claims, no matter how outlandish, could be true. But do you really waste your time waiting around to see if those crazy claims are ever substantiated? Are you looking for Bigfoot to show up some day or maybe ETs landing on your lawn? There are some times when it makes sense to disregard nonsense and focus on what's sensible and likely to be true. That's why I don't consider the possibility of Christian miracles any more than consider Santa Claus showing up on 12/25.

Quote:
We have solid evidence that points to Santa stories as being made up.


Hey wait a minute--didn't you say that many fakes don't prove that a genuine might show up some day? To be consistent, you need to keep looking for that real visit from Santa. Otherwise, you'll be violating your own logic that a gazillion fakes doesn't mean there isn't a "real one."

Quote:
One may think all Christians haven't grown in their mental abilities beyond childlike thought (one may even want to throw in Biblical quotes out of context about having faith like a child here), or claim the stories are obviously made up, or talk about some Christians who are just playing a cultural game, but they are blind to reality if they think these things are true of all Christians.


On no--not all Christians are like that. Many of them know it's a lot of nonsense. Those are the ones who rake in all that tax-free money. They're known as "the clergy."

Quote:
You may think it isn't sound, and it may not be, but very serious thinkers have disagreed. This is not parallel to belief in Santa.


OK, I'll grant you that many people take Jesus seriously who might deny Santa. I'm not sure what that proves. Could it be that such people just don't have a good grasp on reality? I documented in the OP cases in which Christians cannot tell truth from lies.

Quote:
Are you saying that only seeing a resurrected Jesus would do it for you?


I think so. Actually seeing a resurrected person to back up a resurrection claim would help enormously. Did you ever wonder why you don't have that kind of evidence?

Quote:
Are you saying that you discount any attempt at a philosophical or historical argument in principle?


You don't need a resurrection to explain all that talk. All you need is somebody who wants to con people into believing in a resurrection.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 18: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:36 pm
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Jagella wrote:

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Actually seeing a resurrected person to back up a resurrection claim would help enormously. Did you ever wonder why you don't have that kind of evidence?


Please watch the videos and listen to the podcasts, the links for which I posted above. These things have happened. There is valid evidence.

Remember this: You can't see something if you don't open your eyes.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 19: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:53 pm
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Re: The Christian's Grasp on Reality

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Hawkins wrote:
Just to give you another example. If you tell us that you had a turkey in your Christmas lunch, how do expect anyone to see it in order to believe?


I'm not sure if I would expect anybody to believe it. After all, they might not see the turkey but only hear my words. It is possible, though, that I might have my lunch uneaten, and then I could show them the turkey to prove it. In any case, I would not pressure anybody to believe in my turkey, and I'd let them doubt if they wish.

I will say this, however; most people have seen turkey and have eaten it for their own lunch. As such, it would seem strange for them to doubt my turkey.

So by contrast, Christians expect people to believe their "turkey" even though almost everybody has never seen that turkey or any such turkey much less eaten that turkey. Christians never offer to show anybody the "Christian turkey" and expect people to believe only their word for it. Unlike my respecting doubters and leaving them to doubt, Christians offer rewards for believing in their turkey and threaten punishment for those who don't believe.

Quote:
Now to go one step further. If you ate an unknown monster that day, and for the sake of argument that this is true, then how would you expect other humans to reach this piece of truth?


If all I had was my words, then I wouldn't expect anybody to believe it. I wouldn't threaten unbelievers or get angry with them because I respect their ability to come to their own conclusions. I'd realize that my story is incredible and that it would be reasonable for people to doubt it.

So good try, but you haven't made any progress in demonstrating that Christians can discern the real from the unreal. Your post is one big turkey. LOL

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 20: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:43 pm
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Like this post (1): Overcomer
Jagella,

If you want to say what your standard of proof is (100%, >50%, something else), then we may be able to move our discussion forward. Right now your standard seems to be a vague 'it must pass my personal baloney detector that detects slick talk' which isn't very helpful.

Jagella wrote:
Almost all claims, no matter how outlandish, could be true. But do you really waste your time waiting around to see if those crazy claims are ever substantiated? Are you looking for Bigfoot to show up some day or maybe ETs landing on your lawn? There are some times when it makes sense to disregard nonsense and focus on what's sensible and likely to be true. That's why I don't consider the possibility of Christian miracles any more than consider Santa Claus showing up on 12/25.


No one says to waste your time on outlandish claims. The question is what qualifies as outlandish and what impact the issue has on us. Above, your thought simply assumes Christian claims are outlandish. This begs the question. It's also wrong to lump all kinds of claims into one 'type'. No one seriously claims Santa exists and visits kids. Yes, kids do, but that's because they trust the parents who all know that it's just a game. Some people believe in Bigfoot and alien landings. But there is nowhere near the level of historical and philosophical discussion as there is with Christian claims. If you want to make arguments for any of the other three and why I should care, go for it. Regardless, Christianity is on a whole different level of claim and evidences, even if false.

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