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What will it take to change your mind?

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posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 08:28 AM
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So a friend and I were having a pseudo-philosophical discussion about something random (can't remember) when he suggested that for any intellectual position to be rational there'd have to be an opposing explanation and/or set of circumstances that could dislodge said intellectual position.

For example it would only be rational for me to take the position "pigs can't fly" if I was willing to concede that "pigs CAN fly" when a particular set of circumstances occurs, like say, actually seeing pigs fly with my own eyes. Put another way I'd fully express my position something like: "I don't believe pigs can fly at all BUT if a couple of pigs flew outside my window right this moment I will happily accept that pigs CAN fly (or at least some can)." Basically I'm willing to change my stance in the face of convincing counter evidence, and that's a big part of what makes my position rational. Mind you, my set of required circumstances might not be the same for others - some people might only need a close friend tell them they saw a pig fly, some people might only need to hear it on Fox News - either way, their current position is rational (if not ill-informed) because of their willingness to change stances when more evidence is presented. If I instead stated, "I don't believe pigs can fly and nothing that can ever happen and nothing anyone ever shows me will change my mind EVER", well that would be a close-minded and irrational position to take despite the fact pigs haven't been observed to fly, right?

Regardless of whether the contrary set of circumstances can come to be or not, there HAS to be something that WILL make you change your mind unquestionably should it come to pass... if not, wouldn't you have to ask yourself if your current position is a rational one to take?

Cliche example I know! Anyway, this discussion got me to thinking whether that logic can be applied to religious belief too. Personally, I don't believe in the existence of any deities described in religious texts, BUT if say Jesus was to appear in Times Square in full view of hundreds of eye witnesses, and was subsequently recorded performing miracles with those videos going viral on YouTube all whilst defying scientific explanation, then I will gladly change my stance on the existence of deities. Not too much to ask, is it? Something like that is what it would it take for me to change my stance on religion.

Some people might say that's ridiculous to ask for, but far too often I've had debates with both believers and non-believers who clung on to their positions so strongly they refused to even entertain the thought of a contrary argument or set of circumstances that could change their stance... that to me is not only more ridiculous, but irrational...

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
― Albert Einstein

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
― George Bernard Shaw

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.”
― Frank Zappa

So, with those magnificently apt quotes in mind, I invite both believers/non-believers to share what it would take for them to change their current position...

If you don't believe in God, what will it take for you to change your stance and start believing? What counter evidence would be significant enough for you?

If you do believe in God, what will it take for you to change your stance and stop believing? What counter evidence would be significant enough for you?

If for whatever reason you can't think of a contrary argument or set of circumstances that WILL force you to change, can you really say your current position is rational?

And even though this should go without saying, asking for anyone to prove a negative would not be a valid answer... it's virtually impossible to prove anything doesn't exist for example.

The spirit of this thread is basically playing devil's advocate on your current beliefs.




posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 08:36 AM
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if Jesus came and turned all my water into wine, that would make me a believer



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 08:37 AM
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a reply to: ware2010

Hahaha, you and me both!



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 08:46 AM
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I think for me, as an atheist, I cold accept the existence of God if God would, I don't know, maybe show up and say "Hi! I'm God." No grand display of power, simply showing up and proving that he isn't one of Harvey the Rabbit's people.

I wouldn't accept testimony of a believer, because there's no subjective agreement among Christians as to the nature of God himself, as evidenced by the dozens of denominations, let along subjective agreement as to the nature of God between the three Abrahamic traditions. Not to mention the billions throughout history who haven't believed in God as a sole omnipotent deity.

I'd like to think my standards are pretty low.

As to the original premise, I had a professor who constantly had to remind me that you cane reason the irrational, so I support the idea of your thead. Rational thought should always be open to reason presenting an unexpected or oppositional conclusion.
edit on 30-8-2016 by phiche1 because: For clarity



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 08:48 AM
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a reply to: namine

This is a difficult question to answer. First, one must recognize that proof of one part of Christian orthodoxy doesn't prove the whole religion. That part could very well be right but the rest still be wrong. So Jesus could come and start performing miracles, but that wouldn't necessarily make me believe that he is the son of god. I'd just believe that a man exists that can defy the common laws of physics for whatever reason.

You see, the problem with religion is that it is heavily reliant on assumptions that build up other assumptions. Plus, with the many different denominations of religions even if the religion is right, most of the believers of that religion would be wrong because they'd be part of an incorrect denomination. So in order to make a believer out of me I'd have to see irrefutable proof of ALL of these assumptions being confirmed.

