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Author Topic:   Evidence for the Supernatural
truthlover
Member (Idle past 2101 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 31 of 107 (46242)
07-16-2003 12:26 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by nator
07-11-2003 10:33 AM


My first response to your "Truthlover?" was, "Huh, what? Did I miss something?"

Was it rude of me to just let Peter take over the discussion?

I'm thinking what you're waiting for a response on is this general idea:

See how easy it is to pick what situations you would like God to be responsible for and which ones you don't?

I kind of dropped it and let Peter talk, because I don't think it's that simple. Yes, if there's nothing else going on, then it is easy. Your description is perfectly accurate, and your example was ever pretty good--that is, if there's nothing else going on.

If, however, the things I feel inside, the directions I feel I'm given, are not just imagination or subjective, then it's not just picking and choosing; it just might be the guidance of God's Spirit.

I could list a thousand circumstances that I thought were the hand of God. You could work at explaining them. Some of them would be easily explainable (50-50 chance). Others would be far more unlikely, and you could say that unlikely things happen to people, just by odds. I can't calculate the odds of things happening to me. I can't judge my psychological stability when I had such an intense experience back in 1982 that I promised myself to God. Maybe I was just having an LSD flashback or something. (Actually, I didn't do anything like that often enough to be risking flashbacks, I don't think--just a statement in my own defense.)

In the end, though, I think that even taking an objective look at things--as objectively as I can muster for myself--giving myself to God looks like a really, really successful thing to do, and that the things that have happened to me have been guided by God to put me with his people and make me into someone who would help take suffering out of this world, not bring more into it.

So, I just kind of thought that me listing more events and circumstances, and you explaining them from your perspective wouldn't be real profitable, because we'd have to do that for a real, long time.

I thought I'd spare you that.

Or am I way off track in what you were asking about?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by nator, posted 07-11-2003 10:33 AM nator has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by doctrbill, posted 07-16-2003 1:23 PM truthlover has responded
 Message 35 by nator, posted 07-16-2003 7:13 PM truthlover has responded
 Message 107 by Phat, posted 05-18-2012 4:03 AM truthlover has not yet responded

  
doctrbill
Member (Idle past 806 days)
Posts: 1174
From: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Joined: 01-08-2001


Message 32 of 107 (46249)
07-16-2003 1:23 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by truthlover
07-16-2003 12:26 PM


quote:
truthlover: ... it just might be the guidance of God's Spirit.

Greetings Truth Lover,

Please allow me to interject something here:

I have had experiences which I once considered to be the leading of God's spirit. Following those impulses, however, has not always resulted in a desirable outcome.
I continue experiencing those things even though I have been atheist for many years. Ascribing the phenomena to the leading of God may be valid, however, depending on your definition of "God."

We humans do have instinctive impulses. We also have impulses, generated by unconscious speculation, concerning possible courses of action which promise high probability of good outcome. Our brains are far busier than our minds. And our brains are far more savvy than most of us are willing to admit. They are clever enough to get us into more trouble than we want.

Defining God as a parental figure, and ascribing to him those impulses which are culturally acceptable, can be helpful in avoiding the wrath of civilized society. On the other hand, by utilizing the frontal cortex and subjecting those impulses to the screen of societal and personal parameters of acceptability, we can achieve the same safe and sane result. Active involvement in brain activity, vis a vis - "prayer," works for the religious and the irreligious (although the mantras may differ).

Even atheists receive answers to prayer.

quote:
In the end, ... the things that have happened to me have been guided by God to put me with his people and make me into someone who would help take suffering out of this world, not bring more into it.

