• Hallucinogen
    261
    Many people have had experiences of visiting Heaven or Hell, or seeing an angel during prayer. Others still, see visions of Christian-specific events or symbols. This is an argument that proceeds on this basis, that they serve as evidence for Christianity.

    (1) Evidence is a correspondence between some proposition and some observation of reality.

    (2) If some observation corresponds to some Bible-specific proposition, then it is evidence that Christianity is true.

    (3) If praying induces experiences for a biological reason, then prayer-induced experiences are not observations of reality but hallucinations.

    (4) Prayer induces experiences for a non-biological reason, therefore prayer-induced experiences are observations of reality.

    (5) There are prayer-induced experiences of observations that correspond to Bible-specific propositions, therefore they are evidence Christianity is true.

    There is an abundance of such testimonies in interview form, from people alive today who have prayed and had such visions (e.g., John C Fenn talks of his tour of Heaven during an interview).
    Historical examples of prayer-induced experiences:
    St Faustina Helen Kowalska saw apparitions of Jesus Christ in the 1930s, which have served as the basis for a popular devotion.
    Marguerite-Marie Alacoque had visions of Jesus in which He showed her His Sacred Heart
    Marie-Julie Jahenny had visions of Jesus' Heart.
    Anne Catherine Emmerich had many visions about the life of biblical characters and of Jesus Himself.
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    Can you outline what you intend to be up for discussion?
    I have thoughts, but your thread appears to sort of engineer its own success. Not much room to discuss here...
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    (2) If some observation corresponds to some Bible-specific proposition, then it is evidence that Christianity is true.Hallucinogen

    How so?

    We can meet people who have had direct experiences (during prayer) of Mohammad and Allah. Are they true too?

    I have met people who have had experiences (during meditation) of Krishna and Brahma. Are they true too?

    All religions contain people convinced they have had direct and personal experiences of gods, angels, demons, spirits, etc. All religions also have their miracle stories.

    Now even more interesting. We can meet with and interview thousands of people right now who also claim to have been abducted by aliens and have been examined on alien ships before being put back on earth.

    How exactly do we determine which of these stories, from such disparate and contradictory sources, are true and which are hallucinations, mistakes, or fabrications?
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    (aside) you may be interested in a book called DMT: The Soul of Prophecy. You can disregard the intention of the book, as its subtext - and simply read a psychiatrist's take on Jewish Patriarch's hallucinatory experiences ;)
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    (5) There are prayer-induced experiences of observations that correspond to Bible-specific propositions, therefore they are evidence Christianity is true.Hallucinogen
    Asylums are rife with such "true ... evidence".
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    We can meet people who have had direct experiences (during prayer) of Mohammad and Allah. Are they true too?Tom Storm

    It wouldn't contradict the argument if it were.

    All religions contain people convinced they have had direct and personal experiences of gods, angels, demons, spirits, etc. All religions also have their miracle stories.Tom Storm

    Yes, so since religions have certain aspects in common, there doesn't seem to be anything stopping those personal experiences having subjective qualitiies specific to the experiencer, so long as universal features aren't contradicted.

    , from such disparate and contradictory sourcesTom Storm

    Where was the contradiction?

    How exactly do we determine which of these stories (...) are true and which are hallucinations, mistakes, or fabrications?Tom Storm

    Using a model that establishes the criteria for each category.
  • Fire Ologist
    234
    (5) There are prayer-induced experiences of observations that correspond to Bible-specific propositions, therefore they are evidence Christianity is true.Hallucinogen

    I like the attempt, and I’m a believer in God, but this argument basically means “because I experienced God, I know God is true.” That argument only works for that one person.

    That person certainly has a reasonable, logical, syllogistic basis to demonstrate the truth of Christianity (if I follow you at all), but for anyone else, aside from trusting the witness, there is no testable evidence for the truth of God there.

    So it’s a good argument that the one who is praying can make to themselves, but without firsthand experience of this prayer induced evidence, the praying one is asking the other scientist/logicians to take his word on it.

    Someone giving a specific account of a prayer leading to proof of a Christian proposition in themselves, that is evidence of faith at work. This faith can be inferred by others. We know what faith looks like now. But the link between Christianity and prayer-induced experiences is as invisible to the scientist as cause and effect are invisible to David Hume.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    “because I experienced God, I know God is true.”Fire Ologist
    My argument is about gathering evidence for a religion, not proving God.

