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November 13, 2013

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Likely, the response to that will be that people see things that exist and naturally assume that someone created them and put them there...UNTIL they get "educated" as to why this isn't so. They have to be taught something counter-intuitive, even when evidence points otherwise.

Pair this with a pervasive anti-God stance throughout a culture, and the picture is complete for the atheist. Now he must diligently pursue ridding that culture of every possible reference to this "fictitious" God, and rewrite its history, literature, and customs to reflect his educated and enlightened perspective.

We are left with what we started with at the very beginning--God and Satan waging war for the hearts and minds of mankind.

This thinking comes from a paper that Anthony Flew wrote while he was still alive called The Presumption of Atheism. It is part of the atheist MO to push all burden of proof onto the theist.

We recently did a post on this concept at our blog:
http://pairopatetics.blogspot.com/2013/11/negative-atheism-and-its-discontents.html

Belief in God is created by the brain; therefore, God doesn't exist.

People are not born with an innate belief in God; therefore, God doesn't exist.

I've heard both of these arguments. Whatever works, I guess.

Leaving aside the fact that I'm not sure what would follow from it even if it were true, this claim that we’re natural atheists has never seemed particularly credible to me. If we weren't naturally inclined toward religion, I would expect it to exist as a custom here and there, not be universally present throughout human history, even in the most isolated cultures.

Agree with Glenn Peoples that babies don't believe much.

Agree with Glenn and Amy that there doesn't seem to be much significance to that.

A list of our natural inclinations in the area of epistemology.

Another.

We are not naturally good at forming correct beliefs.

We naturally take up all kinds of incorrect ones.

We can improve though.

Such interesting lists from that Wiki reference, RonH. The first giveaway of what a biased treatment this was going to express was the determination that the "scientific method" is the only way to expose the credibility of the thinking processes involved--and that this method reveals the biases people come up with in their thought processes. So we have the bias of the scientific method exposing the bias-plagued minds of people who don't see reality the way they do. Hmmmmm. I found it especially ironic to read about the: "False consensus effect — the tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them."

Mind need only follow evidence.


All Knowing and Perceiving just is contextually triune amid and among all that is on Mind’s proofs Self-Other-Us inside of the Unity that just is E Pluribus Unum, and therein Logic is evidentially triune in geography. All that Mind knows, perceives, takes place inside of that landscape. That is Logic. It gives testimony to the other half of our humanity: Love. Inside of this clearly contingent observational matrix we discover that Love just is contextually triune as such just is the singularity of Unity that just is Love’s necessarily triune E Pluribus Unum amid and among Love’s First Distinct, all that is Self, and amid and among Love’s Second Distinct, all that is Other, and, finally, all which these Two Distincts by embrace necessarily beget, Love’s Third Distinct: the Singular-Us that just is E Pluribus Unum. Logic and Love are necessarily triune.


Whatever Mind’s actuality is, it takes place inside of a triune landscape.


The scientific method leads us to the end of this observational matrix we call “the universe” as all physical data within the matrix fails to self-account, and, therein, we find the need to exit Time and Material as we know them and enter into something which we call in necessity the immaterial, for whatever that stuff is, it just is not the same category of stuff we find here inside of this clearly contingent observational matrix, as we find in that category properties which we do not find inside of this category, such as non-contingency, timelessness, Unity’s E Pluribus Unum in what must be actuality’s Perfect-1, and, among other items, a necessary and sufficient Ever-Actual-Cause which, or – it seems – who, from within immutability chooses which Effect amid All-Possibilities will and will not actualize, on evidence leaving mechanistic determinism incoherent.


Categorical ontology, Contextual ontology, Logic’s ontology, Love’s ontology – out of which all Non E Pluribus Unum fragments are incoherently wrenched and swollen into madness via isolation – thereby leaving us Sorrow’s ontology inside of a fractured and fragmented Self/Other/Us, and, the ontologically unbroken chain painted by the testimony of all physical data, every bit of it, all lead us toward more and more correct beliefs about Actuality as the weightiness of all perceived vectors speak evidentially with an epistemology that never does break any ontological chain in blind axiom’s varied deaths of circularity. No experience, no data, no evidence, no anything need ever be denied or feared, but only followed by our Will’s delight into what is clearly a singular Prescriptive-Descriptive. On Mind’s proofs, Actuality just is a Perfect-1, which, or, it seems most likely given all available evidence, Who, just is topographically Triune.

It seems awfully arrogant by atheists to claim that people are born atheists when they are such a small percentage of the world's population. Most people in the world are just not atheists, and they have even been educated and can read, etc. In Western countries, there are more atheists, but atheists tend to have the whole leftover Enlightenment paradigm that since we in the West are richer and have more technology, we are somehow more advanced and smarter than people in other countries. This, of course, is complete nonsense. The idea that humanity is progressing somewhere and will eventually obtain some kind of perfect ideal has been shown to end up in utter misery over and over again. And yet this is the way many Atheists continue to think. See, those primitive Africans are so ignorant...that's why they believe in God...all while we steal their natural resources and don't lift a finger to help their poverty. After actually having lived with people in pre-modern cultures, I can verify for you that just because we have better technology, that doesn't make us smarter.

JB,

Atheism's ontological A and Z just is indifference. Love's E Pluribus Unum is not part of its Necessary and Sufficient. Thus the motion away from such is not, in that arena, bad-thinking.

Carolyn,

Biased treatment?

Where in the lists or in my mention of them is the bias?

Everything is connected. But what has either of these lists got to do with 'the scientific method'?

Who said that "the "scientific method" is the only way to expose the credibility of the thinking processes involved"?

Here's an application of one of the lists. The idea that there is anything that follows only from the fact (supposing it's true) that we are all born atheists is an example of the naturalistic fallacy.

You can find such lists on Christian web sites. The lists themselves have no bias.

All people make these mistakes. That doesn't make any one position wrong.

RonH

Science isn't the only way to know?

Well....the timeless non-contingent immaterial category has always been known about, for eons, science now catching up.

But RonH I think you think science is the only way to know.....that is naturalism's necessary bias given its presuppositions.

At most you could claim we are born agnostic. Atheism is a claim to know something for sure.

scblhrm,

RonH I think you think science is the only way to know
Wrong. For example, my belief in other minds is not from science.
that is naturalism's necessary bias given its presuppositions.
Wrong agiain. Did I assert naturalism? I don't think so. And I can't think how I'd ever defend such an assertion.

Marc,

Atheism is a claim to know something for sure
Well some people say that.

But most atheists say atheism is the lack of belief in any god.

