In the post Cleansing the Sinner I asked could Christians show me how I could come to know their God. I was finding it very difficult to get anyone to explain anything about Him to me. If Christians claim that they base their beliefs on something more than faith could they please tell me what evidence they have to support the claim that their God does indeed exist.
Then Jeff showed some understanding of what I was repeatedly asking for by saying:
I will admit, it does require some faith to believe Jesus is God. Faith, however, does not mean there is an absence of evidence.
I see this as an honest answer. I get the faith part. However I contend that there is a complete lack of evidence and that is the main reason I am an atheist. So if it not absent please tell me what it is. What evidence have you for your God’s existence. The Bible is not evidence. It is the claim for but not the proof of anything. If you can persuade me with your evidence I will become a Christian.
Christians even claim to be able to communicate with this Creator of Universes. Is that not extraordinary? No objective evidence whatsoever?
Yes, it is extraordinary. No, I do not have objective evidence, only personal experience and the experience of personal friends. This is honestly my main reason for the belief I have. The personal experiences I have and that I believe are 100% legitimate are more convincing to me than any objective evidence for any belief system. (Just to be clear, I'm not saying that the evidence doesn't support my belief.) Objective evidence has its limits, whereas I believe my God is not limited by anything.
Sam Harris' take on the argument that god is too mysterious to understand.
Are you trying to say that just because it's been 2000 years means Christians should not have faith in the second coming any more?
I can't speak for him but I wouldn't be surprised if his answer weren't yes. Mark 13:30 indicates (after a long description of the end times) that it would happen during the lifetime of Jesus' listeners. There is a lot of "end is nigh" type preaching in Mark; as one moves through the gospels in the order they were written (Mark, Matthew and Luke, then John) there is a steady lessening of emphasis on apocalypticism, as if people were starting to realize this just wasn't panning out. (Meanwhile there as an increasing emphasis on the nature of Jesus himself, from his repeated admonitions not to tell others he was the Messiah in Mark, which no claims of actual divinity, to repeated claims to being the divine son of God in John.) It's noticeable enough that secular scholars for the most part think the historical Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher who thought he was the Messiah but did not think himself the literal and divine son of god, those changes to the legend happened after he died.
I know there is a tendency to claim that Mark 13:30 is not wrong because the people who died in Jesus aren't really dead, but I think that's special pleading. The de-emphasis on this message shows that this interpretation was not known to his contemporaries and near-contemporaries; it's every bit as awkward as the JW claim that the Earth ended in 1914. Or 1918 or 1920 or, uh, nevermind, just soon. (Sound familiar?) Similarly, every generation of Xians has been loaded with people who expected the end of the world Anytime Now.
Thanks Jeff for admitting that you have no objective evidence. I will gladly accept that you believe what you believe based on faith alone. You have faith that the Bible is true. You have faith in the testimony of your friends’ subjective experiences.
The personal experiences I have and that I believe are 100% legitimate are more convincing to me than any objective evidence for any belief system.
I think that is a very poor reason to believe you are in communications with the Creator of the Universe.
It is because they are entirely personal experience that it is called faith. They are entirely subjective experiences. It is the same with everybody that believes upon faith alone.
What objective evidence for any other belief system have you considered? I do not believe in your God for the same reasons that you do not believe in the Hindu God Brahma. If you can explain to me why you do not believe in Brahma then you will arrive at the reasons I do not believe in your God. If you can tell me what it would take for you to accept that Brahma is the Creator of the Universe then you will know what level of objective evidence I need to believe in your God.
(Just to be clear, I'm not saying that the evidence doesn't support my belief.)
You have none.
Objective evidence has its limits.
Huh? Please explain what that means. You have not a shred of it Jeff. Not an iota. Nothing.
..whereas I believe my God is not limited by anything.
Exactly. That is because it is based on something that does not exist, except within your imagination which is never limited by anything.
As today is the anniversary of Christopher Hitchens demise I will give him the last word.
Faith is the surrender of the mind, it’s the surrender of reason, it is the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other animals. It’s our need to believe and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. … Out of all the virtues, all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.