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AeonGrey

Proof / disproof

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I mean, Islam is the fastest growing religion - logically, that could be seen as proof that Islam is the true religion, right?

Only if quantity is the quality you seek.

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While I accept your argument, Edric O, that real sceptics would be able to explain away any miracle that God used to try and convince us of his existence - and I also agree that we would not be able to distinguish God from a technologically-advanced alien species - I think that the majority of people would find it easier to believe in God should such "proof" be made real.  I know I would believe in God if I could see him in action - a miracle would be enough to convince a lot of people.

But a spectacular miracle would only make people believe and convert out of fear - out of fear of this powerful being capable of performing such miracles. God tries to avoid spectacular miracles as much as possible (even Jesus tried to perform most of His miracles in secret) because He wants people to turn to Him out of love, not fear.

A miracle could make you fear God. But tell me, what could God do to make you love Him?

Your statement that there are some people who would refute God's existence is missing the point, you see.  People still dispute that the Earth is round.  Having evidence to the contrary is enough to convince most people.  An all-powerful God managed to convince a hell of a lot of people in the Bible that he existed, so there must be a way for him to convince us that he created the universe.

The people in the Bible never got any evidence that God created the universe. Moses didn't even get a particularly spectacular miracle - he just heard a voice coming out of a burning bush.

And Jesus could get DNA testing.  :P

Actually, no. We could harvest DNA from the man claiming to be Jesus, of course, but since we don't have any DNA samples from the historical Jesus, we would not have anything to compare them with. We don't know what Jesus' DNA is supposed to look like.

Yes, I would. Because we now have the means to document, record and verify such things happening.  Miracles might have happened as the Bible says, but we didn't have the technology 2000 years ago to add proof to the arguments.

And what makes you think that any recordings we make of events happening today will survive (and still be dechiphrable) 2000 years into the future?

"The God of the Bible seems to be exceptionally fond of testing people"

A slightly different kind of testing, but I was trying to say that it is inconsistent for god to expect belief in the unproven and obedience in the face of reason, while threatening vengeance in return for disobeying orders that are never clearly received. Unless we reject the 'God is good' tenet which also underpins the abrahamic religions.

God is not threatening anything. Damnation is the natural fate of a human soul, and He is offering a way out. He is also offering a better way to live. It is no accident that knowledge of Jesus was called the "Good News" by the earliest Christian preachers. The Christian message is crafted in such a way that you can't really convert unless you already have a prior belief that the world is evil and you are sinful; apparently quite a large number of people have this prior belief, judging by Christianity's success.

As far as God's orders are concerned, I believe they are general principles, not strict rules; and these general principles have been received very clearly. Different Christian denominations may squabble over obscure theology, but they are in agreement on the basic principles of a Christian life.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but the god of the Bible did manifest himself and otherwise make it quite clear that he existed on a number of occasions - your argument that he is inherently unable to do that contradicts the Bible.

He did manifest Himself numerous times, but He never offered proof that He created the universe. He proved that He is powerful, but He never proved omnipotence. And so on and so forth. Even if all the miracles and divine interventions in the Bible happened exactly as described, you could still explain them away by claiming they were done by some advanced aliens claiming to be God. Thus my point stands.

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Surely an omnipotent, omniscient god could find a way to convince each of us in our own way that he is God, the Judeo-Christian god proclaimed in the Old Testament?

because He wants people to turn to Him out of love, not fear.

A miracle could make you fear God. But tell me, what could God do to make you love Him?

You cannot tell me that God wants us to turn to Him out of love, when he promises eternal punishment if we do not, and eternal bliss if we do? Where is the love there?

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Surely an omnipotent, omniscient god could find a way to convince each of us in our own way that he is God,...

But, what if there is one way? If I could predict the future, then that would prove that I am telling the truth. So, in order for the Bible to be true, the prophecies in there must also come to pass. No?

...the Judeo-Christian god proclaimed in the Old Testament?

Unless you take the Gnostic demiurge into account...

