How can we know if God exists? Do philosophical arguments help?

March 14th, 2014

Shaft of sunlight

My friend Howie has a blog, Truth is Elusive, and his latest post discusses the philosophical arguments for the existence of God, and whether they are effective or even useful. His broad conclusion is “not very” – that is not for him, not for many people, only for a few.

I mostly agree with Howie about this – for most people. But it isn’t true for me. But I needed more than a blog comment to explain why, so I wrote this post instead.

Things we agree on

Howie linked to short videos by four thoughtful theists, three philosophers and a scientist, in which all four agreed …..

These arguments are not proofs

I don’t think any philosophers think any arguments for or against the existence of God rises to the level of being a proof. The best (or worst) they can do is offer a probability.

Few people are convinced at all by them

I agree with this. People generally disbelieve or believe for other reasons. But I happen to be one for whom these arguments are important.

Reasons to believe God exists?

Without reasons, we should be agnostic, with no strong belief either way. But what could be good reasons to believe?

Philosophy?

“God exists” is a philosophical/metaphysical statement. Its truth or falsity may be determined, or at least assessed, by philosophy. Yet as we have seen, few regard this as convincing on its own.

Science?

If God is the creator of the universe, we might expect him to be “seen” in his creation, just as we may “see” Shakespeare or Van Gogt, Bob Dylan or Tim Winton in their creations. Thus the sciences, especially cosmology, quantum physics, neuroscience and anthropology, may provide clues to whether God is “behind” the universe or not. But we may need to learn to “read” the creation to see the creator’s hand.

History?

If God doesn’t get involved in his world, it may not matter if we know him or not. But if he is an active God, as christians believe, we should be able to see his hand in history, especially the history of those who claim to be messengers from God. For a christians, obviously this primarily means the life of Jesus.

Personal experience?

If God is “personal” as christians and some other religions believe, then we might expect him to interact with people – after all, that is how we get to know other people. An experience of God may be the most compelling reason to believe (though some sceptics would doubt the reality of their experience). And many non-believers say the lack of God revealing himself to them is one of the main reasons why they disbelieve.

Personal experience may take many forms. People may experience healing or a vision of God. Or they may receive peace or guidance as an answer to prayer. Or they may just receive deep assurance that God is there, and cares.

Personal experience is obviously best, but second hand experience may also be convincing if it is powerful enough – for example, documented cases of healing (which would be a combination of second hand experience and science).

It takes two legs to walk

It is hard to see how any of these methods could be sufficient on their own.

  • It seems that philosophy and science, which form the basis of most of the philosophical proofs, are only going to take someone so far. They will probably need support from personal experience or belief in Jesus (or whatever other messenger a person may come to believe in).
  • Personal experience may be sufficient on its own, if it is powerful enough. But our experiences can be forgotten or distorted, or we may need to learn more about the God we believe we have experienced, so again, a revelation from God may be important too – certainly I have read stories of people who came to believe in God via a vision then sought out a Bible to find out more.

So the philosophical arguments may well have an important part to play, as part of a suite of reasons why someone believes.

Non-believers and these arguments

Established arguments to disbelief include the argument from evil, divine hiddenness and incoherence. The philosophical arguments for God generally don’t ‘work’ for non-believers.

Three things seem to me to be inconsistent with atheist views about the reasons for belief I have outlined above:

  1. Many atheists are very critical of philosophy in general – it achieves nothing they often say. Yet the arguments from evil, hiddenness and incoherence are also philosophical arguments. How is it that philosophy can only become useful when in the service of unbelief?
  2. Many atheists dismiss anything that isn’t based on science. It’s the only reliable way of knowing anything, they say. But again, I don’t see them applying that principle when they make choices about politics or relationships.
  3. The strongest argument for belief for many people is personal experience, and the lack of it is often a strong argument for disbelief. But I cannot recall meeting any atheist who has taken a serious and systematic interest in investigating apparent miracles, and the possibility they provide excellent evidence for God. (I am not saying no atheist has done this, only that I cannot recall meeting any, and I have met many who reject that course of action.)

So I feel that unbelievers find the philosophical arguments ineffective because they have a different approach to epistemology (how we know truth) than I do. They seem to be less willing to see evidence as cumulative and they seem to make assumptions about what evidence they will investigate and value that I think pre-judges the question.

Why the philosophical arguments matter for me

I began my thinking about God with the life of Jesus. Here we have a character who historians say was historical and whose followers made certain claims about him. How do we assess if those claims are plausible?

One can judge by the internal evidence of his life and teaching, but what else can we use to form a judgment? It seems to me that science and the philosophical arguments point to the possibility (at least) that a God with similar characteristics as the God allegedly revealed by Jesus (creator, ethical, personal, etc) might truly exist. The experiences of others in healings, etc, add further weight to this conclusion.

So the philosophical arguments are nowhere central to my faith or to my apologetics, but they have an important role to play.

Brief comment on “explanations running out”

Howie mentions that William Dembski suggests that explanations of the universe have to run out at some point, so we might just as well end them at the universe as end them than at God. But I think there are very good reasons why we should end them at God.

We can explain the present state of the universe by previous states, all of which were contingent (i.e. they could have been different and were dependent on previous states). If we follow those explanations back as far as we can, it seems one of three possibilities must be true, either:

(i) there was no start, but an infinite number of contingent events and no explanation;

(ii) there was a start but still no explanation; or

(iii) there was a start and the explanation is in some non-contingent cause.

The universe seems unable to cause itself or be a non-contingent cause, hence stopping at a non-contingent explanation seems more logical. Of course, the only non-contingent explanation I can think of is God.

Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos via Compfight cc

42 Comments

  1. Thanks Unklee – this is the first time a friend of mine has posted something in response to a post of mine – no worries my ego will get shot down very soon because today is a workday for me. 😉

    Thanks for this thoughtful post. I mentioned in my response comment on my blog about the part in Cottingham’s video where he talks about several different things in life cohering to form our worldviews – I agree with that and it relates to what you write here.

    I have been planning a post related to your point about the fact that we should be agnostic if there are no reasons to believe – this is an extremely popular issue. You are aware of the standard atheist response to this and it makes sense to me. I am hoping I will get more responses on my future post in regards to that because I’m not clear on why this response doesn’t clear things up for theists. Chances are it won’t resolve a thing though. 🙂 This is argued back and forth on practically every religion related blog I’ve seen.

