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Argument from Personal Experience

Envisage
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6/30/2014 6:50:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Winging this post.

Potbelliedgeek brought up an interesting topic a whole ago about his own religious experiences, which lead him to accept the supernatural. Link: http://www.debate.org...

My question is, how does one logically connect their religious experiences with the conclusion that the supernatural exists? Hence I am going to borrow from what I wrote in that thread here.

So we have the conclusion:

1. ???
2. ???
3. The supernatural exists

And we have the inputs, which can be summarised as:
"I have had multiple personal experiences of *supernatural event*"

Which makes a second premise:

1. ???
2. I have had multiple supernatural experiences
C. The supernatural exists

To tie these up we need a major premise. You can fulfil this by making a modus ponens
argument. If there are better ways of doing this I would be interested in seeing how.

1. If I have multiple supernatural experiences, then the supernatural exists
2. I have had multiple supernatural experiences
C. The supernatural exists

Sometimes it is the fact there are multiple people who have religious experiences that make the conclusion, so we can construct a similar argument but inductive:

1. If I have a supernatural experience, then the supernatural possibly exists
2. I have had multiple supernatural experiences/Multiple people have had multiple experiences
C. The supernatural probably exists

You could also play around P1 with different substitutions:

P1*) I will have supernatural experiences if and only if the supernatural exists
Etc.

This simplistic, I assume that there are other justifications, such as these experiences provide insight, comfort, predictions, etc.

However in all of these we have a common theme. The major premise is what me and my fellow atheists will question without fail every time. How sound are these assumptions, given that we have abundant evidence that mental and hallucinatory states are freely manipulated by drugs and life experience etc etc. That members of contradictory religions have mutually exclusive experiences of their own, and even atheists have experiences, whether they are divinely related or not.

The point to get across is that religious experiences alone don't tell us anything until we connect the assumptions. Most people will accept that people have very real experiences occur to them, much like how a very real dream can often occur. But they won't accept that such an experience is inherently meaningful.

Discuss.
PureX
Posts: 1,528
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6/30/2014 2:16:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I don't believe that it's possible for a human being to have a "supernatural" experience, because there would be no way for a human being to determine the "supernatural-ness" of an experience. What we humans have are inexplicable experiences. Not supernatural experiences.
annanicole
Posts: 19,788
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6/30/2014 4:58:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/30/2014 2:16:16 PM, PureX wrote:
I don't believe that it's possible for a human being to have a "supernatural" experience, because there would be no way for a human being to determine the "supernatural-ness" of an experience. What we humans have are inexplicable experiences. Not supernatural experiences.

Ditto.

There are all sorts of explanations for these so-called "supernatural experiences", but one possible explanation is not that they prove the existence of God. That's just not how it works. Most "supernatural experiences" only prove a vivid imagination or a chemical imbalance/chemical usage.

One reason: many "supernatural experience" imply a miracle of some sort, yet miracles in the New Testament (and OT) were confirmatory. Always. The number of examples/passages that teach this are too numerous to list. Ananias and Sapphira were not struck dead just because God was mad, nor were the lame or deaf healed just because God is a nice guy. Having said that, the Word of God is either confirmed or not. If it was once confirmed, it still stands confirmed - which negates any need for miracles. Now I understand that not all supposedly "supernatural experiences" would be classed as a miracle, but many would be.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
PureX
Posts: 1,528
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6/30/2014 7:21:25 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/30/2014 4:58:10 PM, annanicole wrote:
At 6/30/2014 2:16:16 PM, PureX wrote:
I don't believe that it's possible for a human being to have a "supernatural" experience, because there would be no way for a human being to determine the "supernatural-ness" of an experience. What we humans have are inexplicable experiences. Not supernatural experiences.

Ditto.

There are all sorts of explanations for these so-called "supernatural experiences", but one possible explanation is not that they prove the existence of God. That's just not how it works. Most "supernatural experiences" only prove a vivid imagination or a chemical imbalance/chemical usage.

One reason: many "supernatural experience" imply a miracle of some sort, yet miracles in the New Testament (and OT) were confirmatory. Always. The number of examples/passages that teach this are too numerous to list. Ananias and Sapphira were not struck dead just because God was mad, nor were the lame or deaf healed just because God is a nice guy. Having said that, the Word of God is either confirmed or not. If it was once confirmed, it still stands confirmed - which negates any need for miracles. Now I understand that not all supposedly "supernatural experiences" would be classed as a miracle, but many would be.

