Rawe, I think I understand what you are saying. Perhaps I am just not seeing what you see, in regard to how it might support your theory.
What all this boils down to is the inescapable fact that all our concepts of others are ultimately within our noggins. We do not even need someone to be physically present for us to think about them. Is it possible to have thoughts about purely imagined individuals who otherwise do not exist in reality? We can...
I agree with everything that you have said here, regarding our concepts of others. However, our concepts do not negate one way or the other, the existence of that person.
I can bring the concept of my mother into that steel box... but my mother still exists as a literal being.
I can bring the concept of Obi-Wan with me into that steel box... but Obi does not exist except as a ficitonal being.
Now, a physical steel box cannot keep Christ out. He is Spirit. He is within those who belong to Him... but He also exists without them. Just as someone can be a part of us, but also outside of us.
I am arguing for a concept that makes sense and continues to dignify both the believer and the non-believer.
I can see that you are trying for this.
I am going to suggest that this concept that you are arguing for is going to be acceptable to many atheists, because it IS what they are already saying. God is a concept of the mind, but does not exist. What you seem to be trying to do is explain to the atheist that this is not a bad thing, and is in fact a good thing for that person. I appreciate your intent, and thought this statement was cute:
Godly power without actually having to exist -- now that is overcoming an amazing deficit! (I really do mean that sincerely)
However, lol... a person of faith cannot actually accept that ;)
I can accept it when an atheist says that he/she sees no acceptable evidence for God. There is no conflict there. But there are some atheists who are offended by that also, as it may seem to imply to them that they are lacking something.
Where we got in trouble as Witnesses was believing that our ability to please Jehovah God rested on unquestioned obedience to Christ's Brothers as represented by the Governing Body. In that model we wound up handing over our intellect to another who could abuse it for their own selfish interests.
Absolutely agree with you here!
So when I suggested to Tammy that is what her brain was stuggling with, her response was basically, no, no struggle at all. And I am suggesting that is great insight for us non-believers. It demonstrates a sincerity and not a purposeful avoidance of the conclusion God does not exist, for self-serving reasons.
Thank you, Rawe.
To Tammy, Christ exists, there is no question about it, even while she admits up front the knowledge of this is personal, spiritual and not externally accessible.
Please define externally accessible.
Because the knowledge of Christ's existence is available to anyone, and others know this and hear His voice as well. Verifying what one person testifies to as being true... at least to those who also experience the same thing. Using the spiritual 'tools' available.
Please, Tammy, expand on this, since this could sound like I am able to speak to your views.
I hope I have done this for you. There are a lot of concepts going on in this conversation now, so I may have missed touching on something. If so, please ask.
Perhaps I should add something to this conversation now ;).
My opinions are not always the same as what my Lord tells me. I defer to Him of course, but sometimes I need to 'see' it before I trust it.
I'll give you one small example. A month or so ago I needed to find the story about the adulterous woman brought to Christ, and He ends up saying to the crowd, 'he who is without sin cast the first stone.' I wasn't on the computer, or I would have just googled it. Instead I needed to look it up in the actual bible. So I reasoned, this verse is one that some scholars believe has been added, and since scholars also conclude that Matt is derived from Mark, perhaps it is in Matthew.
Now my Lord says to me (and I do mean says the word), "John."
I heard Him, but did not attribute this to Him, and so did not listen.
I look through Matthew, and of course do not find it.
Then I think, perhaps it is actually Mark.
My Lord says to me again, "John."
I again ignore him, and look through Mark. Again I do not find the passage. And seriously, how stubborn am I, lol... I decide to look through Luke. (In my mind, the book of John is the most accurate, because the author of John is actually there, whereas Luke investigated after the fact... so according to my own reasoning, nothing would have later been added to John, it must have been to one of the other books - this being a good example of not always being able to rely upon our own reasoning, lol)
This time I get the sense of a sigh (not an annoyed one, a patient one), and I hear from my Lord this time, "I have told you John. But if you must find it the hard way, then that is what you will do."
Of course I kinda know by now that it is in John, but I look through Luke just the same... then go on and find the passage in John, that by now I of course know my Lord has been telling me is there.
Just a small example.Peace, tammy