My "practice in faith" thread got a lot of responses I wish had been here rather than there. This is sort of a thrown out continuation to thoughts on intuition and coincidence that have been brought up in various threads on evcforum.
My mom, who's visiting for a couple weeks, told me about being at work shortly before retiring last month. Her back was bothering her, and she needed to get an invoice out of the bottom drawer of her file cabinet. She told a co-worker, "We better ask God to let me put my hand right on that invoice, because if it takes too long to find, the rest of you are going to have to carry me out of this office."
She opened up the drawer, stuck her hand in the middle of the files, and she separated the files at exactly the right invoice. She commented how good God was or something, and the co-worker said, "It would be hard to top that." My mom had to match the invoice with another that was in the top drawer. She opened the drawer, and the invoice she needed was pulled up, exposed in the drawer. The co-worker said, "Well, okay, maybe that tops it."
At lunch that same day, an irate customer was on the phone, and my mom needed an invoice from that day's pile. It wasn't in order, filed or anything. She said the stack of invoices was about ten inches high. She put the customer on hold, commented to the same co-worker that she needed to find the invoice fast to get this irate customer taken care of, and would the co-worker take half the stack and help her find it. My mom cut the stack in half, and there, on top of the bottom half, was the invoice she needed. The co-worker started humming the Twilight Zone theme.
Again, I don't think any one incident proves anything, but when people turn to God, ask for help, and experience "coincidences" like this repeatedly, then maybe you don't have repeatable, testable, scientific theory, but you do begin to have something that would carry weight in a courtroom.
Okay, back to being slammed for enjoying good intervention while there's so much suffering in the world.
My point is this: Many things which we call natural today were once considered supernatural. Lightning and thunder were supernatural. Twilight was supernatural. Intuition was supernatural. Mental illness was supernatural. Everything thought to be supernatural will, in time, be demonstrably natural. Belief in the supernatural is, I believe, directly proportional to ignorance of the natural.
quote:I think supernatural things occur looking quite natural pretty regularly. I think thunder can be sent at the exact time to get a message across to a person, and then it's natural and supernatural both.
So, basically, everything that happens might be supernatural, and it's up to the individual to decide if it was or not?
So, considering that people can convince themselves of just about anything if they want to, there's no real way to tell the difference.
quote:Again, I don't think any one incident proves anything, but when people turn to God, ask for help, and experience "coincidences" like this repeatedly, then maybe you don't have repeatable, testable, scientific theory, but you do begin to have something that would carry weight in a courtroom.
You are right, but the issue here is, are these events actually happening repeatedly at a rate which is greater than chance would predict or do people just remember the "hits" and disregard the "misses"?
It has long been understood that the latter is much more likely the case.
This and other normal tendencies for humans to recognize patterns and cause and effect relationships can lead us down the garden path into thinking that "something is going on" when there really isn't.
That's why the scientific method is such a powerful tool. It is specifically designed to compensate for and eliminate many of these natural human tendencies to make connections when there really aren't any.
On the other hand, maybe God is punishing your mom by giving her a lot of back pain. Maybe the closeness and bonding she would have experienced with the rest of the office staff had her back gone out and they had had to take her to the hospital would have been a truly great experience, but God denied all of them that by making the files easily accessable.
See how easy it is to pick what situations you would like God to be responsible for and which ones you don't?
What I'm saying is that everything is natural; even your belief in the "supernatural."
When you say something is supernatural it amounts to saying it is un-natural.
Just because it's rare,amazing and wonderful - doesn't make it un-natural.
The examples of lightning, thunder, and mental illness cannot be lightly dismissed. Not everyone belived those things were supernatural back when and not everyone believes your amazing experiences are supernatural now.
Atheists benefit from prayer, intuition, telepathy and other so-called "spiritual" gifts. The invisible guy in the white robe has no franchise on natural phenomena.
------------------ Bachelor of Arts - Loma Linda University Major - Biology; Minor - Religion Anatomy and Physiology - LLU School of Medicine Embryology - La Sierra University Biblical languages - Pacific Union College Bible doctrines - Walla Walla College
After all the 'magical practitioner' view magic to be natural in any case ... it's all part of the universe it's just that the scope of that universe is somewhat wider for the 'practitioner' than within more mainstream worldviews.
If by natural you mean governed by the laws we have so far uncovered then I disagree ... if on the other hand you mean that such things can be quantified and their rules of operation understood (or found to be non-existant) then I agree ... but then so do believers.
quote: So, are you saying that nobody knows anything and all perceptions and versions of reality are to be considered equal?
So, the 10 who say they are Elvis really might all be Elvis, and that this is equally likely as all ten of them being crazy?
No. I'm saying that if we have no evidence then the best we can say is 'I don't know'.
In your Elvis example we have a slightly different situation in that there can be only one Elvis, therefore 9 are definitely not Elvis ... without performing some tests based upon a known Elvisness we cannot comment on whether one of them is or is not Elvis.
Because we assume that something cannot be the case does not mean that we are right.
We can, if we investigate sufficently, rule out some possibilities, and logic (without bias) may be helpful.
quote:If by natural you mean governed by the laws we have so far uncovered then I disagree ... if on the other hand you mean that such things can be quantified and their rules of operation understood (or found to be non-existant) then I agree ... but then so do believers.
I don't fully understand your reply. I do believe that much of what is currently called supernatural is in fact explainable according to modern science. But, I doubt that such things will soon, if ever, be subject to direct observation in the scientific sense. Thus not quanifiable.
Are you saying that believers expect to understand and quantify the mechanism of spiritual gifts? Are you saying that believers are open to proving that spiritual powers are nonexistent?