Not evidence, but experience [was Re: Religion and evidence]

From: Jean-Olivier Noreau (
Date: Wed 18 Jan 2006 - 04:07:38 GMT

  • Next message: Price, Ilfryn: "RE: Religion and evidence"

    Responding generally to the last couple of e-mails...

    Why are you all looking outwards to what can be found inwards?

    Jean-Olivier Noreau
    Montréal, Québec
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Ben Dawson <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:25 PM
    Subject: Re: Religion and evidence
    > On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 15:51:50 +0000, you wrote:
    > >So unlike Lynda La Plant, the second part of your two-parter
    > >does live up to its billing :)
    > >
    > I agree with Chris. That was a very interesting story! Bravo!
    > Kate - thanks for sharing so unreservedly an issue so close to your
    > heart. It always helps to get a much clearer idea of someone's
    > viewpoint if you get the overall picture - background and all - and I
    > think we all now have a much clearer grasp of where you're coming
    > from.
    > I guess what you're saying is that in your particular case, the
    > subjective evidence of your own personal experience outweighs, for
    > you, the objective / logical evidence that you encountered during your
    > philosophy studies and beforehand. That's really interesting, because
    > it's so unusual to hear a story of such a die-hard atheist (as you
    > clearly were) making such a drastic shift in opinion - going
    > completely from one end of the scale to the other!
    > Interestingly, it has some analogy with my own story, except that I
    > have had no personal experiences that would lead me to believe the
    > presence of a God.
    > My parents, despite having religious convictions, were pretty relaxed
    > about their faith and never forced their beliefs down my throat. We'd
    > go to church occasionally, say the Lord's prayer before a meal and I
    > was told a few Bible stories, but that's about as far as it went. I
    > grew up believing in God, until I reached my late teenage years when
    > I became more interested in science and evolution and began to
    > question my beliefs a bit more. From then on, I knew I was an atheist.
    > What is interesting, is that my sister, who had exactly the same
    > upbringing, took entirely the opposite path, and about the same time
    > that I realised my own atheistic views, she became insanely religious.
    > I've never really enquired about the reason for the strength of her
    > beliefs (kind of a difficult subject to raise), but I think you're
    > right when you say it's all down to interpretation. Maybe our
    > interpretations of our own experiences were just different.
    > Personally, I think that any subjective experience of my own would
    > have to be a pretty damn *major* thing to cause a rethink like yours,
    > and I think too that it must have been a pretty *major* thing in your
    > case to overturn so radically, what would seem to me to be such a
    > sensible outlook.
    > Do you think there's ever a chance you might switch back to atheism?
    > Say for example, if your prayers went unanswered or something occurred
    > that made you doubt God's power? Or do you think you'll be Christian
    > for life?
    > Ben
    > (I realise this is straying away from memetics now, so apologies to
    > the list, but to be honest I'd always be punching above my weight
    > there anyway, so I may as well try to contribute something whilst I
    > can!)
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