Religious Experience – Recognizing God

Sam said to me and our gathered friends:Give me someone who is willing to sit down and take a three-hour Chemistry test, and another hour to review the test after it is completed, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry.This claim was plausible; it made sense to me, especially in view of the fact that the Graduate Record Exam Chemistry Test has about 130 multiple-choice questions, and students are given two hours and fifty … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 5

Here is a brief plot summary of the movie Harvey:Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six-foot rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.James Stewart played Elwood P. Dowd, the "whimsical middle-aged man" who could apparently see and converse with Harvey, a six-foot rabbit who was invisible to others.  The obvious conclusion is that Elwood is mentally ill and that his experiences of the s … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 4

3 TREs with Dependency

Although I have been considering the implications of the idea that the veridicality of a Theistic Religious Experience (TRE) is independent of the veridicality of other TREs, this is NOT the view of Swinburne.  In fact, Swinburne clearly holds the opposite view, the view that the veridicality of a TRE is dependent on the veridicality of other TREs.  I will get into the details of this shortly.First, let me back up for a moment and provide a key definition.  Swinburne defines "religious ex … [Read more...]

Evolution vs. The Argument from Providence

In the Existence of God (2nd edition, hereafter: EOG) Richard Swinburne lays out a carefully constructed, systematically presented case for the the claim that it is more likely than not that God exists.  I have previously argued that there is a big problem with this case that arises with the third argument.  In order to know that the premise of the third argument is true, one must know a lot of information about science and about the evolution of life and the evolution of human beings.Here is … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 6

Here is the "Doubting Thomas" story from Chapter 20 of the Gospel of John:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, t … [Read more...]

“A Leap of Faith”

In a comment on my most recent post about Jesus' use of the word "faith", Stig Martinsen points to the phrase "a leap of faith" as evidence that Christians sometimes speak of "faith" in a way that implies belief that goes beyond reason or evidence.  I don't plan to reply to his point here, but I think this phrase has an interesting history that is worth reading and thinking about.According to the Wikipedia article on "Leap of Faith", this phrase is generally associated with the philosopher … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 5

Stig Martinsen made a plausible objection to my argument for the idea that Jesus viewed giving EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS as compatible with promoting FAITH: ============== I have seen the story of doubting Thomas in John 20 interpreted as an example of Jesus endorsing faith as opposed to belief grounded in evidence. I.e. 20:29: Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed. =============== I have t … [Read more...]

The Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven

One reason for being a skeptic is that people lie...often.  Children lie, teenagers lie, college students and young adults lie,  older adults lie, and seniors lie.Here is a story that reinforces the need for skepticism.===================Tyndale House, a major Christian publisher, has announced that it will stop selling “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” by Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey.The best-selling book, first published in 2010, purports to describe what Alex … [Read more...]


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