    Numbered like your points:
    1. You are right, atheists do tend to raise the bar on arguments against God, and I’ve done that too, and it may not be perfectly even handed. I personally don’t judge others for believing that a God exists and I have told many of my friends and I’m adding you to the list now – I understand if someone looks at the world and says “I just have a hard time seeing how all of this can be here without some agent causing it”. Of course I also add the standard response to that which makes sense to me at least. But what I don’t appreciate is when people don’t share the same understanding back – history is too replete with not just lack of understanding in this realm, but huge atrocities that evolved from this lack of understanding. Respect isn’t quite the right word for this. We don’t need to look up to someone we disagree with, but I personally feel that a viewpoint which John Polkinghorne shared in the last video of my blog post would be a great way to go.

    As far as what moves me I would say that lack of sufficient evidence (which I personally tend to call un-detectability or hiddenness, but the hiddenness argument is actually a bit more than that) is the big killer for me because of the issue I said in the above paragraph that never seems to get resolved.

    2. Your analogy to relationships and opinions on politics unfortunately doesn’t work for me – I can’t seem to figure out how realizing that I care about my wife and kids is analogous to figuring out if a being exists.

    3. That is sad that you have never met any atheist who takes an interest in investigating apparent miracles. This happens to be an area of great interest to me. Apparently you don’t remember me digging into all those articles on healings that you pointed me to on your blog post. Sorry Unklee, but I believe you are overstating this for effect. I’ve seen you write that on many people’s blogs. I’m not persuaded by that mind game of yours. I think the reason why you get the response you do from the people you talk to on the internet is because they see it as a ploy – while I know you don’t feel it is a game that is how it comes across. Let me play it too – I cannot recall ever meeting a theist who has taken a serious and systematic interest in investigating the religious claims of every opposing religious group in the world (I’m not saying no theist has done this, only that I cannot recall meeting any, and I have met many who reject that course of action). My response to my own statement here is “so what?” – this doesn’t help me to lean in any way toward thinking that God doesn’t exist. But it does help to alienate theists from me and make them look less than honest. The reverse is true for me as well. I don’t like this approach because it is only useful in making those that disagree with us look bad and doesn’t help in resolving the question that we all want to discuss.

    Unklee – I’ll be straight with you. My own experiences of life make me wonder about reality. I truly wonder. Awe might actually be a proper word. But wonder covers more than awe for me – it covers the question of whether there might be more than what we have figured out how to detect. Maybe something transcends what we think is reality. I wouldn’t be surprised. But to stake some claim that a particular personal God exists when sufficient evidence isn’t clear to me – that doesn’t work for me. And to go further and try and sell that to others when the evidence seems lacking just doesn’t fit for me. No way to detect this God but through the subjective personal experiences of people of all the different religions and questionable healings which don’t seem to hold up to scrutiny – I can’t get past that. Philosophical arguments which have lots of flaws doesn’t help me. But yes I wonder – I do for sure wonder but I can’t get past wonder. If something transcends then kind of by definition it is beyond me and I haven’t figured out how to make an epistemic claim for something that is beyond me.

    Cool – your comment space has auto-correct! Nice touch!

  2. Hi Howie and unkleE!

    I’ve really enjoyed both of your posts. I don’t have much to contribute, but I thought I’d focus in on two of your points, unkleE: the comparison of politics or relationships to determining what’s true, and your point about “explanations running out.”

    It would be difficult for me to quantify why I love the people that I’m close to, and it would even be difficult to quantify all the reasons why I might support a particular candidate. So I don’t really disagree with your points there. But when it comes to knowledge claims, I feel very different. In the last US presidential election, if I had told people that I was going to vote for Zanos the Conqueror, no one would have known what I was talking about. However, saying I supported Obama or Romney would be immediately understandable because no one questions that those two candidates exist. I might believe Zanos has the best policies on health care, national defense, the economy, and sustainable energy. But if I can’t demonstrate that he’s a real candidate, I won’t have much luck convincing anyone to vote for him. The Christian god is in the same boat. What I think about him and his “policies” is irrelevant if I’m unconvinced of his existence. And to demonstrate his existence, we need something evidence-based.

    To your last point about a first cause, I totally understand the appeal of this view. It’s a very strong argument for *something*, but what is that something? Like Howie, I have a hard time inserting God as the answer — to me, this is no different than god-of-the-gaps reasoning. And over the last year or so, I’ve begun to wonder if we’re even asking that question correctly.

    We speak about the beginning of the Universe and the existence of everything as though we know what the default should be. We think *nothing* is the default, but what is nothing? It’s never been demonstrated that *nothing* can even exist. The default state of things may not be *nothing* as we usually think of it, but may involve neutrinos or quarks, for all we know. That might be as close to *nothing* as it’s possible to get. So asking where matter and energy came from may not even be the right question. It may be just as meaningless as asking about the color of sound.

  3. Interesting article! It was interesting to read the different viewpoints and all of the comparisons. I have come to know for myself that God exists, and that He does indeed walk beside me in my life. I consider my faith to be a tremendous blessing to have in my life, and it is something that I hope to be able to share with others. Here is a link for a really good article written about faith that I would encourage you and your readers to read. http://goo.gl/3vJe50

  4. @uncleE
    “Without reasons, we should be agnostic, with no strong belief either way. ”

    I think I don’t agree with you.

    I believe in One-True-God very naturally; like I believe in the existence of my parents or like I believe in the existence of my own self. I don’t need any other reason to believe in Him. This is the start of belief in the One-True-God; there are/could be more or higher stages to this belief; but if one is Agnostic or Atheist; then he has to provide me the reasons and arguments that “the One-True-God does not exist”. I will see the flaws in their reasons and arguments.

  5. They seem to be less willing to see evidence as cumulative and they seem to make assumptions about what evidence they will investigate and value that I think pre-judges the question.

    And you insert your god – faith first/primarily – and work from this premise, either forwards or backwards.
    Yet there is no evidence for your god.( or any other god for that matter) None whatsoever. Cumulative or otherwise.
    All the Christian has is the bible.
    And every non-Christian regards this ‘book’ with pretty much the same level of emotional detachment as you do any other non-Christian religious text.

    The blatant evidence of indoctrination – cultural or otherwise – is staring all of you in the face but you are unable to grasp the significance.

  6. @paarsurrey

    Looks like you are arguing that the existence of God is self-evident or as some like to say a “properly basic” belief. My first thought and maybe wrong thought on this is that this statement here is a discussion killer. What in the world can I who doesn’t believe it is self-evident going to be able to say to someone who does? I’m not sure there is anything to say except that hopefully we can just be nice to each other even though we disagree. But alas we still try to discuss and try I will.

