You're trying to pin down matters of faith to scientific analysis. Can't be done.
And I'm asking why it can't be done and will carry on asking why until someone comes up with a decent answer. It's the WHOLE point. WHY is it down to faith? If i'ts important or has an influence on our future, how can it morally and justifiably be down to anything as vague and capricious as an emotion that makes people think a fence post has anything to do with the Virgin Mary? If god made the Universe, then he went to an effort to hide. He could have been more apparent if he wanted. If he's that smart, he would have known the issues that his lack of substantiality or demonstrability would cause to humankind. Under such circumstances and in view of all the problems that this has caused, again, is it moral or reasonable? He made it this way, the problems are his to answer or resolve, the buck stops with him.
And remember, following your logic, I'm using my god-given brain to think this, so am being just as wonderfully and fear inspiringly made as any creature doing what is natural to it. I'm not harming others, and I assure you I would believe in god if you could prove it, so if god cares about every single one of us, why no proof? Remember the argument god had with Lot.
Re. your mountain
The experiments you could perform on the mountain would under the same circumstances come up with the same results, no matter who performed them if the correct procedure was used. And over time, more and more would be discovered about the mountain.
You can't apply that to god. Nothing is consistent or repeatable in proving god exists. If the rest of nature works in this way, why is god so counter-intuitive? Is it a game? And, essentially, we know as much of god as the terrified ape-man who first invested thunder with a name. We've written a lot about it, and a lot of people have died arguing over it, but we're still as ignorant of god as when the idea entered human consciousness.
You can use that to say "see how incomprehensible (in some ways ) god is". But it's also entirely reasonable to use this to say "hey, what do you know, the sun doesn't revolve around the Earth because there is no evidence it does and evidence to the contrary. As there is no evidence god exists, and lots of evidence that show that most of the ways god has been conceived by people are provably wrong, there's another idea past its sell-by date."
My point was, simply, that there are aspects of God that are beyond the comprehension of any human.
Yes, but the point I'm making is that the lack substantive and incontrovertible evidence of the existence of god is not logical, reasonable or even moral, if god is anything caring with a plan. God could be a provable fact, just like my girlfriend is a provable fact, but that wouldn't mean everything about him was comprehensible, just as not everything about my girlfriend is comprehensible. You are making the lack of proof his prime incomprehensibility, which is CONVENIENT, and just doesn't fly for me, for the reasons detailed.
Some people might understand little more than that God exists. Some individuals - foolish ones, in my opinion - might actually deny dogmatically that God exists, speaking as they do from their lofty position as earthly humans, which clearly qualifies them to know everything about the universe.
Ad hominen. Strawman.
Some might come to know God quite personally and intimately, albeit subjectively.
Fine, but how are the elect selected? Is this not predeterminism? What about the Hnidus/Chinese etc.?
Others might become repositories of theological information.
Theology has nothing to do with god existing as it could/does exist without a god. Like Klingon and Sindarin (Elvish) exist as languages, even though there are no Elves or Klingons.
All of these people know of God - even the ones who deny His existence are aware of Him (though they may consider Him a concept rather than a reality). But none of them can understand everything about Him fully. Our finite minds cannot fully grasp the infinite.
Assertion. Where is this list you have of what is and is not comprehensible about god, or is this your opinion?
Don't you feel you're falling victim to the old ineffable routine? To subscribe anything inexplicable, illogical, contradictory, or equivalently inconvenient to being beyond human comprehension?
Has the "old ineffable routine," as you call it, been disproven? Are you really pompous enough to believe that there is nothing that is beyond human comprehension?
Ad hominum, implied straw man. Assertion that a theological doctrine that has never been proven requires disproving, which I'd be happy to have a stab at ONCE SOMEONE PROVES IT, unless of course the proof was acceptable. Ineffability is I can't explain this in fancy clothes.
That's a phrase I've used many times to describe the way the cults teach about God. They have answers for everything. They resolve all the great theological debates with a stroke of the pen.
But what are you doing? I'm curious as to what you see as a differentiation.
At the risk of escalating this discussion, I'll give an example. The Bible teaches us that God is omniscient, all-knowing. We are told that He knows "the end from the beginning". Logically, that must mean that He knows whether each of us, as individuals, will ultimately be saved or lost. However, we are also told that we have free will whether to have a relationship with God or not, and thus our salvation (or lack thereof) rests in our own decision. How can this be? Theologians have debated this for centuries. They call it an "antinomy," or seeming contradiction, of the Christian faith. There are differing schools of thought on the subject within Christianity, even within denominations. But most Christians simply accept on faith that both are true. God does know all things, and we do have free will.
Please read 1984 and then discuss the statement "But most Christians simply accept on faith that both are true. God does know all things, and we do have free will." from the view point of MiniTru. Then we can talk about doctrinal and stylistic differences between mainstream religions and cults.
The Christian's relationship with God is based on faith, as well. You want evidence? There's a whole universe around you that came from somewhere. Sure, you can argue that the existence of the universe doesn't prove the existence of the Christian God. But it implies something as a First Cause. Christians claim to know, through personal - and, yes, subjective - experience with God, what that Cause is
Fine. You can claim that. It's presuppositionalist. But are you saying that you can prove it? No. Are you saying that you can explain why you can't prove it? Well, you might to your satisfaction, but not to mine.
Science simply doesn't know, doesn't even have a plausible theory.
At this point I should accuse you of being pompous. But I won't. Youre also wrong; there are plausible theories, but as neither of us dont have the maths to understand them, we can both perhaps to accept there is no satisfactory resolution of the first cause, as either way, it cant be proved. Yet. If someone makes a Universe in a lab in a few centuries time using the theories they have...
Yet many scientists will dogmatically deny the possibility of God's existence because they can't put Him in a box and experiment on Him. How absurd!
Generalisation to make point that ignores the very issues raised in objection. Circular reasoning.
I'm reminded of the Soviet cosmonaut decades ago who said that there couldn't be a God because he didn't see Him while he was in space. As if he had conquered the universe because he flew around the earth once!
Oh yes, Soviet propoganda is a really good basis to attack not believing in god. Not.
But I certainly don't limit myself by believing that all knowledge of the universe is available to us puny humans living on a dust speck in the spiral arm of a rather ordinary galaxy. And faith and subjective experience do, I believe, have their place in the discovery of reality.
Straw man. I'm just saying that we, who live on Earth, have no proof of god existing that is verifiable, when it might reasonably be expected. That's all.
Or perhaps people become Christians because they are (for example) more moral people, rather than the other way around?
Do you want to be bludgeoned over the head with statistics until you withdraw that? Or will you then say that those Christians in jail arent real Christians? What about the majority of the world? Are they immoral or abandoned by god? Youre on dangerous ground for a Christian, so read James beforehand.
(edited to add absent apostraphes... they were there when I posted guv, honest... )
Edited by - Abaddon on 13 February 2003 7:45:45