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Angels & Miracles anyone?

TheNobleSavage replied...
Dec. 15, 2016 at 6:12 pm

@the-mormon-introvert I agree that (under the hypothesis that God exists and performs miracles through pastors, preachers, etc) an atheist would not be able to heal anyone. That is why we would have to include an atheist to test the placebo effect. It is possible that a patient's belief that they have been "healed" will act as a placebo, which is why we must rule out the placebo effect before we can actually consider the supernatural as an explanation.
 
Additionally, I politely disagree with the reliance on spiritual experiences. A wide variety of contradicting religions claim such experiences, and unless there is some way to determine who is right and who is mislead, I have no reason to accept them as evidence. Spiritual experiences are like a medical apparatus that tests for cancer. If it yields false negatives and false positives, I wouldn't trust it.
 
On the other hand, I don't condemn anyone for holding specific beliefs on what I think to be flimsy evidence. I just can't be convinced without better evidence.

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TheNobleSavage replied...
Dec. 15, 2016 at 6:18 pm

Nim Wallace, I agree with you that science makes mistakes. Doctors once were allowed to operate without washing their hands or sterilizing their equiptment. However, the scientific method is the best method we have at finding truth.
 
If by "divine", you mean supernatural, then I agree. Science by definition cannot invesigate the supernatural. However, if supernatural entities can affect the natural world in any way, they have crossed into the realm of science, and can/should be investigated using the scientific method.

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Lucy-AgnesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

Just jumping in to agree with something someone pointed out -- faith and reason are totally compatible. One complements the other; they don't rule each other out.

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stuntddude replied...
Dec. 17, 2016 at 9:50 pm

"For example, there have been dozens of Eucharistic miracles where a consecrated host began bleeding, or turned into visible flesh, when it was desecrated."
 
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Do you have a reputable source for this?
 
"However, taking something and doing scientific tests on it is a totally different thing from setting up an experiment with control groups and trying to see if we can make a miracle happen."
 
Those would be different types of experiments, but they are both fundamentally employing the same scientific process.
 
"For one thing, science has proved mistakes through generations."
 
Do you have any specific examples in mind?
 
"However, there is no substantial evidence that anything that is not divine is science"
 
As a sentence, this doesn't really make sense. Science is the process of studying the world through rigorous imperical means. Given the specificity of the definition, most things in the world are not science.
 
"I believe God created mankind and the earth and miracles. I believe He is behind every scientfic conclusion ever. There is no substantial evidence that this is wrong."
 
There is also no substantial evidence that there's not a teapot orbiting Mars. That doesn't mean you should assume there really is one. The burden of proof is on the person who makes a claim. It's not anyone's job to disprove a claim that lacks supporting evidence to begin with.
 
"I don't think it's very fair to shoot down someone's beliefs just because they don't have evidence to back it up."
 
I think it's totally fair. If you expect me to believe that what you say is true, you should have compelling evidence to show for it.
 
"You've tasted salt, right? Okay, then, tell me what salt tastes like without using the words 'salt' or 'salty.'"
 
I'm no biochemist, so I couldn't tell you all the details myself, but the process by which people taste salt is well understood. We know the chemical makeup of salt. We know what receptors it activates on the tongue. We know that those signals are conveyed to the brain in a consistent way. We can observe how different people react psychologically to the taste of salt. And, we can test other chemical compounds that we expect to trigger the same receptors (i.e. things with lots of sodium ions) to confirm that they do indeed taste the same. In other words, we have evidence that everyone experiences the taste of salt in basically the same way. No such evidence exists for consistency in religious experience, as far as I'm aware. It's a mistake to equate the two.
 
"According to the bible, miracles/healings only occured if the one being healed AND the healer both had faith. So, once again if we're playing by what Christians believe, dressing and aethiest up as a pastor wouldn't work because the aethiest doesn't have faith in God."
 
That's exactly the mechanic by which the experiment is designed to work. If your beliefs about prayer are true, then one would expect to see some evidence of miracles in the test group, because both parties are operating with Christian faith, but no evidence of miracles in the control group, because the placebo pastors do not practice real faith.
 