    Have you ever worked through your thoughts on what criteria make up a belief that as you say is “very natural” or as others say self-evident? I have worked through this and can’t say I am right, but I’m interested in your thoughts. Is there even a way to describe this for you or is the existence of God really as obvious to you as the existence of your parents? If it is then I think there isn’t much we can discuss further. But my gut tells me that there are some differences in those 2 knowledge claims and that you just haven’t thought through the differences enough and so you automatically equate your confidence level in these differing claims. My gut is certainly wrong many times, so I’ll let you reply.

  7. Hi paarsurrey,

    I have a question as well. Bertrand Russell used the argument of a cosmic teapot — you may be familiar with it. If someone stated that there’s a teapot in our solar system that circles the sun, could you disprove it? Or perhaps if we used unicorns as an example — could you disprove their existence?

    Thanks

  8. Hi everyone, thanks for all your comments and interest. I appreciate the different matters that have been raised. I will try to respond where I think this will advance the discussion.

    Welcome Goshen, please feel free to hang around.

  9. I personally feel that a viewpoint which John Polkinghorne shared in the last video of my blog post would be a great way to go.

    Yes, I’m a fan of John Polkinghorne, I’ve read a couple of his books. And I agree with the comment you refer to.

    Your analogy to relationships and opinions on politics unfortunately doesn’t work for me – I can’t seem to figure out how realizing that I care about my wife and kids is analogous to figuring out if a being exists.

    I don’t see it as an analogy. Rather I simply see it as a counter example to the very general statement I often see, to the effect that science is the only way we can know anything reliably. My argument is, if we can know reliably enough to make decisions in the areas of politics, ethics, relationships, etc, without scientific “proof”, and live satisfactory lives, then perhaps was shouldn’t think that we need scientific proof for God either. (I’m not saying you say we need scientific evidence, I’m saying that many people say that.)

    That is sad that you have never met any atheist who takes an interest in investigating apparent miracles. This happens to be an area of great interest to me. Apparently you don’t remember me digging into all those articles on healings that you pointed me to on your blog post. Sorry Unklee, but I believe you are overstating this for effect.

    No, I said it because it reflects my experience and I wanted to challenge people to think differently (just like Apple, except I used better grammar – I think 🙂 )

    I remember I was having a discussion with a whole bunch of atheists in an atheist forum I used to be a member of about a particular well-documented miracle claim in the US. There was a lot of discussion and a lot of criticisms of my willingness to believe the claim. So I suggested one of the atheists join me (to provide balance) in writing to the doctor concerned, following up with the TV news reports, etc, to better research it. Not one of them replied.

    I didn’t remember you investigating what I had written on this site, I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I would call that “a serious and systematic interest in investigating apparent miracles”. So I’m sorry if this upset you, I intended it more as a comment and a challenge – and it wasn’t particularly addressed at you.

    But yes I wonder – I do for sure wonder but I can’t get past wonder. If something transcends then kind of by definition it is beyond me and I haven’t figured out how to make an epistemic claim for something that is beyond me.

    I resonate with this. I wonder too – whether just as much I cannot say. Contrary to what some atheists and some christians say, I don’t believe christian faith gives me all the answers, and I still have many doubts, many more questions, and certainly a sense that the universe is bigger and more amazing that I can ever possibly appreciate or understand.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  10. Hi paarsurrey,

    Goshen is just a person who visited here and used a “nickname” instead of his real name, just like you. Did you not notice their comment? I have no idea who he/she is in real life just as I know nothing more about you. But perhaps they will answer for themselves.

  11. Hi Nate, thanks for visiting, your comments are always welcome. I appreciate what you say here, and I think you know how I would respond, so I will make only two brief points.

    1. Like I said to Howie, I recognise the differences between choosing for God and choosing for a politician that you point out. But I wasn’t making an analogy, simply pointing out that if we don’t use science alone in other areas of life, we shouldn’t make a blanket rule (as some do, though not sure that you would) that only science can give reliable information.

    2. Yes, no matter what view one holds, first cause is a slippery concept. I feel my view is more pragmatic and sensible, but we have been there before ….. 🙂

    Thanks again.

  12. @ Howie : MAR 14, 2014 @ 20:11:55

    I am an ordinary man in the street with no claims of any scholarship or piety. I have to live my life like others live. When I gained consciousness there were many things which I naturally believed.

    I believe that I exist; I don’t need any proof or evidence for it. I don’t care if somebody else thinks that I don’t exist.

    I think you also don’t doubt that you don’t exist.

    Do you doubt your existence? Please

  13. I think I don’t agree with you.

    Hi paarsurrey, that is something we can at least agree on! 🙂

    I think many disagreements come down to differences in how people determine truth. You have already made it clear you regard your apprehension of God and faith in him to be a higher form of truth than anything we can get by evidence (either science or history). I’m not sure if you’d express it quite that way, but that’s my understanding of your view.

    That being the case, there is little more I can say. I believe that evidence matters, we disagree, we can do that in a friendly manner and appreciate that. We can learn what each other thinks, but there isn’t really any basis for discussion, unless we first discuss how we each can know truth – as Howie and Nate have asked you. I may well join in after you respond to them.

  14. @ unkleE :MAR 14, 2014 @ 22:15:54

    “we shouldn’t make a blanket rule that only science can give reliable information.”

    I think I agree with you here.

    I further have to submit.

    We are discussing here the existence of One-True-God, an Immortal Being . Science and the scientific method as a tool of exploration has come into the field only yesterday; and it only deals in the things physical and material.

    The One-True-God is only attributive; and His existence needs no material or physical or spiritual form. He has created all things that have any material or physical or spiritual form:

    [39:65] Say, ‘Is it other gods than Allah that you bid me worship, O ye ignorant ones?’
    [39:66] And verily it has been revealed to thee as unto those before thee: ‘If thou attribute partners to God, thy work shall surely go vain and thou shalt certainly be of the losers.’
    [39:67] Aye, worship Allah and be among the thankful.
    [39:68] And they do not esteem Allah, with the esteem that is due to Him. And the whole earth will be but His handful on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand. Glory to Him and exalted is He above that which they associate with Him.

    http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?ch=39&verse=67

    The One-True-God (Allah Yahweh Ahura-Mazda Parmeshawara Eshawara) is beyond science to be explored; hence there is no proper faculty of science that could claim dealing in it.

    Is there a discipline of science that explores God? Please

    Is it ethical or moral to explore the One-True- God with tools that are incapacitated to find Him; and hence to mislead the fellow human beings?

