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How is the Bible evidence the supernatural events it claims actually happened?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Butterfly Christie, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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    I mean, from what I've seen the Bible is just hearsay from thousands of years ago. That is not evidence at all. The problem with hearsay is its not verifiable to any outside parties. If someone were to accept hearsay from thousands of years ago they might as well accept the Pagan or the Hindu Gods. Modern personal experiences are the same. There are all sorts of people going around saying they were abducted by aliens, or saw bigfoot. People who even say they saw God and its Allah instead. There is no way to verify their experience so its not evidence.

    Anecdotes as evidence:
    Anecdotal evidence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    On top of that, the gospels appear to have been originally untitled; they were quoted anonymously in the first half of the second century. (i.e. 100–150) but the names by which they are currently known appear suddenly around the year 180. (E P Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, (Penguin, 1995) page 63 - 64.)

    No one knows who these original authors were. They could have been anybody. Including con-artists, scammers, etc. If you saw any other book written around 2000 years ago, and no one knew the authors and it said the author had a flying pet camel, would you believe it? People can say anything, about anything in books.

    There are also prophecy claims. It is very easy to make a prophecy fulfilled. Its trying to match up words with the countless events in history. Some people can also make a prophecy vague, or say words in a way that are open to interpretation. Someone can also say something they thought was probably going to happen. They can get away with it that way. On top of that, coincidences happen. There wouldn't be a way to tell if the prophecy fulfilling event was not just a very lucky coincidence. Another way is if the person knew the prophecy beforehand and intentionally made it happen. Since the bible is one of the most widely known books, people are able to do that. Which makes its prophecies not credible.

    I know there are places and things like that which were real, but where is the evidence for the supernatural claims? If someone found a Spider Man comic 2000 years from now and the Spider Man Comic mentioned New York would that make it true?

    I don't see how a god, who would have been the genius who created the intricate laws of physics, who divised the mathematics of the universe, who made every complex design in the human body, who would be the beginning and end and so knows the future, could only come up with a book full of hearsay from thousands of years ago as evidence. That is one of the worst ways to prove to someone something.

    Historians will tell you that they do not work with proof, they only work with probability because once something is in the past it is gone. The event in question is over with. So there is no way to verify that it truly happened. The more far we go in the past, the more difficult it is to see what really happened. Now there are certain things they do to see what probably happened. These probabilities are limited by the human mind; what we already know, something could have happened that we don't know about, or just something that we didn't think of, or something that was improbable happened but we dismissed it because it was improbable. They can see if anecdotes match up with any other form of evidence they have, but pure hearsay is just not considered evidence at all.

    For anyone that says "Just have faith, it's not supposed to be evidence" I made a thread explaining that as well and you can reply there:

    http://www.religiousforums.com/forum/religious-debates/113065-blind-faith.html#post2402165
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
    BigRed and Seyorni like this.
  2. Just_me_Mike

    Just_me_Mike New Member

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    8,706
    The end of the road for some, after a fast life experiencig many things, or after a long life with nothing left to experience, some turn to inquisitiveness about death, the other side.
    It turns out the bible is one collection of words that discuss this aspect of life. Therein lies the appeal.
    Now God being God, can control whom will believe and who will not according to this book of words. Some people are quite powerless when it comes to their devotion to these words, and others ridicule from outside and say they are just weak minded.

    Best not to judge others, just keep following your heart.
     
  3. FluentYank3825

    FluentYank3825 Ironic Idealist

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    David Hume in his books An Enquiry into Human Understanding and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion contain some very fascinating arguments concerning this topic. His views on miracles actually match some of your statements quite well.
     
  4. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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    That wasn't actually an explanation on how the Bible is evidence, which is what this thread is about. It looks like you said the Bible doesn't have evidence, but God picks certain people to believe in it anyway. I'm actually asking this to Christians who think it is evidence, and I know they are out there.