When you vote 'not guilty' in a criminal trial you are not saying that innocence is shown.

You are just saying that guilt is not shown.

Like most athiests, when I say I'm an atheist I'm saying I'm not convinced of the existence of any god.

The situation is similar for all the supernatural: I'm not convinced.

That does not make me believer in naturalism.

If you are in doubt about what someone means by a word, you should ask.

Arguing about what words 'really' mean is a waste of time.

So is campaigning to have your preferred meaning canonized.

So is campaigning to have a meaning you don't like sneered at.

RonH,


"my belief in other minds is not from science"


Huh?


So the way we will discover how the mind/brain works is not through science but direct revelation (or some other vector)?


I'm confused RonH.


I think you mean science just has not figured it out yet (?) and not that there are other non-scientific vectors by which to figure out the universe (or how thought works).


Are you refering to direct revelation, then?

This is not about scientism, this is about how we come to know truth. We are born blank. And, you will list all sorts of things which "science" cannot tell you (my mom loves me), but, of course, we can define love's ontology, yours ending in indifference, others ending in, well, love.

And there you will resort to the reach of photon fluxes as the end of Truth.

Or, again, do you mean to transcend such a reach? Revelation?

At RonH: the beginning words of the RationalWiki site you linked to says:

"Cognitive bias describes the inherent thinking errors that humans make in processing information. Some of these have been verified empirically in the field of psychology, while others are considered general categories of bias. These thinking errors prevent one from accurately understanding reality, even when confronted with all the needed data and evidence to form an accurate view. Many conflicts between science and religion are due to cognitive biases preventing people from coming to the same conclusions with the same evidence. Cognitive bias is intrinsic to human thought, and therefore any systematic system of acquiring knowledge that attempts to describe reality must include mechanisms to control for bias or it is inherently invalid.

The best known system for vetting and limiting the consequences of cognitive bias is the scientific method, as it places evidence and methodology behind idea under open scrutiny. By this, many opinions and separate analyses can be used to compensate for the bias of any one individual. It is important to remember, however, that in every day life, just knowing about these biases doesn't necessarily free you from them."

Question for you, RonH: You say you are not convinced that there is a God. Is there the possibility that you might be wrong?

Carolyn,

That web site has a certain point of view.

So what?

I posted the lists.

I could have gotten them somewhere else.

There are lots of places where fallacies are collected.

As I already said, you can find similar list of fallacies at a Christian web site.

I'd guess few Christian sites promote knowledge of the cognitive biases - the biases are less well known in generea.

But do Christians deny that the biases exist?

---------------------

Sure, I think there is the possibility I could be wrong.

I think the existence of the Reformed Christian God is very very unlikely -less likely than a generic god.

But a lot of people make these claims and they seem to mean it.

I can't ignore that.

God (the Christian one) is not a logical contradiction.

So, for me to say I can't possibly be wrong would be very presumptuous.

But people make contradictory claims and mean those.

And while God is logically possible, He's little more.

That's speaking intellectually.

My emotional experience is in line with that; it doesn't nag me.

Probably this is because I never believed.

Others, who used to believe strongly but no longer do, are troubled emotionally.

Kind of like walking on a strong glass floor above a 100 ft drop.

You know in your brain you are safe but your heart pounds anyway.

Some compare this to PTSD.

That sounded like an exaggeration at first but I've come to believe them.

Science finds the Timeless, Non-Contingent, Immaterial, Perfect-1 amid Logic's triune Perceiving not just highly probable but unavoidable as such an Immutable Cause chooses on intention which Effects actualize, yet need not be. Bayes and its background information properly employed bring us even closer to such highly probable ends.....

God is extraordinarily probable. A baby’s blank mind need only follow the evidence………

Bayes Theorem is helpful. Material stuff has never overturned our uniform experience that material stuff is never Non-Contingent. Our brutally repeatable experiences and perceiving-s inside of this clearly contingent and contextually triune observational matrix we call “the universe” or “the multi-verse” lead us to the highly probable.

All our physical evidence tells us of the rationality of Hawking’s leap of faith out of Time and Material and into his immeasurable some-thing categorically non-material based on all material definitions as we know them.

Actuality, whatever it is, has, obviously, all the definitions of the Triune God in its corner, and, therein, when all of this background information is employed in Bayes Theorem we find that a Triune God (more than other sorts) becomes highly probable.

As already discussed earlier in this thread, we find ourselves in the arena of Logic’s necessarily triune context of Perceiving and Knowing, for Mind/Knowing just is contextually triune, and, we find the Timeless, the Immaterial, the Non-Contingent, and we find the odd affair of this: an Ever-Actual, Necessary, Immutable, Sufficient Cause of [All-Effects] ever-present in the midst of the peculiar absence of [All-Effects] while in the company of [Some Effects], whereby all regresses to mechanistic determinism become, based on all available evidence, incoherent with what our fingertips are touching and our eyes are seeing. Such leaves us at the doorsteps of Intention, of Cosmic Choice. Now, we already know (described earlier in this thread) that Mind just is contextually triune, and, thus, we begin to find not merely that god is very probable, but, more importantly, based on all perceived evidence, we find that a Triune-God is the most probable sort.

Dr. William Lane Craig presents a more robust form of Bayes Theorem, briefly described in “August 16, 2013 Why Some People Simply Will Not Be Convinced” here on STR. The use of the larger form of Bayes Theorem gives physicalists (matter/energy = All) hope that the miracle of a categorically Material Non-Contingent will one day appear, for it shows us that very improbable events (like a material non-contingent) do no not need extra-ordinary evidence in order for us to perceive the extra-ordinary event. Thus the physicalist realizes, with this larger version of Bayes, that perhaps the miracle of a material non-contingent need not have some extraordinary bit of evidence to prove physicalism (matter/energy = All) true, to make the truth of it recognizable. Unfortunately for this philosophy it also gives the Theist hope as well for the very same mathematical dance from which it derives its hope for its miracle also gives hope to the Theist for his miracle. The only difference is that, in the middle while both await their miracle, the Theist has science on his side, while the materialist does not for all material stuff is, right now, telling us the Theist’s immaterialism is highly scientifically plausible given non-contingency and the behavior of all material stuff, and it is telling us that materialism is quite anti-uniform to necessity’s denominator, which many seek to avoid in their smaller versions of Bayes, just as, all material stuff is telling us that mechanistic determinism is itself anti-uniform to the clearly temporal effects we like to label ‘the universe’ or ‘the multi-verse’ given all available evidence we have on Cause/Effect juxtaposed to all available evidence we have on Choice.