    Thanks

  15. Is there a discipline of science that explores God?

    Well, like I said in my post “If God is the creator of the universe, we might expect him to be “seen” in his creation”. You won’t find God in a test tube and you can’t weigh him on scales, but I think the sciences of cosmology and neuroscience show that God makes more sense than no-God. But of course others here disagree!

    Is it ethical or moral to explore the One-True- God with tools that are incapacitated to find Him; and hence to mislead the fellow human beings?

    I don’t think science is incapacitated to find him, I only think it is only partially helpful. The Bible certainly encourages people to see God in nature and in the cosmos.

    Would Muslims think differently to that?

  16. Hey UnkleE: I’m glad I can find more agreement than the opposite in your latest comment. I really like that we feel the same about Polkinghorne’s comments as well as at least a little bit similar with the wonder that I described.

    Let me clarify a few things:

    I don’t see it as an analogy. Rather I simply see it as a counter example to the very general statement I often see, to the effect that science is the only way we can know anything reliably.

    Ok, I may have misunderstood you a little then. We may partially agree on this one. I’ll try my best to flush out my own thoughts as clear as I can and maybe we can see where we part (if at all) – I see things as mixed. Let me pick the example of relationships. When I make decisions in relationships it is usually based on my feelings and values. I value others feelings so that becomes part of my process in deciding things. When I met my wife I knew after a few hours that we were very compatible and that was confirmed after months of dating. It’s true that I didn’t perform any scientific method in this, but if I wasn’t applying some kind of objective method then I did run the risk of making more mistakes in those decisions than not. I don’t want to get too long on this – but I think I’m saying that I partially agree. Another example that I have thought through in the past is in the existence of people. I surely don’t perform any scientific methods in determining whether or not my family members exist. But in some ways I actually am employing objective methods because it is my 5 senses that tell me they exist and those senses are the building blocks of objective empirical methods. But the thing is that when I apply the same ways of my knowledge of the existence of my family members none of those ways apply at all to the existence of a God. You and I agree that it is not self-evident, so we both agree we need some kind of evidence. You may think I’ve set the bar so high that no evidence at all would convince me – but back on 9/9/90 (it was easy for me to remember that date) I prayed to receive Christ because I actually did think there was convincing evidence. That changed, but I don’t see why that couldn’t change again. When you claim as you often do that miracle claims are evidence for God’s existence then this is the perfect thing that we can attempt to apply objective methods to investigate. If God turns out to be an agent that doesn’t like to be tested so He refuses to do anything conclusive when the experiments are being performed then do you really think that someone should be held epistemically accountable for not being convinced? That is the crux of it – I definitely do not think so.

    Another thing that I think people confuse is the word “science” being swapped for objective investigations. Historical methods are objective, but are not like the experiments of the physical sciences. All different kinds of subjects studied within Universities across the world apply objective methods – that is what I mean when I say “scientific” method (actually I personally like to use the phrase “objective methods” to clarify this). Perhaps some/most atheists don’t think this way. I’m not sure.

    I’ve told you before, I am not against the idea of a God of goodness – I will follow a God like that. In fact I’ve prayed that several times even after my “deconversion” (I hate that word). So in some very strange way maybe I am “in the fold” even though I am doubtful that gods exist. I wonder if you’ve ever had an atheist tell you that!!! 😉

    Ok, I obviously don’t know how to control myself with comments. I was going to clarify more, but I think I’ll stop here. I’ll leave the stuff about atheists being uninterested in pursuing possibilities alone. That’s your apologetic style and I can’t change it. However, I do think it builds more barriers to communication than building bridges.

    I really did like it that my paragraph about wonder resonated with you. I wasn’t expecting that at all and I find it very awesome and heart warming (ok, sorry for getting too mushy about it – I’ll beat you up in another comment some other day so we can brush that off 😉 ).

  17. Hey Paarsurrey: I do not doubt my existence, but it doesn’t look like you want to reply to what I asked in my comments. That’s perfectly fine with me but I don’t think there is much to continue and progress on. I thought UnkleE’s comment to you was very gracious and kind and it is exactly the reply I would give to you. Thanks for your time.

  18. UnkleE, your comparison to personal relations is reminiscent to William James’s The Will to Believe. Have you ever read it?

  19. Hi Howie,

    You and I agree that it is not self-evident, so we both agree we need some kind of evidence.

    I generally agree with what you say here. Perhaps you thought I was saying more than I actually intended. I wasn’t attempting to “prove” anything. I was simply responding to your post on the philosophical arguments. My main points were (1) the arguments don’t stand on their own but as part of a cumulative case, and (2) some atheists limit the evidence they will accept, and think that is a wrong beginning.

    If God turns out to be an agent that doesn’t like to be tested so He refuses to do anything conclusive when the experiments are being performed then do you really think that someone should be held epistemically accountable for not being convinced?

    There are two ways one could examine the evidence for miracles. (1) Run experiments and see if God does anything, or (2) examine the cases where it appears God has done something and see if there are any natural explanations for all the cases.

    The first has been tried, but doesn’t work because (a) the cases of healing miracles are relatively rare (by definition) and so unlikely to occur in the experiments, (b) God is a personal agent and so we are not testing a law (when such an experimental design might work) but a person’s choices, and (c) it is the wrong experimental design anyway, because it is examining the question of how often to miracles occur rather than whether they occur. (This is brief and I could explain it more.)

    So it has to be the second.

    I’ll leave the stuff about atheists being uninterested in pursuing possibilities alone. That’s your apologetic style and I can’t change it.

    I’m sorry, but I carefully avoided making such a general statements. I said two things: (i) I’ve not seen any atheists do serious systematic study of the evidence of the second form I have just outlined (and I carefully said I didn’t mean that none did, only that I hadn’t seen it) and (ii) I gave a specific example to illustrate.

    My style is to probe and challenge (with facts where I can) wherever I think people are thinking wrongly and are open to being challenged. I try to be polite and careful to be precise, and I withdraw if the conversation becomes unpleasant or the other person get uncomfortable. I don’t think that’s very different to how you and Nate operate, for example in your response to paarsurrey. I’m truly sorry if I have overstepped any lines.

  20. Hey Unklee

    Your response to miracle testing unfortunately leaves us with an epistemic problem. It is basically the same as saying that the God you believe is a personal agent so we cannot test Him with the same objective methods with which we apply to all knowledge claims. We use those tests to determine whether or not UFO abductions are sufficient evidence for aliens interacting with us. Very similar reasoning to yours can be given to claim truth of aliens interacting as well, but many consider it fair reasoning to claim non-belief in those aliens interacting – a stronger statement than agnosticism (although not explicit 100% certainty).

