"Spiritual Experiences" (I had them, but believe they are false.)

doctoro
doctoro's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
"Spiritual Experiences" (I had them, but believe they are false.)

This is an EXTREMELY important issue.

I have found "spiritual experiences" to be at the heart of many if not ALL of my debates with Christians who did not fit into the "my parents are Christian so I am too" category.

That is to say, many "born again" Christian types become Christians in the face of adversity -- due to spiritual experiences when they are depressed and vulnerable.

I know 2 preachers who have revealed specific experiences to me. I have listened to a number of these experiences through my participation on internet forums and even some of the RRS radio shows. I am fascinated by these experiences.

My challenge is to find ATHEISTS who have had "spiritual experiences" that they once attributed to supernatural means but then later determined with rational thought that they were natural or delusional.

By "spiritual experiences," I suppose I mean affirmative supernatural "feelings" of God's presence or interaction with you.

Even still, I would be content with ANY kind of supernatural experience such as ghosts, visions, clairvoyance, etc.

I want to see if there is any ATHEIST here who has had an experience in which they thought something to be supernatural, but later, they concluded it was natural and their attribution of supernatural origin was delusional.

If you haven't had one yourself, do you know of any? Or have you read any books with such material?

I will share my experience.


doctoro
doctoro's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
I will share my experience

I will share my experience in this second post.  There is no way to edit an original posting.  It's somewhat personal, and I will probably edit it / delete it if either it gets no response or a month has transpired.  I have shared this on a few other private forums, but putting it on this forum; where there is more traffic seems risky.  Especially since it seems like the RRS is about to "blow up" in the media -- considering the Nightline gig.

 Here goes.

 I was 17 years old, filled with raging hormones, and upset about everything.  Normal teenage angst.  I had girl problems, I was mad at my parents, and I was confused about life in general.

Needless to say, I was extremely depressed.

I went up on a cliff near my hometown because I wanted to "have it out with God."

I felt like God was making my life shitty and that it was unliveable.  I didn't consider suicide, but I figured if there IS a God up there, and he's fucking up my life, we were going to do battle, so to speak.  If he wanted me to go on living, he was going to have to make me feel better or change some of the extraneous things in my life.  Otherwise, he'd have to take me that night in a blaze of glory.

 I drove up to the cliff, where there was no one, and I planned on camping out.  The day had been oppressively hot, and I saw a thunderhead building in the distance before I had set out on my "battle."

As I sat up on the cliff, I could see the thunderhead coming closer.  It turned dark, and I saw strange lightning.  This was RED lightning, not the regular kind.  (Later investigation revealed this to be "red sprite" lightning in meteorological terms.)  I believed I was going to use my mental energy and concentration to move the thunderstorm away (as part of my battle against God).

 I sat and meditated and concentrated on wanting to live, doing battle with my inner demons, and diverting this storm away from me.

 All was in vain, however.  It was completely dark at this point.  A HUGE cloud that looked like a boomerang that was dark and ominous was coming for me.  I was pretty afraid.  I thought this was God coming to take me away.

I sat in my car, prayed, listened to "As Long As I Can See the Light" by CCR, and I prepared for the worst.  The cloud came and shook my car pretty good with the wind.  I looked out a second time -- and another cloud came with less intensity.  The pattern repeated a third time when I looked out and another even lesser intensity cloud came.  Each time I got in my car and did the same routine.

 The last time I stayed in my car for a long period of time, and I had attributed that waiting period as the "faith" that God exists or loves me or whatever.  When I looked a fourth time, the sky was fairly clear, and I could see the moon.

Then I was stirred up into a fervor, happy to be alive, happy that God had saved me; and I climbed down a gradual path of the cliff and back up because I was filled with adrenaline.

After I while, I got tired and I got my sleeping bag to sleep.  As soon as I got situated, it started pouring rain.

 I didn't see this as a good thing for some reason, and I got in my car to "escape."  It was muddy getting out and I didn't want to get stuck. 

For some reason, I followed the storm until morning, thinking I was continuing to "fight" it.

 My basic conclusion from the experience was that God wanted me to live.

 Later on, several weeks later, I went in for a psychological evaluation because my personality became abrasive and incompatible with normal social interaction.

I was transferred to the mental health ward of a hospital.

---------------------------

To make a long story short, the hospital experience was extremely difficult for me.  I cried numerous times in there, and all I wanted to do was get out.

 I finally realized that I was mentally ill in that I was facing manic depression / bipolar disorder.

 ----------------------------------

Epilogue:  I had 2 other manic depressive "episodes" after that occuring several years apart.  I have managed to "conquer" it for now, and at this point in my life, I would find it unlikely that I would ever endure something to the magnitude that I did before (when I didn't know what was happening to me).

 --------------------------------

Now as for what I have learned.  Firstly, atheism and rational thinking have been both much more comforting and more conducive to sanity.  I view theism as a DAMAGING mental construct that removes the "locus of control" for coping with the trials of life from YOU to a God who doesn't exist.  The control is outside of you and "in God's hands".  This can be disastrous.  For, if you attribute terrible things that happen in this world to God, your outlook on the world becomes very difficult.  One aspect of my troubles is almost unreasonable compassion for other people.  The angst that comes from believing God is responsible is maddening.  It is much easier to understand that "nature is indifferent" and that NOTHING happens for a reason.  Things just happen.  Furthermore, the only thing in my power is to control my perceptions and how I feel about things.

There is one MAJOR point here that is above anything else that I have learned:

 Once you commit yourself to rational thinking -- shirking off delusional thinking -- the realms of GOD and THEISM unavoidably find themselves under the microscope.

If I'm going to question my ability to affect the weather -- I create a process by which to do so that involves rational thinking.  I cannot give God a "free pass" once I create this rational thinking process.

---------------------------------

 I have heard similar experiences from 2 members of RRS which I will not divulge; but I know that things of this nature are more common than just me.

 Moreover, I think theists are simply ignorant of the fact that many atheists have had spiritual experiences on par or even EXCEDING the "supernatural feeling" of their own experiences.

----------------------------------

In almost every case of theistic spiritual experiences, 3 ingredients exist:

1.  Internal strife or depression.  This includes intellectual strife.  Vulnerability.

2.   Pre-existing knowledge of certain myths upon which to base the content of the experiences.

3.  DESIRE to have a spiritual experience.  That is, no one ever sees a burning bush when he isn't looking for it.

 ----------------------------

I would find these experiences much more convincing if:

1.  The person was completely happy, and it was just an ordinary day.

2.  The person had NO pre-existing knowledge of any myths pertaining to the content of his spiritual experience.  (ie an Amazonian tribesman seeing Jesus).

