Evidence of God

lunamoth

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So, I've long recognized that God is not falsifiable, so as far as that goes atheists are on no firmer ground than theists.

And I've recently become satisfied that the existence of God is completely consistent with the universe as we know it through science and philosophy. This is just my intellect scrambling to catch up with what I've believed for a very long time. The universe is also a far stranger place than most of us can really conceptualize, but that is just an aside.

I think that there is evidence for God in the experience of mystics, the testimony of evangelists, and the blood of martyrs. I think there is evidence for God in the fact that we have values, not just likes and dislikes. And we value having values. I think there is evidence for the idea of God in that we trust that our reason gives us true information about reality, that reason is a supernatural gift.

I think there is evidence for Christianity specifically in the message of love lived by word and example in the life of Jesus, and validated by the resurrection. I think this is evidence because I see love as the one thread that runs through everything that is good and uplifting and truely human in my life.

I believe there is evidence of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit who moves us toward God's will in spite of ourselves, and who ultimately will not allow one tiny thing in this life to be wasted.

And I think there is evidence that God is Creator not just in a distant past, winding the universe up like a clock and letting it go, but in creating and sustaining every fleeting moment that we experience as life. God as a Creator who values the freedom of His Creation in every eternal moment.

That is all. :)
 
Thank you. I found your post to be very inspiring and I needed to hear those words at this particular time. Experiential evidence of an answered prayer. Shalom, Jan
 
Luna,
As much as I empathize with the sentiments you express, the atheists are gonna have a field day with your argument.
 
Luna,
As much as I empathize with the sentiments you express, the atheists are gonna have a field day with your argument.
Really?

I would go further ... the arguments for the non-existence of God based on 'good science' I would say are, in the current state of scientific knowledge, untenable. Science cannot even determine its own empirical nature with absolute certainty, so it's hardly in any position to make authoritative statements about that which, by definition, lies beyond empirical observation.

In fact, I would argue that the idea that science can, or will, demonstrate the existence of God, or not, is itself based on blind faith rather than on sound reason or logic.

Thomas
 
Really?

I would go further ... the arguments for the non-existence of God based on 'good science' I would say are, in the current state of scientific knowledge, untenable. Science cannot even determine its own empirical nature with absolute certainty, so it's hardly in any position to make authoritative statements about that which, by definition, lies beyond empirical observation.

In fact, I would argue that the idea that science can, or will, demonstrate the existence of God, or not, is itself based on blind faith rather than on sound reason or logic.

Thomas

I wouldn't disagree with you Thomas, on the contrary I like what Huston Smith used to say about Science and Religion. As I remember he said something about Science being unable to determine religious truths like a group of dogs determining the truth of electricity by putting it to the "sniff" test.

But Luna's argument opens itself to debate quite readily on several fronts. Personally I wouldn't disagree with her because I see the spirit behind what she is saying, but putting religion in scientific terms like "evidence" may not be actionable.
Saying that there is evidence of the truth of Christianity and God because humans have values can be seen as a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument.

I think what religion needs is to be able to bring the argument more into another ballpark.
 
Thank you. I found your post to be very inspiring and I needed to hear those words at this particular time. Experiential evidence of an answered prayer. Shalom, Jan


Go Luna!

Thomas
(Team Luna Fan Club Secretary)

Thanks All. :) That was fun to write last night.

Luna,
As much as I empathize with the sentiments you express, the atheists are gonna have a field day with your argument.

Oh, I know atheists will have lots and lots and pages and pages and argument after argument to say about all this, but refer to my first statement.

My statements are not coming from a God of the Gaps foundation, but a Leap of Faith. And, whether they acknowledge it or not (and refer to Thomas' post), atheists also come from a basis of faith (in the validity of reason) although they'd probably call it something else. What they can't call it is logic or purely rational.

At the bottom of it, the validity of reason is going to be besed either in utility or the super-natural. Utility is ultimately without purpose or meaning and leads to personal power as the ultimate source of 'truth' and what is 'right.' And it is ultimately self-defeating because it can't explain its own value because it asserts that there are no values. I reject this because values are part of my experience of life.

Further, in rejecting the supernatural the arguments will eventually get around to all the evils of religion. This is essentially moving the argument onto theological ground, tantamount to admitting defeat, because in a utilitarian world there is no good or bad, just what I like/dislike and what you like/dislike. How can you argue something is 'wrong' if there is no right and wrong, just your personal preference? Interestingly we all going to mostly agree that hurting other people is bad and loving/helping other people is good.