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"Damnation is the natural fate of a human soul"

Only because that's how he made us. And if he can save souls from that, not to do so is damnation by omission.

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So, how does that apply to atheists? To an atheist, all religions have the same value. And, as Edric said in another thread, why would atheists (and for that matter people of other religions) believe that this is the Christian miracle? Why couldn't this be aliens, with very advanced technology, posing as angels?

I mean that you would still have to have a reason to associate this to the Christian belief.

I don't know, it appeals to a Christian, but otherwise you would have to believe in the Bible to make those quotes true. I mean, Islam is the fastest growing religion - logically, that could be seen as proof that Islam is the true religion, right?

To see whether a religion is right one has to look at the book of that religion.

As I am trying to proof to everyne here that the Christian God exists, I qoute from the Bible. What I qouted is a promise from Jesus to everyone who believes in him. Now if Jesus exists, wouldn't it mean that the promise should be fullfiled even to this day?

Now this particular promise has a sign attached to it which is an miracle and is the proof that Jesus exists. (look at 1 Cor. 14.22).

The reason why I am asking people here to post their interpretation of the promise is because I want God to reveal it to everyone here personaly so your faith is not based on my words but on that of God.

Since the bible says that few enter through the narrow door which leads to Jesus and many go through the large door which leads to death, I'd say that large quantaties are not a good sign.

Also note that many people calling themselves Christians are not Christians, actually this goes for the majority, of which I used to be part of.

Acriku:

Heaven = Eteranl Life. Hell = Eternal death.

Jesus says that He is Life. If you don't accept Life, why do you want to live?

Can you live without breathing?

People reject Life, yet do not want to die. Hell was actually made for the devil and his angels, but by rejecting God man choose for hell himself. How many times has God reached onto you and tried to get you to believe him? How many persons has he send to you to convert you and give you Life? Questions apply for all non believers, look carefuly to your past and see that God has been knocking on your door. But you don't open and yet want to live...

Its like refusing to breath and still wanting to live.

See even now, when I posted qoutes from the bible that can proof God's existence, not a single person has tried to read and understand what they say it seems.

Nema:

Bible says hell was made for the devil and his angels, but by rejecting Life people themselves choose for damnation.

Human soul was made to live with God forever, yet humans rejected God.

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"Bible says hell was made for the devil and his angels, but by rejecting Life people themselves choose for damnation."

Ok, well, feel free to debate Edric about that.

"Human soul was made to live with God forever, yet humans rejected God"

Doesn't affect the argument. Unless humans still get the opportunity to choose come the afterlife.

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Bleh, you know, for many years I called myself an atheist only to discover relatively recently that I am actually agnostic. I suspect that this little case of misdefinition is probably quite common amongst atheists.

On this note of God being unable to prove he possesses the properties that define him as being God... Well, it's not really possible to prove ANYTHING.

No one (as far as I know) can prove that a + b = b + a. No one can prove the gravitational theory. These are axioms that we do indeed BELIEVE based on experience that it is true every time we check. All theories are based on axioms. So, in effect  it is impossible to know anything. Of course you can believe somethings to be true, but I prefer to simply acknowledge that I don't truly know anything and that is impossible to truly know anything.

However, if I am to believe anything I'd rather believe things that have been found to be true many times rather than things that have never shown the slightest hint of evidence.

If God performed his miracles on a daily basis, I would probably think to myself that ignoring the fact that it is in fact impossible to know anything that God does exist.

''But a spectacular miracle would only make people believe and convert out of fear - out of fear of this powerful being capable of performing such miracles. God tries to avoid spectacular miracles as much as possible (even Jesus tried to perform most of His miracles in secret) because He wants people to turn to Him out of love, not fear.

A miracle could make you fear God. But tell me, what could God do to make you love Him?''