    That argument only works for that one person.Fire Ologist
    Yes, it's just evidence. It provides that person with an individual basis to interpret the spiritual world.

    but without firsthand experience of this prayer induced evidence, the praying one is asking the other scientist/logicians to take his word on it.Fire Ologist
    For those of us who haven't had such experiences, one could build a model from the internally-consistent religious experiences other people have had. All of them seem to involve a metaphysical basis of life, certain metaphysical operations such as prayer, a distinction between good and evil, and so on. This permits us to build a global model.

    Someone giving a specific account of a prayer leading to proof of a Christian proposition in themselves, that is evidence of faith at work.Fire Ologist
    I'm not sure what you mean, do you mean to contradict the argument?

    But the link between Christianity and prayer-induced experiences is as invisible to the scientistFire Ologist
    Scientists have established methods for investigating subjective phenomena, such as hallucinations, out of body experiences, neuropathic pain and other private experiences that lack an adequate scientific model.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    Yes, so since religions have certain aspects in common, there doesn't seem to be anything stopping those personal experiences having subjective qualitiies specific to the experiencer, so long as universal features aren't contradicted.Hallucinogen

    You are trying to prove Christianity is true by citing religious experince as evidence. You are aware, I suspect, that as far as Islam in concerned, Christianity is false, right? Jesus is not god and and the Crucifixion story is a myth. So an Islamic person who has the experience of Allah and Mohammad is confirming his/her belief that Christianity is not the true religion. That is certainly what Muslims I have met have told me. Conversely, the Christian vison confirms that Islam is not true and Jesus is God. How do you resolve this psycho-cultural conundrum?

    I am wondering if you are arguing that all religions are equally proven true if followers have specific religious experiences?

    How exactly do we determine which of these stories (...) are true and which are hallucinations, mistakes, or fabrications?
    — Tom Storm

    Using a model that establishes the criteria for each category.
    Hallucinogen

    Such as??

    St Faustina Helen Kowalska saw apparitions of Jesus Christ in the 1930s, which have served as the basis for a popular devotion.

    Marguerite-Marie Alacoque had visions of Jesus in which He showed her His Sacred Heart
    Marie-Julie Jahenny had visions of Jesus' Heart.
    Hallucinogen

    So what? It would be far more convincing if those people had visons or experiences of a god outside of their cultural expectations, like Kali or an Australian Aboriginal creator spirit. The fact that someone in a Christian country sees Christian vision just taps into expectations. Hallucinations or psychological experiences tend to be tied to the culture you know.

    Scientists have established methods for investigating subjective phenomena, such as hallucinations, out of body experiences, neuropathic pain and other private experiences that lack an adequate scientific model.Hallucinogen

    Can you cite reputable studies?
  • Fire Ologist
    234
    Someone giving a specific account of a prayer leading to proof of a Christian proposition in themselves, that is evidence of faith at work.
    — Fire Ologist
    I'm not sure what you mean, do you mean to contradict the argument?
    Hallucinogen

    Yes, because a logical argument has to show something multiple third parties can use to see the same thing, to see whatever is the conclusion of the argument. All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is a dead man someday. That is something a third party can demonstrate to fourth parties and so one getting the same result due to it being a sound, scientific/logical demonstration of a proof.

    I’m saying to the third party scientists running tests on believers and taking as objects things like Christian propositions, and prayer-induced experiences, all the scientists are left with (if they believe in the honesty of the test subject) is someone who is demonstrating faith. They don’t see the reason that test subject sees a reason to connect the Christian proposition to the prayer. You don’t see the reasons as a third party, you just see their reasons (that the scientific observer didn’t directly access), and would be better to call this evidence of what faith is, namely, someone in the act of believing something) rather than any proof about Truth of the thing they believe (how the christian proposition relates to their own prayer.)

    The believer trusts God. That can only look reasonable to someone else who trusts God.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    That argument only works for that one person.
    — Fire Ologist
    Yes, it's just evidence. It provides that person with an individual basis to interpret the spiritual world.
    Hallucinogen

    If I read you correctly then we probably have nothing further to talk about. You are not saying any of this is about what's true, it's merely evidence for the person having the experience. But we already knew this. People believe all kinds of absurdities based on bad evidence. The knack here is to discern what constitutes good evidence.

