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What would count as proof of God

Politesse

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T.G.G. Moogly

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I think you are assigning a lot "possible" elements as "necessary" ones.
A "god" is a product of our culture. There are no gods without humans and human culture. Moreover, if I have no awareness of something that is defined by its attributes, which includes magical abilities, what relevance has it to anything I experience? That's why I asked abut the Roman unknown god. Romans aren't really venerating "the unknown god" but rather venerating the unknown. How does one venerate and respect the unknown? They're just worshipping woo. Not knowing the answer to a question is one thing, but not even being aware there is a question is something entirely different. By worshipping woo as a god the Romans are just worshipping their culture. They've created another god based on their culture, not surprising.
 

Politesse

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I am not paid for my time here; I don't need to meet any professional standard. And insisting that I should strikes me as a diversionary tactic.
That is true, you may believe whatever you like. But no one is necesarily obliged to agree with your "observations" simply because you've made them. I feel like disentangling the ideas wrapped into your definitions would be taking the thread a bit off-topic, but I presume you know that you're siding with a fairly conservative-Christian-flavored portrayal of divinity, and have a bunch of arguments ready to go against the discursive inclusion of other viewpoints than the ones you've presented. I mean, do you really want to engage in a theological dispute over whether God is a "being" or not, in which I champion the cause of Hinduism despite not belonging to that tradition, and you play the role of the Baptist Christian despite not belonging to that tradition, just so we can waste time for a few hours and feel huffy and superior at each other by the end of it?
 

Copernicus

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...The question "What is the basis for these definitions?" appears to me to be an attempt to avoid discussing their validity (or otherwise). What difference does it make whether they came from my life experience, or from the OED website, or from divine inspiration?

I am not paid for my time here; I don't need to meet any professional standard. And insisting that I should strikes me as a diversionary tactic.

Poli is right that there are all sorts of different god concepts in different cultures, and your own private definitions have some good and bad points. However, there is nothing special about the word 'god' or name 'God' compared with any other word in the language. And there is actually a well-established discipline for defining words, not to mention a somewhat different one (lexicography), for the study of meanings, as opposed to definitions. So it is a good idea to compare what you've come up with against what professionals have already published in available sources, since they tend to use more objective methods than personal experience. My only real contention with Poli had to do with whether ineffability was a bona fide component of the meaning or what I have been dismissing as a rhetorical dodge. I probably could have phrased it more diplomatically, but I usually realize such things after getting a negative reaction.

Of course, none of us are paid to bloviate on the internet. (Well, maybe there is someone whose name I won't mention. :)) Nevertheless, I usually appreciate reading your posts, and it might be worth addressing some of your definitions in a thread on the general concept of what a god is. However, getting people to come up with a satisfying resolution on the meaning of that word probably won't lead to insights on whether there could be convincing evidence that gods exist, because everyone is going to want to emphasize a different aspect of what godhood means.
 

Politesse

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My only real contention with Poli had to do with whether ineffability was a bona fide component of the meaning or what I have been dismissing as a rhetorical dodge. I probably could have phrased it more diplomatically, but I usually realize such things after getting a negative reaction.
I wasn't offended. I just don't agree, either. The idea that people redefine their theology on the fly as some sort of rhetorical ploy against atheists doesn't seem very realistic to me. I'm sure this happens occasionally, people being people, but the ineffability of God as fundamental property thereof is an idea neither obscure nor confined to internet debates. Nor, as I said, do I think that is illogical. Spiritual concepts in general are an ill fit for definition, hence why the religious life has always been such a wellspring of both fairly mystical and trippy writing and other forms of art aimed at expressing extraverbal sublimity. This may be frustrating for someone who wants to dismiss such ideas as a whole class and move on, but it's also an obvious thing that a lot of people hold to be pretty central to their perception of the cosmos, and you would expect nothing else if you were taking such claims and experiences seriously. If there is a world somehow beyond the mundane and material, however you understand it, why would you expect it to be anything other than difficult to adequately describe in everyday words? I've had mystical experiences myself, and can confirm that they are not easy to explain to someone else. That doesn't mean they are true, or facts, or metaphysical claims, etc, but they are certainly ineffable by nature, and that is not relevant to what framework we should best try to explain them with. Whether you want to believe that such and such "really happened" or not within your own epistemological framing has no bearing on whether I feel that words adequately capture the experience. It can be classed as a hallucination or a delusion or whatever makes you feel most comfortable, but that quality of ineffability will still hang around it.