3.  No desire or active seeking for spiritual experiences or signs.

If you know where these examples exist, I'd like to know.  I should offer a personal $666 challenge for a reference to an existing human with such an experience.  That's about how confident I am that there are none.


American Atheist
American Atheist's picture
Posts: 1331
Joined: 2006-09-03
User is offlineOffline
......I've had Deja Vu...

......I've had Deja Vu...


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
Thanks, for your post. I'm

Thanks, for your post. I'm sure it took some guts to put that much personal information up for everyone to see.

One of my ex-girlfriends' brother is bipolar, and as I was reading your post, I couldn't help thinking that you were writing in a way that reminded me of him. He is also an atheist who was raised fundy, so it's not suprising that he has said almost the same kinds of things to me.

He has often said that any kind of supernatural acceptance leads him away from sanity, and has told of fighting demons for entire nights while everyone else was asleep.

Since becoming atheist, he has held a job for much longer than he had been able before, and he even was able to live by himself for over a year.

Anyway, I say all that to say I believe I understand some of what you went through, having been friends with someone in a similar circumstance.

As for me, when I was young and fundy, I had all sorts of supernatural experiences that later turned out to be my own imagination, or something with a perfectly logical explanation.

When I was maybe eleven, I was taught about demons and how they would posess me if I did anything naughty. Unfortunately, this was about the same time that I discovered that I liked to look at naked women, so I did enough naughty things to be very afraid of demons.

I remember many nights laying awake in a cold sweat, feeling absolutely positive that there were demons in the room with me, and praying fervently. I was afraid that if I allowed myself to drift into sleep, I would have a bad thought and be posessed right before I went to sleep, so I tried to stay awake, praying that I wouldn't think about naked women.

The really odd thing is that before I learned about demons, I had been afraid of vampires. I'd seen my first vampire movie, and had been sleeping with my sheets wrapped tightly around my neck for weeks. My mom comforted me somewhat by telling me that there was no such thing as vampires, and I'd just about gotten over that, and then I found out about demons, and she told me that demons were real, so there were many more months of tortured sleep.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13833
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
American Atheist

American Atheist wrote:
......I've had Deja Vu...

Would you like fries with that? 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


doctoro
doctoro's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
Thanks, Hamby.  If one

Thanks, Hamby.

 If one like me is inclined to believe that SOME supernatural things exist, one begins searching for those supernatural things or influences.  It is difficult not to take things to the extreme, in that if supernatural things exist, one will want to interact with them.

Furthermore, ANY theist or person must create a standard by which to judge REAL supernatural experiences from FALSE ones.  This "standard" is virtually impossible.  There is no good reason to believe a crazy person's supernatural experiences versus the supernatural experience of someone like Blaise Pascal (who said he had one).  This is a similar argument to the one in which we tell Christians that they are atheists with respect to all religions but one.

I actually find this to be an EXTREMELY powerful argument against religion.  What makes Christian experiences so special and true compared to the experiences of Hindus, Buddhists, or Muslims?  They're all deluded, eh?  Well, couldn't it be that Christians are deluded to?

Believing in naturalism is certainly pragmatic for me; as it keeps me sane.

 Believing in naturalism because it is useful for me would be fallacious and incomplete if that were the ONLY reason why I was a naturalist.

 

But I find naturalism rational on the basis of many more arguments than just being useful to my psychology.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Spiritual experiences are

Spiritual experiences are of various characters. There are of course true and false spiritual experiences, and I would recommend reading Saint John of the Cross's Ascent of Mount Carmel as a good beginner book to discerning these things. I think part of the problem in modern Protestant Christianity is a clearly heavy and thus dangerous reliance on feelings and spiritual experiences. Such a reliance is unhealthy and can easily lead into total delusion and even spiritual death (in the case of those who are led into some variety of superstition, or of those who are misled by the devil). As it is, the devil can easily create spiritual experiences in the human person to lead him to doom and despair. God does not want us to rely on such experience, but on our minds.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


doctoro
doctoro's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
Fair enough.  I don't own a

Fair enough.  I don't own a copy of "Ascent of Mount Carmel."  Would you please summarize how one discerns true religious experience from false religious experience?  What is your criterion for attributing truth to a religious experience?  Furthermore, will you give me 3 examples that pass this criteria that have happened POST 1980?


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Hambydammit wrote: and

Hambydammit wrote:

and then I found out about demons, and she told me that demons were real, so there were many more months of tortured sleep.

How could someone do that to a child? Most children have vivid imaginations. Telling them that demons are real and could possibly "get them" is a recipe for all sorts of problems.

When a relative and spouse were in an odd off-shoot of the RLDS church, their very young child (who is quite bright) learned about demons. The child had dreams of demons with red glowing eyes chasing them. The child was hysterical for hours. They comforted the child by saying they would protect him, but that the demons were, in fact, real.

How could someone do that to a child? Even if the parents believe it, doing that to a 3 or 4 year old child (who could do nothing to protect themself if it were real) is just cruel.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Would you please

Quote:

Would you please summarize how one discerns true religious experience from false religious experience?

It is just safer not to trust personal revelation at all. Period. Put faith in God and in His Church and ignore personal revelations. Any movement (not necessarily a revelation, but consolation or desolation as well) in the soul that is from God will be in agreement with what we know by faith and causes lasting peace. If you want something further, short rules for discernment are found in Saint Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, which can be found here http://www.jesuit.org/images/docs/915dWg.pdf


 Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
I've always had a problem

I've always had a problem with the phrase "we know by faith".

 How does one gain knowledge from something that provides none?

Forgive me for missing the answer if it was posted before and for this minor threadjacking. I've seen that phrase used several times and it always seems wonky. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Faith is a kind of

Faith is a kind of knowledge which proceeds from the authority of the one revealing. For example, you could believe that the textbook your teacher uses accurately transmits the truth about, for example, gravity. Or, for example, that the Apollo mission actually landed on the moon. This is a variety of probable faith in ordinary affairs. Such faith is not certain, but it is perfectly rational for me to believe that the moon is not made of green cheese, despite the fact that I have not personally been on the moon.

