Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Demonstrating Truth Claims

Repeatedly I have made the claim that I am as certain that God exists and that I have relationship with Him as I am that my husband exists and that I have relationship with him.


What I do not mean by this statement is that I experience both relationships the same way. I only mean that I personally am equally assured of both being true relationships with real beings, one human, and one divine.


No one is going to ask me to prove my husband exists or that I have relationship with him as every human whether they have been married or not has an understanding of what I mean by this and has no need for evidence. It’s an everyday thing to claim and not all that peculiar or out of the ordinary.


Now someone who had never known what it is like to have someone love them may need a great deal of explanation of what this thing called love is and how it is experienced. There are such people who have grown up in isolation, maybe in an abusive home and subjected to a life without love. To them this concept of “love” would need explaining. But could it be explained sufficiently if it were not demonstrated? Could a person who had never had anyone love them identify with what is being described? The word would have little meaning if any and hold no value without some frame of reference of experience.


They could be educated on love, but still not know love. Reading a story where love is portrayed would be more helpful than reading definitions and descriptions of this phenomenon. Still with no one there to love them would love really be known? They could still come away from all that learning and say this thing called “love” is so unreal and probably does not exist. Maybe they see that it would be enjoyable to experience such things as was told them, but the person may hold little hope that such could be true. They may see it as safer for them to leave behind any desire for its truth, then to live with unfulfilled desire.


Is it too presumptuous of me to assert that the skeptic is the person who is hearing all about this person called God and has possibly heard many a story of people experiencing life with God? Moreover, that the skeptic does not have a grid for this data and these stories as there has been no experience with this fantastical Being that could give any credence to all that is being described. Thus, the skeptic awaits proof with little expectation that any proof will be forthcoming that could overcome not having personal experience. Still more, that there is little hope that personal experience would be attained when there is little hope that there is anything there to experience.


Working with the assumption that I articulated the previous paragraph with some degree of accuracy, I see it as not the fault of the skeptic to be in that position. I see it as the responsibility of those who claim to have had the experiences that correspond to their assertions, stories, descriptions, claims, etc. to be themselves demonstrators of that truth. If our lives do not show any thing at all that this is true, honestly, you have no reason at all to listen further to anything we have to say.


The difficulty, however, on an on-line forum is that my life is pretty much hidden from the readers I do not know personally. Most of you live many miles away and I cannot invite you to see my life up close as we only know each other through the words that are typed upon this page and in the comments. So I am at a disadvantage to fully demonstrate what I claim.


Maybe these dialogs that only serve to give description and tell stories about this God I speak of can do little good until after experience is established. But maybe it will help provide a framework for a future encounter with demonstrations of what I talk about. Maybe you will meet Christians that are living out these claims and you will see these demonstrations. I do not know how else to demonstrate what I speak of in this forum other than sharing my accounts of my experiences and the intellectual reasons which I am continually providing. If my content here serves no purpose for you, then maybe there are other bloggers out there that would be more worth your time. I see time as valuable and do not want to misuse anyone's time.

13 comments:

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I think if any of us felt we were wasting our time here, we wouldn't keep coming back.

I know some wonderful Christians, some are close friends, some even family. I see that they are happy and find something of value in their faith, they see God working in their lives, they make Bible based truth claims, some more so than others. My faith seems to have been switched off somehow, where they see God, I see coincidence or nature, where they feel God, I feel endorphins, where they hear God, I hear myself working through a problem in my head. Hardly a day goes by that I don't wonder what happened, what I'm missing now that I had back then.

If you have a relationship with Jesus that is just as real to you as the one with your husband then ask him what happened. Why do I no longer believe? I'm not being a smart alec.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: They may see it as safer for them to leave behind any desire for its truth, then to live with unfulfilled desire.

Do you have any idea how condesending this sort of thing sounds?

karla said: Still more, that there is little hope that personal experience would be attained when there is little hope that there is anything there to experience.

[shakes head saddly. Tries not to laugh out loud]

karla said: I do not know how else to demonstrate what I speak of in this forum other than sharing my accounts of my experiences and the intellectual reasons which I am continually providing.

Then you will fail in any attempt to prove in any way the existence of God. If you can only make truth claims without adequately backing them up.... well, that doesn't really go very far does it?

Maybe it would be a good idea to discuss why you believe in God - something particular rather than the general comments you've been making so far.....

Karla said...