Being unaware of the probability calculus, the only factor the presumed materialist considers is the intrinsic probability. Such a one says that because a miracle (like a material non-contingent) is enormously, utterly improbable given our background information (thus Hawking exits Time/Material as we know them), there is no amount of evidence that can ever establish this miracle of a material non-contingent as probable. Yet materialists (not Hawking, but others unwilling to exit Time and Material as we know it) just wave their hand at physics and inexplicably believe in their materialism’s material non-contingent. This is all simply mathematically demonstrably fallacious. So materialism’s argument by neglecting the probability of the evidence on the hypothesis or its negation is simply fallacious. The materialist never discusses this other ratio which we find given the evidence and given the plausibility of that evidence at hand given the testimony of all witnesses from both sides as to their respective hypotheses.

This is the explanatory power of the theorem (when applied properly). It tells us how well these hypotheses explain the evidence. Is the evidence more probable given hypothesis A vs. B or is the evidence more probable given the negation of hypothesis A vs. B? How well does each hypothesis explain the evidence at hand?

This is why the Theist is happy to use the entirety of Bayes Theorem while materialists ignore the probability of P = 0 when the assumption is that temporal/contingent stuff ends all regresses, just as, they ignore the probability of P = 0 where, given a Necessary and Sufficient Cause standing ever-actual – yet – its Effects not so standing, it is highly improbable, in fact impossible, that mechanistic determinism ends in coherence (based on all available evidence), thus: Cosmic Choice. Mind’s contextually triune becomes highly probable as the end of regress, even inevitable, given all that our fingertips touch and our eyes see. Background information is everything where Bayes Theorem is concerned. When we do use the whole formula, well then all the Theist’s improbable ideas rise to the surface along with the materialist’s own improbable ideas for extraordinary events become perceivable with ordinary evidence in both hypotheses. The only difference, of course, being, again, that the science of physics is clearly choosing to be a witness for the Theist’s Immaterial, Timeless, Ever-Actual, Necessary and Sufficient Cause of All-Effects, Non-Contingent ending in Mind’s contextually triune landscape amid Cosmic Choice.

Mind need only follow the evidence. That is how a baby’s blank mind comes to correct beliefs about reality.

Natural things cannot self-account.

A Necessary and Sufficient Cause of All-Effects amid This-Effect yet not That-Effect only has one observable, measurable geography my eyes see: Intent.


Imaginary time and big spheres with bubbles not withstanding.

Natural things have causes.

Sufficient causes have effects.....well....unless Will is the cause, in which case All-Effects need not be manifest. Like Time. Like so many things.

I believe my eyes. I see no good reason not to regress to Will. In fact, every bit of evidence my fingers touch in repeatable experiences lines up with every bit of observable behavior of all physical stuff and I see no evidence to the contrary.

None at all.

Imaginary spheres are fine for make believe.....but I see no evidence of such a thing.

None.

I see repeatable, falsifiable, measurable evidence of sufficient causes and their necessary effects, warped only by Intent.

Why in any universe would anyone believe in any other regress other than Cosmic Choice?

I see no reason to believe anything else. And I see irrefutable evidence all around me to confirm such a conclusion.

I only believe my eyes, and measurable data. Hence my Theism. That of a triune sort for previously described observations.

A Necessary and Sufficient Cause of All-Effects standing amid This-Effect yet not That-Effect speaks of the incoherence of mechanistic determinism. My eyes see no geography which accounts for this, in the real world which my mind perceives, other than a world laced with Intention.

I just don’t see any evidence for Hawking’s imaginary sphere. None. But my eyes do see the real world, and I’m only interested in what my eyes see.

I see all around me repeatable, falsifiable, measurable evidence of sufficient causes and their necessary effects, those necessary effect’s actualizations warped only by Intent. Why in any universe would anyone believe in any other regress other than Cosmic Choice where Time and the Universe is concerned? I see no reason to believe anything else. And I see irrefutable evidence all around me to confirm such a conclusion of Intention at the end of regress. Only a pre-supposition of naturalism would ground the intent to believe in imaginary spheres, for which we find no evidence, rather than the very obvious and objective geography of Necessary and Sufficient Cause-Effect-Intention for which we find objective, measurable evidence all around us.

If we mean to say we are “going on all available evidence” then, clearly, Time and Universe having a beginning, the Necessary and Sufficient Cause of All-Effects being ever present, then we are left with all observations in this world leading us to conclude Cosmic Intent, as we find no evidence, anywhere, of Hawking’s imaginary spheres.

The reason Naturalists (and self stated immaterialists who’s philosophy breaks down to simple materialism as thought content ends as but the slave to some other precursor) do not like this unbroken chain and where it leads is because in the arena of Time and the Universe and the Multi-Verse it leads us, not to Hawking’s imaginary spheres, for which we find no evidence at all, none, but to Effects which must be, but are not, and the only thing our eyes see in repeatable, falsifiable, measurable empirical anthologies which accounts for such geography is Intention, and that Intention accounts for something of non-entity now actualizing and now not actualizing all the while the Necessary and Sufficient Cause is ever-actual. Their eyes see that, but their conclusion goes elsewhere, perhaps to Hawking’s imaginary spheres for which their eyes see no evidence. We see irrefutable evidence all around us to confirm such a conclusion of Intention, and, we must conclude that it can only be a pre-supposition of naturalism that would ground the intent to believe in imaginary spheres, for which we find no evidence, rather than the very obvious, measurable, and objective geography of Necessary and Sufficient Cause-Effect-Intention for which we find objective evidence all around us.

Of course, once Will, or, Intent, or, Mind, is the end of regress, lest we forget, such just is contextually triune, as is all of Perceiving, Knowing, Loving, and Logic, for these just do take place inside of all that is Self in and by relation to all that is Other and these in all that is the singularity of Unity, that singular amalgamation of Self-Other which begets all that is Us therein completing E Pluribus Unum’s necessarily triune landscape. Should we stumble upon a triune accounting of all such things we would be following the evidence and forming, taking on, correct beliefs about the actuality we awake to find ourselves within.