I do not think our theories of language are all that far apart either, much though I am always revising and refining my thoughts on that matter. I do think it is something of an aside in this conversation, though.
 

Copernicus

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My only real contention with Poli had to do with whether ineffability was a bona fide component of the meaning or what I have been dismissing as a rhetorical dodge. I probably could have phrased it more diplomatically, but I usually realize such things after getting a negative reaction.
I wasn't offended. I just don't agree, either. The idea that people redefine their theology on the fly as some sort of rhetorical ploy against atheists doesn't seem very realistic to me. I'm sure this happens occasionally, people being people, but the ineffability of God as fundamental property thereof is an idea neither obscure nor confined to internet debates. Nor, as I said, do I think that is illogical. Spiritual concepts in general are an ill fit for definition, hence why the religious life has always been such a wellspring of both fairly mystical and trippy writing and other forms of art aimed at expressing extraverbal sublimity. This may be frustrating for someone who wants to dismiss such ideas as a whole class and move on, but it's also an obvious thing that a lot of people hold to be pretty central to their perception of the cosmos, and you would expect nothing else if you were taking such claims and experiences seriously. If there is a world somehow beyond the mundane and material, however you understand it, why would you expect it to be anything other than difficult to adequately describe in everyday words? I've had mystical experiences myself, and can confirm that they are not easy to explain to someone else. That doesn't mean they are true, or facts, or metaphysical claims, etc, but they are certainly ineffable by nature, and that is not relevant to what framework we should best try to explain them with. Whether you want to believe that such and such "really happened" or not within your own epistemological framing has no bearing on whether I feel that words adequately capture the experience. It can be classed as a hallucination or a delusion or whatever makes you feel most comfortable, but that quality of ineffability will still hang around it.

I do not think our theories of language are all that far apart either, much though I am always revising and refining my thoughts on that matter. I do think it is something of an aside in this conversation, though.

This is really a discussion about what the two words 'god' and 'God' can mean, so it is legitimate to question the contention that anything about the meaning of either word is truly ineffable--incapable of being expressed--or fully "effable", which is my position. If you want to characterize it as some kind of "theory of language", go ahead, but it is still about whether there is anything at all to the ineffability claim. In the above post, you are discussing a feeling that is common and easy to describe in English--a sense of the numinous. But you do a fine job of talking about it in English, and we all know the feeling that you are talking about. It is perfectly expressible, although you claim it is a feeling that you can't describe. That doesn't mean that we are in any way obligated to treat that feeling as a genuine act of communing with a god, 'The Force', or Mother Nature. Maybe it has the significance you attribute to it. Maybe not. Don't assume that we don't understand the feelings you are talking about because we don't attribute the same significance to those feelings. Atheists have feelings too, just like you normal people. :)
 

steve_bank

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If not an exercise in rhetoric, what is debate on existence of a god?
Sound and fury signifying nothing?
Much ado about nothing, but it beats playing video games to pass the time.
Depends on the video game. Tell you what, I'd rather play through Fallen Order for the eleventh time than argue about whether God exists for the same amount of time.
For the record the last time I played a video game was around 1984. Probably one of the arcade games like Asteroids. One exception if you count computer chess.

One aspect of religion not discussed is that it simply provides something to do for humans with our unbounded imagination and thinking. Here is Seattle teh NFL draft picks for the Seahawks was a big deal. Special local TV shows. Video games are pop culture, if yiu are into pop culture. The new Star Trek series will be very popular. Something new.

As I got into science and engineering and dealing with reality video games had no appeal, and reading fiction faded away. There is no reset ora do over in real life.

I heard it said the best entertainment is learning something new.

For many people religion is something to live by because it occupies their minds and gives purpose, like video games to many. Am I preaching to the choir?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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For many people religion is something to live by because it occupies their minds and gives purpose, like video games to many.
Plus it's easy to believe in ghosts and other kinds of woo. I don't think you have to believe in woo to play video games.
 