I can think of many constructive things God could do to make me (or anyone else) love him, such as giving me this innate evidence of his existence that others claim to possess. Also, he could try doing something clearly constructive and just to alleviate the suffering in the world. If this is all a test then he could make that clear. If you really believe God exists then you believe that such power exists. Why do you turn to him out of love rather than fear? Is it not perhaps so that if God revealed his existence via miracles that everybody with the right reasons would love him and everybody else would fear him. When it comes to the afterlife these people will discover him and either fear or love him then so what difference does it make? He may as well reveal himself. Of course you could argue that he is waiting for these people to develop and change to love him when they do find about him, but why would it be so that they could not change to love him after they revealed himself? Clearly, it is not impossible to alter you're disposition towards somebody and I see no reason why his revealing his would inextricably and permanently alter someone's disposition of him to fear. And after all that, we must finally speak of what you mean ''by turning to God''.

When I jump off a hill, I think to myself: Gravity is pulling me down, not: An extremely advanced alien race is somehow creating the illusion of gravity.

Finally, there is the matter of physical impossibility. If we define God as something able to transcend our fundamental laws of science, then by doing so he would then by definition be God... even if he was an alien. Still, if God came to me and created two buildings out of thin air, then since that is a physical impossibility that would rule out anything that cannot transcend our scientific laws and is therefore not particularly God like. Basically, I'd be left thinking that either our laws are wrong, in which case I can't be sure of anything as they were previously the most sure things and they still turned out to be false, or I can believe that they have been transcended and that the being that did it therefore has a property of being God. So God could at least prove he has this property.

The matter of defining God is a big issue here however. Arguments against evidence of his existence probably won't mean much until he is defined. The tricky part is that even someone not bound by scientific laws (ie: supernatural) is not necessarily omnipotent, omniscient, or benevolent.

Basically, while there is no way of proving things there is such a thing as being convincing. If a scientist demonstrates gravity to me, I could think that it's an optical illusion. If my mother shows her DNA and video feed of my birth up to this point showing my growth into my current self, then I can believe she is my mother or I can believe she is an omnipotent alien. So God could easily gain this belief from me or basically any sane person. I say ''this kind of belief'' because I don't exactly believe or know anything.

Finally, the most convincing argument against God is that he seems to have written a book speaking of miracles which either never happened or have had any evidence that they happened hidden in such a way (requiring supernatural powers) that only God could hide this evidence. The former possibility obviously discourages belief and in the case of the latter God has performed a miracle, cleared away any evidence of it and then written in a book (with no evidence that this is hid word) that he performed all of these miracles...

If you can still believe in God's existence despite these things then it is clear that you simply have an belief of proving experience. As I have not had any such experience or innate ''feeling'' to me it is proved that belief is selective and an apparently random way. Why would a just God simply randomly choose to provide some people with the reality of his existence but not others? Either these others are all simply deluded or there are some reasons only God knows.

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[something about a building appearing out of thin air]......then since that is a physical impossibility that would rule out anything that cannot transcend our scientific laws and is therefore not particularly God like.

how do you know it's a physical impossibility?  the natural sciences are merely a mental reconstruction of the universe, and often a very poor one.  So why place so much weight on these assumptions?

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We don't know that the apple will always fall, but it only becomes a problem when it actually doesn't.

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The natural sciences are based on the the axioms that are nearly the most fundamental. This particular law you refer to has been in correlation with the results of the universe ever since the earliest recordings.

As I said before it, is impossible to KNOW anything. But if I must BELIEVE something, then why not make it something that reiterates itself constantly? You could say this is no real reason... but what real reason could there be for believing anything other than some kind of intuition or understanding that apparently is unable to all those not transcended by the touch of the metaphysical that is currently incomprehensible to normal humans? Without this, it is most natural to believe that which you constantly find to be true over that which you find to be true to a lesser extent. Hence, I take this law as one of the things I ''believe'' most. This law is still based on observation via physical sensory perception so it is still not as believable as things such as the simple axioms of maths are even more fundamental and seemingly define our universe.

