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« Sci Fi & Stem Cells | Main | Heaven & Hell »

July 09, 2009

Comments

hard to blame people for resorting to skepticism.

Given the nature of mass media, and the rapid propagation of ideas ranging everywhere from darwin and physics, to genetics and biotechnology, to church history and pluralism.

Frankly i'm surprised we don't see MORE skeptics than we do.

who knows what the hell to believe anymore.

complicated world

I agree, tony. The fault isint neccessairily in the media, but it seems like the layperson is more exposed to sloppy sensationalism rather than honest, and perhaps painful critique. Although I do disagree with your closing remark, I am starting to understand a bit better where you are coming from.

Its too bad.

No doubt the media puts a damper on things... At the same time though there is nothing any media source or skeptic could ever tell me that would effect my Religion and my faith.

It does sadden me though that you "Don't know what to believe". I think people aren't rooted enough into their beliefs or won't dig deep enough in their studies to find an answer and it allows doubt to make it's way in and they usually conclude with an answer of "Who knows what to believe anymore". Very sad!

A form of skepticism is healthy, but the form addressed in this post seems more like the cop-out kind of skepticism. And that seems to be the growing trend of skepticism. Just my observation.

Melinda >> An increasingly more common stance toward the Christian claims is skepticism.

Does this include all non-Christians who are familiar enough with Christianity to reject it (but perhaps participate in a different religion), or is it a subset that probably reject all religious claims?

I just notice that a lot of times atheists/agnostics/skeptics/non-religious get singled out when it seems that the same things could be said about all non-Christians.


Melinda >> The position seems to presume that belief requires a burden of proof that hasn't yet been met.

"Presume"? Don't you mean "conclude"? I guess there's skeptics of both types.


Melinda >> Sometimes the kind of evidence asked for - or the amount of evidence requested - is unreasonable and the wrong kind of standard.

Is there some objective standard for "unreasonable"? Is that not a subjective matter?


>> Just as a doctor is responsible for making herself aware of new potential treatments for her patients, individuals have a responsibility to assume the burden of proof for their disbelief.

That makes no sense. There's no connection between the first and second example. The first example involves two people and new information that helps the first person serve and assist the second person. The second example involves one individual and how they justify their collection of beliefs.

Doesn't STR teach that the person making the claim has the burden of proof? Now it's the other way around also? That seems awfully convenient.

I'll have to check out Dr. Willard's lecture. Sounds interesting.

...A form of skepticism is healthy...

I agree! When I first started out years ago trying to figure out my life and what I needed or wanted to do with it, I was very skptical. Skeptical of the Bible, Evolution, mutation, Origin of Species and so on. I read tons of books, articles, asked questions, talked to Athiest, talk to Preachers. Skeptism is what brought me to Jesus and my personal relationship with Him. So yes, I do agree that a form of skeptism is healthy, good point!

"Is there some objective standard for "unreasonable"? Is that not a subjective matter?"

The same evidence doesnt convince everyone (hence, subjective), but there are certain criteria that are simply ludacris to expect. For instance, it is objectively unreasonable to expect God to prove his existence by tossing Saturn out of orbit, spawning a unicorn into existence, and so on. Point being, there are objectively unreasonable expectations.

To summarize, there can come a point where 'if x doesnt convince you, it is extremely likely that nothing will' (barring any theological implications of that statement).

Furthermore if I may stray a bit, I used to always wonder why everyone wouldent be converted when Jesus returns, as they would have their proof right before them. It goes far beyond just knowing the existence of Jesus. The reason I bring this up is because there are more implications to not believing than people lead on, wether intentionally or not. Ill leave it at that.


WHY I AM SKEPTICAL OF CHRISTIANITY
======================================================

1. The evidence for common ancestry via Endogenous Retroviruses. This indicates Genesis is wrong.

2. The evidence for common ancestry via Chromosome 2 data. This indicates Genesis is wrong.

3. The failure of four separate Near Death Experience experiments to pan out. Specifically, the placing of a marquee above an operation table which contained a secret sentence – facing up. No one got it right. Given the number of NDE’s which reportedly happen every day, someone should have got it right. This experiment would have proven dualism right.

4. How come even when NDE survivors do come back, they often don’t report a very Christian experience – sometimes coming back with tales of pluralism. This indicates Christian Exclusivism is wrong.