Theists, on the other hand, are going to agree that a lot of bad things have been done in the name of religion, and a lot of good things, and this situation is meaningful and we have a need to repent and change from the evil behaviors.
 
I think what religion needs is to be able to bring the argument more into another ballpark.

Thank you for your comments and I appreciate the spirit in which they are offered Paladin. :)

I'd enjoy hearing your elaborated thoughts on the quote above.
 
I think it is easier for many to find the evidence of a god, then say those of a less fortunate position... Such as those whom have to walk miles, just to get some water, which is highly infected with all sorts of nasty things... All those who have had their land torn apart by war, greed and hatred...

But I think the more "kushy" your life is the easier it seems to find this god.
 
Do you think that we spend too much time looking for God? And valuable human effort is waisted on it? I been thinking turning Agnostic recently.
 
I think it is easier for many to find the evidence of a god, then say those of a less fortunate position... Such as those whom have to walk miles, just to get some water, which is highly infected with all sorts of nasty things... All those who have had their land torn apart by war, greed and hatred...

But I think the more "kushy" your life is the easier it seems to find this god.

It certainly gives us a lot more time for these high-falutin' arguments, which I often worry about.

But, many people who are walking miles for water and suffering from all kinds of trouble find comfort and hope in God. And many people are moved to alleviate that suffering because we see it as bad, we see our connection and responsibility to each other, and are moved by love to change things for the better.
 
Luna,

It's difficult to put what I see into a short statement but stay with me on this.

According to your original post, you are dealing with God in the third person, ergo the word "God" Now, this tends to connote a specific idea (read that as religion specific) of what reality is all about. Now this alone isn't invalid, just limited as are all perspectives actually.

What we need is to move outside the rather limited arena of the purely rational, the purely personal (ironically) into the trans rational, trans personal.
The scientific method excludes metaphysics right? Well, then let it, it isn't of use in the trans-personal inquiry by itself, but the trans-rational must include, envelop and go beyond that.

There is an injunction when it comes to spiritual inquiry that reason can tell you must be honored before any results can be obtained. Prayer, meditation, etc must be practiced to experience what lies beyond our ken. William James knew this and spoke about in in Varieties of Religious Experience.

There are doctors who study this kind of thing. I believe people like Julian Jaynes, and Dr. Ramanchandra have much to tell us of the reaction in the brain and how certain types of religious experiences affect the brain.
But beyond merely physical evidence that something is going on is the purely trans-personal experience of the mystics and sages in many religions.

Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, Shams Tabriz, Hui neng, Ramana Maharshi, and many others speak of the Supreme Reality in different ways, each with the flavor of their own backgrounds, but each tended to express reality in either second or first person terms.

Not to include myself with the persons listed above, but my own experience tends toward the first person type. In deep meditation I sometimes see that there is no difference between I and thou, because All That Is is ALL THERE IS. In other words what I think of as "me" dissolves leaving only THIS.

From this perspective, it would be reasonable to say that Values are indeed a priori because what else could they be? From someone who sees God in the Third Person, or separate from and outside of the self, this would be blasphemy.

Do you see what I am so clumsily trying to get at?
 
PM: Yes, I'd agree too much time is spent searching on the wrong thing, search sure, but search for yourself.... Find yourself, and you find your meaning. :D

Lunar: I guess it could be seen that way.. But is hope in a god, evidence of a god?
 
Hi Paladin —

I think the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur adds weight here.

Ricoeur is a philosopher and a theologian, and regards the two as quite distinct and separate sciences. He discusses the matter under the title of Critique and Conviction, and addresses what each finds acceptable, and offensive, in the other.

I think Luna's argument is a lot stronger than the general, run-of-the-mill atheist would allow, because such atheists accept — without realising it, but as a matter of faith — certain things which in fact are not given at all.

The biggest issue is to engage with the atheist not on the content of his or my beliefs, but on the a priori convictions he and I holds about what can be believed, and how can it be believed.

Bernard Lonergan, one of the intellectual and philosophical heavyweights of the last century, a pioneer of Cognitional Theory, proposed the "Generalized Empirical Method":
The success of the empirical methods of the natural sciences confirms that the mind reaches knowledge by an ascent from data, through hypothesis, to verification. To account for disciplines that deal with humans as makers of meanings and values, Lonergan generalized the notion of data to include the data of consciousness as well as the data of sense. From that compound data, one may ascend through hypothesis to verification of the operations by which humans deal with what is meaningful and what is valuable. Hence, a "generalized empirical method" (GEM).