A noble sentiment; and one shared by many who, while seeming to oppose you, are merely finding other ways to explain the marvelous inner guidance experienced by sensitive humans of every religion, society, and philosopy on earth.

db

------------------
"If God created Nature, then the Law of Nature is the Law of God."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by truthlover, posted 07-16-2003 12:26 PM truthlover has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by sr, posted 07-16-2003 4:01 PM doctrbill has responded
 Message 34 by truthlover, posted 07-16-2003 5:22 PM doctrbill has responded
 Message 50 by Pogo, posted 07-22-2003 5:38 PM doctrbill has responded

  
sr
Inactive Member


Message 33 of 107 (46261)
07-16-2003 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by doctrbill
07-16-2003 1:23 PM


_____________________
... depending on your definition of "God."
_____________________

Can you give some definitions of god?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by doctrbill, posted 07-16-2003 1:23 PM doctrbill has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by doctrbill, posted 07-17-2003 11:40 AM sr has responded

  
truthlover
Member (Idle past 2101 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 34 of 107 (46271)
07-16-2003 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by doctrbill
07-16-2003 1:23 PM


Dr. Bill,

I am aware that the things you said are true. I believe that God makes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust, and there is help inside for all who seek it, even the atheist. (Note: I am not equating the atheist and the unjust here.)

Gandhi believed that his non-violent resistance was a way that was blessed by Truth, which is powerful and active. Non-violent resistance works, he believed, not just because of its effectiveness as a means to persuade others and draw them to your cause, but because Truth is living and powerful and would work on behalf of the non-violent who stood up for Truth.

I believe there is not just God, but Truth, and that Truth was put on earth by God. Those who love justice and show mercy will find it effective and powerful to behave in such a way, because they belong to Truth and Truth supports those who walk in his ways, even if they're atheists.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by doctrbill, posted 07-16-2003 1:23 PM doctrbill has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by sr, posted 07-17-2003 9:50 AM truthlover has not yet responded
 Message 40 by sr, posted 07-17-2003 9:51 AM truthlover has responded
 Message 45 by doctrbill, posted 07-17-2003 11:47 AM truthlover has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 212 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 35 of 107 (46274)
07-16-2003 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by truthlover
07-16-2003 12:26 PM


Hi TL,

Yep, you were right about what I was interested in you responding to, and to be frank, I like reading what you write a great deal, so I was interested in what YOU had to say.

quote:
If, however, the things I feel inside, the directions I feel I'm given, are not just imagination or subjective, then it's not just picking and choosing; it just might be the guidance of God's Spirit.

Very true. However, this is not really how you began the thread. You began by ststing what happened to your Mom that day in the office, and saying that a lot of such occurrences add up to something significant, even so significant that it may start to be admissable in court.

That's making a claim that you believe you can demonstrate the actions of God in reality.

Belief and subjective feelings inside I have no qualms with. It's the former claim of yours and the like that must be rigorously examined.

quote:
I could list a thousand circumstances that I thought were the hand of God. You could work at explaining them. Some of them would be easily explainable (50-50 chance).

Oh, I think I would have better odds than that.

quote:
Others would be far more unlikely, and you could say that unlikely things happen to people, just by odds.

Exactly true.

quote:
I can't calculate the odds of things happening to me.

It's not so much about the odds as it is about your selective memory. You remember the "hits" and disregard the "misses". Or, you attribute the good things or powerful things that happen to you to God's intervention and the mundane urge you had to scratch your backside you attribute to nothing at all. Or maybe you attribute it to forgetting to put the fabric softener in the wash.

quote:
I can't judge my psychological stability when I had such an intense experience back in 1982 that I promised myself to God. Maybe I was just having an LSD flashback or something. (Actually, I didn't do anything like that often enough to be risking flashbacks, I don't think--just a statement in my own defense.)

You don't have to be unstable to be vulnerable to fallacies. In fact, the smarter you are, the easier you can convince yourself, because smarter people are better at recognizing and making connections.

Look, I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I'm just making the point that the experiences that you have had are meaningful to you because of the connections you made to your emotions, with your very natural and human selective memory, etc. We ALL do this, all the time.

It's just that when you start claiming that you have something that would hold up in a court of law, well, I'm just going to grill you on it, you know?

In closing, I'd like to say that I think that doubt, in particular, self-doubt about what one knows is the best path to truth and true knowledge.

------------------
"Evolution is a 'theory', just like gravity. If you don't like it, go jump off a bridge."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by truthlover, posted 07-16-2003 12:26 PM truthlover has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by truthlover, posted 07-16-2003 10:24 PM nator has responded

    
truthlover
Member (Idle past 2101 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 36 of 107 (46292)
07-16-2003 10:24 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by nator
07-16-2003 7:13 PM


Well, let's see how this double quote works here...