5. Given that the vast majority of humans that have ever lived, never even learned to talk, why did god bother to make them? “Estimations of chemical pregnancies or unrecognized pregnancies that are lost can be as high as 50-75%, but many of these are unknown since they often happen before a woman has missed a period or is aware she is pregnant.” - American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

6. What was really meant by the much debated verse Mark 9:1 – “And he said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

7. The Problem of Pain – Why do young children suffer from horrible painful cancers? (Note – this is not to be confused with the Problem of Evil – e.g. why did God allow the Nazis to hurt people – which is a much simpler question.)

8. Why doesn’t god heal amputee victims? Why are most miracles these days about relationships and finances?

9. Where have the Hollywood-style miracles gone?

10. Why doesn’t Jesus show up at debates?

For these 10 reasons, I feel I am justified in being skeptical of Christianity.

WHY AM I SKEPTICAL OF MATERIALISM:

===============================================
1. Why is there something and not nothing (why does the cosmos exist?)

2. Epistemology: What is the nature of the laws of physics, logic, and reason? (Is Platonism true – how can a materialist’s philosophical framework somehow account for the apparent existence of platonic forms?)

3. What is the nature of human and animal consciousness? Is it merely a substrate-dependent epiphenomenon? And if so, how can we model it.

For these 3 reasons, I feel I am justified in being skeptical of Materialism.

= = = =

I don’t really wish to debate these issues now. If you want to see some debates, just Google any one of these questions.

I just wish to show that, in my opinion, there are some VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY good reasons to be skeptical.

But granted, in my opinion, most people turn to Christianity and leave Christianity for unfounded reasons. e.g. "unjustified skepticism."

But not me.

I left Christianity cuz I had good reason to.

I know your not looking for debate, tony, and this answer is not ment to start one. As for your Mark question, given the context of the passage, it is likely that this was in reference to Jesus @ the mount of Transfiguration... hope I got that right. Thats just off the top of my head.


Ill stop there, as I assume you were posting just cause, and not neccessairily for a response. Were around for dialogue if you change your mind, of course. :)

I'm skeptical of skepticism. I've yet to be convinced by it.

:-)))

Anyone skeptical that a snake talked a woman who was made from a rib into eating fruit from a tree that could give knowledge of good and evil? Could God do that? Yes, that's obvious. But notice that is not what I'm asking. I'm asking if anyone is skeptical that that literally happened. What I find strange is that people view such skepticism as threatening to Christianity. Someone might reasonably think that there was a first human (that's just obvious, by the way, on the supposition that there is something it is to be human) and that he/she sinned after enjoying a sinless state without also believing that there was a literal garden with a talking snake and a tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why is the literalism about the snake, the garden, and the fruit so important that skepticism about those details constitutes a threat to Christianity? It certainly constitutes a threat to certain ways of reading Scripture, but again, that isn't the question either (unless it can be shown that Christianity itself is intimately wed to a way of reading Scripture that compels such literalism with regard to the first few chapters of Genesis). Why all the fuss about skepticisms of that sort, which are perfectly sustainable within Christianity?

--Henry

Damian >> I'm skeptical of skepticism. I've yet to be convinced by it.

I believe in beliefs. :)

Actually, I suspect you're skeptical of a few ideas floating around out there.

Hey ToNy, I like your lists. I could probably generate something similar to describe me at this moment.

After years as a Christian believer, I've become skeptical of every view out there, both the religious and the non-religious. I don't know where I stand right now, just still searching. I thank STR for teaching me how to be skeptical and critical of worldviews.

Maybe the truth is out there somewhere. NONE of us will ever know for sure during this life, and maybe never at all, if we just fade away into the darkness. Not very satisfying, is it? But it is what it is.

Seems to me like we're all just grasping in the dark, looking for that hidden knowledge that unlocks our deepest mysteries. It no longer seems to me that there's any sort of Cosmic Drama going on all around us, involving invisible beings with plans and purposes.

Jim, if I may;

If we were all grasping in the dark, but infact there was never such thing as light, we wouldent know otherwise. And you wouldent even say something like that.

Then I suggest that you are actually looking for something that exists. A little good news.

I feel relieved that someone knows that I cannot know if truth exists during this life. Thanks for the light in this completely dark world.

My search has ended.


David Blain >> I feel relieved that someone knows that I cannot know if truth exists during this life....My search has ended.

