Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Yer religious jaw for the day

arroba Email

Before the hard ID guys get here …

John Farrell, at Forbes (Mar. 15 2011), wonders, “What Would “Evidence” for God Look Like?”, observing that Jerry (thank heaven he exists, so I don’t have to invent him*) Coyne has got himself inspired. Yup.

University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne was inspired by a recent discussion between Richard Dawkins and A.C. Grayling to defend the notion that there could be scientific evidence that might persuade him to believe in God. Coyne has tangled in the past with other atheists among the science bloggers who on a-priori grounds dismiss any such possible evidence.

Maybe I’m foolish or credulous, but I continue to claim that there is some evidence that would provisionally—and I emphasize that last word—make me believe in a god. (One can always retract one’s belief if the god evidence proves to be the work of aliens, or of Penn and Teller). I agree, of course, that alternative explanations have to be ruled out in a case like this, but remember that many scientists have accepted hypotheses as provisionally true without having absolutely dismissed every single alternative hypothesis. If a violation of the laws of physics is observed, that would be telling, for neither aliens nor human magicians can circumvent those laws.

While I agree with Coyne, there are good philosophical reasons traditional theists would offer for not expecting to be able to find scientific evidence either. But that’s opening up a can of worms.

The big problem, here as elsewhere, is: What would people accept as evidence?

In my experience, most people who say they had a religious experience that causes them to believe in God had something like this happen: They were in some dire trouble, tried praying on a provisional basis, and suddenly – as if they were on inline skates – things got better. Sometimes that was because they got what they wanted, other times because they saw a way to accept what could not be changed, and thrived afterward. Either way, things got better. Is that evidence? Well, it is for them, and no one could dissuade them.

* 😉 Yes! A Darwinist who can express himself without using profanities or engaging in antics. Who says there is no such thing as evolution?