@RonH--Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your thoughts and the time you took to articulate them. I do not disagree with the biases we bring to our thought processes, but that isn't what I was trying to say. I can't seem to say it the way I meant it and I apologize for that. Nonetheless, your response prompted another question and I hope you'll take time to answer it when time permits:

I believe at one point in time you mentioned that you have a wife and 2 grown children (I hope I have this right!). If your position about the reality of God changed and you somehow came to accept the Christian position and all it entails, how would that impact your relationship with your wife and children? (As a little bit of background for the question, I often wonder about some family members of mine who have drifted from their roots and now are essentially agnostic. And, if not entirely agnostic, they adhere to a made-up version of truth that suits their own comfort level. They have grown children and completely unbelieving spouses. I sense that they will not even entertain considering the Biblical understanding of Christianity because that would mean acknowledging that their spouses and children are not saved at present, and they cannot handle that thought. But they also adamantly hold to a position that "religion is a private matter" and shouldn't be discussed or shared--especially if someone is trying to make a persuasive point about it. So they're in a kind of double-bind; they can't consider it for themselves due to the discomfort it causes, and they can't breach their tightly held creed that it's no one's business since it's all so private.)

So, as someone who NEVER believed at all, how would the scenario I posited be for YOU?

Thanks for at least considering this, RonH.

Hi Carolyn,

You remember well. Thanks. I'm married (29 years) and our girls are in their 20's. :)

How would my becoming a Bible-believing Christian affect my relationships with your wife and children?

I can't see how I could predict that. I'd be a different person.

I think I'd be so different that I just can't guess how it would affect those relationships from my end. (I think my end is what you are asking about.) From their end, I expect it would depend on my behavior.

How would I be different?

I think I would have to take up a different way of forming beliefs. I've heard (here and elsewhere) quite a lot about why some people belief the Bible. And I've given those reasons a lot of thought. A fair hearing, I think.

The result has been that I probably doubt Christianity now more than ever - and I certainly doubt it more than when I started looking at the subject seriously (2004?).

I think the reason my doubt has grown during a time when I've been exposed to a LOT of Christian apologetics is that, during that time, I've also become a better skeptic.

What I mean when I call myself a 'skeptic' is that I try to make it a point to examine claims critically. I'm not alone in this use of skeptic. For example, the Wikipedia articles on skepticism and critical thinking have links to each other. These links fall under the heading 'See also'.

So if you think 'skeptic' has negative connotations, then you are thinking of some other meaning or usage. Skepticism means critical thinking.

Becoming a more conscious and skilled skeptic has made me aware how careless and unskilled we naturally are at forming beliefs - regardless of the topic.

You are probably aware that most people have no idea how to go about correctly evaluating a newspaper story about a health issue. Neither can they evaluate the claims their neighbor makes over the fence about spirituality.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong: You feel that you are qualified to evaluate claims about spirituality.

But your method of evaluation, unless I'm mistaken, would be to refer to the Bible. I guess you are convinced that this is a good way to evaluate claims about spirituality.

And you can't really know that it is a good method. How did you come to believe it is a good method? Did you come to believe the Bible is true through skepticism - that is, through critical thinking? I doubt it.

Grrr....just lost my entire post! Once again,

Hi, Ron,

Actually I answered this same basic question of yours (to me) in the last post of "To the Atheist Who Called Jesus the Magic Christian". In it, I went through the steps of my faith journey and my bout with being on the edge of atheism.

I think one thing I consistently find in your posts is that you hold your own reasoning ability and critical thinking ability, et al, at the top of the credibility-determining curve. Consequently, if you cannot comprehend some spiritual notion, you dismiss it as absurd and that's the end of it. Believing Christians, on the other hand, give weight to the many brilliant minds and admirable souls that have grappled with the same spiritual issues we face today. We begin to realize that their lives were consistent with the Biblical truths that shaped them. The wisdom, faith, and example they left us with mirrors the depth and profound nature of Scripture, and gives us good reason to delve into it with confidence and hope. We value the patriarchs of the faith and those who have taken up the cause of Christ to deliver the gospel--that "good news"--to a hostile world, often at the expense of their lives. It makes us ask, "What IS it in that book that would cause these people to sacrifice everything to pass along its teachings?" And skepticism here is overshadowed by the desire to find out the answer to that question and to admit that we don't know it.

Right away our posture is changed from seeing our own critical thinking as quite unassailable, to humbling ourselves enough to consider whether we've been using an accurate assessment of our condition. And, as mentioned in that other thread, all that goes into determining if the Bible is truly God's Word, if Christ is really who He said He was, if He really died for the penalty our sins deserved, was really buried, and really rose again--the Word itself speaks to our questions and satisfies our need for Truth. And the whole time, it is God wooing us, calling us, drawing us as we edge closer. The whole picture of infinite love, infinite mercy, and perfect justice, cries out its Truth to us. Maybe God waits for that moment when we allow a little crack in our self-sufficiency and admit that we don't have all the answers? It's probably different for everyone, but I think at some point we have to get a glimpse of who we are and who He seems to be, and recognize we aren't as high up on the pole as we thought we were.

BTW, congratulations on 29 years with your wife!

Correction--that should have said"...the Magic Carpenter" and not "...the Magic Christian".

RonH it seems your notion of critical thinking is not critical at all. That is to say, it, your notion of thinking itself, and your application of such, defeat your stated ends.


You are one of the most fair minded commentators on here, and yet, you are forever employing a kind of irrational appeal to blind, inexplicable axiom despite evidence.


It seems you are content to commit to blind axiom at just too many junctures, and in the face of repeatable experiential evidence. Something such as, say, thinking itself, is sacrificed along the way as you concede cascading dominoes in all things, and then simply go on pontificating as if you really are pontificating. Yet you are not thinking in any sense we can make sense out of, though, you act as if you get an intellectual pass and you don’t have to reduce further to, well, what? And yet Mind as the end of things presents a plausible end of regress, given the perceived evidence at hand, unless, that is, one is holding out for some unspoken presupposition lurking behind such needless blind, inexplicable axiom.


Or, you speak of moral landscapes which reveal so much in common around the world that indeed all the world is a Village, and, then, in the next breath, you seem to argue that there is so much variation in morality that a pan world village landscape is not compatible with the evidence at hand. The former is claimed in your attempt to Describe Love’s Altruism, the latter is claimed in your attempt to discredit any Prescriptions for Love’s Altruism. Up is up, but really it is down. Such blind axiom need not be embraced as there is a perfectly coherent Prescriptive-Descriptive, but, again, it seems some unspoken presupposition must be lurking behind an embrace of such needless blind, inexplicable axiom.


And it just keeps going, this kind of thinking, though “thinking” is we know not what inside of cascading dominoes being forever pushed around irrationally inside our skulls. With a wave of the hand…… inexplicable.