Similarly, religious faith is predicated on trusting in what God has revealed because He has revealed it. It further makes this sort of knowledge most certain because it proceeds not from human testimony or even experimental probability, but from God Himself, who is the most credible testimony.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
So it comes down to "I know

So it comes down to "I know because I believe God said so"?

 Would you accept "X is right because I said so" from a human being or would you want other proof? 

Why should we exempt the one you believe is the God of heaven, especially in the light of Malachi 3:10?  

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
Actually, believing in X

Actually, believing in X because a person said so is not so irrational as the equivalent of "I believe because the booga-booga monster said so in a book that he didn't actually write, he inspired others to write it - even though it is full of errors and there is absolutely no valid evidence the booga-booga monster exists, but I'll throw a bunch of red herrings and language tricks to make it look like there's proof he exists."

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
Matt,  the reason I asked

Matt,

 the reason I asked is because Malachi 3:10 has god asking man to prove (test) him. I just wonder why Christians don't want to hold God to the standard that they hold humans to, despite the fact that god asks to be held to that standard.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
  We do accept what other

 

We do accept what other people say all the time. When Tom's wife tells Tom, "Honey, the trash truck is coming, so please take out the trash," does Tom take out the trash? Yes. He accepts the word of his wife as a reasonable object of authority in this matter.

But, as to God, we accept His Revelation as coming from Him because it carries with it such external signs of His authority as miracles and prophecies, of which only God could be the author.

 I don't see what Malachi 3:10 has to do with it....

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote:   We do

StMichael wrote:

 

We do accept what other people say all the time. When Tom's wife tells Tom, "Honey, the trash truck is coming, so please take out the trash," does Tom take out the trash? Yes. He accepts the word of his wife as a reasonable object of authority in this matter.

But, as to God, we accept His Revelation as coming from Him because it carries with it such external signs of His authority as miracles and prophecies, of which only God could be the author.

I don't see what Malachi 3:10 has to do with it....

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 Or Tom, upon hearing that, looks out the window/heads out the door and confirms it for himself. Or he looks out the window and says, "No, that's just a dump truck going by the house. They do sound alike though." A person's word combined with real evidence one way or the other. Very few people simply take a person solely at their word because there are too many variables.

The miracles and prophecies don't count as they weren't written by independent observers but by people years after the fact who were trying to persuade others to their point of view. "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:31, KJV)

Why did I bring up Malachi 3:10?

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

God seems to be asking people to test him, something that many Christians don't like doing. They claim he's beyond testing or that it would be a sin to do so. The Scripture, however, says differently.  

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
I daresay that most people

I daresay that most people I know would not look out the window. They would go take out the trash. It is a reasonable authority in this matter because he knows that the trashman comes at this time of day on an ordinary basis. Thus, his wife's experience satsfies for his own. There is not a reason why he would have to verify that the trash truck is coming if he has a reasonable certainty in his wife's words.

 Further, I was not speaking necessarily of just the Gospel accounts of miracles. However, even if they were written with an evangelizing intention, there is no reason why they are not trustworthy. Any more than what I read on this site must be inherently untrustworthy because your intent is to convert me to atheism.

 Finally, if that is how you interpret Malachi 3:10, fine. I believe God is legtimately "tested," but depending on what is meant by "test." Or, as is famously said elsewhere, "thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

 I quote what the Fathers of the Church had to say on this:

Pseudo-Chrys.: Yet He says not, Thou shalt not tempt me thy Lord God; but, "Thou shalt not
tempt the Lord thy God;" which every man of God when tempted by the Devil might say; for
whoso tempts a man of God, tempts God.

Rabanus: Otherwise, it was a suggestion to Him, as man, that He should seek by requiring some
miracle to know the greatness of God's power.

Aug., contr. Faust., 22, 36: It is a part of sound doctrine, that when man has any other means, he
should not tempt the Lord his God.

Theod. non occ.: And it is to tempt [p. 126] God, in any thing to expose one's self to danger
without cause.

CHRYS For it is of the devil to cast one's self into dangers, and try whether God will rescue us.
 

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


doctoro
doctoro's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
StMichael

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

Would you please summarize how one discerns true religious experience from false religious experience?

It is just safer not to trust personal revelation at all. Period. Put faith in God and in His Church and ignore personal revelations. Any movement (not necessarily a revelation, but consolation or desolation as well) in the soul that is from God will be in agreement with what we know by faith and causes lasting peace. If you want something further, short rules for discernment are found in Saint Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, which can be found here http://www.jesuit.org/images/docs/915dWg.pdf


 Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

I checked out your link, Michael.  I've gotta say, it looks like a whole lot of mumbo jumbo to me, and I don't have the time to sift out the "gems" and "nuggets" that refer to the criterion that I'm talking about.

 Could you please just summarize the "criterion" for me.

 Now you say that "it is safer not to trust personal revelation at all."  This is a fallacious appeal to authority that results in circular reasoning, as has been pointed out by my colleagues here.  EVEN IF I am to put my faith in the religious experiences of others -- Church founders, those who wrote the gospels, I MUST STILL HAVE A CRITERION UPON WHICH TO BASE TRUE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE FROM FALSE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.  For instance, at the Nicea Council when the books of the Bible were decided, HOW did they decide what was true and what was fake or wrong?

 An appeal to "faith" in "His Church" and the church founders is nothing more than appeal to authority.  The term faith does not mean what you think it means in the context you have used it.

 Then you state in cryptic language that I find difficult to understand:  "Any movement in the soul that is from God will be in agreement with what we know by faith and causes lasting peace."

Is this your criterion?  For me to know if my "feelings" originate from God, they must:

1.  Coincide with scriptural doctrine

2.  "Cause lasting peace."

Well, I suppose I understand point 1, but point 2 about lasting peace is so vague, ambiguous, and subjective, it is useless as a criterion.

So, we are left with the point that any religious experience I have that coincides with scriptural doctrine must be real and must come from God.

Not to be offensive, but this is a ludicrous epistemology.

If I met someone who said they saw and spoke with Jesus -- and their description seems consistent with Biblical text -- I am to believe that they really saw and spoke with Jesus?

Ah.....  HELL NO!  There are nutjobs everywhere that make such claims, and the RRS even had a radio show where they spoke with a man who thought he WAS Jesus Christ!!!!  If their experiences coincide with "the Church" and its doctrine, it's real and true?

Poor epistemology.

