“Show me evidence for God, please, GoForBroke, and I will gladly believe in him. “
Hmmm, okay, so if God is by defintion supernatural, why do you only accept scientific or naturalistic evidence of God?
Or are you willing to accept other forms of evidence/logic?
If so, there’s a philosophy major I am subscribed to called Telemantros, who may be able to give you the logic/evidence you’re looking for. I really do suggest you take a look at his videos: starting with “Religious Experiences: Introduction (Part 1 of 5)” The whole series is about 10 videos long, and explains a LOT better why religious experience should be counted as reliable form of evidence a lot better than any of my videos. (please disregard his videos where he ventures into abiogenesis and evolution because it’s obvious that’s not his are of expertise)
Okay. I watched Telemantros’s arguments.
Here is one of the most important places the argument falls apart (though I can name one other hole, if you like):
Telemantros claims that “if they object to religious experience, they do so arbitrarily”. Meaning, if we accept sense experience (e.g. sight) but reject religious experience, we do so arbitrarily. Meaning, we are picking on religion.
Because, if you can see natural things (like bears), why can’t you feel supernatural things (like God)?
Here is why we accept the former and reject the latter: the former is *independently verifiable*. The latter is not.
Let me solidify this with an example. Let us assume that you claim to have *seen* a bear. Now, under normal conditions, I would have absolutely no reason to reject your claim. Why? Because I’ve seen bears too. I’ve seen them at zoos, I’ve seen them in pictures, and anyone else with access to these things (which is the majority of people) can verify that they have seen them too. So bears are an established entity.
But let’s say I have some reason to reject that you really saw YOUR bear. Well, then I could require a photograph. Even this could have been photoshopped, though. Or it could have been another bear at another time. So we can never truly prove that you saw the bear. But, with a photograph, you at least have strong evidence that I should provisionally consent that you saw a bear unless I have strong reasons to believe otherwise.
Now, let’s return to religious experience. Let us assume that you claim to have *felt* God. We immediately have problems because I’ve never had an experience where I think I “felt” God. And what is worse for having me personally as an audience is that I personally had experiences where I *thought* I had felt God but later rejected that claim. Further, a large percentage of the world population has never had the same experience you have and also don’t have any reason to believe it.
You can’t take a photograph. You have no way of measuring, quantifying, or recording the experience. Your claim, in comparison to the bear, is very weak. All you have is your emotions. But you have no way of justifying that these emotions came from a supernatural being.
So these are entirely different experiences.
Bears can be justified through the thousands of experiences of them that we all have had. The existence of bears is *independently verifiable* by all human beings on earth. If anyone doesn’t believe, you can quickly show them a photograph or even take them to a zoo if you have to.
Religious experience has none of these properties. It isn’t independently verifiable. Therefore our rejection of it isn’t arbitrary.
“a large percentage of the world population has never had the same experience you have and also don’t have any reason to believe it.”
There’s not a valid reason to reject an experience. Surely because some percentage of the population has never experienced does not make an experience you have invalid.
“you can’t photograph it or quantify it”
The religious experience can be photographed and quantified using a functional MRI machine.
Also, I think Telemantros elaborates in another video why he believes you would have to reject sensory experience if you reject religious experience in another video.
You can quantify the emotions using an MRI but you can’t quantify *God* using an MRI. My point is, the person was claiming to have experienced *God*, not brain activity.
In the case of bears, I am claiming to have experienced seeing a bear and the existence of the bear *itself* can be quantified in the form of a photograph of *it* (rather than a photograph of the *brain activity* I had when *I* was seeing it).
Upon being presented with that photograph, another person can *immediately* have the experience of seeing my bear *themselves*. They don’t just have to look at an MRI of *me* having the experience.
In other words, using an MRI as evidence of God would be like using an MRI showing brain activity in my occipital lobes as evidence that I had seen a bear. All you would know from that situation is that the neurons in my occipital lobes were firing (which could happen for thousands of reasons that have nothing to do with bears), not that I’d seen a bear. The same is true for MRI evidence of God.