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What would make you believe in a god?

The nature of a creator existing 'outside’ of its creation perhaps makes it as impossible to prove as many other theories of the universe (such as multiple universes)

Although we have thousand of years of personal accounts of humans interacting with a creator and documenting their experiences this is still not proof in a scientific way. We basically have nothing but witness accounts.

Understanding that it would probably be impossible to put God in a box to poke and prod in a scientific way, would there be any personal experience that would make you believe in a creator?

Posted: November 8th 2009

Mike the Infidel www

Why would it “probably be impossible to put God in a box to poke and prod in a scientific way”? This is a very specific kind of god, while the main question was about a god.

Regardless, if there’s an omniscient deity, then I’m sure it knows what would convince me. Whether it wants to is another issue entirely. At this point, I don’t know what would convince me, and even if I were convinced that there is a god, I certainly wouldn’t buy any of the dogma and doctrine I believed before.

Posted: January 22nd 2010

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bitbutter www

“would there be any personal experience that would make you believe in a creator?”

Appropriate miracles, and amazing signs would go a long way towards lending credibility to the bible (and existence of the biblical character God): For instance, if all Christians bodily ascended into the sky, were 'raptured’ away, that would be very impressive.

Or if prayers were routinely answered (including the healing of amputees), that would also make me more sympathetic to the the idea that there some truth to those old stories.

But, as has been pointed out in other answers, there is always the problem of verifying the origin of the miracle. Could we be sure that it really the biblical god’s work (for instance), or could it have been something else?

There is said to be another way to belief though, that doesn’t depend on empirical evidence. Allegedly God reveals his existence to people by 'opening their hearts’. At least this is what I’ve heard many Christians claim happened to them.

So far God, if he exists, hasn’t beamed this special knowledge to me. Apparently he wants to remain hidden.

Posted: November 14th 2009

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George Locke

If God is a being that exists 'outside’ its creation, and it never interacts with it at all in any way besides natural laws (as in deism), then this God offers no possible proof for its existence besides argument from design. I have yet to see a convincing argument from design, but there might be one.

What about the idea that one could show that God exists by finding miraculous events?

Let’s say you find irrefutable proof that an event had occurred that ought to be scientifically impossible, e.g. shards of a broken glass chandelier rise up off the ground onto the ceiling and become whole again. What would that prove? How would you know if God were responsible or wizards or goblins or what have you?

Let’s extend the hypothetical to suppose that one discovers a pattern of such 'miracles’ indicating a benevolent intelligence behind them. Still, how can you tell if it’s wizards or not?

Even if there was a systematic pattern of miracles that was happening throughout the universe, how could you eliminate the possibility of a vast number of magicians with super-luminal communication? If you could show that the magicians had to be literally at all points in space at the same time, then there might be little grounds to distinguish between them and God. I’m not sure how that could be possible, even hypothetically.

Posted: November 12th 2009

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Eric_PK

Any god that interacts with the physical world can be studied through science.

The bible lists a lot of impressive miracles – water into wine, raising the dead, walking on water, giving the blind sight, etc. If I saw one of those in a situation that I felt was unequivocal, than it would be clear something was going on. Though I think you run into a definitional problem about “what is god”, and the “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” problem.

You’ll notice that miracles like that are pretty rare these days. The catholic church requires a documented miracle to declare somebody a saint, and if you look at the “miracle” that is used, they’re pretty weak.

Mother Teresa’s miracle is a cure of a woman’s cancer by the application of a locket with her picture. Of course, the woman’s husband and doctors say that her tumor was benign and cured by medical treatment, but I’m sure the vatican won’t let that stand in their way, since they clearly would have chosen something more impressive if it existed.

There are circumstances that could happen that would lead me to conclude that a god exists. For all the theists reading this, what circumstances would lead you to conclude that god doesn’t exist.

Does it trouble you that if you are wrong there is no way you can find that out?

Posted: November 12th 2009

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logicel

I think the elaboration on this question is the best that I have seen on this site. Kudos.

If my amputated leg grew back, I would not only be tickled pink, but I would work with scientists to figure out why that happened. I would make sure that my body would be donated to science after my death to assist in finding out why my leg grew back.

I am a bit disappointed myself because I thought when I began writing the second paragraph that my conclusion would be goddidit because amputated limbs growing back is often given as a necessary proof of a creator god’s existence. But alas, no. Sorry.

Posted: November 12th 2009

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