Truth is “Merely Observational Reality”? Why then not regress to Intent? That is what our mind perceives in measurable, falsifiable evidence and perception, what our eyes see, is everything. No? Time and the Multi-Verse themselves are on mechanistic determinism necessary effects of a necessary and sufficient cause, and of course that such start/stops happen in the Effects brings repeatable and falsifiable plausibility to weigh in on such a regress as to the cause of such things. Blind axiom is embraced yet again if one at this juncture shies away from Intent, and you seem to, yet we have no reason to conclude anything else, given the evidence at hand. Hawking makes the leap out of Time and Material, as he is following the evidence and seeks his Necessary and Sufficient Cause with Effects which ought to be ever-actual, as the Cause is itself ever-actual, but which are not ever actual Effects, and so imaginary time and pretend spheres are his go-to, for which we find no evidence. None. Yet all around us we find repeatable, measurable, falsifiable evidence as to a very present Cause now actualizing an Effect, now not, now here, but not there, and now stop, and now start, and so on in all the affairs of Intention. Our mind perceives no other end for such evidence, unless, of course, there is some unspoken presupposition lurking behind one’s embrace of needless blind, inexplicable axiom.

You don’t philosophize as one who is only going on what his eyes see, what his mind perceives, though you claim to be a kind of evidential-ist. Your repeatable behavior speaks louder than this claim, though.

In all these, and many other, arenas we find a sort of logic of invisible something-s in your accusations on “evidence for Theism”, though Theism accounts for all of the afore mentioned blind axioms, coherently embracing all of physics, all of morality’s fragments, all of observational reality as it is perceived, all of our brutally repeatable experiential reality, and all which we find inside of this clearly contingent observational matrix which we call the universe. Yet you criticize some sort of invisible some-thing in Theism, and then, you continue to fail to apply your own standard of critical thinking to yourself. Almost all of your critical thinking shies away from repeatable experiential evidence and runs towards favoring inexplicable, invisible, blind axiom instead.

Contingency is on all fronts, by this repeatable pattern in your thinking, avoided, evaded, ignored, and side-stepped. Which, of course, is the very definition of inexplicable axiom. It is not that some of your blind axioms are void of contingency, it is that every single one of them is. We find no real plausibility. Inexplicable imaginary spheres just don’t measure up when there are whole anthologies of evidence at hand testifying otherwise.


You seem committed to some unspoken presupposition lurking behind these needless blind, inexplicable axioms.


For example, we can simply take material, or physical, stuff. All available evidence shows that nothing inside of this clearly contingent observational matrix we call the universe can self account. Thus Hawking’s leap of faith out of Time and Material and into his Un-Measurable-Some-Thing which is Ever-Actual and which, inexplicably, both exists and, again inexplicably, is the ever sufficient cause of A and B and C yet, inexplicably, ABC are in some sense imaginary as, clearly, they seem to come and go, thus his pre-commitments to mechanistic determinism leads him to conclude it is real, but not really real, but inexplicably so. Fine. He is committed to naturalism, so he has to commit to such odd blind, inexplicable axioms in all of the previously mentioned arenas, to the bitter end.


But, I think you think you are not committed to any such presupposition.


But you seem to be.


You seem to be holding out for something, to believe in a kind of invisible, data-less, even contra-data, material uncaused cause of cascading dominoes as Intent is clearly rejected by you as an end of regress, despite the evidence. That is fine. Yet, the theist has this over you: the very same data which you ignore. You see, the evidence there, in that data, points to something non-material, non-contingent, and, which has Intent. Necessary Cause, Necessary Effect, Start/Stop, and so on, as it ties into mechanistic determinism, just is not plausible given what our mind perceives, given the evidence at hand. You are happy to wait for the new discovery of that something that is, right now, wholly foreign to physics. That is fine.


We all have our presuppositions.


Not all of us enjoy having all the data run in the same direction as our TOE. You seem to speak of evidence all the while believing in your invisible, even anti-visible, and contra-data uncaused cause. I say anti-material and contra-data and so on because you actually have to go in the opposite direction of data to yet hope. Imaginary Spheres and all that. Whereas, the theist enjoys the comfort of traveling in the same direction of that same data. To this invisible anti-data, contra-data you yet (seem to) believe in you say, “Having arrived at non-belief this way, I enjoy religious satire.”


Well, that is fine. But, your criticism is against your very own line of reasoning. You’ve arrived at unbelief by a very non-critical sort of thinking in which there are so many fragmentations, false starts, inexplicable hard stops, ontological disconnects, and epistemological side-steps that nothing is really accounted for, not even something as basic as critical thinking there inside those cascading dominoes never free of being pushed around.


The theist need not believe against the grain, whereas, you, it seems, must. Your own critical thinking disassembles your own attempt at critical thinking. You seem to criticize, and simultaneously employ, belief in invisible anti-data, even contra-data. But the theist has what your invisible anti-data, contra-data does not have: visible, physical data/evidence, and every bit of it, by the way. Everything Hawking (etc) points to leads him to point to yet one more something further back in regress. He has to keep taking one more step because, thus far, all of it shouts “Precursor!”. Every bit of it. There is not even one data point to stop this regress. Of course, his presupposition presupposes that sooner or later there will be a naturalistic something that just is everlastingly unchanging forever birthing everything forever. As I said, we all have our presuppositions. Data can only point; it can’t presuppose.

We need only follow the evidence. I find a kind of bias in your distaste for what the eyes see.

All of what Mind is, all of what Logic is, all of what Love is, all of what Intent is, just is contextually triune, for these just do take place inside of all that is Self/In in and by relation to all that is Other/Out and these in all that is the singularity of Unity, that singular amalgamation of Self-Other which begets all that is the singular Sum of perception’s notably triune E Pluribus Unum. Should we stumble upon a triune accounting of all such things we would be following the evidence and forming, taking on, correct beliefs about the actuality we awake to find ourselves within. All your criticisms of ridiculously held-to beliefs in some sort of anti-data, contra-data invisible something (Unicorns, Fairies) are aimed at the very same reasoning you yourself are employing right before our eyes in order to maintain your own belief in your own unbelief, and we can only assume you are committed to such a presupposition of unbelief despite what the eyes see, despite what the mind perceives, as we only have your repeatable behavior by which to measure such.


Even in Love’s necessary landscape of dying we all taste the loss of Self, and, we yet find that Self alive-again over on the other side inside of the Us thus begotten. We perceive this. In marriage. In friendships. In our children. We know this of Love’s Intent. But you seem to find it odd that Immutable Love both Dies and is found Alive-Again. As if Immutable Love would not manifest, or, laughably, could not, manifest not merely in the stuff and substance of His beloved, but, through and through the stuff and substance of His beloved, from A to Z. As if intentional fragmentation of such E Pluribus Unum would not be the very definition of the hell on earth our brutal moral experience contextually perceives here inside this Now.