So, if this law were broken, I could believe that it were wrong all along and some other law (or perhaps even no law) governs the creation and destruction of matter.... or I could believe there exists something supernatural. The latter is simply more believable as it does not neccesitate the disbelief of something very believable and fundamental.

Though this is besides the point... it is amusing to comment that actually two (there is a reason I mention this number) buildings MAY be able to pop out of thin air (at least in terms of what is currently detectable by humans... the exact wording may depend on definitions) without contradicting the laws of physics. It's a long story and besides the point though. I could always mention some other impossibility that REALLY IS impossible and that would suffice. If some are interested then I can post the theory. Of course, this may bring one to wander if we cannot endlessly design theories and laws to house ANY phenomena we observe. One might think that maybe God has given us many signals that we have all dismissed as the natural functioning of the universe. However, in this case, these signals have been oddly consistent... one would imagine it would be easy via omnipotence to create large-scale phenomena that at least require alterations to the system to be more frequent. Of course we have small inexplicable inconsistencies that require alteration to our system, but if God wanted to reveal himself he could use large inexplicable incosistencies. For example, if two non-identical buildings appeared out of thin air then no theory involving conservation of matter could house it. With laws broken to a sufficient degree, it would eventually become more believable to believe that in fact a supernatural being capable of breaking these laws exists.

So, God can give us explainable phenomena and then he can give us phenomena that would require us to believe things less likely than God existing.

For example, the two identical building phenomena is explainable by the example.(I took the time to go off on a tangent so I thought I might as well post it if asked :D). However, the appearance of two unidentical buildings would require changes to our existing laws and would be a large scale inconsistency. Couple this with speak of the divine and whatnot and the idea of God becomes more believable.

Finally, God could create a universe that defies any model imaginable by humans. Therefore we would be forced to consider alternatives to pure science. We could conclude either that the universe acts randomly or according to some ''higher'' will. With God making regular appearances explaining his breaking of scientific laws and why he did it, and with these ''supernatural'' inexplicable phenomena correlating with his descriptions and explanations, it would be much more believable that God exists and is creating these phenomena (and therefore defining his as transcending scientific laws at least) than to think that by some impossible co-incidence the randomness in the universe that could otherwise be introduced to explain these phenomena simply consistenly acted in concert with this person who claims to be God's will by co-incidence. Just as the conservation of matter has become law through repeated correlation with reality so to would the existence of God become believable law through repeated correlation with reality.

Besides, even if God is unable to prove his existence, he would be able to confer that which Edrico and like presumably draw their faith from you. The differences between a non-believer like myself and a believer are irrelevant as God in his omnipotence could alter me to be able to have faith in him. So he would at least be able to bestow faith on non-believers. Of course this brings into question the matter of free will. As it stands though, such non-believers CANNOT really have faith in God as this would be madness, so that is not exactly free will in the matter either (that is, to be made to exist in a world that makes it impossible to have this faith).

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clarification. God is unable to prove himself under the current human condition.  modifications could be made to our existence in which he would be able to prove his identity, but they would be drastic ones.

also your two non-identical buildings example: this would merely prove that our science is wrong, not that it is more likely that God does exist.  If you are of the opposite oppinion then I am asuming that you have much "faith" invested in modern scientific laws, theorems, and the such.

Also about the example of God creating a universe that defies any model imaginable by humans, our scientific laws only aply to the percievable universe around us and not potential alternative universes.  this is simply because we have not been able to study other universes (if they exist), so we have no reason to assume that the patterns we experience every day in nature should apply in an alternative universe or that ours should bear any resemblence to any such alternative universe.

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Is there a clear reason why it is impossible for God to prove himself to a skeptic, like a logic proof; because it seems to me that an omniscient God should know a way to prove to each person that he is whatever God that he is.

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What about "mind control", in the sense that he magically makes everyone believes in him, and thus there are no more skeptics?

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Why not, as I have proposed before, prophecy? Let's say I predict that, say, President Bush comes out of the closet on November 5, 2008, at 12:34 pm and announces that he has always been a homosexual. This would give people every reason to "believe" in me and any future prophecies I may have - would it not?