... speaking of "old things passig away" ... my (late) father used to tell us that before he became a Christian he had been smoked more than five packs of cigarettes a day, frequently lighting the fresh one from the dregs of the last one. Hey! He grew up as a share-cropper, and matches cost money! ;) After he converted in his late 20s (this was more than 50 years ago, before the official public health warnings), he said to himself one day, "You know, I don't believe that God wants me smoking" and he never smoked another. Ilion
"The big problem, here as elsewhere, is: What would people accept as evidence?" When I used to ask certain loud-mouthed asserters of the "there is no evidence" line, "What, in your book, might count as evidence?" I always got silence. When I then pointed out, "That you loudly assert ‘There is no evidence that God is’ more than implies that you know what such evidence would look like, were there, in fact, any such evidence. Yet, you cannot tell me what you’d merely allow *might* count as evidence" I got rage. Ilion
I would just like to add something I consider important to what I said up above about being born again. My experience was not gradual but instantaneous, the same hour, and stayed with me. It also was not really just an experience, God forbid I shold say so, it was also if not entirely the Holy Spirit with me, , a friend a healer a comforter coming to abide and make his abode in me and reveal the Father and the Son and his kingdom in my hearet and translate me from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the Son. Everything I felt was appropriate for such a move, it was an dstill is fueling me and gives me strength it is the incorruptible seed of God and the experience was the result of life coming to me and power from on high, setting me free form the laws of sin and death and corruption, raising me to new life and ensuing consciousness in Christ. So it is not just an experience, it is God making you a temple for his Holy Spirit and it is not to be confused with any make believe "personal relationship" with Christ, meaning resulting from our own will and effort. This was all from God and had nothing to do with me or my willing it or effort as far as I can tell, it just happened to me. Let the wise of this world first become a fool in order that he may become truly wise. The wisdom of this world is good for this world and it is no doubt rational and wise i nthis worlds things, but it is different from the hidden wisdom that Paul speaks of. Michael Servetus
My only evidence for God and Christ and the bible is when the things eritten therein happened unto me. When I was born again, without any expectation, or willing, or asking, or seeking it but somebody prayed for me, layed their hands on my head, asked me if I believed in Jesus, I said yes, he started to pray. He said in the name of the Fatherm the Son and the Holy Ghost. Shortly afterwards I became conscious and increasingly aware of a spirit change, like I was a new person. Old things fell away and kind of disappeared, things thsat had a hold on me for my entire life since I was a kid and thus considered unchangeable parts of me, were simply removed and gone and in their place were new things, like new forces of life, new energies, new habits of mind, a new will power, new tastes. This fulfilled scripture which says, you must be born again, old things will pass away and behold all things will become new, you will be a new creation, born of the spirit, the sprirt will bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God and cry abba father in your heart, the kingdom of God is righteousness , peace and joy in the holy Ghist. There is much more that I could say but that expereicne has stayed with me for 17 years or so now and nothing can take it away or talk me out of it. It is like the episode spoken of in the gospels that says a blind man was healed by Jesus and was asked by the religious authorities, who did it and how? The formerly blind man answered saying, all I know is I was blind and now I see, if you have questions you go and ask him. That exoerience led me to search and research as St. Augustine says, a faith seeking understadning, understanding of what I exoerienced and how it relates to the bible. This experience produced instant faith in me by a inner witness based upon scripture but it was experience confirming scipture to me. My expoerience thus proved the bible to me, it is a spiritual experience that makes you a chgild of God and of faith and its all in there if you read it, yet I understand how reading or hearing is not enough, fo rif I had only read or heard the bible as I had before this experience, though I did not really notice or understand those verses I quoted, I guess it is because I had no way of relating to them, I had no connection or familiarity with those concepts. That is why I said I wasn't seeking or expecting it, nobody had ever told me about that, I never heard of being born again, I only understod it aftwrwards and it made perect sense and it seemed to me a perfect confirmation, it was to me the spirit of God, of those things spoken of in the scripture as haoppening or as things that happened to others and now it was happehning to me, simple as that. It is like my own Damascus Roadm, or my own upper room and becoming a part of the book of Acts, those things which Christ did aftyer he was risen. He saiud I will send the comforter the spirit of truth and he will teach you and guide you and make Me known to you and I will manifest myself with the Father to you. I understand also that many will say that this is personal and I can't change that but it is the truth and a reality , I didn't make it up, it is not personal in a way that invalidates its reality but rather it is true in exactly the way the scriptures say it should be, after all God is first concerned with the hearts of man and the kingdom is a spirit kingdom not to be opened or forcibly entered in the physcial by any man and so is not open to scientific investigation, it is a secret wisdom or as the bible records a hidden wisdom, hidden from the wise and arrogant of this world but nearly handed and opened to the humble, as it is written, God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble and God is judge not us of all this stuff. With God the subjective rules that is where he tests us and inspects our thoughts and hidden intentions. Sorry to take up so much space but it is one thing that I can speak on, otherwise I just usually read and learn from what is written here and just take it all in. Michael Servetus