Whereas, the Theist need only continue to critically, and quite casually, follow the evidence in order to go on discovering the higher plausibility of his TOE. He need never sacrifice the behavior of all physical stuff everywhere, nor Thinking, nor Logic, nor Observational Reality, just as he need never reduce Love to an irrational itch on ontological par with Hate, nor Mind’s brutally repeatable moral experience, nor need he ever shy away from Contingency, nor physics, any of it, nor experiential perceptions of Intention, nor physical evidence of Cosmic Intention, nor need he ever stand atop a Subtext which cannot support the weight of the Contexts in which he finds himself, for he finds a seamless unity amid all of his ontology and all of his epistemology inside of his singular Prescriptive-Descriptive flowing from his Necessary and Sufficient, and innately triune, E Pluribus Unum.

Carolyn,

First, thanks for the congrats. I will share them.

Sorry - I had not read your answer. I have now and I know I would have remembered it. It's quite a story.

I don't know what you mean by

I think one thing I consistently find in your posts is that you hold your own reasoning ability and critical thinking ability, et al, at the top of the credibility-determining curve.
Do you mean I've bragged?

RonH

Hi, RonH,

No, I don't mean you've bragged. What I mean is that I believe that you find your ability to reason and think critically is so superior that it can't be trumped by anyone else's ability. I guess, on one hand, that points to a kind of confidence; on the other hand, I think it puts you in a position where you summarily reject that which doesn't line up with that superior perspective. So the full weight of your confidence lies in you--RonH, fallible human being, ordinary man. When events occur and culture changes its collective mind about what constitutes reality, right and wrong, etc., the atheist can adjust his thinking and adopt whatever thought processes prove most efficacious.

The Believer, on the other hand, places his confidence outside of himself--on the Triune God--who is the bedrock, the foundation, and the authority behind his beliefs. This doesn't change with the times, the culture or the prevailing accepted conditions. God is constant and His Truth is eternal.


Thanks for your reply.
Carolyn

I believe that you find your ability to reason and think critically is so superior that it can't be trumped by anyone else's ability.

Well, I didn't say that.

What I say is that skepticism is the method I aim to use in forming/rejecting beliefs. I aim to believe what it is rational to believe and to not believe what is irrational to believe.

I don't think I'll be becoming a Christian unless that changes, that is, unless I take up some other way of evaluating beliefs.

The Believer, on the other hand, places his confidence outside of himself
Outside himself. OK. But where? And why?
Now this can all be called subjective, and on some level I guess it is.

I don't know if 'subjective' is quite the right word.

But I sure don't think it sounds like critical thinking.

Whatever the right word is, please justify the method you describe as a way of forming beliefs.

RonH

Hi, RonH,

Well, of course you didn't SAY that your reasoning ability is superior to everyone else's, because if you DID, that would, indeed, be bragging. (And I don't think you brag.) But it's evident to me, as a reader of your comments, that this is what you believe.

As far as skepticism being your M.O. for forming beliefs, that seems an unusual statement. I am a skeptic about lots and lots of things but it's not a "method" to form a belief. It's a perspective, for sure, a vantage point for scrutinizing something. When the skepticism gives way to information that needs further study, one can go where the study leads. Such was my journey into Christianity--again, my own personal journey and, therefore, somewhat subjective. I had tall walls of skepticism that eventually got taken down brick by brick because I was willing to be wrong about what I thought I knew. Make no mistake here, ONLY if God is doing the leading will there be even the impetus to seek. I asked Him to reveal Truth to me...and the Truth spoke for itself. There were no checklists, no charts to fill out, no columns to weigh the pros and cons of belief in God--there was simply the irrefutable Truth staring me in the face. I could no more have said, "I don't believe a word of this," than I could have said, "I am an alien from Mars." (Though you may think I AM an alien!)

You asked the question about WHERE the Believer places his confidence--but I just explained that! Our confidence is in God, His Word, His Truth, His reality---HIM! It's NOT in ourselves.

And you asked WHY? But I just explained that, too! Because He is who He says He is, He speaks what is true, and my puny reasoning ability got blown out the door by Him! That little crack in my thinking became vulnerable because my "search" had still left me without answers. But God doesn't ask us to leave our brains at the door when we come to Him. He GAVE us those brains--to use, to think, to examine and to reason with. When an open heart and mind comes face to face with the Truth of HIM, the mind of reason and critical thinking doesn't become extinct. It drives us to delve deeper into study to make sense of things that aren't so evident at first. And the evidential Truth of what we find, corroborates what we previously learned and plants it deeper into our souls so that it's our very life--a life richer in confidence in the object of our faith--HIM.

Some, undoubtedly, come to Christ calmly and meekly without protest. And some of us come kicking and screaming, convinced in our little minds that it can't possibly be true. But I'm pretty certain that no one makes a decision for Christ based on intellect and rational thinking alone; they might be components involved, but they can never be the means--because spiritual things cannot be discerned by human efforts... alone.

Carolyn I'm not sure RonH is interested in revelation, though he may be, but I am quite certain that he is not interested in observational evidence. Inexplicable axiom is his go-to even when more plausible sums are at hand, simply because his presupposition is his belief in unbelief. Something as simple as “critical thinking” is we know not what inside of cascading dominoes being forever pushed around irrationally inside our skulls. With a wave of the hand…… inexplicable. Observational perception is claimed as his test of validity until it becomes a choice between imaginary spheres or the very simple geography of intent. That and so many other examples……. The proofs of his commitment to unbelief despite mind’s perceptions in observational evidence.

But it's evident to me, as a reader of your comments, that this is what you believe.
I'm sorry, what is evident? That I believe what?

Carolyn,

It seems unlikely that one can deduce that another, short of glaring overreaches or confessions, does in fact within themselves perceives their own reasoning ability as inferior or superior to another’s.

The brick wall you are encountering, and perhaps attempting to put your finger on, is not conceit.

The brick wall is an unwillingness to embrace observational evidence as it is presented to the mind’s eye.

Now, if one had a clear presupposition, this would be understandable. But RonH does claim to favor just no end of regress at all, not naturalism, nor theism, and he hints at mirroring Ben’s approach of “perception is all I believe”. Well, when he comes upon his mind’s perceiving various measurable, repeatable, falsifiable geographies to explain the necessary, sufficient and ever-actual cause of the temporary but actual effect we call Space-Time, he has an imaginary sphere on the one hand, or, on the other hand, something no material or immaterial mechanistically determined geography can account for presented to his perceptions by all of the evidence of physics. Hence Hawking’s leap of faith out of Matter and out of Time and into his immeasurable something in an effort to account for what, in all of the known universe, only intent can coherently account for. Now, I know why Hawking takes this leap of faith into imaginary things. He presupposes naturalism. Thus, regardless of what his mind perceivers inside of this observational matrix we call reality, he will not move in the direction of intent, as its implications means the death of his naturalism.