Nice mockery. You might want to try the Ambassador training program by STR.

I don't know why I keep fooling myself into thinking this is a place for honest and open discussion.

But I'll keep trying...

Please explain to me how we can know beyond all doubt the truth about our world.

LOL@ambassador training suggestion.

Jim, may I apologize on davids behalf. He cant help it, he, like myself, is totally depraved ;)

"Please explain to me how we can know beyond all doubt the truth about our world."

Okay. First off, can you know anything 'beyond all doubt'? OI have a feeling you ment beyond all reasonable doubt.

Im not trying to lure you into a game here, but in a sense you seem to have a particular certainty in the notion in the above quotes. There is a massive difference between knowing with incapable of knowing.
Now im going to say something that echos of christian bias, so take from it what you will.
In a world that includes God, Apart from this God telling us the truth about our world, it would infact, be impossible to know the true nature of our world -- more speciffically our condition. Assuming their is somewhat of a distance between us and this said God.

And if that were the case as i suggested earlier, STR would not exist because there would be no 'reason', to reason with. It would be unneccessairy to even bother with true or false, or have any of these questions, presuming there is no God to give them. Men have deep desires that must have an answer. I am curious, Have you ever examined the claims of other religions?

Hey Jim T.,

It was a poor attempt at humor and I am sincerely sorry if I offended you. This has actually happened a couple times now so I will be more aware of comments I post. I truly am sorry.

I never claimed I could know truth beyond all doubt, but I will say this:

Were you making a true statement when you said, "NONE of us will ever know for sure during this lifetime...the truth about our world.?" If so, did you remove all doubt before you believed that statement as true?

If you weren't making that statement as a true, why should I agree with you or accept it?

I guess my point is that I think you are holding to a position that proves itself false the moment you assert it as true.

Does that make sense? I think you have stacked the deck against truth so severely that the only thing left to embrace is contradiction.

"If you weren't making that statement as a true, why should I agree with you or accept it?

I guess my point is that I think you are holding to a position that proves itself false the moment you assert it as true."

This is essentially why I say, Jim, that if truth TRULY did not exist, we would be incapable of even making that statement. Ide even take it a step further and say im not sure if there is even a possible reality where truth does not exist.

PRINCE,

>> there is nothing any media source or skeptic could ever tell me that would effect my Religion and my faith

even if they gave you a mountain of evidence showing the resurrection enver hapenned?


David Blain >> It was a poor attempt at humor and I am sincerely sorry if I offended you.

Fair enough! As one who has also made my share of poorly received attempts at humor, you have my sympathies! :) Let's move on, then.


David Blain >> Were you making a true statement when you said, "NONE of us will ever know for sure during this lifetime...the truth about our world.?"

I don't know if it's true or not, but I do believe it.


>> If so, did you remove all doubt before you believed that statement as true?

Almost all doubt, at least beyond a reasonable doubt for me. Obviously, something like the Rapture would significantly alter things with that statement.

Don't we easily observe that no one has a lock-tight case for their worldview? Don't we observe that there are many possible worldviews, with varying degrees of apparent reasonableness to different people? And how many of those worldviews are actually correct? Either zero or one, right? And do we ever find out beyond all doubt in this life?

Look, I'm not saying I like it like this! I actually find it quite frustrating. Agnosticism or skepticism isn't necessarily a pleasant position to be in. But for some people, it may be the only place that works, or has more internal peace than positions of tentative belief.


>> I guess my point is that I think you are holding to a position that proves itself false the moment you assert it as true. Does that make sense? I think you have stacked the deck against truth so severely that the only thing left to embrace is contradiction.

I'm not arguing against truth, and I'm not arguing that some things can't be concluded beyond a reasonable doubt. I'm sorry if I gave a different impression.

Thanks for the discussion. I do enjoy it.


Evangelion >> In a world that includes God, Apart from this God telling us the truth about our world, it would infact, be impossible to know the true nature of our world -- more speciffically our condition.

Sure, if the Ultimate Authority happens to tell us the truth, then we'll know the truth. But the thing is, we don't necessarily know when the Christian God would even be telling us the truth. In between testing our love by using false prophets and signs (Duet 13:3), the sending of strong delusions (2 Thes 2:11-12), punishing sin with more sin (Romans 1), and secret knowledge only given to select people (Luke 8:10), don't you think it becomes hard to know what's going on?


