When talking to a Christian, this is a common answer I’ve gotten since my mother forced her religion on to me. I’ve heard it from people in her church and from people I’ve worked with. They never explain what they’ve “seen”. Even if they were to explain it to me, I’m pretty certain it would be complete horse shit.
I would reply to this with Roy Batty’s soliloquy from Blade Runner …
Yes! Conspicuous fiction is the finest comparison here, IMHO.
Everybody sees things, and then we do the best we can to make sense of them. Some people just accept the first fanciful explanation that comes their way. Magicians, Spiritualists, con men, psychotherapists, preachers and ministers are just very good at inventing stories to explain events that don’t seem to have explanations.
Interestingly, on the drive to work this morning, I was thinking about auditory hallucinations. (Probably one of the atheist debates I listened to while dressing and still half asleep put my mind to this. Oh yeah! Now I remember. Matt D. was talking about hearing noises in his apartment and discovering there was a band down the street. The sound apparently could not be heard from the street, but the beat of the base must have followed a pipe, right into the apartment he had. Anyway, back to my story.
When I was sick with the mumps as a child. I did not follow my mother’s advice and stay in bed when I was sick. Instead, my brother, who was also sick with the mumps, and I played all day, had pillow fights, watched TV, and enjoyed our day away from school. By 6PM, I was really sick. The sickness came about right after someone screamed the words “Shut UP!” To this day, I don’t know if it was someone at the front door or by a window (very unlikely) or my own head. It could have been a message from God. For the next 8 hours, I had photophobia, and the worst headache of my life. Any sound at all would send my head into a tornado spin of pain. Any light at all, a match struck from across a room, would blind me with pain. I have always remembered that voice. “Shut up!” Clear as day, and I believe, completely generated by my own mind.
I have also seen things, but again these were on occasions that I was delusional (very ill). I don’t remember them as well. I do know that when I got better, I could remember being sick and the things I did while in the state of delusion. The brain is an amazing thing. It can make you see things and believe things that just ain’t so. And then we all run about as if we know something.
My skeptical system of doubt seems to allow me to explore the world around me to the best of my ability. (Whatever this ‘my’ thing is.) It seems to serve ‘me’ well. I think it has freed me from accepting the magical explanations for the things I have seen and allowed me to come up with more realistic and rational explanations. It has led me to my current world perspective and to not believing mysterious things that go bump in the night have magical causes.
There is an organization called “The Innocence Project”. https://innocenceproject.org/
It’s mission it to exonerate and free wrongly convicted people. And many of those unfortunates were convicted based on personal witness testimony. Even in the case of a witness being sincere, they can get it wrong.
Personal testimony is unreliable. Personal testimony by someone with a specific agenda is definitely tainted and not to be believed or trusted.
Isn’t it interesting that in this age of cell phones capable of capturing pictures and videos we still have zero hard evidence?
Unevidenced anecdotal claims are not very compelling, I mean you’d straight away have to accept the exact same claims from competing religions with competing deities. So it takes just a few seconds of sound reasoning to see it leads to a logical contradiction.
Would the discovery of hard evidence bring them any closer to realizing that they’re attempting to justify totalitarianism masking itself as an instrument of deliverance?
When being critical of one’s own belief system is discouraged by that system, imagining evidence that’s not really evidence, and disregarding a concept like ‘levels of evidence,’ makes a lot of sense, IME.
“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
In the ass backward logic of christianity you’re better off not actually witnessing the truth of something for yourself. Taking things on faith, an unreliable way of telling if something is true or not, makes you “blessed”.
Perhaps it is being used wrongly in some cases you have seen. If you tell me you bought a dog the other day. I will just believe you. After all, what do I care. I know people buy dogs. If you tell me you were meditating and in an out-of-body experience you became a dog, now we have a problem. One claim requires less evidence than the other. Hence, Levels of evidence. Are we using the concept the same way?