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But there are many prophets in the bible, you could merely be acting under divine guidance. But it doesn't mean that it is God who is guiding you.

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''But there are many prophets in the bible, you could merely be acting under divine guidance. But it doesn't mean that it is God who is guiding you.''

Regardless, the existence of such guidance neccessarily requires the existence of a God, or it would not be ''divine''. Whether or not THE God is the one doing the guiding there still must be a God to enable one to prophesy under divine guidance. Not saying that God really CAN prove his existence this way anyway though.

''Insert Quote

What about "mind control", in the sense that he magically makes everyone believes in him, and thus there are no more skeptics?''

Pretty sure I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts. The argument against it though is that God does not want to take away people free will and power to decide on this matter. My answer to that is that for some it is impossible to believe, so they have no power to decide on the matter in the first place. Of course God would not want to remove the choice of faith by revealing his existence, but he should at least not go to extreme lengths to make the notion of his existence absurd as he seemingly does.

Of course, this mind control idea should DEFINITELY work it seems to me. So there is no question about whether or not God can prove his existence as he definitely can via this method. The question is if God could use this method while sticking to his description and if not if there is any method that he could utilize to do so. Of course, most people would simply say that God does not prove his existence because of the free will issue so whatever method we find that he may be able to do this will still not convince some that he does not do so because he does not exist. In order to do this it would have to be shown that there is no reason God SHOULDN'T prove his existence.

''clarification. God is unable to prove himself under the current human condition.  modifications could be made to our existence in which he would be able to prove his identity, but they would be drastic ones.''

So?

''also your two non-identical buildings example: this would merely prove that our science is wrong, not that it is more likely that God does exist.  If you are of the opposite oppinion then I am asuming that you have much "faith" invested in modern scientific laws, theorems, and the such.''

That is just it, I do ''have much faith'' invested in certain laws. If I did not I would be unable to live my life. Why bother going out and purchasing food to eat if I can't be sure that 0 + 0 = 0? If I were to live in accordance with the fact that it is not truly possible to know anything without any ''faith'' in the axioms that are generally acknowledged, then I might as well wait for food to appear out of thin air. My ''beliefs'' and the extent to which I believe something (ie: how ''strongly'' I believe something) is based on evidence and experience.

If I found that somehow 0 apples + 0 apples = 1 apples consistenly, I would not believe the relevant mathematical axiom. If God either gave me the choice between believing in his existence or that an axiom I had much faith in suddenly broke down or never existed with 0 apples + 0 apples = 0 apples only by continous co-incidence every time I checked by some 1 in a million chance, then I would rather believe the first option, that God exists, as this is simply more BELIEVABLE. There is no such thing as knowing, so indeed no one can prove anything to anyone. However, there is such a thing as convincing and making something more believable. At the end of the day, would it really matter if we were just highly convinced of Gods existence as we are of our axioms as opposed to somehow truly knowing with a 100% certainty that he exists? The matter of his existence would become akin to the matter of the existence of apples; there would basically be know question and his existence would VIRTUALLY be proven.

So, the non-identical buildings would not prove to me that my science is wrong though of course it would neccesarily prove that the science may lose its generality as it is now proven by contradiction not to be right in absolutely ALL situations. I would instead be convinced that there exists supernatural scenarios in which these laws no longer apply. If God came to me and said that he is going to create various phenomena, and did so, I would be as convinced that God exists just as any axiom or apple exists. Of course, we can always conceive ridiculous possibilities that MAY be the case, but they are not CONVINCING because they are not found to be consistent over time.

Also about the example of God creating a universe that defies any model imaginable by humans, our scientific laws only aply to the percievable universe around us and not potential alternative universes.  this is simply because we have not been able to study other universes (if they exist), so we have no reason to assume that the patterns we experience every day in nature should apply in an alternative universe or that ours should bear any resemblance to any such alternative universe.