    As far as not having natural explanations to something that is simply god of the gaps and many theistic philosophers concede that that is a bad approach. Francis Collins puts it very succinctly at the very end of one of his interviews on closer to truth. What has happened over time is that as the gaps have been filled in theists have been slowly losing their audience, and we are starting to see this in polls.

    Just saying “look I found some cases where a person was healed and I can’t explain it naturally and they were prayed for” is a very weak case for several reasons. First, practically every sick person has had at least one person pray for them. Second, we cannot tell whether there are actually placebo effects or simply that diseases actually have a small probability of resolving themselves naturally – mechanisms which our research has not found yet. As you know while the medical community has progressed greatly in the last 200 years, it is far from solving tons of problems. I was recently diagnosed with essential thrombocytosis (luckily not too bad) – and the word “essential” as described by my hematologist basically means in layperson terms “we have no clue what the reasons are for your thrombocytosis”.

    If you think I am raising the bar way too high, I disagree. I use the same bar in lots of other claims that many people agree is fair – there are ways to experiment and try and see if the prayer healings go beyond the placebo effect. The medical community does this all the time with “miracle” drinks and homeopathy. As we discussed before on my blog, if the Templeton research (and Templeton is a theist) on healings came out where everyone prayed for was healed that would go a very long way in raising my confidence level way high in a divine being or beings. And if you think that bar is too high, I agree – my confidence level would also go up (although not as high, which is appropriate weighing of evidence in my mind) if the percent of healings were shown to go sufficiently beyond any other natural explanations such as placebo effect. All of the papers you pointed me to when we had that discussion on my blog did not rule that out, and the most comprehensive, rigorous and careful research (Templeton) clearly claimed that prayer had no effect on the health of those being prayed for, and I also linked you to the American Cancer Society which claimed very clearly that the evidence is simply not there for faith healings. In my following post after our discussion you claimed that rigorous analysis was important in our pursuit of God, and I agreed – but when the rigor is applied it doesn’t come out looking so good.

    I think atheists who are doubtful of these things are being misunderstood and misrepresented by your statements.

    When I spoke with Paarsurrey I don’t remember saying anything like “I’ve never met a Muslim that blah blah blah blah”. These are the kind of statements that I believe are forming a certain viewpoint about a certain group of people. I realize you put a caveat and that is fine, but you are still stating a negative attribute that you believe is highly common about a group of people – atheists in this case. This doesn’t build bridges. That’s all. Cosmically bad/good you know I don’t care, I’m thinking practical. Does it help us build up walls between us or bridges?

  21. you are still stating a negative attribute that you believe is highly common about a group of people – atheists in this case. This doesn’t build bridges.

    Howie, this is not the first time you have criticised my comments in this way, so I think it is worth discussing. Do you agree? Here’s how I see it.

    In ‘normal’ life, I don’t discuss religion with people unless they are interested, generally only if they raise the subject. Like most people, I try to be sensitive to others, build and maintain friendships, etc.

    But blogs titled “Is there a God?” and “Truth is Elusive” are not ‘normal’ life. We come to them with an expectation that we will be discussing matters on with people have strong opinions and are likely to disagree. If I wasn’t prepared for that, I wouldn’t be part of this scene.

    So for me, I try to balance two often competing objectives – being friends with people and having an honest and robust discussion. Staying friends and avoiding nastiness is the most important to me, so I try to remain polite at all times and avoid being too personal, and if the conversation veers from that, I generally apologise and withdraw.

    But I still have to recognise that some people will take exception to remarks I think are courteous, and I will find some comments a little unhelpful even when the other person is not intending that. I accept a certain amount of give and take.

    I also try to focus on facts and on my own beliefs, not so much criticise other people’s beliefs, but that isn’t always possible. This is particularly the case when we are discussing people’s assumptions and assessments.

    I think I followed all these principles here, but obviously I displeased you, and I’m wondering why.

    You raised the matter, not just of the philosophical arguments in general, but whether people find them convincing or not. This is a personal matter and discussing it can hardly avoid talking about different people’s attitudes and assumptions. And so I made the observation I think the reason that non-believers find the arguments unconvincing is (at least in part) because they often consider them in isolation. But, I suggested, if they were considered as part of a larger picture, which included people’s claimed experience of God, including miraculous healings, the might be seen as confirmatory and useful. But then I made the observation that I haven’t observed non-believers taking this approach and taking an interest in a thorough investigation of healings.

    I think that is both an accurate statement (as far as my own experience goes, and I specifically said this wasn’t a general statement) and relevant to the question you originally raised. We are talking about epistemology and the things people choose to investigate, or not, are surely relevant to epistemology. I’m not sure if my statement is very different in principle to your statement about God of the gaps arguments – both are criticising a way of approaching the questions.

    I would like to respond to your comments on how healings should be investigated, but I feel it would be good to discuss this first. How do you feel about what I have written?

  22. I think you do a great job of trying to be civil, no doubt – you are way better than tons of nasty fighters online. I just think you have a tendency to paint atheists in a bad light when you explain how your experiences online with them cause you to see them that way, and certainly you can’t blame me for trying to defend a group that I identify with because the ones I know don’t seem to all fall into the descriptions you give. Perhaps the ones online are a bit different than the ones that aren’t, but even that I don’t see. And frankly I really do think people of all different worldviews fight with things like confirmation bias and even some of the other things you try and describe. And I also want to make clear that just saying that most atheists are insincere or dishonest or whatever negative word properly fits simply doesn’t help me to see how the Christian worldview is the correct one. That story I’ve seen you tell several times about none of the atheists wanting to follow you in your research isn’t something I can use to help me see the Christian worldview as better. But I can get that you are trying to encourage atheists to be a little more open minded and that’s perfectly fine – we can all use a good dose of that, so maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. Nobody else seems to be joining in so I’ll take that as confirmation of that. I mentioned I would drop it because as I said it’s your apologetic style and frankly my own style is not always the best either (and I think you can probably find places where I say “theists are such and such” even though I try not to), but you said my comment to Paarsurrrey was similar and I didn’t see the similarity in it so I thought I’d respond to that.

  23. Hi Howie, thanks. I’m happy to leave it there then. I just wanted to see if we could reach any further agreement.

    Just one important correction. I did not say anything like: “most atheists are insincere or dishonest or whatever negative word properly fits”. I made the factual comment about not being interested in researching alleged miracles and then I drew the following conclusion:

    “So I feel that unbelievers find the philosophical arguments ineffective because they have a different approach to epistemology (how we know truth) than I do. They seem to be less willing to see evidence as cumulative and they seem to make assumptions about what evidence they will investigate and value that I think pre-judges the question.”

