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Discussion 5 on Meditation 44
On Testimony - A further response

By Thomas

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In reference to Meditation 44 comments made by: Reverend Robert Andrew Rodger

1.) ”. . . for those who can’t either because they didn’t read it or cannot address faith and belief logically.”

Ironically “faith and belief” cannot be linked to “logically.” - I am not being disrespectful; but; there is no logic in faith; nor is there in belief. It is the direct absence of logic that makes them what they are. Logic deals with either arguments that support a hypothesis or facts that support a conclusion. If the hypothesis of the God concept was a fact faith would be an unnecessary element of a belief system.

2.) “. . . having witnessed an event is an utterly rational position. Many of these people have felt God’s presence or seen His work. And yet personal experience cannot be defended. Thus witnessing God’s grace is reason to believe, but not an argument usable to those who didn’t.”

On the concept of: “. . . testimony.” I must point out that most direct witness observation is faulty at best; when dealing with factual details (this is an utterly rational; yet problematic; position); let alone the supposed witnessing of supernatural events (utterly irrational; without a rational; without logic); feelings of something that one attributes to: angels, invisible hands, a presence, a demon, a devil, a spirit, the holy spirit, god, etc.; these are psychological perceptions of reality that occur in the mind. Anyone not skeptical of their origin, or of their verifiability (and they have never been verified in any logical or scientific respect; as of yet) is suspect of being irrational; non-logical; and downright absurd.

3.) “. . . I have friends who testify to witnessing God’s grace. I have friends who claim to have seen or felt a ghost. I myself have seen Denis Franz picking his nose while stopped in traffic in West Los Angeles , CA [1]. But there is no way to convince another of that or to prove that the experience happened. Thus they are forced to twist logic to convince those who have not witnessed such a thing since “I know what I saw” is hardly a convincing argument.”

Well, as far as Denis Franz picking his nose, I don’t believe-in your testimony; not because it didn’t happen; but because it is plausible; yet irrelevant. The analogy does not transfer. Testimony to the event yields pure nonsense. As far as Denis Franz’s alleged nose picking; my answer is “I don’t know and I don’t care.” But witnessing a plausible real-world event (potentially even verifiable; for he might do it again!); does not correlate with an event (a psychological feeling; “God’s grace?”) that cannot be verified (outside of a psychological perspective of faith; or belief; “I think I felt a presence”).

4. ) “ . . .As rationalists it is good to be able to dissect and refute the flawed logic presented to us.  It is good to be able to explain how a given argument fails to follow and is thus uncompelling. But as agnostics we should be respectful of those who do claim direct experience, . . . we should be tolerant to those who disagree.”

Correct! But it’s sad for me to say though; that the dissection of the flawed logic in your rebuttal to the original post was necessary. As far those who claim direct experience; it is exactly a NOT. It is an inner experience (it is psychological; a feeling); it is not an outer-world (direct) experience.