 I propose that we use a different standard:

1.  The "experience" must be logical.  NOTHING can violate the laws of logic, not even God.

2.  NO cases of supernaturalism have ever been verifiable or supported with a reasonable degree of evidence.

3.  Either spiritual experiences are reproducable in ALL humans or they are limited to a "Chosen" few.  If the former, a clear concise way of having such an experience that is irrefutable should be possible.  If the latter, the Chosen few have a HEAVY burden of proof and their extraordinary claims should have extraordinary evidence.

4.  All people claiming spiritual experiences in depressive circumstances or psychological turmoil should be treated with apathy.  Mental illness, delusion, or other psychological phenomena cannot be ruled out in such cases.

5.  The person with the claim must not be actively SEEKING such an experience or have any foreknowledge or mythology that shapes the nature of the claims.  "Seek and ye shall find," in my book means, "Look for something specific, and your mind will decipher any mundane thing as a 'sign' or supernatural message that confirms what you're looking for."

6.  Claims of supernatural experience must entail fantastic things that could NOT be explained by coincidence in any manner.  Example:  Things popping into existence, magic that is not reproducable, phenomena captured on unaltered film or audio.

--------

You are proposing a fallacious appeal to authority.  Furthermore, you contradicted an earlier claim where you discussed how "people" in the church are not "the Church" itself.  Your concept of "the Church" is so vague and ambiguous, I have no idea what you're talking about.  "The Church" is a human institution run by people.  And EVEN IF there was some "hand of God" within the Church, fallible people run it.  Whatever metaphysics you are employing to define "the Church" are completely faulty and vague.

 I remember such a discussion in college in international politics.  We were trying to define what a "country" or "state" is.  For instance, what is an ambassador at the UN representing when he is the "US ambassador"?  What is the United States?  It's composed of people.  And any "idea" of what the United States is can be perceived as a philosophical concept that boils down to individual people.  It's the same thing with the Catholic Church; and to claim infallibility or even a divine hand in the Catholic Church is purely fictional, idealistic, wishful thinking.

 You can't define something into existence.

How do you respond to the claim that faith = appeal to authority fallacy?  In other words, simply because Person X is an expert in some field of study -- all of his proclamations and claims are not true simply because he's an expert.  Any claim he makes must have primary reasoning above his own authority.  I want to know the primary reasons beyond such human authority.

Furthermore, are you telling me that NO ONE outside of clergy or the writers of the Gospel can have a spiritual experience?

And, how do I know if the clergy or writers of the Gospel have had true spiritual experiences?


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
You might be right. In my

St,Michael, 

You might be right. In my case, as the garbage truck comes through early in the morning there isn't a problem. If my wife heard the garbage truck coming, I would look because it would be seriously late.

I considered prove to equal test in Malachi 3:10 because other versions have that. If you consider testing to be the same as temptation then Job was tempted. That falls in violation of James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:" Or are you one who believes the Old and New Testaments are disconnected because Jesus came into the world?

As far as the posts on this site trying to convert you, some may be trying. Me, I'm trying to work out ways that we can both think through religion. You now have my stated intention, Feel free to disregard my posts based on that stated intention as I disregard the Gospels based on theirs.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: I considered prove

Quote:

I considered prove to equal test in Malachi 3:10 because other versions have that. If you consider testing to be the same as temptation then Job was tempted. That falls in violation of James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:" Or are you one who believes the Old and New Testaments are disconnected because Jesus came into the world?

I just wanted to point out that there are different senses of what it is to "test" or "tempt" and the Scriptures use these different senses. Job was tempted by the devil, not by God. Similarly, the epistle of Saint James says immediately afterward that this temptation proceeds from the concupscience of the person tempted, and not from God.

 

Quote:

It is just safer not to trust personal revelation at all. Period. Put faith in God and in His Church and ignore personal revelations. Any movement (not necessarily a revelation, but consolation or desolation as well) in the soul that is from God will be in agreement with what we know by faith and causes lasting peace.

Quote:

 Now you say that "it is safer not to trust personal revelation at all."  This is a fallacious appeal to authority that results in circular reasoning, as has been pointed out by my colleagues here.  EVEN IF I am to put my faith in the religious experiences of others -- Church founders, those who wrote the gospels, I MUST STILL HAVE A CRITERION UPON WHICH TO BASE TRUE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE FROM FALSE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 

I see what you are saying, but it doesn't apply. The writers of the Gospels did not have a spiritual experience or personal revelation - they are writing of Christ's life and teaching, which is not a matter of personal revelation.

It could, however, be argued that this was the case in the Old Testament or in the writings of Saint Paul, but this also would not apply for different reasons.

Further, it is not a fallacious appeal to authority because faith is based on the authority of the one revealing. In terms of why the authority revealing is known as true, that follows from the signs of His authority. For example, the Gospels are true because they flow accurately from Christ's doctrine. Christ's doctrine is true because He showed Himself God by His miracles and prophecies. Likewise, the authority of the Church is true because it flows from Christ's authority as God, and is further proven by the miracles that accompany the Church as it preaches the Gospel in the lives of the Apostles and saints. 

 

Quote:

For instance, at the Nicea Council when the books of the Bible were decided, HOW did they decide what was true and what was fake or wrong?

They decided such based on the historical character of the books themselves, whether they were accurate in recording Christ's life and doctrine.

Quote:
 

The term faith does not mean what you think it means in the context you have used it.

Give me the term you want to use instead.

Quote:
 

Is this your criterion?  For me to know if my "feelings" originate from God, they must:

1.  Coincide with scriptural doctrine

2.  "Cause lasting peace."

Well, I suppose I understand point 1, but point 2 about lasting peace is so vague, ambiguous, and subjective, it is useless as a criterion.

So, we are left with the point that any religious experience I have that coincides with scriptural doctrine must be real and must come from God.

Not to be offensive, but this is a ludicrous epistemology.

I think the problem is that we are not delineating the various types of religious experience. But, regardless, a vision or locution that causes lasting peace in the soul and does not contradict what faith tells us is accurate. I think there is also the issue of why these criteria apply. The reason why the vision cannot contradict faith is because, according to our faith and Christ's own teaching, the Word of God revealed all that was necessary to salvation and no further revelation is necessary. Hence, any revelation that contradicts this must be false. This criteria clearly, then, only applies to those living after Christ - before Christ, a different standard is used.