    I haven't seen the evidence there is a God out there making people irrationally believe in a book either. Maybe that's the point of that proposed situation, but I could just as easily say an invisible magical hippo that created the universe is out there, he just only gives evidence to people he chooses. So people would be justified in not believing. Your indistinguishable from someone who is just saying that because they already invested a lot in their belief, and just wants it to be true, but has no evidence for it.

    I don't really disagree with judging. I just disagree with pre-judging. Everybody judges, and we wouldn't be able to live without doing it. I'm judging I'm typing on a keyboard right now. If I wasn't able to judge, I'd probably be typing on a toaster. I just when the light is green, when driving my car at an intersection. Judging saves people's lives.
     
  5. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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    Can you explain what was the best argument they gave? Thanks I'll check them out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  6. wordmagnifiedabovenames

    wordmagnifiedabovenames New Member

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    It may not be, (depending upon the standard to which the "evidence" is held, and whether one is prepared to count God as a "witness" who is able to testify to the events contained within.) Perhaps God is more interested in a person's faith than He is interested in a person's ability to agree with that against which there is no counter-argument.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  7. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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  8. Just_me_Mike

    Just_me_Mike New Member

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    So you are looking for a specific group of people to allow you to bolster or practice your arguments on, rather then focus on what the bible actually has to say?

    Interesting. Good luck with that.
     
  9. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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    Though I might be technically practicing I'm just interested in what they have to about it in general. I'm not looking to practice or bolster.

    Christians have different interpretations and beliefs. You may think that is not what it says, but they do.
     
  10. waitasec

    waitasec New Member

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    21,014
    only an insecure god would be interested if anyone believes in it...
     
  11. wordmagnifiedabovenames

    wordmagnifiedabovenames New Member

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    My point is that perhaps the purpose of the Bible is not to prove the existence of God, nor to prove beyond any and all doubt the occurrence of supernatural events. Perhaps its purpose is to build faith and hope and comfort and all those sorts of things and provide instruction to people.

    Eg: If I found a book that detailed someone being crushed to death by a collapsing building, the text in and of itself doesn't necessarily prove the existence of buildings, nor the guaranteed result of one collapsing on a person, nor does it explain why buildings collapse, nor verify beyond any and all doubt that one such building did collapse and crush one such person. Afterall, the text may just be heresay from centuries ago. Such a book does however, help build my faith that I'd prefer to not be underneath a building when it collapses.

    All that said, I think that the Bible is evidence for these supernatural events, as the events had witnesses and the Bible is their recorded testimony. I can't prove beyond any and all doubt that it is, but I still believe it.

    Or a God who is interested in what His creations think (and wants to correct them when their wrong.) Or a God who actually puts value on faith and considers it a virtue, and wants His creations to be virtuous. Or a God who has set up a system that requires faith (and works) to achieve the desired ends. None of these reasons for being interested in whether people believe in God show God to be insecure. Do please try to stay on topic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  12. waitasec

    waitasec New Member

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    that is quite a remarkable claim considering the reality of being subjected to a whole lot of indifference. tell me, what evidence can you provide that maintains your assertion ?

    are you insinuating one cannot be virtuous without faith in god?

    so far, what i have experienced, i see no reason why anyone would gain by making uninformed decisions. can you give me an example of why this is a good idea?

    well if you believe the bible to be gods word he did say he was a jealous god...he was more worried about how he was worshipped and feared than he was about how his creation treated each other....
     
  13. outhouse

    outhouse Atheistically

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    26,774
    my opinion it is not.

    is any book filled with poems and allegory and myths and fables to be read as literal fact????
     
  14. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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    The problem here is we have evidence of buildings collapsing, and there is good logical reasons we can provide why not to be under a building when it collapses.

    People don't make books to inspire people on how to react to things that there is no evidence of. It's the same as if someone wrote a book on how to behave if you ever encounter an invisible magic fairy, and you have to do the things the fairy says in the book.

    I explained the subject of faith in this thread, *Link*

    My first post explained that very claim. Testimony and hearsay are basically the same thing.
     
  15. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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    Wow so the people in this forum at the moment are kind of in agreement with my first post and/or don't feel like explaining it? Very good then. I'm a tad surprised since this is a religious forum, but a lot not surprised since my argument really looks to be the case.
     