I would argue that not only does the athiest too-easily assume that the absence of evidence is all the proof required; that because A looks like B, and B is false, then A is false also; and most tellingly that in refuting religion, or religious experience, he often relies on arguments that are themselves out-moded and antiquated in methodology and in fact 'theology' has already left him far behind ...

Remember that the 'evidence' of quantum phenomena tells us that a particle, if it actually exists, can be in two places at once, jump around in time and space, and do other silly, very naughty things when viewed from the standpoint of macrocosmic physics ... let them come up with a viable definition of 'evidence' itself, I say, before they even think about offering criticisms of the evidence of other sciences ...

And, whilst I'm ranting, might I remind them that Aristotle, Aquinas and others regards metaphysics as the 'First Physics' and the 'Queen of the Sciences' ... far superior to mere physics, chemistry, biology, botany, etc., so back in your box, boys, and take your hats off when you're addressing the Queen of Wisdom!

(The QoW's not me, by the way ... )

I think the atheists have had it too easy for too long, and their arguments are nowhere near as effective, convincing or even credible as they suppose. How Richard Dawkins can make a career of something based entirely on his own assumption — that God must be complex — which any reasonable Thomist can punch holes through in moments, shows how little the media of this age cares for truth or debate, but just enjoys finding something or someone to bash without fear of recrimination.

Does it occur to people, I wonder, that today secular and largely atheist society generally offers a scientist the same kind of faith and acceptance they used to offer a priest?

But yep ... I agree it would be a great debate. I'd pay good money to see that.

Thomas
 
Leave it to a scholar to expand on what a blue collar student can barely grasp :)

The problem as I see it is that the atheist usually attacks religion at its weakest side. There are those who for reason of accident of birth or limited understanding never move beyond a pre-rational understanding. Understand I'm not assigning a value to this but merely defining.
This is akin to attacking all of religion by debating sunday school students. There is a certain charm in listening to how religion is understood this way, but there is as you know so much more.
In the movie "Religulous" Bill Mahr never debates with anyone beyond those who practice religion in a simple pre-rational way, and is completely blown away by even a simple perpective on the trinity given him by an actor portraying Christ.

BTW, thanks for adding even more to the books and authors I haven't read yet. :)
 
So, I've long recognized that God is not falsifiable, so as far as that goes atheists are on no firmer ground than theists.

And I've recently become satisfied that the existence of God is completely consistent with the universe as we know it through science and philosophy. This is just my intellect scrambling to catch up with what I've believed for a very long time. The universe is also a far stranger place than most of us can really conceptualize, but that is just an aside.

Athiests would claim the same thing regard the non-existence of God.

I think that there is evidence for God in the experience of mystics, the testimony of evangelists, and the blood of martyrs. I think there is evidence for God in the fact that we have values, not just likes and dislikes. And we value having values. I think there is evidence for the idea of God in that we trust that our reason gives us true information about reality, that reason is a supernatural gift.

Experiences can only give subjective testimonials, which can be a form of legal evidence. The Gospels, if I'm reading you right, are an example of this. I do not know how the blood of the martyrs could consistute evidence. There have been martyrs of all kinds of political and religions sects, but that doesn't prove that their ideals are true.

Values are likewise subjective. Any society can come up with their own set of values and passed them into laws. And there is going to be some commonality to them: Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie or perjure, don't commit certain sex acts, etc. And them attach some form of retribution to the laws. But that doesn't mean God was involved, only that the society recognizes the practical value of enforcing them to keep the society together.

I think there is evidence for Christianity specifically in the message of love lived by word and example in the life of Jesus, and validated by the resurrection. I think this is evidence because I see love as the one thread that runs through everything that is good and uplifting and truely human in my life.

See my comments on the Gospels above. As far as the love thing, even the heathen love their own. Watched 'The Godfather Pt I & II' recently and was struck by the loyalty and honor displayed and that despite being part of the crooked mafia, Don Vito Corleone had a genuine heart for people. Course, as fiction I have to take the movie with a grain of salt, but I wonder of that grain has some truth to it.

I believe there is evidence of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit who moves us toward God's will in spite of ourselves, and who ultimately will not allow one tiny thing in this life to be wasted.

This is evidence for ourselves.