"faith and reason are totally compatible. One complements the other"
 
Not so. Faith is, by definition, the antithesis of reason. It is the rejection of reason as the basis of belief. Reason compliments faith about as well as an antidote compliments a poison.

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NimWallaceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm

Yes, actually. 

 Once it was believed that there were canals on Mars. 

 Turned out this guy had crud on his telescope. 

 Einstein was wrong before, as was Aristotle and even Newton. 

 Science makes mistakes. 

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NimWallaceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 17, 2016 at 11:03 pm

And I agree with you that if there is no proof that something does not exist, doesn't mean that it does, it also means it's still plausible. Unless you can present substantial proof that THERE ABSOLUTELY is no God, then as Christians we have the right to our belief that there is.

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Lucy-AgnesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 18, 2016 at 12:36 am

@stuntddude:
 
I do have a reputable source for that statement about Eucharistic miracles. It's the book Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carrol Cruz. I'm sure an internet search would produce lots of reliable sources, too, but her book in particular is the one with lots and lots of documentation.
 
The definition of faith is NOT the rejection of reason as the basis of belief. Faith can't go against reason -- at least, a good faith can't. Faith goes beyond reason, but it can't contradict it. 

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stuntddude replied...
Dec. 18, 2016 at 6:36 am

"Once it was believed that there were canals on Mars. Turned out this guy had crud on his telescope."
 
There was a contingent of people who believed that, during the time when telescopes were not yet good enough to make out Mars as more than a fuzzy orange blob. There was never a scientific consensus, however. The few who pushed the idea each came up with different maps, and their claims were disputed at the time by other astronomers who didn't see the canals. When it was demonstrated how the appearance of canals arose via optical illusion (not "crud on the telescope"), the idea was quickly discarded.
 
"Einstein was wrong before, as was Aristotle and even Newton."
 
1. Aristotle was not a scientist
2. One of the many great things about science is that it's collaborative. One person can make a mistake, and it's no big deal. If an experiment is replicated by multiple people and found to consistently give the same results, then the results can reliably be considered true. The fallibility of individuals is exactly why things like peer review and meta analysis exist.
 
"Unless you can present substantial proof that THERE ABSOLUTELY is no God, then as Christians we have the right to our belief that there is."
 
You have the right to believe whatever you want regardless of any evidence at all (freedom of action may be limited by laws, but freedom of though is absolute). But it's a mistake to believe extraordinary claims without a very good reason.
 
"Faith goes beyond reason, but it can't contradict it."
 
Christian faith certainly does both.

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Lucy-AgnesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 18, 2016 at 1:00 pm

How does Christian faith contradict reason?

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NimWallaceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 18, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Eaxctly, Lucy-Agnes, and yes, Aristotle was a scientist, Google it if you like. 

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NimWallaceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 19, 2016 at 12:17 pm

And if you would like evidence to back up this "extraordinary claim" then you can look at the fact that the Bible is the most historically accurate document in the world--and never contradicts itself, despite the many books by different authors in different languages.

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Dec. 20, 2016 at 8:27 am

Hellooooooo. A week of finals and battling a stomach flu later and this forum has become a very lengthy and very interesting debate (not what I wanted). I originally intended for this to be a place where ppl who do believe can share. But oh well....carry on, I guess.

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NimWallaceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 20, 2016 at 5:27 pm

So sorry about that, didn't mean to get into a debate...anyway, I believe :) 

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stuntddude replied...
Dec. 20, 2016 at 11:09 pm

"How does Christian faith contradict reason?"
 
It demands belief of claims that run counter to empirical evidence. It demands that you accept a book with both internal and external inconsistencies as absolute truth.
 
"yes, Aristotle was a scientist"
 
No, he was not. A scientist is one who follows the scientific method. Aritotle did not follow the scientific method. Ergo, he was not a scientist.
 
Granted, I'm no history buff. It's possible that Aristotle performed scientific experiments at some point in his life that I don't know about. At the very least, the vast majority of his teachings were never based in science.
 
"the Bible is the most historically accurate document in the world"
 
No, it's not. Not by a long shot. Any passably decent history textbook will have a far more accurate account of whatever topic it covers.
 
