I agree Jay.
99.9999999999999% certain there is no god. In practical terms, that is 100%.
"Good enough for government work." was one of my engg. prof's favourite expressions. I think we have a practical measure of certainty here that we can work with. Actually, there are enough inconsistencies within both the New & Old Testaments to render the whole point moot without reference to any other sources.
I'm 100% certain that I don't "know" whether there's a god or not, but since the evidence is sorely and eternally lacking that would be required to elicit belief in one, I have no choice but to act as though there is not one. I don't need certitude to support a belief or lack of one. Christians, Muslims and Jews have been doing just that for centuries.
Belief in a god...any god...is just that - a belief. It does not depend upon any evidence whatsoever. So, a god could exist or not exist. Either status is compatible with belief that one does in fact exist. Since by definition gods exist outside of physical reality, and evidence does not, by definition there can be no verifiable and substantiated evidence of one's existence or non-existence. Since I aim to live my life and make my life decisions based upon evidence, I am constrained to withhold belief in anything that is irrational, illogical and unsupported by evidence. Since it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to evidence the non-existence of that which does not exist, and since the claim that a god does exist has yet to be evidenced with anything remotely resembling verification or substantiation, the rational, logical position seems to be unavoidable, that being that no such entity does in fact exist.
Since by definition gods exist outside of physical reality, and evidence does not, by definition there can be no verifiable and substantiated evidence of one's existence or non-existence.
Gods have often been claimed to change physical reality in a supernatural way. That's called a miracle. A god is thought to be intervening in reality to give a message to a human being.
However, miracles are thought to happen in a sporadic way, because they are caused by the will of a god.
It would be difficult to scientifically study miracles because of this. You couldn't do experiments in a lab to study miracles.
But, perhaps there could be a truly verifiable miracle anyways.
Would a verifiable miracle prove the existence of God to you?
Or would you just expand the definition of "natural" to include miracles?
A miracle, by definition, is a supernatural act that ignores, suspends or goes against natural processes. There would be no way to test the validity of a claimed miracle. The many appearances of the Virgin over the centuries would be a particularly cogent case in point. The evidence would be a photograph, but the Virgin seems particularly camera-shy. Most, if not all, reports of the miraculous are anecdotal at best, and, like the healing ministries of a Benny Hinn are outright frauds and lies. The faithful accept the miraculous without doubt, while the faithless give not one any credence. Supernaturalism, by its very definition, is above and beyond nature, and as such cannot be evidenced by anything within the natural world. To include miracles within the "natural" would destroy the very meaning of the word "natural." If a god "changes physical reality" through supernatural means, the change can be measured, and that would be "evidence". But, in order for that evidence to be accorded supportive, it must be verified and substantiated. A mere claim that is has occurred is insufficient to support it.
There would be no way to test the validity of a claimed miracle.
Why do you think that?
If a god "changes physical reality" through supernatural means, the change can be measured, and that would be "evidence". But, in order for that evidence to be accorded supportive, it must be verified and substantiated.
So do you agree that it's possible for a miracle claim to be verified and substantiated? Can you imagine a miracle claim that could truly be substantiated?
If such a miracle claim were substantiated, would that prove to you the existence of a supernatural being, or would your definition of "natural" have to expand beyond the physical world as it's currently conceived?
Anything is possible that is conceived by the human mind, but not all things are probable. The problem with a claimed miraculous occurrence is that it is an extraordinary event, and so requires extraordinary evidence, a tall order indeed. I for one am incapable of imagining a miracle that is or was supported by verified and substantiated evidence. Rationally, there exists only the physical, which operates according to the nature of matter and energy in process. The reality of the miraculous, being an occurrence at the agency of some entity above and beyond the human and physicality, would utterly destroy reason as the prime arbiter of reality. While I would submit that such is possible, I cannot conceive of the probability.
A photo would prove virginity? A photo of what? Certainly not that virginity.
Yeah, Paul, I'm spoofing. Sometimes I too explain things too hastily.
Which reminds me of the new girl in my eighth grade class. Her name was Virginia so we called her Virgin for short but not for long.