If God showed evidence of his existence consistently, it would basically be accepted just like a law of science that he exists. There is the possibility of powerful aliens, but as his demonstrations become more impossible this becomes less and less convincing. In addition, he need only break a law of science, and it will be more believable that a neccesarily supernatural being did this rather than the laws of science simply happened to break everytime this being willed it or that it just so happens that all our laws are wrong and some being has just found some non-supernatural means to demonstrate this.

''Also about the example of God creating a universe that defies any model imaginable by humans, our scientific laws only aply to the percievable universe around us and not potential alternative universes.  this is simply because we have not been able to study other universes (if they exist), so we have no reason to assume that the patterns we experience every day in nature should apply in an alternative universe or that ours should bear any resemblence to any such alternative universe.''

I was not speaking about other universes. Strictly speaking I used the word ''creating'' which might not have been the correct word to use. What I meant is that he can ''create'' a ''new'' universe by altering the existing one. Besides, our laws and limited perception are irrelevant as God CAN create a new universe and then put US in said universe or even give us the ability to perceive it.

When inconsistency is found in reality that does not correlate with our laws, we do not simply bin all of them. Instead we modify. Eg: matter creation law. If an apple came out of nowhere after God came down and told us he would create an apple, scientists would not conclude that the matter creation law is wrong and does not apply anywhere, they would say it is always true except for in cases of divine interventions. This modification which they would instead make they make because it is more convincing and would necessarily also require them to acknowledge the existence of God as a part of their understanding of the universe.

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Pretty sure I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts. The argument against it though is that God does not want to take away people free will and power to decide on this matter. My answer to that is that for some it is impossible to believe, so they have no power to decide on the matter in the first place. Of course God would not want to remove the choice of faith by revealing his existence, but he should at least not go to extreme lengths to make the notion of his existence absurd as he seemingly does.
This seems like a copout to me. What about back in the day when God was really active? He had no problems back then to "remove the choice of faith" by showing himself and his power to the people. Why stop now? And don't you find it weird that a God would favor people believing in him out of blind faith rather than people who know him to exist and thus have no doubt to follow his word?

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This seems like a copout to me. What about back in the day when God was really active? He had no problems back then to "remove the choice of faith" by showing himself and his power to the people. Why stop now? And don't you find it weird that a God would favor people believing in him out of blind faith rather than people who know him to exist and thus have no doubt to follow his word?

Actually, God wasn't all that active "back in the day" either. After all, He revealed Himself almost exclusively to the Jews, a relatively insignificant people in the Middle East, and even then most of His miracles were small and personal. The occasional big show of power did happen, but not very often.

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''But there are many prophets in the bible, you could merely be acting under divine guidance. But it doesn't mean that it is God who is guiding you.''

Regardless, the existence of such guidance neccessarily requires the existence of a God, or it would not be ''divine''. Whether or not THE God is the one doing the guiding there still must be a God to enable one to prophesy under divine guidance. Not saying that God really CAN prove his existence this way anyway though.

Heh I deliberated over whether to put 'divine' there but just couldn't think of a suitable replacement. The truth is that scenario doesn't necessitate the existence of God/gods/spaghettimonsters it just requires something with knowledge of the future. Like Biff in back to the future 2.

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Actually, God wasn't all that active "back in the day" either. After all, He revealed Himself almost exclusively to the Jews, a relatively insignificant people in the Middle East, and even then most of His miracles were small and personal. The occasional big show of power did happen, but not very often.

Revealing himself to any group of people is a lot more than what he does now. As I said, what of those people, the "chosen" people? Where is their faith? Presumably they went to heaven just like the ones who had faith, so why is there a distinction that having faith is so important?

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If God showed evidence of his existence consistently, it would basically be accepted just like a law of science that he exists. There is the possibility of powerful aliens, but as his demonstrations become more impossible this becomes less and less convincing. In addition, he need only break a law of science, and it will be more believable that a neccesarily supernatural being did this rather than the laws of science simply happened to break everytime this being willed it or that it just so happens that all our laws are wrong and some being has just found some non-supernatural means to demonstrate this.