In terms of what I mean by "lasting peace," I am referring to a whole set of properties that would basically coincide with Christ's command that one should "know a tree by its fruit." The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius more clearly lay out what I mean in the section titled "Rules." The Rules for the Discernment of Spirits lays out how to know whether an interior movement of the soul is from the Evil Spirit or the Good Spirit. The Evil presents a pleasure that leads the one from mortal sin to mortal sin, whereas the Good presents repentance and remorse in the conscience. The Evil causes anxiety, despondency, and obstacles to salvation based on false reasoning, whereas the Good brings courage, consolation, and peace. 

But there are different varieties of spiritual experience. Some are imaginary visions, intellectual visions, spiritual locutions, consolations, desolations, ect. The above rule is more for discerning consolation and desolation in the soul. The easiest way to discern imaginary visions is merely to discard them, as Saint John of the Cross counsels. 

If we are speaking of an extreme case, for example, such as Lourdes or another approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the case is merely a little different. The first way to recognize a false apparition would be to discern whether the vision taught correct doctrine. The second and further method to discern whether or not the Blessed Virgin actually appears would be to request some exterior sign of her power, which the Blessed Virgin granted in the case of all her apparitions that are approved. The last way is of course to defer in all things to the Church's better judgement. this is the way of faith; faith is all that is necessary for salvation and visions/locutions are merely superfluous. It is not necessary that we listen to any vision at all, for faith suffices. The Church's approval of the miracle is the seal that allows us to lawfully pay homage to such a vision or apparition; without this, even if the Blessed Virgin really appeared, it would be a sin against faith to disobey the Church in this matter. If these three conditions exist, it can be known that this vision is not a lying deception of the Evil Spirit.   

 But I think all of this is really fairly irrelevant to atheists who of course do not accept the basic principles of faith at all. 

Quote:
 

If I met someone who said they saw and spoke with Jesus -- and their description seems consistent with Biblical text -- I am to believe that they really saw and spoke with Jesus?

It has little to do with the Biblical text or description of Christ in the Gospels (of which there are none of the latter). If Christ appeared to me and claimed my allegiance for some task, the obvious question would be, "how do I really know this is Christ, ect." But, regardless, the answer is irrelevant, as I said before, because it does not and can never affect our faith. We do not build faith in visions or personal revelations.

Quote:

 I propose that we use a different standard:

1.  The "experience" must be logical.  NOTHING can violate the laws of logic, not even God.

Perfectly acceptable.

Quote:
 

2.  NO cases of supernaturalism have ever been verifiable or supported with a reasonable degree of evidence.

I would dispute this, as it seems to eliminate a priori any possibility of supernatural events at all, which renders all standards in determining the truth of such an experience null and void.

 

Quote:

3.  Either spiritual experiences are reproducable in ALL humans or they are limited to a "Chosen" few.  If the former, a clear concise way of having such an experience that is irrefutable should be possible.  If the latter, the Chosen few have a HEAVY burden of proof and their extraordinary claims should have extraordinary evidence.

It depends what you mean by "reproducible." I think your terms indicate a lack of understanding of what a spiritual experience is, nor does it take into account varieties of such experience. Never mind; I am sure that we'll get around to this later.

Quote:
 

4.  All people claiming spiritual experiences in depressive circumstances or psychological turmoil should be treated with apathy.  Mental illness, delusion, or other psychological phenomena cannot be ruled out in such cases.

As the Church likewise investigates in the claims of apparitions, ect.

Quote:
 

5.  The person with the claim must not be actively SEEKING such an experience or have any foreknowledge or mythology that shapes the nature of the claims.  "Seek and ye shall find," in my book means, "Look for something specific, and your mind will decipher any mundane thing as a 'sign' or supernatural message that confirms what you're looking for."

I would easily agree with this. Saint Teresa of Avila and most of the school of Catholic mystical theology would believe that looking for sensible revelation or consolation is an easy way to open one's self up to the delusions of the evil spirit or of one's own imagination.

Quote:
 

6.  Claims of supernatural experience must entail fantastic things that could NOT be explained by coincidence in any manner.  Example:  Things popping into existence, magic that is not reproducable, phenomena captured on unaltered film or audio.

I would agree fundamentally that this would be true in verifying, for example, whether the Blessed Virgin really appeared to Juan Diego. In which case the bishop of his diocese made the reasonable request of the Virgin to show herself the Virgin by a miracle. And she readily complied by producing the miraculous tilma and roses.

 

Quote:

You are proposing a fallacious appeal to authority.  Furthermore, you contradicted an earlier claim where you discussed how "people" in the church are not "the Church" itself.  Your concept of "the Church" is so vague and ambiguous, I have no idea what you're talking about.  "The Church" is a human institution run by people.  And EVEN IF there was some "hand of God" within the Church, fallible people run it.  Whatever metaphysics you are employing to define "the Church" are completely faulty and vague.

I might have been vague the first time, but I hope that is understandable considering that I don't want to lengthen this post beyond reasonable limits. The Catholic Church is a human institution operating both with a divine institution and guided by the Holy Spirit with the guarantee that it will never perish, or teach error. The Catholic Church teaches as infallible whenever the Pope speaks in a manner that satisfies the conditions of infallibility, or when an ecumenical council of the Church issues a decree. Ordinary infallibility applies to the teachings of bishops who teach in consonance with the Pope and the teaching of the Church.

 

Quote:


How do you respond to the claim that faith = appeal to authority fallacy?  In other words, simply because Person X is an expert in some field of study -- all of his proclamations and claims are not true simply because he's an expert.  Any claim he makes must have primary reasoning above his own authority.  I want to know the primary reasons beyond such human authority.

The reasoning as to why, for example, the Church teaches truth comes from its divine institution and promises of infallibility which come from God. This all boils down to Christ Himself. His own proof that He was God by His miracles and prophecies is the foundation of the Church's authority, as I am sure that you will agree. Likewise, the Church is accompanied by miracles in every age which show forth its divine character.

 Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

PS - I know this is long, but I want to be rather thorough.

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
St Micheal wrote: "I just

St Micheal wrote:

"I just wanted to point out that there are different senses of what it is to "test" or "tempt" and the Scriptures use these different senses. Job was tempted by the devil, not by God. Similarly, the epistle of Saint James says immediately afterward that this temptation proceeds from the concupscience of the person tempted, and not from God."