Evangelion >> Men have deep desires that must have an answer.

Why?


Evangelion >> I am curious, Have you ever examined the claims of other religions?

Yes indeed. Very interesting!

Thanks for the discussion. I enjoy it.

>> Why?

Because in some cases, its difficult to reconsile them with particular worldviews. What shaefurr would call, 'the point of inconsistancy'. Thats one way to test degrees of certainty.

If I may address one of the passages you brought up, in the case of Romans one God is not punishing sin with more sin. In the context given, God is 'giving them up' to their sinful lifestyles because apparently;

"21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."

Perhaps I or someone else here would have time later to adress some of the other questions

Tony,

All the media could do is generate objections to the ressurection. Disprove it, I don't see that happening. I read your list of reasons "why" you don't buy into Christianity. I'm troubled by it because there is SO much information out there that can help you shed more light on it.

The NDE's you speak of... Don't base your opinion on what a few people have claimed to "see" or "not see" when on the operating table. Don't try to debunk my beliefs over someone else's claim. It doesn't apply to me.

...I left Christianity cuz I had good reason to.

I came to Christianity because I had good reason too. It sounds like you were searching for a way out of it, or not to believe it.

7. The Problem of Pain...

If we did not know pain how would we know what love is?

8. Why doesn’t god heal amputee victims? Why are most miracles these days about relationships and finances?

Not sure were you collected this data from. Miracles have happened in the church and continue to happen everyday. Healings and so forth in hospital beds. How do you expect to see them if your not in the church as a believer. It's not gonna get airtime on CNN dude.

I think a lot of your "10 reasons" are very shallow not worthy of debunking anything much less Christianity.

I respect your view of Christianity as a human. I don't buy it, it doesn't bother me in the least though. I know that's not what you were trying to do. I think you may be putting a little to much faith in the wrong things.

The media, Athiest, Scientist', Non-Believers, or Tony, could never disprove the Holy Spirit or a personal relationship with the Lord. To think this world just "is" and has no evidence of a more powerful being than yourself seems a little crazy to me. There is good and evil going on around us everyday. I pray someday your views will change bro.

True I couldn't disprove ur personal relationsip with the lord

Nor Zeus for that matter

Are you serious, Zues? Have you ever tried for a personal relationship with Zues or any of the greek Gods?

Skepticism for the claims of Islam!
Skepticism for the claims of psychics!
Skepticism for the claims of homeopathy!
Skepticism for the claims of Oprah's guests!

Why should Christianity be different?

RonH

Perhaps you should read Lee Strobel's "A Case for Christ". I can name you many many more books that shed light on this matter (skeptism) if you'd like but I favor Lee's as one of my favorites.

You have a lot of skeptism RonH? Maybe you need to do a little studying... Or praying...

Prince,

Yes I have a lot of skepticism. And I can tell you it's a great asset.

I'm guessing you have almost as much skepticism as I do. But you seem to have a certain sacred cow.

You suggest I study. I do. But do you think that whatever I study I will believe? Or is it only supposed to work for Christianity?

Do you think a non-believer can pray?
Makes no sense to me but what do you think?

RonH

Prince,

>> Have you ever tried for a personal relationship with Zues.

I do have one with zeus. prove i don't.

p.s. Lee Strobel blows chunks.

Prince,
I have read Strobel and Geisler and Lewis and Craig and others. I have also read the responses and find the responses stronger by far.
RonH

... But you seem to have a certain sacred cow.

Explain please...

...But do you think that whatever I study I will believe?

I don't know, you tell me Ron. Is what you're studying filled with facts or rubbish? Are studying childrens books or Economics? Do you believe anything you read could possibly be true? Give me an example of something you believe in or think is true. If I were a judge I defintley wouldn't want you on the panel of jurors.


Do you think a non-believer can pray?

Very very much so I think you can pray. I am afraid your approach and faith in it would not be very strong. But yes, I believe you can and should.

Prince,

Sacred Cow: a belief given less critical treatment than comparable alternatives. The SC is accepted on evidence equal to or weaker than evidence supporting rejected competitors. Or, the SC is shielded from attacks that take down comparable claims. I presumed: In your case your Christianity is preferred over competing religions or even competing views of Christianity. Have you given other religions a fair chance? Do you believe in The Miracle of the Sun? Why not?

