July 17, 2013
Great points. I'd love to hear your take on the Christians who tell stories of short visits to heaven. I know Paul was caught up into the "3rd heaven" - but those accounts are unsettling to me. Am I just a cynic?
I think that very quality of "unsettling" makes me neither dismiss such accounts nor put too much stock in them. Certainly the Bible includes a lot of visions and dreams, so that is a way God is known to work. I couldn't tell you the difference between a vision and a hallucination, maybe God works in hallucinations, sometimes. God also works, though, through other people and his Word and we can use that to know who God is so we recognize Him in unexpected contexts.
Thank you, Bethany, for reasonably noting the limits of scientific explanation. And on the point John Joseph raises, I tend to be Bereanish: if someone's account squares with what the Bible reveals about God and his kingdom then I'll accept it, but if not then I disregard it whether it's unsettling or not.
( timfall.wordpress.com )
> Having faith in a man who claimed He was God, who died and then rose again 2,000 years ago, can be a tough pill to swallow
Not so difficult considering the number of witnesses to the event, and the outcome that followed (the growth of the Christian faith, against all odds to the contrary if your savior was dead) This should be considered important, given the cultural importance ancient people placed on evidence.
The modern definition of faith is not the Biblical one and countless theologians have pointed this out - it remains for the rest of the church to catch up as well before the church looks silly to the rest of the world. Biblical faith is loyalty, which requires *some* kind of evidence. We may each accept different kinds of evidences, but that does not preclude scientific ones. Sadly, for too many people these days "experience" is their only evidence.
Considering I've seen most religious truth rigorously proven using the scientific method (hint: it's called scholarship) it's hard for me to swallow what you're saying. The same bias you accuse skeptics of (in ignoring other methods of proof) is also a bias that Eben Alexander has shown, and that is the point they are trying to make.
Not all those who would oppose Eben's accounts are non-Christian either. I've read at least one fellow Christian neuroscientist who has gone to great length to research NDE's in general and also remains very critical of them, and makes many of the same arguments as Sam Harris (*gasp* Did I just say that?)
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