RonH sort of makes the same mistake Ben makes as Ben commented once that he did experience a kind of intention or choice, and then he made the subtle bait and switch to infer that there must be yet some other precursor, even if not perceived. The self-proclaimed “agnostic” reveals his true presupposition.

The brick wall, Carolyn, is not conceit, but, it is simply a commitment to naturalism. When Imaginary Spheres and Imaginary Time and Imaginary Any-Things are embraced in favor of repeatable, measurable, falsifiable patterns in the arenas of the Actually Present Cause, the Sufficient Cause, the Necessary Effect mechanistically determined machines must beget, the Effect actually observed, and Intent, there really is no riddle to solve.

We simply have this: pre-supposed naturalism.

That is fine. But this behavior is, as far as I can tell from prior comments, in the face of an assertion that one does not favor any such “ism”. One just follows the evidence.

Well, our mind perceives no evidence of imaginary spheres. Our mind does perceive evidence of intention, experientially, personally, and cosmically. Based on what our minds can see and measure, it is, in the full sense of the world, unreasonable to believe in imaginary spheres, and it is, in the full sense of the word, reasonable to believe in Intent, both experientially and cosmically. Based on what our minds can see and measure. Intent, true intent, of course, is devastating to mechanistic determinism having any hopes of coherently containing the end of our necessary regress and leaves such in the lap of Personhood.

The brick wall seems unreasonable because it is unreasonable. But the reason for the unreasonableness is most likely not conceit, but is instead mere presupposition and a commitment (based on that presupposition) to believe in imaginary things despite the overwhelming anthology of evidence to the contrary. I guess it could be possible to mistake such for conceit. After all, Christians have been charged with intellectual conceit for sticking to their beliefs. But, of course, the Christian need never hold on in spite of the evidence.

@RonH: Sorry if that wasn't clear. It referred to this:

"What I mean is that I believe that you find your ability to reason and think critically is so superior that it can't be trumped by anyone else's ability."

I never brought up the subject of conceit, though I can see, scblhrm, how it seemed to be going that way. I simply see what I was talking about to RonH as a posture--a mindset that seems evident to me from the posts he supplies. Where you believe this stems from is what you've gone into describing in your reply, scblhrm. You might well be right, but I was just trying to get at the observable with RonH. And the whole point of my post was to contrast the person who places his confidence in himself, and the one who places his confidence in Christ.

Again, sorry if that was not clear!
Carolyn

Carolyn,

Ok, thank you for your reply.

Now that's clear.

My point is not about who possesses the superior ability to do anything.

Just drop that. Please.

My point is regarding alternative methods of evaluating beliefs - any beliefs - including those about Christianity and Jesus.

The issue of putting one's faith in Jesus is not relevant until after one has already made one's evaluation of certain claims made about him.

Many questions arise. Among them:

Is critical thinking an appropriate method to form (or not form) beliefs?

What other methods are there?

Did you use critical thinking in forming your beliefs about Christianity?

Did you use some other method?

If so, is the method a good way to evaluate beliefs?

Do you use it in other matters or was it deployed especially for the formation of this particular set of beliefs.

RonH

Hi, RonH,

I'm going to give this my best shot, but I still don't think you'll apprehend it--clearly, not because you aren't smart enough, but because it is outside the realm of the things we normally use everyday rational thought and critical reasoning to determine.

"Is critical thinking an appropriate method to form (or not form) beliefs?"

Critical thinking certainly is PART of the process, but when you read Scripture you immediately understand that you're reading something that is outside of your familiar context about life. Yet, it is compelling and consistent so you keep reading. Suddenly, the critical thinking becomes directed to the situations and people being discussed. And the confirmation of the consistency of God throughout the reading stands out loud and clear. And it remains loud and clear throughout the continuum of the entire Book. HE remains who He said He is, He does what He says He will do, He has a plan and He exposes His plan and fulfills it. AND the entire thing hinges on WHO HE IS and who we are and WHY we were created. THAT is where the critical thinking comes in as we assess THOSE kinds of things. And, very importantly, all of it lines up with REALITY. I can't explain it any better than that.

I think a great challenge for you would be this: borrow, buy or access one free online, a very readable Bible--maybe a New International Version to start with, and maybe something chronological (few of them are, so you have to find one), or a Living Bible. Openly admit to the God you don't even think exists that you're completely skeptical of this exercise, but willing to investigate it. Begin at the beginning--in Genesis. Just try to read without prejudice--simply take in the accounts of creation, man's sinfulness, etc. and learn who God says He is. Read slowly and deliberately and keep a pad of paper handy to jot questions. (You'll have LOTS of them in Genesis!) In general, the Old Testament will give you the story of man, his fall, God's covenant with the Jews and their story through a long time period. It will cover God's desire to keep a culture of people wholly His own, desiring to walk with Him in faith, obedient to Him and in loving relationship with Him. They fail. They can't keep the law, they make up hundreds of their own laws, etc. and fail at every turn.

Hundreds of years go by without any communication between God and the Jews from the end of the Old Testament to the beginning of the New Testament. This brings Jesus into the picture, the one who perfectly fulfills the law and Scripture prophecies and eventually ransoms His life to bring salvation to mankind. The texts are narrative, poetic, symbolic, and all manner of writing--but each is important in relation to the whole.

You'll definitely be challenging your critical thinking skills and reasoning ability, trust me. Like most of us, you'll have to trudge through some of the books about lineage and various earthly kings of the time, but don't linger there, thinking you have to keep names and dates in mind. Just read. You'll get to the last book--Revelation, and you won't have enough paper to pen your questions. Lots of symbolism and such, but by then the story will be clear enough that you'll have the whole idea.

Okay, that was long-winded, but I think it's going to be the best thing for you. You'll answer a lot of your own questions and get a much better handle on all of this. Even if you've read some of it before, or bits and pieces or whatever, try this. If you finish this journey without prejudice, I think you will come away with amazing insights. God does not force you, hammer you or threaten you; the Word is there to be read. I encourage you to read it.

There is a passage that essentially reads, "What do you have if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?" All the toys, all the degrees after our names, all the wealth we can accumulate, the recognition we can receive--everything--amounts to nothing if we lose our souls. It's WORTH the time and effort to investigate this Book to get His perspective on things.