Mike, I know there is no attitude in what you say, only sincerity. I will seek God about what you ask.

Cyber, I had no intention of condescension. In fact, I asked if I were too presumptuous and expected to have any errors pointed out to me.

I have made post about why I believe, but I can do another soon as per your request.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Well, there's a little attitude in what I say sometimes. ;-)

Karla said...

This comment is just for Mike.

Mike, I spent some time yesterday seeking God about you for you. I don’t have answers as to the why. But I did get a couple of impressions of something I think God was showing me. I assume you are familiar with the movie The Santa Clause with Tim Allen? You know how there are instances in the movies where he gives a gift to someone that is something that spoke to a childhood dream or a gift they had hoped for in the past – and suddenly they knew Santa was real. God must have a sense of humor to give me a Santa Clause analogy to use, but I think what He was showing me is that He is going to do something in your life, or cause something to happen, or give you something that will really give you reason to pause and consider that He really does exist and really does know the desires of your heart.

And the second thing is really making me step way out on a limb and sound pretty crazy, but a couple months ago I was praying for you and I kept hearing (not audibly) “red car.” This time I “heard” it again. I have no idea why or what it has to do with anything. I’m not saying God’s going to give you a car or anything, I think the second thing is unrelated to the first thing, but if something like that happened please let me know.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Thanks, Karla. Interesting stuff. I've never seen The Santa Claus, but I get the idea. I don't own any red clothing and it is not a favorite color, so I certainly wouldn't choose a red car for myself, so someone would have to give me one. ;-)

I'll keep my eyes and ears open.

Karla said...

Mike, thanks for that response.

boomSLANG said...

Karla: Most of you live many miles away and I cannot invite you to see my life up close as we only know each other through the words that are typed upon this page and in the comments. So I am at a disadvantage to fully demonstrate what I claim.

But surely you have in mind what you might offer us in the way of demonstrating your truth-claims, *if* you could "invite" us into your life.

If you agree with that, then I don't think it is unreasonable for any of us ***"skeptics" to think that you can explain what series of actions you would take, or what you would offer, in the way of demonstrating that what you claim to be Absolutely "True", is "True", Absolutely.

We've already established(with cl's help) in the thread that prompted this thread, that asking for the same type of "evidence" that would prove that you know "God" exists, as we would ask for you to prove that you know your "husband" exists, is silly; it's unreasonable. Again, I agree.

To recap, and to make sure we're on the same page, it would be silly to ask Karla to provide photos of her and "Jesus" hangin' out together.(unless she insisted that "Jesus" showed up in the flesh, like he presumably did just a few thousand yrs ago)

Okay; fine. So? What is the next best form of "evidence" that can be offered?

Let me save you some time, if you should attempt to oblige me on this. If you take me to the mall and introduce me to this Pastor friend of yours who holds his hand over people's heads and they claim to "feel God", I'm sorry, that is not demonstrating that you "know" that "God" exists. If you introduce me to the fellow who tugs on people's legs and blesses them, and then asks, "Did you see that!?!?!....his leg is longer!", that, also, is not demonstrating anything but perhaps that power of suggestion. If you could provide before and after X-rays, that would be a different story.

You could take me to your church and show your congregation, and I could witness them all, first-hand, throwing their arms up in the air, and appearing to be "experiencing" something. And again, that is not demonstrating that you "know" that "God" exists.

Is there is anything else you can think of that you might offer if we could meet face-to-face?

If not, then we should be able to conclude that it's a matter of "faith"(which I would gladly accept), in which case, you can believe all you'd like that you "know" that "God" exists(I'm fine with that, too). However, if you cannot demonstrate that you "know" that "God" exists, then in my view, it's not honest to promote that you "know" this, "Absolutely". Remember, you are the one who said "solid truth"(which is a term you concocted for "Absolute Truth") ought to be able to be demonstrated(i.e..shown to be true).

***As for calling nonbelievers "skeptics", are you not "skeptical" of our skepticism? If you are, then perhaps calling us "skeptics" isn't the best choice.

CyberKitten said...

boomSLANG said: ***As for calling nonbelievers "skeptics", are you not "skeptical" of our skepticism? If you are, then perhaps calling us "skeptics" isn't the best choice.

To say nothing of being skeptical of *other* religions claims to absolute truth....

Karla said...