What do I study? I looked at my library check-out history: evolution, apologetics, skepticism/science, philosophies of religion and science, and many misc other fun things. Those look like the biggest groupings. On my initial exposure to Christian apologetics (Mere Christianity) I was impressed. I did't find it convincing. I just didn't know the answers - how to respond. On finding the responses I felt stupid: I should have seen that! Lord, liar, or lunitic indeed. What a joke. I continue to read apologetics but it's psychology to me now - one of many cases of: Why do people believe weird things? I don't object to them doing so per se. But sometimes it leads to things I do object to.

Well you are wrong: I cannot pray. I believe the chances of Someone hearing are not zero but they are way too small to allow it. Could you face to Mecca 5 times a day?

RonH

Yes, I've looked and studied many religions, denominations seeking answers. I found them in Christ! I found them in The Holy Bible!

...Well you are wrong: I cannot pray. I believe the chances of Someone hearing are not zero but they are way too small to allow it.

Like I said in my previous post, "I am afraid your approach and faith in it would not be very strong".

Could you face to Mecca 5 times a day?

Doesn't apply to me. Islam is not my faith.

Well you are wrong: I cannot pray.

By your own standards you make this assumption. Don't say you "can't" pray. You choose not to for your own reasons. You can't recieve Christ if you never put forth the faith in him or confess that you believe in Him. If you're looking for answers read the Bible. You need to add that to your library if you haven't already. Just by reading the Bible you may just think of it as another book, but if you trust it, put faith in it, confess, you might be suprised at the outcome in which God enlightens you!

...On finding the responses I felt stupid: I should have seen that! Lord, liar, or lunitic indeed. What a joke.

I'm not sure what you meant by this sentence Ron, but don't be disrepectful. If I have taken this sentence wrong or out of context then please tell me. Just don't be disrespectful dude...

"Why do people believe weird things?"

You could refer to yourself for that answer just as quickly as I, or any of us could. Try to say any given metanarrative without cracking a smile. And Guess what? someones right.

Prince,

> Doesn't apply to me. Islam is not my faith.

Doesn't apply to me Chrisitainity/Islam/etc is not my faith. In other words, if you think I can pray at al, you should be able to pray Islamic-ly.j

Lord, liar, or lunatic are the only 3 options available to understand Jesus, according to an argument in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

I read the Bible too.

Evangelion,

Sounds like you are saying that I believe something weird. What is that? I guess I don't understand the rest of your comment. Care to spell it out?

Anybody,

I listened to the lecture by Dallas Willard that inspired Melinda's post.
He talks about Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief" (http://tinyurl.com/l3ppng) and Jame's response "The Will to Believe" (http://tinyurl.com/lfhhfs). Clifford starts with a stunning story showing that we are morally responsible for what we believe. Don't believe without sufficient reason. Responding, James says: "To preach skepticism to us as a duty until 'sufficient evidence' for religion be found, is tantamount therefore to telling us that yielding to our fear of error is wiser and better than yielding to our hope that it may be true. " Can you see the wishful thinking here? How about the unstated premise: that if there isn't sufficient evidence the chances are even for true and false?

So Willard is wrong in the lecture where he takes Jame's side. Clifford was right. I do like Willard's call to reason in the second half though.

RonH


Prince >> I'm not sure what you meant by this sentence Ron, but don't be disrepectful. If I have taken this sentence wrong or out of context then please tell me. Just don't be disrespectful dude...

Ron is referencing the very popular Lord, Liar, or Lunatic apologetic. It has great rhetorical power, and is useful for encouraging the faithful and persuading certain unbelievers. I believe it is very easily discounted, and one of the weakest apologetic arguments out there.

But yet I use to fall for it too, much to my embarrassment. Good thing is it taught me to be skeptical of even the apologists and preachers that I revered and learn more about the power of rhetoric as opposed to careful reasoning.

Some apologists would never think of using it.

A quick Google search finds a good discussion about it: The Trilemma-- Lord, Liar Or Lunatic?.

"Sounds like you are saying that I believe something weird."

Absolutely. Perhaps it was not my business to, but I was simply suggesting that your wondering why people believe 'wierd things' is a bit self-implicating. Maybe I was assuming too much. Forgive me if I was out of line!