And I think there is evidence that God is Creator not just in a distant past, winding the universe up like a clock and letting it go, but in creating and sustaining every fleeting moment that we experience as life. God as a Creator who values the freedom of His Creation in every eternal moment.

That is all. :)

Despite all the evil and corruption and starving babies in the world.
 
I am not trained as a logical thinker and I cannot argue logically at all. I am an intuitive thinker and I have flashes of knowing what I know and having a peace about that knowing. I decided to attempt a Masters in Theology at an evangelical seminary: Fuller Theological Seminary as they have a branch in Colorado Springs. After a year, I dropped out because of my health..but I realized that I started too late in life to attempt to define my beliefs with reason and logic. Maybe that is why I have never been comfortable on this forum and it as taken me nearly 3 years to get up the courage to post anything.

All that to say, is that Luna's post made sense to me on an intuitive level. I also agree with Paladin about the spirit of God dwelling within and through mediation, prayer, dance, chanting, we can experience union with the Divine. One of the many theological books that I have sitting on my shelf is about the challenge of articulating the Christian understanding of God in a manner that balances, affirms and holds in creative tension the twin truths of the divine transcedence and the divine immanence: 20th Century Theology-God and the World in a Transitional Age, written by the late Stanley J. Grenz along with Roger E. Olson.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is what unites all of us like a web that connects us to each other and to a God, who rather than invade our turf from above, comes to us from the temporal beyond. God participates in our present from the vantage point of the future. There is a loose coalition of thinkers that have recently emerged as a movement known as narrative theology. They argue that God is a dynamic reality who participates with us on the journey of life; but the focus of the Divine participation is story. For more see Open Source Theology:

open source theology | collaborative theology for the emerging church
 
Concern about God is one reason why the New Testament is so difficult to understand. It isn't about the search for God but rather about admitting ourselves. Naturally the atheist already believes they have become themselves but the Christian know that their potential is the goal of re-birth.

Much of modern Christendom is about beliefs of pleasing God but the Christian knows he cannot. Consider:


Luke 18

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

To the atheist and secularist, this is lunacy. But for the Christian it is the unforunate truth of the human condition. I believe we are drawn to the inner light just as the moth is drawn to the moon or a plant seeks to open to the sun, but where the atheist is right is seeing how for us it is interpreted into imagination. Before becoming real, one must first experience the cold harsh truth that the tax collector was willing to experience.
 
I am not trained as a logical thinker and I cannot argue logically at all. I am an intuitive thinker and I have flashes of knowing what I know and having a peace about that knowing. I decided to attempt a Masters in Theology at an evangelical seminary: Fuller Theological Seminary as they have a branch in Colorado Springs. After a year, I dropped out because of my health..but I realized that I started too late in life to attempt to define my beliefs with reason and logic. Maybe that is why I have never been comfortable on this forum and it as taken me nearly 3 years to get up the courage to post anything.

All that to say, is that Luna's post made sense to me on an intuitive level. I also agree with Paladin about the spirit of God dwelling within and through mediation, prayer, dance, chanting, we can experience union with the Divine. One of the many theological books that I have sitting on my shelf is about the challenge of articulating the Christian understanding of God in a manner that balances, affirms and holds in creative tension the twin truths of the divine transcedence and the divine immanence: 20th Century Theology-God and the World in a Transitional Age, written by the late Stanley J. Grenz along with Roger E. Olson.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is what unites all of us like a web that connects us to each other and to a God, who rather than invade our turf from above, comes to us from the temporal beyond. God participates in our present from the vantage point of the future. There is a loose coalition of thinkers that have recently emerged as a movement known as narrative theology. They argue that God is a dynamic reality who participates with us on the journey of life; but the focus of the Divine participation is story. For more see Open Source Theology:

open source theology | collaborative theology for the emerging church

Actually Jan, there isn't a pre-requisite to have any knowledge at all to post here, why just re-read some of my posts!

Remember what the scarecrow said to Dorothy when she asked him how he could talk without a brain? :D
 
All that to say, is that Luna's post made sense to me on an intuitive level. I also agree with Paladin about the spirit of God dwelling within and through mediation, prayer, dance, chanting, we can experience union with the Divine.

This crusty old Buddhist would like to point out the Divine doesn't doesn't just exist in nice, flowery acts and moments.

The Divine is in garbage that litters the streets. The Divine is in the grit as well as the glitter.

I'm sorry it took so long for you to get the courage to contribute to these threads. I've always found you to be a very reasoned and intelligent voice.
 
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