Consider this: all the power,
> influence, help and guidance you believe you have
> from any God, or Holy Spirit etc is actually all
> created and thought of by you in your
Ray: You're way over-crediting (or over simplifying) the brain, here. For the brain to play any role at all, it must be empowered to both control and respond to information received or transmitted, through and to our sense organs. The cognitive revolution of the 60's has downgraded the brain a bit into being much like the hardware of a computer, powered by software applications.
Exactly what these applications might be, where they come from, and how they're powered are all up for discussion. Descartes allowed spiritual information to enter the mind through the senses, but was unaware of the role of genetics in human ontogeny. We now have the possibility of dna providing an architecture of design, with sensory modifications even while the infant is in the womb. The hardware is designed into the body; the software becomes the mind. Cogito, et sum is alive and well in the 21st century.
Is there a God? Bad question. One needs to
> at least define God first--and I can't. In
> confir-mation, I was taught that "God is a Spirit
> with the highest perfections." Somehow, that's not
Susan: When I went to Confirmation
> classes, we had to learn the Catechism off by
> heart – no problem, the memorisation was easy,
> but when I started asking questions , I was told
> there wasn’t time or something – can’t
> remember exactly, but I do remember asking
> questions! And back in that time, this was simply
> not acceptable.
Ray: In my confirmation, I was encouraged-even required--to ask questions, but I don't remember many discussions. My confirmation Bible, that my son took with him to college, was loaded with hand written notes from my high school days. The one attempt at communication and exploration I was responsible for was an invitation to a Catholic Priest to talk with my Protestant Youth group. It led me to write a 20 page paper, entitled, "Catholics and Protestants, separated Brothers."
That led my mother to call in the ministers to re-educate me: but the ministers liked the paper I wrote, so she was relieved. In college, I began singing in lots of different churches, and accompanied a roommate to meetings with an Episcopal Arch Deacon--as part of his becoming an Episcopal priest. I got into trouble with the Arch Deacon by raising the issue of reincarnation for discussion.
As part of my study of the Russian language, I joined a Russian folk group, and sang in Orthodox services--eventually visiting a Russian Orthodox Monastery in New York. Along the way, I had countless personal discussions of Religion with friends and family. Although a considerable number of such discussions were with secularists and agnostics, I can't remember discussions during that undergraduate time with atheist students: I do remember one outspoken atheist professor that I worked with. He made a point of his atheism.
We could anthropomorphize--in fact, we must
> anthropomorphize, but what we come up with is
> pretty lame: either a super duper human that can't
> be killed--or a mysterious force. The super duper
> human we've been imagining most recently is in
> some other world of stars and planets--some Star
> Wars persona--or an invisible "force." But is that
> good enough?
Susan: The important point to remember is that we are
> imagining whatever god we are talking about
> and there’s a strong clue there – i.e. no
> reality to know!
> We're really struggling. Maybe we can't adequately
> define God--in which case we can't even ask
> whether or not there is a God. Where do we go from
> there? [/quote]
Susan: We stick with the science and, having learnt and
> understood that objective evidence is what is most
> likely to be reliable, we no longer need, nor have
> we needed to for a long time now, to posit some
> creator, especially since we know that in order
> for something to be tested and found to be
> falsifiable, it must be observed in the first
Ray: I think you misunderstand the limitations of science, here. All theories of science are made up fantasies--just like anthropomorphic theories of god. These fantasies are studied as parts of paradigms and falsified, until another paradigm emerges. Although these fantasies and paradigms get better through the falsification process, we don't know that they are getting "truer."
And, of course, science cannot study anything directly in the spiritual world--and the indirect evidence is less than overwhelming.
I know I don't have the slightest idea what
> God is, but I do have some Spiritual clues--and
> have made a connection.
Susan: And here you talk of ‘spiritual clues’ but
> they are just as imagined as the god they are
> clues to.
Ray: No. The clues are provided through personal experience--one's own personal experiences are not imagined.
I do have regular contact with the Holy
> Spirit--and I'm confident that a manifestation of
> the true God is within me.
Susan: And that is a very strong claim. Where is its
> foundation? Where is the substance?
Ray: The foundation is the Christian Trinity. The substance is through experience living the Christian way. I experience a much deeper sense of God's presence than I did when I was younger. Someone who reported a similar personal Spiritual growth was Leo Tolstoy.
Looking at a reflection of the sun--or
> looking through a filter--or looking at a recorded
> image gives us more information than most of us
> can meaningfully process with no possibility of
> So, we can indirectly gather scraps of information
> about God--if we try. It may even be easy if we're
> not too ambitious.
Susan: All information, bar none, that you gain about God
> is from human ideas and thoughts.
Ray: All information about "god" (small "g") is from human ideas and thoughts. Information about God (capital "G") is a different story altogether.
Susan: Consider the fact that if anyone anywhere in
> the world comes up with a verifiable, falsifiable
> (etc) fact about God, then it will become a part
> of the knowledge base we have; and if it happens
> before my life ends, I will be amongst all those
> who acknowledge it as such. Not much time left for
> that for me, though!!
Ray: I am absolutely certain that no one will come up with any evidence of any kind that tells us anything at all about God that any of us will ever understand.
I will comment with full text in a separate comment at a later time.