    I don’t think there is anything in there that suggests insincerity or dishonesty. I simply say we have different approaches and comment where I disagree.

    I think it is important to make this clear, because I hope I would never make personal remarks, especially ones I have no way of knowing.

    Anyway, let’s leave it there. Thanks for your response. I will get back onto the more relevant matter of how we test for miracle claims shortly.

  24. Hi Howie, thanks for that – and no worries. Let’s get on to verifying miracles. Here’s how I look at it.

    1. Experimental design determines what conclusions we can draw.

    2. We are trying to draw conclusions about whether praying for healing results in more recoveries than occurs naturally.

    3. There is a range of things we could test, from the very occasional highly unusual recovery to the slightly improved recovery that may occur quite often. Each case requires different experimental design.

    4. The Templeton study tested for the latter – if a group of people are prayed for do they on average do better than a control group that isn’t prayed for? But note:

    (a) There is more data than just the Templeton study. I have found something like 20+ studies, all giving different result, and the majority giving favourable results (see Intercessory prayer and healing). So the answer to that question isn’t as clear as often claimed.
    (b) None of these studies tested for “miraculous” healing, but for slight improvements in recovery.

    This isn’t what I’m talking about.

    5. It is difficult to test for the rare dramatic healing, because they are so rare (relatively). No study of a set group of people could run for long enough to get enough results. But there is another way.

    6. It is common in science to test for the association of events – in this case, are unexpected and major recoveries associated with prayer for healing more common that without prayer? It would still be a difficult study to undertake, but it could be done. This is not “god of the gaps” but a valid statistical technique to test association.

    7. I haven’t done such a study, but I have investigated as well as I can. I have searched out documented miracle claims (Healing miracles and God), I have considered how these might be assessed (Can we scientifically test alleged healing miracles?) and I have had a go at doing the statistics (Miracles and probability: the adventures of a maths nerd).

    I don’t pretend I have “proved” anything. But I do say I have tried to do some thorough “research”, and I believe I have shown that there is a reasonable case to be made.

  25. If I simplify it a lot, James provides a prudential argument for belief in God against die-hard empiricists. He claims that if an option is viable, fleeting and sufficiently important for a subject, she or he is justified in making a choice for belief even without empirical foundation. One of the comparisons he draws is exactly to a personal relation, if I am not mistaken. It is fair to note that he doesn’t believe in rational argumentation for God nor finds avoiding error very important though.

    I think you will find the paper interesting. It is easily available online.

  26. @ Howie
    MAR 14, 2014 @ 20:11:55, MAR 15, 2014 @ 01:48:29 :

    I quote your words:
    “Looks like you are arguing that the existence of God is self-evident or as some like to say a “properly basic” belief”
    “Have you ever worked through your thoughts on what criteria make up a belief that as you say is “very natural” or as others say self-evident? I have worked through this and can’t say I am right, but I’m interested in your thoughts.”

    I submit my response.

    I believe that the philosophers with all their wisdom could only conclude to the maximum to the level that “there should be a god”; or “there should not be a god”. They cannot go to high level of “God exists”. Their maximum is the minimum of belief that is required in religion.

    Hence I don’t make their thoughts as basis of my belief. It is right my belief in God is one of the basics of my beliefs rather it is the prime belief under which my all other beliefs must follow. This is also true that God is self-evident; no doubt about it but I don’t subscribe to the philosophical terms in vogue in this connection.

    But my statement is not a “discussion killer”; it is rather a discussion opener.
    When I say one for instance; “Do you believe you exist”? Please prove.
    The type of reasons that one will provide that may form a practical genre or basis of our further discussion in the topic.

    Please keep in mind that God is not for the scientists or philosophers alone that it is vital for us to follow them and their reasons, approaches and their explorations. They are not on the norm of life; that is why they are called genius; they might be experts in their respective fields but in our topic in hand “Existence of God” they are just laymen; equipped with no tools in this field. God is for everybody.

    God is not being invented; that we must need them. He does not need to be invented; He would rather abhor this thought. God is not dependent on their finding Him; humans are dependent on Him, whatever their status.

    Anybody searching for Him with the methods of philosophy or tools of science will never find Him:

    [6:104] Eyes cannot reach Him but He reaches the eyes. And He is the Incomprehensible, the All-Aware.
    [6:105] Proofs have indeed come to you from your Lord; so whoever sees, it is for his own good; and whoever becomes blind, it is to his own harm. And I am not a guardian over you.

    http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?ch=6&verse=103

    The One-True-God (I don’t mean here Jesus or Krishna; they were not gods) never claimed that one could find Him with the methods of philosophy or tools of science; rather their failure with their tools to find him is a proof that He exists.

    They have no say in it except for their own selves. God is more or most for the ordinary and or common people, they need Him most.

    Please, therefore, answer this little and innocent question.

    Do you believe that you exist?

  27. Hi Paarsurrey – I answered that question in my last comment. Thanks for your input. I’m fine not using philosophical language also, so I can describe it in normal terms – you feel you have revelation of the God you believe in. I haven’t had that.

  28. @Nate :MAR 14, 2014 @ 20:20:27

    Do you believe that there is a teapot in our solar system that circles the sun?

    I don’t believe that.

    I don’t believe in the unicorns also.

  29. @Unklee:

    I have read all those links before and have already given my response to what you have written. It is located in this comment. I believe those are fair statements explaining why some are skeptical.

    I’ll add and also re-emphasize some:
    1) Nate had a good point here a while back on your ten healings post and mentioned that 3 or 4 of those are from Kathryn Kuhlman meetings. In my searching I seemed to have found that all 10 of those are from Kathryn Kuhlman meetings. Is this correct? If so it could possibly call into question how reputable and unbiased these source you have laid out might be. Perhaps the other references are better.

    2) I want to very strongly reinforce what I encouraged you to do last time: before I said “You may want to contact the Templeton group with your analyses.” I want to encourage you further: you have made a valiant effort here of trying to make a scientific case, but it would be good if you could get your stuff somehow into the hands of experts who could get it published and peer reviewed. Templeton is just one group – I have several other references on the right side of my blog under “LINKS” to groups that agree with you that science can investigate these claims. Some of them like Joe Nickell, and Benjamin Radford are not theists, but it would certainly be good to get their opinion as well since those coming to your blog are likely either atheists or seekers leaning to atheism, so they would certainly want to see more expert opinions from several different viewpoints to get a better idea of it’s truth. Several of the links are run by theists. William Dembski or Francis Collins might also be interested or perhaps could get you in touch with an expert who is. It would also be good if you or someone else could see if the American Cancer Society would reconsider what they have written about prayer if they are impressed by your work.

