visions of what?!?

Wayne Dawson (
Fri, 7 May 1999 19:03:37 +0900 (JST)

Dear list,

I recently managed to get myself mired in a debate with someone
about "evidence" in relation to the existence of God. Having
obtained a Ph.D in physics, I am well aware of the severe paucity
of so-called "measurements" which can attest to the existence of
God. Moreover, I am intellectially honest enough to say that such
faith in God is based upon our own subjective interpretation of
events in our lives.

However, my recent blunder into such discussions has introduced
yet another distraction from the secular naturalists. The argument
goes as follows...

Person A (let's say Richard Price) claims to have been abducted
by aliens from outer space.

Person B (let's say Mother Theresa) claims to have had a mystical
experience in which she was touched by God's spirit.

Both people (as far as I know) genuinely believe what happened to them
were real events in their lives. Moreover, nether person A nor person
B have used these events for personal profit, and have endured much
suffering on account of their respective experiences.

Since both claim to have "experience", the secular naturalist
states that both such claims are invalid since both claim their
"experience" is true.

Now ultimately, I suppose on the matter of "evidence", Jesus already
made it clear in the debate between Abraham and the rich man (Luke
16:31) "And he said onto [the rich man]. 'If they hear not Moses and
the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the
dead'". Hence, it is probably pointless for even the Almighty
himself/itself (or whatever way chose we express it) to make argument
with the insistant secular naturalist.

Moreover, I suspect that denial of sense experience by the secular
naturalist leads down a path in which *NO* sense experience can be
considered valid (even the secular naturalist's most precious
"reproducable-on-demand" experimental experience). Indeed, I suspect
that taking the redutio ad absurdum, *all* sense experience could be
classified as "anecdotal" (even the experiments we carry out ourselves
to convince ourselves of the validity of observations carried out by
other scientists) and therefore "scientific evidence" itself can be
equally denied by such extreme reasoning.

However, I lack the philosophical prowess to wage a suitable argument
to counter this recent secular naturalist' attack.

Does anyone on this list have some suggestions on suitable arguments
to counter the secular naturalist' assertion that "visions of space
aliens" and "visions of the kingdom of God" are identical and
therefore false.

deeply obliged