A Christian’s Circular Reasoning

Don asks:

Why is it not possible for people to see immaterial things? We see with the mind as much or more than with then eyes. If the mind can conceive of immaterial things we can see them. Often skeptics declare that what Paul saw was a hallucination. If so, he saw something that was not material. We all dream. When we do we see things that are not material. If there are immaterial beings such as spirits, why would it not be possible to see them?

Why is it not possible for people to see immaterial things? Because ‘immaterial things’ by their very nature cannot be seen. Moreover, in the sense you’re talking about – supernatural beings and places – there is no evidence they have independent existence outside the human imagination.

We see with the mind as much or more than with then eyes. The mind processes what the eyes see. Sometimes it produces, imagines, ‘sights’ for itself, as in hallucinations or dreams, but this doesn’t mean these sights are real. Indeed, they are not.

If the mind can conceive of immaterial things we can see them. You mean like ghosts, spirits from the Greek underworld and Norse gods? Of course you don’t,  though your argument applies equally to these. You mean only Christian immaterial things: heaven and hell, angels and demons and the risen Christ. This is merely special pleading.

Your assertion is patently untrue. It begs the question, ‘if the mind can conceive of ’immaterial things’ does this mean these things are real?’ To which the answer must always be ‘no’.

what Paul saw was a hallucination. If so, he saw something that was not material. Yes and yes. Paul hallucinated on more than one occasion, seeing figures and places that were not real. His seeing them did not make them real.

We all dream. When we do, we see things that are not material. A statement of the bleedin’ obvious, but yes, we all dream. Does this make what we see in those dreams real? Again, no.

If there are immaterial beings such as spirits…There aren’t. As you keep stating while failing to recognise it, they are merely figments of the imagination.

why would it not be possible to see them? Because as figments of the imagination, they don’t exist. Here’s where your ‘reasoning’ is entirely circular: the human mind can conceive of immaterial beings and places and these things can be ‘seen’ ((in dreams and hallucinations); because they can be seen they must be real. Therefore, we know they’re real because they can be seen. Can you not ‘see’ the absurdity of your position, Don?  

My 3+ year old granddaughter can distinguish between reality and figments of the imagination, fantasy and dreams. It is really is time you could too.

15 thoughts on “A Christian’s Circular Reasoning

  1. In the world of the Willfully Ignorant there are no rules for reality or perception. They can believe whatever “apparent” hallucinations or delusions simply because they want to or even need to inorder to perpetuate their own fantasy. “I felt Jesus’ presence while I prayed” “My mother-in-law has been looking in on me since she passed” “I was possessed by the Holy Spirit!” and many more such nonsensical self-deceptions.

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    • If that were all there was, I would be inclined to go with your assessment – nonsensical self-deceptions. But as I wrote to Neil, there is the inconvenient fact that information is often shared by those “hallucinations” that seem impossible apart from the “hallucinations” being more than hallucinations and coming from some non-material source outside oneself.

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  2. Immaterial things do not exist is a prejudice that spoils that follows in your logic. Whether immaterial things exist or not is the question. So, basing your argument on the premise that they do not exist is begging the question.

    Why do you think they do not exist?

    I am convinced immaterial things such as spirits do exist. The basis of that conviction is the ability of these immaterial things to reveal the future. As in Dr. Neal’s learning that her son would die (which he did in a bicycle-auto accident a few years later) and with virtually all the prophecies of the Bible, or in revealing things that the person could not know such as a recent NDE in which a young boy in a traffic accident clinically died and met his two siblings who had been miscarriages before his birth and of which he had no knowledge. Those are hard to explain apart from immaterial beings transmitting that knowledge or actually interacting with someone.

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    • I am convinced immaterial things such as spirits do exist. And THAT is why you travel the path that you do. It’s so much easier to rely upon “invisible forces” to explain the unexplainable than it is to simply face the fact that life doesn’t always work the way we would like. Not to mention, it’s a great way to avoid dealing with unpleasant things/events/happenings.

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    • ‘Immaterial things’ do not exist is not a prejudice, Don, it is the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the fact there is no evidence for them.

      That you’re convinced they do exist is no doubt lovely for you but it does nothing for your credibility as an ‘intellectual’ Christian. You mention a handful of incidents which you think indicate that ‘immaterial things’ are real. Quite apart from the fact you don’t cite your sources, these incidents could be the result of any number of occurrences within the human brain (hunches, worries, imaginings, dreams, convulsions) which over time become related as communication from supernatural beings (while the hunches and imaginings that don’t pan out are conveniently forgotten.) These kinds of incidents are not evidence of ‘immaterial things’, any more than the breeze blowing through the corn is evidence of Zephyrus, the ancient god of the wind.

      Let me pose some questions to you: if you are convinced that ‘immaterial things’ exist, do you therefore recognise spiritualists’ encounters with the souls of the departed as real? Do you believe that Catholics really do commune with the saints? Do you accept that Muhammad was actually visited by the angel Gabriel? For consistency’s sake, you should – indeed must. Or is it just Christian ‘immaterial things’ you think are real?

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  3. The 70 weeks Daniel 9 prophecy “could be the result of any number of occurrences within the human brain (hunches, worries, imaginings, dreams, convulsions)? If you recall Daniel received this from an immaterial angel. And all the other fulfilled prophecies? What of them? Hunches?

