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Answering Skeptics

In the comments section of my first post (Undeniable Divine Direction), a question came from a skeptic named Michael (I believe this was none other than Michael Shermer, the well-known founder of The Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine, since a friend of mine said he had just debated the head of a skeptic's society and sent him my link only the day prior to receiving the comment). I thought it worthy of publishing as a short post along with my answer. I may add to this post from time to time as similar questions and answers arise.

Q. You claim that all this really happened to you, and for the sake of argument let's say that it did. Why should anyone besides YOU believe it happened (let alone that a god of any kind was involved)? You give a personal testimony that cannot be verified, tested, or repeated. Was your former "harcore atheist" position devoid of such demands for evidence? Do you not see how the former you would find such a story to be incredibly suspect? Stories like these happen to people in all religions. Do you allow for their gods to be real too, or just your particular god? -Michael

A. Thanks for commenting, Michael. Your criticisms are understandable, and in fact they were in my mindset at the time I was going through these things and since then. You should consider, however, that testimonial/historical evidence is not rendered invalid just because it is not subject to scientific repeatability testing. Historical events are by very nature singular and unrepeatable, and can sometimes only be known by testimonial evidence--and the trustworthiness and reliability of the witnesses is key here. Those who knew me before and after can attest that these events are things I claimed at the time they were happening and that I became a radically changed person. This offers some historical verification, although those who wanted to be more sure I wasn't lying or delusional would undoubtedly prefer a more rigorous investigation and are welcome to it. I have to ask, if what happened to me happened to you, would you say to yourself, "Well, I have to ignore it all, because it is not subject to scientific proof, and skeptics will have a hard time believing me"?

As for doubting whether "any kind of god was involved," I am aware the involvement of God is unprovable in this (I already implied this in the third-to-last paragraph of the post). However, the extreme mathematical improbability of it argues resoundingly against chance explanations. And barring the idea that I was influencing my own reality with my thoughts and miraculously guiding my own hands to whatever scriptures I sought, we are left with some sort of outside being who knew my thoughts (even directed my thoughts), knew where they were to be found in the Bible and in my copy in particular, and who could guide my hands to the particular page and my eyes to the specific part of the page. Also, none of this happened in a historical vacuum, but days after my conversion to Christianity when my faith was already wavering. A pretty tidy package if you ask me!

As for other people and their religious experiences, I have considered this for many years as well. In fact, by "coincidence" (smiles), my very next post (Beyond Divine Handholding), mostly written years ago but only now about to be published [now published here], discusses that topic. Please feel free to read that and respond with another comment if you like. Thanks for reading.

*Other answers to Skeptics by former atheist Josh McDowell:
Answers to Skeptics

2 comments:

  1. Dear Blaine!

    We all knew you were a talented musician while we were growing up, but I don't think that we all knew that you were also a gifted writer (maybe I was just out of the loop?)! I clearly remember how your passion for music boosted your ability to play all sorts of instruments. I remember that you played guitar in a band that you were in with some other "dudes" from school during your 10th grade year. Your band went to our jr. high and performed for all of us still waiting to make that leap to high school ...and the girls swooned. You taught me how to play a piece on the piano, I believe it was a song by "Rush" (I can still hear the tune in my mind as it was played on my mother's out of tune piano) Then there was that infamous trip to Oahu, where the only real thing that you packed was your guitar. You were always playing something and you always played very nicely with strength and passion. Your world revolved around your love for music. Now your world revolves around your love for God. You must have an overwhelming sense of joy all the time! I'm wondering if you've already combined your talents by composing a piece along with lyrics. I can't imagine that you haven't already - you would be bursting at the seams with music! Do you have anything on Youtube that I can see/hear? Keep up the amazing work, Brother! By the way, if you recall what my passion was during our youths (I was always caring for children and loved it), you probably won't be surprised at what my husband and I are doing; We are in the process of adopting a little boy with special needs from Russia:

    www.savingkhariton-com.webs.com

    I'm very happy to see that your life is still filled with love and passion. It's always taken you far and by sharing your gifts, you'll help others go far too....

    All the best from your friend,

    Laura

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  2. Hey Laura! Thanks for writing and for all your compliments and memories. I have definitely kept up with music and just today played guitar and banjo at church. I have written more than a few songs with lyrics, but nothing on the web currently. I'll let you know if I get something on. Your generous words mean a lot. May God's hand upon your adoption process. Your old friend, Blaine

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