I have a friend named Greg who shared with me his evidence for believing. When he was 9 years old, he was in southeast Asia with his parents, who were missionaries, when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He was taken to the best hospital in the area and not one doctor believed he was going to live much longer. Soon after, a Christian couple came in and prayed for him and the VERY NEXT DAY, he was completely healed. Upon examination, not one doctor believed that what happened was possible. There was no explanation. How is that not evidence that there is a higher power in control?
I have a similar story to Greg's. When I was in college, I had a friend invite me to a party where there was a couple who shared with us their trip to Mars, which they assured us was a habited planet with trees with orange leaves and fields of something that looked like wheat, only it was bright blue. So, using your standards of proof, I guess I'd have to say that the space probes are wrong.
Now to the last few lines of your story:
"There was no explanation. How is that not evidence that there is a higher power in control?"
You have a serious need to take some courses in logic and philosophy. As a matter of fact, "no evidence" can be interpreted as either evidence for nothing or evidence of anything. Why couldn't it have been, oh, SATAN who cured him? Or, since he was in Southeast Asian, it certainly could be the case that some Buddhist made a sacrifice and/or did a few turns of a prayer wheel.
Furthermore, you're taking the second-hand story of a 9 year old boy! Have you NO standards of proof or no skepticism whatsoever?
Another friend of mine, named Jim, didn't believe in God at all. One day, he decided to ask God (if He was real) to show him in some amazing and extreme way that He was out there. Not long after, Jim was diagnosed with cancer. You can only imagine he hated God at this point. It got worse and worse, and no treatment was working. Jim was soon told that he was going to die in less than two months. The only chance he had was a bone marrow transplant. They searched for exact matches only to find that there was one and only one match available. A sixteen year old girl, who happened to be an atheist. Against all odds, the transplant was successful and Jim recovered. The whole scenario was God's answer to his request. Evidence right there.
What? I missed the evidence. Stuff like this happens all the time. You established no causal chain there. Neither he nor the girl prayed (both were nonbelievers, according to you). So, where is the cause and effect that establishes it was God?
This sort of anecdotal evidence only proves one thing: You are extremely gullible.
Jim asked God to demonstrate his existance in a dramatic and extreme way, and thats exactly what God did. Cause and effect, right?
Not in any way, shape or form. Definitely not logically.
Even if you were to take it from a religious perspective, it wouldn't work because the Bible clearly says you are not to put God to the test.
But logically... not even close. That is not how causation works. It presumes far too much.
I don't have a problem with religious people being on this site but surely they should have to agree to some sort of directive to not post drivel like what we see above. Even if it is to agree to some standard of evidence. Why is any of this here?
I'm here to learn from everyone, even if they're not making sense. At least I can still learn about flawed, human psychology. Hopefully the conversation is constructive and two-way. But if I don't want to have a conversation with them, or if I think they're just an incurable idiot, I just find someone else to have a conversation with. I don't even read some people's stuff any more.
@Kyle - that is the only thing they can post is drivel, or lots of cut and paste from the bible. Not one of them answer a question, and just keep on quoting the bible, 'cause that is all they know. They can't and won't see truth. The only book they read is the bible, and then proceed to cherry pick. Not one would come onto an Athesit site to really question what we believe or not beleive. They really believe they can convert, so strong is their belief in god and jesus. They live in fear of hell.
Then you have all the different sects of religion, mainly muslim and xians who play on keeping this fear alive and well, to line their pockets and keep them in power.
Oh, I know why they post drivel. My question is why they are allowed to post their drivel here.
I've had fascinating and insightful conversations with religious people and I wouldn't have any problem if people like that were here. I don't see any evidence Jerod and Michael are capable of having a fascinating and insightful discussion on the issues related to this site. They're not even trying to contribute.
@Pope Paul, simply talking to someone else is a tactic I have to use every day in real life. As this is ostensibly an atheist/nontheist/secularist social network, I shouldn't have to do it here. (At least, not for this reason ;) )
I see this differently, because it's possible to choose what to read and what not to read. A lot of outsiders might want to come to TA to learn. So if they're attracted to TA by what Jerod or Michael write, they can also learn from counterpoints (i.e. us). I'm not here just for myself, but to make atheism more attractive to others, especially if all they've been exposed to up until now is the drivel.
I'm for more tolerance and inclusion rather than religion's theme of intolerance and exclusion.
That is exactly why I participate on sites like Yahoo! Answers in the Religion & Spirituality section.
You honestly think people are going to be attracted to TA by what Jerod or MIchael write? Or is it what we write in response? If it is the response, do we actually need Jerod or Michael here? Seems like we get a similar effect with threads like How do I respond to this? where we can discuss different opinions amongst ourselves.
I completely agree with making atheism more attractive to others and especially those who have only been exposed to the drivel. So I get what you're saying. But my question is, are those people really here? (And are they here because Jerod and Michael are here?)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not handing out pitchforks and lighting torches. I'm just trying to understand why they're allowed to be here. Michael, it seems, is only trying to proselytize which is against the CoC. I don't mean to debate the point either so I don't really need a response. I'll just rhetorically ask whether we wouldn't be better off maintaining a "safe space" as opposed to being inclusive of those trying to "change the paradigm." :) Cheers! Love the avatar by the way.
I think it adds a bit of liveliness to the group. It always has. It also provides us a set of test cases to see how various techniques fare against mental gymnastics and belief perseverance.
Here's another point Kyle - and I'm certainly not jumping on you, just explaining - I've seen posts before from people who watch our site and read our responses, without ever commenting or making their presence known, in some cases, because they are trying to make up their minds. Often we help without knowing it.
Oh, I don't feel jumped on at all... don't worry about that. And I'm not debating this point, I'm asking about it. Mostly because I'm new to this community and want to know more about this community to determine what kind of commitment I might like to make to it based on how it suits my desires.
There are thousands of sites that welcome debate about religion and related issues. People like Michael and Jerod are a dime a dozen on those sites. I have no lack of opportunities for debate. Well, more to the point this thread isn't even a debate - it's just nonsense. Again, there are some brilliant and rational religious people out there who I'd love to talk to. These two are practically trolling.
And yes, there are always going to be lurkers but would they not get the same benefit (if not more) lurking here without having to wade through this thread? Or are they such bad ambassadors for theism that they're real life strawmen?
Sometime I want to debate for sport. Sometimes I want to be a strong advocate for atheism. But sometimes I want to relax and not have to worry whether I'm going to be blithered at by Christians in the next article I read on an atheist social network. :D That last desire is much more difficult to fulfil, it seems.
Good to know, Kyle, because I only "jump" on mindless theists like Michael - even theists with some degree of intellectual objectivity, as Trevor sometimes exhibits, deserves, to that same degree, respect.
But the Lurkers are out there, and I really hate to use that negative term, because many of them are only looking for information, and do not necessarily have ill intentions.
(Sorry Kyle, but this was intended to be inserted after your post saying you didn't feel jumped on, but this site's software seems to have a mind of its own, ergo, if there's no rational explanation, then GodDidIt! Never mind that there may well BE a rational explanation that we just haven't thought of yet, once the mind accepts that GodDidIt, then the search is called off.)