    RE: your questions. I don’t know. I do know the test of the taste is in the pudding. And there have been plenty of tests – prophecies that have proven accurate. There have been far too many to shrug off as hunches or convulsions.

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    • We’ve covered ‘prophecies’ before, Don. The later stories purportedly showing their fulfilment were written around them; they are their own fulfilment but only in a literary sense, not in reality.

      Daniel, as you know, was written long after it claims; its ‘prophecies’ of events that had already happened are, not surprisingly, accurate. Those in its future, miserable failures.

      But you’re avoiding answering the question: You don’t know if you believe in the encounters of supernatural beings in other religions? Come off it, Don. They’re as credible (or not) as those in your chosen fantasy – so why don’t you know?

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      • RE: Daniel. In the case of the 70 weeks prophecy, it does not matter if the writing of Daniel is early or late. It is still earlier by several hundred years than the events it predicts.

        RE: encounters of supernatural beings in other religions. I did not say I did not believe them. I said I did not know. I also said that the test of the pudding is in the taste. (I think that is an English expression, so you should get it.)

        That means the outcome determines whether it is true or not, at least as far as the prophecies are concerned. As you know there was a warning in the OT that prophets who speak – even claiming supernatural sources – and the prophecy does not come true are to be rejected. That does not mean there was no supernatural source; it could have been demonic. It simply means it was not from God. It could also have been created by the false prophet for his own benefit.

        The same may be said for other kinds of claimed supernatural contacts, such as NDE. They may be real or they may be not. However, when the person reports receiving information that proves to be true and could not have been known other than through a supernatural source, I take notice. Those kinds of reports are not uncommon. So, I conclude at the very least that NDE encounters might very well be true supernatural encounters. The test is in the taste.

        Your policy of rejecting all claims of supernatural sources on the basis of your presumption that there are no supernatural beings is illogical and unscientific. I would think if you are committed to knowing what is true, you would give these a second look. It is akin to declaring all UFO sightings mistaken on the basis of a presumption that there are no other beings in the universe who could travel to earth. The fact is we don’t really know, but it would be wise to be open to the possibility. The test is in the taste.

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      • Don, there’s really no point in responding to you as all you do is reiterate points you’ve made several times already. You’re not here for discussion but to proselytise. Your mind is closed.

        All I am going to say about your current comment is that your ‘convictions’ are not evidence of anything except your gullibility.

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  4. Nan, anyone can make predictions, and some may actually come to pass. When it comes to biblical predictions, the standard is 100% accurate. If not, do not accept the prophet. When it comes to the unexplainable information (not predictions usually) that people may report during a NDE, the fact that they are pretty nearly impossible apart from a real supernatural encounter seems to be evidence that it is supernatural. That is what is in question, after all.

    Neil has given up the question, and well he should. He has no answer except to write them off as “convictions.” Basically, that is an admission that nothing I’ve presented as evidence with anything other than his own “convictions” or “convulsions.”

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    • I didn’t ‘write off’ the supernatural as ‘convictions’; that’s how you described them. You said, and I quote, ‘I am convinced immaterial things such as spirits do exist’ (my emphasis). You don’t like your own words quoted back at you, do you. Perhaps that’s because everything you write reveals how your beliefs are internally generated. You haven’t provided any evidence that there are supernatural beings ‘out there’ that exist independent of the human imagination.

      As Hitchens said, ‘that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.’

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      • What would Hitchens or you consider evidence?

        Since the supernatural is, well, supernatural, the evidence is likely to not be the same as for my dog. But that seems to be about as far as you or Kos or Hitchens go. “Produce the supernatural in the same way you could produce your dog.” That is silly. But still not completely off target. I can provide evidence my dog exists without actually producing my dog.

        I can show you the mess my dog made of my house when I left him alone a day. Sure, there might be other explanations for the mess, but my dog is the best explanation. I can show you the holes he dug in the yard. Yes, something else might have dug the holes, but my dog is the best explanation.

        The same kind of indirect evidence can be and has been provided for the supernatural.Knowledge in advance is one of those. Miracles,the occurrence of things both on a personal level and a cosmic level that cannot be explained by natural causes, is a third. Answered prayer is a fourth. Those are objective evidence that can be examined and could be explained if there were natural causes. Brushing them off as “hunches” or “convulsions” or even just “convictions” without reasons doesn’t do it.

        The persistence throughout history among people of every culture of a consciousness of God or demons or supernatural forces is a third. Though this evidence is subjective and cannot be examined, its virtually universal nature seems to demand an explanation by something more than “hunches” and “convulsions.”

        And the fact is every one of these has been either examined and some attempt has been made by science and skeptics to explain them. But they have not gone away. It is still a puzzle that the universe is as it is or even could be as it is by natural causes. Even scientists recognize that it is highly unlikely. It is still impossible to explain how the prophecies of the Bible can be explained by “hunches.” Or healing explained by spontaneous remission – every time. (Spontaneous remission is not an explanation; it is an admission that we don’t know.)

        So, evidence there is. Explanations there are not.

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      • Great analogy, Don. The evidence for your make-believe is definitely comparable with a dog shitting all over the house.

        A new post on Debunking Christianity (https://www.debunking-christianity.com/2022/08/enough-already-with-this-holy-spirit.html?m=1) addresses Christians’ inability to provide ‘reliable, verifiable and objective evidence’ for invisible super-beings. Why not take your fight over there? Oh, I forgot – you’re banned because of your shameless proselytising. What a pity.

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