Have you ever had a dream? Describe to me that dream? Prove to me the contents of that dream? It's impossible. You can't prove to me what that dream was about, it was only in your head. But you KNOW that you had that dream, and it's content. I can call you a liar and a fraud, but you know, and have faith, that that dream was real. This is the same way I believe in God. If I know God exists, for the same reason you know your dream exists, can you say that my God and your dream both don't exist?
I've seen this question posed in a number of ways on different websites over the years, but I've never seen a decent answer for it. For the record I'm an atheist (agnostic atheist) but I just happen to love trying to see both sides and I've personally not seen a good (in my opinion) answer for it. It hits a nerve with me because I dream regularly, and if I was asked to prove the content of a dream I couldn't. It's only a truth to me personally.
The best answer I can think of has to do with content, that a dream is a personal relaity but the dream doesn't mean anything to someone else, where as the concept of a God, by definition, is to be agreed upon by many. But in a strict theist sense, there's no reason why a god couldn't reveal themselves to people on a personal level, and provide no evidence.
Thoughts, challenges, answers?
Ahh, but to continue devil's advocate.
My god is not the christian god however, my god is a spiritual god that has spoken to me personally. Also, my God lies outside the realm of testable objectivism. But the evidence for my god existing is as real to me as your dream (or moreso it's content) to you.
Of course, the most obvious counter argument to this is, well clearly your god is a waste of space. If it's a non-interfering god that simply exists to make you feel better, so what? However that's not having the argument against existence. To me, the concept of a god that you cant test for, doesn't interfer, and only has proof on a personal level, is about as likely we're all living in the Matrix.
But when I've had this argument in the past, it basically boils down into "but that still doesn't disprove my god, and if you say and know your dream is real, even though you can't prove it, couldn't my god be real?"
That tends to be the part when I come unstuck. Whilst I still think that concept of god is useless, it doesn't disprove it. And I can't say 'prove it' because I can't prove I dreamt about flying monkeys (actually, I haven't, but I have watched The Wizard of Oz).
Don't discredit the green-cheese arm so flipantly.
Heather, you mentioned bodily fluids, and I instantly thought of Our Precisious Bodily Fluids.
Curse you Stanley Kubrick, Dr Stranglelove.
It's the flouridation I tell you!
Strangely I happen to love rain water and grain alcohol as a beverage.
Dreams comprise transient nervous potentials which can be measured, and which our brain interprets as dream content. The electrical activity is real - the dream's content is not. It's akin to watching a movie at the cinema. The brain sees the light on the screen and interprets the image. The image isn't real - it's just light on a screen. When the light stops, the image, and our interpretation of it, goes away.
Claim of a god's existence, on the other hand, is not a claim that we interpret some natural phenomenon as god, but that the god exists objectively in it's own right, independently to us and irrespective of our interpretation of it.
I quietly suspect that anyone who seriously uses this argument to infer a god's existence is wholly resistant to logic. So as always, there is no point speaking with them (apart from the personal amusement which itself is all too fleeting and inevitably results in exasperation and the stunning realisation that some people have a higher body temperature than IQ).
This thread makes me think of some dialog in the movie "No Country for Old Men" (paraphrased)
"Is that story true about so and so?" (response) "It is true that it is a story"
Nah, just not that kind of party. I prefer to leave the ingestion of flesh and body fluids to child molesting cultists who simultaneously tout the merits of unsafe sex and celibacy.