If you visit here at DC then eventually you'll run into articulett (or she will run into you!). She is a High School teacher with a master's degree, and that's all I'll tell you. She is also an administrator here but doesn't exercise her powers much at all. She has never written one post. But she is a pit-bull when it comes to unevidenced supernatural magical beliefs. I admire her tenacity and her use of words. She helps me deal with the comments of believers, and like all of my posse, I appreciate this so very much! I actually met articulett in Vegas when I was at TAM in July (that's James Randi's, The Amazing Meeting). She is a very delightful person. We laughed a lot. She has become quite the advocate of the Outsider Test For Faith (OTF) too, and you know that's music to my ears. Here are some recent quotes of hers. Enjoy.
If a Muslim or Mormon or believer-in-witches could see their supernatural beliefs through your eyes, would they believe still believe? If not, why should we take your supernatural beliefs more seriously than you take theirs? Why shouldn't we require the kind of evidence YOU'd require to believe their claims for us to believe yours? Believers seem to want others to lower the bar when it comes to their faith the way they have instead of using the standard they use to judge other religions.
That's the essence of the OTF. The outsider has no more reason to accept your faith than you have to accept the faith of religions that you are an outsider to. We know for certain that humans make up gods and the like to explain those things that they don't understand. We know that lots of things once attributable to supernatural beings are now better explained by science-- we also know that there is no scientific evidence for any invisible beings-- nor do we have a good idea what it means to claim an entity "exists" but has none of the measurable qualities associated with existence. It makes no sense for a god who "wants" to be "believed in" to be indistinguishable from a mythological god.
Clearly, it's possible... even probable... that ALL invisible/immaterial/divine beings are entirely the product of human brains. Those of us who have left such beliefs behind don't see any reason to go back... just like you don't see any reason to become a Muslim. The outsider sees no more reason to believe the magical things you believe than you see reason to become a Scientologist. The only "sufficient evidence" you need to do the OTF is the standard you use to find other religions false. Apply THAT standard to your own religion.
I don't compare religions to science; I only point out that religion has no method of getting at the truth. Your conjecture about the supernatural is as useful to scientists as a reincarnationists conjecture on the subject. The OTF makes this clear to many.
If a Muslim could view their faith through your (outsider) eyes, would they still be Muslim?
The OTF is actually that simple. A true faith should be distinguishable from a false faith,. A real god that "wanted to be worshiped" or "believed in" would ensure that "he" was distinguishable from false gods, myths, etc. and would have no-one to blame but himself if he was disappointed with the results.
If your methods of getting at the truth are no better than the methods used by people of conflicting faiths, then why should outsiders take your supernatural beliefs more seriously than you take the beliefs of conflicting faiths?
When the truth matters, you want real evidence.
If your wife was missing, you wouldn't be interested in hearing peoples heartfelt belief about angels or demons or aliens absconding with her. You'd be much more interested in real evidence-- the kind that leads to finding your wife.
But no believer in the supernatural has that kind of evidence for their supernatural beliefs.
They change their standards based on what they WANT to believe or what they think they "have to believe" to be "saved". They don't use the methodology that they would use when the truth matters. Rather, they use confirmation bias.
Your god makes no sense. Why would it be into mind games? Why would it make things that disappoint it? How can it think without a brain? Why doesn't it communicate clearly? Why would a perfect being "want" anything? Why would an omnibenevolent being create suffering, confusion, holy wars, etc.? What is free will anyhow? Do pedophiles choose to be attracted to children? Did you choose your parents? Your sex? Could you choose to jump off a building and fly if you wanted to? Can a crippled person will themselves to walk? Do animals have free will.
It sounds to me like you are using "divine hiddenness" and "free will" as excuses you need to keep your faith rather than admitting the more likely scenario: your god is as imaginary as the gods you don't believe in. Your supernatural beliefs are as mistaken as myths past.
You give us no more reason to take your faith seriously than a Scientologist can give you reason to take their faith seriously.
To me, it seems like no amount of evidence would sway you for your magical beliefs ... and the evidence that you find sufficient to believe in Christianity is not the same quality of evidence you'd need to believe in Islam or Mormonism (faiths that you are an outsider to). Of course, your "sufficient reasons" for believing your magic would not be sufficient to them either.
What method are you using to distinguish real invisible beings from mythological ones? What do you think is the best method for distinguishing true supernatural beliefs from misperceptions, delusions, false teachings, scams, superstitions, illusions, etc.
Certainly, if there WAS sufficient evidence to believe that consciousness could exist absent a material brain, scientists would be testing that evidence-- whether the evidence was for gods, souls, demons, fairies or any other immaterial being humans might imagine. Right?
If there were any real gods that wanted to be worshiped or "believed in" or wanted people to believe specific things about them, they would communicate clearly and would have no one to blame but themselves if they were disappointed in their creations! Right?
I think most believers believe because they've been told that it's good to believe-- that they can get eternal goodies in exchange for faith... and that they will be tortured forever if they don't. They're indoctrinated as kids by people they trust and the hope and fear keeps them tethered to their faith long after they've outgrown other superstitions.
I think you believe the magical things you believe for the same reason that Muslims and Mormons believe what they believe. You might find this to be sufficient reason to believe your brand of Christian belief, but I bet you can see why it's not sufficient to take on the beliefs of those outside your faith (say, Muslims and Mormons). In fact, I bet that if those others could see their faith as you (an outsider) does, they'd no longer believe the things they do.