Wouldn't this present a new set of problems? First of all, the Bible would be void, since all things yet to come would have ended. The devil (if there is one) would've lost. Second, we don't know anything about the "outside" of the universe, or if it is indeed possible to break physical laws. If we are to take miracles into account, then it is possible. The question would then become if miracles can only be done by the divine, or by any intelligence. Or, can intelligence itself become divine?

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Second, we don't know anything about the "outside" of the universe, or if it is indeed possible to break physical laws. If we are to take miracles into account, then it is possible. The question would then become if miracles can only be done by the divine, or by any intelligence. Or, can intelligence itself become divine?

hmmm....i'm not saying you are guilty of such, Doctor, but these kind of statements make me wonder just how widely misunderstood the nature of the study of science is.  Why do you assume that it is impossible to break the laws of nature.  After all, what we call "laws" of nature are just grandoise, albeit sufficiently researched, guesses of how things work.  They are not the words of god and the fabric of the universe, they are the theorems of men, theorems that are constantly being ajusted, tweeked, and sometimes even completely scrapped.  The healthier attitude (and the one that is adopted by most scientists) is to assume that the laws of nature can indeed be broken, thus when a "law" is broken it is not necessarily a divine intervention that has occured (although certainly possible) but merely some anomoly which our current theorems are currently inadecuate to address.  Thus you have paradigm shifts in the scientific community.  i like Kuhn's book on this topic, "the structure of scientific revolutions" or something like that.

You drop a pencil and what do you expect to happen?  Logically it would fall.  you try an experiment, and it floats in mid air.  Must be magic right?  take a closer look and you might find strings attached.  a further inquiery could me made as to whether God is holding the string or if the string is attached to the ceiling.  or is it both?

just a thought.

point being that if science does not question its' own truths then it will stagnate, but I don't see this happening quite yet this century.  maybe the next one. who knows. maybe not.

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''

Heh I deliberated over whether to put 'divine' there but just couldn't think of a suitable replacement. The truth is that scenario doesn't necessitate the existence of God/gods/spaghettimonsters it just requires something with knowledge of the future. Like Biff in back to the future 2.''

Yes, I will admit that I suspected that you simply meant supernatural as opposed to divine and that I was an @$$ for replying to the alternative... though that IS what you posted and I do dislike making assumptions. This prophecy matter is basically in the realms of normal nature. In a deterministic universe, predicting the future would probably not require the supernatural. In a non-deterministic universe, predicting the future is something that seems absurd and impossible even by the hands of God. In the first case a prophet with fulfilled prophecies would not necessitate a God, in the second case there could be no such thing as divining the future. While Edrico has mentioned that contact with alien species at a level of development similar to ours is impossible, it is certainly not impossible that aliens beyond the point of singularity become involved and provide these prophecies for whatever unscryable reasons.

Since prophesying does not require the supernatural, it isn't really a subject of interest here. OF COURSE normal phenonemena that don't break axioms would not convince one of supernatural activity.

''Wouldn't this present a new set of problems? First of all, the Bible would be void, since all things yet to come would have ended. The devil (if there is one) would've lost.''

Frankly, I see little relevance to that paragraph and the paragraph it follows? Maybe you think that to be convinced of God we would require ALL of his prophecies to come true and so all of them would have happened and we would no longer need the bible? That is not the case. It is not necessary that ALL the prophecies in the bible come true and it is not even necessary that the fulfilled prophecies come from the bible. God only has to come and say... A,B and C.... N miracles are going to happen. When they happen, we will take this as evidence for God in the same process as we take constant falling/attraction as evidence of gravity.

''Second, we don't know anything about the "outside" of the universe, or if it is indeed possible to break physical laws. If we are to take miracles into account, then it is possible. The question would then become if miracles can only be done by the divine, or by any intelligence. Or, can intelligence itself become divine?''