God literally appearing in the sky and reexplaining the correct way to worship him would probably be the best way, but then he'd also have to prove that he was the creator of the universe too. Just telling me this is the case isn't going to cut it. That's how powerful beings trick less powerful beings into becoming their servants.



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 08:57 AM
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a reply to: namine

So, you want Jesus to appear and perform like a circus animal.

Heres a hoop Jesus, jump through. I'll hold it a little higher, okay, now jump through.

Now Ill set it on fire. Cmon Jesus, Cmon! (insert whip cracking sound)

I think were supposed observe how he behaved towards others. Better yet, If it isn't programmed out of you yet, just follow your conscience, it knows how to behave all along.

Thats what matters, not parlor tricks.



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:06 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

How are you supposed to "observe" someone who's been dead for 2000 years?



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:10 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: namine

So, you want Jesus to appear and perform like a circus animal.

Heres a hoop Jesus, jump through. I'll hold it a little higher, okay, now jump through.

Now Ill set it on fire. Cmon Jesus, Cmon! (insert whip cracking sound)

I think were supposed observe how he behaved towards others. Better yet, If it isn't programmed out of you yet, just follow your conscience, it knows how to behave all along.

Thats what matters, not parlor tricks.


hey don't forget the water to wine dammit! that's all I came for, no hoops here
edit on 8/30/2016 by ware2010 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:15 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: intrptr

How are you supposed to "observe" someone who's been dead for 2000 years?

You have the same spirit in you. Its called a soul, It knows how to behave. Well maybe not you, some are amoral.

Anything goes.

But if you have trouble connecting with your conscience you could take a cue from someone who doesn't strike back, isn't out for revenge, doesn't operate from envy, spite or averice. Is content to help others, sacrifice themselves for others go out of their way to help others. Is kind, not trying to be first get the most, have it all, pushing and shoving, ridiculing, back stabbing, always "me, me, me...".

But you already know all this.



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: ware2010

That miracle is BS. Anyone can change juice to wine. They sell kits online.

Further: I'll tell you what (probably) happened that day. They were at a party, a grape juice party and someone said, hey lets get some wine in here.

Always outspoken Jesus probably said something like take it to the bar. So they went out and got some wine anyway, emptied the water flasks and secretly filled them with wine. When someone discovered it they said its a miracle! everyone goes who did this?

The perps then all point the finger at Jesus.

edit on 30-8-2016 by intrptr because: Further:



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:30 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr

originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: intrptr

How are you supposed to "observe" someone who's been dead for 2000 years?

You have the same spirit in you. Its called a soul, It knows how to behave. Well maybe not you, some are amoral.

This is a thread asking about the kind of evidence I'd need to believe. Do you think that I'm going to accept an answer that involves something that I also am doubtful exists?

But if were are going down this road, please prove to me a soul exists now.


Anything goes.

But if you have trouble connecting with your conscience you could take a cue from someone who doesn't strike back, isn't out for revenge, doesn't operate from envy, spite or averice. Is content to help others, sacrifice themselves for others go out of their way to help others. Is kind, not trying to be first get the most, have it all, pushing and shoving, ridiculing, back stabbing, always "me, me, me...".

But you already know all this.


How does talking to an altruistic person prove Jesus was the son of god and worked miracles?



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:35 AM
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Great question.. I converted to Christianity my 36th year on the planet. My friends and family were astounded, really. It was a spiritual journey that began one night with a prayer for a friend (sorry if that sounds pathetic) who showed up at my door the very next morning(!) and ended with my reading the Gospel-- months later, did not happen overnight-- I guess I still wasn't convinced with the appearance on my own doorstep.

The truth I found in the Gospel changed my heart.

I can't tell you what it would take for me to go back. I've found such treasure, gratitude, love and more answered prayers since that my faith is of infinite value. Sure, on occasion, I read or hear something that temporarily rocks my faith, and I do some further research and always find a satisfactory answer.

When you know, you know, I guess! Keep searching, I hope you find something of equal value!



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:38 AM
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a reply to: phiche1

Yeah, that would go a long way in convincing me too, though I would want him to prove the nature of his existence too, which to me would be acceptable through an undeniable demonstration of power.

I agree with regards to the disagreement amongst believers. It's a really hard sell for me if they can't even agree amongst themselves.



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:45 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

You raise some good points! A man performing miracles may not prove the existence of God per say but if he claimed he inherited powers from said God and proved he could do what he said he could because of it, I'd be a lot more open to believing him, and by proxy the nature of his powers.

The different belief systems amongst denominations would be a big hurdle to overcome, particularly those that contradict each other. It's one of the reasons I struggle to buy into the whole premise in the first place.

