On "evangelical" and evidence

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On "evangelical" and evidence

Postby mitchellmckain on October 28th, 2016, 2:17 pm 

Braininvat » October 28th, 2016, 10:12 am wrote:Mitchell, welcome. I will be interested in how you reconcile your Evangelical approach with the above. How subjective evidence constitutes evidence at all might be worth pursuing, as an epistemological question. And how one can be both Evangelical and yet feel that subjective religious experience offers "compelling reasons for your personal beliefs only," might also take a bit of unpacking for some of our members. On the surface, it seems a bit paradoxical, but it sounds like you've given it considerable thought so I look forward to hearing more.

Perhaps what needs to be unpacked is what you think an "Evangelical approach" entails.

I see the Evangelical movement as a religious phenomenon with a diversity similar to the protestant revolution. There is the older western movement from dogma to experience that drew a lot upon the membership and ideas of the Quakers. Then there is the the newer southern hijacking to turn this towards an intolerant militancy in pushing a rather narrow minded understanding of Christianity coming from the Baptists. This diversity is also manifested to day in the spectrum between the charismatics and the fundamentalists. But I see the evangelical movement as beginning with people being fed up with the excessive preoccupation with dogma as if our salvation was a product of sound doctrine rather than a relationship with a living God. You find the latter in often repeated evangelical refrain, "it is all about Jesus." I see what the fundie Baptists have twisted this into as one of the most blatant examples of how religion is so often transformed into a tool of power (even for politics) and manipulation.

As for "evidence" it sounds to me as if you simply want to reserve the word for what I have called "objective evidence". Since I have defined my terms that seems to amount to nothing more than semantic avoidance, though I suppose we can address the question of whether there is ever perfectly reasonable justification for belief from things which provide no objective proof. Since this is easily demonstrated, this is a glaring flaw and weakness in the argument of most aggressive atheists who seek to justify their own brand of intolerance. My differentiation between the two types of evidence is designed to defend tolerance and freedom of thought first and foremost, putting forth BOTH theism and atheism as rationally defensible alternatives. This puts an end to the endless games of shifting the burden of proof and sporting childish claims of being right by default.
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Re: On "evangelical" and evidence

Postby Braininvat on October 30th, 2016, 11:03 am 

I was curious how the phenomenal, i. e. subjective experience, provides information about what's real that can rise to the level of evidence. I wasn't trying to limit or restrict anyone's definition, just asking if multiple experiences from multiple observers can somehow converge on a spiritual/religious truth. Evangelicals, per my reading, appear to believe in spreading a message based on their personal experience of an enlightened being named Jesus, so this seems to signal a belief that there is something real "out there," i. e. beyond mere personal imagining.

I have an open mind (agnostic, in the sense of believing any god or universal mind is not knowable to the limited hominid mind), and have no agenda beyond curiosity. My own spiritual leanings, such as they are, might be called buddhist, so I don't envision god as a person-like entity.
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Re: On "evangelical" and evidence

Postby mitchellmckain on October 30th, 2016, 12:50 pm 

Braininvat » October 30th, 2016, 10:03 am wrote:I was curious how the phenomenal, i. e. subjective experience, provides information about what's real that can rise to the level of evidence.

And my answer, given in the distinction between two kinds of evidence, was that only objective evidence can provide information to society at large (with an expectation that others agree), while subjective evidence can only provide information to the person to which that evidence comes. In other words, the distinction is about what evidence can transfer to other people and what evidence cannot do so. It is a distinction which accepts diversity of thought as an unavoidable reality that should be accepted as a GOOD thing.

Braininvat » October 30th, 2016, 10:03 am wrote: I wasn't trying to limit or restrict anyone's definition, just asking if multiple experiences from multiple observers can somehow converge on a spiritual/religious truth. Evangelicals, per my reading, appear to believe in spreading a message based on their personal experience of an enlightened being named Jesus, so this seems to signal a belief that there is something real "out there," i. e. beyond mere personal imagining.

I repeat, subjective evidence CANNOT provide a reasonable expectation that other people agree. To face this reality means that when you decide things based on subjective evidence then you accept the fact that this is in an area where diversity of thought must exist. Sure you might believe that you are obligated to "spread the news", but expecting people to accept your "news" on the basis of your subjective evidence is not reasonable. Often this is done with faith that God (gods or common sense) will take care of that part. But I must admit that what I see the militant southern bapitst "evangelicals" doing does not look reasonable to me and often even seems rather insane from my perspective.

Braininvat » October 30th, 2016, 10:03 am wrote:I have an open mind (agnostic, in the sense of believing any god or universal mind is not knowable to the limited hominid mind), and have no agenda beyond curiosity. My own spiritual leanings, such as they are, might be called buddhist, so I don't envision god as a person-like entity.

This is an example of the area where subjective evidence holds sway. You may have excellent reasons for what you believe in this regard but there is no objective evidence and so it only reasonable to accept a diversity of belief with regards to such things.
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