 Uh, no. Job wasn't tempted by Satan, he was tortured by Satan (according to the story) 

Job 1:8-12

 8And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

 9Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

 10Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

 11But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

 12And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Job 2:3-7

 3And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

 4And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

 5But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

 6And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

 7So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

It looks to me like God set up the bet. Satan just administered it.

 

 

 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Tempted by Satan to

Tempted by Satan to blaspheme God because of his misfortunes. This is, of course, the point of the story. And Job refrains from doing so.

Notice however that God does not command Satan to hurt Job, but merely gives him authority to do so. God wished the whole world to see clearly the virtue of Job by his triumph in adversity. The  point of this book is to show the truth of God's Providence in human affairs, as exemplified in the life of Job.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: Tempted

StMichael wrote:

Tempted by Satan to blaspheme God because of his misfortunes. This is, of course, the point of the story. And Job refrains from doing so.

Notice however that God does not command Satan to hurt Job, but merely gives him authority to do so. God wished the whole world to see clearly the virtue of Job by his triumph in adversity. The point of this book is to show the truth of God's Providence in human affairs, as exemplified in the life of Job.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

I'm not sure if that puts God in all that good of a light.

God creates the situation because he created Satan (knowing what Satan was going to do) and dared Satan to try and break Job.

Then God told Satan, "Don't kill him - I want to watch him squirm". I can't see any other reason why a loving God would put anyone into that situation (For the benefit of you and any other theists - don't tell me that Job chose this. Scripture says differently.)

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: Tempted

StMichael wrote:

Tempted by Satan to blaspheme God because of his misfortunes. This is, of course, the point of the story. And Job refrains from doing so.

Notice however that God does not command Satan to hurt Job, but merely gives him authority to do so. God wished the whole world to see clearly the virtue of Job by his triumph in adversity. The point of this book is to show the truth of God's Providence in human affairs, as exemplified in the life of Job.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

I'm not sure if that puts God in all that good of a light.

God creates the situation because he created Satan (knowing what Satan was going to do) and dared Satan to try and break Job.

Then God told Satan, "Don't kill him - I want to watch him squirm". I can't see any other reason why a loving God would put anyone into that situation (For the benefit of you and any other theists - don't tell me that Job chose this. Scripture says differently.)

To me, that makes God a real bastard. Not someone I'd want to worship and trust to take care of me in times of trouble.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: God creates the

Quote:

God creates the situation because he created Satan (knowing what Satan was going to do) and dared Satan to try and break Job. 

God did not dare Satan to try to "break" Job. That is nowhere in the text, and is merely the imposition of your own interpretation. God created Satan, but did not determine his free actions. In fact, the text clearly indicates that the devil was the one who instigated the attempt to make Job blaspheme. God does not command him to do so, nor does He instigate the affair. God gives the devil permission to tempt Job in the ways he does, but does not directly cause the devil to do such. You are reading something into the text that isn't there.

Quote:
 

Then God told Satan, "Don't kill him - I want to watch him squirm". I can't see any other reason why a loving God would put anyone into that situation (For the benefit of you and any other theists - don't tell me that Job chose this. Scripture says differently.)

God did not say, "I want to watch him squirm." Nor did He say its equivalent at all in any way, shape, or form. God allowed the devil to tempt Job and afflict him in various ways, but said, "But do not kill him." I never said Job chose this in any way; rather, if you read the story itself, the entire story is about how Job did not sin against God at all. The entire point of the story is God's providential care; God allows the dismay and suffering so that, in the end, Job's fortitude in suffering shines forth to Job's credit and honor, and Job's fortunes are increased far beyond what he had previously.

 Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
Nowhere in the text?

Nowhere in the text?

So Job 2:3 isn't really there?

You say that Satan did all this. Why then does Job 2:3 have God saying "though you moved me against him, to destroy him without cause"

That section not only says that God did those things to Job but had no reason to do so.

I know that the words I added ("break him", "watch him squirm&quotEye-wink aren't literally in the text. Don't patronize me again.

However, in light of Job 2:3, where God admits to destroying Job without cause, what other cause can you possibly see in God's actions?

 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Your interpretation of the

Your interpretation of the passage is erroneous. God speaks figuratively in the passage. I quote:

 

In saying, “You moved me against him,” one must not understand that God was provoked by anyone into willing something he did not will before as is often the case with men. For according to Numbers, “God is not like a man, that he should lie, nor like a son of man that he should change.” (23:19) Scripture here speaks of God figuratively acting in a human way. For when men want to do something because of someone’s influence, they are said to be excited by that other one. God however wills to do something and so he does it, this because of that. Yet he does it without any excitement of mind because he had the reason he would do it in mind from all eternity. So the Lord had arranged from all eternity to afflict Job in time to prove the truth of his virtue in order to preclude every calumny of the wicked, and so to indicate this the text says, “You moved me against him.” When the text adds, “to afflict him in vain,” this must be understood from the point of view of the intention of Satan, not from the point of view of the intention of God. For Satan in intending the adversity of Job had desired from this to lead him into impatience and blasphemy, which did not follow as an effect. God however permitted this to proclaim his virtue openly, which in fact happened. So then Job was afflicted in vain from the point of view of the intention of Satan, but not from the point of view of the intention of God. (Aquinas, St. Thomas, Comment. on the Book of Job)

I was not patronizing you. I just indicated that I see no reason to posit evil intentions in God when the text clearly here and later disavows that God had any evil intention in afflicting Job.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: Your

StMichael wrote:

Your interpretation of the passage is erroneous. God speaks figuratively in the passage. I quote:

 

In saying, “You moved me against him,” one must not understand that God was provoked by anyone into willing something he did not will before as is often the case with men. For according to Numbers, “God is not like a man, that he should lie, nor like a son of man that he should change.” (23:19) Scripture here speaks of God figuratively acting in a human way. For when men want to do something because of someone’s influence, they are said to be excited by that other one. God however wills to do something and so he does it, this because of that. Yet he does it without any excitement of mind because he had the reason he would do it in mind from all eternity. So the Lord had arranged from all eternity to afflict Job in time to prove the truth of his virtue in order to preclude every calumny of the wicked, and so to indicate this the text says, “You moved me against him.” When the text adds, “to afflict him in vain,” this must be understood from the point of view of the intention of Satan, not from the point of view of the intention of God. For Satan in intending the adversity of Job had desired from this to lead him into impatience and blasphemy, which did not follow as an effect. God however permitted this to proclaim his virtue openly, which in fact happened. So then Job was afflicted in vain from the point of view of the intention of Satan, but not from the point of view of the intention of God. (Aquinas, St. Thomas, Comment. on the Book of Job)

I was not patronizing you. I just indicated that I see no reason to posit evil intentions in God when the text clearly here and later disavows that God had any evil intention in afflicting Job.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

I'm not pointing this out about you in particular. You are just practicing a habit that I often question among Christians who use it.