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I could list a thousand circumstances that I thought were the hand of God. You could work at explaining them. Some of them would be easily explainable (50-50 chance).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Oh, I think I would have better odds than that.

I meant there are things that happen that are 50/50. It could have happened one way or another way, and each one is equally probable, as in "I prayed I would win the coin toss at the start of the football game, and I did." A 50-50 prop is easily explainable for anyone. I didn't mean you had a 50/50 shot of coming up with an explanation.
When I suggested it was easy, I was thinking of a 100% shot of coming up with a reasonable explanation.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Others would be far more unlikely, and you could say that unlikely things happen to people, just by odds.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Exactly true.

This is why I stopped. Let me explain by addressing one more quote of yours...

You began by ststing what happened to your Mom that day in the office, and saying that a lot of such occurrences add up to something significant, even so significant that it may start to be admissable in court.

I think you took that a bit further than I meant it. I mentioned the court of law, because in science something has to be repeatable to be evidence. In a court of law, however, testimony is evidence. Some really awful testimony is admissible in a court of law.

I was simply trying to point out that scientific evidence is not the only type of evidence there is. There is legal evidence, the nature of which varies a lot, and the importance of which varies a lot. I had felt that someone, maybe it was ever you, had dismissed testimony as evidence at all, and I was pointing out that testimony is evidence. I appealed to a court of law to do so.

Most people are between you and me. They're not so convinced of God that they'd drop everything and give away everything to join a group of people solely committed to serving God like I did, and they're not so doubting that God exists as you are. (Simple statistics here; not implying anything about you or me. About 8 or 10 per cent of Americans are agnostic/atheist, and many less are as radical in their religion as I am, so at least 80% of Americans lie between us.)

My thought is, I'm not going to convince you (unless God intervenes, lol). But those people between us would vary in their opinion of my testimonies and your explanations of them (and my explanations of them).

So I quit because I thought I gave enough right now. I thought you got a fair shake at answering, and I let you have the last word. I figured it would come back up at some point, and I'd give my memory some time to pick out the best stories I could come up with.

Oh, also, I was gone for five days, during which time I was also covering for a co-worker on vacation, effectively doubling my work load. I've been working my guts out, except for that five day trip, for the last two weeks.

It's not so much about the odds as it is about your selective memory. You remember the "hits" and disregard the "misses". Or, you attribute the good things or powerful things that happen to you to God's intervention and the mundane urge you had to scratch your backside you attribute to nothing at all.

Yeah, I go a lot by what I feel inside. We believe truth is known "in the inward parts," and we tend to look inside for the importance of things and the interpretation of those important things.

I don't think I disregard the misses that much. Those matter to me, too, and I tend to spend time wondering about them. Your other statement would apply more, which is that there's a lot of room for interpretation of events no matter which way they turn out.

You know what I think I'll do. I think I'll start a journal. Tonight. I'll start making notes for the all of us. It won't be very scientific, because a case study of one can't be. I would probably list things that happen to all of us here at the village, but that's even less scientific, because I definitely wouldn't have anyone else's misses.

But, at least I would have paid special attention to the "misses," which is something both you and Crash have suggested. I'll give you as honest an account of the results as I can here as a Christmas present, which will give me five months to document.

Better yet, I'll put the journal on computer, and you can have a copy when I'm done of the journal itself, besides the summation I put on this board.

In closing, I'd like to say that I think that doubt, in particular, self-doubt about what one knows is the best path to truth and true knowledge.

Well, we agree on something :-). Isn't that nice!

Actually, there's probably a lot we agree on, just some pretty major stuff we don't, lol.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by nator, posted 07-16-2003 7:13 PM nator has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by nator, posted 07-16-2003 11:34 PM truthlover has responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 212 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 37 of 107 (46294)
07-16-2003 11:34 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by truthlover
07-16-2003 10:24 PM


Wow, a journal? That's really cool, TL.

Please, though, you don't actually have to prove anything to me at all. I don't want to, in a sense, "make" you do more work or take up more of your time than you really want to donate here.

I'd be interested in reading it, although I do have to say that when you say that you are "good at noticing the misses", you are kind of missing my point.

How are you going to attend to the misses if a "miss" is something, in many cases, a non-event?