The need for miraculous confirmation of the existence of God is a need born of weakness and fear. It comes from a lack of faith in one's desired beliefs, and from the ignorance of blind superstition. It's exactly this kind of weakness and fear that so many expressions of organized religion foster, pray upon, and use to exploit and manipulate people to their own ends. That's just a sad fact of life.

But none of this stands as a legitimate negation of mankind's faith in God, nor of an individual's personal experience of divine healing. In my opinion, supernatural "miracles" are just a rabbit hole for fantasy-prone fools, and a waste of time for intelligent humans to argue about. Divine healing, however, is not. The power of an individual's faith in the benevolence of a divine or transcendent realm of existence to effect positive change and healing in their lives and their bodies is very real. And has been personally experienced by millions, for eons. Myself included.

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to discuss the subject without the discussion becoming lost in the fog and foolishness of both the religionists and the anti-religionists, who wrongly imagine that they are debating theism, when they are only debating the most naive and shallow expressions of pop religiosity.
annanicole
Posts: 19,788
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6/30/2014 9:13:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/30/2014 7:21:25 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/30/2014 4:58:10 PM, annanicole wrote:
At 6/30/2014 2:16:16 PM, PureX wrote:
I don't believe that it's possible for a human being to have a "supernatural" experience, because there would be no way for a human being to determine the "supernatural-ness" of an experience. What we humans have are inexplicable experiences. Not supernatural experiences.

Ditto.

There are all sorts of explanations for these so-called "supernatural experiences", but one possible explanation is not that they prove the existence of God. That's just not how it works. Most "supernatural experiences" only prove a vivid imagination or a chemical imbalance/chemical usage.

One reason: many "supernatural experience" imply a miracle of some sort, yet miracles in the New Testament (and OT) were confirmatory. Always. The number of examples/passages that teach this are too numerous to list. Ananias and Sapphira were not struck dead just because God was mad, nor were the lame or deaf healed just because God is a nice guy. Having said that, the Word of God is either confirmed or not. If it was once confirmed, it still stands confirmed - which negates any need for miracles. Now I understand that not all supposedly "supernatural experiences" would be classed as a miracle, but many would be.

The need for miraculous confirmation of the existence of God is a need born of weakness and fear. It comes from a lack of faith in one's desired beliefs, and from the ignorance of blind superstition. It's exactly this kind of weakness and fear that so many expressions of organized religion foster, pray upon, and use to exploit and manipulate people to their own ends. That's just a sad fact of life.

Yep

But none of this stands as a legitimate negation of mankind's faith in God, nor of an individual's personal experience of divine healing. In my opinion, supernatural "miracles" are just a rabbit hole for fantasy-prone fools, and a waste of time for intelligent humans to argue about. Divine healing, however, is not. The power of an individual's faith in the benevolence of a divine or transcendent realm of existence to effect positive change and healing in their lives and their bodies is very real. And has been personally experienced by millions, for eons. Myself included.

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to discuss the subject without the discussion becoming lost in the fog and foolishness of both the religionists and the anti-religionists, who wrongly imagine that they are debating theism, when they are only debating the most naive and shallow expressions of pop religiosity.

All true
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
annanicole
Posts: 19,788
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6/30/2014 9:52:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/30/2014 7:21:25 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/30/2014 4:58:10 PM, annanicole wrote:
At 6/30/2014 2:16:16 PM, PureX wrote:
The need for miraculous confirmation of the existence of God is a need born of weakness and fear.

It is born out of a lack of proper exegesis, for one thing. They haven't yet figured out the direct cause/effect relationship between miracles and confirmation of the Word. Haven't got a clue. They think, "Well, God healed a man once - and He's the same yesterday, today, and forever - so He's duty-bound to heal 'em today." I wish above all that they'd realize that by doing so God would be implying that His word stands unconfirmed - or else that it needs constant re-confirmation.

The crazy beliefs by Christians themselves do more damage to the cause of Christ than all of the "arguments" set forth by atheists altogether. That's why the Lord prayed for unity. That's why Paul condemned denominations.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."