"and never contradicts itself"
 
...except that it does, many times.

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NimWallaceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 20, 2016 at 11:18 pm

Quick question, how many times have you read the Bible? 

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CNBono17 replied...
Dec. 20, 2016 at 11:28 pm

On the internal contradictions. 
 
The Bible, in several places, does appear to contradict itself, but for each there is a perfectly reasonable explanation why it doesn't that usually relates to context or cultural setting, or the differences between man and God. So to someone who hasn't actually done an in-depth the Bible, yes, it does appear to contradict itself. Mostly because individual verses are taken out of context. 
 
Whether the Bible is the most historically accurate document of all time is debatable, but it is definitely very historically accurate. I could recommend a few excellent books that explain in great detail why that is. Frank Turek's I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Athiest is a good source, as is Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ. The latter actually began when an athiest reporter set out to disprove Christianity beyond a shadow of a doubt--and he found so much evidence to the contrary that he became a Christian.

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stuntddude replied...
Dec. 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm

"Quick question, how many times have you read the Bible?"
 
Never front to back, only portions.
 
"but for each there is a perfectly reasonable explanation why it doesn't that usually relates to context or cultural setting, or the differences between man and God"
 
Nevermind that a large portion of biblical contradictions are simple factual inconsistencies for which cultural context doesn't exist or has no relevance, right?
 
"So to someone who hasn't actually done an in-depth the Bible, yes, it does appear to contradict itself."
 
A book that requires years of careful study to be able to come up with sufficiently hand-wavy excuses for all its inconsistencies seems like a highly imperfect book. Wouldn't you agree?
 
"Whether the Bible is the most historically accurate document of all time is debatable"
 
Are you sure you wouldn't like to revise your stance on this? If the bible contains historical inaccuracies, that means it's not entirely true.
 
"The latter actually began when an athiest reporter set out to disprove Christianity beyond a shadow of a doubt--and he found so much evidence to the contrary that he became a Christian."
 
Interesting. Most inquisitive people go the opposite direction, starting out as a Christian trying to prove their religion true and accidentally becoming an atheist instead.

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Dec. 21, 2016 at 9:33 am

So....while I told myself that I would stay out of these types of debates, I feel the urrrrrge to comment. @stuntdude, I deeply reccommend you read the Bible front to back, but not just on its own. If you really feel the need to disprove it, you should get to know it in its entirety. I mean reading different commentaries, maybe checking out a really great Willmingtons Guide to the Bible. You are a man of reason, its seems only logical to know the Bible inside and out before you simply reject it. Like how I plan to read the Quran one day. And the fact that the Bible requires years of careful study doesn't mean its imperfect, it means there is A LOT that God has to say that lies behind the surface. Im still studying the Bible, learning new things and finding out some things I thought before were inconsistencies tied together in amazing ways. The Bible is a very historically accurate book. I really hope you take the time to study it.

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Dec. 21, 2016 at 9:45 am

Also, just to temporarily steer this in a different direction (tho please carry on with debate) another experience, I don't know tp call a miracle but more a very spiritually awakening experience happened for me last year. Im not sure if everyone knows about it but the gift of tongues, when the Holy Spirit fills you with a language the devil can't understand, makes powerful prayers, and much more, well anyway, I had been praying for that gift for almost ten years and I finally got it last year during a worship service where all of a sudden I felt so overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit, I had been praying so hard after a really difficult time and just feel this freedom in my mouth and it just starting flowing out! That day was one of my best in my life, and I encourage other Christians if you don't have it yet, keep asking for it, you already have it, just need to unlock it. If you already have it that's great! Feel free to share if you want.

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CNBono17 replied...
Dec. 21, 2016 at 10:27 am

Please name for me a few of these inaccuracies.
 
Here's what I mean when I say whether it's the most historically accurate book of all time is debatable. You have two history books about different subjects, and each is accurate to the letter. Which, then, would you call more historically accurate? Neither. Both are equally accurate. If you take historical accuracy by itself, the Bible is below none but on par with several. There's a difference between calling it the most historically accurate document in the world--which it's not, since as you said, a good history textbook will be just as accurate--and saying it's historically inaccurate. That, it's not. 

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