What does a non-coincidence look like?

That's why you need to pick a very specific prediction or thing to happen or not happen by a certain time and see what happens, preferably judged and recorded by a third party.

I know this probably sounds nitpicky and tedious to you, but it's how we figure out if things are happening in reality or not.

And hey, don't worry about taking a while to answer. I was "bumping" the thread as much to remind myself to not forget about it.

Thanks.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by truthlover, posted 07-16-2003 10:24 PM truthlover has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by truthlover, posted 07-17-2003 11:05 AM nator has not yet responded

    
Peter
Member (Idle past 1965 days)
Posts: 2160
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 38 of 107 (46314)
07-17-2003 4:42 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by doctrbill
07-04-2003 11:10 PM


Re: Natural/Supernatural
quote:

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.

It's the 'modern science' part that I disagree with.
It implies that we already know everything there is to know about
the workigns of the universe, and that everything can be explained
by what we already know.

'Future knowledge' is what I mean. At some stage in the future
the things currently viewed as supernatural will be understood.

quote:

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?

They beleive that the supernatural is just a common or garden
part of nature, and that it can be understood.

I was more thinking in terms of so-called practitioners than
mainstream religous beleivers.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by doctrbill, posted 07-04-2003 11:10 PM doctrbill has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by doctrbill, posted 07-17-2003 11:56 AM Peter has responded

    
sr
Inactive Member


Message 39 of 107 (46337)
07-17-2003 9:50 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by truthlover
07-16-2003 5:22 PM


_________________
Gandhi believed that his non-violent resistance was a way that was blessed by Truth, which is powerful and active. Non-violent resistance works, he believed, not just because of its effectiveness as a means to persuade others and draw them to your cause, but because Truth is living and powerful and would work on behalf of the non-violent who stood up for Truth.
__________________

Gandhi would have the concept of Brahman, that is quite odd for Westerns. Brahman is understood as the Absolute Truth, Ultimate Reality, Supreme Being, not actually like the Western God who is a dual god and may control one's karma or activities by giving one punishment and reward for his deeds.

Brahman is considered as unbiased and it won't deal with dual conditions such as pious and sinful activities. After final release one may attain the position of Brahman where there are not dualities such as sin and merit.

Sinful and meritorious deeds are not hindrance or the cause of final release, but only vidya (self-knowledge). So, Brahman is attained only by that vidya, that is the cause of liberation (moksha).

According to Advaita-vada, that is the main Philosophic line from Hinduism, ahimsa (non-violence) and himsa (violence) are harmonized only by Brahman himself and should not be taken as merit or sin.

Bhagavad-gita, that is the main scripture followed by most of Hindus, explains that Arjuna has opted for ahimsa (non-violence) and Krishna has showed Arjuna that the best way was actually himsa (violence). Repeating the dialog between Krishna and Arjuna, at the end violence has prevailed, as Gandhi himself had to face the violence of India's independence war among Hindus and Muslins and his own murder. Thus, the result of ahimsa was only extreme violence like the lesson given by Gita.
___________________

I believe there is not just God, but Truth, and that Truth was put on earth by God. Those who love justice and show mercy will find it effective and powerful to behave in such a way, because they belong to Truth and Truth supports those who walk in his ways, even if they're atheists.
___________________

According to Advaita-vada, Brahman, or the Asolute Truth is not a religion god who is in charge of mundane creation, as there are different levels of creation (sarga and visarga). Brahman makes sarga (original forms and ideas), and the mundane creation (visarga) is made by Brahma who is an ordinary soul.

Brahman won't be influenced by one's love and hate, justice and injustice, mercy and punishment as Brahman is taken as a non-dual substance and perfectly unbiased. Brahman does not love anyone and Brahman does not hate anyone, it has no friends and it has no foes at all. He is equal for everyone.

