29 January 2016

Hard Questions—personal experiences

How can Christians think their personal religious experiences with God are any more "true" than those of adherents to other belief systems?

hard questions

A1 Definitions

B1 Experience

C1 Something physical as a burning in your bosom, tingling in your leg, pain,or some other physical sensation.

C2 Something mental including hallucinations, delusions, physical sensations that accompany it.

C3 Something spiritual as visions, dreams, trance, occultic experiences as out of body, automatic writing, messages from the other side, etc.

B2 True--reality

B3 More true--my subjective experience is real, yours is either deception or fake. This is subjective, not objective.

B4 Faith

C1 In the Christian sense would be believing what Yahweh said. If Jesus says He will return, He will. That is faith. Abraham believed God (Genesis 15.6). That is faith.

C2 In a general sense would be believing what was read, said, or seen.

A2 Answer

B1 A Christian should not place faith or trust "just because" or based on some experience.

B2 Faith

C1 If this famous person...

...walked up to me and said, "Hi, I'm Richard Dawkins." I would think it most reasonable to have faith. I would believe him, because it would be most reasonable. Faith is belief.

C2 If I were to see a motorcade with a number of official cars and saw President Obama's face, it would be most reasonable to believe that I saw the president.

B3 Trust

C1 Faith can lead to trust or mistrust depending on the circumstances.

D1 Would you trust this person?

D2 Or this one?

D3 Would this help make the decision?

D4 This one?

D5 Why or why not?

D6 Faith or trust in these people and those we meet and know every day is based on most reasonable facts.

B3 The Christian faith is based on what is most reasonable.

C1 A man named Jesus did exist. Tacitus (Annals XV, 44), Suetonius (Lives of the Caesars 26.2), Pliny the Younger (Epistles X, 96) and many others.

C2 If so, what type of man was he? The New Testament had many witnesses. There were over 500 who saw the resurrected Jesus. After that He was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, while some have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15.6, WPNT)

C3 The Chain of Evidence as outlined by J. Warner Wallace in his book "Cold Case Christianity."

C4 If this Jesus is what the Gospels say He is, then we must accept that as the most reasonable evidence. See among many books "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell

C5 Other references and books can be found on this page.

B4 The experiences of other faith/religious systems would on the surface of it be equal. The question is which is most reasonable? Jesus, as is taught in traditional theology, would be the most reasonable option. An experience may be interesting, but it is not a proof or most reasonable.

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