Even if intelligence becomes divine, there is therefore a divine being. A species becoming ''divine''/supernatural in the first place would require a ''divine''/supernatural element anyway as such an event would not be possible by physical laws. Otherwise the idea of ''supernatural'' is meaningless if someone can become ''supernatural'' under normal conditions and commit ''supernatural'' acts. This would basically make these ''supernatural'' actions non-supernatural by extension. If non-supernatural elements combine to result in the supernatural then it seems almost by definition that said event is not supernatural.

''

hmmm....i'm not saying you are guilty of such, Doctor, but these kind of statements make me wonder just how widely misunderstood the nature of the study of science is.  Why do you assume that it is impossible to break the laws of nature.  After all, what we call "laws" of nature are just grandoise, albeit sufficiently researched, guesses of how things work.  They are not the words of god and the fabric of the universe, they are the theorems of men, theorems that are constantly being ajusted, tweeked, and sometimes even completely scrapped.''

Thats just the thing. We speak not of theorems but rather of axioms. There are many which have never changed. eg: a + b = b + a. This has never been touched as it has not arisen from any deduction. It has only arisen from experience. If you break a law of nature, then either the supernatural intervened or you DID NOT break a law of nature, you only THOUGHT you did as thought something was a law of nature which wasn't. Once again, the idea of breaking a law within natural confines is virtually paradoxical as the breaking of the law within such confines proves it was never a law of nature in the first place.

''  The healthier attitude (and the one that is adopted by most scientists) is to assume that the laws of nature can indeed be broken, thus when a "law" is broken it is not necessarily a divine intervention that has occured (although certainly possible) but merely some anomoly which our current theorems are currently inadecuate to address.''

This is just a misinterpretation. Scientists adopt the view that maybe their laws and theorems are wrong and are not the TRUE laws of nature, not that the TRUE laws of nature have been broken. When an anomaly occurs we can reconfigure our theorems but it may require reconfiguration of our AXIOMS. If the latter is the case then either we are left with that option or the God/supernatural option. God in his omnipotence need only provide enough observational evidence that we find the latter more convincing. This is why we don't TRULY KNOW ANYTHING. Everything is rooted in the axioms and the axioms are not PROVEN via deduction they are just assumed by experience vs co-incidence.

''You drop a pencil and what do you expect to happen?  Logically it would fall.  you try an experiment, and it floats in mid air.  Must be magic right?  take a closer look and you might find strings attached.  a further inquiery could me made as to whether God is holding the string or if the string is attached to the ceiling.  or is it both?

just a thought.''

As I said before, there are ALWAYS a NUMBER of POSSIBILITIES. Some, however, are more convincing than others, hence we believe in one (rather than know it with a 100% certainty to be the case). I could believe that the pencil has co-incidentally picked up a charge thus holding it in place between two plats generating an electro-magnetic field that had somehow moved above and under me without noticing... OR I could believe that the axioms are incorrect and that objects only fell every time I checked before by some amazing co-incidence... OR I could believe that something supernatural is involved and then make a law that the supernatural CAN intervene and making modifications to all laws to remove their 100% generality. The latter most is simply the most convincing due to the absurdity and unlikeliness of the other options.

''point being that if science does not question its' own truths then it will stagnate, but I don't see this happening quite yet this century.  maybe the next one. who knows. maybe not.''''

Science questioning its own truths is exactly what allows for a modification to science acknowledging the existence of God.

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Revealing himself to any group of people is a lot more than what he does now. As I said, what of those people, the "chosen" people? Where is their faith? Presumably they went to heaven just like the ones who had faith, so why is there a distinction that having faith is so important?

Actually, there are plenty of people around today who say they've had a personal encounter with God, so it's safe to say that He is still revealing Himself to people.

Having faith that God exists is not what gets you to heaven. You must love God - faith is only important because you must believe in someone's existence before you can love them. The "chosen" people - those to whom God revealed Himself directly - went to heaven if they did indeed love God. And they needed faith just like the rest of us - faith that what they saw was real and this entity claiming to be "God" was telling the truth.

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