Hope you take this in the spirit it's given, RonH. I only wish you well.

Carolyn

The reason for the unreasonableness is a simple presupposition, and, a commitment (based on that presupposition) to believe in imaginary things despite the overwhelming anthology of evidence to the contrary. I know why Hawking takes his leap of faith out of Material, out of Time, and into imaginary some-things.


What I don't know is why someone with no commitment to natural-ism would follow his blind leap of faith when there are measurable, verifiable, falsifiable, and repeatable cause-effect geographies perceived by logic.

Carolyn,

Hope you take this in the spirit it's given, RonH. I only wish you well.
I can say that I truely appreciate the time and effort you expended in responding.

Here's the problem with your response: It isn't an answer. There are no real answers to the questions I asked you. And, you don't seem to have the main idea behind those questions in mind when you crafted your answer.

That main idea is: How To Form Beliefs

Reading your response, I might guess at some of your answers.

You think critical thinking is of some use but it's not applicable to questions.

So...

Which questions (about what's true) are beyond the reach of critical thinking?
Why are they beyond it?
What method do you propose to use in place of CT?
What justifies the use of it?

Are you saying you came to belief in Christianity using methods other than critical thinking?

What methods?
Where else do you use these methods?

Your suggestions about my reading the Bible, remind me of the 'Elder' that gave me a Book of Mormon. He asked me to read it and see if I didn't have a burning in my bosom. That's a method like

And the confirmation of the consistency of God throughout the reading stands out loud and clear. And it remains loud and clear throughout the continuum of the entire Book.


Well, RonH, it's all I have to give! I did my best to explain that critical thinking plays a part in spiritual decisions, but that this realm is outside of the normal chain of events for processing and formulating beliefs. One can't completely REASON their way to faith, because it's a spiritual realm; we can reason about a lot of the surrounding elements of it--historical, archeological, literary, etc. Once we are satisfied on those levels that there is some Truth in Scripture, we begin to explore that which is claimed as Truth in the rest of it as well, and allow God to do as He wishes with what we learn. Some folks aren't ready to process and accept all of it, some will reject it, some will embrace all of it. But without reading it, it's rather useless to discard it as absurd or irrelevant!

I rather feel that we're reading the same questions and I'm answering them, only to be told I'm not answering them! Your first question of the post prior to this one was:

"Is critical thinking an appropriate method to form (or not form) beliefs?

My answer: I presumed you were talking about spiritual beliefs. I answered that they are PART of the method, but not the entire method, BECAUSE these are spiritual things and OUTSIDE the physical realm which is the usual place critical thinking is employed. Once our critical thinking regarding the historical and geographical, et al. is settled, we continue in pursuit of the rest of what Scripture is about and the Holy Spirit guides us in Truth.

The rest of your questions were about other methods employed (God Himself via His Holy Spirit pointing to the Truth of the Word), where else this method is employed (only in understanding those things spiritually discerned), and did I employ this method (yes, as described--reasoning, critical thinking, allowing God to guide me and teach me--having a teachable heart, willing to admit I didn't have all the answers).

The reason that the consistency of God's Word stands out loud and clear is that every part of His Word corroborates something else in His Word, and He Himself instructs us IN His Word VIA His Word.

That's it--no "burning in the bosom" as per the Mormons, no formulas, no check list. Simply the desire to know Truth and taking the chance to read His Word, a humbled heart, and being willing to follow where it leads.

Sorry if this is not all adequate for you, but I did include that caveat at the beginning of my last post! I still wish you well and hope you will be brave enough to follow through; you have nothing to lose...

Some folks aren't ready to process and accept all of it, some will reject it, some will embrace all of it.
How do you know all that? Couldn't it be that some are too ready? Certainly some people are too ready to embrace other things, right?
I presumed you were talking about spiritual beliefs.
I was talking about matters of fact - any matter of fact, a thing that can either believed more or less confidently - and how you decide them. I have nothing against using critical thinking to decide spiritual things. Why do you?

It seems we agree that critical thinking can be useful in deciding about matters of fact. Maybe other methods can be as well. I'm asking you to tell me about them.

The reason that the consistency of God's Word stands out loud and clear is that every part of His Word corroborates something else in His Word, and He Himself instructs us IN His Word VIA His Word.
Again, those are all conclusions. I'm asking how you get to them.
I answered that they are PART of the method, but not the entire method, BECAUSE these are spiritual things and OUTSIDE the physical realm which is the usual place critical thinking is employed.
Are you saying critical thinking is only applicable to certain things? Why say that?

Hi, RonH~

You've got my head spinning in circles..."some are too ready"?? I don't even know what you're talking about!

Ron, if I tell you I have confidence in what my critical thinking deduces as far as spiritual things are concerned, you will ask me how I can have confidence in things that can't be demonstrably proven through scientific or natural means. NO CAN DO!!

"Why do you have a problem using critical thinking to decide spiritual things?"

I think you're putting words in my mouth. I said that I believe they can only take you so far--for example: if I begin by using reasoning to accept that Jesus Christ was a real, live person who lived over 2000 years ago--using historical records, geographical accounts, literary accounts, etc.--it is not going to be "reasoning" that will get me to the step that he was also part of the Trinity, that He was the God/man, that He was sent by God the Father to die for my sins, etc. God leading me through small steps of faith and discernment given by His Holy Spirit takes me through each rising step of faith. HAD I said that, you would say, "Well, those are not matters of fact, but of faith." EXACTLY right. Then you would ask how I can explain how I use reasoning ability to make the leap to matters of faith which cannot be proven as fact! NO CAN DO. It's all woven together and AVAILABLE to be understood by those who take the challenge to read His Word. Are you willing to read, Ron??

Circuitous dialog which gets one nowhere is not very productive. Just as you can't discuss a movie without seeing it, you can't have much valuable input here if you're in the dark about His Word; I can point out references until I'm blue in the face but you will only reject them because you really don't know what I'm talking about, AND you would dismiss them because they are outside your realm of experience. ARE you willing to read, Ron, or do you really not care? For so many years of being on an apologetics site, have you ever gone to the source and personally read and mined the source of our faith??

I have nothing else to offer you now. The onus is upon YOU. All other chatter is just that. Go to the Book and LIVE. Else,

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Shakespeare (Macbeth V, v. II)

You were created for more than that, Ron.

"My belief in other minds is not from science." RonH

Thank you Carolyn,

God leading me
I've been asking you about your method - how you come to believe these various things. Is this your method? To be led by God to believe them?

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