Boom “Let me save you some time, if you should attempt to oblige me on this. If you take me to the mall and introduce me to this Pastor friend of yours who holds his hand over people's heads and they claim to "feel God", I'm sorry, that is not demonstrating that you "know" that "God" exists.”

Agreed, it wouldn’t help much unless you experience it yourself rather than seeing someone else experience it or hearing of someone else experiencing it. I can tell you of what I have felt, but you would give me a natural interpretation, right?


Boom “If you introduce me to the fellow who tugs on people's legs and blesses them, and then asks, "Did you see that!?!?!....his leg is longer!", that, also, is not demonstrating anything but perhaps that power of suggestion.”

Well it was my husband that prayed for his mother’s arm and he wasn’t even touching her so there was certainly no pulling going on. And really do you think an arm can grow out by power of suggestion? That’s pretty miraculous. I saw it grow.

Boom “If you could provide before and after X-rays, that would be a different story.”

So you question that it grew at all rather than explaining it by power of suggestion? I wish I could get my hands on before x-rays and have her get new ones—that would be awesome to take a look at. The original injury and x-rays are from over 30 years ago when her wrist was removed (thus the shorter arm) and today she has no insurance so it would be very costly for her to ask her doctor to x-ray it. But someone with one wrist gone would certainly have a shorter arm.

Boom “However, if you cannot demonstrate that you "know" that "God" exists, then in my view, it's not honest to promote that you "know" this, "Absolutely". Remember, you are the one who said "solid truth"(which is a term you concocted for "Absolute Truth") ought to be able to be demonstrated(i.e..shown to be true).”

I am trying to convey that truth can be experienced because it is not only a fact, but a Person. So my knowledge is both intellectual and experiential of the reality of this Truth. I am not talking about intellectual ascent to a doctrine, but a knowledge of a Person who is Truth, a Truth that is living in me and that I see manifest in the world around me.

Karla said...

boomSLANG said: ***As for calling nonbelievers "skeptics", are you not "skeptical" of our skepticism? If you are, then perhaps calling us "skeptics" isn't the best choice.

Cyber “To say nothing of being skeptical of *other* religions claims to absolute truth....”


I was trying to use a broader more inclusive term than “atheists.” Yes, I am skeptical of atheism. I did not see a negative connotation to the term.

I am not skeptical of all truth claims of other religions, some of them I share some I disagree with in part and some more fully.

boomSLANG said...

Karla: Yes, I am skeptical of atheism. I did not see a negative connotation to the term.

To my understanding, no one here is calling you out on your use of the term "skeptic", as a "negative" one. Personally, I'm proud of being skeptical---I find it a positive thing.

Nonetheless, you were called-out because you, too, are skeptical of other people's beliefs/nonbeliefs. Everyone drawns their line somewhere.

cl said...

Why do I no longer believe? I'm not being a smart alec. (Mike)

I think God hides from the mockers and "proud" types, which makes your predicament all the more baffling to me, as you come across as neither.

Is it too presumptuous of me to assert that the skeptic is the person who is hearing all about this person called God and has possibly heard many a story of people experiencing life with God? Moreover, that the skeptic does not have a grid for this data and these stories as there has been no experience with this fantastical Being that could give any credence to all that is being described. (Karla)

Yes, it is "too presumptuous" because many skeptics and atheists - for example boomSLANG and Mike - were once believers. Many skeptics and atheists are people who had (what they thought were) incredible God experiences.

I see it as the responsibility of those who claim to have had the experiences that correspond to their assertions, stories, descriptions, claims, etc. to be themselves demonstrators of that truth. If our lives do not show any thing at all that this is true, honestly, you have no reason at all to listen further to anything we have to say. (Karla)

I totally agree with you there.

Most of you live many miles away and I cannot invite you to see my life up close as we only know each other through the words that are typed upon this page and in the comments. So I am at a disadvantage to fully demonstrate what I claim. (Karla)

Valid point.

If you could provide before and after X-rays, that would be a different story. (boomSLANG)

Why? X-rays can be faked, you know. Also, I've presented skeptics with before-and-after X-rays for a purportedly miraculous healing; it made no difference. I've had atheists tell me everything from "show me video of an arm regrowing" to "show me a cancer ward emptied out in response to prayer." It all just seems, I don't know... totally useless. The problem is epistemological in nature. Even if Karla did provide X-rays, an atheist could always appeal to some hitherto undiscovered mechanism as cause. Personally, I think this whole thing is a wild goose chase.