    The believer trusts God. That can only look reasonable to someone else who trusts God.Fire Ologist

    Yes. Although probably only reasonable to those who believe the same things about the same gods. Not the gods they don't trust in. Most religious people I have known disbelieve the spiritual experiences of other religions, even calling such visions lies or demonic.
  • bert1
    1.8k
    (1) Evidence is a correspondence between some proposition and some observation of reality.

    (2) If some observation corresponds to some Bible-specific proposition, then it is evidence that Christianity is true.

    (3) If praying induces experiences for a biological reason, then prayer-induced experiences are not observations of reality but hallucinations.

    (4) Prayer induces experiences for a non-biological reason, therefore prayer-induced experiences are observations of reality.

    (5) There are prayer-induced experiences of observations that correspond to Bible-specific propositions, therefore they are evidence Christianity is true.
    Hallucinogen

    Is this intended to be an argument?

    Is (4) an assumption?

    Granting (4), doesn't this apply to other religions as well? Are you as happy for this line of thinking to support other religions than Christianity? Perhaps you think that all religions are culture-specific approaches to one spiritual reality?
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    All of your premises are wrong except for number 1.

    St Faustina Helen Kowalska saw apparitions of Jesus Christ in the 1930s, which have served as the basis for a popular devotion.Hallucinogen

    Meanwhile children dying from cancer:
  • DifferentiatingEgg
    21
    Here's how prayer works, in my opinion:

    When someone has a "moment" with prayer, this is an affirmation of one own existence that resonates internally. A passionate "yes" to their own needs. If you believe God gave you such an ability for a reason, then who needs to waste time even arguing in the first place? Faith goes where fact dare not, bridging many a void.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    Faith goes where fact dare not, bridging many a void.DifferentiatingEgg

    How many of those bridges can be crossed safely? Why take that sick child to a hospital if you know that God can make him whole? And if He doesn't, well, God knows best why He chose to gather that child into heaven.
  • DifferentiatingEgg
    21
    Why take that sick child to a hospital if you know that God can make him whole?Vera Mont

    Why did Kevin Kostner crawl away from his medical treatment in the beginning of Dances with Wolves?
  • Ciceronianus
    3k
    There is an abundance of such testimonies in interview form, from people alive today who have prayed and had such visionsHallucinogen

    So "visions" are observations of reality, it seems.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    Conversely, the Christian vison confirms that Islam is not true and Jesus is God. How do you resolve this psycho-cultural conundrum?Tom Storm

    The first thing to be determined would be whether Muslims do have visions of Muhammad, or that they have any that would contradict other religions. I've heard of several cases of Muslims having visions of Jesus and becoming Christian, but never Muslims having visions of Muhammad, although that may be due to language barriers.

    In any such case, contradictions between observations are interpreted within a model. A model can establish the underlying explanation through having criteria for what kind of theology each observation is consistent with. It could be that a given observation is consistent with a theology that doesn't have certain moral characteristics established within the model. This would allocate any observation that would be Islam-specific to having a different explanation, for example, not coming from God but some other metaphysical source, but observations Muslims make that are consistent with the model at the global level would be accepted.

    In other words, you need a model to interpret observations, and the most invariant features of that model are established first. Apparent contradictions at more specific levels are interpreted afterward.

    I am wondering if you are arguing that all religions are equally proven true if followers have specific religious experiences?Tom Storm

    Those that are consistent with the model can be proven true. The model is necessary to interpret what they mean, be they in different languages as they may. Any that have a convergent meaning with other observations consistent with the model can be accepted.

    It would be far more convincing if those people had visons or experiences of a god outside of their cultural expectationsTom Storm

    This happens to Muslims and Buddhists.

    like Kali or an Australian Aboriginal creator spirit.Tom Storm

    These theologies may lack important qualities that God might want us to understand. They might have been adequate for guiding the destiny of their native populations before converging with the rest of humanity, but it could be the case that God uses visions to point a person in the direction of a more sophisticated religion when their free will can be relied on to get them to the correct destination.