Jarhyn

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If not an exercise in rhetoric, what is debate on existence of a god?
Sound and fury signifying nothing?
Much ado about nothing, but it beats playing video games to pass the time.
Depends on the video game. Tell you what, I'd rather play through Fallen Order for the eleventh time than argue about whether God exists for the same amount of time.
For the record the last time I played a video game was around 1984. Probably one of the arcade games like Asteroids. One exception if you count computer chess.

One aspect of religion not discussed is that it simply provides something to do for humans with our unbounded imagination and thinking. Here is Seattle teh NFL draft picks for the Seahawks was a big deal. Special local TV shows. Video games are pop culture, if yiu are into pop culture. The new Star Trek series will be very popular. Something new.

As I got into science and engineering and dealing with reality video games had no appeal, and reading fiction faded away. There is no reset ora do over in real life.

I heard it said the best entertainment is learning something new.

For many people religion is something to live by because it occupies their minds and gives purpose, like video games to many. Am I preaching to the choir?
I think it's interesting some would make this a discussion about video games as if to trivialize the use and application of such. To me it's a discussion of computational-mathematical proof, and training the mind to reverse engineer game theories from rule sets (depending on application).

Both are really interesting things that can be accomplished with "games", but which have far reaching and impactful application in less "contrived" contexts.
 

steve_bank

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It is easy to believe in e Beatles too..... 'We love you Beattles we love you true..' as the fan song went.

Video games are trivial diversions. Simplistic and easy to learn and play. There are no consequences for loosing. Learning boxing and martial arts and competing is much harder than playing a video game where you kill and beat people with ease. Video ganes are designed to make the peckers of teens and young male adults erect. Video games stimulate male hormones and aggression.

On the posive side relgion can and des bring people together to do charity and community work.
 

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The question is nonsense: "Can you prove (read: logical deductive arguments) that a completely undefined thing exists"
You keep claiming "completely undefined". There's been a lot of definition in the thread.

There was a lot of definition going on in YOUR thread and you ignored that, too.

The answer is that it depends on the definition used.

I already provided a few examples of things that would prove the existence of "god: creator and operator of a system of physics".

Such entities are not immune to the requirement of a system of physics under which their existence as an object is rendered.

It would be fairly easy to prove they were such a thing by being able to operate outside of the system of physics they created for to modify it's momentary state.

Such modifications of momentary state would most certainly be the on-demand performance of events observable as "uncaused" or events which violate standard causality.

If they can't break the OUR laws of physics, they are not that thing.

And as proven, such entities are not necessarily anything but assholes, because I am such an entity with regards to operating and creating a system of physics, and I am an asshole.
 

AdamWho

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The question is nonsense: "Can you prove (read: logical deductive arguments) that a completely undefined thing exists"
You keep claiming "completely undefined". There's been a lot of definition in the thread.

There was a lot of definition going on in YOUR thread and you ignored that, too.

The answer is that it depends on the definition used.

I already provided a few examples of things that would prove the existence of "god: creator and operator of a system of physics".

Such entities are not immune to the requirement of a system of physics under which their existence as an object is rendered.

It would be fairly easy to prove they were such a thing by being able to operate outside of the system of physics they created for to modify it's momentary state.

Such modifications of momentary state would most certainly be the on-demand performance of events observable as "uncaused" or events which violate standard causality.

If they can't break the OUR laws of physics, they are not that thing.

And as proven, such entities are not necessarily anything but assholes, because I am such an entity with regards to operating and creating a system of physics, and I am an asshole.
I didn't need to read 25 pages of nonsense definitions of god to understand the word "proof" doesn't apply to ANYTHING outside of math and formal logic.
 

Jarhyn

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The question is nonsense: "Can you prove (read: logical deductive arguments) that a completely undefined thing exists"
You keep claiming "completely undefined". There's been a lot of definition in the thread.

There was a lot of definition going on in YOUR thread and you ignored that, too.

The answer is that it depends on the definition used.

I already provided a few examples of things that would prove the existence of "god: creator and operator of a system of physics".

Such entities are not immune to the requirement of a system of physics under which their existence as an object is rendered.

It would be fairly easy to prove they were such a thing by being able to operate outside of the system of physics they created for to modify it's momentary state.

Such modifications of momentary state would most certainly be the on-demand performance of events observable as "uncaused" or events which violate standard causality.

