Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Reality Test 3–How has my thinking gone wrong?

Posted by Ann on June 30, 2010

3) Personal witness or stories to support an assertion don’t prove anything

If you don’t have any evidence to support a claim, real, collaborating physical proof, a hundred recounted stories of something happening are no more valid than one story. Anecdotes are relayed by human beings who make mistakes. Even if the story is told by someone we know is not delusional or mentally ill, an anecdote about a prayer being answered or Jesus appearing to you in the sky are just stories. At this point in time, no scientific study has been conducted where an illness, such as cancer, was miraculously cured by prayer. There is simply no proof whatsoever of any illness ever being cured by prayer, or the “laying on of hands”. Now if a study was done with a decent sample size of subjects, with controls in place, and these people were properly diagnosed with an incurable illness, and then a significantly large number of them recovered after being prayed for, and there was a significant difference between them and their control groups, and other similar experiments were able to collaborate these results–I’m sure the whole world would know about it pretty quickly. Same goes for aliens abducting some farmer from a wheat field in Kansas. Where’s the physical proof? If there was proof to support paranormal claims, they would no longer be just stories. They would have physical evidence to support them and they would be true.

5 Responses to “Reality Test 3–How has my thinking gone wrong?”

  1. Paulo said

    “If there was proof to support paranormal claims, they would no longer be just stories. They would have physical evidence to support them and they would be true.”

    Right. And if you apply that same statement to the beliefs of Christians, they will answer, “Well, just because there is no evidence to prove it, it doesn’t mean that it’s false.”

    Right. And it doesn’t mean that it’s true either.

  2. Robert said

    When Christians use evidence from personal experience to support their claims that God is real, the argument usually circles around like this:

    Christian: I know God is real, because this one time my folks were out of food, and a neighbor stopped by with food. The neighbor said he just felt moved to bring us some food, even though we had never said anything to indicate we were in need of it.
    Me: Believers in other religions experience the same events, only they attribute the coincidence to their own deity.
    Christian: But their god is false, so it was just a coincidence in their case. Or, it was my God helping them out.
    Me: I also experience events that humans call “strange coincidences,” so does that prove my assertion that no gods exist?
    Christian: No, it just means it was a coincidence or my God was helping you out.
    Me: How do you know it was your God? [this is the most important question you can ask in a debate with a Christian, since it strips away all of the convoluted and complex (but empty) arguments Christians (especially the intellectual ones) make to view their beliefs as evidence-based and rational.]
    Christian: Because the Bible says…
    Me (interrupting): So your evidence isn’t really your experience, it’s the Bible.
    Christian: No, my experience is the evidence.
    Me (thinking, “God, here we go again!”): But your evidence is identical to the non-believers and those of different faiths.
    Christian: Yeah, but that was my God doing that all the time. The non-believers and folks of other faiths were just misinterpreting the evidence.
    Me: And how do you know that?
    Christian: Because the Bible says…
    Me: Christ, you’re a moron! Do you see that you are going in circles saying and proving nothing! No wonder atheists get a bad rap as being arrogant. We are driven to distraction by Christian blindness and fuzzy thinking when it comes to their beliefs!
    Christian: I will pray for you…
    Me: Shut the fuck up.

  3. Jerry said

    It seems like the more devout the believer, the lower the standard for what constitutes a “miracle.” It’s ridiculous to listen to some of these sorry excuses for “miracles.” Just because you got into the college of your choice doesn’t mean it’s a miracle, or because you prayed for rain and it rained, doesn’t mean it’s a miracle. Believers often look for evidence that God is working in their lives and that he cares about every little thing they do. They usually just believe what they want to believe and then try to justify it with “evidence.”

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