    The fact that someone in a Christian country sees Christian vision just taps into expectations. Hallucinations or psychological experiences tend to be tied to the culture you know.Tom Storm

    But this doesn't prove that they are a product of culture. Consequently, it doesn't prove point (4) false.

    Can you cite reputable studies?Tom Storm

    Such scientific studies are not difficult to find. Examples; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31162335/ , https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20472012/ , https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00070/full
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    Is this intended to be an argument?bert1

    Yes.

    Is (4) an assumption?bert1

    No, there's no evolutionary or brain-physiological reason why praying would cause an immersive experience.

    Granting (4), doesn't this apply to other religions as well?bert1

    Yes.

    Are you as happy for this line of thinking to support other religions than Christianity?bert1

    Up to their degree of logical and model-theoretic consistency.

    Perhaps you think that all religions are culture-specific approaches to one spiritual reality?bert1

    Yes.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    You are not saying any of this is about what's true, it's merely evidence for the person having the experience.Tom Storm

    Those two things aren't mutually exclusive.

    People believe all kinds of absurdities based on bad evidence.Tom Storm

    What an absurdity is and what bad evidence would be is what is under contention.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    All of your premises are wrong except for number 1.Lionino

    Well, you're free to explain if you want to.

    Meanwhile children dying from cancer:Lionino

    This doesn't seem to be relevant to the argument.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    Someone giving a specific account of a prayer leading to proof of a Christian proposition in themselves, that is evidence of faith at work.Fire Ologist

    Yes, because a logical argument has to show something multiple third parties can use to see the same thing, to see whatever is the conclusion of the argumentFire Ologist

    That is what the argument does, it shows that an observation specific to Christianity is consistent with reality. Evidence as defined premise (1) is acceptable to multiple third parties.

    I’m saying to the third party scientists running tests on believers and taking as objects things like Christian propositions, and prayer-induced experiences, all the scientists are left with (if they believe in the honesty of the test subject) is someone who is demonstrating faith.Fire Ologist

    I'm not seeing how this follows. Do you mean to contrast faith with evidence? If not, then OK.

    They don’t see the reason that test subject sees a reason to connect the Christian proposition to the prayer. You don’t see the reasons as a third party, you just see their reasons (that the scientific observer didn’t directly access)Fire Ologist

    But this is to deny that scientists have reliable means of testing subjective self-reported phenomena. They do, and it produces replicable results. In the case of prayer-induced visions, that should even be clear to a non-scientist who merely looks at a significant number of cases. There are clear patterns in people's subjective experiences.

    and would be better to call this evidence of what faith is, namely, someone in the act of believing something) rather than any proof about Truth of the thing they believe (how the christian proposition relates to their own prayer.)Fire Ologist

    This just insists that the claim isn't based on evidence without argument, but only by referring to it as faith and not truth. You cannot refute the argument by simply calling it faith, and faith in turn not constituting evidence by definition.
  • Fire Ologist
    234
    I’ll assume I am not understanding you and start over.

    You are claiming to show that:

    (5) There are prayer-induced experiences of observations that correspond to Bible-specific propositions, therefore they are evidence Christianity is trueHallucinogen

    I see 4 distinct things where I may be misunderstanding your usage. Can you clarify, maybe with some examples or rephrasings, what you mean by:

    “Prayer induced experiences” - what is that to you?
    That’s really two things - “prayer” (which I think we all understand) and “induced experiences”.

    “Observations”. Maybe the above is attached to what I see as the second variable being “of observations”. I’d like to see how you distinguish “prayer induced experiences” from “experiences of observations”.

    “Bible-specific propositions” - probably just need an example, one that cashes out with the other terms using an example would help. “Jesus brought sight to a man who was blind from birth” so “God can work miracles” might be an example.

    “Christianity is true”. Do you mean objectively, verifiably true, like the earth revolves around the sun type truth?

    I think I need to see an example that shows how a person’s prayers are answered so to speak in a way that verifies a connection between the prayer and the observable experiences of that person, with the Biblical proposition thereby showing objective truth of Christianity beyond that person.