Times Arrow - There is no natural/physical basis for predicting the future. Yet J. Barton Payne provides 1817 entries covering Biblical predictions. Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy 758 pages, Baker Book House (June 1980), ISBN-13: 978-0801070518 There should be sufficient statistical resources there to challenge any person seriously seeking to examine possible evidence! DLH
I remember seeing a skit a while back where a bunch of fleas were arguing about whether a 'dog' existed. They were interrupted by what looked like an earthquake. The camera panned out and you saw a dog shaking himself after getting splashed with water. While I certainly don't believe the earth is god, whenever I see atheists demanding any sort of evidence for a god (none of which, for most it seems, will ever suffice) I can't help but think of them as fleas. Chris
Celtic Woman - When You Believe - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4-rBF1UM3o bornagain77
Here is a short list of 'miracles' from Reader's Digest that were inspiring; 27 Amazing Miracles in Real Life The sunrise my father and I watched standing at the top of one of the Smoky Mountains. —Marilyn M., Huntington, Indiana Our son fell 40 feet off his barn roof onto cement and didn’t break any bones. —Ladonna S., George, Iowa All the factors that came together to help me find the daughter I had given up for adoption. —Sandy M., Soda Springs, Idaho A bumblebee flying. —Karen D., Inverness, Florida My husband getting out of the Pentagon on 9/11. —Patti G., Fort Bliss, Texas The way my mother always knew I was coming home, even when I tried to surprise her. She would always have that extra baked potato in the oven. —G. E. G., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Losing my wife and business and surviving bankruptcy all at once, without dying of stress. —Jack K., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma During a serious kidney stone attack at age 37, I went into a coma and saw a light at the end of a tunnel. I regained consciousness and lived. I am now 88 years old. —Euphemia R., Arcadia, California Understanding how and why my grandfather acted like he did, now that I have grandchildren of my own. —Steve M., Sunapee, New Hampshire Some would say that my actually getting married was a miracle. —Don L., Sherman Oaks, California The Grand Canyon. —Kimberly V., Orrville, Ohio I survived flying into a thunderstorm in a small airplane. It required more than my piloting skills. I was being watched over. —Bill B., Versailles, Kentucky The births of my children and grandchildren. —MaryLou M., Ooltewah, Tennessee The days are filled with miracles: a flower blooming, my heart beating, the purr of a cat, the Internet. —Barbara F., Penfield, New York I feel that someone turning his life around for the better is a miracle. —Susan D., Stanford, Montana Love for the unlovable. —Mary C., Mount Vernon, Ohio Forgiveness. —Laura W., Aston, Pennsylvania Our son died of a brain tumor at 17. On the second anniversary of his death, as I was driving to work, a double rainbow appeared in the clear sky. One end was on the road in front of us and the other at the cemetery where he was buried. —Peggy H., Boone, North Carolina Microwave ovens. Color TV. Finding someone who actually loves me for who I am. —Steve R., Athens, Pennsylvania Our country has gone from slavery to the election of an African American president. —Colleen D., Bonner Springs, Kansas Being able to have enough income to share with others less fortunate. —Carol S., Islamorada, Florida I was saved in a fire by the vision of my first-grade teacher telling me how to survive. —Larry W., Pahokee, Florida Hearts changed. —Suzi E., Howell, Michigan A father who wrote poems to his wife and loved her forever. —Joanne L., Plymouth, Michigan Surviving two cancers for almost ten years! —Connie R., Denver, North Carolina One I haven’t witnessed is the Vikings winning a Super Bowl. —Jann W., Maple Grove, Minnesota The miracle of friendship. —Regina W., Columbus, Ohio http://www.rd.com/family/27-amazing-miracles-in-real-life-2/ further notes: Medical Miracles Really Do Happen Excerpt: No one knows exactly how often such cases occur. Approximately 3,500 medically documented cases of seeming miracles -- based on reports from doctors in America and around the world dating to 1967 -- have appeared in 800 peer-reviewed medical journals and cover all major illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.*,,,, Early in my career, I had an elderly patient with cancer in both lungs that had spread throughout his body. We had no medical therapies for this type of cancer, but during visiting hours, people from his church stood near his bed, praying and singing gospel music. I expected him to die within days, and when he asked to go home, I respected his wishes and discharged him. About a year later, this patient was back in the hospital -- this time with a bad case of the flu. I went to the radiology department to look at his current chest X-ray, and it was completely normal. I thought that in the past year he must have had a dramatic response to additional therapy of some kind, but he hadn’t undergone any therapy. To me, this was a true miracle cure. http://www.bottomlinesecrets.com/article.html?article_id=42254 here is a personal miracle that touched my heart; Miracle - One Easter Sunday Morning http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995314/ bornagain77

Leave a Reply