And for the record (not that it matters) I think calling the Lord Liar Lunatic argument a weak argument is a bit much (it does infact have some credibility), at the same time Bart Ehrman is right in saying that their is a fourth possibility, that being Legend.
It is still meaningful to point out, assuming the accounts are accurate, that their would be good reason to question Jesus's character if infact he were not God. I think apologists generally skip it because their are much stronger arguments to present rather than that one. Maybe in that regard then, its "weak". A bit of backpeddeling. ;)

Evangelion,

No, you're not out of line but self-implicating? Because I wonder why people believe weird things implies that I believe weird things? Can you explain?

There are all sorts of things I consider weird to believe. Only some are religious: psychic powers, groundless medical claims, gambling systems... Why do people believe in these things? You probably don't because of your Christian beliefs. How does that work? Check out Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer.
RonH

Then RonH you might find it supprising that I am open to consider some of those things because of my christian beliefs. By self implicating, I was perhaps pointing to a possible subjectivity of "wierd". For instance, you might think its wierd that I believe in demons, and I might think its wierd that you dont believe in demons.

AT the same time, I should say I didnt have in mind that there was a genuine question on your behalf. So in that regard, I was out of line! I hope you understand what I am getting at then.

and I apologize!

Evang...

Why do you believe in demons?
I don't because I've not seen sufficient evidence for them.

RonH

Why do I?
Well, I do believe them because I have seen sufficient evidence for them. Thoughtful consideration and genuine lack of a better alternative explanation in light of the events. And very reasonable consistancy with my presuppositions. I see no good reason to appeal to anything else. I used to read alot of "that stuff", and I was (and still am) very skeptical of most of it. P.S thats funny that you mention Miracle of the Sun. Very strange story that I dont think many people are familiar with.
Have you ever read the widecome thunderstorm? I think thats what its called.

Evangelion,

So what evidence did you see for demons?

Maybe you mean The Great Thunderstorm (GT)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Thunderstorm

Nope it's new to me. Yikes!

The GT similar in a way to The Miracle of the Sun (MS) in my view. No need for a supernatural explanation, yet one is invoked.

But my question about The Miracle of the Sun was prompted by the claims that it was way more recent than the (claimed) Resurrection of Jesus and attested to by way more people. Yo believe the Resurrection claim. Why don't you believe the MS?

RonH

The problem with the Lord Liar Lunatic question is it doesnt really add much to the debate. It merely forces you to consolidate the very complicated properties of human psychology and human motive, into 3 simple categories.

Consider the new Jesus, for example. José Luis de Jesús Miranda in Florida.

youtube.com/watch?v=Z0mhBVFz9zk

Lord
Well I don't think he's lord.
Liar
Well I bet if you gave him a lie detector test, he would pass
Lunatic
This is purely subjective. When I think of a lunatic, i think of a frothing at the mouth homeless schizophrenic. But this guy is well spoken, charismatic, and god knows hes got more money than me.

Ron, breifly (its been a while since ive read the accounts fro mthat event) im not sure what exactly there is to be believed about the miracle of the sun in the question you are asking. If you mean, 'that it happened', then yes, I have no doubt that "it", happened. What "it" is a different question. The lack of context surrounding the miracle of the sun makes the question of what happened less clear. Thats sort of the big issue. Even given the likelyhood of it simply being a Sundog (i think?), which seems plausable (and I tend to side with it), if im not mistaken there were still some awfuly strange parameters.

... Why do you believe in demons?
I don't because I've not seen sufficient evidence for them.

What sort of evidence are you looking for??? Or, what lack of evidence have you not seen???

Hey Prince,

From one brother to the next, RonH and ToNy and Jim are educated people. They've obviously examined the claims of Christianity very thoroughly, for which they have my respect. And yet they have not reached the same conclusions you and I have.

Rather than saying this "seems a little crazy to me," as though it should be equally obvious to everyone, remember the example of Paul on Areopagus, and especially Jesus in every conversation. Jesus met people wherever they were at in their orientation toward Him, without scorning them for their lack of understanding or merely appealing to authority. He understood them, and exhibited courtesy and sincerity as He met their deepest needs. The classic example of this is with the woman at the well.

. . . individuals have a responsibility to assume the burden of proof for their disbelief.

How does one prove a negative?

It is my understandint that a burden of proof always falls on the affirmative. And that the disbelief in an affirmative is do to the lack of evidence for the affermative. Such as when an affirmative must first be assumed to be true in order to be proven.

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