    I’m like Thomas. I need to put my hands in the wounds. But you aren’t asking me to trust you that Christianity is true, or even to trust God. You are asking me to follow your logic, and so Thomas in this case is asking for the right experience before agreeing to the conclusion.
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    Such scientific studies are not difficult to find. Examples;Hallucinogen

    1. Is inconclusive, and somewhat indicative that this cannot be done for self-reported pain. THe correlations are weak, or antithetical viz. :

    "No correlations were observed between self-reported hot or cold pain quality and thermal hyperalgesia on QST. Self-reported abnormal skin sensitivity has a high sensitivity to identify patients with DMA, but its low specificity indicates that many patients mean something other than DMA when reporting this symptom."

    2. This is specific to patients experiencing schizophrenic hallucinations. This is not apt for this thread at all.

    3. "The present single-case study" - really my dude?
    "There are a number of limitations to the present study. "
    "Statistical power was obviously limited in this single-case study..."
    "Clearly, replication is required..."

    These present no reliability at all. There are not functional ways to assess private phenomenal claims beyond structural awareness - whcih says nothing for their 'actuality'.

    Those two things aren't mutually exclusive.Hallucinogen

    The arguments are each, more or less, are, though.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    Well, you're free to explain if you want to.Hallucinogen

    The others have already done so. If you can't figure out what's wrong with #2, you are not thinking or engaging in good faith.

    This doesn't seem to be relevant to the argument.Hallucinogen

    It is comical that God intentionally bothers to mysteriously appear to random people at random times and yet stays quiet when a little Nepali child is being ripped to shreds by a Bengali tiger. Curing children from cancer is somehow a violation of free will, but turning a little lump of blood into liquid like in the "miracle" of Saint January doesn't violate free will at all, does it?
    Given God's utter silence, any talk of miracles is a stark contradiction of Christian theology.


    You are scurrying through abstracts like a politician to find convenient statements while ignoring the actual research and any other research that is inconsistent with your politics.
  • sime
    1k
    You first need to distinguish evidence of Christianity from interpretations of "Christianity", in order to clarify the extent to which your argument is grammatical and theological rather than inferential.

    Do you really wish to argue that mystical visions are externally related to Christian concepts and present inferential evidence that those Christian concepts denote 'facts'? For how could such an argument ever get off the ground?
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    “Prayer induced experiences” - what is that to you?Fire Ologist

    A person sees an image, such as an apparition, or experiences their body in another location during prayer.

    I’d like to see how you distinguish “prayer induced experiences” from “experiences of observations”.Fire Ologist

    For something to reach the status of an observation, the referent in the observation must have some degree of replicability across observers. Prayer induced experiences of certain descriptions can meet this.

    “Bible-specific propositions” - probably just need an example, one that cashes out with the other terms using an example would help.Fire Ologist

    That Jesus was crucified/resurrected, that there are angels composed of a winged cow, lion, eagle and man.

    “Christianity is true”. Do you mean objectively, verifiably true, like the earth revolves around the sun type truth?Fire Ologist

    I don't acknowledge any other type.

    I think I need to see an example that shows how a person’s prayers are answered so to speak in a way that verifies a connection between the prayer and the observable experiences of that personFire Ologist

    The experience and its correspondence to a proposition in the Bible itself is sufficient, we don't need to know what the prayer was "answering".
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    If you can't figure out what's wrong with #2, you are not thinking or engaging in good faith.Lionino

    You should state what's wrong with it.

    It is comical that God intentionally bothers to mysteriously appear to random people at random timesLionino

    Well, you made this up. God is appearing to all people at all times. The universe He's thinking up is in your face; this can't be avoided.

    yet stays quiet when a little Nepali child is being ripped to shreds by a Bengali tiger.Lionino

    This doesn't support anything you've said.

    Curing children from cancer is somehow a violation of free willLionino

    Another statement that wasn't agreed on -- God does this often.

    You are scurrying through abstracts like a politician to find convenient statementsLionino

    What convenient statements?
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    You first need to distinguish evidence of Christianity from interpretations of "Christianity"sime

    Evidence is a true interpretation.

    Do you really wish to argue that mystical visions are externally related to Christian concepts and present inferential evidence that those Christian concepts denote 'facts'?sime

    Yes, they're rare subjective occurrences for which religions propose models. They offer a means of true interpretation.
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