If they can't break the OUR laws of physics, they are not that thing.

And as proven, such entities are not necessarily anything but assholes, because I am such an entity with regards to operating and creating a system of physics, and I am an asshole.
I didn't need to read 25 pages of nonsense definitions of god to understand the word "proof" doesn't apply to ANYTHING outside of math and formal logic.
The existence of a thing having a relationship to another thing is proof things may have that relationship between them.

The demonstration of a relationship being had between two things is trivial proof of itself.

My experience is proof that something exists here experiencing. And so on.

Now are we quite done with this temper tantrum over people observing that objects of material have relationships between them?
 

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I know I posted one before in here, but what are the chances that Jesus Christ will come down from heaven, then visit all cultures?

Maybe that would do it for me, but also maybe not either.
My first question would be what happened to coming back in 2000?
 

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I know I posted one before in here, but what are the chances that Jesus Christ will come down from heaven, then visit all cultures?

Maybe that would do it for me, but also maybe not either.
My first question would be what happened to coming back in 2000?
How would you differentiate this from, say, an alien of some form coming down from space wearing a number of identical skin suits, meat drones, holograms, or whatever, claiming it was Jesus, and getting us to give it something-or-other or simply trolling the shit out of us with it like "look at these fucking suckers"?
 

FievelJ

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Fievel is my god, whatever that all means. LOL.
I know I posted one before in here, but what are the chances that Jesus Christ will come down from heaven, then visit all cultures?

Maybe that would do it for me, but also maybe not either.
My first question would be what happened to coming back in 2000?
How would you differentiate this from, say, an alien of some form coming down from space wearing a number of identical skin suits, meat drones, holograms, or whatever, claiming it was Jesus, and getting us to give it something-or-other or simply trolling the shit out of us with it like "look at these fucking suckers"?
Either that or someone who looks like what Jesus is suppose to look like, stealing everything and making claims that they are Jesus Christ.
 

Jarhyn

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I know I posted one before in here, but what are the chances that Jesus Christ will come down from heaven, then visit all cultures?

Maybe that would do it for me, but also maybe not either.
My first question would be what happened to coming back in 2000?
How would you differentiate this from, say, an alien of some form coming down from space wearing a number of identical skin suits, meat drones, holograms, or whatever, claiming it was Jesus, and getting us to give it something-or-other or simply trolling the shit out of us with it like "look at these fucking suckers"?
Either that or someone who looks like what Jesus is suppose to look like, stealing everything and making claims that they are Jesus Christ.
Kinda my point. It would have to be something... Well, in the stupid video game that I play where I am exactly the thing that I describe, some thing that has spun up a simulation of some kind and administrates it and occasionally rolls an avatar into existence.

Assuming I was an entity similar to what I am now, but sitting in a place where I have a machine running "Universe: Slaves to Allah" or whatever instead of "Dwarf Fortress: Slaves of Armok", I could prove it by spinning up a body into existence ex-nihlo without something Very Bad happening as a result, pulling open the debug console, and doing some ridiculous shit that would appear entirely uncaused, that if done through normal physical means, would probably have side effects like exploding the earth, or producing a gravity wave that would implode it.

It would take something like that to prove it to me.

As such, I have yet to be impressed with any such belief that there are more than zero, even in the acceptance there are zero or more.
 

Jarhyn

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@FievelJ and I wouldn't exactly care even at that point. The fact that I, an asshole not worthy really of consideration or veneration by my creations play Dwarf Fortress: Slaves to Armok, I observe that some asshole playing Universe: Slaves to Allah or whatever is equally likely of being as much of a shit as alien-Jesus, or for that matter, me.
 

Learner

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I know I posted one before in here, but what are the chances that Jesus Christ will come down from heaven, then visit all cultures?

Maybe that would do it for me, but also maybe not either.
My first question would be what happened to coming back in 2000?
How would you differentiate this from, say, an alien of some form coming down from space wearing a number of identical skin suits, meat drones, holograms, or whatever, claiming it was Jesus, and getting us to give it something-or-other or simply trolling the shit out of us with it like "look at these fucking suckers"?
Either that or someone who looks like what Jesus is suppose to look like, stealing everything and making claims that they are Jesus Christ.
Kinda my point. It would have to be something... Well, in the stupid video game that I play where I am exactly the thing that I describe, some thing that has spun up a simulation of some kind and administrates it and occasionally rolls an avatar into existence.