Why is it that Christians believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally when it goes their way and figuratively when it doesn't? 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
Quote: It is just safer not

Quote:
It is just safer not to trust personal revelation at all.

StMichael, this is the smartest thing you've written, in my opinion.  Why is it that you can't understand that since this is true, your entire religion is invalid?

Or do you mean that our personal revelations are untrustworthy, but that the founders of your religion had trustworthy revelations.  How do you know that, if not through revelation, which is untrustworthy?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Why is it that

Quote:

Why is it that Christians believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally when it goes their way and figuratively when it doesn't?

Because the Scriptures cannot contradict what we know through other means, such as natural reason. If they conflict in a literal interpretation, then a figurative or spiritual interpretation is rather the correct one. Of course, it is the Church's task, as the infallible interpreter of Scripture, to determine when this is or is not the case.

Quote:
 

Or do you mean that our personal revelations are untrustworthy, but that the founders of your religion had trustworthy revelations.  How do you know that, if not through revelation, which is untrustworthy?

The founder of my religion did not "have" a revelation. He WAS God revealing Himself. That is an entirely different matter.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
"Because the Scriptures

"Because the Scriptures cannot contradict what we know through other means, such as natural reason. If they conflict in a literal interpretation, then a figurative or spiritual interpretation is rather the correct one. Of course, it is the Church's task, as the infallible interpreter of Scripture, to determine when this is or is not the case."

 So when the Bible contradicts a position held by the Church (or you, in this case), God was speaking figuratively and the church's (your) interpretation is the correct one?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


doctoro
doctoro's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
I feel as though St Michael

I feel as though St Michael is raping my sense of reason.  That may be ad hominem, but enough is enough.

There's a benign amount of unreason, and then there's -- "Which way is up?"

 

 (Miami Vice 2006: "There's undercover, then there's which way is up?&quotEye-wink


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
That is not what I said at

That is not what I said at all. The Scriptures are, in a manner of speaking, part of the Church. The authority of Sacred Scripture is derived from God through the Church, as is Sacred Tradition. The  teaching authority of the Church merely interprets Scripture according to the same authority. All three come from God as their source and cannot contradict. In other words, there cannot be a contradiction between these three at any point in time, because all three are inseperable parts of the same Revelation of God.

The same relationship applies between what God teaches in Revelation and what He teaches in natural reason (science, ect.). God is the author of both and cannot contradict Himself.

 So, if Sacred Scripture seems to contradict what is known naturally, or if what is known naturally seems to contradict Scripture, more investigation is needed to flush out the apparent contradiction. Either the science is flawed, or the result that contradicts faith is not necessary, or Scripture is being wrongly interpreted.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


Vessel
Vessel's picture
Posts: 646
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: So, if

StMichael wrote:
So, if Sacred Scripture seems to contradict what is known naturally, or if what is known naturally seems to contradict Scripture, more investigation is needed to flush out the apparent contradiction. Either the science is flawed, or the result that contradicts faith is not necessary, or Scripture is being wrongly interpreted.

I find this to be one of the amazing things about a belief like this. By what you write here, it seems as if you are perfectly accepting of the fact that god made scripture so confusing, so difficult for man to interpret, that people who have studied it the entirity of their lives still get it wrong sometimes. How can that possibly be reasonable to you?

While undeniably clever and effective, all it really is is a clever means built up by the church to never lose power. It allows them to change their doctrine in the face of obvious contradiction, or even overwhelming public disapproval, if they deem it a necessary means of retaining their hold on their followers.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
God did not make Scripture

God did not make Scripture confusing. Human beings have a hard time understanding it. This is the same if I went and read Jane Eyre. You would understand it differently than I according to our natural abilities. But God did not just create the book of Scripture, which is why even people lacking in natural ability to inquire are able to know the truths necessary to their salvation with certainty through the teaching of the Church. The Church is the necessary complement to Scripture, passing down the interpretation through Sacred Tradition, and infallibly acting to define meanings of Scripture in God's name.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


Vessel
Vessel's picture
Posts: 646
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: This is

StMichael wrote:
This is the same if I went and read Jane Eyre.

Jane Eyre? The fictional novel? I compliment you on the honesty of  your analogy.

 


“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: God did

StMichael wrote:

God did not make Scripture confusing. Human beings have a hard time understanding it. This is the same if I went and read Jane Eyre. You would understand it differently than I according to our natural abilities. But God did not just create the book of Scripture, which is why even people lacking in natural ability to inquire are able to know the truths necessary to their salvation with certainty through the teaching of the Church. The Church is the necessary complement to Scripture, passing down the interpretation through Sacred Tradition, and infallibly acting to define meanings of Scripture in God's name.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

So,

1. Human beings have different levels of understanding when it comes to scripture.

2. When questions of understanding arise, God created another bunch of humans who used to have varying levels of scriptural understanding before they joined together and went through some initiation ceremonies and made up some other rules and traditions. Now, magically, their corporate interpretation of scripture is infallible (mostly because they say so - I don't recall any scripture where God fully endorsed the Roman Catholic church as the only one.)  

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Human beings have different

Human beings have different understandings of things in general.

God Himself established a mechanism that is His Holy Spirit's voice on earth. It is not just other people. Christ Himself established His Church, saying many places in Scripture such things as, "...on this Rock, I will build my Church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," or the like. Christ Himself acts through those representatives of Him on earth in matters of the sacraments (it is Christ forgiving sins through the priest), as well as in doctrine (the Catholic Church teaching is Christ teaching).

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: Human

StMichael wrote:

Human beings have different understandings of things in general.

God Himself established a mechanism that is His Holy Spirit's voice on earth. It is not just other people. Christ Himself established His Church, saying many places in Scripture such things as, "...on this Rock, I will build my Church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," or the like. Christ Himself acts through those representatives of Him on earth in matters of the sacraments (it is Christ forgiving sins through the priest), as well as in doctrine (the Catholic Church teaching is Christ teaching).