    3) Unfortunately given that the Templeton study was the most comprehensive, careful, and rigorous one which tried to avoid the problems of the previous studies this may be a bit of an uphill battle for you. But you have ways to improve the way the study was done that may be worth hearing other expert opinions on.

    So please re-read my previous comment on my blog (there are important points I’m not repeating here) and I also want to say this again: I would be interested in seeing videos of many debates going into the details of this kind of stuff. It would help to get some honest dialogue on this if it is believed there is a statistical significance. While you may think that practically all atheists are not interested, it may just be that the ones that are more vocal (hence the ones that communicate with you) are the ones that have already decided on this and likely are not interested (and they may have good reasons). But I believe there are lots of people out there who are not quite sure about the existence of gods but would be willing to entertain rigorous scientific studies that support the belief. Many of these people are open minded atheists like myself who aren’t likely to blog (I spent 17 or so years just lurking), but most of them are starting to be called “nones” and don’t even claim to be atheists.

  30. Hi Howie,

    I think we are probably (again) reaching the useful end of a discussion. I originally posted not to try to prove anything to you or anyone else, but to outline why I find the philosophical arguments useful, at the very least as part of a cumulative argument.

    Likewise I referenced my website material on apparent healings, not to try to convince you again, but to illustrate that the Templeton study (and the dozens of others like it) are not the best way to examine the possibility of miraculous healing and that, it seems to me, they are addressed at a different question.

    I am happy to discuss these matters more, but I’m not sure if it will be productive. So I will just make a couple of responses, but am happy to respond to others if you wish.

    I don’t see how Kathryn Kuhlmann’s credibility, which I am neither defending or attacking, is relevant. Most of the healings in that book were associated with Kathryn Kuhlmann in some way, although several (from memory) were not, but I don’t see how that is relevant. The cases were examined by an experienced medical researcher, with help from specialists, so unless he/they faked the results, I can’t see how KK’s involvement is relevant.

    I will certainly be continuing to “research” these matters. I’m not sure I’m ready to take them to some scientific testing group – who would take any notice of me? – but if there was some realistic way of doing it, I might. The way NDEs have been researched is a model for how Prof Phillip Wiebe suggests we should go with healings, visions, and other apparently supernatural phenomena – first collect lots of data, systematise it and look at it in bulk, and try to draw conclusions about the different types of cases. Large databases have already been compiled on some matters, and Craig Keener’s recent book outlines hundreds of other cases that could be investigated further. Whether all this is ready for a statistical treatment is an interesting question.

    And of course the Lourdes miracles have already been extensively reviewed by a medical panel.

    So I take your point, but at this stage I wasn’t trying to argue the case, but simply point out that the Templeton study is a long way from what I and others think is a way forwards.

  31. I never maintained that philosophical arguments are useless; these may be useful but are only done as philosophical gymnastic or just for academics; and don’t add to the certainty of God’s existence and remain to the extent “there should be God” or otherwise.

    My point is that only sincere seekers could find God not the Philosophers; this thing has been very clearly mentioned by Quran in the very beginning of it:

    [2:3] This is a perfect Book; there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the *righteous,

    http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?ch=2
    * Sincere seekers

    This point has been further elaborated below:

    “Let us also consider the case of a philosopher and a seeker after truth, both of whom set out for the same goal—i.e., to find out about God’s existence—but with completely different intentions. The philosopher tries to use his knowledge and wisdom to ascertain whether or not the universe has a creator.

    Even if he comes to the conclusion that God does exist, he will not bother to find out His attributes or His relationship with His creatures, for this is not his aim. His aim is only to satisfy his intellectual thirst.

    He is not desirous of communion with God, nor anxious for His nearness, nor craving for His friendship. He does not have the desire to reach Him, nor does he care to know of His Will.

    A seeker, on the other hand, aims at reaching God. He wants to have communion with Him and desires His friendship and nearness. He is anxious to know of His Will, so that he can follow it. Can we put the philosopher and the seeker on the same plane?

    Of course not

    The first step, therefore, is that one should set one’s intentions straight and seek God like a seeker, not like a philosopher.

    Page 31-32 “Our God” by Mirza Bashir Ahmad
    http://www.alislam.org/library/books/OurGod.pdf

    Thanks and regards

  32. Hey Unklee,

    Everything you’ve written here sounds fair enough – we don’t have to agree on everything, I also don’t desire to convince others to agree with me, but rather desire that others have a little more understanding towards people who are skeptical (not agree or look up to us). I do have an understanding of why philosophical arguments are convincing for some people and I don’t fault you for that. You know how I feel about the fact that we are all different in so many ways that these kinds of non-logic oriented arguments impact us differently because they are much more fuzzy than logic/maths/physical sciences kinds of fields. While I do feel that there is some objectively true answer to all these things I see them as hard to come by given these things. You have thought all these things through way more than many others and that’s very impressive.

  33. Hi Paarsurrey,

    All that stuff about philosophy versus seeker seems like a straw-man because it goes with the definition of philosopher as “one who seeks only because he desires to satisfy his intellectual thirst”. As Unklee is the perfect example one can use the field of philosophy to go beyond just that. Philosophy is such a general term that arguing about it’s meaning isn’t too productive. One can use philosophy for many different purposes – some might be simply for intellectual satisfaction, but most of the time the purposes go beyond that. I personally use it for more than just that. If a true God of pure goodness exists then I’d sincerely like to be involved so I try to understand what philosophy has thought through on the subject hoping to get closer to truth.

  34. @ Howie :MAR 17, 2014 @ 14:01:54

    If you are a sincere seeker; and as you have explained above; then you are different from other Atheists/Skeptics. They immediately start ridiculing and deriding while you have not done it; I appreciate.

    I will suggest you to read the following small volume book, freely available online; I think it will help you.

    “The philosophy of Teachings of Islam” by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

    http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf

  35. @Howie :MAR 16, 2014 @ 16:44:54

    ” you feel you have revelation of the God you believe in”

    Paarsurrey replies:

    No, I am not honored with Revelation from God; but the book I suggested you to read; its author did have this blessing; and I had personally met with some other persons who had this blessing and did talk with them.

    Like science is a tool that explores into Nature , the Work of God; Quran is the Word of God that leads to God in religion.