Assuming I was an entity similar to what I am now, but sitting in a place where I have a machine running "Universe: Slaves to Allah" or whatever instead of "Dwarf Fortress: Slaves of Armok", I could prove it by spinning up a body into existence ex-nihlo without something Very Bad happening as a result, pulling open the debug console, and doing some ridiculous shit that would appear entirely uncaused, that if done through normal physical means, would probably have side effects like exploding the earth, or producing a gravity wave that would implode it.

It would take something like that to prove it to me.

For such a thing to be proved to you, It would need to be YOU who's doing the spinning up the existence of some universe? Obviously, you'll NEVER get THAT level of proof from anyone else, the usual religious belief claims, which would seem so so minor and trivial compared to your method for proof.
 

Jarhyn

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I know I posted one before in here, but what are the chances that Jesus Christ will come down from heaven, then visit all cultures?

Maybe that would do it for me, but also maybe not either.
My first question would be what happened to coming back in 2000?
How would you differentiate this from, say, an alien of some form coming down from space wearing a number of identical skin suits, meat drones, holograms, or whatever, claiming it was Jesus, and getting us to give it something-or-other or simply trolling the shit out of us with it like "look at these fucking suckers"?
Either that or someone who looks like what Jesus is suppose to look like, stealing everything and making claims that they are Jesus Christ.
Kinda my point. It would have to be something... Well, in the stupid video game that I play where I am exactly the thing that I describe, some thing that has spun up a simulation of some kind and administrates it and occasionally rolls an avatar into existence.

Assuming I was an entity similar to what I am now, but sitting in a place where I have a machine running "Universe: Slaves to Allah" or whatever instead of "Dwarf Fortress: Slaves of Armok", I could prove it by spinning up a body into existence ex-nihlo without something Very Bad happening as a result, pulling open the debug console, and doing some ridiculous shit that would appear entirely uncaused, that if done through normal physical means, would probably have side effects like exploding the earth, or producing a gravity wave that would implode it.

It would take something like that to prove it to me.

For such a thing to be proved to you, It would need to be YOU who's doing the spinning up the existence of some universe? Obviously, you'll NEVER get THAT level of proof from anyone else, the usual religious belief claims, which would seem so so minor and trivial compared to your method for proof.
It clearly doesn't have to be me spinning up a simulation or whatever, but yes whoever it is who makes claims of such would have to prove it by violating causality wantonly.

Will I ever get that level of proof?

No.

Does that mean that the usual religious belief claims are spurious?

It isn't my fault that religious believers make such wild and unsupported claims that would only be supported by acts that, if done within the bounds of physical causality, would tend to explode planets.

Imagine that you are creating a simple rock ex-nihlo, just a tiny little miracle, right?

Well, unlike on a stupid little video game where it's easy to do that. I don't have to contend with such oddities as air, and shock waves traveling through it.

I proof a decently large rock out of nowhere? The planet explodes, merely on account of the instantaneous displacement of the air around the rock generating an instantaneous shock wave at luminal speeds.

The fact is, most "minor and trivial" religious "miracles" are like this, not so minor and trivial about, owing to the mechanics of the universe we happen to live in. The claimant is usually just rankly ignorant of what it is they are claiming.

This is why religious folks should generally just shut up about the idea that it's been "proven" to them by "god" or whatever. It hasn't, they're just suckers for easy lies.
 

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

I thought of something that would be rather compelling. Suppose one day every person on the planet simultaneously saw the face and heard the voice of God in the sky. That voice simultaneously declared to every human some personal fact unknown to anyone but that person, then also told them some personal fact unknown to anyone about a total stranger they never met along with that person's contact information so they could verify it. It wouldn't be surprising to for those who already believe to claim both facts they were told are accurate. But this would mean that every non-believing human would also verify their unique facts, which means many millions of people worldwide. While mass hallucinations can occur, they do so b/c all the people are within a particular shared context and frame of mind. That would be impossible for everyone on the planet at the same moment. I can't think of any possible explanation that wouldn't entail some form of supernatural, either God or at least some moment of unified psychic type consciousness.