  16. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire Staff Member Premium Member

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    At least Paul is personal testimony ;)

    The various books of the Bible are evidence of the events contained within them in the same way that any recollection of events put on paper is.

    It is evidence, just not compelling.
     
  17. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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    Only because he said so. So just because he said that doesn't make any difference. It is still hearsay that can't be verified by third parties. Especially parties living 2000 years later. If people trusted that, anyone could claim anything no matter how true or untrue it is.

    Those claims on paper are not evidence, unless you define evidence as any claim of truth. I mean evidence as in something that really shows something is true. Known methods are if it's verifiable, falsifiable, and repeatable.

    Claims on paper are still just hearsay. If someone claimed they saw bigfoot, and wrote it down on paper that doesn't make any difference on whether bigfoot actually exists because anyone can just write anything on paper.

    I'm not saying go investigate every hearsay out there. For example, if a scientist says the evidence points to this conclusion there are many people who will just say "Okay I'll take your word for it on this one." That is only because if people wanted to they can go find evidence that scientists have been educated on this certain subject, and if they wanted to they can look at what the scientist did to come to a certain conclusion. How the experiment was done, etc. Every professional scientists publishes their work for the public to see, and the big rule in science is it must be repeatable. So if someone wanted to verify this they can go do their own independent work. A scientist's job depends on their reputation. For example if they were found to be producing shady work and saying things that were not true, they would be out of a job. No one would hire them.

    Living in the US I'm more likely to believe there is an Australia on the other side of the world than to believe the Jesus stories because I can see pictures and videos of it, I could fly there if I wanted to, its verified by qualified people living today who we could interview and we can know their history to judge if they would lie or not. Its not impossible that there isn't an Australia on the other side of the world but from what I've experienced throughout my life it would be extremely improbable.

    I'm more likely to believe that things that ordinarily happen because they are more verifiable. If someone told me a storm was on its way and where I live is in storm season than I'd be more likely to believe it but, even if someone I trust incredibly suddenly told me the monkey god Bobo created the universe and wants us to believe in him or we will suffer eternally, I'd say no, find the next sucker, or show me some evidence. As the saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
     
  18. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire Staff Member Premium Member

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    10,049
    Hearsay is one person telling us what a second person said about something. So it is not hearsay.

    People do claim just about everything... and we evaluate what they say, who they are, and how it compares with our experience.

    Evidence is something that points at something being true. Someone claiming to have experienced an event is evidence, just not necessarily compelling.

    That is proof.

    You've just eliminated all of history, which is not repeatable.

    Besides, that is the scientific method, and not all claims are scientific in nature.

    Claims of personal experience are not hearsay.
     
  19. Butterfly Christie

    Butterfly Christie Agnostic Atheist

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    Oh your correct about the difference in definitions between hearsay and testimony. It doesn't make any difference though because if someone wasn't there themselves, the other person can describe the events in any way they wanted to, and no one can verify what they were saying is correct. Even if it was a group of people, there isn't a way to verify there was a secret group agenda involved to not tell the truth. Some people are experts at lying. Up front they look like perfectly nice people, but in secret they could be not telling the truth, and for reasons that no one knows about. It's just not possible to look at every moment of every person's lives. They could have had a moment that led them to believe they needed to lie, and for a reason no one else knows about. When it is someone who lived around 2000 years ago, all sorts of things could have happened that we don't know about.

    I didn't see you address what I said here, this is the main point:

    If someone was hiking through the woods and they saw bigfoot, they could go swimming, skip merrily through a daisy field with bigfoot, and go dancing with bigfoot, etc. and if no one saw them the person can just come back and tell their friends there is no bigfoot because he didn't want his species to be exploited by humankind. This isn't a way to verify a situation actually happened.

    It's not compelling, and it isn't sufficient for rational belief either because what we know about the situation doesn't lead to one possibility. It leads to all sorts of possibilities that we don't know, or can't know.

    I talked about history in my first post:

     
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