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 I had a feeling you'd bring that passage up. Where in Christ's ackolwedgement of Peter does it endorse the organization of the Roman Catholic Church? You can make the interpretation that Christ wanted Peter to head his church but that still doesn't offer proof that the Roman Catholic church is the one Christ was talking about.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
I am unsure of what you

I am unsure of what you want me to prove here. What do you mean, "that the Roman Catholic Church is the one Christ was talking about?"

First, there is the sense in which I need prove no such thing. The least and most necessary thing that is being disputed here is whether Christ established a Church to interpret His doctrine in every age and to act as His representatives. This question is clearly in the affirmative from what we have seen, and no dispute exists.

Second, I assume from your statement about the "organization" of the Roman Catholic Church that you question whether the external order in the Church corresponds to Christ's intention. I would argue that it clearly does. Christ Himself established multiple orders of priests and bishops in His lifetime (the 12, the 72, ect.). He intended them to act as His representatives even before His suffering and death on the Cross ("You shall cast out demons in My name...&quotEye-wink. He also, of course, gave the Apostles the keys to the kingdom of heaven, which is a clear transmission of authority. He also clearly intended, as I previously argued, to establish an Church as an organization. He established the sacraments of the Church during His life, with very clear establishment in some cases ("Do this in memory of Me.&quotEye-wink. And, of course, reading the Acts of the Apostles and Saint Paul's epistles give a picture that is not far from the Catholic Church today.

Third, it might seem that you wish to draw a parallel between whether Christ's Church is really identical with the Roman Catholic Church. This, I think, is clear in two ways. First, because its doctrine is identical to that which Christ taught and its ceremonies and teaching are clearly defined in Scripture. Thus, there is a certain a priori knowledge, working from what we know Christ's Church to be. The indication of the Petrine Primacy in the Gospels is likewise a big point in favor of Roman Catholicism. Second, a sort of a posteriori knowledge is likewise applicable. We can work from historical evidence, by which we can abundantly establish that Christ's Church as He founded it is historically continuous with the Roman Catholic Church today. Really, no other Christian body can make a similarly historically established claim. Heck, even the early Christians began in Apostolic times to refer to themselves as the "Catholic Church."

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


MEH
Theist
Posts: 11
Joined: 2007-01-26
User is offlineOffline
please dont lose your faith

please dont lose your faith in god. you came to the conclusion that god wanted you to live and you are living. i dont think your crazy because you belive in god. beliving in somthing dosent make you crazy or far from sanity. im sorry to hear you have bipolar. i know its afull.

mmmm


cslewisster
Theist
cslewisster's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2006-11-06
User is offlineOffline
doctoro wrote: If you know

doctoro wrote:
If you know where these examples exist, I'd like to know. I should offer a personal $666 challenge for a reference to an existing human with such an experience. That's about how confident I am that there are none.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZSGK5lvYMY

 

You owe me $666.00. Smiling  

ttdm.blogspot.com


cslewisster
Theist
cslewisster's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2006-11-06
User is offlineOffline
cslewisster wrote: doctoro

cslewisster wrote:

doctoro wrote:
If you know where these examples exist, I'd like to know. I should offer a personal $666 challenge for a reference to an existing human with such an experience. That's about how confident I am that there are none.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZSGK5lvYMY

 

You owe me $666.00. Smiling

 I want my money. Come on man. 

ttdm.blogspot.com


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
And a 12 year old girl

And a 12 year old girl painting pictures of the popular image of Jesus proves he existed how? Read the Challenge - it needs to be CONTEMPORARY

 

Edit - no wonder you accept CS Lewis.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


cslewisster
Theist
cslewisster's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2006-11-06
User is offlineOffline
MattShizzle wrote: And a

MattShizzle wrote:

And a 12 year old girl painting pictures of the popular image of Jesus proves he existed how? Read the Challenge - it needs to be CONTEMPORARY

 

Edit - no wonder you accept CS Lewis.

 

1.  The person was completely happy, and it was just an ordinary day.

2.  The person had NO pre-existing knowledge of any myths pertaining to the content of his spiritual experience.  (ie an Amazonian tribesman seeing Jesus).

3.  No desire or active seeking for spiritual experiences or signs.

 

Nope says nothing about being contemporary, although what you meant by "contemporary" I could hardly guess. Seems a little ambiguous.

ttdm.blogspot.com


Randalllord
Rational VIP!
Randalllord's picture
Posts: 690
Joined: 2006-04-12
User is offlineOffline
St. Michael said, "...it is

St. Michael said, "...it is the Church's task, as the infallible interpreter of Scripture, to determine..."

So if the church makes a ruling it comes from the inspiration of God? Where did this infallability take them on the issue of the Copernican model of the solar system?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliocentrism

 

 

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
cslewisster

cslewisster wrote:
MattShizzle wrote:

And a 12 year old girl painting pictures of the popular image of Jesus proves he existed how? Read the Challenge - it needs to be CONTEMPORARY

 

Edit - no wonder you accept CS Lewis.

 

1. The person was completely happy, and it was just an ordinary day.

2. The person had NO pre-existing knowledge of any myths pertaining to the content of his spiritual experience. (ie an Amazonian tribesman seeing Jesus).

3. No desire or active seeking for spiritual experiences or signs.

 

Nope says nothing about being contemporary, although what you meant by "contemporary" I could hardly guess. Seems a little ambiguous.

 Okay, then you lose because of point 2 (has preexisting knowledge of Christianity).  Happy now?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


cslewisster
Theist
cslewisster's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2006-11-06
User is offlineOffline
jcgadfly wrote: Okay,

jcgadfly wrote:

Okay, then you lose because of point 2 (has preexisting knowledge of Christianity). Happy now?

 

The interviewer said her mother was an Athiest when she had her experience. I'm not saying that this is or is not legit, but this is what you asked for.  

ttdm.blogspot.com


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
The condemnation of Galileo

The condemnation of Galileo was only indirectly related to heliocentrism. They condemned him not for holding one position or another, but trying to force the Church's hand in defining heliocentrism as doctrine. The Church never made an infallible declaration on heliocentrism itself.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,
StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10725
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I saw the future once in a

I saw the future once in a dream. But it wasn't anything special. Just a simple encounter that my mind was fully capable of imagining before it happened. Other than that, I've had no spiritual experiences. I've had plenty of revelations, but those are of thought. Not of spirit.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.