Would you find this convincing? If not, what alternative explanation could you give?
Something that I've read on the net...

What would it take to convince me that the Bible is divinely inspired? A passage like this:

"And the Earth moved in a great circle around the sun, held in place by the sun's mass. And the circle was not perfect, but was longer in one direction than the perpendicular, and the passage of the Earth swept out equal areas in equal times. And the sun shone with the light of its tiniest parts coming together."

Such a passage speaks fairly clearly of:
1. Heliocentric solar system
2. Gravity caused by mass
3. Elliptical orbits
4. Kepler's Law of equal areas
5. Nuclear fusion in the sun.

And there's no way at all people living thousands of years ago could possibly have known it.
 

ramoss

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

I thought of something that would be rather compelling. Suppose one day every person on the planet simultaneously saw the face and heard the voice of God in the sky. That voice simultaneously declared to every human some personal fact unknown to anyone but that person, then also told them some personal fact unknown to anyone about a total stranger they never met along with that person's contact information so they could verify it. It wouldn't be surprising to for those who already believe to claim both facts they were told are accurate. But this would mean that every non-believing human would also verify their unique facts, which means many millions of people worldwide. While mass hallucinations can occur, they do so b/c all the people are within a particular shared context and frame of mind. That would be impossible for everyone on the planet at the same moment. I can't think of any possible explanation that wouldn't entail some form of supernatural, either God or at least some moment of unified psychic type consciousness.

Would you find this convincing? If not, what alternative explanation could you give?
For me, all those stories would not mean a thing. Stories are stories. What it would take for me to believe in any anthropomorphic god is an act of God. The way that act of God would be defined is 'something that makes me believe.
 

Harry Bosch

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

I thought of something that would be rather compelling. Suppose one day every person on the planet simultaneously saw the face and heard the voice of God in the sky. That voice simultaneously declared to every human some personal fact unknown to anyone but that person, then also told them some personal fact unknown to anyone about a total stranger they never met along with that person's contact information so they could verify it. It wouldn't be surprising to for those who already believe to claim both facts they were told are accurate. But this would mean that every non-believing human would also verify their unique facts, which means many millions of people worldwide. While mass hallucinations can occur, they do so b/c all the people are within a particular shared context and frame of mind. That would be impossible for everyone on the planet at the same moment. I can't think of any possible explanation that wouldn't entail some form of supernatural, either God or at least some moment of unified psychic type consciousness.

Would you find this convincing? If not, what alternative explanation could you give?
Something that I've read on the net...

What would it take to convince me that the Bible is divinely inspired? A passage like this:

"And the Earth moved in a great circle around the sun, held in place by the sun's mass. And the circle was not perfect, but was longer in one direction than the perpendicular, and the passage of the Earth swept out equal areas in equal times. And the sun shone with the light of its tiniest parts coming together."

Such a passage speaks fairly clearly of:
1. Heliocentric solar system
2. Gravity caused by mass
3. Elliptical orbits
4. Kepler's Law of equal areas
5. Nuclear fusion in the sun.

And there's no way at all people living thousands of years ago could possibly have known it.
Yea, there's just nothing special in the bible. God could have told his followers to not own a slave. He didn't. In fact, he upheld the tradition and spelled out how certain slaves should be treated. There's no special scientific knowledge in the bible that is special or unknown to other peoples. In fact, most of the scientific knowledge in the bible is bonkers. Turn the other cheek, love your neighbor, and etc were all commonly held tenants in other older religions. There's nothing special about the bible...
 

Jimmy Higgins

Contributor
Joined
Feb 1, 2001
Messages
36,349
Basic Beliefs
Calvinistic Atheist
The Bible says he is a fool that builds his house on sand... yet sand is actually a good thing to build on. Instant settlement during construction, drains well. He is a fool that builds his house on sand next to a river... or on organic soils.

And the Lord said, if the liquid limit is that of the plastic limit and the particle sizes are finer than sand, be cautious when excavating as in short-term they shall stand near vertical... but they willth slough.

or

And the Lord warned that digging in water bearing soils could cause a quick condition, where the water pressure is at or greater than the confining pressure of the sands, which will cause the digger to sink.
 
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