    I give a quote below from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad 1835-1908:

    “The Speaker (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) is Honored with Divine Converse”

    “I would be guilty of doing great wrong to my fellow beings if I were not to declare at this stage that divine bounty has bestowed upon me the status which I have just defined and has honored me with the kind of converse the features of which I have just set out in detail, so that I should bestow sight upon the blind and should guide the seekers of the One Who has been so far lost, and should give to those who accept the truth the good news of that holy fountain of which many speak but which few find.

    I wish to assure the listeners that the God, meeting with Whom is the salvation and eternal welfare of man, cannot be found without following the Holy Quran.
    Would that the people were to see that which I have seen, and were to hear that which I have heard, and should lay aside mere tales and should run to the truth! The cleansing water which removes all doubt, that mirror through which that Supreme Being can be seen, is converse with the Divine that I have just mentioned. Let him whose soul seeks the truth arise and search.

    I tell you truly that if souls are charged with true seeking and hearts develop true thirst; people would search for that way and would seek that path. How can that way be discovered, and how can the intervening veil be removed? I assure all seekers that it is Islam alone which conveys the good news of that path. All other people have since long sealed up divine revelation. Be sure, however, that this seal is not imposed by God, but is an excuse that is put forward by man on account of his privation.

    Be sure that as it is not possible that we should be able to see without eyes, or should be able to hear without ears, or should be able to speak without a tongue, in the same way it is not possible that without the help of the Quran we should be able to behold the countenance of the True Beloved. I was young and am now old but I have not encountered anyone who has quaffed the cup of this visible understanding except out of this holy fountain.

    Page 206-207
    http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf

    Thanks and regards

  36. Hey Paarsurrey: I looked at that link, but when I saw how long it was I added it to my list of books to read which is getting longer since I’ve gotten so many recommendations while blogging. Thanks for the recommendation.

    As far as saying you feel you have revelation I may have used the wrong words. Let me try again and this time I’ll try and use something closer to what you have said.

    You feel that you know for sure that the God you believe in exists. At least you feel you know it to the same level that you know that your parents exist. This is not the case for me. If I were to doubt my own existence it would be an absurdity to me because the very state of thinking about not existing seems to imply existence for me. Also if I believed I didn’t exist then the act of doing anything at all would be a complete absurdity. I’d go nuts. So in that way it is a self-evident thing to me. As far as my parents go, I can see, hear, feel, and smell my parents and have had tons of conversations with them. This god that you are talking about hasn’t interacted with me in any way at all. If it has with you I’m cool with that – we simply have different experiences and conclusions.

    Do you know that there are people of many different religions that are sure about their gods and their beliefs and express the same level of certainty as you do?

  37. Hi Howie, thanks for that. I think we have got to a point where we’re both happy to take a rest, so I’ll catch you later. Thanks.

  38. @Howie:MAR 18, 2014 @ 01:09:50

    Howie said: As far as saying “you feel you have revelation” I may have used the wrong words.
    Paarsurey said: You got me wrong, I said, “No, I am not honored with Revelation from God”.

    Howie said: Also if I believed I didn’t exist then the act of doing anything at all would be a complete absurdity.
    Paarsurey says: Yes one’s consciousness of one’s existence is ample proof of one’s existence; and one declares with full certainty just by communication to others that one exists.

    The same way a being having Superior- Consciousness (God) could communicate with humans and declare to them of His existence; like He talked to Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

    Nature does not talk with anybody; it has never talked to anybody ever; hence it cannot teach humans to talk; therefore it cannot evolve on its own a process that enables human to talk to or communicate with fellow humans and also to have Converse with God.

    Howie said: This god that you are talking about hasn’t interacted with me in any way at all.
    Paarsurey says: Because one has not chosen the proper way for told by the founders of revealed religions on the basis of Revelation they received from God.

    Howie said: Do you know that there are people of many different religions that are sure about their gods and their beliefs and express the same level of certainty as you do?
    Paarsurey says:I understand and this is because the founders of their religions in origin were truthful persons and they received the revelation from the same God, I believe in.

    Howie said: As far as my parents go, I can see, hear, feel, and smell my parents
    Paarsurey says: Yes that is right; but one knows for certain that they are one’s parents from the love and caring they provide one; otherwise one had not seen them mating to be sure of their being one’s parents; yet one is sure having absolutely no doubt that they are one’s parents without getting into DNA checking and matching, the scientific proofs.

    Howie said: and have had tons of conversations with them.
    Paarsurey says: The same way a being having Superior- Consciousness (God) could communicate with humans and declare to them of His existence; like He talked to Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
    Please ponder over this simple reasoning; it is simple because religion is for everybody and has to be simple.

    Thanks and regards.

  39. Those who live in truth, speak truths, and see truths, need not ask the question of whether or not God exists.

    Those who distance themselves from the truth, and do so via walking on paths of belief, disbelief, ignorance, etc., are those who do end up asking the question, for they do not see the truth, for they have chosen to be incapable of seeing the truth.

    After all, you are only dependent upon beliefs and disbeliefs if you are located at a distance from the truth in the first place, thus if you choose to stick to your beliefs and disbeliefs, then you have in turn chosen to stick to being located at that distance from the truth.

    Therefore, one can not speak truths directly to such people, for they only accept truth from a distance as best as that truth can be seen from that distance. Thus in turn you have no choice but to speak to them indirectly. One method is to speak to them via parables, since it is a form of indirect communication.

    However, if you do speak to them truthfully and directly, they will crucify you and your word.

    For instance, if you were a fellow named Jesus Christ and you were forced to speak truth directly to a group of “Believers”, believers who stick to their beliefs, they would spit into your face, flog you, scourge you, and crucify you, for they only will accept less than truth, since it is their ongoing choice to stick to their beliefs rather than choose to venture on over to the truth.

    If you speak truths, and see truths, and you are interested in the basic structure of reality, then you will see the truth concerning the basic structure of reality. You won’t have to learn Einstein’s theory of special relativity in a school. Instead you will simply see it all, independently.

    However, for those who do not live in truth, speak truths, and see truths, Einstein’s theories are beyond their reach.

    Here, for them, truth is seen as non-intuitive and bizarre, even though it should be seen as simple and obvious.

    Thus in turn, true proof of the existence of God is also invisible to the minds of such people. Place that proof directly in front of their noses and they still can not see it.

    Go to http://goo.gl/38qhp and click on the flashing words “Watch / Listen”. This takes you on a web page tour of such proof of God’s existence, and does so via automatic web page scrolling along with complete audio coverage.

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