Theism and atheism are taken as mere inferences that cannot be helpful to attain vidya (self-knowledge) and soul's final release.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by truthlover, posted 07-16-2003 5:22 PM truthlover has not yet responded

  
sr
Inactive Member


Message 40 of 107 (46338)
07-17-2003 9:51 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by truthlover
07-16-2003 5:22 PM


{Duplicated previous message}

[This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 07-17-2003]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by truthlover, posted 07-16-2003 5:22 PM truthlover has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by truthlover, posted 07-17-2003 10:56 AM sr has not yet responded

  
truthlover
Member (Idle past 2101 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 41 of 107 (46349)
07-17-2003 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by sr
07-17-2003 9:51 AM


Thanks for the clarification. I think I followed the main gist of it, although some of the points you were making may as well have been written in Sanskrit for how well I understood them.

What I caught from Gandhi's quotes was the personal/impersonal nature of Truth. You clarified where he'd be coming from on that.

I'm not a Gandhi follower, but I thought his discussions about Truth were very similar to the way I see things. He said pretty clearly, I think, that those who were on the side of Truth would find Truth powerful to help them. That may not be the right words, but it's certainly the thought he expressed.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by sr, posted 07-17-2003 9:51 AM sr has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by truthlover, posted 07-17-2003 11:00 AM truthlover has not yet responded

  
truthlover
Member (Idle past 2101 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 42 of 107 (46350)
07-17-2003 11:00 AM
Reply to: Message 41 by truthlover
07-17-2003 10:56 AM


Oh, one more thing.

Your discussion of himsa/ahimsa in the Gita was really neat. I already knew that the Gita is based on an actual ancient battle that was extremely bloody, and I had read a discussion on Gandhi's interpretations of the Gita (getting non-violence from such a violent writing).

The discussion I read didn't say what you said. In fact, I don't think it was very clear in its conclusions, so I don't remember what it said. The thoughts you expressed made a lot of sense to me.

I read the Gita once, about a year ago, and I don't know that I remember one word of it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by truthlover, posted 07-17-2003 10:56 AM truthlover has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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truthlover
Member (Idle past 2101 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 43 of 107 (46352)
07-17-2003 11:05 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by nator
07-16-2003 11:34 PM


The journal is something I thought would be a good idea. I think there's more to this whole thing than "hits and misses," although being of a pretty mathematical mind, I can understand the desire to quantify everything. Perhaps, in fact, there could be enough "hits" in difficult enough situations to make the "misses" meaningless, even if you assume as many of them as possible.

I reckon that's how most convince religious people feel, anyway. I know I do. I look at the history of my life, and what I see around me, and I think, "This is not all coincidence. No probability calculations make room for this."

Anyway, we'll see. Maybe the whole experiment will be worthless, but the journal's something I'd like to see, even if no one else saw it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by nator, posted 07-16-2003 11:34 PM nator has not yet responded

  
doctrbill
Member (Idle past 806 days)
Posts: 1174
From: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Joined: 01-08-2001


Message 44 of 107 (46355)
07-17-2003 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by sr
07-16-2003 4:01 PM


quote:
Can you give some definitions of god?

Some would define God as the "Guy in the Sky" a concept which I believe to be an artifact from the old days of sun/moon/star worship. This is a creator-god (esp. the moon-god of Mesopotamia); a "God above," a god who "watches" from "heaven."

Some would define God as a "Holy Spirit," a feeling, an impulse, or a "still, small voice" inside them which guides and instructs.

Some would define God as the biggest baddest warrior in the neighborhood; one whose will is done, or else. A god of justice, judgment and retribution.

To some, God is all of the above, no matter how incongruous the qualities of each. That is one of the difficulties of monotheism.

I find all three understandings of the term (God) revealed in the Bible.

db

------------------
"If God created Nature, then the Law of Nature is the Law of God."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by sr, posted 07-16-2003 4:01 PM sr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by sr, posted 07-17-2003 12:39 PM doctrbill has not yet responded

  
doctrbill
Member (Idle past 806 days)
Posts: 1174
From: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Joined: 01-08-2001


Message 45 of 107 (46356)
07-17-2003 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by truthlover
07-16-2003 5:22 PM


quote:
Those who love justice and show mercy will find it effective and powerful to behave in such a way, because they belong to Truth and Truth supports those who walk in his ways, even if they're atheists.

What an interesting evangel. God-believers would do well to adopt such a gospel.

db

------------------
"If God created Nature, then the Law of Nature is the Law of God."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by truthlover, posted 07-16-2003 5:22 PM truthlover has not yet responded

  
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