Levels of Evidence: and the God experience
The god factor.
Relies heavily upon experiences.
There are people that use “god” for a scam factor. If we allow ourselves to be so moved.
There are people (such as myself ) who had ….testimonies, who have since come to believe those experiences to be something other than …god.
Let us take the crop circles. People were quite convinced to use this as “proof” or evidence that aliens had indeed come to earth and left messages.
We have several things to take into consideration when looking at it, and wondering if we can apply a scientific level of verification, and apply critical thinking skills to the matter.
The first thing one would have to take into consideration of such stories, is that some people have come forward and admitted that they produced the crop circles themselves as a big hoax.
For me, investigations of the paranormal, bigfoot, aliens, and religious experiences all come under scrutiny and require a willingness to examine with critical thinking tools.
But “god experiences” more than all.
why? because god experiences include more than just “believing in something” (like Bigfoot )
it entails for most a required believing in many things that cannot be proven,
and can lead to and allow for magical thinking. (anything is possible etc)
It also entails (for at least the christian god) that you believe certain things/doctrines and that these beliefs will effect your eternal outcome …which if you don’t mind me saying is a sorta ginormous thing.
Levels of evidence: an example
Regarding the existence of giant squids.
“The existence of the giant squid. What evidence was used to prove its existence?
*Rumors and stories of such creatures have been told for ages. (could this be evidence? yes, but not strong enough to stand on its own. As rumors can get exaggerated, and visions can be ….elusive or deceptive.)
*Sperm whales have been found with massive tentacle scars on their skin (could this be evidence? yes, but again, not certain proof that is was a giant squid, and not a giant octopus or something else)
*two arms were recovered from a sperm whale’s stomach (certainly adding strength to the case and with genetic testing probably adding undeniable clinch)”
*dead examples have been found (these could be confirming evidence of their existence and could verify theoretical estimations of what their possible size/etc)”
And finally even more recently Giant squid was captured alive on film in its natural habitat which allows us to understand even more about it.
I am ready to admit that God cannot be proven nor disproven by our standard method of evidence.
Requiring something more, “faith”.
From Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(The Ancient Sage)
“Thou canst not prove the Nameless, O my son,
Nor canst thou prove the world thou movest in,
Thou canst not prove that thou art body alone,
Nor canst thou prove that thou art spirit alone, 30
Nor canst thou prove that thou art both in one:
Thou canst not prove thou art immortal, no
Nor yet that thou art mortal—nay my son,
Thou canst not prove that I, who speak with thee,
Am not thyself in converse with thyself, 35
For nothing worthy proving can be proven,
Nor yet disproven: wherefore thou be wise,
Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,
And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith”
This is the only truly honest defense imho.
When one asks, seeks, prays, fasts, hopes, cries begs, pleads….
offers all they are and all they have….
….”if you are there…..God….help me with my unbelief…, forgive my doubt, forgive my failures of faith, my weakness…” ?