Hm, how would said God prove he is the creator of the universe though?



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:48 AM
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originally posted by: namine
a reply to: Krazysh0t
The different belief systems amongst denominations would be a big hurdle to overcome, particularly those that contradict each other. It's one of the reasons I struggle to buy into the whole premise in the first place.



I really wouldn't rely on the limited scope and ability of humans when it came to such important matters! You don't know each person's intention or knowledge of God. Have you tried to study the New Testament and let it speak for itself?

Edit: A quote from Einstein--

" The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws."
edit on 30-8-2016 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:50 AM
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originally posted by: namine
a reply to: Krazysh0t
Hm, how would said God prove he is the creator of the universe though?


Now THAT is the million dollar question isn't it? Outside of forcing us to witness it, it would be pretty hard. Maybe the god can produce some residual evidence that we can trace back to it that would prove he did it? Something like finding fingerprints at the scene of a crime for instance. We already know about the Cosmic Microwave Background and the Neutrino Microwave Background. If God's fingerprints are on that (or even better those two things ARE god's fingerprints) then that could go a long way to proving his divinity.



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 09:53 AM
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a reply to: intrptr


originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: namine

So, you want Jesus to appear and perform like a circus animal.

Heres a hoop Jesus, jump through. I'll hold it a little higher, okay, now jump through.

Now Ill set it on fire. Cmon Jesus, Cmon! (insert whip cracking sound)

I think were supposed observe how he behaved towards others. Better yet, If it isn't programmed out of you yet, just follow your conscience, it knows how to behave all along.

Thats what matters, not parlor tricks.


Jesus should absolutely jump through hoops! When you go to a doctor for heart surgery, you would want the comfort of knowing they'd jumped through the necessary hoops to become a qualified surgeon, right? You wouldn't want any Joe Shmo piloting the airline you're about to take, would you? If someone wants your devoted love and worship for an eternity, you'd at least want to be sure they are who they say they are, wouldn't you?

Besides, miracles went a long way to convincing people to follow him back then, so why not now? We can treat people the way he did, no problem, but that doesn't say anything about the validity of his supernatural abilities.

Also, you forgot to address the main point of this thread. I take it you're a believer? If so, what would it take for you to abandon your beliefs?
edit on 30-8-2016 by namine because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 10:02 AM
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originally posted by: zosimov
Great question.. I converted to Christianity my 36th year on the planet. My friends and family were astounded, really. It was a spiritual journey that began one night with a prayer for a friend (sorry if that sounds pathetic) who showed up at my door the very next morning(!) and ended with my reading the Gospel-- months later, did not happen overnight-- I guess I still wasn't convinced with the appearance on my own doorstep.

The truth I found in the Gospel changed my heart.

I can't tell you what it would take for me to go back. I've found such treasure, gratitude, love and more answered prayers since that my faith is of infinite value. Sure, on occasion, I read or hear something that temporarily rocks my faith, and I do some further research and always find a satisfactory answer.

When you know, you know, I guess! Keep searching, I hope you find something of equal value!


Thanks for your input! I don't think your spiritual journey is pathetic at all! Sometimes faith and religion can fill a gap in someone's life... you cling on to what you can to survive.

I find it interesting that you can't think of anything that would persuade you otherwise now. You said you went from disbelieving to believing and the gospels took you there? If the origin or "truths" in the gospels could be dispelled, would that make you reconsider your position?

"When you know, you know..."

I don't know about that! Do we ever really know?



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 10:06 AM
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originally posted by: zosimov
I really wouldn't rely on the limited scope and ability of humans when it came to such important matters! You don't know each person's intention or knowledge of God. Have you tried to study the New Testament and let it speak for itself?

Edit: A quote from Einstein--

" The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws."


Fair enough! Though I'd say it was the limited scope and ability of humans that created God in the first place.

BTW, I love that Einstein quote! The universe is a great, grand stage and there are always infinite things to discover. We can only observe and begin to understand what's been put in front of us.



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 10:09 AM
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a reply to: namine

I'd equate it to being in love (well, it is love!).. of course, you can never empirically prove love, but you sure know when you're in it (and if/when it ends).

I've heard a lot of speculation as to the origin and veracity of the Gospel, going both ways. However, the truth found within is still there, and regardless to how it came about, I find it to contain unmatched treasure-- at least that's my mindset at the moment.

I cannot imagine a time when that might change but also know that nothing is immutable.

Good discussion, though! sf

edit on 30-8-2016 by zosimov because: (no reason given)

edit on 30-8-2016 by zosimov because: can't spell



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